Diary of a Mad County

SUNDAY, Sept. 1 It's the first day of September and—who woulda thunk it?—the Anaheim Angels are still in playoff contention. Surely the dreaded Angels curse should have kicked in by now. But it hasn't, and those plucky Angels just keep plugging away, even if it means winning ugly or looking good in a loss. We know from years and years and years and years and years of experience that the Angels can still implode spectacularly at the drop of a cap, but the fact that they remained only two games behind Oakland when the record-setting A's finally lost on Sept. 6 after 20 straight wins is pretty damn remarkable. Baseball in October in Anaheim may not be a Disney fairytale after all.


Another roadside distraction
Photo by OCW staff

MONDAY, Sept. 2 A trailer carrying the promotional banner for Old World Village's Oktoberfest comes detached from the truck pulling it along a busy Irvine thoroughfare during the evening rush hour. The runaway carrier stops without hitting anything and is safely pushed to the curb until a flatbed can come rescue it. We're guessing the mishap delights drivers numbed by daily stop-and-bore traffic. Providing equal roadside distractions are the oompa-tacular Oktoberfest sign—boasting nice sets of frosty mugs and fleshy jugs—and live serving wenches Nalinne Gorska (the brunette) and Valarie Hunt. Oh, also in tow (though not pictured—guess who selected the photo?) is Old World Festival Hall manager Daniel Roth, who wants readers to know Oktoberfest starts Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 27. The village is on Center Avenue in Huntington Beach. Just look for the sign with the big, uh, mugs.

TUESDAY, Sept. 3 The California Republican Party is grooming Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona for statewide office; Larry King says the lawman could run for president of the U.S.; and the current U.S. president trades on Carona's high approval ratings. But proof that Sheriff Mike has broken into the national pop-culture psyche comes on today's fake news website The Onion (www.theonion.com). Download a chart titled "Keeping Kids Safe," and up pops a photo of Carona at a podium during one of the Samantha Runnion press conferences. Listed around him are Onionized ways to reduce the risk of child abductions, which include: "warn your children of the dangers of abduction every night as you tuck them in bed"; "twice a year, hold abduction drill in which you throw your unsuspecting child into trunk of your car"; and "start emotionally distancing yourself from your child now to lessen the separation trauma of abduction later." It may not be the way our good sheriff wants to be characterized, but any publicity's good publicity, right?

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4 When this hardened pacemaker heard that McDonald's is introducing French fries cooked in oil with half the fat of their regular fries, we nearly blew a widget. Why dick with perfection? Any rube knows there is no food more perfect than a hot McDonald's French fry sampled right after pulling away from the drive-through line. Likewise, there is no food worse than a cold McDonald's French fry, which tastes quite similar to the straw they stick in your Coke. But we digress. . . . Steven Armstrong of Costa Mesa writes to say that he, too, is chagrined by McDonald's new half-the-fat fries, but he's got a whole different bag. After informing us of all the Americans who die from diseases tied to unhealthy diets, Armstrong concludes with, "Come on, McDonald's, join the 21st century and start offering us some of those delicious and healthy veggie burgers that we order at your competitors' restaurants." Can we supersize that for you, Stevie?

In other burger-war news, the manager of a Jack In the Box restaurant in Yorba Linda is arrested today for allegedly embezzling up to $50,000. The most surprising part of the story is that a Jack In the Box restaurant had $50,000 to embezzle.

THURSDAY, Sept. 5 Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon's campaign may be in freefall, but at least his team has a sense of humor. Today they unveil a parody shopping website called eGray (www.egray.org) that transforms the ways Governor Gray Davis has sold his office into a handy bidding list. Click on "RARE! Dioxin Dumping Permission"—which is priced at $55,000—and you're taken to a San Jose Mercury News story detailing how the Davis administration allowed a Bay Area refinery to increase pollution after the refinery owner donated $55,000 to the Davis campaign. And the list goes on (and on and on). Unfortunately for the Simon campaign, the real eBay thinks eGray looks too much like eBay, and the real thing's legal team may go to court to stop eGray.

Even more unfortunately for Simon, veteran GOP strategist Lyn Nofziger, who has been whipping conservatives into a frenzy since his days with then-Governor Ronald Reagan, today says he wants no part of Team Simon, calling the candidate "inept, weak . . . and too dumb." To which we ask Nofziger: When have you ever let that stop you before?

FRIDAY, Sept. 6 An attorney for Alastair Irvine, the son of Britain's top judicial officer, asks an Orange County Superior Court judge to review the charges of felony stalking and vandalism against his client in an attempt to get those charges reduced to misdemeanors or dropped. Judge Everett Dickey sets an Oct. 11 hearing to review the charges. Meanwhile, nobodies who are not the spawn of Prime Minister Tony Blair's friends continue to rot in Texas and Michigan prisons for having possessed a marijuana seed 20 years ago.

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