Excerpts: Part 1

At Red Rocks, I was pulled back from that kind of premature wankerhood. I realized as my newfound friend pounded my back in a moment of generational ecstasy that this was not me at 18 but a me shaped 18 years ago and still enjoying a little anarchist politics and humor with my rock & roll, that this was not nostalgia—not a return to nihilism; that would be impossible—but prophecy: I will always be a Sex Pistols fan.

Will Swaim, "Back to the [No] Future with the Sex Pistols"

Aug. 23, 1996 [I]f you live in Newport Beach and feel like going out, there's the always-popular "guess which breasts are fake" game, which is exciting and challenging, especially when you're out in the Fashion Island restaurant scene on a Thursday eve, the night when the city swings.

Last Thursday, I went to Twin Palms for dinner with a friend. To our great fortune, we were seated next to the bar. Now, I haven't lived in Newport Beach for a couple of years, so I was looking forward to seeing what new plastic-surgery disasters had been loosed on the city. The game is deceptively simple: look for a thin, middle-aged woman with an outrageously bulbous chest that defies Newtonian gravity.

A problem soon developed. Nearly every woman there, it seemed, fit the description. Where's the sport in that? So my friend introduced me to a new game: spot the 909ers. In case you didn't know, 909ers come from Riverside, which to Newport locals means they're hayseeds trying to approximate the chichi beach lifestyle.

"How do I spot a 909er?" I asked.

"Easy," my friend said. "You can tell by the plastic shoes, sequined dresses in the daytime and the dragon-lady nails. The guys wear oxfords, Sears ties and bad Rolex watches that don't fit. Also, look for anyone who asks what happy-hour prices are. And faux Chanel is the biggest giveaway."

Tom Vasich, "Twin Peaks: Games people play at Twin Palms"

Aug. 23, 1996 Believe me, you don't know hell until you've spent 1,098 days, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., listening to German polka.

I do. For nearly three years, my otherwise incredible parents subjected Sis and me to the oom-pah-pah-band soundtrack when they traded in the spread in suburbia for a townhouse-sized shared living and retail space in Old World Village, Huntington Beach.

We still prefer Mold World, an affectionate nickname for those of us who endured the first phase (circa 1979) of the "European Village." Our torment wouldn't have been complete without the lederhosen. A suede and leather combination of moss green, my tiny shorts (with matching suspenders) are truly among the more absurd costumes I've shimmied into—which, considering my wardrobe, is saying a lot.

Rose Apodaca Jones, La Vie en Rose

Aug. 30, 1996 He is suspicious of alliances between business and government, thinking that locally, the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor is "the biggest rip-off that ever happened. People are going to get screwed on that, all so someone can develop property." Meanwhile, in Washington, "OC Republican businesspeople are really worse than Democrats. They are going to support something if it's going to put something in their pockets. They are such pork-barrelers. They couldn't care less about conservatism or the country or education or anything like that. It's what the hell is going to help their particular business or whatever it is."

Jim Washburn, "The Conscience of a Conservative: John Crean is rich and Republican—but we sort of like him"

Sept. 6, 1996 I first wrote about the Way of Ki in late June, being intrigued by their ads in our publication featuring a gentleman lifting 350 pounds with his dinkum. A lot has changed since then: their ad now has a guy lifting 500 pounds, and total strangers keep asking me about my penis. That's very disconcerting, so much so that we commissioned a poll to determine just how widespread this concern is. All this is because you, dear readers, insisted—by letter, by phone, by blimp—that I take the Way of Ki course for penile empowerment.

Jim Washburn, Lost in OC

Sept. 13, 1996 According to Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, a Limited Liability Partnership Including Professional Corporations, we have infringed upon the Register's trademark in having our "Best of OC" poll. You see, the Register has had "The Best of Orange County" since, gee, Aug. 26, 1994, and our use of "Best of OC" is "a direct and flagrant infringement of The Orange County Register's trademark lefts."

I hear you sniggering out there, but try to contain your mirth until we finish the letter, will you please? It only gets better.

The lawyers go on to claim a "strong likelihood of customer confusion"—meaning you're such stupid-ass readers that you'll think we are affiliated with the Register—and that our act is "willful and intentional, and is calculated to take advantage of The Orange County Register's reputation and goodwill."

Let me say this about that:

HEY, REGISTER: FUCK YOU, HONEY!

That should clear up any question of affiliation, don't you think?

Jim Washburn, Lost in OC

Sept. 20, 1996 Dan Quayle and I were briefly introduced, with Fuentes announcing me as being from "our favorite underground liberal Democrat weekly," which got a bit of an arched eyebrow from Quayle, though he gamely posed for pictures. All my parenthetical objections stayed in my head, since airing them then would have been darned impolite and certainly wouldn't have changed anything.

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