Diary of a Mad County

Aug. 10 - Aug. 16

Wednesday, Aug. 10
Who does anything on a Wednesday?

Thursday, Aug. 11
We get word today that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange will be awarded the Family Violence Project's Award for Inspired Action for its efforts in educating teachers and students about, among other things, sexual abuse. The diocese is only the second organization to receive the award, and I'm assuming the first was the Roman Polanski Foundation for Hot Hot Wayward Girls and Their Sisters, No, Not That One, the One With the Pigtails and Come Hither Smile, Oh Yeah, That's the One. Maybe it's just me, but it seems a little, I dunno, premature, or maybe disgusting, to give the diocese this award when the ink is still wet on its $100 million settlement with 90 victims of sexual abuse enabled and denied by diocesan officials for years. Exactly what is inspired about ostracizing and vilifying victims? As for education, the diocese has repeatedly refused victims' requests to simply share their stories with fellow Catholics in church or in the classroom, where it could not only be inspiring but actually useful. And as for action, a judge had to order Bishop Tod Brown to apologize to a victim; something the bishop never actually did, choosing instead to tell victims the money was on the nightstand and "Don't you look at me!" In a related development, the National Organization of Chickens has awarded the Wolf its "Nice Guy Award" for the 112th consecutive year, noting the Wolf's uncanny knack for being around whenever a chicken is attacked. Inspired!

Friday, Aug. 12
You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I really like the ballet. And not just the ones where they dress up poodles in tutus. No, I like the real stuff: the beautiful music, the soaring bodies, the explosive, controlled athleticism, the inspiring tales of people getting it on with birds and food gadgets; wonderful. I saw the Bolshoi Ballet's production of Spartacus tonight. Sadly, it was a bit of a disappointment. You never doubted that the folks onstage were giving their best, but in a Bolshoi production of Spartacus you expect a lot of well-muscled Russians jumping out of the building. I mean, we're talking Spartacus here; all heroism and gladiators and battles and oysters—you know what I'm talking about. But it just never seemed to catch fire, if you'll pardon the expression. In fact, the evening's highlight was provided by three dancers—Andrei Bolotin, Denis Medvedev and Andrei Evdokimov—getting big air while portraying shepherds. Still, just being part of a ballet audience is a hoot. They're so classy: old gentlemen dressed in suits and scarves, young aspiring ballerinas, necks lifted, elbows hoisting wispy shawls as they walk with their toes out. It's the kind of crowd that greet one another with an "Oh, I'm delighted to see you!" Really, I heard this like three times tonight. "Delighted to see you!" That's so nice; so unlike any of my friends, who rarely cease chewing when they greet me, if they greet me at all, usually only taking time to nod or demand immediate repayment—those dicks wouldn't know class if it was biting them in the ass.

Saturday, Aug. 13
Will the last assistant sheriff leaving the sheriff's department please turn out the lights? Two assistant sheriffs—Doug Storm and Pete Gannon—announce within a week of each other that they are retiring from the department. Between them, Storm and Gannon have more than 60 years of experience, something sorely needed by a department that fluctuates between troubled and toxic, you know, just like the Diocese of Orange. Let's see: one assistant sheriff, George Jaramillo, is under indictment for a bit of corruption; a reserve deputy, Raymond Yi, is under investigation for pulling a gun on golfers who had the insolence to be golfing on a golf course. And then there was Scott Moxley's piecelast week about a suit filed by San Clemente businessman Greg W. Hall charging that five Orange County Jail deputies "shoved his face into a cell door frame, threw him to the floor, punched him, kicked his ribs, stomped on his back and legs, bent and twisted his arms and wrists, and repeatedly slammed his face into the concrete." God only knows what horrors would have awaited Hall had he three-putted.

Sunday, Aug. 14
After rising 20 cents over the past three weeks, gas prices hit an all-time high of $2.50 a gallon today, according to the Lundberg Survey, whatever that is. The increase has caused some to blame higher fuel costs for a rise in consumer prices, which went up 0.4 percent, a bigger than expected jump. Others are bitter that the Iraq War which wasn't about oil has really turned out not to be about oil. For my part, I pose this question: Where the hell can I get me some of that $2.50 gas? Geez, I paid $2.89 today and, though it took two trips to the ATM to fill up my minivan, I was glad to get it. Gas for $2.50? Oh, it's like some enchanted land, one called GeorgeW.BushNeverBecamePresidentLand. Experts suggest that $3 gas is only weeks away and, talk about nostalgia, not only are we mired in a far-flung war without a clear purpose or exit strategy, but we could be seeing gas lines very soon. Can CB radios be far behind? For his part, Bush has been running, well, running around his ranch, telling everyone how great everything is: the economy, the war, his ranch. But people don't seem to be buying it since his approval rating has dropped into the 30s, the lowest rating for a national leader since Tojo's approval numbers on Dec. 8, 1941.

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