What you DIDN’T see at Pecha Kucha Redding Night (Lucky Duckies)

This would have been my presentation in the 20×20 Pecha Kucha Redding event April 16th. That’s 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide, each with my brilliant running commentary. I got the bit in late so the organizers didn’t get a chance to see it until the day before the event. Well, they didn’t deserve the mess I turned in, so in a hastily prepared “Plan B” we put something together hours before the presentation that went off without injuries, so it’s all good. Here’s the Pecha Kucha you were spared…

Greetings. Welcome to my Peachy Kachoo presentation, “The Illustrated Secret History of Shasta County.” This is the true story of the region we call home. You won’t find this information in any history books and the Shasta County Hysterical Society has long ignored these facts and, conveniently, replaced them with documented evidence. We’re not here for evidence; we’re here for the truth. So, follow me.

Back in the days before time began, our four fathers came upon this land and stopped. We believe they stopped because they spied four mothers. We are lucky there were four fathers and four mothers. Had there been five fathers and four mothers, things could have gotten ugly. But fortune smiled upon us and everything worked out. Out of this chance meeting sprang the first subdivision.

It’s true the first peoples to inhabit the valley were squatters, it was their squatting that made the land so fertile. It also gave parts of the region a distinct aroma… well, stench, actually. Now, of course, we know that area as Cottonwood. But, in those days it was just known as Port Au Let. A little misleading as there really wasn’t a port, per se. But it was a warm, low-lying area in which to squat.

Still, time went on… and the landscape continued to evolve. For example, there was a mountain, soon to be called Shasta. Many of you here today cling to the false belief that the great mountain that looms to the north is a long dormant volcano. Untrue! It is actually the residual dirt pile from the excavation done by the indigenous peoples who were making a pit to house the region’s first casino.

These people took their name from the pit they had excavated. Yes, the were the Pits. And, the first overseers of the casino became known as pit bosses. Unfortunately, the displaced dirt had been heaped atop the neighbors, the Lemurians, who live under the mountain to this day. Though they’re still not happy about it. You wouldn’t be happy about it either, I’ll bet…

I just want to stop here for a moment and point out that we’re barely two minutes into my presentation and look at all you’ve learned! I bet you thought you were going to leave Petcha Choo Choo Night in Redding just as dumb as when you came in. Ha! Fooled you! We’ve managed to kill about 36,000 of your brain’s neurons since we’ve started, so you’re leaving here a lot dumber than when you came in! You’re welcome.

Now, back to our history, already in progress. Life continued in the region quite happily for a few eons. In part, because of the life-sustaining Sacramento River. “Sacramento” being the native word for “that which moves slowly, if at all.” The river brought water, salmon and tourists to the valley. The waterway also helped carve out the area’s distinguishing features. As everyone knows, for every river you need a bridge, and our river was no different. But, it wasn’t enough for our four fathers to have just a bridge. They wanted a bridge that could tell time!

So, they built a big sun dial on the banks of the That Which Moves Slowly If At All River. It was a good thing they built a sun dial because nobody in Ancient Redding had ever built a bridge. In fact, they weren’t very good at building sun dials either. This one ran three minutes slow and seemed to need constant winding. So, in a fit of frustration the people pushed the big sun dial over… and it fell across the river. Voila! A bridge!

With a new bridge, the two sides of town were now united. No longer would the Shasta High football team have to stand on one side of the river and throw rocks at the Enterprise football team. Now, they could cross the bridge and get a much better shot… in fact, both sides began wearing helmets as the frequency of “direct hits” had gone up considerably since the bridge became functional. Unfortunately, the rivalry has lost much of its luster as both teams now are nothing more than patsies for Foothill.

As we have reached the halfway point of my presentation. We will pause for a 15-second intermission.

There. I think we all needed that. Let’s leap ahead in time — since not much was going on except peaceful hunting and gathering for thousands of years. Things started getting interesting again around  the 1800s. That’s when guys with mules and some with pack animals started showing up. They had two things on their mind… well, three things… Gold, logging and medical marijuana cultivation. Things began to boom in Shasta County. Some of the booming was small arms fire, but progress is progress.

