Excerpts: Part 2

Photo by Jack GouldNov. 21, 1997 There's a program in Santa Ana for gang members to have their tattoos removed for free, but they don't have any such program for single moms in their late 30s; she's 38 and just trying to get by. Maybe the book will provide that extra bump in income to allow her to finally have the thing removed. The book has been out since September, and the buzz has steadily grown. It's gone from being carried only at Martinez Bookstore in Santa Ana to being stocked on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble. She's been interviewed on the Today Show and on MSNBC. There's talk of a movie deal. It's all so attractive, this story of a girl gangbanger becoming a cop. It's a great story. There's just one problem: it's not Ruiz's story. Her story involves a lot more than that. Yes, she was in a gang. Yes, she became a cop. But, she'll tell you, she wasn't the first gang member to join the force. Her book, Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz, is really the story of a woman's fierce resolve to succeed in a man's world seemingly designed to crush her: the gangs who put her in the line of fire and laughed while she was beaten by her husband; the police who tried to ignore the beatings and occasionally read insolence in her determination. The first thing her training officer said upon meeting her was not that gang members should not be cops, but that women don't belong in the field. Even the tattoo, supposedly the very symbol of her gang life, is nothing of the sort. Yes, it's on the book's cover and is the reason for the title. But the flaming heart with a sword running through it (which Ruiz designed) was to show her devotion to Frank Ruiz, the gang member she would marry and with whom she would have three children. It was a devotion that caused her father to disown her and that drew beatings so savage from Frank that long sleeves and makeup couldn't hide the damage. What she intended as a declaration of undying love now says something about what women of all backgrounds—Santa Ana gangbangers who marry other gangbangers; South County golden girls who marry famous football players—endure daily.

Steve Lowery, "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's, Man's World: Former gangbanger, current cop, author and single mom Mona Ruiz faces the toughest challenge of her life—the loan officer at the bank"

Dec. 5, 1997 The decision puts an end to a yearlong farce in which the defeated Bob Dornan accused Nativo Lopez and Hermandad [Mexicana Nacional] of engineering a "massive criminal conspiracy." Working with high-ranking Republicans and ambitious bureaucrats, Dornan tried and convicted Lopez in the media. District Attorney Michael Capizzi's announcement, when it comes, will be a powerful rebuff to the Times Orange County, where scandal-hungry reporters passed along without question—and even embellished—Dornan's most outrageous charges. Fans of investigative journalism expect mainstream newspapers to report all the relevant facts—even the ones that diminish a hot story's sensational appeal. But when Dornan cried foul a year ago, the Times positioned itself as an advocate of the ex-congressman's self-serving claims rather than as a neutral arbiter of fact. Dornan's claims were always ludicrous. That they found acceptance in the Times newsroom and soon launched county, state and even congressional investigations is proof of an age-old political truism: you can build a career on the bones of people who can't fight back.

R. Scott Moxley, "Free at Last! Government investigators are prepared to declare Nativo Lopez innocent of charges he stole Bob Dornan's election. We've got just one question: What took so long?"

Dec. 19, 1997 I knelt for long stretches as a 6-year-old. I knelt on Sundays. I knelt as an altar boy at early-morning weekday Mass. I knelt as an altar boy at funerals, my knees bearing the entire weight of my trunk because I was kneeling on a raised linoleum step and my feet couldn't reach the floor to balance me. I'd kneel there, sometimes in stifling heat, with a couple of layers of cassock over my clothes and an incense burner spewing smoke by my side, which made breathing difficult. And I was happy to do it, happy to offer my young, prematurely arthritic knees to the Lord, who was represented before me in all his gory glory. Catholicism isn't for wimps. Ours is a religion of bleeding hearts. I was never very good at remembering my catechism, but I did know that kneeling with my butt off the pew was the least I could do, the nun told me, since "HE SPENT THREE HOURS ON A CROSS FOR YOU!" It all made perfect sense. It was a kind of reminder and penance all in one terribly uncomfortable position. Kneeling reminded me of the pain that is the world and the pain I cause. It reminded me I was duplicitous, scheming, selfish and unworthy. It made me who I am today. It made my expectations low, made me aware that the world is rife with pain and affliction for no apparent reason. Valuable armor in a world teeming with disease, cruelty, Paul Moyer and Kelly Lange.

Steve Lowery, "Suffering Made Easy: Catholicism isn't for wimps—until now"

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"

Feb. 27, 1998 It's easy to grasp why Zoom is so misunderstood, why so many sensational rumors circulate around him. He's an enigmatic, suspicious figure, naturally cold and wary; yet he's also as honest and intelligent a man as you'll ever meet. His manager, the affable Mike Rouse, has been installed to act as a buffer between Zoom and X's management, whom Zoom loathes and distrusts. Even the name Billy Zoom—of the great noms de guitar, his is deliciously flashy and absurd—seems to contradict whatever really animates the complex, contradictory man behind the handle. He lived the first 24 years of his life as Ty Kindell, son of a big-band saxophonist/clarinetist who planted a love of playing music in sonny boy's heart at a very early age. Somehow, he seems much more Ty Kindell than Billy Zoom.

Buddy Seigal, "Nice Guy, Punk Legend: OC guitar god Billy Zoom on life before and after X"

March 20, 1998 "I will always see Orange County as the place where God created faggots because, at the age of 17, that's where I first found some. I wanted to really dig into the particulars of a gay adolescence in OC. So the metaphors and images in my work are of lying naked under the valencia tree in the back yard, having a first kiss at Disneyland, falling in love with a teen punk rocker in my trash trailer park in Anaheim, and getting fucked in hot tubs in Placentia. It's a kind of 'I Sing the Body Electric' in Garden Grove."

Randy Pesqueira, "Miller Time: Performance artist Tim Miller on growing up queer in OC"

March 20, 1998 I love sushi, goddamn it. I know it's trite and trendy and bourgie, and I don't care; it's still my favoritest food. Not even two nightmarish trips to the emergency room have dampened my enthusiasm for the stuff. On both occasions, I was diagnosed with food poisoning from fecal coliform bacteria. Translation: the fish was contaminated by sewage; I got sick from eating something that came out of your bum. I fervently hope this never happens again, but it's worth the gamble. Raw fish is a godhead.

