Diary of a Mad County

Sunday: 4 million and counting

Wednesday, March 15
Jessica Simpson—noted marine, avian and short-shorts authority—turns down an invitation to meet with George W.
Bush at a Republican fund-raiser. Apparently Simpson was concerned that being seen with Bush would be bad for her image—and this is the woman who's famous for her inability to discern tuna from chicken. But who can blame her? While Simpson's snub dismays many Republican politicians, they themselves have been doing their best to stay away from the Incredible Radioactive President, whose "approval" rating hovers in the mid-30s, about the same numbers Chester A. Arthur experienced when he was going through his "bathhouse" phase. But Simpson's refusal says something more profound and ominous for Bush: he's lost the Hot Chick. There was a time when he could count on the support of Britney Spears and the like, but now the loss of Simpson, not to mention venerable Hot Chick Mamie Van Doren, who'll speak at a Saturday anti-war rally in Orange, threatens to lump Bush in with other chief executives whose presidencies were damaged by similar defections: Lyndon Johnson losing Jane Fonda over Vietnam, Warren Harding being poisoned by Clara Bow. It seems the only hot chicks Bush can muster support from these days are Condi Rice and Paul Wolfowitz.

Thursday, March 16
I'm driving to Anaheim Stadium, and, yes, I'm thinking about urine. Flung urine, thrown urine, all manner of chucked and/or pitched urine. I'm in a pee mind driving my son to watch the World Baseball Classic game between the United States and Mexico and wondering if there will be any trouble. There's a lot of history between the two countries, history being a nice way of saying wars, invasions, skirmishes, threats, lynchings and, presently, American civilians patrolling the border. My mind wanders off to stories I've read of American soccer players who've been abused by Mexican crowds, the most infamous being the tales of bags of urine thrown at the players. I've accepted these stories as fact—those Mexicans love their soccer!—but as I drive to the stadium it strikes me that it all could be just one big xenophobic urban myth. I mean, how would one get the urine in the bag to begin with? You can't just walk into a stadium carrying urine, not after 9/11. Sure, you can feign having a colostomy bag, but those things are thick and would prove of little use when thrown, since they probably wouldn't explode. Okay, so you'd probably have to bring a bag with you and pee into it in the restroom. But I have enough performance anxiety when just going in the urinal; what kind of pressure would you be under peeing in a bag as people wait? Plus, I think it would require a certain level of dexterity to hold a bag with one hand and your junk with the other. You'd probably end up spraying yourself and then there you are, cutting off your nose to spite your face, only with urine. Yes, you could have a friend hold the bag while you pee, but unless one is fortunate enough to have a friend who's also a porn industry fluffer, chances are they won't want their face and hands that close to your Thing. If you do have a friend who'll do it, that's one good friend . . . or the worst friend ever.

Friday, March 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, which brings together more than 5,000 academics, gerontology professionals and people who can't remember where they put the TV remote, is designed to discuss major issues facing my own boomer generation, which will soon begin cracking the 60 barrier with such force that, by 2030, about one in five Americans will be 60 or older. Having learned from our parents of the Greatest Generation, I'd just like to inform the younger set that we are going to suck this country dry of everything our folks haven't already sucked. America's a bone, government programs are the marrow and we're the lips sealed tightly around it. That sucking sound? Your future.

Saturday, March 18
And I didn't even get into the actual throwing of the urine. Though I have little wind-tunnel evidence to refer to, I believe a bag of urine is not very aerodynamic. Even if you eat a lot of fiber. Most people have a hard time winging a battery onto a playing field, so what luck can they expect to have with a bag of urine, especially after 9/11? Oh, sure, you could fling the urine, spinning it overhead lasso-style, but spinning a bag of urine overhead raises the possibility of spraying the faces of people in your section, thereby not only losing their support but also leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Sunday, March 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.

Monday, March 20
I turn on the TV tonight to settle back and watch some quality programming on PBS: Antiques Roadshow, a guilty pleasure, and American Experience, one of the half-dozen best things on TV, and I mean ever. I figure it's safe to turn on PBS again after a couple of weeks of pledge drive dreck that ranged from Wayne Dyer infomercials to that freaky Austrian violin-playing dude who looks like he grew up in Liberace's closet. Now, I'm not here to dis PBS. I love PBS; I just question their logic. When they're into one of their pledge drives, they invariably mention, correctly, that the kind of programming you get on PBS you can't find anywhere else: Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece Theater, Hot Tubbin' With Bill Moyers, The Lehrer News Hour. But then, almost to disprove their point, they trot out this crap that KDOC wouldn't run: QVC-looking crap where a guy teaches you how to play the piano or shows you how to make window cleaner out of toothpaste. It's like PBS suddenly morphs into the Learning Annex. Worst of all are those oldies concerts where the only thing more painful than listening to the Paleozoic doo-wop groups is watching the mostly white audience jerk about and party as if they were in the death throes of a sarin gas attack.

Tuesday, March 21
Tonight at 8 p.m. on KOCE? The Austrian dude. Please pass the gas.


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