Grin and Ferret

Photo by Davis BarberGovernor Ahnold has, according to reports published Dec. 27, given hope to California's thousands of illegal ferret owners that he would relax the 70-year-old ban that's stopped absolutely no one from keeping the small, sock-stealing animals as pets. Schwarzenegger, who was upstaged by a ferret in Kindergarten Cop and is rumored to have owned them himself, claimed during the recall campaign that he would sign legislation to end the ban. Ferrets have been the target of near-maniacal vendettas by a wide variety of California officials, from a state senator (who scored farmer votes by spreading fears that escaped ferrets would plunge into the wilds and slaughter chickens) to the California Department of Fish and Game (which claimed that packs of ferrets in the wild would take down cows). Anyone who's ever spent time with a ferret, however, knows that the worst threat they pose is when you come home and their cage, as one recent ferret sitter put it, looks like someone threw a Black Flag concert, with shit and kibble strewn everywhere, the tiny fuzzball curled up unconscious in the corner, muttering what indeed sounds like the lyrics to "Too Drunk to Fuck."

SOUND WHUPPIN' Score another victory for Trabuco Canyon preservationists. The Santa Ana-based 4th District Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 tossed out the County of Orange's appeal of an earlier court ruling that blocked construction of a 90-bed juvenile jail just steps from the entrance to Cleveland National Forest. The county slyly tried to get around the law by amending the Foothill/Trabuco Specific Plan and creating a special district solely for the Rancho Potrero Leadership Academy. The Saddleback Canyons Conservancy and Rural Canyons Conservation Fund dragged the county into superior court, where a judge ruled in August 2002 that the county's moves violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state planning and zoning laws. The county was also found to be running afoul of CEQA and other laws after illegally clearing critical habitat near the existing Joplin Youth Center. As part of a settlement with the organizations, the county must reimburse their attorney fees, fix destroyed habitat, reverse its approvals of the academy and Foothill/Trabuco amendment, and redirect an $8.4 million grant from the state Board of Corrections for Rancho Potrero to construction of a new youth facility at Orange County Juvenile Hall. JOHN HANCOCK AND BULL Professional Sports Authenticator(PSA), a Newport Beach company that verifies autographs and collectibles, found that only half the Michael Jordan, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Shaquille O'Neal autographs it examined in 2003 were legitimate, according to a Dec. 30 Wireless Flash news service item. Joe Orlando, PSA's president, says the actual percentage of phony items in the marketplace is much higher because his company is rarely sent obvious forgeries for verification. Guess that framed pair of slightly soiled Hanes underwear signed by MJ we received over the holidays won't be going up over the fireplace after all. RIDE ON THIS Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror float—the tallest ever entered in the hundred-and-some-odd-year Tournament of Roses Parade—ambled down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard as planned on Jan. 1 and will be on display at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim for another week or so. The float honors an attraction that has been popular at Disney's MGM Studios in Florida and that is coming to California Adventure in May. But though the ride is based on a "lost episode" of Rod Serling's creepy old TV series, the float creeped out families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11. "It's disturbing to me," Sally Regenhard, who formed the Skyscraper Safety Campaign after her firefighter son died at the Twin Towers, told the Associated Press. She feared Disney's float may have been "trivializing injury and possible death." New Yawker Bill Doyle, whose son perished in the attack, had no problem with the float, just its use of "tower" in the title. "I'd like to see a different name," he said. Wild hunch: it probably wouldn't be a good idea to fly these folks out for the Tower of Terror's opening. ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO DUPLICATE "Clean-water Advocate Goes With the Flow a Little More Now: Once a firebrand activist whom officials avoided, Michael Hazzard is now considered a 'valuable resource'"—headline over feature profile by Pat Brennan on page Local 2 of the Sunday, Jan. 4, Orange County Register.

"He Puts Clean Water First: OC activist Michael Hazzard once opposed polluters; now his job is helping them comply with regulation"—headline over feature profile by David Reyes on page B3 of the Sunday, Jan. 4, Los Angeles Times' Orange County edition.

Victor D. Infante contributed to this week's report.
Photo by Jack Gould
New Column! Fun with the Amalgamate 9000

Power conglomerate Edison International announced Dec. 29 that it's pulling the plug on a $50 million, 20-year contract for naming rights to the Anaheim Angels baseball stadium. Yes, the Big Ed is dead. Long live the Big A—at least until the next corporate sugar daddy comes along. Until then, "Edison Field" will have to be removed from the ballpark's 40,050 seats. Another timely Jumbotron collapse could solve much of the problem, but even then the Angels would have to paint over a shitload of ass receptacles. Well, this true blue . . . or red . . . or periwinkle . . . or whatever-the-hell-color fan we are has an idea that can save Angels owner Arte Moreno money that would be better used to sign a quality first baseman. Don't paint over the words "Edison Field," just cut the letters out and re-arrange them. According to our trusty Amalgamate 9000, "Edison Field" can be rejiggered into a plethora of possibilities, including:

• "I defend soil" or "I done fields," in honor of the Big A's crack groundskeepers.

• "Infield odes," which feeds into all that lyrical pastoral pastime bullshit.

• "Denied foils," a worthy taunt for visiting teams after the Halos smack 'em.

• "Flies died on," a reference to the snack stand on the third deck that serves gross nachos.

• "Did felonies," a nod to all those major leaguers who've run afoul of the law.

• "I did oneself," a nod to all those major leaguers who love themselves a little too much.

• "I'd do felines," a nod to all those major leaguers who are just plain sick.

• "Defend oil? Si," a bilingual reference to the Bush administration's foreign policy.

• "I'd feed lions," sound advice for Siegfried's mangled partner Roy to follow before he steps onstage again.

• "Lose. Died. Fin," which can remind our World Series champs of two seasons past what the future holds should they return to the days of yearly late-season swoons.

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