Buddy Seigal, "Uncooked Deliciousness: Grabbing sushi's tiger by the tale"

April 10, 1998 If you're like most Orange Countians, this is probably how you imagine Steven J. Frogue: he's a big, fat, Nazi goosestepper. He stands in front of his bathroom mirror at night in his swastika jammies, holding a black comb under his nose, and pretends to be Adolf Hitler—foaming at the mouth and swatting imaginary flies before the masses. Frogue thinks the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith is filled with a bunch of Catholic-president-slaying Juden who have nothing better to do these days than figure out ways to fuck with the Frogue. "Holocaust, schmolocaust," he'll tell you—without you asking. "So it was strongly suggested the Jews go on a little extended holiday. Is that so wrong? Well, is it?"

Matt Coker, "The Evil of Froguenstein: The real monsters behind community college trustee Steven J. Frogue"

April 17, 1998 The first terrible thing about Assemblage is how people pronounce it, making it all French-y sounding: Ah-sem-blahj. Doesn't that just make you want to puke? The second terrible thing about Assemblage is how little skill it takes. You just take a big pile o' junk and stick it together, preferably in a small, shelved curio case so you don't even need glue, and all of a sudden, you're an artiste.

Feh.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, "Some Assemblage Required: OCCCA gathers Assemblage art that doesn't blow"

April 24, 1998 As I was finishing this story, my wife alerted me to the religion page of the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, where there was a little announcement from Rock Harbor that this year, they would hold their Easter services on the second-story plaza at Triangle Square. Explaining why he decided to celebrate services there, Keith is quoted as saying, "Easter connected me to Jesus Christ; Triangle Square is where God connected me to Costa Mesa and stirred in my heart the vision of Rock Harbor." I had to read that several times before it hit me. "The vision of Rock Harbor" was stirred not by the sight of a homeless man tramping down Newport Boulevard, by a late-night dream, or by a biblical image Keith Page couldn't get out of his head. The vision of Rock Harbor came to its founder—and now to the rest of us—from a mall.

Cornel Bonca, "Church Alternative Culture: The unbearable lightness of being Christian at Costa Mesa's Rock Harbor Church"

May 1, 1998 Two weekends ago, I spent a Saturday afternoon at the Westminster Vons Pavilion ogling disturbingly gorgeous girls and women between 12 and 24 years old. And before you call vice, I should probably explain that everything was legit: I was one of the guest judges for the 1998 LA Looks Model Search.

"But why me?" I asked Tara Cortez, one of the event coordinators. "I'm a nobody! I'm not worthy!"

"Oh, no, Michael. You're a buzz name left now," she said, emphasizing the words "left now." "We try to get a local celebrity on every judging panel."

So here I am. I take my seat at the judge's table, where they even have a sign with my name on it: "MICHAEL ALEERCON, OC WEEKLY."

"Leer?" I ask. "I hope someone's going to get fired over that typo."

"Not the way you're looking at these girls," one of the stage moms says protectively. "You should be ashamed of yourself."

Michael Alarcon, "King Leer: He's got the look"

May 15, 1998 Driving through the Vegas Strip is almost enough in and of itself to make me pop my lunch. Once upon a time, the studied vulgarity of the city was charming in a Mafia-chic fashion. The screaming neon and hype are now an inescapable affront to intelligence and human dignity; I love bad taste, but bad taste ought to be a spontaneous phenomenon rather than one big, shitty corporate commercial. The blaring lights and disco beat of Vegas are intended to elicit a Pavlovian response in consumers, and it works; I wound up throwing around money I don't have like a real moron. Personally, I'd be more comfortable with the notion of surrendering Lost Wages to cool gangsters like Vegas architect Bugsy Siegel than to the calculated lard-assedess of the business executives behind modern Vegas. At least the Mafia robbed you with style.

Buddy Seigal, "Where's Dino? Where's Frankie? Where's Sammy? Searching for authentic cheese in a town called Vegas"

May 29, 1998 Sheesh! I mean, I thought I had a pretty decent time at the EAT'M (Emerging Artists and Talent in Music) conference in Las Vegas until I heard about music editor Buddy Seigal's Vegas vacation the week before. The guy rolls into town to cover some rockabilly convention, parties with a bunch of butterheads, witnesses simmering race relations at a liquor store, gets married and then performs vile acts in a Jacuzzi. I'm supposed to follow that? All I did was listen to some crap, get stuck in a freight elevator and institute Poo Watch '98. (Suffice it to say things weren't quite, ahem, moving along quite as smoothly as planned.)

Alison M. Rosen, "Fear and Bloating in Las Vegas: EAT'M takes a bite out of intrepid reporter"

June 5, 1998 Generating "overcapacity" problems is a sign of the times at Diedrich Coffee. The company is now run by a cadre of ex-Taco Bell executives whose goal is to out-Starbucks Starbucks. The name above the door still says "Diedrich Coffee." But Carl is out; his son, Martin, has been pushed aside by fast-food wizards. Puffed-up on fast-food breakthroughs, they're busy conceptualizing cookie-cutter stores, formatting a franchising plan, cranking the upside potential of the Diedrich name, and training employees for fast-food McJobs. But while profits are up—after several disastrous quarters, Diedrich Coffee's stock is rising—the coffeehouse has been cluster-fucked, banged and bombed-out. And we, the coffee-loving masses, are the losers. Once an Orange County small-business diamond, Diedrich Coffee is now corporate cubic zirconium.

Nathan Callahan, "Welcome to Coffee Bell! Diedrich Coffee is run by a cadre of ex-Taco Bell executives whose goal is to out-Starbuck Starbucks"

June 5, 1998 In the race to fill Lungren's seat in Sacramento, OC District Attorney Mike "Mad Dog" Capizzi lost to Dave Sterling by half a million votes. (Note to all you pina-colada-drinkin', showtune-singin', big-wave-ridin' Orange County Republican officeholders: Capizzi still has six months left in the DA's office, so you better keep your towel on if the doorbell rings early in the morning.)

"Impolitic '98: Election notes from way underground."

