Diary of a Mad County

MONDAY August 25

Everybody is buzzing about the sharks swimming off San Onofre, shocked at the boldness of these wholly evil creatures who brazenly hunt in the ocean as if to flaunt the fact that they are fish. Three sharks were spotted—more importantly, videotaped—over the weekend. Two were of the relatively scrawny seven-foot, and therefore non-box office, variety, but the third was an estimated 17 feet and is believed to have ties to al-Qaeda as well as favoring gay marriage. Nobody knows if these are the same sharks that killed a swimmer up north who had the misfortune of splashing about in a wetsuit among seals at the time of the attack. Still, as you'd expect, people are taking proper precautions at San Onofre, mainly splashing around in wetsuits with surfboards. Now, I'm not exactly sure this is related, but the same weekend the sharks are spotted, surfing is blackballed at some South County beaches, including 74th Street in Newport, where lifeguards armed with bullhorns command surfers to paddle in. In at least one instance a bunch of those scamp surfers get together, defy authority—as is stipulated in the surf-industry marketing plan—and in unison yell back, "Fuck you, Hasselhoff!" remaining in the water, the very picture of rebelliousness. They were delicious!

TUESDAY August 26

Frank Schiavone, mayor pro tem of jerkwater municipality Riverside, asks they city's lawyerin' man to see fer hisself iffn' they-all kin sue the Fox Network for puttin' on the talkin' show The O.C. in what the people of Riverside is referred to as white trash on the TV box. But the Riverside Press-Enterprise quotes a UCLA law professor who says the lawsuit has no merit because the show doesn't "make any false statements of fact," as anyone who's punched it on the 91, when struck by an aroma that can be described only as Riversidian, can attest. Upset as he is, Schiavone—apparently more possum-smart than book-smart—admits that Riverside probably doesn't have much of a case, seeing as how Riverside is where the term "fixin' to" originated, as in: "I'm fixin' to file me a frivolous lawsuit, sister-maw." Still, the city council will take up the matter next week, when it meets on secondhand couches scattered around on someone's front yard. Mayor Ron Loveridge said he wishes to put the whole matter behind him and "get on with life." At least, that's what it sounded like. It was hard to make out through all the banjo music.


WEDNESDAY August 27

I received an e-mail today from Jan Crouch inviting me to "Spark My Love Life" and purchase some discounted Viagra at a $1.74 a dose, "Plus a free giveaway," which I'm pretty sure is a set of appropriately sized toss rings. Now, I can't be certain this is the same Jan Crouch who is one of the moving forces—and leading melting face—of TBN. I'm still trying to figure out if the Hunter Thompson who sent me information about the No. 1-rated penis-enlargement pill on the market—that promises three full inches in length and 20 percent more girth—is the same guy I think it is.

THURSDAY August 28

Labor Day weekend comes with gas prices well over $2, record state and federal deficits, unemployment, an Iraqi "peace" that costs not only lives but a billion dollars a week, and an MTV Video Music Awards show that was generally considered so-so. Americans are understandably anxious about the economy—well, those who don't work for Halliburton, which reportedly is getting half that billion dollars a week. (Gentlemen, to evil!) So it's reassuring that, in an Internet statement, a leading economic forecaster says he is very bullish on America's, especially Orange County's, economic future. In a widely anticipated address, Scott Allen, co-owner and president of Allen Cadillac-GMC of Laguna Niguel, reports that July was the best performance month ever for Southern California's only continuously operating three-generation Cadillac dealership and that he sees this as a sign that "economic recovery in Orange County is building momentum as the summer wears on." Allen believes recovery is imminent because of building consumer confidence, low, low financing and the sporty Escalade, in which high power meets high tech. "It's a clear sign of consumer confidence when we can post our best sales month in the 57-year history of the dealership after a protracted slowdown," said Allen, who believes Cadillac will speed America to full economic recovery with its 345-horsepower engine, responsive electronic throttle control and forged-steel short-stroke crankshaft. Priced to move at a base price of $54,770—more for extras such as the keys—Escalade is making believers out of cynics while crushing naysayers with its powerful 10:1 compression ratio as well as all-wheel drive offering a 40 to 60 percent front-to-rear torque bias ready to maneuver you around and over capitalism's refuse. "We're seeing more and more customers coming in because of Cadillac's superior quality," Allen said. "American-built GM cars, and in particular the trend-setting new Cadillacs and GMC trucks, are striking a chord with the car-buying public. Consumers demand quality, and they're discovering that GM delivers it better than any other automobile manufacturer in the world." Allen's address made no mention of any specific time frame for the economic upturn or his opinion of gay marriage.

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