Diary of a Mad County

WEDNESDAY Sept. 29 The U.S. Census Bureau—the folks who brought you "Other" as a religious affiliation—announces today that whites are no longer a majority in Orange County, sending shockwaves from Little Saigon to Little Tehran to Lithuania Town. The county's majority are minorities—minjorities—which more than one news account points out contrasts with the image most viewers of The O.C.have of the region. (Given the eco-systems that are Peter Gallagher's eyebrows, this is not a bad thing.) As one would expect, the numbers don't really make for any significant effect on the county, save the immediate plans to construct reeducation camps for the new white minority majority—majnority—as well as the immediate elimination of all bilingual education. That's right, no more of this PC, English handholding business. It's back to the basics of literature'n, escritura'n, matematicas'n. Others are pressing for construction of a barrier between us and lily-white Riverside, what supporters describe as a "Berlitz Wall." I applaud these moves, having been a self-hating white person ever since viewing Billy Jack. Of course, anyone who has been paying attention isn't shocked by today's numbers. So-called minorities have been growing in population and adding in so many positive ways to the county for years, whether it's Latinos such as Rueben Martínez who have enhanced Orange County's reputation as being at the forefront of Latino literature and literacy or Latinos such as George Jaramillo who have enhanced the county's reputation for having former assistant sheriffs charged with six felony counts of misappropriating public funds.

THURSDAY Sept. 30 Disturbing news comes that the Orange County Transportation Authority(OCTA) has some kind of bizarre death wish to "improve" the Garden Grove (22) Freeway, a move universally derided as catastrophic. The 22 links five major freeways in central Orange County and hasn't had any major improvements since it was built in the 1960s, when Orange County's population was 700,000. Today, with a population around 3 million, the OCTA says improvements are needed to ease traffic flow, remove bottlenecks and enhance safety. But critics point out that any "improvements" will only make my drive into and out of Santa Ana hellish—more hellish. The OCTA doesn't dispute this. In an informational Q&A, they say the improvements are "scheduled to be completed by early 2007." First off, let me remind everyone that this is 2004—you do the matematicas. Second, nothing ever having to do with freeways—construction, improvement, MapQuest driving instructions—ever runs close to estimated times. Like trying to time date Larry King, it's an imperfect science usually off by a decade. Now, the same Q&A says the improvements will improve the "flow" of the traffic, which it won't because nothing improves the flow of any freeway except all of you people staying the hell off. Still, this must come as unwelcome news to Garden Grove Mayor Bruce Broadwater, whose main campaign promise while running for Orange County supervisor is that he would improve the flow on the 22, which the OCTA is already doing unsuccessfully. With that issue kind of ripped out from under him, Broadwater is now promising to broker a peaceful end to the Crimean conflict and aggressively fund research for a polio vaccine.

FRIDAY Oct. 1 News comes that the U.S. House of Representatives has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, so now we not only have to speak Spanish but also be gay. Funny, I didn't find out about this until I opened the paper today, but I swear, around the time this vote was taken Thursday, I got this feeling inside, the unmistakable feeling that some of the sanctity had been drained from my marriage, I'd say anywhere from 7 percent to 9 percent.

SATURDAY Oct. 2 The Angels and Dodgers clinch their respective divisions within a half-hour of each other. It marks the first time the two teams have been in the playoffs at the same time, sparking hopes of a Freeway World Series. Unfortunately, those freeways are the 5, 91, 57 and—you guessed it—22. I'm seriously considering a move to the Crimea.

SUNDAY Oct. 3 The word at Discount Tire is that Thursday's presidential debate probably didn't sway any votes, although consensus seems to be that Kerry did better than Bush in the format because Kerry "is pretty smart" and Bush "you know, talking like that, you know, he doesn't do that good." A brief canvassing of the area showed a 50-50 split between those who "Stand By President Bush" and those who favor a policy to "Defend Freedom. Defeat Bush." Just as intriguing was a third, "I'm Not Fonda Hanoi Jane" faction that seems to speak for Independent voters who are into time travel. In other news, on the international front, word is that one should keep their eye on Korea because it used to be the tires coming out of there were all "mushy" and I wouldn't sell them to you if you wanted them, I mean, I couldn't in good conscience do that, but now they're pretty good tires, actually really good. It's like how you would never buy a Hyundai in the past, but now they're almost as good as Hondas, and I like Hondas. Now this is South Korea, not the other one, whose tire industry is hampered by starving workers and basic tire production is less steel-belted and more nuclear-deviced. Add to that the fact that balancing North Korean tires is always a problem since they only properly fit on Axles of Evil. In economic news, the warranty is highly recommended, and I'm not just saying that—I couldn't care less—but remember that comes with a free balance and alignment any time.

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