Diary of A Mad County

Photo by Mike McGillWednesday, Nov. 17 Today, a bunch of the people who keep you safe—you know, the ones you keep voting down bonds to pay—practice what they will do when, if, the San Onofre nuclear plant blows up and everyone gets melty. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires they do this every six years, and it will no doubt prove valuable for everyone involved when, if, the plant actually blows up, you know, as long as it gives everyone a six-year heads-up. To make things as realistic as possible, the exercise is held 30 miles from the plant at the Orange County Fairgrounds, which poses toxic dangers all its own, as anyone who's eaten a deep-fried Snickers bar or sat through the Beach Boys featuring Sammy Hagar can attest. Orange County's Health Care Agency, Sheriff's Department, Fire Authority and other assorted hangers-on will try and demonstrate that they are able to distribute potassium iodide tablets to citizens and business owners in San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano, as well as unincorporated areas of Orange County within a 10-mile radius of the double-D'd power plant. Pretty ambitious stuff for a county that couldn't balance its checkbook and still has undecided local elections because it is traditionally the slowest county to count votes. The potassium iodide apparently reduces the risk of thyroid cancer from radiation, which means you'll be at full strength when the zombies devour your liver. And hey, if potassium iodide reduces the risk of cancer, why aren't we putting it in our drinking water? Look for this and other probing questions in my upcoming book, If the Black Box is the Only Thing That Survives a Plane Crash, Why Isn't the Plane Made of the Black Box?

Thursday, Nov. 18 Doris Dialogu, who works at Pearl Arts and Crafts in Huntington Beach, dropped a line telling us that someone has been ripping off copies of OC Weekly from the stand in front of her store, which is pretty hard to do considering it's a free paper. "The first time this happened was with the gay issue a while back with two men kissing on the cover," reports Dialogu. "Before they were stolen, some lady complained to my store manager that it was inappropriate and that they should be taken down. My manager refused to do so, and they soon disappeared. The other two times were last week's issue with Bush giving the bird on the cover and this week's issue with the soldier saluting with a hook hand; both of these disappeared without warning." Thanks, Doris. Hey, this person either really hates the Weekly or really likes men. Big, powerful men, some of them kissing, some digitally beckoning. Now, if you'd allow me, I'd like to say something to the person who keeps taking the Weekly: thank you! You may not be aware of it, faceless lifter, but we make money off the ads we sell, and the price of those ads is determined by the number of papers that are taken off our racks. So when you grab papers, you increase our rates and make us more money. Keep it up! Thanks to you, my kids may get to go to Catholic school! We'll do our part to keep you motivated—look for our upcoming Bestiality and the Bush Issue.

Friday, Nov. 19 In September 2003, the FBIarrested former Brea resident Josh Connolle in connection with a string of arson attacks at Southern California Humvee dealerships. A few months later, a Cal Tech grad student named William Cotrell sent the feds what he thought was an anonymous e-mail saying they had the wrong man. Thanks to that e-mail, Connolle got off and Cotrell—who admitted spray painting SUVs but denied throwing any Molotov cocktails—is convicted today of arson and will spend at least five years in prison. Which just goes to prove what Gandhi always said: "Nothing good ever came of telling the truth." That dude was amazing.

Saturday, Nov. 20 Word at the health club is "Those dudes, Artest, O'Neal, those guys, and this guy told me this: 'Those guys are just a couple of thugs from the hood.' That's it, a couple of thugs from the hood. That's what this guy told me, and this guy was a black guy."

Sunday, Nov. 21 A week after life on this planet almost ended as we know it because an actress dropped her towel before ABC's Monday Night Football, my son and I sit down to watch Sunday's slate of games with nothing to soil our enjoyment of the world's most violent game except a few thousand boob-cam cheerleader shots and a never-ending parade of alcohol, genital herpes and Carl's Jr. ads. Somehow, no one gets angry about these, which is understandable, I guess, given the steady decline in the culture witnessed by the steadily rising popularity of hate crimes and Jillian Barberie. But even in this atmosphere, the Levitra Lady stands out as the worst of the worst. She hawks the wares of one of these pharmaceutical timber companies that make it possible for old dudes to have sex. She's in her 40s or 50s and keeps leering at the camera, saying these disgusting things about her husband "getting the response he desires"—with what I imagine she thinks are bedroom eyes, but that come off more as Norma Desmond crossed with Squeaky Fromme. My kids are absolutely terrified of her—"Levitra Lady!" they scream as they run from the living room—and I have real concerns she may turn my son off of sex. If she doesn't do it, the disclaimer that warns of four-hour boners just might. Of course, when I was a boy, we had a name for four-hour boners: being conscious.

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