Diary of a Mad County

Photo by Keith MayWEDNESDAY Oct. 6 The Los Angeles Times runs an obituary for comic icon Rodney Dangerfield, who died Tuesday, in the back of their local section next to an obit for celebrity astrologer Joyce Jillson. No respect . . . Speaking of jokes, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Irvine to kick off his campaign against Propositions 68 and 70 just as the folks behind Prop. 68—card clubs and race tracks—announce they're abandoning the fight. They were done in by Schwarzenegger's enormous popularity owing to his ability to combine saying anything people want to hear with constant references to homo-erotica. It's weird with this dude. Even when I agree with him, say on Prop. 68, I am nonetheless bummed-out when he succeeds. It reminds me of what another deceased comic, Jay Leno, once said about Nancy Reagan. Talking about the First Lady's "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign, Leno said that though he never used drugs, when he heard Nancy Reagan talk about saying no to drugs, he "wanted to shoot up and die in the gutter."

THURSDAY Oct. 7 Irwin Rose becomes the third UC Irvine professor to win the Nobel Prize. Irwin—Ernie to his friends—wins in the field of chemistry, and there's no way I'm going to be able to tell you what he won for, only to say that all the reports I read say it has something to do with proteins, so I'm guessing he's a major player in the low-carb field. Dr. Charles P. Casey, president of the American Chemical Society, said Ernie's work "provides a cornerstone for the development of new drugs." And thank heavens. I think I speak for many when I say the old drugs are either played-out or way too expensive. I'm just surprised Rose didn't share the prize with someone at UC Riverside, since the Inland Empire has been well-known for its pioneering drug work for years.

FRIDAY Oct. 8 The Boston Red Sox complete a three-game sweep of the suddenly timid Anaheim Angels in the American League Divisional Series. To show you the attention span of sports fans, two weeks ago, as they were making their push for the Western Division championship, the club was being lauded for "taking a stand" against disgruntled outfielder Jose Guillen. This week, as Angels bats go silent, the club is being called shortsighted and being accused of overreacting in the Guillen affair. The only thing more fickle than American sports fans are American voters. Boston was clearly dominant in the series and no sour grapes here, but please, please, please, PLEASE, stop with talking about the Boston "curse." You know the one about how the Red Sox have been cursed from winning a World Series because they traded Babe Ruth? Sure it's a funny thing to put on a T-shirt, but it's tired and, worse, glosses over the real reason the Red Sox haven't won a World Series title since Woodrow Wilson was president: for much of the 20th Century, the Boston Red Sox were one of the most racist organizations in all of professional sports. They had an opportunity to sign Jackie Robinson but passed. They then had a chance to sign Willie Mays and passed, saying the game's greatest all-around player wasn't their type of player. In fact, the Red Sox were the last team to integrate their roster, grudgingly doing so in 1959, two years after Jackie Robinson retired. The end of it? Hardly. Between 1976, when free agency started in baseball, and 1992, the Red Sox signed no African-American free agents. Instead, for most of those years, they have cast their lot with big, slow white guys who could only score by hitting home runs. Curse? Karma. Still, Yankees suck.

SATURDAY Oct. 9 Word from the Dodger Stadium men's room is: it's Lima Time! Cardinals suck! And it is most definitely Lima Time. This restroom is on the top deck of the stadium and is kind of old-school in that you pee into a trough with others. It's the kind of setup that makes one glad to be a man, as it is efficient and moves matters along without a lot of waiting. And in a perverse kind of way, the fact that you're standing around a bunch of other guys with their penises hanging out just inches from yours encourages conversation as most participants don't want to dwell on the fact that they are just a step or two away from participating in a circle jerk. Still, it's quick—the pee trough, not the circle jerk—and I get back to my seat in time to see Tustin's Shawn Green hit his second home run. I'm happy as the team of my boyhood goes out to a 4-0 lead. Yes, go Dodgers. And then, on the big Dodgervision screen, a shot goes up of Schwarzenegger cheering for Green and the Dodgers. Sigh. Go Cards.

SUNDAY Oct. 10 Read in the paper today that French philosopher Jacques Derrida has died. Derrida, who was a visiting professor at UCI, is the father of a philosophic movement called deconstructionism, which, as it has been explained to me—my head tilted like a dog being lectured about peeing on the drapes—is in part about how any thought, fact or text can be broken down and twisted into whatever meaning the receiver desires—John Kerry the war hero becomes a traitor, the Sept. 11 tragedy becomes the Sept. 11 child's toy, those who claim to love freedom also claim we can only be free by limiting freedom. Or not. The thing is meaning is the key. Or not. The point is Jacques Derrida is dead. Or is he?

Next Page »