Diary of a Mad County
Wednesday, Jan. 11
The Long Beach Police Department cops to a December audit that revealed 85 of the department's 272 shotguns are missing. Police Chief Anthony Batts has ordered all 900 of his uniformed police to actively search for the missing guns, which sounds like Easter at Charlton Heston's. In addition—well, actually, subtraction—there are numerous service revolvers missing from the LBPD's shooting range. This is the most embarrassing thing to happen to the department since it misplaced its sense of shame while defending an officer who shot a dog—twice—because the dog was running at him with a tennis ball in its mouth—sorry, flagrantly running at him with a tennis ball in its mouth. Some have suggested the LBPD take a look at how the Los Angeles Police Department tracks its guns, but, really, when you start looking to the LAPD, you've pretty much admitted defeat, you know, like taking parenting tips from Courtney Love or Laura Bush. Now, others have suggested that the guns are not really missing. They point to the fact that the LBPD last purchased shotguns 20 years ago and speculate that police officers may be stripping some guns for parts to repair other guns, which has a cute Red-Army-at-Stalingrad ring to it. Either way, if you're in Long Beach, don't walk around with a tennis ball in your mouth. Golf ball? Up to you.
Thursday, Jan. 12
Meeting at a summit in Australia, six nations, including China and the United States, agree to a new pact designed to fight global warming. It's about time. Actually, it may be too late, if recent weather conditions are any indication. Last week, temps were in the 80s, and we are already seeing the undeniable and deleterious effects of a winter season mostly bereft of cold weather. While people can debate whether the polar ice caps are melting, it's clear that I've had to pass on purchasing some really smashing-looking heavy coats, three-button fronts with a side slash pocket and back vent. You wanna talk greenhouse effect? How about the effect hot winter weather has on layering patterns? I mean, how can one in good conscience, or comfort, put together a crisp white T with a crisp striped dress shirt under a smart merino wool, half-zip sweater? And what about the kids? Is anybody thinking of the kids? Is anybody thinking of the kids who want to go to school in a lovely blue ombre-pattern cable-knit sweater set featuring the faintest hint of tangerine, well worth the daily playground beatings? Things have gotten so bad that I've actually considered—and I can't believe I'm writing this—going directly to my spring wardrobe. I mean it, I'll do it. I'm crazy. Not tennis-ball-in-the-mouth-in-Long-Beach crazy, but still.
Friday, Jan. 13
Checking on our screwed-up website, I see that we've written about 50 stories involving Ed Dornan, the political confidant of Irvine uber-politico Larry Agran. Agran has sunk into a pool of questionable dealings and actions, including his stewardship of the Great Park, which, as we reported last week, is now the subject of preliminary investigation by the OC grand jury. The kind of stuff we've written about Dornan over the past couple of years was best summed up in a story in which R. Scott Moxley wrote: "Dornan funded his operation in part by soliciting campaign contributions from businesses with matters pending at Agran's City Hall, orchestrated smear campaigns against Republican opponents . . . and funneled hundreds of thousands of potentially illegal dollars into the political system for Agran's machine." So it wasn't surprising that Weekly editor Will Swaim received this phone message today: "This message is for Mr. Swaim. Mr. Swaim, my name is [not important], and I'm calling on behalf of Ed Dornan's family, and as you may know, there's a memorial service for Ed this weekend. It's a little awkward, but I'm doing this on behalf of Ed's family. They're requesting that you respect their wishes and not attend the service this weekend or have anyone who writes for the Weekly in attendance. Um, that would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much. Bye-bye."
Saturday, Jan. 14
Sunday, Jan. 15
Professional bowler Jason Couch defeats Parker Bohn III in the championship match of the Dick Weber Open at the Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley. The usual orgy of celebratory rioting breaks out, spurred on by drunken "bowligans."
Monday, Jan. 16
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Needless to say, I'm a big admirer of Dr. King, who, along with Abraham Lincoln, is the closest thing we have to a national saint. Still, I do have a complaint. Not about Dr. King, but about all the newspaper and broadcast reports we'll see and read today, the huge majority of which will contain the word "Dream." You know, "The Dream Lives On," "Free to Dream," "Dreamy McDreamkin," stuff like that. Yes, yes, yes, we all know that Dr. King gave the "I Have a Dream" speech, and, yes, it is one of the great speeches of the 20th century. We've all seen the footage of him at the podium, in complete control of his audience, except that dude behind him to the right wearing that weird paper hat who looks less inspired than constipated. This is nothing against the speech, it's just that King did and said so many other things in his life, why do we regurgitate that one speech over and over and over and over? Having worked in the media for 20 years, I suspect one reason is that it's easy. Everyone expects it, you can plan for it, you just keep coming up with lame dream allusions and nobody gets hurt. The problem with that is the speech loses its punch, instead becoming cute and expected, like Linus' "That's what Christmas is all about" spiel in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Another reason is I think a lot of the parties involved would like Dr. King to remain cute and cuddly, talking about dreams and little black kids and little white kids playing with each other. It's obvious they have little interest in talking about what King was talking about more and more at the end of his life—about class, about rich and poor, specifically the dehumanizing effects of capitalism, of which he said: "Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a synthesis that combines the truth of both. It means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated." See, you don't hear a lot about that Dr. King. Probably because those words don't fit well with a picture of a bunch of third-graders making "I Have a Dream" macaroni pictures. Or maybe it's just that those in the media feel that the Dr. King who spoke of the poor—black, brown and white—being exploited and much more likely to fight in an ill-conceived, increasingly unpopular war with no clearly defined goals waged by a Texan wouldn't resonate with Americans today.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
It's 36 degrees in New York today. Lucky bastards.
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