Diary Of A Mad County

WEDNESDAY, May 26 Government figures rate Huntington Beach as one of the 10 safest cities in America. Ironically, the government figures don't figure in government crimes because, if it had, the H.B. City Council would have pushed the city into East St. Louis territory. Anyway, yes, Surf City? Very safe—unless you're hanging around City Hall or actually in the surf, and then you run the risk of nausea or the growth of a third elbow. Still, as bad as H.B. is, and its state beach receives D's and F's in a Heal the Bay report released today, it's not bad enough to crack the Bay's Bottom 10, where Dana Point reigns supreme. The Plucky Pointers place two beaches on the list: Baby Beach and No. 1 Doheny State Beach. If all this makes you anxious about our coastline, don't worry. Today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced three members of the California Coastal Commission with his own appointees chosen for their qualifications—they're Republicans—and commitment. New commissioner Steven H. Kram, CEO of Schwarzenegger's old talent agency, William Morris, has shown a strong commitment to committing $5,000 checks to the Schwarzenegger campaign. The appointments come just a week after Schwarzenegger appoints Lucy Dunn as his director of housing and community development. For years, Dunn shilled for developers eager to fill in the Bolsa Chica wetlands and build a hotel resort there. When that was shot down, she shilled for building on the mesa overlooking the wetlands. That's commitment.

THURSDAY, May 27 After Senator Barbara Boxer makes a speech regarding high gas prices on a street corner in LA, her Republican opponent/apparition, Bill Jones, ambushes the crowd, hoping for a bit of Boxer's sloppy seconds. Appearing from an adjoining parking lot where he had been hiding, Jones attempts to talk to the quickly dispersing throng while answering such questions as "Who are you?" No, seriously: a television reporter asked him for "your whole name and your occupation." Others just wanted him to stop washing their windshields.

FRIDAY, May 28 If you wonder why I do this column: COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (AP)—Five days into the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, with the superpowers on the brink of confrontation, President Nixon was too drunk to discuss the crisis with the British prime minister, according to newly released transcripts of tape recordings.

Boo-yah! Richard Nixon is nothing if not a giver. Just when you think you've heard everything from the man, you get this: "Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. . . . You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns. That's been going on for years, centuries, but when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual." And: "The Jews are an irreligious, aesthetic, immoral bunch of bastards." Nixon's like a big, crazy, racist, homophobic Kris Kringle, only with more firebombed children. Actually, the best thing in the transcript, just released by the National Archives, is uttered by Henry Kissinger—even more firebombed children—who, upon learning British PM Edward Heath wanted to talk to Nixon, tells Brent Scowcroft, "When I talked to the president, he was loaded." Every time I try to understand Nixon, every time I try to frame him in terms of a tragic American Dream—a more jowly Jay Gatsby—something like this comes up and reminds me he was just some pissy, soused drama queen—a slightly less jowly Joan Crawford.

SATURDAY, May 29 So, summing up: Commit suicide in Oregon? Fine. Train suicide bombersin Oregon? No.

SUNDAY, May 30 Listening to one of those dinosaur FM station's Top 500 Memorial Day countdowns, and I just found out that in the Doors' "L.A. Woman," the phrase "Mr. Mojo Risin'," is actually "Jim Morrison" with the letters rearranged. I never knew this. This is the kind of information that can fill five minutes at a party while keeping you sexless the rest of your life. So, Jim Morrison, the rock poet, was using the daily jumble as his muse? My 10-year-old son, Jack, seems to nail it when he observes: "Is this song ever going to end?"

MONDAY, May 31 We take this Memorial Day to mark the passing of George W. Bush's presidency, as the man's approval numbers hover somewhere in the range of the guy who invented genital warts. How do I know Bush is toast? I just saw a bumper sticker on a Cadillac in a strip mall that said, "I Support the President." It was dark blue, very official and dignified with a Presidential seal, as if it wished to infuse some stateliness into an administration noted for irresponsibility, underage drinking, pretzel mismanagement and an apocalyptic foreign policy. I know Bush is done because the exact "I Support the President" stickers showed up when Richard Nixon was nursing his last Pink Lady. Then, as now, the sentiment was one of willfulness: I support the president not because he has earned it or that it even makes sense; I support him because I can't admit I was wrong. An "I Support the President" Bush backer is like the kid who still wears a trucker hat, the guy who thinks "L.A. Woman" is evidence that Jim Morrison was the WB Yeats of his time, women who watch Leno or wear Ugg Boots or platform flip-flops, the high-and-tight haircut on an African-American man, the geezer who refuses to part with his Beta recorder, tobacco-industry scientists, Holocaust revisionists, ponytails on men—an act of pure, ugly willfulness impervious to standards of good, true and beautiful. And fat peoplewith their midriffs available for daytime viewing. And spats.

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