Diary of a Mad County

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11 Not that you've noticed, but there's been a lockout in the NHL that's ripping this nation apart. Everywhere you go, hockey fansfan?—are asking, "What's an NHL?" and, "You want fries with that?" It looks like the whole season could be lost. Yes, an entire year without the thrill of watching guys hit the black thingy with the wood thingies from the three-point line—TOUCHDOWN! And nowhere are fans missing NHL hockey more than in Anaheim, where they missed NHL hockey all of last season as team owner Disney went about dismantling the defending Western Conference champions with the aplomb of a bunker buster. More than 10 players off the 2003 Stanley Cup finalists have been traded or allowed to leave since the Game 7 loss. Under those circumstances, it just seems logical I received an Internet notice today from ticket broker/force for evil Ticketmasterannouncing that there will be hockey at the Pond this month. Mighty Ducks hockey. Cincinnati Mighty Ducks hockey. Cincy is Anaheim's minor-league affiliate and Ticketmaster says you can see them battle the Grand Rapids Griffins—yes, the Grand Rapid Griffins—on Nov. 24. Because it's minor-league hockey, you can get a mid-ice seat for just $24, and check out a Cincinnati team that just a month into the American Hockey League season is eight points behind in the division and, as of this writing, lost three straight games. Still, $24 is pretty cheap considering what they charge for hot dogs at the Pond . . . well, I thought it was pretty cheap until I just checked out the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks website and found the most expensive seat in Cincy's home arena is only 15 bucks. Still, this doesn't figure to outrage Anaheim fans who are accustomed to paying top dollar to watch minor-league hockey.

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 Dead sharks and pelicans.

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 I guess because I wrote up this little interview with my Canadian cousin where I asked him how the weather—not to mention home prices—were up there, I've received a few e-mails regarding our great neighbor to the north. They range from quick facts like "The United Nations has ranked Canada the best country to live in for eight consecutive years" to a link to a letter from Stephen Berberich of Surfside in The Orange County Register. Berberich, who describes himself as a "proud conservative," says that though he endured years of Democratic rule in Congress during which they were committed to the "secularization of America," never "did I threaten to leave this country because my party had lost an election. We, as committed conservatives, simply continued to compete in the arena of ideas." And what ideas! The idea that anyone who disagrees with you is a God-hating Sodomite. The idea that any disaster—natural or man-made—is the product of the sinfulness of anyone who disagrees with you on what we should watch, read, sing, marry and worship. You see, Steph, while liberal drama queens talk about leaving the country, conservative Christians—who rue the secularization of the nation, as well as the teaching of the New Math—simply call upon God to destroy the country whenever they don't like the way things are going. I'll never forget the unmistakable gleam in the eye of a plumber who came to my house the morning of Sept. 11. As we watched the endless replays of the towers falling, he told me this was the result of America's "long moral decline" and that since this was "all part of God's plan," these were "exciting times." See, liberals just can't handle this much excitement.

SATURDAY, Nov. 13 Our Mighty Ducks lose to the Manitoba Moose when the guy in the Jason mask lets the black thingy go into the rope basket. Hey, Jason-mask guy, next time try using your flattened cudgel, wouldja?

SUNDAY, Nov. 14 (This actually happened the week before, too long to go into, don't ask.) In the interest of furthering my children's education, I TiVo'd IFC's presentation of The Filth and the Fury, director Julien Temple's documentary of the Sex Pistols. I figured I'd digitally record Filth, watch it once through to remind myself of places I'd have to fastforward through—I recall bathroom-stall sex scenes and a woman masturbating on a car, though that may have been on The View—and then show it to the kids. (Tricky, this business of punk and kids. I'm always mindful when singing "Pretty Vacant" in front of them to eschew the proper spitting of "vacant" as va-kUnt to the less ambiguous va-kAnt. Punk is wonderful and transformative but, like the Bible, must be approached with caution.) I'm excited for the kids to see the Pistols perform, especially guitarist Steve Jones, whom they listen to most evenings as they do their homework. "Jonesy!" they scream when they hear Indie 103's rebroadcast of Jonesy's Jukebox, squealing in that delighted manner they once did for "Barney!" then "Pikàchu!" Anyways, as the film nears its end, John(Johnny Rotten) Lydon is not only blaming Sid Vicious' death on Pistols creator Malcolm McLaren—who comes off as a less-charming version of Satan in the film—but also implying drummer Paul Cook and Jones did nothing to help. Lydon points out that Jones never challenged McLaren, that the pittance McLaren provided in money, girls and drugs was enough to buy him off. "Jonesy" doesn't do much to dispute this, saying his greatest contribution to the band was being the first punker to wear a handkerchief on his head. "They just turned it into making money," Lydon says. "How hilarious for them. I'll hate them forever." Jones' guitar swells from out of the background as Lydon hisses the tail end of "No Fun" during the band's final show in San Francisco. The movie ends. I delete it. My kids have already had their faith shaken in Kobe and God. There's plenty of time for further disappointment.

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