Diary of a Mad County
Wednesday, July 19
Because it's too hot to use nine-tenths of the 5 percent of my brain that I'm using, I can't be sure, but I think I wrote something last week about Capistrano Unified School District and how officials there were accused of compiling a list of names of parents who supported a school board recall effort. A former district employee said he took down the names at the Registrar of Voters office and then handed the list to district Superintendent James Fleming. Fleming said he gave them right back. Whatever. Point is Fleming resigned today, or burst into flames. Like I said, not very detail-oriented these days. Fleming said he had been planning for some time to retire but because of the recent "hysteria" over the "enemies list" he decided to "get his ass" out of "town" before anyone found out about the "white slavery." Wait a minute: I think that last bit is from Chinatown . . . or was it TheChina Syndrome? To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar? So hot. Alternately sweating and chafing. Anyone have a crotch lozenge?
Thursday, July 20
Water . . .
Friday, July 21
. . . waaater.
Saturday, July 22
In an ironic twist that shows I haven't lost my sense of humor even though my sense of a just universe evaporated Thursday, I attempt to escape the heat with my kids by going to the theater and watching An Inconvenient Truth. I was concerned that the movie's examination of global warming would be too heavy, stat- and fact-laden for my kids. I also worried that it would freak them out and make them grasp the hopelessness of everything, etc., but decided to risk it when doctors were called in to remove my underwear. My fears were unfounded: Truth is a lot funnier than I thought it would be, even romantic, though I could have done without the gratuitous sex scenes and it did seem a little hard on women, you know, intimating that without superpowers they weren't . . . awwwww, Christ! That wasn't An Inconvenient Truth, it was My Super Ex-Girlfriend. I never realized how much Luke Wilson looks like Al Gore from behind and, frankly, I was in the midst of a 90-minute cold reverie so I would have watched anything, even if it had Keanu Reeves in it.
Sunday, July 23
In high heat and unprecedented drought conditions, which seem to confirm the dire scientific conclusions of My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Tiger Woods wins the British Open. It's Woods' 11th major championship and—given the recent death of his father, Earl—perhaps the most emotional. That story has been reported all week and completely overshadows what may be the most under-reported sports story in my lifetime: Floyd Landis winning the Tour de France. Landis, who lived in Irvine during the mid-'90s—before the town was reclaimed by Death Valley—is an American cyclist whose hip is so damaged he can barely walk and can't cross his legs. Yet, his victory in the most grueling test of physical strength is treated as an afterthought, coming as it does in the wake of not only Tiger's win but Lance Armstrong's seven straight Tour championships. Armstrong was often lauded for coming back from cancer to win, but Landis' victory is more impressive than that: he still suffers from his malady. What's more, Landis was thought to be out of the race when he fell more than eight minutes behind the leader. Then, in one day, he made up all but 30 seconds of it by blitzing the leaders with a sustained sprint that cycling observers say was unprecedented. And still, Landis only became top-of-the-fold news the days before he took the title. When Armstrong was winning, we had near minute-by-minute updates on him. I hate to say it, but this appears to be a clear case of no one having figured out yet how to make money off Floyd Landis, a normal-looking dude who comes from a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania Dutch country. When they do, and they will, you'll be seeing a lot more of him. In other sports news, my son and I spend five hours in a pool.
Monday, July 24
Maybe it's the flames of Hell nipping at our heels, but it's a heck of a day for confessions in Orange County courtrooms. Let's see, Nick Jesson, who ran for governor in 2002, pleads guilty to three felony counts of filing false state tax returns. This fits nicely with his plea of guilty to federal tax evasion in April. Jesson broke the law, but he's no criminal mastermind. Evidence: when he stopped withholding taxes for the employees of his electronics company, which has since gone belly up, he announced it in an ad in USA Today. Tamara Anne Moonier is in the news, too. She's the woman who told authorities that six men kidnapped and raped her, and then provided police with videotape that not only showed that the sex was consensual, but that Moonier orchestrated much of it. Under a plea agreement, Moonier will spend no more than 12 months in jail for lying about the assault and accepting $1,850 in state funds for crime victims. Anyone who's read R. Scott Moxley's account of that ghastly encounter knows she was no victim. As the video tape shows, she's rather cruel, telling one guy, "You're fucking pathetic. You can't get it up." Which presents us with a seamless segue to our final admission of the day, which comes from Maximizer Health Products who have agreed to pay the Orange County district attorney's office $300,000 in civil penalties for false advertising and unfair business practices. Maximizer makes ExtenZe, a pill Maximizer claimed would cause a user's penis to grow 27 percent thereby not only making him more popular with sex partners, but also allowing him to use the thing as a carjack. "Flat tire? Why walk aaaall the way back to the trunk when everything we need is right here? [Sound of zipper.] By the way, after I'm done, I'm going to need a crotch lozenge."
Tuesday, July 25 F
rom my colleague, Will Swaim: "Over on hughhewitt.com, conservative talkhole Hugh Hewitt uses the website Greer's OC (www.greersoc.com) as evidence of the decline of the print industry; his readers—their lips flecked with foam—make the leap he implies: that the decline of print is linked to the decline of the left, which, if you believe Hewitt, runs the newspaper industry as a newsletter for Democrats. Whatever its failings, we can hope the Times would be more honest about its motives than Hewitt. Hugh's are a confusion of personal and political: Greer's OC for example is run by a friend—a friend whose husband, ironically, works for the LA Times, the paper one of Hugh's readers compares to the former Soviet Union. Linking Greer's OC to the decline of print is, you'd reasonably conclude, just a highfalutin excuse to promo a friend's business. On the left, they call that a conflict of interest. (My own full disclosure: Hugh is a friend of mine. So is Greer Wylder. And her husband.) But the conservative movement has become all about such self-interest masked as patriotism. Ken Lay's role in the Bush administration energy policy? A matter of legitimate executive branch secrecy. Halliburton's role in Iraq? National defense. Outing Valerie Plame? That was merely giving the public all the facts around the president's unassailable Iraq policy. It's crap all over, and rare is the conservative who can recognize the smell of feces even when it's smeared on his upper lip." But, hey, "Greer's OC" is a terrific place to find great deals, if you consider it a great deal to pay $600 for a "hand-blown Grappa light fixture." These days, I'd consider a hand-blown anything a bargain.
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