Photo by James BunoanWednesday, Dec. 29 Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli's H&S Ventures, the management company for the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, acknowledges today it is negotiating to buy the Mighty Ducks, which is sort of like acknowledging you still wet the bed—while wearing Mighty Ducks pajamas. Disney has been trying to sell the team for some time, attempting to lure buyers by dumping at least 10 members from the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals team. But no one has bit, put off by Disney's well-known facility for overvaluing itself, which explains why it actually charges for admission to get into California Adventure. Disney had been asking $150 million for the team, though many valued it at a tick more than $100 million and that was before the team ceased having games, fans or a team. You see, further complicating the sale is the fact the Mighty Ducks don't actually exist right now due to the owners' lockout of players. The league has already canceled this season's All-Star Game, and most think the entire season will be lost. This has caused much consternation for local hockey fans who, reached in the converted garage of their parents' home, said they heard when you do a frame-by-frame advance on the Alias, Season One DVD, you can kind of make out one of the tall chick's boobs as she does a windmill kick.
Thursday, Dec. 30 Happy birthday to Lorraine Lowery, who, I think we can all agree, is the greatest mom evah. Evah! Ms. Lowery celebrates with family at the Dal Rae Restaurant with a tall glass of scotch, a nice piece of fish and an argument with her journalist son about how little—"MUCH!"—money the U.S. government is sending to Asian Tsunami victims, eventually winning the debate by reasoning "Oh, shut up, Steven. It's my birthday."
Friday, Dec. 31 Browsing The Orange County Register website, I see a link for its "Letter Writers Hall of Fame." Naturally, I'm excited to see a greatest hits of wacky correspondence that accounts for the most entertaining writing in the paper: pro-Luftwaffe missives; angry calls for an immediate end to all taxpayer funding of foreign aid, public education and prenatal care. Unfortunately, the "Hall of Fame" turns out to be a list of names of everybody who had a letter published this year. It's the oldest trick in the newspaper book: get people to buy your paper simply by printing their names, which is why a newspaper will publish the name of everyone who finishes a local 10K, including the fat dudes who take corn-dog breaks along the way. Apparently, people get some kind of thrill out of seeing their name in the paper, even though the names appearing in the paper every day include George W. Bush, Scott Peterson and whatever dude got his ass kicked by Liza Minelli this week. Trust me, my name appears in the paper all the time, and it never got me anything but angry letters—well, letter—and a muffin basket, containing one gracefully written note of apology from Liza Minelli.
Saturday, Jan. 1 Happy New Year! Clearly 2004 was one of the suckiest years on record, right behind that year when people discovered pointy things make folks bleed a whole lot before they get real still. So here's hoping 2005 is much better, and it gets off to a great start when a friend—well, Gustavo Arellano— e-mails me with some really beautiful, ugly e-mails culled from, you guessed it, an OC Register message board. "God gave us free will so we could take care of ourselves. He never said he'd be our wet nurse and chambermaid," writes a future hall of famer who's angry at all those do-nothing freeloaders who chose to be swallowed up by the Indian Ocean. Not all of the messages were negative, however. There was this hopeful note: "Up to 114,000 [dead]. Only another 30,000 to reach the biblical number of 144,000 vanishing in the 'twinkling of an eye.' Ironic because most of these people are either Muslims or worship elephant-headed gods with many arms." Hmmm. Cruelty, arrogance, religious bigotry—what a difference a year makes!
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Sunday, Jan. 2 The Riverside Press Enterprise reports a man was hit and killed by a commuter train he didn't see because he was talking on a cell phone. Quoted in the story is San Bernardino Police Department Sergeant James Voss, who said he couldn't remember many accidents in the area involving pedestrians and trains. "It's not like Orange County," he says, "where people try to beat the Metro trains and get clobbered all the time." Now, No. 1, I didn't know being clobbered by a train was such a major problem in our area. I was under the impression OC residents were far more likely to get kathunked by falling anvils—open umbrellas proving a poor deterrent—as well as a steady rise in getting hit in the face with a frying pan and then your face looks like a frying pan. Still, Voss must know what he is talking about, even if when talking about it, he uses words such as "clobbered." I wasn't aware "clobbered" was an official term in regards to disaster. Seeking clarification, I put in a call to the county Office of Personal Injury and its director, Mo Howard, who explained, "Why I oughtta . . ."
Monday, Jan. 3 The Boston Red Sox might have walloped your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in last fall's playoffs, but at least we beat Beantown in one contest. In an LA Superior Court courtroom today, attorneys for 90 victims of priestly and lay Catholic sex-abuse and the Diocese of Orange announced the terms of their settlement: $100 million (the largest settlement in the history of the Roman Catholic Church) and the release of all personnel files that victims claim will show church complicity in their molestations. Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown made an appearance to personally apologize to the victims of his priests and even officiated over vespers (that's an evening worship service, for you heathen Protestants) at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange later in the day held in honor of victims and their families. But still, the most arresting image of the day came when Brown—who last year spent at least $350,000 on a PR firm to spin his pedo-lies—entered the courtroom clasping a dark-blue folder against his chest. Emblazoned in silver on the folder? "IMAGE."
Tuesday, Jan. 4 Clearly, I am the man responsible for pushing Angels owner Arte Moreno to rename his team. Before my incisive and influential year-end piece ["The Year in Letting Go, Go Angels"], Moreno said he wouldn't rename his team in 2005. Obviously my well-reasoned piece, arguing that a higher-profile name means more money and a consistent winner for Angel fans, convinced Moreno, who yesterday renamed the team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is what is called power. Actually, this is what has been called "the stupidest name I ever heard" by myriad sportscasters, writers and call-in folks. Still, it was with a great deal of pride that I announced to my son the Angels had changed their name. "They're going to be called the LA Angels?" he asked. "Well, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," I said. "That's the stupidest name I've ever heard."