Diary of a Mad Year

By Bob Aul


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-clichs." 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!


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.



1 The Orange County Board of Supervisors approves the donation of 125 bulletproof vests and 805 protective vehicle panels from the OC Sheriff's Department to a Marine unit. Unfortunately, this material was used, waaaaay used. Nine years used. This stuff was so used the department was either going to donate it or destroy it because it was more vulnerable to current types of ammunition. That's current types of ammunition available in Orange County. I wonder if they have current types of ammunition in Iraq? Do rocket-propelled grenades qualify? Still, the Marines are happy to get whatever they can, even if it's nine years old and only kinda bulletproof—bulletproof-ish. . . 7Thomas Kinkade, painter of light, when asked during a deposition if he had groped a woman's breasts during a meeting of Kinkade Gallery owners—allegedly said, "These aregreat tits"—responded, "But you've got to remember, I'm the idol to these women who are there. They see my work every day, you know? They're enamored with any attention I would give them." Yes! Now why doesn't he paint that . . . 17 Happy St. Patrick's Day! This is the second day of a joint conference in Anaheim between experts from the American Society of Aging and the National Council of the Aging. The conference brings together more than 5,000 academics, gerontology professionals and people who can't remember where they put the TV remote . . . 19 On this, the last day of the Anaheim aging conference, a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says the number of cosmetic procedures climbed above the 10 million mark last year. Most of the procedures are of the office-based variety, such as Botox injections, where someone is repeatedly stuck in the face with a needle, a procedure once known as the "Huguenot solution" but now called "minimally invasive." There were nearly 4 million injections of Botox, manufactured by Irvine-based Allergan, in 2005, almost five times the number in 2000. The other top minimally invasive procedure was the always charming "chemical peel," originally developed by Robert Oppenheimer and colleagues at Los Alamos. But it wasn't all good news for poor self-image. There were disappointing numbers in regards to pectoral implants and calf augmentation—just 206 and 337 procedures, respectively—as well as just 793 vaginal rejuvenations, most of those performed on the male leadership of the Democratic Party . . . 29 The Anaheim City Council unanimously approves a preliminary list of 150 candidates to be considered for enshrinement in the city's "Walk of Stars." City leaders are hopeful the Walk will do for Anaheim what Hollywood's Walk of Fame has done for that urine-stained, miserable vortex of sadness and crime populated by the broken as well as by horrified visiting hayseeds who demand to be taken to Hollywood and suddenly realize why their Southern Californian hosts repeatedly said, "I don't think you want to do that. It's not what you think." The Walk was the idea of Gerald Ishibashi, who said that the success of shows such as The O.C. has made Orange County "a brand in itself now, and Anaheim is a key player." Yeah, pretty much anyone who watches The O.C., based in Newport Beach, or Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County is thinking they'd like to visit a landlocked town with a sizable German population. After the vote, Councilman Harry Sidhu says of the Walk: "I think it'll bring a lot of tourists right from Hollywood to come see our stars." Now, I've never met Councilman Harry Sidhu, but the man is either an idiot, deranged or a shameless tool, because I can guarantee you NO ONE is going to drive directly from Hollywood to Anaheim to look at the ground. The only place tourists drive to directly from Hollywood is the E.R. or back to the hotel for some therapeutic shuddering.



