Thumbs Down: Part of you wants to have a laugh about the "creepy clown" phenomenon. (Facebook joke going around: "Humans: 'Well, there's nothing that could make 2016 any weirder.' God: 'Send in the clowns.'")

But a bigger part of you just cringes. Coupling circus clown images with weirdness and threats of violence gets under your skin. And when a local joker coupled the creepy clown thing with joking (we think) about shooting at local schools, it's gone too far.

A lot of people make dumb comments and try to make jokes of situations … sometimes they fall flat. Way flat. Sometimes kids do the same thing. And sometimes the yearning to shock outdoes sensibility. Hopefully the perpetrator of the local clown/violence scare in Marysville this past week was just doing that — trying to pull a prank, to be a little shocking, to be weirdly funny … but turned out to just be dumb.

There's a couple things to consider about social media and the elevation of dumbness:

• It's too all-inclusive for dumb jokes. You post something dumb about clowns shooting at schools to get a rise out of people … and you get a rise out of thousands of people. Then it's not dumb; it's serious.

• It's too immediate for dumb jokes. It's like thinking while talking. Not a good idea in front of a crowd. Better to think, then speak. Too many people think as they create messages on social media apps. Think of some dumb joke and type about it as you think … and it might still be dumb, but it becomes serious.


Thumbs Down: All part of a weird news week: the stench that befell Yuba City on Thursday afternoon (and Marysville, some were saying by Friday afternoon).

We heard any number of theories before the air quality monitoring folks pinned it on pig manure used to fertilize orchards. I grew up in a part of the country where that sort of fertilizer originated. ("Smell that?" the grinning old pig farmers and feedlot operators would bluster. "That's the smell of money." Well … it's the stink of money, maybe.)

We respect the operations of our area agronomists. They are helping the local economic engines work. But we do hope the wind comes up for a while and clears the air.


Thumbs Up: We'd like to encourage area residents to take advantage of the opportunity they have today to wander around the historic Marysville Cemetery on Highway 70 north of town.

Friends for the Preservation of Yuba County History are organizing the "Tales of the Crypt" presentation and fundraiser. Tours start at 4 p.m. — the last tour starts at 7 p.m.

Actors bring to life former Marysville residents laid to rest in the cemetery. It's a fundraiser, and the profits will be used to continue restoration work at the cemetery that had been pulverized in previous years by floods and vandals.

We're telling you, the Marysville Cemetery is a historic gem. The stories that will be told will enlighten you as to life in the 1800s and to the development of an honest-to-gosh frontier and gold rush center. It's fascinating stuff. And walking around the cemetery … through sections dedicated to different parts of the community, past paupers' graves and the crypts of the influential … it's impressive.

And it needs our help. If you were going to pick out one place to concentrate historic preservation efforts in Yuba-Sutter, you could easily make the argument that it should be the Marysville Cemetery.


Ugh: (Folks I hope to be hanging out some at the Indigenous Peoples Day activities today and Sunday at Sycamore Ranch park east of Marysville, and at the Yuba-Sutter Harvest Dinner tonight in Yuba City … if you see me and if you're not too mad about the comic strips and if you have a good joke — a good joke, mind you — please, pass it along to prevent future maladies such as what follows.)

It was cold and raining hard and Mike was glad to get to bed. He and his wife were sound asleep when, just after midnight, there was a pounding at the door. Mike got up to see what the trouble was.

He cracked open the door, and there in the dim light, he could see a drunken fool, soaking wet, standing on the porch.

"Hey, mister, could you give me a push?"

"No. Get out of here," Mike yelled at the drunken man. And he went back to bed.

"What was that all about?" his wife asked.

"It was just some drunk wanting me to give him a push."

"Well?" said his wife.

"Well what? It's raining cats and dogs out there … I'm not going out to help some nut get his car unstuck."

"Can't you remember someone ever helping you out of a bad spot?" She got the best of him and Mike got back out of bed, dressed, put on a raincoat and went out the door. It was pitch black out and raining hard.

"Hey, are you still out here? Where are you?" he yelled. He could hardly see anything. "Do you still need a push?" he yelled.

"Yes, please," came a response.

"Well … where the heck are you?"

"Over here … on the swing."

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