Diary of a Mad County

Photo courtesy Palm PicturesWednesday, July 20
Watched GunnerPalacetonight (God bless you, boys—and by boys, I mean Netflix). Gunneris a straightforward documentary of what it's like to be a soldier in Iraq, and the mundanity and danger coming from my 52-inch TV really spoke to me. In fact, I commented to my wife (over the din of the multiple fans whirring because the temperature had risen dangerously into the 80s) that this was the real face of war, not that crap Hollywood sells, whether it's maudlin or cartoonishly horrorific—and by cartoonishly horrific, I mean Willem Dafoe's face in Platoon. I really do think everyone should watch this movie, and if possible watch it with their kids and in-laws, if only to bond with them on a whole new, totally within-context level over repeated use of the word "motherfucker."

Thursday, July 21
Don't know if PatrickMottsaw Gunner Palace, but he certainly knows a thing or two about sacrifice. In a piece that runs under the headline "Overcoming Fear" in this week's OCMetro, Mott argues that the best way to fight terrorism is to "live like true warriors." And how does a truewarriorlive? "This means going where we want, when we want, how we want," he writes. "It means turning a vacation or a business trip into an act of defiance." Yes, yes: victory through conspicuous consumption, brother warrior; Spreekrieg. We fight by not only not fighting, but defiantly living exactly the opposite kind of life one would expect to live in a time when people are dying in a war that has its roots in economic disparities. Yes, continue to do anything you want, whenever you want, wasting whatever you want, especially gas, which comes from oil, which is what Iraq is rich in, which is why 19-year-old American kids are dying there and not in some other ravaged, cruel, oil-bereft place like Sudan or Mississippi. You must deny any fear by denying yourself nothing. The only thing we have to fear is the fear they won't have the Escalade with CD, DVD, GPS and IUD in periwinkle. Yes, to Patrick Mott, he who dies with the most toys wins. Though Mott doesn't come right out and say it, his article argues strongly to award Paris Hilton the Medal of Honor, and not just any Medal of Honor, but one with multiple diamond baguettes and a ruby studded purse puppy. Mott tells us that war is "astonishingly brutal, capriciously violent and the source of unspeakable misery and heartbreak," and "has been for more than 100 years." How exactly war turned into misery and heartbreak from the frothyand gentlemanlytumble appreciated by those who enjoyed a good sword through the head, Mott isn't clear, though he is certain that times could get tough—we may even be asked to take off our shoes at the airport! Still, he demands we soldier on. "This means being aware of the terrorist threat but not letting it alter our lives in the slightest." Yeah, so, if you want to wear a heavy coat, even if it is unseasonably warm in London, you wear that coat, because if you don't wear that heavy coat in unseasonably warm London where it may attract attention from undercover police, you're altering your life just as surely as five bullets in the chest alter your life. Mott's piece is quickly hailed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is said to be working on a companion piece in which he encourages kids to "defiantly" fight cavities by brushing with chocolate frosting toothpaste.

Friday, July 22
In a staged television event designed to renew interest in "hockey," the National "Hockey" League holds a drawing to determine the draft order for its next entry draft. The final two teams in the draw are the Pittsburgh Penguins—so named because, apparently, hockey is played on ice—and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim—so-named because the previous owners were douche bags. Getting the first pick in this year's draft is especially important because of the presence of Sidney Crosby—whom many observers believe is a once-in-a-generation player—a generation being the last time anyone can remember watching a hockey . . . game? Match? Test? Anyway, the Penguins end up getting the No. 1 pick. Ducks GM Brian Burke says he isn't discouraged because there are plenty of other good players in the draft. In fact, the year the last once-in-a-generation player was drafted—Mario Lemieux in 1984—the No. 2 pick was Kirk Muller, who would go on to be named to six all-star teams and win a Stanley cup with Montreal. And the only difference between Kirk Muller and Mario Lemieux was that one was Kirk Muller and the other was Mario Lemieux, who will play with Crosby for Pittsburgh. On the bright side for the Ducks, it's "hockey" and nobody cares. . . . Speaking of fruitless, GregHaidland his funky bunch were denieda new trial today. They claimed they didn't get a fair run at the court the first time around because they spent a lot of money in their defense and, in California, there is significant precedent (see People of California v. Simpson) that that should be enough to get one off. Haidl's attorney's also argued that they were not allowed to call all their witnesses, especially a porn actress. Yes, they argued the porn actress would have gotten Greg off. Happy?

Saturday, July 23

Sunday, July 24
In a Sunday NewYorkTimespiece, military officials and soldiers say they are frustrated by the American public's lack of support: "'There is no serious talk of a draft to share the burden of fighting across the broad citizenry, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions. There are not even concerted efforts like the savings-bond drives or gasoline rationing that helped to unite the country behind its fighting forces in wars past. Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice, except us,' said one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq." Stung and ashamed, I go right out and purchase a plasticswimmingpoolfor my dog—it may get into the low 80s today—and a new, more expensive, brand of moisturizer for my face. SemperFi!

Monday, July 25
UC Irvine sociologists CalvinMorrilland DavidSnowannounce today that they have found that many people are able to develop close emotional relationships with strangersin public places, whether those places are at parks, on public transportation or with strippers at strip clubs. Their findings will be published in detail in their forthcoming book Quick Change: 'Yeah, Can I Get 20 One-Dollar Bills?'While their research finds that people strike up relationships in myriad public situations, the only one anyone cares about is the relationship between strippers and their customers. Researchers found that the most successful strippers weren't necessarily the sexiest, but those best able to simulate social intimacy with their customers, while less successful strippers smelled like feet. . . . Doing some sexy researchof their own, the grand jury indicts former Assistant Sheriff GeorgeJaramillotoday on seven counts of bribery, conspiracy and conflicts of interest. Jaramillo claims that he is the target of a conspiracy that doesn't want him to rise to Sheriff. Prosecutors say Jaramillo rose to have socialintimacywith his sister-in-law, whom the grand jury called his "long-term sexual partner," and a porn star—when did porn stars become the linchpin of our judicial system? Jaramillo has no comment on his indictment, though he does ask if anyone has change for a $20 bill.

Tuesday, July 26
Nordstromis having a sale. Feeling pretty defiant; think I'll buy a suit.



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