Diary of a Mad Year

Jan. 1-Dec. 13

January

1 In a dramatic moment of historic significance, Robert H. Schuller announces he is stepping down as senior pastor of Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral and handing the mantle over to his son, Robert A. Schuller. If you think calling this a historic moment is overstating things, just know that's what the Crystal Cathedral called it on its website. In fact, the Cathedral not only called this "historic news," but also said the elder Schuller is "regarded as one of the most influential religious leaders in history." In history. So that would be Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and Robert H. Schuller, the man who pioneered the drive-in church and charging 40 bucks for a "Mustard Seed Charm Necklace." Schuller is considered the father of the megachurch—I guess someone had to be—his cathedral providing prosperous refuge for wealthy businessmen to feel good about the things they do during the week . . . 5Charles Manrow, the so-called "senior citizen bandit," is arraigned today in Santa Ana for a series of bank holdups, including heists in San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel and Seal Beach. During robberies, Manrow, who is 70, is alleged to have waved a gun at bank tellers. Though he'd threatened to kill them, the tellers did allow that Manrow was the nicest elderly customer they'd ever had . . . 11 The Long Beach Police Department cops to a December audit that revealed 85 of the department's 272 shotguns are missing. Police Chief Anthony Batts has ordered all 900 of his uniformed police to actively search for the missing guns, which sounds like Easter at Charlton Heston's . . . 15 Professional bowler Jason Couch defeats Parker Bohn III in the championship match of the Dick Weber Open at the Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley. The usual orgy of celebratory rioting breaks out, spurred on by drunken "bowligans" . . . 24 Irvine's Great Park Corp. announces the selection of landscape architect Ken Smith to design the Great Park. Smith is from New York, and his work is described as "cutting-edge" and "avant-garde" by people who speak "in-clichés." Smith calls this the "project of a lifetime," which may be him talking about the honor or talking about the fact that none of us will ever live to see the thing completed. Staying true to his roots, Smith, who has designed smaller parks in New York, promises the park will be constructed with plenty of hidden nooks for wilding . . . 26 In the most anticipated move by new owners Henry and Susan Samueli, the couple announces the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will no longer be known by that stupid, stupid name. The Samuelis employed Irvine-based Paine PR to guide the name search and what did they come up with? The former Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will now be known as . . . the Ducks of Anaheim. Now, I'm not saying the Samuelis wasted their money, but they could have pretty much come up with that name by looking at the Mighty Ducks name on the Pond marquee and covering their left eyes. I'm not bragging, but I think I could canvass my office right now and come up with a lot better team names. Here, gimme a second . . . okay, I sent out an e-mail requesting a new name for the Ducks, and here's what I got:

The Mighty Ducks of Riverside

The Lemurs (mine)

Who are you?

The Mites

Who are you and what is your fascination with lemurs?

The Mighty Flucks

No, I do not care in the least that lemurs have scent glands on their bottoms.

The Dighty Mucks

I have referred this matter to Human Resources.

La Migra

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Henry and Susan Samueli as well as the hard-working folks at Paine PR if I in any way intimated that the Weekly staff was capable of coming up with better team names when I wrote that the Weekly staff could "come up with a lot better team names." Go Lemurs!

February

3 As the Arte Moreno/Los Angeles Angels Farewell Tour continues in Orange County Superior Court, a former Disney business strategist says his company never intended for Anaheim (which he calls a "small part of a very big place") to be the only regional designation for the Angels when Disney owned the team. Larry Murphy tells the court he "personally was concerned" that calling the team the "Anaheim Angels" "might stymie the growth and development of the franchise. . . . At some point, we might have to find a way to incorporate another geographic region—Orange County, Los Angeles, whatever." According to internal Disney memos, the folks who brought you the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were considering Mighty Angels of Anaheim, Avenging Angels of Anaheim, Devilish Angels of Anaheim, Conquering Angels of Anaheim and Fearless Angels of Anaheim, as well as Pacific Shades, Orange County Breeze and Southern California Surf. All of a sudden, LA Angels of Anaheim is sounding more like the Royal Shakespeare Academy, ain't it? . . . 9 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim win their case with the city of Anaheim and can continue to call themselves the Los Angeles Angels of Blah Blah Blah. After weeks of testimony, expert witnesses and disputed statistics, it takes the jury just four hours to arrive at its verdict. Interviewed afterward, jurors say they don't so much think the Angels presented a good case as they believe Anaheim agreed to a really crappy contract that in no way required that their city's name appear before the team name. This would be shocking if it weren't so typical of Anaheim, which has been signing crappy deals with professional sports teams for a long time, whether it was the Rams, who bolted, or the Angels under Disney, which got Anaheim to agree to enormous concessions and, in return, allowed Anaheim to run the parking lot . . . 16 President George W. Bush says Vice President Dick Cheney has been "profoundly affected" by accidentally shooting his friend Harry Whittington in the face. "I saw the deep concern he had about a person who he wounded," Bush says. That's nice. Anybody mention that more than 2,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq in a war that profoundly affected the good fortune of Cheney's old company Halliburton? . . . 21The Orange County Register runs a story headlined "Red-faced Cheney Has Lots of Company," which begins: "When we asked readers to share with Dick Cheney their embarrassing moments, we didn't realize how many gun-related mishaps we would get." In the same section that asked readers to send cutesy shots of cats doing cutesy things like getting into the laundry hamper or being shot in the face by Dick Cheney, the Register runs a collection of uproarious tales of accidental shootings and actual maimings such as: "We all yelled, hit the ground and duck-and-covered like they teach you to do in disaster drills at school. We were hit! I had a little silver ball in my arm; my mom's temple was grazed; and my brother was hit in the leg." Priceless! And then there's this rib tickler: "When I was ready to retire for the night, I picked up the gun to move it and then the world exploded! I thought we had had an earthquake. I looked at my hand; it was like viewing an episode of M*A*S*H! It appeared that my two middle fingers were missing on my left hand, and yes, blood was arcing up just like in a bad TV episode. . . . I have permanent nerve damage in my left hand as well as permanently crooked fingers. Fortunately, I am right-handed. . . . I am very lucky." Stop, stop, my side hurts from laughter and a hollow-point bullet! . . . 24 An arbitration panel awards nearly $900,000 to two former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners, saying Kinkade's company fraudulently induced them to invest in the business, a business they eventually lost a lot of money in. The pair, Karen Hazelwood and Jeffrey Spinello, say they invested $122,000 of their own money to open the first two Kinkade galleries because Kinkade company officials "failed to disclose material information." It would seem the only material information one would need is to take a look at any one of Kinkade's completed canvases, which look like they were painted by Bilbo Baggins. The pair said that Kinkade used his Christian faith to entice them; I guess they figured any man who could defame God's beauty like that and still be allowed to live must be in pretty good with the Almighty.

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