Diary of a Mad County
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Thursday, Feb. 2
Friday, Feb. 3
As the Arte Moreno/Los Angeles Angels Farewell Tour continues in Orange County Superior Court, a former Disney business strategist says his company never intended for Anaheim (which he calls a "small part of a very big place") to be the only regional designation for the Angels when Disney owned the team. Larry Murphy tells the court he "personally was concerned" that calling the team the "Anaheim Angels" "might stymie the growth and development of the franchise." Solution: "At some point, we might have to find a way to incorporate another geographic region—Orange County, Los Angeles, whatever." According to internal Disney memos, the folks who brought you the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were considering Mighty Angels of Anaheim, Avenging Angels of Anaheim, Devilish Angels of Anaheim, Conquering Angels of Anaheim and Fearless Angels of Anaheim, as well as Pacific Shades, Orange County Breeze and Southern California Surf. All of a sudden, LA Angels of Anaheim is sounding more like the Royal Shakespeare Academy, ain't it?
Saturday, Feb. 4
I'm talking to my daughter today, which is something I do when I'm not on the phone to Nova Scotia chatting with Microsoft technicians who make sounds such as "eeeeewwwww" when I describe what my computer is doing, and I mention to her—my daughter, not the Nova Scotian—that I heard some European sociologist talking about how Americans work too hard, play too hard, basically live too hard. He went on to say he wished more Americans would come to Europe so they would discover that Europeans do not push themselves this hard and that Americans are basically living themselves to death, trying to do too much while enjoying nothing since everything—career, marriage, leisure, culture—has become a chore. In professorial tones, I tell her that you have to make the decision to be happy, to enjoy life. "Is that possible?" asks my daughter, who rises before 6 every morning to get ready for her trek to the private school more than a half-hour from our home. "Yes," I say, all lotusy. "It is if you make the decision to live that way." That's 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., I find myself yelling at my son for something related to schoolwork. Terms such as "have some pride" and "you can't just do your best some of the time; it's something you do all the time" are bandied about. I tell him that if he doesn't make the right decisions now, it will determine what kind of life he leads, warning he could end up as one of those guys sleeping on his folks' couch. "It's your decision. The decisions you make now, how you choose to lead your life, will determine how you lead the rest of your life," I tell my son, who is in the seventh grade.
Sunday, Feb. 5
Worst Super Bowl ever.
Monday, Feb. 6
Back at court with the Angels and Anaheim, two witnesses for Arte Moreno's club testify that Anaheim lost little or no money as a result of the team changing its name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Last week, Laren Ukman of Chicago sports-marketing firm IEG estimated Anaheim had lost $28 million in revenue as a result of the name change. What's more (less), Ukman said the city stands to lose close to $400 million over the next 20 years, which seems closer to the truth since city officials will have chased the Angels out of Anaheim by then. Angels witness Richard Gilbert, a sports economist who teaches at UC Berkeley, scoffs at Ukman's numbers as well as her reasoning that people are attracted as much by a team's geographic designation as the team itself. Gilbert points out that, as the LA Angels, the team set franchise attendance records in 2005. The other expert, Lon Hatamiya, calls Anaheim's perceived losses "ridiculous" and says that if attaching a city's name to a team automatically made it a tourist destination, then Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Detroit would be thriving metropolises instead of cautionary tales. Hatamiya says tourists make their vacation choices based on an "iconic destination," adding, "People come to the icon first, not the city. It's Disneyland they come to." As if on cue, Disney reports today that it showed a 7 percent increase in profit in its fiscal first quarter, in large part because of a 51 percent increase in profit from its Disneyland parks, in large part because the Anaheim site is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I can't remember if the folks at Disney have mentioned which side they support in this dispute, but the past two days of testimony sure seem like a slap at Anaheim, which, of course, is something Disney has been doing for, oh, 50 years. Whether it's been Anaheim cops told to wait outside the park while Disneyland staffers prepared an accident scene or Anaheim spokesman/Disney apologist John Nicoletti likening an accident on Disney's California Screamin' roller coaster last summer to a "fender bender," even though the fender bender injured 15 people and required the mobilization of 100 firefighters and 18 ambulances, Disney has always played Cheney to Anaheim's Bush. On the other hand, Devilish Angels of Anaheim?
Tuesday, Feb. 7
(This actually happened yesterday, but Monday's item being several acres in length, I'm just going to put it here.)
Several people ask me if I heard Chapman law professor John Eastman on Larry Mantle's Air Talk show on KPCC. They tell me that Eastman was on the show defending the Bush administration's right to wiretap private citizens without prior approval. What's more, he went on to accuse The New York Times of treason for spilling the beans on the wiretapping of private citizens even though The New York Times hasn't broken any laws, you know, like wiretapping private citizens. This seems crazy, even for someone associated with Chapman, so I look up a little info on Mr. Eastman and find that he has no agenda when it comes to issues. And when I say "no agenda," I mean that he has been a guest on the Michael Reagan show and said in the Washington Times that even if Congress specifically prohibited wiretapping, it is not only within the president's constitutional authority to do so but it is also "his constitutional responsibility." While you're trying to figure out if Eastman really means this or is just jockeying to be a part of Augusto Pinochet's defense team, here's all you need to know about John Eastman: according to his bio, he was a law clerk for—wait for it—Clarence Thomas. Who saw that coming? Show of hands! Thought so. Being a law clerk for Clarence Thomas is sort of like being a joke writer for Carrot Top—it'd be really lame if it weren't so pointless.
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