Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, April 12
Hollywood honors Disney contract player Winnie the Pooh with a star on its Walk of Fame. The honor comes 40 years after Pooh debuted in the featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. Pooh, of course, went on to star in numerous films, specials and cartoon series, including Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, Winnie the Pooh and the All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp Trough, and the educational Winnie the Pooh and the Special Crane Needed to Get Him Out of Bed, produced in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control. Pooh shows up for the event in his trademark red T-shirt not nearly covering his bloated tummy and wearing absolutely nothing below the waist, which, while charming, was also a point of embarrassment since Liz Taylor showed up at the ceremony in the exact same outfit. Pooh said that while greatly honored to have his name put on the pee-soaked pavement next to such stars as Ryan Seacrest and the "Where's the Beef?" lady, it didn't make up for years of Oscar snubs—especially when he lost out to Marisa Tomei—as well as his frustrating efforts to break from typecasting, as he attempted to do in a recent episode of CSI: Thousand Acre Woods, in which he played a guy who likes it rough. Pooh is joined at his star's unveiling by ADD spokesman Tigger, closet case Rabbit and sad-eyed Eeyore, who's shown generations of children just how charming clinical depression can be. Notably absent is Pooh's longtime companion Christopher Robin, who sends his regards from the couple's timeshare on Fire Island.

Thursday, April 13

Friday, April 14
I read once that Carl Reiner, back in the '60s, was asked who he thought the funniest person was, and he said his son Rob's 13-year-old friend Albert. Albert turned out to be Albert Brooks, and I have a feeling that I may be in a similar situation, since, I swear, the funniest person I know these days is my son's 13-year-old friend K. I have occasion to share a car with K today, and it further convinces me that the breadth and trajectory of his humor have few rivals. Among the many things—in a nearly uninterrupted stream—K says today is:

"My grandpa has an excuse to not like the Japanese. For one, they killed all his best friends. For another, he was taking a dump on a hill when the Japanese started shooting artillery shells at him."

And, "Friction, dear boy. Friction!"

And, "We found it in my grandpa's basement. It's a Japanese soldier's logbook. We're going to have it translated because we believe it holds the secret to Hitler's bunker."

And, "Rain! Now I can dance and saunter!"

Saturday, April 15
Holy Saturday, Holy Week's green room.

Sunday, April 16
Happy Easter.

Monday, April 17
Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona wins an overwhelming endorsement for his re-election candidacy 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, resigned 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! Now, you may think that all that would spell doom for Carona—well, that, and the fact that his own deputies have endorsed one of his rivals in the election—but in a day when George W. Bush governs as Americans are slaughtered overseas, his generals are in something just short of mutiny, gas prices are higher than ever and going even higher this summer, and the folks in Iran are saying charming things like they will "cut off the hands" of anyone who tries to mess with their nuclear program, and he still manages to find 38 percent of the country that thinks that's just dandy, why wouldn't Carona be re-elected? In fact, R. Scott Moxley tells me Carona is still the clear front-runner in the race and figures only to get stronger after this ringing endorsement—or non-ringing endorsement—which Carona supporters were able to rearrange by calling every central committee member. After the vote, Carona's campaign manager, former state Senator John Lewis (R-Orange), said it "sets the record straight that Mike Carona is very popular with the Republican Party." Apparently so, as committee member Cheryl Atkinson gushed after the vote, "It was the most underhanded example of a well-planned ambush . . . in order to enable them the second opportunity to re-vote. I now have such a clear picture of the underhanded and dishonest lengths that Mike Carona's paid staff will go and do in order to get an endorsement." Hail to the chief!

Tuesday, April 18
Wake up today to see that the Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, and while I couldn't be happier that David M. Oshinsky won the history prize for his uproarious book Polio: An American Story—way to go, Oshki! I got first round at the Red Ass!—a picture on the front page of the LA Times disturbs me. The picture shows New Orleans Times-Picayune publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. wildly celebrating with the paper's staff their victory in the public service category, the Pulitzer's equivalent of the Best Picture award. The Times-Picayune, along with the Biloxi Sun Herald, won for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and while I laud their accomplishment, it is disconcerting, once again, to see newspaper folk seemingly dancing on the graves of their subjects. See, this isn't the first time we've witnessed this scene. If you have something truly horrific happen in your area—natural disaster, terrorist attack, construction of a Wal-Mart—you're pretty much guaranteed a Pulitzer Prize. TheNew York Times won for its coverage of 9/11, and the Miami Herald won for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew in 1993, the same year the LA Times won for its spot news coverage of the LA riots. In all these cases, as with New Orleans, the papers reacted to the news that showed up, which they did very well, no question. And they deserve to be rewarded for their work, but in receiving that recognition I think they should show a little more decorum than partying like they just won the lotto—especially in New Orleans, where, apparently, there are still bodies to be found. If you do something on your own, as the Times-Picayune did in 1997 when it won the public service award for its series on the world's threatened supply of fish, scream, yell and show your boobs. But stop with the celebrating of other people's misfortune. It's so Pat Robertson. (And no, this isn't sour grapes because our groundbreaking series on the cute pet names women have for their hoo-haws was ignored by the committee, again.)



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