3 "Did you hear about Buddy?" Weekly editor Will Swaim asks me in that searching way that clenches you the way the phone ringing at 3 a.m. does. "What about him?" "He died Sunday." "What? How?" "Heart attack." Buddy Seigal was the music editor of this paper for a time. He was a short, squat, powerfully built guy, though the powerful part may have had more to do with his attitude than physique. He seemed tough, but he could be disarmingly generous in his comments about something you'd written or about your lack of musical sophistication. And for a guy who exuded cool, he could be bald-faced affectionate, and by affectionate I mean walk off the stage on which he'd been performing at the office Christmas party, take you in his arms and kiss you full on the mouth to the delight of your son. But the first thing I thought of when I heard of Buddy's passing was about how he left the paper. One day, a paper-wide e-mail from Buddy showed up that began by saying he was resigning as music editor because he and Will had differing ideas about what the Weekly's music section should be. I remember reading that first sentence and thinking, Oh, Christ, here comes the crusher. And Buddy Siegal, who once wrote "David Bowie has always sucked harder than Jenna Jameson on crystal meth," could crush. Instead, what followed was a request by Buddy that there be no whisper campaign on his behalf, that people not spend time gossiping about his departure. He emphasized that this was simply a disagreement between colleagues. Graceful, dignified, it bowled me over as it has ever since; I don't think a week goes by that I don't think of that e-mail. We live in a time when to disagree with someone invites demonization—perhaps questions about your patriotism. We live in a time when everyone seems desperate to hold the high ground of victimization. Buddy would have none of that. Responsible and forthright, you might say his message was the action of an evolved human being, or you just might say it was the action of someone being a man. . . 5 Costa Mesa Police Chief John Hensley retires at the ripe old age of 50, apparently because he wasn't thrilled with the idea of having his men go through people's garbage. Folks in that city really take an interest in each other, so much so that the City Council told Hensley to have his cops start checking people's papers, you know, like something out of Orwell or Nazi Germany or Wal-Mart. Led by Mayor Alan Mansoor—a phrase that inspires Little Bighorn-type confidence—the council voted to have Hensley's officers trained to check people's immigration status. The law is directed at the city's Latinos, who make up a measly 30 percent of the local population. Hensley was concerned that a third of his city would be scared to death of his cops to the point they would not want to report crimes or cooperate in investigations of crimes. Echoing Hensley's misgivings, Sacramento Police Chief Albert Njera called the plan "chaos in the making," adding: "There is no way on God's green earth we can go out there enforcing immigration laws and then say, 'By the way, call us when someone rapes you or fires a round into your house.'" Hensley seemed resigned to the fact that he was going to have to enforce something he didn't really believe in, you know, like how George W. Bush feels about the Constitution. Mansoor—the technical term for a male masseuse—and his ilk believe such drastic steps are necessary because illegal immigrants cause such a financial drain on cities. So they want Hensley to train anywhere from 30 to 40 officers, at a cost of about $28,000 per officer, to perform immigration checks on felons, even though the felons are checked once they are transferred to county jail. The best Hensley could muster in favor of the new law was to say it would be worth it "if one person is deported who could prey on our community." The council agreed and immediately moved to have Alan Mansoor deported … 17 Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona wins an overwhelming endorsement for his re-election from the local Republican Party's Central Committee, and by overwhelming I mean he gets it by one vote in a re-vote after failing to get it the first time party leaders got together. Many people think Carona could go far in politics, even end up on the national stage, and who can doubt it when you look at his legacy: his chief confidant, George Jaramillo, indicted on various corruption charges. Don Haidl, his chief campaign fund-raiser, resigning his post as a deputy sheriff because of his son's predilection for home movies and sticking things where they don't belong. Reserve deputy Raymond K. Yi, Carona's martial-arts instructor, arrested for flashing a gun and a badge at golfers he thought were playing too slow. Sheriff's Captain Christine Murray, charged with illegally soliciting campaign contributions for Carona from colleagues. All this, a friendship with a strip-club owner/felon, charges of sexual harassment and some very disturbing pictures of his butt. Huzzah! . . . 20The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival announces the grand marshals for its annual parade. The "celebrity" grand marshal is Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver on the TV show Leave It to Beaver, which was very hot during the Jim Crow era . . . 23 George W. Bush, riding a wave of popular approval approached in the past only by Tojo and venereal warts, comes to Irvine to talk about his great successes in Iraq. You figure Bush comes to Orange County because it's safe, and there aren't many safe places anymore for a president with a 32 percent approval rating—John Wilkes Booth had higher numbers; still does in certain areas of Alabama and all of South Carolina . . . 28 Jason Hadley, a 22-year-old from central California, accepts the keys to the Laguna Niguel condo he won in a contest. The developer who gave away the condo called it a "$500,000 Dream Home," though, at present prices, $500,000 pretty much qualifies as low-income housing in South Orange County. What's more, the only time I ever heard the words "dream" and "Laguna Niguel" in the same sentence was when someone said, "It's always been my dream to get out of Laguna Niguel."



1The 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 P-T'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.) 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 The New 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 . . . 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 city motto; 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 cowboy cops with too much chutzpah," the latter statement always serving to pop the name John Waynestein into my brain . . . 5 Today's Register reports that Huntington Beach police will stop the practice of planting guns and such in unsuspecting civilians' cars. The paper takes credit for the change, saying that Chief Small said "we just think it's not worth continuing." Now was he talking about planting guns or the Register? . . . 13 Celebrity website TMZ.com reports that actress/video vixen/shoe weaponry expert Tawny Kitaen, arrested for possession of 15 grams of cocaine, struck a deal with Orange County prosecutors today that allows her to avoid prison if she completes a drug treatment program. (TMZ also reports that "Mary Kate Loves Her Witch Shoes" and "Janice [Dickinson] Puts the Ho in Holidays" and we are the richer for it . . . wait.) Kitaen, who was arrested in her San Juan Capistrano apartment with her two daughters present, has struggled with addiction so getting some help is good news for her and her family, but one has to feel for the young up-and-coming soon-to-be-forgotten-and-living-in-a-San-Juan-Capistrano-apartment vixens—your Lindsay Lohans, Tara Reids, Britney Spears and Colin Farrells—who've lost a role model. Fear not, self-entitled train wrecks, George Michael lives! . . .



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