A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Wake me: MCOKER@OCWEEKLY.COM

Posted Aug. 10
ORANGE COUNTY CHOPPERS
The sirens grew louder around o'dark:30, spurring the mass of canine next door to correspondingly increase the volume of his losing attempts to harmonize. That I could take. That I could eventually tune out and return to deep, blissful slumber. But then came the buzz of a helicopter, then another, then another, then another. ". . . But suicide is painless . . ." the familiar voice kept singing in my head. By now it was light, and sleep was futile. I began to assess the situation. If this had been a police-copter situation, there would be only one and it would make wide circles over my house, like it has done in the past for no apparent reason. But the quartet of whirlybirds over my modest chunk of Orange County real estate were not circling; each picked a spot somewhere over the 405 freeway near the Fairview off-ramp and hovered. And hovered. And hovered. It took two seconds to figure out what was going on thanks to something that happened about a year ago. I was flipping the channels between LA morning news channels--wonder what kind of witty banter completely unrelated to the day's news Mark, Sam and Carlos will come up with on KTLA? Are people really buying Katie's false sincerity on NBC? Quick! Switch over to 11 and see how slutty Jillian is dressed? Oops, there's Dorothy's nails-on-chalkboard voice chiming in. And she's talking about her kid again! Time to change channels--when one eye-boogered anchor threw it to their traffic reporter in the sky. As the camera scanned down at another SoCal morning freeway parking lot, I suddenly realized that the buzz of the chopper blades from the screen were identical to some faint buzzing outdoors. (See, it wasn't all in my head!). So I swing open the front door, and there in the distance, over the 405, was the same aircraft that at that moment was on the air. "Hola, Jennifer York!" Talk about delivering the news to my front door. But, while that was kinda cool, this morning's Apocalypse Now! invasion was not. For one thing, it was much earlier than the York encounter. For another, NOW THERE WERE FOUR FLIPPIN' COPTERS OVER MY ROOF! Speaking of flipping, I flipped on the TV to discovered what brought all the stations to the skies overhead: a fatal accident that backed up southbound traffic on the 405 to at least Beach Boulevard. Okay, you all got your shots of another SoCal morning freeway parking lot--which, let's be real, all look the same; they could have just dug up file footage or pointed their cameras down on any freeway in their own goddamn county--now move on. Yeah, right. Because viewers from the desert to the sea to all of Southern California require the same bloody weather and traffic report every 10 minutes--and I do mean the same; the weather and traffic barely change here--the whirlies remained porched mere yards from my porch, but several feet up in the air, of course. So here's what really frosts my flakes: after scanning the dial for the next 45 minutes or so--2, 4, 5, 7, 11 (nice boobage, Jillian!)--I learned: 1) If a station did go to their traffic reporter, each used only about 3 seconds of live video from the 405 and Fairview, and 2) Many stations skipped over their eyes in the sky because, I dunno, Lindsay Lohan left skidmarks in her undies or something equally earth shattering. Great. Go away. I need my beauty rest. Where's my BB gun? So now you can imagine my shock--utter shock, I say--at discovering this was not just another routine snarled traffic situation, but the sad tale of a woman from a German rock band who either fell, leapt or was tossed out of a Hummer limo. Gee, that mighta sparked my interst, Steve Edwards! Hey, it even had an LA angle: she was apparently coming back from a celeb party in Hollyweird. See, no need to ignore another boring OC traffic fatality. This one had Tinseltown juice! Heck, that party's attendees may have even included Lindsay Lohan. And her skidmarks. Back to you, Dorothy!


THE HUD MAN
I defended Rex Hudler when he wouldn't defend himself after getting suspended from Angels broadcasts after pot was found in his luggage during a road trip last season. (Hudler used weed to help sleep after suffering a brain hemorrhage a few years ago.) We can get past his gravelly voice and assorted homerisms and that damn baseball he plays with in the booth. His enthusiasm and good heart make it difficult to knock The Hud Man. But as I listened to the following, mixed metaphors exchange with Fox Sports West anchorman Michael Eaves after the Angels pounded the A's 9-2 last night, I've gotta ask: Rex, amigo, iz you back on the pipe?

Michael Eaves: Considering the importance of this game, and I know the team was trying to downplay it a little bit, but what was the mood of the Angels on the field? Did you see a certain intensity in their eyes going into this game?

Rex Hudler: Michael, very stoic as usual. Business as usual for the Angels, who have a resiliency on how to turn the page, brought to you by skipper Mike Scioscia. This guy's unbelievable. Riding over on the team bus, there was just a couple players on it, just a couple pitchers and Vladimir Guerrero in the back of the bus, usually with a big smile on his face, had no expression, almost a scowl like, "You know what? We have to send a mental message to this ballclub." There was a focus I haven't seen all year when I came here. The Angels with the eye of the tiger. Guby [Eaves' telecast partner Mark Gubicza] says the defense let them [the A's] down early. I look at it as the Angels pressuring that defense. The most aggressive team in the American League showed up today. Kenny Macha of the Oakland A's know they have their hands full this season, Michael.

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