With all the new folks coming to town, lured by gold, logs and glaucoma cures, a city began to emerge. Buildings, roads, hospitals, schools and RV Parks all began to sprout up. The city was named Redding. Why the name Redding? No one knows. Anybody who says they know why Redding is called Redding are delusional. Especially those whackos over at the Shasta Hysterical Society… what with their documents and all. The fact is, the naming of Redding “Redding” is a complete mystery.

Even though the naming of the town remains an enigma, the fact is that a burgh needs stuff. Like a city hall. The first city hall was erected in 1901 and served as a multi-purpose building. By day, it was the city hall… by night it was one of the region’s first full-service brothels. This tradition carried over into modern times as the current city hall has been known to rent office space and stairwells at an hourly rate. Or, so I’ve heard.

Still, as Redding grew it began to discover what it was really good at, and what it was really good at was making large amounts of pancakes. The town was so good at it that all the local cowboys gave up punching cattle in favor of whisking batter. The cattle were grateful for less punching, but the additional butter demands sort of made the whole deal a wash. Hey, cooking up thousands of pancakes got us on Good Morning, America – which was, after all,  pretty cool.

Today, Redding takes pride in its political and cultural diversity. Latest census figures indicate that there are now 11 Democrats in the county and, most shockingly, there are now 38 people who admit to having watched a film with subtitles… but in truth, neither of these claims can be proven and many of us are convinced that more Sasquatches than Democrats can be spotted roaming the promenade. Although, things may be loosening up as we hear there’s now an Episcopalian family within the city limits. Tolerance, thy name is Redding.

You may have noticed that as this Pecker Coochie presentation has gone on that there has been a steady decline in both the actual content and the quality of the artwork. Well, that’s because I had to come up with over six minutes of material all by myself. It’s widely known that I can’t keep anything up for over six minutes, let alone an informative and entertaining Power Point presentation. Ask anybody. They’ll tell you.

At some point I’ll resort to cheap tricks like slowly drawing…. Out….. my….. words…..and… using… a …. Pencil…. And…. No…. color …. For….The …. Drawings…. Themselves….

You, as an audience may begin to feel cheated by these lame tactics, but I have a question for you. How much did you pay to get in here tonight? Huh? Shell out a lot of dough to take in the festivities did you? Well, I’ll fill you in on a little secret… I agreed to prepare this Pet Your CooCoo slide show in exchange for half the gate receipts. That’s right… I get half of what you paid to see the show.

But, I suppose if you feel that strongly about out, I’ll refund your price of admission out of my own pocket. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of the stuff you paid with tonight. Tons of it. I’ve got so much nothing that I’ve taken to donating large amounts of it to various religious groups. I’m making a killing with the Buddhists, but I think the Episcopalian family is on to me. Hopefully, they don’t stay up this late and I can make my getaway before they even figure out I was here.

Don’t let it be said that I didn’t adhere to the Pooty Kojack format, this is in fact… the twentieth slide… which is all I agreed to do. Thank you all for your kind attention but you’ll have to excuse me… I need to find the organizers so I can pick up my check… I bet it looks a lot like this screen… good night, and if I managed to offend you… well, that’s what I get paid for.

NOTE: Larry, Tish and the organizers of PKN Redding should be commended for their sense of decorum and good taste. Even though they shot-down my presentation, the one we did in its place was more fun and a lot looser. I think it was more in keeping with the spirit of the event. I’m just glad to have been invited… but, they should have known that if they let me in, chances were that I’d end up piddling on the carpet. They know better now.

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8 Comments on “What you DIDN’T see at Pecha Kucha Redding Night (Lucky Duckies)”

  1. ianbalentine Says:

    I loved it! But I thought they named the town Redding because one of the town pioneers red a book once. No? Oh well, I enjoyed this immensely anyway, and hope one day to read the continuation of Hangman’s Tale (tail?). Oh right, and where’s my music? I’ve got yours in a folder on my desktop. Hurry it up, man!

  2. Joanne Says:

    This is a fantastic bit of work, thank you for sharing it. I feel like I was there and watched the stoning. I love it!

  3. Tom Shudders Says:

    As a right wing nut job and former imbiber at the Wretching Jackel pub I tread lightly among the few lefties still active in this here settlement.Especially those that have an affinity for (UGG) Dodger baseball.But like those drawn to train wrecks and similar disasters I find myself inexplicably drawn to this travesty.

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