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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: When stumped, go with a Mel Brooks reference

Editor’s Notebook: When stumped, go with a Mel Brooks reference

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Of the many classic lines in “Blazing Saddles,” perhaps my favorite is when Cleavon Little came back as the town’s new sheriff, after previously being sentenced to the gallows by those meanies played by Mel Brooks and Harvey Korman.

One of his friends said who saw the Cleavon Little character riding back into town, after first calling him a something-something I most assuredly can’t repeat but anyone who saw the scene knows, expressed shocked to see him still alive.

“They said you was hung!” the friend said.

“And they was right!” replied the new sheriff.


(Admit it: Once a little boy gets a taste of the glory that is inappropriate wiener jokes, it’s hard to kick the habit, even decades down the road.)

But all kidding and ding-dongs aside, here’s another “and they was right!” moment, one found in our history column coming out next week, specifically from the Oct. 20, 1972, edition of the Northern Virginia Sun. Yep, a nifty 50 years ago.

What was the paper covering that day? Among the articles was one that said Arlington officials needed to embark on a “crash program” of parkland acquisition if they hoped to beat developers to remaining parcels.

That was the recommendation of a task force empaneled to consider the issue of open space and parks.

Here we are these 50 years later, and it’s still an issue of import. And, if past is prologue, still will be in the fall of 2072, although I’m not likely to be the one noting the anniversary. Both Mel Brooks and I will by that point have joined the late and great Cleavon Little and Harvey Korman, wherever they are.

WHERE ARE THE POLITICIANS ON THE OPIOID CRISIS? We have coverage this week of the annual Arlington County Crime Solvers meeting, an event that always is worth attending.

(The lesser rungs of the local press corps[e] were either unaware of it or had somewhere else to be. They missed a good lunch!)

The presentation at the event was about how the Arlington government is addressing the spike in opioid overdoses and deaths that began about 2016, calmed somewhat after concerted efforts at the state and local level, but spiked again during the lockdown-due-to-COVID era.

As the article notes, more people died in the U.S. in 2020 due to opioid ODs than Americans were killed in combat during the entirety of the Vietnam War. That’s pretty damn sobering. Yet good luck getting our national politicians to make addressing it a priority.

Jeez. As the bumper sticker says: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

– Scott McCaffrey

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