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February 27, 2012

Posted Friday, May 4, 2012, at 5:20 PM

If you are a movie fan, then Sunday night was the big night. The Oscars were awarded, and if you were interested, then you could see all the hoopla on your television set. As usual, at least for the last twenty years or so, I personally had only seen one of the movies that were the subject of all the hoopla. I've always liked the line from George Jean Nathan who said, "It's Hollywood's job to put the skin on the baloney."

Here's my stab at a screenplay. The movie, if it's made, will have drama, comedy, pathos, and could literally turn out to be a stinker. The story, which is tentatively titled WHAT IS THAT SMELL? is outlined here in brief. The Malden Board of Public Works is engaged in a titanic (remember this is Hollywood) battle with the Dunklin County Sewer District. The BPW has been ordered by the all powerful Department of Natural Resources (which is the emperor of a far away kingdom) to build a new wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater is what we used to call sewage, and when we didn't call it sewage we called it many things, but remember in movies you strive for the PG-13 rating and not an R or the box office killer X.

The battle between the BPW and the DCSD is about money. No plot surprise there!,The BPW must build a new wastewater treatment plant at a cost of approximately $2,000,000. The DCDS dumps, pun intended, into the BPW's system. By contract, the DCSD has used the BPW's system for something like twenty years. The drama, pathos, comedy, and possibly big stink arise from whether or not the DCSD pays its bills from the BPW on time, accurately, and has the money to pay its share of the new treatment plant. Also, what is the DCSD's share of the cost of the new treatment plant? There is a contract written many years ago and signed by the then representatives of the BPW and the DCSD. The drama is in what does the contract mean? Possibly, it is a comedy because a whole lot of people from the two organizations, several lawyers, and various bit players like myself and employees of the City of Malden can't agree on what the contract means.

The dreaded flow meter could be portrayed in our movie by a special effects creation like THE TRANSFORMERS. The flow meter is supposed to measure the amount of @#%* being dumped into the BPW system and the DCSD will then pay for the portion consumed (irresistible). There was not a working flow meter for some period of time. It is my understanding that the DCSD refused to provide one or pay for the repair of the broken one. Anyway, the BPW installed its own. Then the DCSD installed its own. We now have a conflict which is the heart of any drama. WE HAVE DUELING FLOW METERS! In reality I believe the flow meters are not very large but for purposes of excitement we could have them be as large as aircraft carriers and engage in some brutal struggle. The winning flow meter will determine the percentage of the cost of the new wastewater treatment plant that the DCSD pays.

The problem of casting for any movie is always of importance. I have in mind a young man from Springfield, Missouri to portray me. His name is Brad Pitt. The members of the BPW are uniformly short in stature and we will search for surviving Munchkins. You can always find lawyer look-a-likes at central casting. The casting of the DCSD will depend on whether they are to be portrayed as good guys, bad guys, or just normal human beings involved in a messy situation (another pun intended).

On a cleaner and brighter note, as a fund raiser the Malden Nutrition Center is raffling a beautiful, handmade quilt. Chances for the quilt are one dollar or twelve for ten dollars. I can sell you twelve tickets. I only deal in volume. The quilt may be seen at the Malden Nutrition Center. The drawing is April 13.

The financial report is as follows:

February 17, 2010

Balance $1,279,617.59

Revenues $26,750.66

Expenses $45,008.87

February 24, 2012

Balance $1,261,359.38



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