Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Nov. 23 Awwww hell. Angels owner Arte Moreno tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that his ongoing legal battle with Anaheim over the team name leads him to believe the City Council and Mayor Curt Pringle are "trying to run me out of town." And so it begins. When the delicate relationship between city and team gets to the point that they begin using third parties to communicate—a practice Catholic families call "dinner"—things are bad. It's especially bad when each tries to paint itself as the victim—a practice Catholic families call "talking." This silly little thing over the team's name (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) could grow into something bigger, nastier, until someone does or says something that can't be taken back, irreparably damaging the relationship—what therapists refer to as the "O.J." moment. Hey, we all remember what happened when Anaheim was going through its first divorce back in 1994—of course, most of us thought that was a good thing: the Rams had just been going through the motions, and Georgia Frontiere's hair was just a nightmare. But Arte seems to be working hard to make this thing work: signing free agents such as 2004 MVP Vlad Guerrero and 2005 Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, whose hair looks like what happens when you use overcooked scrambled eggs to create a fright wig. Word is Moreno will pursue such prized free agents as White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Boston Red Sox cosmonaut Manny Ramirez during the off-season. Plus his hair is fabulous. Robert Evans fabulous. Not that I'm taking sides. There are plenty of good things to say about the Anaheim City Council. For one, they've never been photographed lighting puppies on fire. And Curt Pringle? Well, there you go.

Thursday, Nov. 24 Thankful.

Friday, Nov. 25 Still thankful, somewhat craven.

Saturday, Nov. 26Gwen Stefani returns to Anaheim—who asked her? Anyway, Ellen Griley was there: "I'm at the Gwen Stefani show at the Arrowhead Pond, sandwiched all by my lonesome in the orchestra section between a gaggle of boozy 30-year-old, relentlessly catcalling women—wait, is it possible for women to catcall?; and, more importantly, is it possible for them to do so at a Gwen Stefani show?—and a pack of fidgety 13-year-olds eating cotton candy and humming 'Hollaback Girl.' It's still 10 minutes until show time, so when I see a frenzied mob standing and cheering in one of the upper sections to the left of the stage, I'm a bit confused. But people are sheep, and I'm no better, so we all proceed to stand and cheer. I'm thinking it's Tony Kanal, maybe, or Madonna, or someone, but turns out it's . . . Kobe Bryant? We're cheering Kobe Bryant? The boozy 30-year-olds are running toward Kobe Bryant? The 13-year-olds in front of me are standing on their chairs trying to snap cell-phone pictures of Kobe Bryant? And squealing, 'Oh, my God! It's Kobe Bryant!'? Girls, girls, girls, girls, GIRLS! Have you learned nothing from our dear Miss Gwen? Do not be a Hollaback Girl! I mean—what? I don't even know what I meant by that. But here's what I was thinking: stop screaming. Everyone. Please. He will take all of you back to his hotel room in due time."

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Sunday, Nov. 27 In a shocking development, Talan Torriero, star of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and Kimberly Stewart, daughter of the late Rod Stewart, have called off their engagement of a week. This comes as a real blow to friends and believers in true love and Q ratings. Their representatives say they remain friends and add that Talan wishes to pursue a music career. After that, he wants to be a fire truck. By the way, some people e-mailed after last week's Talan-Kimberly item, saying I was mistaken in calling her the daughter of the late Rod Stewart. "Please check your facts," wrote one. "Rod Stewart is very much alive." I'm sorry to break this to you, but I'm looking at his obituary right here. It says, "'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?' went No. 1 in 1978." Dead is dead.

Monday, Nov. 28 Sometimes this column is a bitch to write. And sometimes Ellen Griley goes to a Gwen Stefani show while Weekly editor Will Swaim gets really pissed off over the weekend: "Democrats who voted for an October 2002 resolution giving George W. Bush the right to invade Iraq now like to say Bush misled them—exaggerated the Iraqi threat; underestimated U.S. troop requirements sufficient to keep the peace; failed to understand that Iraqis, even those who were critics of Hussein, might resist a U.S. occupation. 'New information,' these Democrats say, has persuaded them that Bush withheld critical intelligence. Typical is California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who in twisted syntax says, 'I would not have voted [as I did] if I knew [then] what I knew [sic] now.' Bullshit. That Bush lied to Congress is absolutely clear. That Democrats could have discovered the truth anyhow is just as clear. I know that because we did. In Orange County alone, every major newspaper—Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, OC Weekly, Orange County Business Journal—editorialized against an invasion of Iraq. If mere reporters, writers and editors in provincial America could foresee the folly of Bush's war, why couldn't Democrats in the nation's capital? How could Democrats not know what even OC Weekly staffers knew in the winter of 2003—that Bush's war would be a disaster? That year, in our Feb. 28 issue, we reported, among other facts, that: the CIA had already discounted any evidence of a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida; the U.S. occupation would depend on American reservists who serve stateside as cops, firemen, paramedics and other first-responders—men and women who keep us safe at home; retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, former chief of U.S. Central Command, had predicted a civil war following a U.S. invasion of Iraq; and claims that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons were based on old and unreliable intelligence. Much of American culture is mercurial—quick-changing, forgetful, shiny, meaningless; and a lot has happened in the three years since Congress abandoned its responsibility to lead—the Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson trials, Britney Spears' two weddings, each and every episode of The O.C. But we can't forget the noisy season before Bush let loose the dogs of war. We remember articulate Americans laying out detailed critiques of the war and its almost inevitable aftermath—think back to former Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the man whose anti-war speaking schedule Slate magazine called 'breathtaking'? All of the 'new information' was available then. We heard it. And if punks at OC Weekly—along with our counterparts in the county's other major papers—could synthesize all this and see a disaster coming, why couldn't the Democrats in Washington, D.C.?"

Tuesday, Nov. 29 You wouldn't know it to look at it, but this was hard.


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