June 12, 1998 [P]erhaps Wendy Leece has a point. Maybe our schools should post the Ten Commandments to show these wayward youths that moral boundaries do exist . . . somewhere. Of course, as standardized test scores show, there's a good chance many children won't be able to read the Commandments. Teachers will have to take their pointer sticks and run down each Commandment for kids who have no Judeo-Christian upbringing or who missed the Charlton Heston movie. That, of course, will put instructors at odds with their brothers and sisters in the godless California Teachers Association and American Civil Liberties Union. Thus, discussions will have to be framed in historical terms so none of the little snot-nosed blabbermouths will tell their parents' attorneys. God will have to be explained as "that perfect being conceived as the creator of the universe and worshipped in monotheistic religions." And explaining some Commandments could prove tenuous. For "thou shalt not make any idols," kids will have to be reassured this doesn't apply to the ones MTV, the NBA and Nickelodeon have prepackaged for their consumption. They'll have to know "thou shalt keep the Sabbath holy" has nothing to do with Ozzy Osbourne but instead means they have six days to finish all their work, but on the seventh day, they can't labor—unless it's to finish homework, work at Burger King to supplement their parents' dwindling incomes, or toil as underage employees of a Nike sweatshop overseas. The Commandment that gets all the press, natch, is "thou shalt not kill." Boys and girls must realize they must never, ever, ever kill a living being, unless they're eating it, executing it for the state, or fighting an illegal war for the federal government. Religious fundamentalists taking over public schools want to ban sex education. So how are teachers supposed to explain "thou shalt not commit adultery" to a kindergartener? And it will have to be made clear that "thou shalt not lie" does not apply to teachers, beauty consultants or guests on Nightline.

Matt Coker, "Your Wish is My Commandment"

June 12, 1998 A pretty girl named Amber who looked about 6 hugged a blond doll as she and her sister watched a video of a man blowing away an assailant, thanks to his underarm pistol holster. Two hours later, Amber was still hugging her doll as she clutched a large "Police Force M-16 A-1" plastic assault rifle her father had bought for 7 bucks at the gun show. Another father gripped the handle of a short, wide-blade sword. He poked the sword at his young son's chest and smiled. "To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid," read the man's T-shirt.

Jon Hall, "Guns for Tots"

June 19, 1998 Any fool knows evil's root is deliciously entangled around the making of money. That simple, incontrovertible fact explains everything noxious and sordid about our society. It explains why talented, creative people churn out such lousy movies. It explains how the toxic byproducts of our consumer culture wind up rotting our beaches and ticking away at our bones. It even explains the presence of those ads placed by transsexual dwarf amputees in the back pages of this newspaper.

Joel Beers, "It's the Money, Stupid: Upgrading despair inHurrah at Last"

June 26, 1998 Dr. Edward C. Allred has not kept his abortion and gambling fortune to himself. Through his numerous business entities and associates, he has given at least $436,050 to the Republican Party, its California candidates and its causes. Most of the contributions were made during the past four election cycles. Beneficiaries include such Republican officials as Governor Pete Wilson; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher; state Treasurer and current U.S. Senate candidate Matt Fong; state Senators John Lewis and Ross Johnson; and Assembly members Curt Pringle (who is running for state treasurer) and Scott Baugh. Except for Wilson, each is a self-described "anti-abortion" Republican who enjoys staunch support from such religious-fundamentalist groups as the Christian Coalition, the California Pro-Life Council, the Pro-Life Political Action Committee of Orange County, and the Reverend Lou Sheldon's Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition.

R. Scott Moxley, "The Abortionist Who Funds Pro-Life Republicans: Why have politicians taken $436,050 from Dr. Edward Allred?"

July 3, 1998 Pro-life activists reacted angrily to the Weekly's revelation last week that Orange County's "anti-abortion" Republican politicians are quietly socializing with and accepting massive contributions from Dr. Edward C. Allred, California's most prolific abortionist.

The pro-life Republicans are "dirt bags," said Troy Newman, assistant director of Operation Rescue's West Coast office in Las Vegas. "This is amazing. I can't believe they are lining their pockets with money from an abortion doctor. For them to say that what they are doing is not hypocritical is laughable. We've got a big issue with this situation."

R. Scott Moxley, "Blood Money: Anti-abortion activists attack cozy relationship between county Republicans and abortion doctor"

July 24, 1998 Bobby spent the past few years walking in dirty clothes from soup kitchens to the library to the doughnut shop. He didn't have a place where he could get clean. Maybe that was the stumbling block that kept him homeless. Now he's dead.

Jon Hall, "So Long, Bobby: No shower, no job, no life"

Aug. 7, 1998 We're not sure what's worse—that El Centro sent about 4,000 copies of their album to the Weekly's offices, thereby wasting a whole helluva lotta plastic that'll only net us about a penny a pop when we sell 'em all to used CD stores anyway, or that their positively vile mucous music is so disgustingly cheesy that our cholesterol count shot way up with each listen. El Centro bridge the gap between '80s hairspray bands and watered-down '90s redunda-punk, which, naturally, is not a good thing. They play catchy, Night Ranger-esque guitar riffs that seem designed purposely for "modern-rock" radio airplay—with enough pseudo-punk gruntin' and a-growlin' so as to not make them seem hopelessly irrelevant to their "target market" (that would be all the carbon-copy zombies who buy tickets for the Warped Tour). Plus, they pose with broken bottles in the photo on the back of the disc, which makes them look about as threatening and badass as a pile of crusty, fly-infested poodle turd.

Rich Kane, Locals Only

Aug. 14, 1998 [T]he OC Weekly rack inside is festooned with stickers for the bands Smear, Loogie and Ten Foot Pole—which, after all, is exactly how we like to see ourselves.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, Commie Girl

Aug. 21, 1998 Bob Dornan and I had a cozy little chat about William Butler Yeats—even after I identified myself as an OC Weekly writer. Bob (I forgot to ask him if I could call him that, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind) is perhaps the most jovial man alive—when he's not being absolutely insane. He's a very large man, too, not one you'd want screamin' or yellin' or pokin' his finger at you. But he threw an arm warmly around my shoulder, and we got our picture taken. I plan on using it as my Christmas card. Then he started rattling on about fighter planes again—you know how he does —and I made my escape. Bob, I had nothing to do with this week's cover story! Ours is a friendship too pure for such betrayals. Semper fi!

