Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, Sept. 14 Today's Los Angeles Times heralds the debut of a new taste sensation at the LA County Fair in Pomona: a battered, deep-fried Snickers bar. News of the $3-angioplasty-facilitator-on-a-stick comes as leading British nutritionist Andrew Prentice warns that worldwide obesity represents an evolutionary shift in the human body shape and that parents may outlive their fat kids. Meanwhile, body-conscious Australia wraps up a Childhood Obesity Summit that concludes modern-life cruelly encourages sloth and an obesity pandemic among the PlayStation generation. Speaking of computer gaming, Intel has just struck a multimillion-dollar product placement deal with McDonald'sfor the hotly anticipated The Sims Online computer game. With McDonald's capturing the attention of young consumers through TV, the radio, grade-school kiosks and now computer play time, the next logical step is to implant computer chips into the skulls of flabby kids so Big Macs can monopolize their sleep time as well.

SUNDAY, Sept. 15 A group of American Indians, including local Juaneños, burn sage and pray over sacred land in San Juan Capistrano. They want the city to buy the parcel, build a cultural center on it and protect the ancient Juaneño burial site there. But they are not the only ones with their eyes on the 29-acre plot. The Capistrano Unified School District wants a public middle school there; city officials prefer something that generates sales-tax revenues; and the land owner—the Catholic Junipero Serra High School—envisions athletic fields there. Indian land overrun by Catholics in San Juan Capistrano sure has a familiar ring to it, dontcha think? Which segues perfectly into a plug for the Gabrielino/Tongva and Juaneño/Acjachemen Peoples' sixth annual A Pilgrimage Honoring Our Ancestors on Oct. 5. You'll start at 7:30 a.m. in the San Mateo Park Campsite parking lot off Cristianitos Road in San Clemente and then caravan north to a half-dozen sacred sites in what is now Orange County and Long Beach. Last year's pilgrimage was the most spiritually rewarding day in this cynical old bastard's life.

MONDAY, Sept. 16 The hoity-toity St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, which three weeks ago was the site of an invite-only fund-raiser for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon starring Dubya, is informed by the Dana Point code-enforcement office that it's running afoul of city law. In a letter sent to the resort today, code-enforcement officer Angela Duzich states that residents in the Ritz Cove neighborhood across Pacific Coast Highway from the St. Regis have griped about excessive noise from events on the outdoor terrace of the resort's Club 19—noise banned under the resort's use permit. Resort officials vow to investigate and abide by the permits. Of course, if Simon's somehow elected, all bets are off, so Ritz Cove dwellers better vote against him.

TUESDAY, Sept. 17 Laguna Beach narcs seize 12 pot plants grown at an apartment complex catering to people with HIV/AIDS and disabilities. Whoa, a dozen plants! We had a bigger crop in our dorm's window box. Cops also bust a 53-year-old man for alleged dealing. Perhaps he'll share a cell with Orange County Cannabis Co-op's Marvin Chavez, who may be prison-bound. So much for compassionate use in OC. As this nonsense goes on, free pot is given away on the steps of city halls in San Diego and Santa Cruz to protest the feds willfully ignoring state law and breaking up co-ops that get cannabis to sick people.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 Actress Tawny Kitaen quietly settles the spousal-abuse case brought by estranged husband and former Angels pitching ace Chuck Finley. If the prescription-pill-popping performer successfully completes a year of counseling, the two misdemeanor abuse counts will be dropped. The divorce sought by Finley, who now pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals, is still pending. They both have access to their two daughters, but Kitaen for now has no access to her ex-, who as part of the settlement got a three-year restraining order barring her from contact with him or their Newport Beach estate.


Chabon

THURSDAY, Sept. 19 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon pens a deal worth mid-seven figures to write the sequel to the summer box-office smash Spider-Man, Hollywood trade paper Variety reports today. He'd really have to screw up to fail at this assignment since Columbia Pictures has already locked up the first flick's stars (Tobey Maguire and Kirstin Dunst) and director (Sam Raimi). And Chabon has that goddamned golden-boy touch going for him. He was one of the first stars to come out of UC Irvine's master of fine arts program. His first novel, published when he was 24, was a best-seller. And, of course, there's his 2001 Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which he has already adapted for the screen. Did we mention we hate his guts?

FRIDAY, Sept. 20 In more Columbia Pictures news, the studio today releases the thriller Trapped without pre-screening it for film critics or having its stars hit the yak-show circuit to promote it. Must be a real stinker, you're probably thinking. You're probably wrong. Studio execs explain that the quiet opening is out of deference to Orange County's Samantha Runnion abduction case and this summer's other high-profile child snatchings. In the movie, Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love kidnap an 8-year-old girl, whose yummy mummy, Charlize Theron, defies the FBI to try to save her. It's too early to tell if goddamned golden boy Michael Chabon will pen the sequel, but let's keep our fingers crossed there's a part for Tawny Kitaen.

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