Art by Bob AulThe Newport Beach Police Department, which keeps statistics on robberies, burglaries and other assorted mayhem, may be contemplating a new category: Rodman-related incidents. Pro basketball/ wrasslin' thug Dennis Rodman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public and disturbing the peace on Aug. 21 in front of Woody's Wharf. The Worm allegedly became belligerent after the bayside watering hole refused to serve him, so management called the cops. Rodman, who would be the most obnoxious tattooed Newport Beach resident to bed Madonna were it not for Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath, was jailed briefly before being released on his own recognizance. Six days later, two men were arrested outside the ex-Piston/ Spur/Bull/Laker's Newport home. Scott Shannon Francis reportedly told police he was punched in the eye during a Rodman party by Thaer G. Mustafa, who identified himself as the rebounding club-hopper's assistant manager. Mustafa countered that he acted in self-defense after Francis tried to hit him. Based on a citizen's complaint by Francis, Mustafa was arrested on suspicion of assault and battery. Francis was held on suspicion of being drunk in public. And the freak show goes on.
HEADS UPIn spring '98, members of Carpenters Union Local 803 of Orange picketed outside Knott's Berry Farm, which was using nonunion labor to build GhostRider, the Buena Park theme park's wooden roller coaster, which opened in December. The union local raised fears about the workmanship of the scabs and the safety record of the project's Ohio contractor, which was brought in by Knott's parent company, Cedar Fair LP, also of Ohio. Well, the union brothers came out looking like prophets on Aug. 23 when a piece of wood jarred loose from GhostRider and struck five riders, including a Japanese tourist who was hospitalized overnight with cuts to his head. The accident was among several in a wild week of coaster mishaps, so many that Fox News producers are still sporting woody indentations in their trousers. YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?A judge on Aug. 25 dismissed a claim by a Hindu couple in Nebraska that wanted Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. to help pay their way to India for a purification ceremony in the Ganges River because they were inadvertently served meat. The couple found meat in rice they had eaten at a Taco Bell in November. When the company refused to send them abroad, they sought $2,100 each in Lancaster County Small Claims Court. But the judge dismissed the claim because it did not show the rice was tainted or unfit for human consumption. It wasn't like it was Chihuahua meat or anything. LIGHTS OUT? The Tampa, Florida, City Council voted on Aug. 26 to shut down Voyeur Dorm. The Internet site offers live video of six young women who share a Tampa house equipped with 40 television cameras that provide constant coverage of their activities. (Mark Boal wrote about the site in the Weekly's Aug. 27 Machine Age column, "Surveillance Sorority: Behind the cams at Voyeur Dorm.") Subscribers who pay $34 per month are promised nudity. That violates local ordinances against operating an adult-entertainment business in a residential neighborhood, according to the council's unanimous ruling. An attorney for the Web site operators vowed to appeal on constitutional grounds. He also assured one-handed keyboardists everywhere that the live feeds will continue during the appeal process. In other Internet porn news, Governor Gray Davis on Aug. 26 signed a law authored by Assemblyman Dick Ackerman (R-Fullerton) that makes it a crime to secretly videotape down people's blouses or up their skirts. A spokesman for an Irvine business that publishes such pictures on the Net told the Register he believes all this ink might generate more downloads. The law was spurred by a spate of unwitting crotch shots in our own bastion of conservative uptightness.