Diary of a Mad County

Sept. 13 - Sept. 19

Wednesday, Sept. 13
Singer Whitney Houston files for divorce from "singer" Bobby Brown, and our long national nightmare appears to be finally at an end. Who among us doesn't remember where they were when we heard the news of Whitney and Bobby's marriage? I was putting the finishing touches on my "I Will Always Love You" Bodyguard fantasy collage featuring Bill Clinton and Sister Soulja as the star-crossed lovers. The divorce is news in Orange County not only because Houston filed for legal separation in Orange County Superior Court, but also because court papers reveal she now resides in Laguna Hills and has since April. This will no doubt spark an interest in Laguna Hills, and so for those of you who've happened on this site after interwebbing "Laguna Hills" on your computationmebob, here's some city info. In 1874, Lewis Moulton purchased Rancho Niguel from Don Juan Avila. Moulton used the ranch to raise sheep and then, after an incident he said was the result of "having the sun in my eyes," abruptly switched to cattle. The city was incorporated in 1991 under the new city motto: "No, we're not that Laguna. We're nowhere near that Laguna. Just get that Laguna completely out of your heads." In November 1995, the City Council approved annexation of the North Laguna Hills area, launching a bloody, 10-month incursion that was eventually successful. Today, Laguna Hills is a happy community, save for the occasional guerrilla attack and soul-crushing tedium. In 2000, emboldened by their North Laguna Hills success, the city launched a Westside offensive that netted Laguna Hills another 149 acres, including Sheep Hills Park, a popular destination for lovers—sunglasses are strongly advised.

Thursday, Sept. 14
The House of Representatives passes a bill that would pay for the construction of a 700-mile wall along the Mexican border and immediately begins taking bids from East German construction firms. This is part of the United States' ongoing "Getting Medieval On All Your Asses" foreign policy that began with soldiers in Iraq being encouraged to make their own suits of armor. The wall is just a first step, as various congressmen have already proposed bills that would provide money for catapults, archers and cauldrons of boiling oil to be placed along the wall, as well as money for the latest in moat technology and a fleet of flying dragons to provide reconnaissance. Walls have long proved effective at keeping people out, as the long, unending histories of Carthage and Troy bear out. Now, you kids who attended public school aren't aware that a poet named Robert Frost once wrote a poem about walls. Come to think of it, if you attend public school, you're probably not aware there are things called "poets." Anyways, it's a long poem and I'm sure it's about stuff, but the only thing anyone ever remembers is the line "Good fences make good neighbors." This is important because the best rip of one writer by another writer involves Robert Frost and James Dickey, author of the male porcine romance novel Deliverance. Wrote friend Dickey: "If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost, I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes. A more sententious, holding-forth old bore who expected every hero-worshiping adenoidal twerp of a student-poet to hang on his every word I never saw."

Friday, Sept. 15
I attend the opening of Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa and see a whole lot of rich people, many of whom are old and desperately trying to deny their oldness using methods pioneered by the ancient Egyptians that leave their faces taut and shiny, with all the warmth and humanity of a kitchen counter. As frightening as the evening is, this audience will provide the basis of my research for my forthcoming relationship book, Rich Men Are From Mars, Rich Women Are From Botulism Extract, Space Age Polymers and Lathes. For an excerpt, see "Segerstrom Hall: It's Nice!"

Saturday, Sept. 16
Just a word to the Latino friend I met today. Hey, I think it's real boss that you like skateboarding around the Vons parking lot. I hope you could tell that we were all very impressed by your weaving in and out of traffic and flipping us off and pointing to your pants, which I can only assume meant you wanted us to notice the Nazi swastika and anarchy symbol you'd magic markered on there all by yourself. Bitchen. By the way, not sure you're aware of this, but Nazis and anarchists have nothing to do with each other. In fact, they are diametrically opposed. While you may think having a Nazi symbol and an anarchist symbol right next to each other makes you look badass—as if hanging out in a supermarket parking lot didn't totally solidify your badassedness—anyone with half a brain recognizes that the two philosophies are like apples and oranges: apples that want to control every aspect of your life (including when you forfeit it) and oranges that believe no one should have a say in your life. Speaking of such a gulf, a very wise person said, "They go together like cookies and ass." I believe it was Bertrand Russell. But, hey, it looks totally cool and swastikas are only symbols. Who ever got hurt, or killed, over a symbol?

Sunday, Sept. 17
Symbol prayin' day! Love my symbol. My symbol is so much better than your symbol. Not that I don't tolerate your symbol. This is America, and I completely tolerate your stupid, hateful, cookies-and-ass symbol (total piece of crap).

Monday, Sept. 18
In what is being called the game of the year, our Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the San Diego Padres 11-10 in 10 innings, coming back from a four-run deficit in the ninth inning by hitting four consecutive home runs and then winning it in the 10th on Nomar Garciaparra's two-run blast. It's a great win that has all of Southern California buzzing, and one of the things they are buzzing about is that the Angels could learn a thing or two from the Dodgers when it comes to guts and heart. You hear this from commentators and sports-talk callers who mention the Angels as kind of a pathetic aside. It's a fair point that is completely stupid, in that the Angels, at 80-70 and playing in the far, far, faaaaaar superior American League, have a better record than the 79-71 Dodgers. Still: Nomaaaaaah!

Tuesday, Sept. 19
People ask me all the time what it's like to work at the Weekly (they don't). They're fascinated with the inner workings of the paper (they're not) and how we arrive at the decisions that determine our news, arts and music coverage ("Hey, are those chicks in the back hookers or just strippers?"). I try to explain to them what is involved in putting together such a publication, but perhaps nothing shows the sheer intellectual rigor necessary in such an effort as this recent company-wide e-mail sent out by arts editor Theo Douglas. It begins, "I have misplaced my pants . . ." I will say no more except that Theo has abruptly switched to raising cattle.

SLOWERY@OCWEEKLY.COM

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