Rebecca Schoenkopf, Commie Girl

Sept. 4, 1998 Dale Bozzio and her long blond mane still have some ardent fans. They had to be ardent to sit through her snit at Anaheim's Shack on Saturday night. Her band, Dale Bozzio's Missing Persons (they're known as such because she's the only original Missing Person in the group), came on just after midnight. Bozzio's voice sounded terrible: her songs aren't easy to sing, and she won't bow to middle age and rearrange them in a lower key. Plus, she had "a cold," which presumably is why she seemed so out of it. But Bozzio blamed her fitful croaks on the sound quality and kept interrupting the lyrics to gesture at the sound guy and say: "Can I have more drums? I can't hear the drums!" By the fourth song, her hit "Words" ("What are words for?/When no one listens anymore?"), she shut down completely. She sang half a line and then stopped, said something to the sound guy, stopped, tried to find the beat again, sang half a line, and stopped. Then she started screaming: "What the fuck is wrong with you? I'm not gonna get a sore throat because you won't get off your ass! Do you want to be replaced? Do you? Do your fucking job!" The sound guy and I just wanted her to do her fucking job—be a professional instead of a spoiled brat. Forty-five minutes into the hour-long set, Bozzio left the stage for 10 minutes. Her young band carried on manfully, licking their guitars after their solos. Bozzio returned for two final songs with her hair tied in a knot on top of her head. I guess the "costume change" was the reason she needed a break. Her hair came down again immediately. The whole thing was like watching every episode of VH1's Behind the Music: bleft young band makes it big too soon, succumbs to "a cold," and either blows itself up, reunites to huge popular love, or does a tour of small bars. Everyone winds up washed-up, old and alone. Bozzio is a twat.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, Commie Girl

Sept. 4, 1998 Musically and lyrically, the Kottonmouth Kings combine a nonstop party energy with a mostly disaffected spin on issues ranging from politics to prison and the middle class that lives in between. Plus, they say "fuck" a lot.

Dave Wielenga, "Konstitutional Krisis: Kottonmouth Kings prepare to sue HB over Op Beach Fest cancellation"

Sept. 18, 1998 New Jersey Governor Christy Todd Whitman, who is poised to someday become the first commander in chief without a penis since Calvin Coolidge, later toured the Nixon's Library's latest exhibit, "My Dearest Partner: Husbands and wives in the White House." She must've nearly peed her panties when she got to the Bill and Hill display. Library officials swear the exhibit's timing is purely coincidental.

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

Sept. 18, 1998 Some facts you need to know about Joe Racano:

He sings, writes and plays guitar real purty.

His dad was a prominent New York wise guy.

He lives in a funky RV with two dogs and two crows.

Just for shits 'n' giggles, Racano says, he once peed in a bottle of sun tea that was brewing outside Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's Huntington Beach office.

Buddy Seigal, "Our Pal Joey"

Oct. 2, 1998 Bob Dornan was a guest speaker at a U.S. government class at Rosary High, a Catholic girls school in Fullerton. His personal attacks on Tim Carpenter, the teacher who invited him —not to mention his well-documented but, until then, for me, still abstracted politics of hatred and lies—left me, well, in a seething rage. My hands shook, and my heart raced; a ring of acrid sweat formed under my collar. So, finally, I got up—nearly knocking over my metal folding chair—headed for the classroom door, and did something I wish I hadn't but am glad I did: unable to achieve Phil's articulate way of putting things, I seized Dornan's own classroom rhetoric, pointed an accusatory finger in his direction to punctuate my rancor, and said, quite clearly, "YOU'RE A SCUMBAG!"

Buddy Seigal, 'YOU'RE A SCUMBAG!' Bob Dornan brings out the worst in me"

Oct. 2, 1998 We're sick of AIDS. Sick of people getting AIDS. Sick of people dying from AIDS. Sick of worrying about getting AIDS. Sick of hearing about Magic Johnson's AIDS. Sick of news about AIDS treatments. Sick of hearing Christians blame AIDS on sin. Sick of hearing gay militants blaming AIDS on the government. We're sick of seeing Tom Hanks with a shaved head and AIDS in Philadelphia. We're sick of books, articles and seminars about AIDS. And we're really, really sick of AIDS in the theater.

Sure, there's beautiful irony in the fact that a deadly disease has produced some of the most brilliant, politically charged art of the past 20 years —Tony Kushner's Angels in America is the most obvious example. But it has also produced a spate of plays that seem to exist solely because they are Plays About Living With AIDS.

Joel Beers, "AIDS Shouldn't Feel This Good:The Last Session rocks in a powerful, poignant Laguna staging"

Oct. 23, 1998 The Internet used to be a kind of reservation where geeks like me could freely engage in debate over who was sexier: Picard or Kirk. Then the World Wide Web glitzed it up, and business moneyed it up, and when the dust cleared, big business, governments worldwide, lawyers and ordinary citizens were locked in a death tussle for control of the Net. This year alone has seen unprecedented attempts to regulate it. States (including California) passed anti-spam laws, anti-tax laws and anti-porn laws. Congress has considered bills on everything from pornography to copyleft law—and passed a fair number of them, many in a last-minute rush earlier this month. Europe is doing battle with the U.S. over how to control the domain-name system. And activist groups all over the political spectrum —from far-left fundie wackos to those Leftist demons, the ACLU—are carving out their pounds of flesh. The geek preserve is no more.

Wyn Hilty, "Geeks of the World, Unite! And write!"

Oct. 30, 1998 If, perchance, you like to suffer fools, by all means head to Capo Beach Bar and Grill at midnight on a Friday. The very first thing we heard as we entered was, "Hey, One-Eye!"

For the past several weeks, I've been wearing a pirate's patch over my left eye. It's a very long story that involves insect larvae hatching in my eye socket, lots of green and lavender pus, and either VD or cancer. It's been a Very Bad Week.

