January. A new year. 2006. So far, so good. The weather has been warmer, my car hasnÕt broken down, and the dogs have not eaten the crotch out of any of my underwear. You canÕt ask for a better start than that.

The city council makes a decision, which under normal circumstances would be good, but alas, was once again the wrong one. Instead of taxing us with a wheel sticker, which, with a little finesse, we can weasel our way out of, they decide to raise an already inflated gasoline price. With Herr keeping the price per gallon pumped up, and the council taxing each gallon still more, I can personally vouch for Galesburg having the highest priced gas between here and Florida, and here and Hot Springs, Arkansas. I donÕt suppose they would ever think of perhaps lowering our tax burden? In a town losing population over the last 30 years, they wouldnÕt think of maybe paying themselves less, for a job so well done, or cutting back some on services and personnel? No, silly me. They need more and more money for bigger and bigger salaries, an excellent health-care plan, and about one of the only retirement plans left in Galesburg. In the meantime, many of us struggle with minimum wage jobs, no health-care, and no hope for retirement. Yet we continue to contribute more and more of our hard earned dollars to make sure the city folk are well taken care of. ItÕs a Flubbing situation that only gets worse. IÕm going to propose renaming the town Flubberville.

Samuel Alito, Supreme Court nominee, has right-wing extremist written all over his forehead. Just what we need, another right-wing, Republican, Christian soldier on the Supreme Court. HeÕll fit in well with his brethren: Thomas, Scalia, and Roberts. ThatÕs four right-wing-leaning Catholics. Goodbye, pro-choice. Hello, fascism. IÕm looking for them to appoint Bush King. I suppose that wouldnÕt change a whole lot. It is not that Alito might not be a decent guy, or that he is not smart. ItÕs the way he thinks. He smells of right-wing extremism. ItÕs a Flubbingly pathetic stink.

By the way, hereÕs to you, AmerenlP. May all our days of winter be warm, and your profits cool. You might be able to Flub us, but you canÕt Flub Mother Nature.

JanuaryÕs Flub goes to the NFL officials, who of late have proven the old adage: the ref is never right. For granted, it has to be a horrible job. Standing down on the field, trying to see around all those giants. But you expect them to do at least a reasonable job. Three or four times over the last couple weekends, that has not been the case. They actually, at various times, have done a pathetically suspicious looking job. The worst was a clear interception by the Steelers. Even using instant replay, the ref got it wrong. It almost cost the Steelers the game, which would have been tragic. The official officiating body apologized, for the second time in as many weeks, for a job poorly done. The refereeing has gotten bad enough to give them the Flub-A-Dub Award. With an illegal war going on, the economy going to hell-in-a-handbasket, another right-wing Supreme Court Justice about to be appointed, all of our jobs being shipped overseas, and a nitwit for a President, I suppose this ainÕt a real big deal. But still, a Flub is a Flub.