By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
MONDAY, March 24: News comes that young Jose Angel Garibay has given the ultimate measure for his country, becoming the first Orange County resident killed in combat in Iraq. Just 21 years old, Jose is killed in an ambush by Iraqi forces pretending to surrender. The thing of it is this isn't Jose's country, not according to the militia dips patrolling the border in Tombstone or Barbara Coe and her vicious gang of toadies at the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR). You may remember CCIR as the soulless wads who, among other things, claim illegal immigrants like Jose and his family—granted amnesty—are ruining this country and are in part responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. I have no doubt Jose had to listen to this crap most of his short life here and still wanted to serve this country. Note to Jose: in 21 years, you showed more forgiveness and optimism than I have in 40. Then again, maybe Jose just figured joining the Marines and getting sent into a war zone was a whole lot safer than being anywhere near the front of Barbara Coe's Cadillac.
TUESDAY, March 25: The folks at Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) are always talking about fearing God. What they failed to figure is that you also best watch your ass around the Costa Mesa Planning Commission. TBN went to the commission to get official approval to broadcast outside their Roman bathhouse of a headquarters, which they had been doing for some time. Not only does the planning commission not give them approval, but they also slap the praise-billies with a bunch of new restrictions including that tour busses must be gone by 10 p.m. and can't park near neighboring residents' walls. Most glaring, literally, is that TBN can only have its garish/immoral "million lights" display up from Thanksgiving week to Jan. 15. What's more, the lights must be turned off by 10 p.m. The commission puts off making a decision on outdoor taping for nine months and also tables a proposal to rezone Jan Crouch's hair for landfill. With the decision, Costa Mesa sends two clear messages: 1) we will always do what's right for the welfare of our citizens. 2) We hate God.
WEDNESDAY, March 26: You know what I missed? I missed that part where all the Iraqi civilians run out into the streets to throw flowers and kisses at our languidly advancing troops. Everyone told me it was coming, but somehow today I've only seen the part where the Iraqis are too busy being dead. . . . Fourteen—or 36, depends on who you believe—Iraqi civilians get killed by American missiles. The Pentagon blames the Iraqi military for the deaths because the weapons we were trying to destroy were placed just hundreds of feet from the civilian population. Barbaric. I mean, that's like, oh, I don't know, putting big, aboveground bunkers loaded with nuclear weapons just, like, a few hundred yards from one of California's busiest freeways, say, the 405, and across the street from a huge retirement home like, oh, Leisure World. I mean that would be crazy, right? I mean, who would do that? Seriously. . . . Speaking of Big Bangs, it's now illegal to blow off fireworks in Buena Park, a move that outrages nonprofit organizations that raise money through firework sales. They vow to find equally injurious methods of helping kids such as selling dope and poking children in the eye with a sharp stick.
THURSDAY, March 27: You wanna know about balls? Balls is planning to build a private Catholic high school on a Native American burial site and then planning to call that high school J. Serra High, as in Junipero Serra, Native Americans' worst nightmare this side of George Custer and John Ford. Today, Superior Court Judge Ronald Bauerrules that maybe it's not such a good thing to be building high schools on other people's graves, what with the melting gym walls and portals to hell and all. That apparently leaves supporters of the high school to consider their second option of simply digging up the graves and pissing in them. . . . Speaking of dead, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports that human error and equipment problems have caused the San Onofre nuclear power plant to shut down a Springfield-esque four times in 12 months. One of those times, on Feb. 27, 2002, a maintenance worker operating the wrong control panel inadvertently shut down the plant's safety systems. See, if I'm training a maintenance worker, one of the first things I tell him—you know, besides no smoking or microwaving burritos while in the reactor—is which is the "right" panel and which is the "wrong" panel. Plus, I'd have a big sign that said, "Wrong Button" or maybe, "Death Button," and I'd paint that button red with a big skull and cross bones and maybe a bitchen racing stripe. I'd also prohibit fireworks in the reactor and require workers to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and/or handling fissionable material.
FRIDAY, March 28: I may have mentioned this before, but I handle the Letters page, and besides the porn, what I get most of these days is stuff telling me to support the troops. Some say I should support the troops by buying T-shirts, buying commemorative coins or, in a nice touch, military-themed teddy bears ("Mommy, can I please have Berzerker Bear!? He's ever so unbalanced!"). But the thing I've been getting most—besides the porn—is this letter from a Navy man to his mother explaining Why We Fight. It's a long letter, and I'm not even sure this tool exists, but at one point, he says, "What type of country would we be if we didn't defend the rights and freedoms of others, not because they're Americans, but how about just because they're human?" I guess we'd be the kind of nation that frees another 50 civilians today by blowing them up. "I can only speak for myself when I say that my life is an easy expense to ensure that my family and friends can live in peace." That's great, and I'm sure the pieces of the 50 people lying scattered all over Baghdad today felt exactly the same way.
SATURDAY, March 29: Amid the gloom a glimmer: the Anaheim Angels' season starts tomorrow.
SUNDAY, March 30: Texas Rangers, 6; Angels, 3. . . . Angels suck.