Diary Of A Mad County

WEDNESDAY, July 21 A just-released study shows the number of homeless in Orange County has grown by 25 percent over the past year to about 35,000, many of them families, so I guess those comparisons between George W. Bushand Ronald Reagan weren't all off-base. Now, you may be saying, "Homeless? Golly, I haven't seen any homeless people, and I've been to Stanton." Well, homelessness isn't defined only as people on the streets, but also as people who must live in motels because they can't afford housing. That's especially difficult in Orange County since just-released real-estate numbers show the median price of an Orange County home is $600,000. That's a 33 percent increase from last year, and it shows that housing prices are immune to economic fluctuations. Yes, real estate is the new porn; even a home in Stanton is going for $359,000, you wanna talk about obscene. It doesn't help that as housing prices jump, the jobs being created these days are low-paying gigs in service industry, you know, the kind the Wal-Mart commercials tell you are so great because even though you get shit wages and shit benefits and can't move up in the company if you're a woman and have to wear an emasculating vest, at least you can dress up like a clown and skip. Yeeeees. Skip. Skip for all you're worth!

THURSDAY, JULY 22 The consensus seems to be that Kenny Jeopardy is not of this world and even if he is, he is not good for Jeopardy. Kenny is the dude who's been winning on the game show for the past couple of months and is about the only guaranteed icebreaker in any given situation. I've talked Kenny to gays and lesbians at the Gay and Lesbian Wedding Expowho pointed to their fascination with Kenny as proof of their dull, uninteresting, monogamous and, therefore, healthy lives—"See, we're just like you." Sigh. I've talked Kenny with my mother and learned the talk-radio consensus is that Kenny is a time traveler, two weeks ahead of our puny human days, and is therefore able to see and memorize the answers because he also has a photographic memory. I've talked Kenny inside our tragically hip office and learned that Kenny is smug—"That guy is too smug. He's smug, all right. He masks it by looking like a nice guy, but he's smug. You can tell by the way he looks. Smug"—and that he is "ruining the game. He's going to make Jeopardy the exclusive playground of intellectual dilettantes. No more Rosie Perezes!" This is what we do all day. This and purchase discounted kitten posters. See, we're just like you.

FRIDAY, July 23 Today, Orange County officials make their pitch to host a major political party's convention in 2008. Shockingly, it's not the Republicans or Luddites they're after, but the Democrats. This is just a horrible idea. For one, political conventions are a thing of the past, like domestic steel production. If local officials want to make a big splash, they should go after that big adult-video convention, but political conventions? Too Angela Lansbury. Plus, you have to clean everything up and build the homeless relocation camps or work out a trade deal with Riverside, and who's going to want to pitch in to pay for that since by 2008, home prices will be in the low eight figures? County folk don't like paying for baubles such as public education, so they're not going to be too keen to do as Boston did and replace existing public trash cans with special, expensive bomb-resistant ones pioneered by the good people at Acme. No, the only people able to afford those goodies in 2008 will be Don Bren and anybody in the trash-receptacle/real-estate/porn industry.

SATURDAY, July 24 You may not be able to buy a home in Orange County, but you might be able to buy a lamp from someone who can afford a home, so, you know, you've got that going for you. The Sunwood neighborhood garage sale goes off this morning for the 26th year, with about 150 homes participating. Residents bring out stuff that's causing clutter—candles, exercise equipment, power boats—or completely useless—"Nader for President" T-shirts. The neighborhood is located in Lake Forest, where the median home price is $635,000—the garage sale was originally organized by a realtor to increase business—and folks there say they have no problem accumulating crap every year to sell to other people accumulating crap to sell on eBay. Skip. Skiiiiiip!

Dr. Laura spreads the love

SUNDAY, July 25 Laura Schlessinger, the well-known physiologist and ingrown hair, elicits strange grins from the men in the audience at the Crystal Cathedral this morning even as she is referring to them as plants in need of watering. I dunno, maybe they thought this was funny or maybe they weren't really listening and instead picturing Schlessinger in one of those beaver shots she posed for when she was doing that old dude. . . . Speaking of terrible sights, the "Orbiter" ride at the Orange County Fair is shut down for nearly four hours today after one of its arms hits a metal door. Fair officials were quick to point out there were no serious injuries and no structural damage. And though the mishap is certain to remind people of a ride malfunction from last year, fair officials are probably desperate to make sure that this is not seen as a regular occurrence. The last thing the fair wants is to be seen as another Disneyland.

MONDAY, July 26 Began my vacation today. Spent some of it writing this column. Skiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip!

TUESDAY, July 27 "Dad. Dad. Dad." "What?" "You know what I'm going to do?" "What?" "I'm going to get a cinderblock and paint graffiti all over it and kind of knock holes into it, and then I'm going to sell it on eBay as part of the Berlin Wall." "Who's going to buy that?" "You know, there's always some idiot on eBay buying stuff." "But how will they know that it's a real piece of the Berlin Wall?" "'Cause I'll tell them it is." "So, you'll lie." "Uh, yeah." "Why would you do that?" "Get money."


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