A Clockwork Orange

SAY AGAIN? A state appeals court—in a ruling published on May 25—upheld the right of Leisure World homeowners associations to spend money to fight Orange County's plans for a commercial airport at El Toro. Airport czar/Newport Beach developer George Argyros had filed suit against the associations on behalf of his mother, a Leisure World resident. While we're usually for anything Argyros is against, we have to side with him on this one. After all, isn't a place inhabited by people who can't hear and who breathe through masks attached to mobile oxygen tanks the best place for noisy, fume-spewing jets to fly over?

I'M NOT DEAD YET Hats off to those creative geniuses at The Orange County Register. On May 31, what Clockwork presumes is a new regular feature appeared in the Santa Ana-based daily that is known for making you laugh, cry and—if you read Gordon Dillow's column enough—lose your Spaghettios. Within the Page 2 "People" column—a collection of gossip, celeb birthdates and publicist-propelled gack—is what appears to be a new subsection informing readers of performers who don't have cancer. The first non-victim: Eddie Van Halen. You read that right: Eddie Van Halen? No cancer. The Reg even makes it easier for faster-format readers —those who just look at photos and captions—by running a mug shot of the obsolete guitar slayer over the words "VAN HALEN: Does not have cancer." We can't wait until the feature gets around to Charo, Paula Poundstone and the guy who played Dobie Gillis.

P.C. COMICS We didn't laugh or cry, but the June 1 USA Today story titled "Captain Chemo to the Rescue: Teens with cancer get a superhero" did make us think. Apparently, before dying of lymphoma, a 13-year-old in England created a comic-book superhero with spiky hair named Captain Chemo to make dealing with the disease easier. (Just to make it perfectly clear, Eddie Van Halen does not need Captain Chemo right now). The hospital where the kid spent his final days is now distributing his comic book through www.royalmarsden.org/captchemo. That got us wondering about other needed youth-protecting superheroes who could form a sort of Justice League of America. How about the Wonder Gruel for all those African kids starving to death? ShrapNo could free thousands of child soldiers forced into battle around the planet. And who better than the Incredible Sulk to help American teens who are bummed out by these post-ironic times?

PET HELL TO PAY Bob Emmers' Weekly exposé on the county's fucked-up animal control shelter ("Pet Hell," May 14, 1999) was arguably the most responded-to article in our nearly five-year history. But you may recall in a subsequent story ("Changing the Cat Box," June 4, 1999) that Emmers' coverage "disappointed" animal control board member Judy Matsen. At a board meeting two weeks after "Pet Hell" was published, Matsen said she wasn't familiar with the Weekly until researching it on the Internet and discovering to her horror that we "were talking about commies and fags." "Pet Hell" went on to win the investigative-journalism award from the Orange County Press Club earlier this year. Greater validation came on June 5, when the county grand jury issued a report that essentially said animal control in Orange County is a mess. The staff lacks leadership, is overworked and has a poor attitude. Customer service sucks. The veterinary and kennel staffs hate each other. The vet staff repeatedly neglects policies on the timely treatment of ill or injured animals and the premature euthanization of potentially adoptable pets. And the list goes on. The grand jury indicated stories like the Weekly's prompted the investigation. Instead of obsessing over commies and fags, Matsen should have done some more browsing to discover the horrors going on under her nose.

 
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