Diary of a Mad County
Wednesday, Jan. 10 Orange County may have about three million residents, but it's a cozy three million. And so when one of our own is going through some hard times, we want to hear about it—you know, for the love. So when we heard that Laguna Hills resident Whitney Houston had been forced to auction off items left in a New Jersey storage facility to pay the $150,000 in fees for storing said items, we naturally wanted to find out all we could, you know, again with the love. Items including gowns, bustiers and Dolce & Gabbana underwear were bought up by fans, mostly dragperformers and representatives of the J. Edgar Hoover Library and Martini Lounge, though some were disappointed to discover that Houston's artistic integrity was not on the block: she sold that when she agreed to work on basic cable.
Thursday, Jan. 11 The OC Registerreports that the state attorney general's office has droppedits investigations into two allegations of sexual harassment by Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona—one because it found no criminal violations, the other because the accuser refused to be interviewed. What the Register piece does not say is that the investigation found that Carona had violated his own department's rulesby asking a woman out for drinks and inviting her to spend a weekend with him in San Francisco. What's wrong with that? Well, sheriff's department guidelines demand officers adhere to the highest standards—you know, like not asking a married woman to leave town for drinks, especially when you are a married man, not to mention a self-proclaimed conservative Christian. In fact, the sheriffs also frown on asking the same married woman to spend a weekend with you in San Francisco a week after she gave birth. They're a special breed, that lot. Sensitive.
Friday, Jan. 12 Far be it from me to tell the folks at Disneyland how to market their product, after all, they're conning German middle managers to pay upwards of 60 bucks to "enjoy" California Adventure—"Das sucks!"—But I can't for the life of me figure out this new ad campaign that tells kids they can listen to the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers while they ride roller coasters Space Mountain and California Screamin'. Yes, it's quite an enticement to tell kids they can pay to hear a band they hear for free every 2.7 seconds on the radio. ("Dani California" was the third most-played bit of radio content last year, finishing just behind Howard Stern passing gas and Paula Abdul explaining why that week's drunken rant had nothing to do with her being drunk.) The song they use to promote this thing on TV is the Peppers' 1989 "Higher Ground," which, I think everyone but Disney knows, is actually a Stevie Wonder song. Now, I'm not saying that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have no place in Disneyland, it's just a matter of using them correctly. I suggest incorporating them into the Matterhorn Bobsleds so that riders, instead of being menaced by a giant white Snow Beast, are met by a gesticulating beast with his junk in a tube sock. "Das rocks? Das rocks!"
Saturday, Jan. 13 Is it cold or did I lose my tube sock?
Sunday, Jan. 14 The New England Patriots defeat the San Diego Chargers 24-21 in the NFL playoffs and angry Charger fans immediately demand the firing of head coach Marty Schottenheimer,who fumbled three times, threw an interception, dropped several passes and committed a costly personal foulafter his team had stopped New England on fourth down. He also missed a game-tying field goal and attempted to exterminate the Kurds.
Monday, Jan. 15 Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! And to celebrate Dr. King's "Dream" we all sit around thinking to ourselves, "Boy, that was quite a dream Dr. King had. Quite a dream. I suppose it's just about the best dream ever, that and the one where I'm doing a three-way with Jessica Alba and Jessica Alba's clone." Of course, the real way we celebrate the great man is by not receiving mail and being inundated with TV bumper excerpts of King's "I Have A Dream" speech, which has been played so much by now that its power has been all but lost as it melds into the pop culture sonic wallpaper somewhere between "Can't we all just get along?" and "May the Force be with you." King's words still have power, of course. In fact, the speech people should be checking out today is one he made 40 years ago called "Beyond Vietnam." Any of this sound familiar?
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and dealt death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours …
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.
Tuesday, Jan. 16 The Register, which has been a race baiter, a Pulitzer Prize winnerand a home to race-baiting letter writers, can add a new moniker: cautionary tale. An article in today's Washington Post describes the Reg as emblematic of much that's wrong with the newspaper industry. Problem number one: they publish newspapers. Let's see, there are the bickering Hoiles offspring that sold off the paper to private interests in order to make a quick buck. There are those private interests—Providence Equity Partners and Blackstone Group—that are paid a quarterly dividend so that even though the paper isn't technically vulnerable to the pressures of being a publicly traded company, for all intents and purposes it is. That pressure has led to layoffs and the birth of OC Post, which the Washington Post describes as "bite-sized"—that being a term of endearment for "air-popped" and "short on news, facts, perspective," which apparently is a good thing since the article quotes one focus group member saying he likes OC Post because it doesn't have "nine paragraphs of useless stuff." Those would be words.
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