Now, the drunk at the bar who addressed me thus wasn't being unfriendly; it was his come-on. And if you've ever been addressed as "Hey, One-Eye," you know how very seductive it is. Then I played pool with a bearded biker guy who was at least 6-foot-6, and he was so drunk that he took someone else's personal cue—and then he threatened to fight the guy who wanted it back. And then I lit a cigarette, and some guy asked me for one—not because he wanted to smoke it, but because that was his come-on. When he put the cigarette in his pocket (I only had a few left), I told him that it's rude to take one for later, and he slurred something about if I could raise his flagpole, he would let me come over. And then the guy who had called me One-Eye crooked his finger at me to come to him, and I was forced to start screaming that I'm not a fucking dog who comes when she's called, and if he wanted to fucking talk to me, he could get off his fat ass and come talk to me like a fucking gentleman!

Boys, it really, really irks me when you crook your finger at me, and I'd wager that most women feel the same. Remember that the next time you're in a bar or club and think you're Rico Suave. And then two people on a blind date were nuzzling each other and were obviously going to be having sex, which is really unfair because the girl was a plastic bitch who'd been whispering about my beautiful sister all night and the guy was a stuck-up ass, and I don't know why people like that get to have sex when I'm getting positively dusty, like an old maid in a screwball comedy, and goddamn it, don't I deserve some? Baby ain't gettin' no play, children, and I think it may be taking its toll on my justly celebrated good humor, kindliness and gentle wisdom. Maybe if I'd been nicer to the guy who wanted me to raise his flagpole . . .

Rebecca Schoenkopf, Commie Girl

Nov. 6, 1998 Twenty-five minutes into his speech (and with GOP chiefs Tom Fuentes and Mike Schroeder angrily trying to get Dornan offstage so that Fong could speak before midnight), Dornan resorted to his forte: character assassination. "We have a serial adulterer representing the 46th [Congressional District]. Did you hear that in the press?" he shouted before walking away from the podium and toward an offstage Reverend Lou Sheldon of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition.

Kate, one of Dornan's scary daughters, then walked to the edge of the stage, glared at the TV cameras in the back of the ballroom and yelled, "It's not over, Loretta. We're coming after you—bad. Do you hear me?"

The Dornan Family Theater wasn't over. On the other side of the stage, Kate found, of all people to heckle, a Fong supporter. Soon, people were wrestling on the floor. Blood poured. A member of the Dornan clan was hauled off in handcuffs. No arrests were made. But just as tempers were calming, a disheveled, 42-year-old Bob Dornan Jr. showed up, made a derogatory remark about Fong, asked bystanders "to show some class," and then challenged a few fellow Republicans to fistfights. Bob Jr. later described the encounter this way: "I told them, 'Man, you aren't nothing but low-class assholes, so shut up.'"

Next on Team Dornan's assault list was fellow Republican Dana Rohrabacher. "My dad gave you your seat," Bob Jr. told the six-term Huntington Beach congressman. "You and [Congressman Chris] Cox owe everything to my dad. Both of you are gone, buddy. We're going to see you in two years. My brother [Mark] is going to beat you, and even though I'm not educated, I'm going to beat Cox."

R. Scott Moxley, "White Trash Disco: Bob Dornan's shameful final hours"

Nov. 20, 1998 In 1982, Vans' checkerboard slip-on deck shoes became an alternative-fashion rage because they were featured in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High; they were worn throughout the flick by Sean Penn, who played a burned-out surfer named Jeff Spicoli. Despite the endorsement of hundreds of real-life professional skate- and snowboarders, the fictional Spicoli—earnestly deadpan and good-naturedly subversive—is probably still the most accurate poster boy for the suburban-rebel values of Vans' typical young customer. He's practically their Buster Brown.

Dave Wielenga, "How Vans Inc. Remains Your Very Own Personal Megabrand."

Nov. 27, 1998 "I'm a nut," Mark said to me and smiled.

I did not know what to say.

"Well, c'mon," he said. "I'll show you my spot."

By which he means his house, the place where he sleeps. Mark's spot is the side entryway of an empty office building. It is enclosed on three sides, and it has a roof. The floor is a slab of concrete about 6 feet by 12 feet, bordered on each side by 1 1/2-foot-wide strips of dirt that once contained plants. The walls are stucco, dirty and streaked. Finding a good spot is one of the most important activities for someone who is homeless. When you first come to the streets or when, for one reason or another (say the cops roust you), you have to find a new spot, you go on a recon. You look for a place that cannot easily be seen from the street (the cops are lazy, Mark explained; they don't like to leave their cars unless they have to). You look for a place that the daytime tenants leave at a reasonable hour so that you can get under cover for the night. If you are lucky (as Mark was), you will find a place with a working faucet that can be turned on with a pair of pliers if the handle is missing. If you are exceedingly lucky (as Mark was), you will find a place with a working electric supply that can be tapped into in order to power a radio or a small TV or whatever other appliance you may have scrounged or bought or stolen. And when you have found a spot, you are very, very careful who you tell about it or invite over for a visit. Someone tipped off by a careless word might hijack your spot. A rowdy visitor, too happy with smoke or booze, might get loud and carry on, irritating more conventional nearby residents and bringing the heat.

Bob Emmers, "How to Live on the Streets: How to get there, how to stay there"

Dec. 4, 1998 One of so many, many irritating things about writing for the Register was the fact that I was scrawling alongside crusading-moralist staff editorials and boneheaded opinion columnists. The situation was strangely ironic—Show writers would be trumpeting the hot pop-culture icon of the month on their cover one day, while a few days later, the paper's troglodytic columnists would be farting out a diatribe about how that same pop-culture icon is Satan's wicked instrument. No wonder the budget for Show has always been so sickly.

Rich Kane, "What's It Like to be a Big-Time Music Writer at a Major Metropolitan Newspaper? 45 Months in the Life of aRegister Rock Critic"

Dec. 11, 1998 Christmas is that most American of holidays because Christmas is about money, and Americans have most of it. We like to tell ourselves that Christmas is about fellowship and family, the kind of things we see in It's a Wonderful Life. Those things are present sometimes, allegedly, but Christmas is about shopping and parents fighting over this season's Tickle Me Elmo du jour and buying the new, digitally re-mastered It's a Wonderful Life laserdisc on a soon-to-be-maxed-out credit card. You know this, even if you won't admit it. This is America, my friend: first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women. Money—and what we buy with our money—defines us.

