Diary of A Mad Year

2004 regurgitated


1 Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror float—the tallest ever entered in the Tournament of Roses Parade—ambles down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard and is seen by millions. It then goes on display at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim for a week, where it is seen by disappointed Iowans. The float honors an attraction based on a "lost episode" of Rod Serling's creepy old TV series, but those most creeped out by the spectacle were families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11. . . . 7 The man most responsible for Arnold Schwarzenegger being where he is today, recall benefactor Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Oceanside), spends the day at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix getting his palms greased by western coal, power and mining officials. It's a four-day "festival of access-buying," complains Frank O'Donnell of the environmental group Clean Air Trust. No wonder he's pissed: the "official business" portion of the junket includes a presentation by Bush-administration officials on how they'd rewrite the landmark Clean Air Act—with a thick black Sharpie! . . . . 9 The Associated Press reports that Alvaro Tejeda, who had been a chef at a San Jose-area El Torito restaurant, lost his job after heeding the call of Anaheim immigrant-rights activist Nativo Lopez to stay home to protest the repeal of driver's licenses for the undocumented. "With every social movement, there's always a byproduct of direct action," Lopez says with a shrug. Maybe Tejeda was able to feed his family that byproduct. . . . 12 The condom-in-the-chowder lawsuit filed against McCormick & Schmick's seafood restaurant in Irvine is settled days before the trial was to begin, according to a statement issued by the plaintiffs' attorney. Details are confidential. Laila Sultan, 48, of Stanton, had claimed she was eating at the Schmick with three friends in February 2002 when she bit into an unwrapped, rolled-up condom. Schmick's legal eagles said there was no evidence the offending willy wrapper came from their kitchen, and further skepticism surfaces when it's discovered Sultan sued and won damages after alleging she was burned by hot coffee at a Long Beach Taco Bell. . . . 14 That pounding noise you think is all in your head this afternoon is actually the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) hammering through the last obstacle to the city of Irvine annexing all 4,287 acres of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. An appeal of the annexation by the shills for George Argyros International Airport—the Airport Working Group—is denied by LAFCO, which sets the stage for an online auction of retail and industrial land that'll ring the Great Shrinking Park. . . . 19 John McCaslin's Inside the Beltway column in The Washington Times—the Moonie paper—reports that Congressman Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) is miffed over a 17-page memo released by Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee he chairs. The minority members supplied a laundry list of homeland-security gaps, something Cox characterizes as "unacceptable amateurism." Just to be clear: releasing the laundry list of homeland-security gaps is what Cox finds unacceptable amateurism, not the security gaps. . . . 22 The U.S. Senate approves a bill that allows Richard Nixon's White House papers to go to his presidential library in Yorba Linda. The same day, the Boston Globereports that Republican staff members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated Democratic committee members' computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to right-wing media. The more dirty tricks change . . . 30 "Hey, Kariya! What's up with that!?!" a freshly juiced patron who'd just poured out of JT Schmid's yells to a fan wearing a Mighty Ducks jersey with former captain Paul Kariya's name on the back. As everyone knows, it's proper etiquette to place black electrical tape across the Kariya name should you wear his old Ducks jersey into the Pond—especially on this night, when Kariya makes his first return to Anaheim since skipping to Colorado with Teemu Selanne in the off season. Bite the biscuit, traitors: Ducks win, 4-3. . . . 31Former Dana Point construction worker Evan Marriott slithers back out of obscurity—he'd previously been the robotic stud on ABC's Joe Millionaire—when the family film Moto X Kidsopens at five Los Angeles-area Loews Cineplex Theatres. Thankfully, the distributor assures us this steaming pile of celluloid—which also stars Lorenzo Lamas, Gary Busey and a chimp—will never play theaters in Orange County.


2The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's 1.7 million-gallon-per-minute ocean-water cooling system begins a two-day frenzy of sucking up thousands of sardines that are promptly chopped to bits in its razor-sharp turbines. Rough seas stranded the fishies close to shore. On the bright side, the 13,590 pounds of diced sardines does not go to waste thanks to a big rig jackknifing on the 5 freeway in front of the plant and spilling its load of saltine crackers. . . . 4 The quick flash of Janet Jackson's boob costs Laguna Beach High School an MTV reality show that was going to follow a half-dozen students. The school board holds an emergency meeting to renege on a previously approved deal with the cable music network. "Last week, it didn't seem like the contract was counter to the district's mission, which is the education of the students," explains board member Kathryn Turner. But after the Super Bowl stunt, "This week, it does." The joke is on the board: the kids and their parents allow themselves to be taped without the district's blessing, and Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County goes on to premiere later in the fall and is eventually picked up for a second season. (Actually, the joke's on viewers because the show blows.) . . . 5 Snowboarding champ Tara Dakides of Laguna Niguel suffers minor injuries after veering off a ramp, flying 25 feet and landing on the hard ice next to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, where she performed jumps for CBS' Late Show With David Letterman. To his credit, Letterman cancels the rest of the taping and sees the 30-year-old to the hospital. . . . 6 On The Howard Stern Radio Show (aired locally on KLSX-FM 97.1), which is broadcast a short distance away from the Ed Sullivan in midtown Manhattan, 21-year-old porn actress "Taylor" of Huntington Beach serves as the target for a game called Anal Ring Toss, which had her down on all fours with a stick coming out of her ass, which the show's regulars toss rings at. Artie Lange proves to be the Lord of the Anal Ring Toss, which was no doubt a contributing factor in the show winning a Peabody Award. What goes unreported--because it only occurred in our sickest fantasies--is Tara Dakides sat next to Taylor on the flight from John Wayne Airport to New York:

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