Diary of A Mad Year

2004 regurgitated


3 Local billionaire/love machine/overlord of time, space and awning design Donald Bren gets a whole school named after him today as UC Irvine announces its School of Information and Computer Science is now be known as the Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. Slick. They do this because they think Bren is a great guy and he gave them $20 million. If you think you can't buy everything in America, you're a complete idiot since the word "Bren" and "information" pretty much go together like "cookies" and "ass." If ever there was a man who distrusted information—about himself, his opinions and his plans for world domination—that man would be Donald Bren, who even Howard Hughes found to be "a bit standoff-ish." Through a press release (of course), Bren says he hopes his school will lift "our quality of life." That's nice. Of course, at this point, the only way to improve Donald Bren's quality of life is with an all-chocolate seaside villa on Planet Boobsalot. . . . 5 Ronald Reagan dies. No snide comments. Still, puh-lease, stop crying over the man. Stop calling it a "tragedy." The man lived to be ninety-freaking-three! Yeah, he got Alzheimer's, but only after he was eighty-freaking-three. That's a good run for anyone, let alone some hunky dude who decides one day to become an actor and has a 30-year run in that business despite no discernible talent, and then decides to become president of the Screen Actors Guild, and does, and then governor of California and then president of the United States. There's a short list of people who led such charmed lives as to elicit no sadness at their passing, a list that includes Ringo Starr, Ed McMahon, the guy hired to guard Cameron Diaz's panties and Ronald Reagan. . . . 6 Frigging Lakers. . . . 10 Mel Gibson's Icon Distribution announces it's suing Philip Anschutz's Regal Entertainment Group for $40 million, claiming the nation's largest theater chain, with a virtual monopoly in Orange County, shortchanged Icon on revenues from The Passion of the Christ. Icon claims Regal agreed to pay it 55 percent of receipts but reneged and offered only 34 percent. So, in review, Gibson, the fundamentalist Catholic who said making The Passion had nothing to do with making money, wants more money from Anschutz, the fundamentalist Christian who funds moral-sounding groups trying to eradicate homosexuality while being dubbed the "greediest executive in America" by the well-known leftist rag Forbes. Verily. . . . 12 Dennis Rodman's agent announces his client sold his Newport Beach home, much to the disappointment of local revelers and cops looking to earn overtime. The five-bedroom house sells for about $3 million, though press accounts do not say whether that includes the helicopter, inflatable dolls and 24-hour curbside police service. . . . 19 UC Irvine's commencement ceremony goes off with nary an associate professor exploded. That comes as quite a surprise to some who assume that because a few of the Muslim grads chose to wear cloth stoles with Arabic lettering saying such inflammatory things as "God, increase my knowledge," they were going to go completely Hamas. The kids, who actually had to call a press conference Friday to explain the stoles, say they are simply a sign of religious unity. That doesn't fly with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly—and who better than a guy named O'Reilly to put the traditions of Islam into perspective—who says the overt religious themes are actually code for support of suicide bombers. Agreeing with O'Reilly is some guy named Kevin S. O'Grady of the Anti-Defamation League, who says that "to suggest there is only [a religious] meaning [to the stoles] is disingenuous." And who better than a guy named O'Grady . . . But what is being done to protect the crowd from all the kids wearing WWJD bracelets? And are they being asked to answer for the crimes of Eric Rudolph? Timothy McVeigh? And what about every kid wearing a yarmulke? Is that tacit support for the actions of the Son of Sam? Laura Schlessinger? And why the hell is a guy working for the Anti-Defamation League going around defaming people? . . . 26 As people start rushing to their seats to see this evening's Fahrenheit 9/11 screening at the AMC 30 at the Block at Orange, a beefy security guard yells out that anyone who leaves the theater without their ticket will not be allowed back in. "What are you, a Republican?" somebody shouts. And so it goes. Whenever something viciously anti-Bush is said, applause starts, many times followed by cheers, especially when a U.S. soldier with nerve damage and a Purple Heart tells the camera he'd been a Republican his whole life but planned to vote Democrat—so "that fool" won't get re-elected. And not everyone in the audience fits the lefty-liberal mold. A middle-aged man who looks like your typical Orange County conservative sounds as if he's being tormented with a cattle prod—or the truth—as the movie profiles the many relationships between the Bush and Bin Laden families: "Oh, no!" "My God, no!" "Aw, geez." . . .30 Take this for what it's worth, but today, posted on the This Modern World website ( is this thing purported to be—typos and all—an "actual excerpt from the June 25 session of Ask the White House" online chat room, this one with Paul Wolfowitz, the loveable troll who brought you the enchanted delight "Iraqi Adventure." Still, take notice this chat starts with the mysterious "Jon" of Huntington Beach. Here goes:

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