Steve Lowery, "The $1.2 Million Holiday! . . . And the gifts you'll actually get!" by Santa Claus

Dec. 11, 1998 Does anyone else find it amusingly ironic that the new federal building and U.S. courthouse in Santa Ana that are named after reputed government-regulation terminator Ronald Reagan—of "History shows that no government has ever voluntarily reduced itself in size" fame—is nicknamed "The Bureaucratic Box"? How about "The Fuck the Poor Triple the Debt CIA Crackhead Trickle Down Me Elmo Central American Death March Box"?

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

Dec. 25, 1998 The Christmas Happening came at a kind of cusp, as we were beginning the slide into more cynical, complicated times. The Flower Children were growing up, getting older, realizing the lures and responsibilities of families and careers. The Movement was just running out of energy. Long hair would become fashionable. Flower Power would become a marketing strategy.

Bob Emmers, "Laguna on Acid: The Great Hippie Christmas Invasion of 1970"

1999

Jan. 29, 1999 Defending any disgraced president's legacy—particularly one filled with decades of treachery, deceit, anti-Semitism and racism—can't be easy, but John Taylor tackles the job with relish. White House burglary operations? Illegal wiretaps on private citizens? FBI and IRS harassment of domestic political enemies? Selling of ambassadorships? Shaking down lobbyists? Blackmail? Witness tampering? Hush money to felons? Smear campaigns? Bribes totaling $549,000 from Greek businessman Thomas Pappas? No problem. According to Taylor, such facts are either gross fabrications of a liberal conspiracy or justified because of the hostile "political climate" Nixon faced. Such a mindset isn't surprising. After all, who is Taylor to contradict Dick Nixon, who went to his grave in 1994 without amending his infamous statement (made, by the way, in Laguna Beach) to British interviewer David Frost: "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal"?

R. Scott Moxley, "Stand by Your, er, Dick: Nixon apologist Taylor tries to exploit Clinton-impeachment frenzy"

Feb. 5, 1999 Except for the clusters of teens closest to the stage who are jumping up and screaming along to every word (and a few nuns decked out in full habit), the mostly Catholic crowd is sitting down, not sure what to make of the band. They move into "Little Man," in which Morginsky leads an "Oi! Oi! Oi!" chant that would make old punkers cringe at the thought of these neatly pressed Christians swiping their anarchist war cry. The tune's pointed lyrics about the sins of materialism underscore the ambiguity of a Catholic rally—Catholics, after all, belong to one of the wealthiest, most powerful of all organized faiths (they run their own state in the middle of Rome, and who hasn't coveted the Popemobile?), a faith that claims direct descent from history's highest-profile advocate of the poor.

Rich Kane, "For Christ's Sake: The OC Supertones, the Pope and the rise of the new Christian rock"

Feb. 5, 1999 In the hall of mirrors that houses the county's El Toro International Airport planning office, the words "myth" and "fact" are often used interchangeably. How often do county planners insist El Toro will be "quiet" and "safe," even as evidence mounts that the proposed airport will be neither? Myths become facts and facts become myths with the dark flair of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

Anthony Pignataro, El Toro Airport Watch No. 92

Feb. 12, 1999 The wife returns, locks the door, smiles, drops her dress and joins me. I bury my face in her hair—it smells like flowers from the garden; indeed, a few petals from something like alyssum are sprinkled throughout. Her skin feels warmed by the sun. I don't know what to make of what follows: we make love, gently, sweetly, and with good humor. Which is to say that we are intimate, just as we always are. But there are no starbursts. No blinding, near-death experiences. No endless animal rutting. When we are finished, Our Little Superman returns to human proportions and resumes his job as a mild-mannered urine-delivery system. The dream of endless loving is dead.

Todd Mathews, "Play Harder"

Feb. 19, 1999 I look at Tran's shrine to Ho and see my father taking his wife, his brother and me—his 2-month-old son—in a military Jeep through sniper fire and past the bodies of unlucky friends and relatives to get to Tan Son Nhut Airport in April 1975.

I see my mother carrying me over barbed-wire fences while being shot at by communist troops as her husband prepares to take off in a stolen cargo plane, cramming in as many people as possible, to escape certain execution.

I see my parents trying to adjust to their new surroundings without being able to speak a lick of English.

I see my dad taking a job in Arlington, Texas, killing rats beneath people's homes just to make ends meet.

I see my family driving to Orange County in 1979 because the eternal summers remind my mom of home.

I see my parents—too proud to take food stamps and welfare checks—struggling every day to put my brother and me through Catholic school. I see Thai pirates dangling my 2-year-old cousin Anh Tho by her ankles over shark-infested waters, her body used as collateral to loot the tiny boat of half-starved refugees in 1978.

I see the look of distress on my dad's face as his father lay dying in Vietnam in 1997 because he couldn't go home to say goodbye for fear of being jailed—or worse—by the Vietnamese government.

Vu Nguyen, "Why I Hate Ho Chi Minh"

March 19, 1999 After 20 seconds in the empty restroom, I'm sitting at a nearby picnic table with a pen and a notebook, jotting down what I have seen: toilet, urinal, sink, check, check, check. For being in such a nice neighborhood, Estancia Park's facilities are very poorly appointed, just about as rustic as that adobe. The stall doesn't have a door on it. The urinal is made of metal and is streaked and rusty. There is no mirror above the sink. Not exactly my idea of a love nest. And then, suddenly, there he is—the guy from the Jeep, up from the parking lot, walking nowhere in particular, wandering almost, except that he always remains near me.

Normally, I wouldn't have given this guy a second thought. Either that, or I would have said hello. But now, the possibility that my reaction to him might result in my arrest has me on guard. I'm trying not to look at him while keeping track of exactly where he is. He also exudes an exaggerated indifference as he parades back and forth in front of me, then down to the adobe, up to the restroom, around the back, in through the door, back out again. But then, abruptly, he seems to be suggesting a larger purpose: his eyes transfixed on me and his eyebrows arching, he grabs and adjusts himself through his pants with a nimble flourish.

