It doesn't matter if the World Trade Center was bombed, if there's a Mexican Independence Day parade, or if the INS is crashing down doors while arresting illegal immigrants in Orange County—the 18-year-old Santa Ana-based Spanish-language weekly always has a color photograph of a bikini-clad woman on the front page. Only problem? They're never pretty. 517 N. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 547-8283.


Remember when Newport Beach hired a Black lady to teach history to high schoolers? The LA Times wrote an article about it, and readers wrote in to object to her suggestion that her own ethnicity might influence her perspective on, say, racism or slavery, like, well, conservative white people might teach history to reflect—well, you know. Sure, Newport is 93 percent white and 92 percent Republican, and they don't like airport noise, but, friends, they've got the best darn public library around, a tribute to the good life and the wisdom of the city's accounting office. After the rest of the county went bankrupt and its own library system reduced hours and services, Newport Beach kept right on building its swell new facility on Avocado Avenue, buying great books and CDs and videos (and now DVDs), offering speakers and kids programs, and pretty much creating the coolest literary hangout absent an espresso machine this side of the Gypsy Den. But with wealth and leisure and lots of old fogies wearing sailor hats comes (gasp) volunteerism. The kindly staff of the Friends of the Library stands up, slowly, to answer the call. Friends receive donations and host frequent used-book sales and run a little used-book store staffed by their crew of gentle-spirited and elegantly inefficient volunteers, each completely unfamiliar to a woman or man with their actual stock. With not a whole lot to do except offer you a free plastic bag, the place turns into a jolly, friendly visit to your grandparents' house, assuming your grandparents live in a quality used-book store. The books are priced to sell, and since nice, old rich people in Newport Beach like to read, or at least buy books, there's lots of good stuff. 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach, (949) 717-3800.


It's hard to imagine the faculty and staff at Irvine Valley College enduring more, not after the coronation by their South Orange County Community College District board of a scheming toady of a physics teacher—first as college president and now chancellor. Not after having a Holocaust denier on that same board, or hiring as chief of human resources a former board ally who finessed them into hiring her. Hard to imagine if you don't know that the community effort to recall the Nazi failed not once, but twice. Meanwhile, 32 faculty members at the little college in the orange grove (oops, they cut down the orange trees, too—is there no end to this indignity?) wrote a polite letter recently asking administration to please clean, maintain and stock the restrooms. Each received for their efforts a memo and, yes, a single roll of toilet tissue, presumably to sustain them for the semester. Two-ply. Quality stuff.


Right-on writer for Spanish alternative weekly rag Al Borde. Lead singer for El Chivo Expiatorio, a Tenacious D-meets-humor trio combining the worst tendencies of rock urbano with ska's wacka-wacka essence to create tunes better than anything to come out of the Spanish language since Carlos Chávez. Promoter for local rock en español showcases that seem to switch locations every month because venue managers can't stand young Latinos moshing with love. Fullerton resident. Forget The Orange County Register's new Latin entertainment guy—"El Pelos" is the man who knows what makes the county's Latino youth tick.


A self-described "horticultural retreat," Sherman Library and Gardens links a museum of living plants, gardens, patios, conservatories, a tea room and more, all set around wide brick walkways and trickling fountains. They host classes for the community, too, covering such scintillating topics as "Bulbs to Know and Grow" and "Natural Pest Control." The library and garden were started in 1955, the year the Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series. Coincidence? Who can say? But there is no disputing the place is a memorial to M.H. Sherman, started by his heirs who wanted to honor him with something beautiful. Which explains why the memorial is in Corona del Mar and not Bullhead City. Though, to be fair to Bullhead City, you'll probably find more women there willing to flash their breasts than at Sherman Library. Unless it's tulip time—then all bets are off. 2647 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 673-2261.


Funny how God works: KOCE-TV is on the auction block the same year Orange County's sole public television station finally achieves fame for something other than Barney reruns. In August, the KOCE-produced documentary Méndez vs. Westminster: For All the Children/ Para Todos los Niños won a local Emmy for its stirring retelling of the 1948 Orange County case that served as the country's first blow against public school segregation. Nevertheless, the Coast Community College District has put the station up for sale, threatening to sell it to the highest bidder. And the highest bidder is—praise Jesus!—Daystar Communications, who proudly discriminates by only hiring born-again Christians. We'd comment on the ironic situation of a discriminatory employer buying a station who produced a documentary decrying discrimination . . . but it's simply too sad.

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