Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, July 13
A convicted childsexoffenderis arrested while working at the Orange County Fair, a violation of his probation, which prohibits him from working close to children and frozen bananas. The carny community that works the fair—including slack-jawed yokels, toothless rednecks and other like-half-minded dentally affected persons—express outrage and fear, concerned that the arrest of Steven Henry Torres of Anaheim will ruin the positive image carnies enjoy. As one explained: "Show us your tits!" Carnies believe that their like have at times been unfairly painted as degenerate and ignorant and greasy and liars and scary and it's true you won't find a lot of Harvard law degrees among them, though you will find your share of MBAs and philosophy majors: "Whether you're tall enough for the ride isn't the issue as much as is the question of your free will being an absolute. I mean, even Aquinas recognized this in ExibeoNosTuiChichis(Show Us Your Tits)." A fair official said Torres was hired by a subcontractor that didn't understand the fair's hiring practices, but now the fair and subcontractor are "in sync." How much mind melding does it take to understand that an employer that deals with the public would like to steer clear of sex offenders? Must one also be explicit that they prefer to stay away from radiationcloudmonstersand the Irish? The subcontractor's first clue that something was wrong was the guy's name. Nothing good ever came of anyone with three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Pol Harvey Pot, Tom Harvey Cruise.

Thursday, July 14

Friday, July 15
OrangeCountyRegisterapologizes for a mistake it made in a story about state Assemblyman Tom Umberg, in which it suggested that Umberg had quit the Army Reserve because an extramarital affairof his had come to light. In fact, Umberg had set in motion his retirement before admitting to the affair. Honest mistake. Happens to everyone; happens to me a couple of times each issue. I'm the guy who once wrote the Lakers would never win a championship with ShaquilleO'Nealand once claimed that Pol Pot's middle name was Harvey—though that's so far in the past it's almost not worth mentioning. Anyway, it's not the mistake that's galling, it's that the Registerattempts to make it the reader'sfaultfor noticing. "Because of a reporting error, a July 9 article in the Registercould have been read as reporting that Umberg's retirement, which took effect June 30, came after he admitted to the affair." Really, you think it couldhave? Couldthat be because the July 9 article's secondary headline—or "deck"—read "The assemblyman resigned just after admitting affair." Or couldit be that the story's first line read: "Tom Umberg, a Democrat representing central Orange County in the Assembly, resigned as a colonel from the Army Reserve days after he admitted to an extramarital affair." Or couldit have been that the phrases "resigned as a colonel from the Army Reserve" and "extramarital affair" were separated by just five words, those five words being "after he admitted to an . . ."? Interestingly, the Registerclaimed the Army looks down on extramarital affairs—directly contradicting every episode of M*A*S*Hever—and said that Umberg's affair could have led to his loss of security clearance. It goes on to say the Army's Personnel Security manual lists sexual misconduct as "Adultery that is recent, frequent and likely to continue and has an adverse effect on good order or discipline." Uh, think a guy wrote that? Let's see, the adultery has to be "recent," has to be "frequent," andhas to be "likely to continue." Think Ikescribbled that down while he was diddling that British chick? Man, I haven't heard more sexual loopholes since my friends insisted that oral sex is not cheating, nor is having sex with someone other than your wife outside your area code. Or was it ZIP code? The point is I need to get new friends.

Saturday, July 16
Took my kids to the Orange County Fair because I live for danger. We went to the Pacific Amphitheater to see X. Now, I don't know if you have kids, and I would never tell anyone to have kids, but I would definitely recommend doing what the celebrities do and lease a couple from Thailand, if only for the singular joy of standing shoulder to shoulder with them and singing the chorus from "WhiteGirl."Of course, the little bastards ruin the mood by making fun of the way you hold—correctly, I might add—the last word ("But I'm living with a white guurrrrrl"), but that may have just been the contact hightalking.

Sunday, July 17
's 50th anniversary celebration, which feels like it's been going on for 50 years, is officially marked at the park today by such luminaries as Michael Eisner, Walt Disney's daughter and Art Linkletter, who was present at the original opening, and I'm referring to the original opening of the Earth. Art Linkletter is still alive? Dude was old when I was a kid, and when I was a kid America still made steel. Anyway, besides Linkletter there are many others who were there opening day. Actually, they hadn't left, just got stuck in a really slow line for the Matterhorn.

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