Excerpts: Part 1

Yeah, for four or five years. In the '50s, my father was in the Marine Corps, see, at Camp Pendleton. I wandered around town and looked at the old houses we used to live in in the '50s, and the whole place had turned so horrible and nightmarish compared to how it was. In the '50s, it was actually kind of genteel compared to what it's like now. Guys in noisy 4X4 vehicles—it was fleftening, horrifying, that whole area. I really think it's one of the most evil places on the planet. The hedonistic life that Mary Fleener's comics reflect down there is really fleftening to me. Fleftening. If this is the future of the planet, oh, man. How depressing.

Buddy Seigal, "R. Crumb! On the movie, the nation, the county"

Feb. 2, 1996 One juror, a housewife clutching a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul to her chest, said the majority decided it was okay to defend oneself against homosexual advances "by whatever means necessary." Stockwell "suffered enough," said another juror, who later wrote to Judge James K. Turner asking for leniency. "I learned more about homosexuality than I cared to," she said. "Finkel was a pervert." When asked about the brutality of the killing and Stockwell's inconsistencies, she responded, "So what?" Bill Scannell, a car-enthusiast friend of Finkel's, left the courthouse shaking his head. "I guess there are some people who think it's okay to kill a gay person," he said.

R. Scott Moxley, "Kill a Gay Man and Go Free: Homosexuality and justice in Orange County"

Feb. 2, 1996 If a good paddling makes a naughty child behave, imagine what a good public thwacking would do for a misbehaving pol. [Assemblyman Mickey] Conroy should redraft Assembly Bill 7—which targeted only juvenile graffiti vandals—to include corporal punishment for all elected and appointed government officials who otherwise never seem to incur more than a slap on the wrist—wrong part of the anatomy—for truly consequential misbehavior. Dickens' claims that "the law is an ass" takes on intriguing new meaning.

Mark Petracca, Man Bites Dogma

Feb. 2, 1996 Have you ever raped a nun? No? Killed someone? No, again? Well, have you ever desecrated the written word or sassed your folks? Then it's off to the tortures of Chinese hell for you, my dears. You may, like me, have thought that Buddhists and Taoists were all sweetness and light. But it's amazing what you can learn at the Bowers Museum.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, "Wholesale Torture: The Chinese have a lot of hells"

Feb. 16, 1996 Breast augmentation has been around for decades, and despite what side of the controversy you're on, it's a miracle of science that has its place. It's just the ones who greedily request more than their small frames can handle and end up looking like cartoon characters who beg a second look.

As for their wardrobes, it's all in the styling. Crotch-skimming minis, unbuttoned spandex shirts revealing lacy Wonderbras, wigs and those 4-inch strappy stilettos associated with strippers can say just about anything separately. As an ensemble, they smack of bimboism. It's stripper chic. Ho couture.

Rose Apodaca Jones, La Vie en Rose

Feb. 23, 1996 The embarrassment of being poor is about as bad as the actual discomfort. Don't allow it to be. Smile when you say, "That's correct—63 cents on pump 11." Look that cashier boldly in the eye as you bark out the order, "One Jumbo Jack and a large ice water—and make sure it's a large." Make them valet park your Gremlin as if it were a Lexus. Take advantage of every freebie and discount without exception. It's your left and your responsibility. If the Lord wanted you to pay for every soda and coffee, he wouldn't have created the collector's cup.

Patrick Davis, "The Incomplete Guide to Living Poor in the '90s"

Feb. 23, 1996 I appreciate Dornan's compliment, however unintended, that I am a gay activist. There are far too many homophobic blowhards like Dornan roaming the halls of Congress and far too few political advocates who will stand up to them. As much as it may disappoint the congressman, though, the only penis I've ever held in my hands is my own—and I intend to keep it that way.

Nathan Callahan, "Much Ado About Nathan"

March 1, 1996 So why am I not so gung-ho on the death penalty?

It isn't out of compassion for the convicted. Yes, I saw Dead Man Walking and was moved to tears by its tale of a guilty man struggling toward worth, but not so moved that I would value that man above the other considerations involved. If a killer can find repentance and grace, fine, but I don't mind if he has to do it in a hurry. They ruined other lives and dreams, and I don't believe you can have no-fault savagery.

Instead, I worry about the death penalty's effect on the nation. The victims are one thing, but all these partying yahoos waving their "It's Payback Time" signs give me the willies. What do they want, to have back yards adorned with alternating tiki lights and heads on pikes? Killing a human being is some solemn shit, not to be attended to with a Mickey's Big Mouth in your hand.

Jim Washburn, Lost in OC
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