The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council reported that Americans consumed a record 155 million weenies on the Fourth of July. That beat the old record set on July 4, 1999, by 5 million hot dogs. How the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council figures out exactly how many franks were eaten is a meat mystery to us. We don't recall anyone with a clipboard and a clicker stopping by our barbecue—then again, we were grilling lasagna. And what about all those dogs that fall into the hot coals? Surely there were thousands of those around the U.S. Do they count? The Washington, D.C.-based coalition apparently knows not only how many were scarfed down but also what kind, noting that Americans are moving away from tofu, veggie, turkey, chicken and other low- or no-fat dogs and going for the all-beef variety. "They're high in fat and high in calories, but Americans seem to love them," said a council spokesman. In a related story, the National Rat Hair & Droppings Council reported that Americans consumed a record amount of their products on the Fourth, too.
COLD OFF THE PRESSES Something else amazing happened on July 4: Connecticut's Hartford Courant ran a front-page article in which it apologized for having published advertisements for the sale of slaves from 1764 to at least 1823. The Weekly could also wait 177 years after a practice falls out of favor to apologize for ads promoting it, but we're more forward-thinking than that. Therefore, decades in advance, we apologize for any sex-slave ads you might find in this publication. Now smell the glove, mutant.
WORM OFF THE HOOK The Orange County district attorney's office announced on July 5 that it will not charge Dennis Rodman for the 36 disturbing-the-peace complaints that have arisen in the past year due to parties or noise from the ex-NBA freak show's west Newport Beach home. "The problem is the vast majority of witnesses wish to remain anonymous," Newport Beach police Sergeant Mike McDermott reportedly told The Orange County Register. Gee, we wonder why those folks won't testify against a 6-foot-8, 220-pound, muscular guy with multicolored hair, multiple tattoos and a tackle box full of piercings?
THE SEARCHERS A life-size cutout of John Wayne in full cowboy costume was swiped from the front of a barbershop on El Toro Road in Lake Forest, the Register reported on July 6. The fake Duke was close to a trash can, and a woman was seen loading it into a white van. (Please see Cops, "Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold, and Preferably in a Greasy Skillet." Coincidence?) Shop owner Louie Troiano thinks the woman may have mistakenly thought it was being thrown away. Clockwork's not so sure it was a lady. It coulda been Wayne himself! Or haven't you seen the supposedly dead Newport Beach resident's reanimated self in those creepy Coors commercials?
TRAIN WRECK A looming disaster is on the horizon for residents of Santa Ana, and we just hope they'll read this warning in time to move to safety. Dave Elbaum, planning director for the Orange County Transportation Authority, said in a July 8 Register story that his agency is exploring the possibility of a light-rail line elevated over the Santa Ana River channel. Meanwhile, the state budget signed by Governor Gray Davis on June 30 included $5 million to study an elevated toll road over that same river channel. Do you hear us, people? No, we're not harping on the fact that two government agencies are burning tax dollars to draw up plans involving the same right of way. We're talking about a train track and a toll road sharing the same elevated space over a cement river channel! We'd only previously been critical of the financial and environmental toll a toll road over a river would pose. Never in our wildest dreams did we consider this massive pileup in waiting. Oh, the humanity!