Taken altogether, it's a rather peculiar manner—a combination of playing hard to get and playing to get hard. I avert my eyes and keep writing, describing the restroom, his appearance, my assignment, whatever. I'm trying to be a good reporter, but I can't stop thinking that these notes may have to be my alibi.

Dave Wielenga, "Is That a Badge in Your Pocket? Or are you just happy to see me? Are OC's cops a little too excited about busting men for gay sex?"

March 26, 1999 "Give it to me," Fred said finally, more gently than I expected and not without understanding—but not about to take no for an answer, either. I offered the ball to him, and in one quick and definitive motion, he snatched it from my hand and launched it on a long return flight. As the baseball sprang perversely back from the stands—even before it dropped onto the field—the thin applause I had received for winning the struggle for it had dramatically transformed and swelled into a roiling thunder of deep offense and furious anger. A foul ball had been thrown back, and all of the faithful in Dodger Stadium who witnessed it instantly recognized the sacrilege. They booed, not at all playfully, and as their outraged voices billowed toward us, I understood something about the risks of disturbing the slumber of culture. I was afraid.

Fred and I mustered up a couple of smiles, but they were the kind that looked as though we were shitting our pants.

"Goddamn you, Vin Scully!" I muttered under my breath—despondent, frustrated, fearful —as the booing continued. "Goddamn you!"

Dave Wielenga, "Goddamn You, Vin Scully"

April 2, 1999 Rather than igniting derision, the Pocket Clowns' derivative style is evoking inspiration everywhere. In an era when popular music has become an archipelago of genres, everybody seems to appreciate the land bridges the Pocket Clowns are suggesting—no, providing —with their endless molten flow.

Now, the question is how long even Orange County can contain the Pocket Clowns' broadly arcing and intensely sparking mélange of sonics and phonics.

Dave Wielenga, "Straight Outta Stanton: Can the Pocket Clowns Save the World?"

April 9, 1999 Several cops are decked out in riot gear, waiting for some shit to happen. Apparently, in Texas, tattoos, greased hair and leather jackets are still a threat. The cops are here because the club was severely overcrowded, and they're keeping watch while everybody spills out onto the sidewalk, lining up to get back in. People are pissed. Some drunken football-player types, exactly the sort to pick a fight with a punker like Ness back in the old days just because he dressed differently, start chanting: "MIKE! NESS! MIKE! NESS!"

Eventually, the throng is allowed back in, only this time, the doorman keeps count. Ness and the Reverend Horton Heat take the stage about a half-hour late.

"Sorry about the riot squad," Ness says. "I didn't invite them." He's cloaked completely in black, and the cowboy shirt he wears has funky silver stitching. The band goes quickly into "The Devil in Miss Jones." Then it's "Don't Think Twice," with Ness hitting sad, lonely notes that make this punk for life actually seem tender and vulnerable. After two false starts of "Misery Loves Company"—technical difficulties—the tenderness disappears and Ness' anger comes spewing out. He yelps, "Fuck!" and looks mighty pissed, but he keeps going—there's nothing else to do. Someone in the crowd hollers, "Orange County '82!" as if he wanted to hear "Moral Threat," "Telling Them" or some other Social Distortion song. But not on this night. 1982 was a very, very long time ago—a whole other lifetime, really. Ness ignores the shout-out, thrusts his left leg forward—his usual stage stance—and rips up the room. By "Dope Fiend Blues," he's quite a ball of sweat. By the end of his 40 minutes, his black eyeliner is slowly trickling down his face, just like it used to when he was 20. The crowd goes apeshit. The cops have cleared out. Country music and eyeliner, man—that's the real punk. SCORE: SOCIETY 1, NESS 1.

Rich Kane, "Ness Is More: The education of Mike Ness"

May 7, 1999 On the evening of Oct. 10, 1998, Stacy Tang made the call that may have killed her brother. By the time she picked up the phone, 19-year-old Tuan Thanh Tang was breathing erratically, throwing up and complaining of severe headaches. Concerned that Tuan might have taken drugs, Stacy called 911 for an ambulance to take her brother to a hospital. She was horrified when instead of being treated, she says, her brother was examined quickly by paramedics, hog-tied by Westminster police and tossed into a squad car. Less than two hours later, paramedics summoned to the Westminster Police Station found Tuan convulsing in a restraint chair. He stopped breathing on the way to the hospital; six days later, he was dead.

Vu Nguyen and Amy Nielsen, "Custody Battle: Did police, paramedic procedures kill Tuan Thanh Tang?"

May 28, 1999 [S]everal weeks ago, Weekly editor Will Swaim received a thoughtful, bury-the-hatchet letter with a Sedona, Arizona, postmark and Julie Mandrake's signature. She praised the Weekly for its independent voice and wondered if perhaps, when she got back into town, they could get together and patch things up. A few weeks later, I received a phone call from Mandrake's half-sister, Beverly Spon. She invited me and Swaim to her Costa Mesa home for a memorial service for Mandrake.

Julie Irene Pappas Mandrake had died of pneumonia in Sedona on May 10. She was 33.

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

June 4, 1999 Last week, we reported that Julie Mandrake died of pneumonia in Arizona on May 10. The day after that article appeared, we received a fax titled "OC Weekly Mocked by Conservatives." The fax claimed Mandrake and the Darnel Squad—a group she purportedly founded to eschew shaving, cosmetics, antiperspirant, deodorant soaps and daily showering—did not exist. The letter's author, "longtime conservative activist" Jim Bieber of Costa Mesa, maintained he and his cohorts orchestrated more than a year's worth of phony phone calls, press releases and letters to the Weekly to string the sting along.

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

June 11, 1999 Speaking of the Register, the paper quoted the Reverend Lou Sheldon crowing, "When you look at the enormous pressure brought by the liberal Democratic leadership, this is a major defeat." The left Reverend Lou knows of enormous pressure; his Traditional Values Coalition staged demonstrations outside Assemblyman Lou Correa's office and lobbied Catholic churches within the legislator's heavily Hispanic district days before the vote. There was also that full-page, homophobic advertisement the Regeroo ran calling Correa out on the vote. Sheldon was also quoted as saying the legislation "created a division between moderate Latino Democrats and the homosexual agenda." Actually, it is Sheldon who has successfully created a division between one Latino Democrat and the rest of his party.

