PARTY OUT OF BOUNDS After being away since, hell, winning the 2000 presidential election, it was nice to see Democrats returning to their role as the opposition party this past weekend. Of course, they had to come to the nation's most Democratic state, California, to pull it off. With the economy in the shitter and the nation all a-jitter, the time was ripe to snipe at the status quo during the state Democratic convention in Sacramento. Those hoping to lead the party into the next tainted presidential election were cheered like rock stars if they openly opposed Dubya's Iraqi quagmire—and likewise jeered if they supported war. It was quite refreshing, especially considering that even all-right-wing, all-the-time Fox News had been begging Democrats to mount some kind of challenge to the other side if for no other reason than great TV. How anemic had them Dems been? As recently as the president's March 8 radio address, the Democratic Party countered with . . . drum roll . . . Gray Davis, whose approval ratings are lower than Bush's—even among California Democrats! What, was Charles Manson busy?
CNN'S GOT YOU COVERED Over images of previous pro-war picketing and right-wing radio commentators bashing liberal peace protesters, a reporter on the March 14 Live From CNN daytime news program breathlessly previewed support-our-troops/hooray-for-USA/bomb-Baghdad festivities scheduled for that weekend in seven cities, including CNN's hometown of Atlanta. The bit ended with the reporter live inside an unidentified manufacturing warehouse, where he held up what people could expect to see at all seven kill-Iraqi rallies: white T-shirts with identical, multicolored "Support Our Troops" logos. As the white dude spoke, half a dozen female immigrant garment workers wearing the same "Support Our Troops" tees worked their asses off to crank out more shirts. Many who later donned those shirts would have just as soon rounded those ladies up for deportation. God bless America! FRANKIE GOES TO ANAHEIM Major League Baseball teams pay their players for service during the regular season, but when it comes to the playoffs and World Series, the ultimate winning team gets a big pot of cash, the losers get less in descending order, and the players divvy it all up. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided their rookie phenom pitcher Francisco Rodriguez should get $5,000. While that's not exactly chump change in Rodriguez's native Venezuela, where the average annual income is $4,310 (U.S.), Frankie's on-field contributions were certainly every bit as important as the 42 teammates who got full $272,000 shares. For those who were holed up in La Cave during the Halos' incredible championship run, then-20-year-old Rodriguez's strong arm, ice-cold demeanor and timely strikeouts were huge in dispatching the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants. While division of the postseason booty was decided before play began, at a time when Frankie was an unknown quantity, it still had the effect of giving another young immigrant Latino in Orange County shit wages for the really hard work. FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD •A woman told Dana Point cops that an unknown man took the diamond ring off her finger around last call at a Monarch Beach bar on March 2. She figured he made off with it while kissing her hand.
•A man who had slurped raw fish at Sushi Laguna the evening of March 7 suddenly leapt from his seat, darted out the door and ran after a truck towing away his pickup. Laguna Beach Police arrived to find the man arguing with the tow operator, but the matter seemed to be resolved after he paid the driver, got his pickup back and everyone left happy. Uh, not quite: Sushi Laguna called the cops back to say the man never paid his bill.
•A woman walked into a Laguna Beach hospital the afternoon of March 8 to report she had been assaulted by her roommate. Instead of receiving treatment, she was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness. She'd walked into an animal hospital.
•A man called the Sheriff's Department on March 9 to complain that a woman was screaming outside his San Clemente home. Deputies arrived to discover a dog and a raccoon had fought to the death. Well, one did; the report doesn't say which animal died. Probably the one that screams like a girl. Sissy.
COSMIC DEBRIS Members of Holy Splendor Ministries in Long Beach reportedly meditate in prayer circles weekly to save the souls of evil extraterrestrials they believe are poised to destroy Earth. Holy Splendorer Terry Johnson maintains in a March 10 Wireless Flash news service report that the aliens might "work with us instead of against us" if we send them good vibes. But he cautioned the E.T.s aren't exactly open to Earth religion, something he learned the hard way during numerous abductions. Sounds like someone's a pair of Nikes and killer cocktail away from those yahoos who caught a ride on a passing comet a few years back.