Diary of a Mad County

Nov. 29 - Dec. 5

Wednesday, Nov. 29
Coasting.

Thursday, Nov. 30
Thanksgiving
was when?

Friday, Dec. 1
The Orange County Register
lays off about 10 percent of its work staff, giving 40 workers a "voluntary severance plan"—"voluntary severance" being a term coined during the French revolution. Now, coincidentally—or is it?—this is the also the last day the Long Beach Press-Telegram is giving tours of its magnificent old brick building—ink stained into the walls, presses on the first floor—which the paper is vacating to relocate in a nondescript office building, which reflects the current state of that once great paper. The paper's demise was speeded when it was purchased by newspaper baron William Dean Singleton, who is to American journalism what buzzards are to the Great Circle of Life. The paper has been gutted to the point of insignificance—"gutted to the point of insignificance" being a term coined by the Tribune Company. (Now, don't think for a moment that because these other newspaper companies are experiencing hard times that the industry is sick as a whole. We, for one, are making money hand over fist, owing mainly to our ancillary revenue streams from Indian subsidiaries that hold those fists over the hands of wee child laborers.) P-T staffers say they're happy to at least be going somewhere where all the desks will be filled, that it had become depressing to be faced every day with the vast amounts of physical emptiness that spoke of the paper's shrinking voice—but how did we get to talking about the Times Orange County Edition? The P-T was originally slated to move above a fish restaurant and was also considering a move above the Salvation Army, when it couldn't find a theater running La Cage aux Folles to complete the sad metaphorical trifecta. Folks at the Register may be thanking their lucky stars that a bid by Singleton to buy their paper was rebuffed a few years back. Then again, maybe they shouldn't be too thankful. When that deal failed, Singleton told TheNew York Times that he considered the Register a "deferred sale," explaining: "They'll clean these properties up, cut a lot of cost, and put them on the market again in three to five years. When they do, I suspect we'll be there." He said that three years ago.

Saturday, Dec. 2
An amazing and shocking story runs in what's left of the Register. It's about Huntington Beach Police Chief Kenneth "Biggie" Small admitting that, well, yes, in fact, his officers do plant unloaded guns as well as drugs and drug paraphernalia in suspects' vehicles, explaining they do so merely as a training exercise, you know, like the Sudetenland. Now, what is amazing and shocking about this story is not that Huntington Beach cops are doing something unconstitutional, cruel and perverse—"Unconstitutional, Cruel and Perverse" is, after all, the citymotto; two HB cops are under investigation for shooting and killing an 18-year-old girl and tales of police hostility in the city are as common as HB council members taking the Fifth when under cross examination by federal prosecutors. No, what is amazing and shocking is that nowhere in the Register story is it mentioned that this story was first reported in the Weekly A MONTH AGO. Go ahead, look it up. Go to the search engine on our website and type in "Training Day" and "R. Scott Moxley." I'm not saying the Register couldn't write the story or build upon the one Scott wrote A MONTH AGO, all I'm saying is give a brother a shout out. It's just good manners. By the way, in Scott's story, you know, the one that ran A MONTH AGO, Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman called the training-exercise excuse "ridiculous, crazy, nuts," and the actions of "reckless cowboycops with too much chutzpah," the latter statement always serving to pop the name John Waynestein into my brain . . . hey, hey, hey, a lot of my friends are Jewish. Well, two. But one's orthodox, so that counts as two or three.

Sunday, Dec. 3
After USC's loss to UCLA on Saturday, the University of Florida is selected to meet Ohio State in the BCS championship game. Florida is chosen because it has only one loss. Of course, so do Michigan and Louisville and Wisconsin. And then there's Boise State, which has no losses. Undefeated. Yet no one is talking about their claim to be in the national championship game. That's because under the present "system" there is no way that a team from a smaller conference, the Western Athletic—which, by the way, produced a national champion in 1984 with BYU—can get into the BCS championship because the thing is rigged. Horribly rigged. HB cop rigged. Look, if a team wins all of the games on its schedule, and only one other team has done likewise, those two teams should play for the championship. Don't talk to me about strength of schedule. If a team from the WAC is not deemed powerful enough to play for the Division 1 championship when they win all their games—and no one save one other team has done likewise—then the WAC should not be in Division 1. And if Boise State's schedule is so soft, why was it good enough to get them chosen to be in one of the four coveted BCS bowls? See, this is why I find myself, like a lot of others, rooting for chaos, rooting for such utter validity-busting turmoil that the BCS will be imploded—the latter a suggestion by Florida coach Urban Meyer, and he's in the championship game. Here's what to root for: Boise State crushing Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and Ohio State demolishing Florida, thus proving the matchups were ill-considered and stupid and that the whole system needs to be scuttled for some kind of playoff, even a very limited one. Also, that I get taller.

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