Orange Countys 31 Scariest People

 

24. KILLER BEES and FIRE ANTS

Hordes of the menacing insects have infiltrated Orange County in recent months. In isolated instances, people and animals have been stung to death by killer bees. Just one fire-ant sting can lead to chest pains, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech—and if you don't get immediate emergency medical attention, it could be curtains. So it'd be best to avoid either pest. But which is scarier? To ascertain the answer, we turned to the Jim Washburn Principle. Washburn, a former Weekly scribe, once wondered in these pages what would be worse: a giant ant or a giant dog (we're talking garage-sized). The general consensus was that giant ants would be much more threatening because you can outrun and outthink a dog, while ants are intelligent, relentless buggers that can lift 10 times their own weight. So how about giant killer bees vs. giant fire ants? Yes, relentless attacks from the sky by Messerschmitt-sized bees would be a bitch. But experts agree the Africanized bee's "killer" reputation is greatly exaggerated. Fire ants, by contrast, are as aggressive as the Reverend Robert "Boom Boom" Schuller around a plate of first-class cheese and will defend their mounds from any threat—even a perceived one that's a great distance away. They will rush out by the thousands and sting anything within reach, some holding you with their ruthlessly strong jaws while their comrades administer multiple potentially deadly stings. Now that's scary! MITIGATING FACTOR: Y2K will wipe our species out long before we have to worry about either threat.

 

25. ROBBY LONGLEY

It's strange enough to see a dark-featured, widow's-peaked man walking maniacally through the streets of OC. But when said man is wearing a three-quarters-length cape and leather gloves among people who consider Etnies dress shoes and walking anywhere weird—now that's downright unsettling. And when Robby Longley takes off the black gloves, you notice the long, perfectly manicured nails on his right hand, nails painted with layer upon layer of nail hardener, so thick that each calcium cap reflects traces of light with a rocket's gleam; his left hand's nails are normal, tightly clipped. To look him in the eye is to be crucified by a gaze of relentless intensity; there is something commanding in it, and yet one gets the feeling that someone else is behind the eyes, as if Longley's body is on autopilot while his soul travels other galaxies. But what is scariest about Longley is his otherworldly mastery of the guitar. He is a self-taught flamenco guitaristaof unmatched technique and frothing passion. When he plays, his right hand isn't a thing of flesh and blood anymore; it's an engine, performing rasgueados and tremolos with inhuman efficiency. The soaring compositions of Robby Longley leave his guitar's sound hole and go directly into the gutbucket of sentient beings. He's the Cat-daddy of scary on six-string. MITIGATING FACTOR: We like inhuman efficiency.

 

26. DONALD BREN

Donald Bren is the richest man in Orange County and sole shareholder of the Irvine Co., the county's largest real-estate development outfit. A millionaire 3,250 times over, Bren apparently feels the fortune is still not enough; the reclusive fellow squeezes out every possible penny of profit by cramming near-zero-lot-line homes on his properties. Bren never met a government—particularly a Republican-controlled one—that his well-oiled lobbying machine couldn't manipulate for publicly subsidized sweetheart deals. He is perhaps single-handedly responsible for a majority of the concrete that covers coastal Orange County, yet Irvine Co. PR says their boss considers himself an environmentalist—even as his army of bulldozers wrecks the last open space between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. MITIGATING FACTOR: He suffers from a pronounced case of self-delusion.

 

27. KURT WARNER

Kurt Warner's route to NFL stardom is as circuitous as it is inspiring. He started only one season for college-football pip-squeak Northern Iowa, after which he tried out for and was cut by both NFL and Canadian Football League teams. He was almost cut by the Iowa Barnstormers of gridiron carney outfit the Arena Football League but managed to stick and eventually star. Then, because of a season-ending injury to St. Louis Rams starter Trent Green, Warner was thrown into the starting role, where everyone assumed he'd be crushed. Instead, a month into the season, he'd led the Rams to a 4-0 record, was the highest-rated quarterback in the league and had thrown 14 touchdown passes; Ram quarterbacks threw all of 12 TD passes last season. As we say, this is all very nice and inspirational. Except here, where it sucks. The St. Louis Rams used to be our Rams, and the one consolation for losing them was that they were always so bad. They averaged just under 11 losses per year in the '90s. But now, with Mr. Wonderful, the Rams appear playoff-bound. In fact, with NFL parity at an all-time high—because quality of play is at an all-time low—this is just the kind of year that a young upstart team with a charismatic quarterback could make it to the—wait for it, here it comes—Super Bowl. When does the hurting stop? MITIGATING FACTOR: What, are we nuts? They're still the Rams.

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