Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, Dec. 7 Who says Surf City doesn't have the Christmas spirit? A man wearing a Santa hat exposes himself on Main Street this evening. The police blotter item from the local Huntington Beach Wave does not mention what part of the fellow's anatomy the Santa hat covers before he whips out his Yule log. Nor does it say if he's wearing a mistletoe belt buckle.

SUNDAY, Dec. 8 A Netizen alerts us to the hilarity that ensues when you select Pat Robertson's book Six Steps to Spiritual Revival on Amazon.com and scroll down to the box titled "Customers who shopped for this item also shopped for these items." The second book listed is another Robertson title, but the third is a book about anal sex for men. Who would fill his basket with books by the Christian fundie firebrand and about man-on-man rump love? We'll round up the usual closeted OC conservative suspects. Meanwhile, didja hear the one about the far-Right lobbying group that decided to conduct a survey on mainstream American views on evangelical Christians? The Washington, D.C.-based American Family Association discovers that evangelical Christians are among the least-liked groups in the country, coming in 10th out of 11 spots—narrowly beating out prostitutes. That's shocking: we figured folks liked their whores better than that. Evangelical Christian 'hos must really have a complex.

MONDAY, Dec. 9 Three months ago, Weekly writer Gustavo Arellano broke a story about braceros demanding wages the U.S. and Mexican government promised them 50 years ago ("Picking a Fight: Braceros want what's theirs," Sept. 6, 2002). Today, the ex-farmworkers thank Arellano for getting them national coverage. Someone at Univision apparently read the story, contacted Arellano and eventually interviewed the braceros for a segment on the Spanish-language television network that aired earlier this month. According to the braceros, no other reporter in the country has so ably promoted their cause. See, we don't all suck.

TUESDAY, Dec. 10 The state Coastal Commission extends a cease-and-desist order preventing Newport Beach-based John Laing Homes from continuing to destroy a sacred Indian burial groundas it prepares to raise million-dollar homes within its Hellman Ranch development in Seal Beach. Laing—whose bulldozers at one point were stopped by Native American monitors standing in front of them—responds to the latest state action by agreeing to develop a new plan to handle the remains. Laing's public-relations flacks call us to say the company's annual golf tournament raised a bunch of money for a battered women's shelter. Gee, thanks for sharing—but not destroying!

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11 Seattle Weekly—which is published by the same company that publishes this rag—reports on criticism directed at former Orange County Register reporter, now Seattle Times scribe, Nicole Brodeur. Writes Seattle Weekly's Philip Dawdy: "In her Dec. 3 column, Brodeur used bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) as a metaphor to explain the city of Seattle's obsession with spending public money on opera houses and government buildings while it cuts funding for firefighters and police officers." Dawdy cites shocked reactions from mental-health advocates, statistics on suicide attempts (and completions) by bipolars, and the multiple number of times the illness was seriously examined in Brodeur's paper and the competing Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Bad, bad Nicole Brodeur, right? Not so fast. Read her actual column, and you'll discover it is not the writer who compares city spending to bipolar disorder, it's an adult nurse practitioner at the University of Washington's Psychosocial and Community Health Department. Bad, bad Philip Dawdy.

THURSDAY, Dec. 12 The California Center for Public Health Advocacy releases a report that says school kids in Santa Ana and parts of Anaheim and Garden Grove are among the fattest in the state. Sadly, no one gets picked on more than the chubby kids. Check that: no one gets picked on more than the gay kids. The National Mental Health Association—endorsed by Nicole Brodeur!—releases a study that finds anti-gay bullying is widespread on American campuses, with more than half the teens reporting that they hear other students being taunted daily. The actual taunts are not identified, but we imagine that way up there with "You're so gay" is "Hello, congressman, is that a Pat Robertson book and anal sex guide for men under your arm?"

FRIDAY, Dec. 13 The photo and caption above appear on today's Los Angeles Timeswebsite. Even we heathens would write something other than "welcoming the virgin" to describe an altar boy kneeling before a Catholic priest.

SATURDAY, Dec. 14 Actor Ed Begley Jr. scales the Santa Clarita oak tree that John Laing Homes wants to relocate for road-widening work tied to its residential development. Begley does not drive his electric car up the tree, but he does talk strategy with activist John Quigley, who's been perched in Old Glory since Nov. 1. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn also came out in favor of leaving Old Glory where it's been for 400 years, seeing as how old trees generally don't last more than five years after being uprooted. As for Laing, their flacks want to know if they mentioned that golf tourney that raised money for the battered women's shelter.

Photo by Jeanne Rice

SUNDAY, Dec. 15 Nearly 80 scooter riders trek from the Vespa Newport Beach shop to Children's Hospital of Orange County to deliver toys. Give the Hard Pack Scooter Club credit for more than benevolence. It's quite ballsy to pull a holiday stunt made famous by chopper riders. Indeed, we can picture burly bikers blocking the road with their hogs, swinging chains and thumping crowbars into their palms as guys and dolls on little Vespas approach. Then the Vespans jump off their scooters, pull out guns, and shoot the chains and crowbars out of the bikers' hands. Then the bikers grab the scooter riders by their necks, but they slither out and jump into kung-fu poses. Then the bikers and Vespans make mad monkey love right there in the street.

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