By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Mexican officials announce the dismantling of a cross-border counterfeiting ring that printed an estimated $5 million in fake $100 bills and sold them in the United States. Law-enforcement officials were tipped off when they discovered a subtle flaw in the reproduction of the bills: Benjamin Franklin's "Thug Life" tattoo was placed on the wrong side of his face. The previous Friday, U.S. Secret Service agents arrested 10 people and seized $75,000 during raids on three houses in Santa Ana. In all, 13 people were arrested for allegedly selling the counterfeit bills, though, given the state of the American dollar, most of them were sold as novelty items or coasters. Perhaps one reason the folks in Santa Ana believed they had to go to such extreme measures is spelled out today in a housing affordability report that says a family must earn $25.69 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Orange County. That works out to four people working full-time at minimum wage or one full-time wage earner working 152 hours per week, which sounds like a lot but still won't get you health benefits at Wal-Mart.
Thursday, Dec. 15
I apologize for today's Diary. I, I . . . I dunno.
Friday, Dec. 16
Formerly significant person Arnold Schwarzenegger announces the special election to fill the state senate seat left vacant when John Campbell—himself vacant in an ill-fitting double-breasted suit—was elected to Congress. Schwarzenegger sets the date for the special election at April 11 which makes everyone wonder whether, after his disastrous election showing, anyone has to listen to anything Arnold Schwarzenegger says. Oh, and by the way, what's your hurry? Apparently Campbell was so critical to the running of the state that Schwarzenegger felt the need to replace him in a scant FOUR MONTHS. Until then, Campbell's seat will be filled by someone ideologically and temperamentally similar: the Slinky takes office Monday.
Saturday, Dec. 17
Really, I'm very sorry.
Sunday, Dec. 18
One of the more wonderful things about the holidays is that just sitting around watching TV can be claimed as quality time with the family. So, I'm sitting down with my family—they dutifully observing daddy's 4.5-foot "magic moat of personal space"—watching some classic holiday TV like, I dunno, How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Surgical Instruments Left Inside of Patients, and sometime during a commercial break, we are confronted with a scruffy-looking guy standing before a cow. Then some music starts pumping, and now the scruffy dude is petting the cow, then caressing the cow, moving and garoovin' with the cow until finally he is getting full-on freaky with the cow. Needless to say, having never seen the Tonya Harding wedding-night video, I was shocked. Then I put things together: funky music, guy dry-humping a cow—or, as it is known in the midwest, high school; deviant sex set to music . . . this has gotta be a Carl's Jr. commercial! In the past, Carl's has run ads with a woman simulating sex with a mechanical bull and Paris Hilton simulating sex with a car. So bestiality actually represents a step up for them. A step up being what the scruffy guy was going to need if he wanted to, well . . . Speaking of barnyard creatures, George W. Bush says we're winning the war in Iraq. He also says we're winning the war in Vietnam, the war in Crimea, the War on Drugs, the War of the Roses and the war on high prices. Remember, he also said he won the 2000 election, which just goes to show: you say anything long enough, people may actually start to believe it.
Monday, Dec. 19
I'd just like to say a quick hello and thank you to the two completely drunk women in front of me and my kids at tonight's Queens of the Stone Age show in LA. With your flopping about and passing out and falling down and puking on yourself and almost burning off that guy's beard with your Playboy lighter, you provided the kind of cautionary alcohol tale I could have never communicated to my kids on my own—well, except that one time I was moaning and throwing up into a chalk bucket on my porch for an extended amount of time one Independence Day with my kids—even in their horror, maintaining the agreed-upon 4.5-foot buffer—crying that "Daddy's dying!" Still, you were doing it in tube tops. Thanks.
Tuesday, Dec. 20
This being the last time I'll talk to you before Christmas, I'd like to share something very special I recently discovered. Like all aspects of truth, it seems very simple at first, but the more you think about it, the more powerful it becomes until, finally, it seems to hold the very key to life itself. As you'd expect, I found it in the Irvine World News (it may help while reading this to imagine it being said by Linus under a spotlight, perhaps fondling a cow):
"The issue of windows in home additions and remodeling [in Irvine] has been big enough that it took up three Planning Commission meetings and brought out half a dozen residents, despite the unflattering name of a 'zone change to allow windows and openings on zero lot line properties.' The frustration over balancing windows and neighbors' privacy started in 1997. The City Council passed an ordinance preventing windows or openings from being added into the walls of homes built directly on the property line. The ordinance came out of pressure from neighbors who wanted more privacy. The issue was recently brought to the Planning Commission by residents who want the 1997 ordinance repealed. At the commission's Nov. 3 meeting, some residents spoke in favor of keeping the ordinance, and residents remodeling homes asked that the ordinance be repealed. The commission voted 3-1 to repeal the ordinance. Commissioner Bill Mavity voted no. Neighborhood associations are free to decide whether to prohibit windows on zero-lot line properties."
Breathtaking, isn't it, the way it gets right to the heart of things? Which Russian writer was it who said that life is one big slog of pain and misery—oh, that's right, it was all of them. Yes, rife with disappointment, tragedy and Theo Douglas, and then it's over too quick, unless Theo wants to tell you about vintage Japanese motorcycle jackets, and then you can't welcome the sweet kiss of vile death quick enough. So, here we have these people in Irvine yammering and arguing and meeting about window heights, and at one time, they thought and spoke of love and beauty and joy and made love and danced—though probably geekily at their cousin Jocelyn's wedding, off-beat and biting their bottom lip . . . scratch that last one. The point is they were alive, and then something happens and suddenly the height of a window becomes the most important thing in your life and you talk it and walk it all the while ignoring that voice very deep inside you, imploring your brain to find the courage to jump out of your head and stab you repeatedly with a pick ax. Now that's Intelligent Design! Happy birthday, Jesus! The other thing it proves is what a magnificent bastard Bill Mavity is! Give 'em hell Mav'rick!