Excerpts: Part 2

1998

Jan. 9, 1998 Neo-swing has become one big cheesy cartoon; a lot of Hollywood and Vegas and very little Harlem, New Orleans or Kansas City. It's Sha Na Na from an earlier era or something even worse; historical revisionism as opposed to mere nostalgia.

Buddy Seigal, "It Don't Mean a Thing: Race, class, dress-up—and the meaning of the SoCal swing revival"

Jan. 16, 1998 1. Think for yourself. This is the most dangerous, most subversive suggestion. It involves the agonizing exercise of critical thought. Every time you read or hear someone say that the county needs the El Toro Airport or that it will be a silent, quiet neighbor, ask the following questions: Why is it that the most energetic El Toro boosters come from Newport Beach, which has been fighting John Wayne Airport expansion for decades? Why is it that developers, who stand to make billions over the next century from El Toro, are its greatest fans? Why is the so-called El Toro "Citizens Advisory Commission" stacked with former county officials and developers, most notably Argyros himself? How can the county be doing a good job planning the El Toro Airport if a Superior Court judge ruled that their draft environmental-impact report minimized noise, traffic and pollution impacts? Keep asking those questions, and when it comes time to vote on the airport again, you'll know what to do.

Anthony Pignataro, "Top 10 List: Things you can do to kill the El Toro International Airport"

Feb. 6, 1998 To the woman who wanted iced coffee made the "left way": I scooped ice into a cup, poured in coffee, and emptied the brew into another cup of virgin ice, martini-style. I repeated the process five times. Even so, it wasn't sufficiently chilled, you said; the ice cubes were too many and too big. You couldn't stir in the sugar, you said. I handed you the café's business card with my name scribbled on it so you could call ahead and ask for me specifically. I'd take care of you. I would leave detailed instructions for my co-workers as well. Maybe if we began the process earlier and repeated it 10 times? And then I suggested—rather loudly, so my co-workers could hear—that if some of us were more selfless, we might purchase a crushed-ice machine. And then I offered to cut the ice cubes in half to make them conveniently stirrable. I insisted, begged, cajoled. It was no trouble whatsoever, I assured you. I was confident I could cut them all before they melted. But you did that little head toss of yours in the direction of that "other" coffee shop that makes iced coffee the "left way." You dramatically shook your perpetual sunglasses ajar, exposing your eyes, and for the first time, I saw the real you: selfless you, wearing your heart on your pocket, not on your sleeve as others do, leaving it free to wipe the tears from your eyes. I implored you, needed you to let me help, but you wouldn't hear of it. So, frustratingly stoic, you graciously accepted my imperfect gift, flawed as it was. You broke my heart. You really did, and you didn't even know it. Gazing into the mirror each morning before work, I sometimes wonder if I'd believed enough. Perhaps if I'd been more . . . of a man. A real man would have believed enough for both of us.

Kevin Lee, "Your Way, Every Day: Life in the coffeehouse frontlines"

Feb. 13, 1998 The first room we survey, which would probably be the master bedroom in a normal house, is the Group Room. Now this is a bona fide orgy. We stare in an awe that is a mixture of amazement and nausea. It's literally a free-for-all; nobody in the room is with anybody else for more than a few minutes, and except for the couples having anal sex, there's not a condom in sight. Nothing in life—not even the vanload of porn videos I've seen—could have prepared me for this. I instantly gain new respect for porn stars; being able to actually look good while heaving on top of one another is no easy feat. Everyone here looks like they're perpetually on the brink of passing out from exhaustion. It's also a very aural room: the men grunt, and the women moan. This is what hell will be like when I get there.

Michael Alarcon, "Swing Set! The nicest bunch of sexual deviants in Southern California"

Feb. 20, 1998 By the time the Weekly had dropped Ron Hobson off at his Laguna Beach apartment several hours—and miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic—later, he was long overdue for a meal. But as usual, he wasn't too hungry, thanks to his medication. So Hobson sparked up a pinch of his newly acquired Orange Patty. A better advertisement for medical marijuana—or a stronger condemnation of OC's official crusade against the stuff—was hard to imagine: Hobson's nausea was quickly replaced by euphoria and—witness the inch-thick slab of steak Hobson pulled from his refrigerator—a healthy and perfectly natural appetite for food.

Nick Schou, "Waste Not, Smoke Pot: AIDS sufferer treks to LA thanks to OC's anti-pot policy"
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