Diary of a Mad County

Photo by Tenaya HillsWEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 You wouldn't know it from the recently unsealed court documents, but I'm a pretty religious guy. No, really. I even teach a Catholic-education class for sixth graders once a week. When I'm not enlightening young minds about sacraments and real-estate acquisition, I teach them about the Bible, which, as all good Catholics know, is a terrifying account of God's love and killing power that, like night swimming, should never be undertaken alone or after one has eaten. I'm preparing my lesson plan today, and I'm struggling because we're going to look at that story in which God tells Abraham to take his son Isaac to a mountain and kill him, thus providing Original Precedent for myriad wars, genocides, assassinations and murder-suicides. Even as a kid, I hated this story because I thought God came off as rather sadistic and Abraham, whom the story is supposed to portray as the model of faithfulness, seems more like the model for Rudolph Hess. Now, here's the thing: How do you teach a story about God telling someone to kill someone when there are terrorists going around claiming God tells them the exact same thing? Which is the good-killing God, and which is the bad-killing God, and which one is telling George W. Bush to bomb Iraqi wedding parties? You may think I'm worrying about nothing, that kids will never get this kind of nuance, but I remember teaching a class of third graders just a few days after Sept. 11, and one of them asked me about the terrorists claiming God told them to crash the planes into the Twin Towers. "No!" I said. "God would never, ever ask anyone to kill and would never want innocent people to die." The kid took a beat, then: "Well, then why did God tell the Angel of Death to kill all those Egyptian babies?" "That? Oh, that's the Old Testament," I said—and kept dancing.

THURSDAY, Oct. 28 For some reason, the City of Newport Beach invites the cast of The O.C. down from LA so they can inaugurate some lame walk of fame. Some of the cast does show up, including the dude with the eyebrows and heartthrob Benjamin McKenzie, who admits this is his first time in Newport since the show isn't actually shot here. That doesn't faze the hundreds of mostly teen and 'tween girls who squeal. Still, it is curious that city officials are honoring a show that doesn't exactly honor their city; if anything, it presents it as decadent and shallow. I mean, after Creedence Clearwater ripped Lodi, folks in that backwater at least had the good sense to burn their records. Newport? They gave the cast the keys to the city—a bottle opener with the city logo on it. I don't know. It kind of comes off like a hick town trying to get some attention through any lame gimmick, you know, like claiming to be the home of the world's largest thermometer or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

FRIDAY, Oct. 29 Irvine Mayor Larry Agran and his supporters send a political mailer around town that claims his opponents are trying to smear him and are using the "sex tabloid OC Weekly" to do it. Sex tabloid? I wish. I can't tell you how many times we've tried to convince our overlords to go all the way, and they keep pulling out. A few years ago, myself and Will Swaim—who runs the joint—came up with a capital cover idea featuring a nun in a bikini licking an ice-cream cone while jumping on a trampoline. No, said the Puritans. Sex tabloid? If only. You know what kinda coin those things make? Plus, you get to hang out with James Caan. Nah, we're just one of those publications that has a few sexy ads—you know, like The Orange County Register—and fills in the space with stories about local politicians doing stuff they shouldn't be doing. You know, like Dave Garofalo and Pam Houchen of Huntington Beach or—hello—Larry Agran. Still, it's kinda disappointing that Agran, who is brilliant, is resorting to the same lame putdown of us that Garofalo and Houchen did, especially when there are so many better things to rip us for. Like the time we said a cop was dead but it turned he wasn't (or, at least, that's what he claimed when he called us). See, Larry coulda called us "cop killers." Better yet, "sex cop killers." Or how about the time I wrote the Lakers would never win a championship with Shaquille O'Neal? Yeah. I wrote that. You coulda called us "idiots." Oh, "sex idiots." Anyway, it was a rather sad mailer; it even had this lame doctored photo of one of Agran's opponents with a really long nose, you know, to make him look like that kid who has a hard time telling the truth and is always getting into trouble and whose dad has to rescue him. You know, Greg Haidl.

SATURDAY, Oct. 30 For some reason, your Anaheim Angels have decided to part ways with third baseman Troy Glaus. Hurt most of last season, Glaus is arguably the best third baseman in the American League when healthy. What's more, at 28, he figures to have at least eight to 10 productive years ahead. The Angels are moving Glaus to make room for hot minor leaguer Dallas McPherson, who played all of 16 games last season, hitting all of .225. I have two words for you Angels fans: Greg Brock. He's the hot minor leaguer the Dodgers brought in to prematurely replace all-star first baseman Steve Garvey. Brock never panned out, while Garvey had productive years in San Diego, helping to lead the Padres to the '84 World Series. Then he married a bunch of blondes. Sex.

SUNDAY, Oct. 31 Whattya know? Says here that Greg Haidl was arrested last night for causing a head-on automobile accident while driving with a blood-alcohol level of .02. Now that's not a lot—our production staff is on a mandated .06 buzz—but Greg isn't supposed to be nipping on anything as part of his conditions for bail. Haidl's lawyer says Greg is under a doctor's care for depression, and I shouldn't wonder. I'd be really depressed if cops kept showing up every time I was nailing a 16-year-old or crashing my car into someone. That would totally bum me out. Hey, here's a fun fact: the car Haidl wrecked was a 2005 Scion—I'm guessing a present from his folks. Now there's some tough love. Of course, tough love is what landed Greg in all this trouble.

MONDAY, Nov. 1 Exhausted.

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 How is it that when I picked up my morning paper today and saw that a political party had fought and won the right to harass people at the polls, I knew that party was the Republican Party? They'll be checking people at the polls in Ohio—Ohio is the new Florida—asking questions, causing long lines and chaos. And you'll never guess which neighborhoods they'll be doing this in. Did you say upper-middle-class white neighborhoods? You'd be wrong. Get this: they're going to be harassing voters in African-American precincts. It's all part of a Republican effort to return to traditional values.



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