The Star-News - April 12, 2002

Something something home sweet home


Chula Vista's movers and shakers are already noticing a foreigner in their midst. During the oath of allegiance at the YMCA's first-Friday breakfast a tall bearded man in a pinstripe suit was standing respectfully at attention but without hand on heart.

Has the San Diego Country Club been infiltrated by the Taliban? No. It's just the new editor of The Star-News.

When a British journalist is appointed editor of an American newspaper he suddenly finds himself confronted with crises of protocol that the INS doesn't trouble to warn about. They might at least print the words to "God Bless America" on the back of the Green Card for situations such as the Kiwanis lunch at the Olive Garden restaurant last Tuesday.

It's an inspiring song. And, as we unite to defend the advances of America's revolution against theocratic throwbacks who would have us return to some kind of feudalism, a Permanent Resident Alien could be forgiven for showing solidarity by enthusiastically singing the opening lines, made memorable by Hollywood over the decades. But there inevitabably follows a less familiar middle section and then the nightmare scenario of attempting to improvise the rest of the lyric while standing shoulder to shoulder with Police Chief Rick Emerson and Fire Chief Doug Perry.

During this time of war, it's conceivable that one wrongly-guessed rhyme may lead to an international incident and an unscheduled career move to Guantanomo Bay's Camp X-ray.

Similar humiliations abound at home. Tell your American wife you're making porridge for breakfast and she replies, "Who do you think you are? Freakin' Goldilocks? The word is oatmeal!"

Every unfamiliar term yields a story. However, nobody seems to know whether the Kiwanis club was named the Kiwani tribe of native Americans who traditionally sell corn-on-the-cob on Third Avenue Sunday afternoons.

It's all about cultural diversity, and it's axiomatic that America derives great strength from this. There is an abundance of it to be found in Chula Vista's neighborhoods. Anybody who wants to know what on earth ballet folklorico is, should check out the Agua Dulce stage at the Taste of the Arts by the Bay this Saturday, and be educated by the students of Sweetwater Union High School District.

Although the Olive Garden restaurant may use the very latest technology to extract anti-social garlic flavors from its fine Italian cuisine, Taste of the Arts seems to work on the opposite principle putting the flavor back in.

The legacy of French colonialism yields the tradition of Cajun music, which will be brought home by the San Diego Cajun Playboys. Our African American community's tradition of gospel music is embodied in the Martin Luthor King Community Gospel Choir. Even the very youngest children are participating in the Chula Vista Children's Choir whose wholesome songs, such as "Step by Step," have nothing whatever to do with alcoholic rehab.

It's a good rich mixture. And even the limey editor will attempt to blend.