Diary of a Mad County

MONDAY, August 18

The Los Angeles Times runs a front-page story on its sports page about how former Mater Dei basketball phenom Schea Cotton has been forgotten by the public and media that once wrote and read front-page stories about him, making it the 39th article in the last year alone—thank you, Nexis—reminding us that Cotton has been forgotten. Over the past 12 months, Cotton has been forgotten and then remembered by the Register, Sacramento Bee, Lexington -Herald Leader, Birmingham News and Manila Bulletin as well as three times by the LA Times. He has been forgotten as a cautionary tale about getting too famous too soon—Sports Illustratedprofiled him as a freshman at Mater Dei—and for entering the NBA draft too soon; he bailed on a scholarship to a major university—well, Alabama. He's been forgotten so much that he has been reduced to playing professional basketball in Europe and for NBA summer league teams. Devastating. Anyway, he's apparently signed with the Long Beach Jamof the American Basketball Association, the same league for which our own Anaheim-based Southern California Surf play. Cotton's Long Beach signing was confirmed for me by Jam owner Steve Chase, which struck me as odd because Chase is the owner of Southern California Surf. Oh, he was the owner. He left his partners, including George Argyros Jr., to start the Jam and apparently he wasn't the only one. According to Chase, the Surf now have everything you need to play professional basketball except players, an arena and a league. "They have a name and a logo, that's it," he said. Sure, that doesn't sound like much, but then again, it's all Angelyne has and now she's running for governor, lest we forget.

TUESDAY August 19

That kid on the Nike commercial who says he can beat anybody in a race—I'm supposed to hate him, right?

WEDNESDAY, August 20

According to the Leisure World News, a woman identifying herself as "Margaret" has been calling women who live in Laguna Woods Leisure World and, sounding as though she's under some duress, tells them she's one of their neighbors and that her grandson (who, in the made-for-Lifetime-TV-movie, would be named Skip and played by Corey Haim) is doing terrible things to her—sexual things. She goes on to describe these things in graphic detail to the horror of her concerned neighbors and the delight of the ones who are really into Harold and Maude. KIDDING! It's all horror. When she's advised by the well-meaning neighbors to call the police, Margaret bristles and lets it be known that help is the last thing she wants, hubba hubba. Now, clearly, this is not a cool thing to do to senior citizens who get enough dickwads on the phone trying to bilk them out of their life savings. (It's so bad that Leisure World is hosting another of its identity theft forums, clothing optional—KIDDING!) But is it funny, like Cocoon, or just sick, like Cocoon II: The Codgering. (And what to make of the fact that the sheriff's spokesman I was referred to about the case—and who never returned my phone call—had a name that sounded very much over the phone like "Fleshman.") No, I've decided this is not something I should joke about. But seeing as I've got you all worked up in a froth, I'll offer this vaguely similar situation/joke. Enjoy:

Elderly woman takes her Great Dane to the veterinarian.

Woman: "Doctor, every time I bend over my dog mounts me." Vet: "My goodness! Would you like him neutered?" Woman: "Neutered? I just want you to trim his toenails." THURSDAY, August 21 Speaking of funny, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is advertising on Monster.com for a media spokesperson, since some of his previous spokespeople—he goes through them like beer nuts—have had a difficult time adjusting to Rackauckas' desire that his media spokesperson not speak to the media. The ad makes clear that you will be doing things Tony's way: "This is an at-will position that serves at the pleasure of the District Attorney." Given that what pleases the DA includes throwing innocent people in jail, bailing out rich friends and wrongfully terminating employees who later sue for big-money settlements, that's quite a party. The ad goes on to say that the ideal candidate must have "proven experience, ability, and expertise which demonstrate media relations knowledge, communication, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills." Translation: "Keep your mouth shut. You didn't hear what you think you just heard. We don't talk to any news organizations. Here's your phone with the Register on speed dial." Lucky for Rackauckas, the perfect candidate is out there and he's available. It's former Nixon spokesman Ron Ziegler. Ziegler is used to getting shoved around—sometimes literally—by dirty politicians and, best of all, he died earlier this year. Dead spokesmen tell no tales.
George W. Bush, worst president ever, right? FRIDAY, August 22 The week ends with more bodies in Iraq, a Newsweek poll that shows a huge majority of Americans believe we'll be bogged down there for years to come and me paying $2.05—at ARCO—for a gallon of gas. George W. Bush, worst president ever, right? SATURDAY, August 23 Tonight we gather for Anthony Pignataro's going-away party. Anthony's leaving to become editor of the Maui Time Weekly and it's hard to see him go. I mean, like everyone, I knew Anthony would someday leave us, but, like everyone, I thought it would be in a hale of rubber bullets amid his own death screams for everyone to keep their filthy hands off his collection of porcelain cats—how Tony loves his cats. So, anyway, everyone was there, the new managing editor of Laguna magazine and me. Anthony was his typical putz self, refusing to put on the snorkeling mask I bought him at considerable expense. He said it was all a plot so we could take a picture of him in the mask looking like a jerk and then run it with this column. It was the typical paranoid delusion that distinguishes a good investigative reporter such as Anthony. Still, it hurt that he had so little trust in me; hurt even more that I don't have a picture for this column of Anthony looking like a jerk in a snorkeling mask as I had planned when I bought the thing. Well, as the Hawaiians say, c'est la vie. Or is it skoal? Anyway, while most of you only know Anthony through such investigate efforts as "El Toro Airport: Yeah, We Get It. Bad Idea. Message Received" and his "Hot Chicks: Where's Mine?" series, I knew him as a friend and sounding board. I'll miss his wicked humor and dogged pursuit of the truth—unfettered by common courtesy or good grooming—which he'll bring to his new gig in Maui. I give it six weeks.


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