By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo courtesy Billjonesforcalifornia.comWEDNESDAY, Oct. 20 My daughter is very excited tonight. She wants to read me something she wrote. It's called "The Day My Dad Broke My Arm." She said it was part of a memoir-writing exercise, but clearly I see the hand of trial lawyers. Anyway, this is the price of being a celebrity parent, and I feel a kinship with Joan Crawford tonight that goes beyond my special "command performances" for chosen "special" friends. The fact is that I was involved in an incident that I guess could be construed as leading to my daughter's injury. I really can't remember when, where or even which arm was broken, but as any parent will tell you, after a few years, all the soccer games, parent-teacher nights and maimings of children tend to run together. Anyway, my daughter's account says I broke her arm when I pushed her while she was swinging on the monkey bars while we were playing Olympic Gymnast. Her account gives no context. Did I push her? Did I push her too hard? Yes. Did my pushing too hard result in her flying off the bars, landing hard and then screaming as her arm hung from her shoulder like a dried salami? Yes. I hope that clears everything up.
THURSDAY, Oct. 21 I don't know if you remember Brandon Maxfield—he's the kid who won a $24 million judgment against Costa Mesa gun manufacturer Bryco Arms and with some of the money sought to buy Bryco and put it out of business, which is a really wonderful thing to do for a kid who was paralyzed by a defective Bryco gun when he was seven. Ten years later, Maxfield's bid of $505,000 was trumped by Paul Jimenez, who bid $510,000. Today, a lawyer for Maxfield claims in federal court Jimenez really didn't buy the company but was simply the front man for Bryco's former owners, Bruce and Janice Jennings. It all may be just sour grapes, or it may be that Jimenez is a former Bryco employee and Maxfield's lawyer has papers showing Janice Jennings wired him $430,000 to make the purchase. What's more, Janice Jennings' company, Shining Star Investments, then placed an order for $1.5 million worth of new guns, though how Jimenez is going to fill the order is unclear since he doesn't have a license to manufacture guns in California. Why doesn't my daughter write about THAT?
FRIDAY, Oct. 22 Nick Schou tells me to check out this New York Times story from a couple of days ago that reveals inmates at Guantanamo Bay are shackled to the ground naked and forced to listen to very loud rock music, a playlist that includes Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine. Now, I imagine you think my first reaction is the tragic irony of using Rage—a band that lived to fight such outrages of the institution—against itself. But I have to say my anger is focused on the ineptitude of the War on Terrorism: If our government can actually locate a Limp Bizkit CD, why can't it find Bin Laden? Limp Bizkit? What? We loaned out all our BTO? Geeezus. Limp Bizkit? How much more must we defile ourselves?
SATURDAY, Oct. 23 I actually saw a Bill Jones sign today! Really! Driving south on MacArthur in Newport Beach. Big one! "Bill Jones for Senate." Must have put the campaign out 100 bucks or so, which ain't chump change when you consider the campaign is reportedly in debt owing to the fact that Jones, who pledged a million-dollar loan to himself, reneged on that promise to himself. Jones has so little money he's yet to run a single TV ad—there are plans to run the first on Election Day. I'm not making that up. Most polls have Jones' opponent, Barbara Boxer—or, as he will now be required to forever call her, "Momma"—up by at least 20 points. The Jones campaign may be the worst I've ever seen, mostly because I haven't seen any of their campaign, owing to the fact they haven't done any campaigning, owing to the fact that they don't have any money, owing to the fact that Jones is lame. The Republicans have run some major losers for Senate—S.I. Hayakawa, Bruce Herschenson, Mike Huffington, John Seymour—yeah, they were nuts, but at least people knew they were nuts, that is, they knew they existed. This is the first rule of politics: make sure people know you exist. You might think the first rule is get the Chinese money upfront, but no.
SUNDAY, Oct. 24 Schou heads for Anaheim's Unitarian Church for an afternoon performance of Salsa Nights, a new play that, on one level, argues for approval of Proposition 66, which would modify California's poorly constructed Three Strikes Law. Those publicizing the play say it incorporates seduction, murder, blackmail, immigrant bashing, prostitution and campaign finance, or what I like to call Fondue Tuesdayat the Rohrabachers'. So, Nick arrives at the church—which, if you knew Nick, you'd know how weird it was to just type those words—and finds he's the only one there except for a solitary church volunteer who says the show was canceled. Nick's bummed, but I'm not surprised. I mean, Unitarians are the best; the kind of folks who actually live their faith in accordance with the teachings of compassion and understanding, but let's face it, their God is a laid-back dude who makes the—what do you call it?—world and sits back and kind of chuckles to himself while it plays out on its own. Basically, He's a stoner God who isn't so much interested in Original Sin as Funions. God, they're good!
MONDAY, Oct. 25 My daughter gives an oral presentation of her hit piece about me and her arm. I feel less bad this evening when she tells me that other memoirs included children whose parents shoved them into mosh pits and brought them to bum fights. Kids.
TUESDAY, Oct. 26 This morning, the Los Angeles Timessays the race for president is a dead heat, with George W. Bush andJohn Kerry at 48 percent, Ralph Nader at 1 percent, and Undecided at 3 percent. This moves me to make a plea to my good, well-intentioned brethren who support Nader: Why you wanna be a douche? I mean respect and all, but c'mon, why? Look, I'm not blaming anyone for anything that happened four years ago. Back then, maybe you could argue that Bush wouldn't have been any worse than Al Gore, but, c'mon. Four years of this crap? Come on. And please don't make this about being right. Of course you're right. No one's debating if you're right. You want me to say it: "You're right. You're right." The system is depraved and needs fixing. But come on. As to the undecided: let me suggest that if after four years you still can't decide whether to vote for a sitting president, you've already made your decision. firstname.lastname@example.org