Tale of the Tapes

Truong Van Tran, who was villified by angry protesters for weeks in 1999 after he hung a Ho Chi Minh poster and Vietnamese flag in his Little Saigon video store, surrendered to authorities on July 20 to serve a 90-day sentence for video piracy. Police say they came out to protect Tran, noticed an illegal taping system in the back of his shop and busted him. But it's common knowledge in Little Saigon that many stores sell pirated videos and that none of them have been cited. One might argue that Tran is really a political prisoner—one with bizarre commie/capitalist leanings.

AND THE WINNER IS
The best acceptance speech at the July 18 ceremony for the Webby Awards—billed as "the Oscars for the Internet"—was given by Steve Hawk of San Juan Capistrano-based Swell.com. Speeches were strictly limited to five words, so after Hawk walked up to accept the sports-category award from Sam Donaldson of ABC News, he remarked, "Sam Donaldson, dude, gnarly toupee." Onlookers say the dig was met with complete silence punctuated by scattered, nervous laughter in San Francisco's 3,000-seat War Memorial Opera House.

WEDDING BELL BLUES
Several brides and their families announced on July 17 that they may sue Weddings By the Sea, a Laguna Beach wedding coordinator that suddenly canceled the women's ocean-view cliff ceremonies and allegedly stiffed them for more than $100,000. Nicole Morgan would tell these ladies it could be worse. She might even have been tempted to jump if there were a cliff near her July 7 nuptials in Milwaukee. As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: a bridesmaid dropped out two weeks before the wedding; the photographer canceled three days before; the hair stylist didn't show up the morning of the big day; the wedding coordinator—who was responsible for the flowers, the ring-bearer pillows, the umbrellas, the boutonniere and the garter belt—called a half-hour after the wedding was supposed to begin to say she was pooped and would arrive later; the air conditioning broke a couple of hours into the reception, melting the frosting on the cake; and the lights went out while everyone else was on the dance floor. Oh, and the father of the bride cried.


Illustration by Bob Aul

WORLD'S BIGGEST ASHTRAY
Results of the state's September 2000 beach cleanup were released on July 19, and the 67,512 pounds of trash picked up in OC made our beaches the second dirtiest in Southern California. Which means we just aren't trying hard enough, people. The problem may lie in our litter of choice: cigarette butts. While 13,889 is an impressive number of spent cancer sticks, each unit is so small and lightweight it's no wonder LA County edged us out with 69,341 pounds. We simply must dump more old recliners, broken VCRs and cracked engine blocks onto local beaches before the Sept. 15 cleanup. Remember: it takes more than butts to kick Angeleno ass!

LAND HOS
The Rancho Mission Viejo development company announced on July 19 it plans to build 14,000 homes on its last 25,000 acres. Now, we're as much for unbridled land raping as the next guy, but surely this backcountry build-out will lead to the kind of clash between nature and urbanization as occurred recently in Irvine. A brazen coyote was about to pounce on a boy on a soccer field when the boy's dad threw a leather sandal to scare the animal. The coyote promptly chewed up the footwear like it was an appetizer and then told the guy, "You know, I'm still gonna eat your kid." And he did! Then he ate the dad! The he coughed up Sam Donaldson's toupee.

 
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