Diary of a Mad County

Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, MARCH 31. Southern Living Magazine issues the best email alert of all time: "Please DO NOT USE the Icebox Rolls recipe. Combining the water and shortening as described in the recipe may cause the mixture to ignite, is extremely dangerous, and could result in fire and safety hazards." Now, we don't know what icebox rolls are supposed to be (from the name, we'd guess that at a minimum they're supposed to be nonflammable), but how screwed up does a recipe have to be for a mixture to burst into flames when you add water? And what, for chrissakes, might have happened if you'd decided to substitute whole milk—or worse, half & half—for water?

Al Franken launches Air America, liberalism's answer to Rush Limbaugh. Conservatives correctly identify the flaws in the business model: liberals are too smart for talk radio. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Richard Viguerie and David Franke predict Air America will fail because liberals "have this Y chromosome that looks for balance and dignity and decency." Elsewhere, they refer to Franken as "nuanced." Franken promises radio that will be like Limbaugh's show in all but two ways: "It will not only be factual, [but] it will [also] be drug-free."

Thursday, APRIL 1. In the biggest Norwalk event since the widening of I-5 from two to three lanes, 15,000 people line Pioneer Boulevard for the wake of Adán "Chalino" Sánchez, the 19-year-old ranchera singer who died March 28 in a car crash in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Sánchez was as unremarkable as they come. So why the massive turnout? He recorded on the behemoth Univisión label, and his father, Chalino Sánchez—the Elvis Presley/Johnny Rotten/Bob Dylan of postmodern ranchera—was assassinated. Creepy!

Weekly attorney Susan Seagercalls Joseph Cavallo, attorney defending Gregory Scott Haidl, the 18-year-old accused of participating in the gang rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl in the Corona del Mar home of his father, assistant Orange County Sheriff Don Haidl. Last month, Cavallo subpoenaed Weekly reporter R. Scott Moxley, demanding his appearance for a deposition in Cavallo's Irvine office at 9 a.m. on April 19—the same moment young Haidl's case goes to trial in Santa Ana. Coincidence? Seager doesn't think so. According to Seager, Cavallo tells her Moxley has made his life "miserable," calls Moxley a "liar" and a "scumbag," and then, in a literary stretch that had some of us recalling the great Victor Hugo, transforms a noun into an adjective to produce the very clever "lying scumbag." And then he hangs up.

Later, acting through an assistant, Cavallo withdraws the subpoena.

Friday, APRIL 2. Jonathan Tufo and Joseph Medlin, respectively director of development and alumni director for Mater Dei High School, e-mail the distinguished Catholic high school's alumni. Earlier in the week, someone posted on the alumni list-server Weekly writer Gustavo Arellano's March 19 exposé of possible sex abuse by a Mater Dei teacher during the mid-1990s. "As alumni of Mater Dei, it is painful to see the repeated rehashing of alleged past incidents at our school," write Tufo (class of 1991) and Medlin (1998). "It is also frustrating to know that those who love and cherish their tenure at Mater Dei don't always have the equal opportunity to share their experiences through the news media." In the spirit of equal opportunity, we now turn the pen over to Weekly editor Will Swaim, who attended Mater Dei for one year: "It's clear that Mr. Tufo is not only upset at our coverage, but is also high in protein and is a great substitute for beef or chicken. I cherish the memory of my almost daily beatings at Mater Dei and grew to love the homoerotic culture of the locker room. I did not learn much about Jesus while there, but I will never forget the exquisite pain on the faces of freshmen trying to describe how they had been jumped by members of the varsity football team and sodomized with entire tubes of soothing BenGay. Those were, indeed, the days."

With fundamentalists flying planes into high-rise buildings in NYC and setting off bombs in Spanish train stations, it's unlikely the media would pay attention to the fundamentalist threat in Westminster. There, in our own little Fallujah, three school board members, citing their Christian beliefs, have refused to implement a state policy that prohibits gender discrimination. It's apparent that, whatever else they may believe, Westminster voters clearly don't want their school board members encumbered by anything like learning. Other Westminster officials say the jihadists' stand means the district may lose $7.8 million in state funds. Today, state Senator Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) threatens a state takeover of the wayward district. No word from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on what is clearly an imminent threat to American security.

Saturday, APRIL 3. Weeks after he blamed Election Day screw-ups on volunteer poll workers, Orange County Registrar Steve Rodermundserves hamburgers, ice cream and potato salad to more than 2,000 poll workers and their families during a party at the registrar's Santa Ana office. He did not accept the Weekly's suggestion that he call the first-ever such banquet the "Fuck You Very Much for Destroying Democracy Barbecue." "We wanted to make sure that the poll workers know we do value them," Rodermund tells the Los Angeles Times. Which is kind of, you know, different from what he was saying a few hours after the nation's worst electoral screw-up in Campaign 2004: "Every issue we had was related to a person not following the directions," Rodermund told the Times on March 4. "Those that didn't get it, this will be their last election." But first? A double-double.

Sunday, APRIL 4. Exhausted, God knocks off.

Monday, APRIL 5. Swimming in shit? It's bad. Comparing surfers in North OC with their well-muscled counterparts in Santa Cruz, UC Irvineresearchers found our boys almost twice as sick as theirs, exhibiting such symptoms as (please read this without pausing for commas, sotto voce) "fever, nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea" and "sore throat, eye redness and skin infection." The Irvine researchers say they studied North OC because "its watershed is in one of the most developed areas in the world and generates highly polluted runoff, which discharges primarily through the Santa Ana River." They chose Santa Cruz because of the availability there of high-grade pot and cheap, multicolored Rasta beanies.

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