Clockwork can only come to one conclusion: LOU CORREA IS LOU SHELDON'S BITCH!

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

July 23, 1999 By now, motel-room trashing was already a well-worn rock-star cliché, so the band devised a more insidious way to make our statement: clams.

Clams hidden in every unlikely nook and cranny of the room, left to rot and reek like Chris Farley's browneye and drive foul-tempered maids to fits of pique. Clams left in heater vents and in lamp glasses, deposited behind cheap-framed lithos and in the backs of dresser drawers. Clams inserted beneath carpeting, behind light switches, even into the mouthpieces of telephones. It could take months before every decomposing nugget of putrid mollusk meat was discovered—a fine payback for fucking with the Farmers.

Buddy Seigal, "Clams: And other realities of life on the road"

July 30, 1999 True story: Clockwork ventured into the ocean off PCH and Brookhurst a couple of weekends ago, which was surprising considering Billy Carter was First Brother the last time we'd boogie-boarded. After 40 minutes of inching closer and closer to the breaks to get used to the water temp, we and our erect nipples finally dove in, paddled out and rode a wave in all the way to some lady's towel. Feeling cockier than a high school quarterback at a triple-kegger victory party, we stood up, pulled half of our trunks out of our butt crack, and slithered back into the surf. As we neared the liquid launching pad for an encore, something gently smooched our left hand. We immediately went stiff and closed our eyes, thinking it was perhaps one of those pesky jellyfish we'd been hearing so much about (from every friggin' kindergartener who kept us company those 40 minutes at the shin-deep level. The big babies). We don't know exactly why we thought going stiff and shutting our eyes would repel a jellyfish sting, but we do know that after a few seconds, there was no pain coursing through our body. So we opened our left eye to see what had kissed us, and there it was, bobbing in the water like a big, brown, human-poop log:

A BIG, BROWN, HUMAN-POOP LOG!!!

We don't know if the shitsickle came from one of those kids, a refrigerator repairman in Rialto or John-John. It certainly appeared well-traveled (we know of these things; don't ask).

Matt Coker, A Clockwork Orange

Aug. 13, 1999 Former Orange County Democratic Party chief Jim Toledano casually reached into his back pocket, took out a sheet of paper, unfolded it, and smiled. It was a clipping of an October 1998 piece by OC Weekly's Commie Girl, Rebecca Schoenkopf. The story's headline: "The Straight Guy at the Gay Pool Party." The party was a fund-raiser for the Eleanor Roosevelt Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. According to Schoenkopf, a gay friend at the party told her that the 55-year-old Toledano "is just about the sexiest older man I've ever seen. . . . Who is he?" Schoenkopf observed, "Leave it to my friend to lust after the straight guy at a big gay party."

The column startled Toledano—but not for reasons you might expect. "I showed it to my wife, and we had a good laugh. I showed my son, Michael, and he laughed, too. But I really felt terrible about it. I didn't know what to do. It was a lie. There I was with this lie that you guys have published, and what in the hell am I going to do? I wanted to tell Rebecca that I thought her friend was cute, too," says Toledano. "It bothered me. . . . Most people are outed, but I had been inned."

R. Scott Moxley, "Coming Out! Jim Toledano is a married father of two. Now the Democratic leader is ready for a new role: Gay activist"

Aug. 27, 1999 Tom Jones is so macho that when he walks, his testicles sound like a pair of bowling balls knocking together. And what of the acrid sweat beading up on those testicles? What profane secrets are hidden underneath the Jones scrode? What sort of pungent broth of chlorine and mushrooms distills in that dank cavern of chicken-skinned flesh that has made your mommy throw Jones her underwear and hotel-room keys when he's onstage for the past three and a half decades?

This Welsh amalgam of pheromones, testosterone, chest fur, gold chains, pinkie rings, cologne, ocean breeze-scented hair spray and silk bikini briefs is an old man now, but he can still beat your ass. Tom Jones has always been able to beat your ass, and he always will be able to beat your ass. He's Tom Jones. You're you. You suck.

Buddy Seigal, "Tom Jones rules. Bowling Balls Knocking Together? Or is Tom Jones back in town?"

Sept. 3, 1999 "And . . . we . . . are . . . rolling!" says the guy pointing the Entertainment Tonight camera toward the hospital bed on which a bedraggled Leif Garrett is sitting for his latest way-too-closeup. The long-ago teen idol is 37 years old. His shoulder-length hair is greasy, his goatee is surrounded by unshaven stubble, and his ragamuffin getup—cloth cap, blousy shirt, weathered jeans and moccasins with no socks—goes far beyond faux-boho fashion statement. This is the look of a bona-fide drug addict. Garrett is coming off heroin.

Dave Wielenga, "Shakin' Like a Leif: Kicking smack with Leif Garrett"

Sept. 10, 1999 You know, of course, that Orange County is a place of great wealth: expensive cars, towers of glass and steel that gleam in the sun, big and well-tended houses surrounded by emerald lawns and banks of flowers cared for by gardeners. On the Mitchell Ranch, the homes of the residents consist of small trailers or shacks roughed together from scavenged lumber, camper shells and corrugated tin. Children play a game of tag along the dirt pathway. A man boils a kettle of water over an open fire. Chickens peck for feed. There is no electricity and no plumbing. Water for washing and drinking is carried by hoses strung together from a spigot at the big house. There was a time when the tenants had no bathroom facilities and relieved themselves, by common agreement, in the trees and brush a few yards from the campsite; today, they visit several battered portable outhouses scattered along the road. The residents own their dwellings but pay rent for the land. The rent varies. A single man living alone pays $135 per month. A married couple with a child or two pays $250 per month. An extended family of children and several adults pays as much as $800 per month. Rent is paid to the property owner in cash; speaking conservatively, this may amount to $100,000 per year.

Bob Emmers, "Slumlord Sweepstakes! Is Eve Mitchell the county's most successful tenement entrepreneur?" More...
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