Dollars and Sense… A budget-conscious Squid is a happy Squid, and so it was that Squid took time over the weekend to square away the finances and figure out what should stay and what should go. Shrimp flakes for sprinkling over popcorn for extended Netflix-and-snack sessions? Stay. An ever-increasing cost for the Monterey Herald subscription that offers little benefit to Squid as a reader?

To paraphrase Omar from The Wire: Oh that’s got to go.

On July 23, Squid received a letter from the Herald’s subscription folks announcing that due to “increasing production, newsprint and delivery costs,” Squid’s subscription will increase to $585 a year. For that price, Squid thunk, the paper better be loaded with phat articles and great imagery.

But it looks like the Herald may be transitioning to drawing stick figures, because three days after that letter arrived, word dropped that Herald parent company DFM had ordered the canning of the paper’s last photographer, Vern Fisher. Squid reached out to the enigmatic Fisher, but didn’t hear back, while a weary Herald Editor David Kellogg told Squid’s colleague he couldn’t talk about personnel issues.

Since photography seems to be a thing of the past for the paper, Squid’s hoping that increased subscription revenue will go for drawing lessons and colored pencils for the remaining staff.

Feast Season… Squid loves storytime. Good guy, bad week, conflict, peace – but oh, how easy it is to muck up a simple formula. Squid has for years been baffled by the racist tradition, dating back to 1905, of Pagrovians performing the royal court story of Legend of the Blue Willow at the annual Feast of Lanterns.

There’s lots to love about FoL – a pet parade that had Squid donning bunny ears and Rosco P. Coltrane wearing a lion costume, live music by gifted kids, an epic fireworks show over the Bay. But it began in the year Pacific Improvement Company chose not to renew a lease with Chinese villagers at Point Alones in P.G., instead evicting them. The next year, a fire destroyed the village. For nearly a century, non-Chinese kids performed the Blue Willow tale in yellowface, which ended in the 1980s – but the costuming and play (which isn’t even Chinese, natch) continued.

That is, until 2020. Last weekend, Feast organizers announced they would keep the fun and inoffensive parts, but ditch the racist play. Hooray! But not so fast: cue the cries of Pagrovians who would rather do away with fireworks. They cried out on Nextdoor, calling fireworks “an abomination,” “harmful,” “inconsiderate” and more.

For examples of the above, plus a sprinkling of racism, see: The Legend of the Blue Willow.

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