Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, Nov. 23 About 150 protesters against America's upcoming war with Iraqtake their message to the people on the mean streets of South County. Of course, there are no people on the mean streets of South County this morning—being Saturday and, uh, South County—so motorists will have to do. The march starts at peacenik-y Soka University in Aliso Viejo and winds its way to the Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel. Though the route cuts through the heart of Bush Country, drivers who do not avoid making eye contact with the rabble-rousers generally smile, wave and—gasp!—honk their horns in approval. And the expected throng of counterdemonstrators never show. But before you conclude that the absence of pro-warriors and warm embrace of anti-warriors must be emblematic of national sentiments against another war for oil, keep in mind that JC Penney was having a sale.

SUNDAY, Nov. 24 Another public display against the war sprouts up, this time in Costa Mesa, where a banner hanging from the Fairview Road overpass carries this message to drivers on the southbound 405 freeway: "Thou shalt not kill Iraqi children." Such reverence is broken as drivers zoom past Trinity Broadcasting Network Headquarters.

MONDAY, Nov. 25 Validating old sage Boy George's proverb that the Karma Chameleoncomes and goes, Lan Nguyen is declared the winner of a seat on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees—a full 20 days after the election. You'll recall that in his post-election guide ("Point and Laugh!" Nov. 15), R. Scott Moxley wrote that Garden Grove rednecks routinely mocked the Vietnamese-American attorney's accent during the campaign. These asswipes probably figured they had the last guffaw as Nguyen trailed in the vote count for weeks. But he becomes the first Vietnamese-American ever elected to a school board after all's said and counted. We're guessing the Orange County Registrar of Voters still uses an abacus.

TUESDAY, Nov. 26 Actor Robert Blake retains two new defense lawyers, both with Orange County ties. Blake, who stands accused of offing wife Bonny Lee Bakley, had a parting of ways with his original attorney, Harland W. Braun. Stepping into Braun's wingtips is ex-OC prosecutor Thomas Arthur Mesereau Jr., who represented Mike Tyson last year before the San Bernardino County district attorney's office declined to file rape charges against the boxer. Rounding out Blake's legal team is Mesereau's former associate Jennifer Lynn Keller, a criminal-defense specialist out of Irvine with a nice jab herself. The change-up proves yet again that OC legal eagles can finagle their way into just about every high-profile case in Los Angeles. Rodney Kingand at least one of the cops accused of beating him had OC attorneys. The deputy counsel for the Christopher Commission—the panel that investigated the LAPD after the riots sparked by the King trial—practices in Irvine. O.J. Simpson's murder and child-custody cases teemed with OC lawyers, experts and court commissioners (not to mention the parents and siblings of at least one victim). We could go on, but a shrewd shark would probably figure out a way to charge us $400 per hour for the privilege.

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Gammoh gets the last lap
Photo by Jack Gould

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27 A state appeals court strikes down a La Habra law that outlaws lap dances. In the ruling attorneys on both sides receive today—when not pimping for jobs on high-profile cases in LA—the Fourth District Court of Appeals says La Habra's ordinance dictating that strippers stay at least six feet away from horndogs is unconstitutional. The justices reason that the law as written would prevent other entertainers—such as comics, circus freaks, Amway salespeople—from getting within six feet of their audiences. It also would prevent strippers from carrying out other duties, such as serving drinks; tending bar; and debating Le Chatelier's principlethat holds if a change is made to a system in chemical equilibrium, the equilibrium shifts to oppose the change until a new equilibrium is reached. The appellate decision is a victory for the operators of La Habra's only nudie bar, Taboo Gentlemen's Club (formerly the Pelican Theater). Owner Bill Gammohreportedly spent 24 days in jail in 2000 for defying the lap-dance ban—and, boy, is his lap tired.

THURSDAY, Nov. 28 An item about Newport Beach's adopted favorite son John Wayne lands in our laps courtesy of Western Clippings, sort of a virtual version of those web blogs that encapsulate news from other Internet sources. Or—gulp!—a virtual version of us. Virtually. Poor bastards. Near as we can tell by the remainder of the single page of Western Clippings before us, the service specializes in stories about dead or faded Hollywood cowboys. Above a citation for The Orange County Register's story on the plans to tear down the Newport Bay home the Duke called home from 1963-'79 is a notice about a piece first printed in the Dallas Morning News. Corn farmers who are obviously bored with counting all their U.S. taxpayer-funded subsidies have an unusual hobby: making mazes out of their cornfields to create images or messages. One such maize maze near Knoxville, Iowa, has been cut to look like Wayne, who originally hailed from the Hawkeye State—back when he was known as Marion Morrison. With Newport bereft of cornfields, perhaps some enterprising soul could make an image of him from sand or seaweed or land developers strung end to end.

FRIDAY, Nov. 29 We told you last week about the protest against one of those Newport Beach developers, John Laing Homes, which plans to move a 400-year-old oak tree called Old Gloryin Santa Clarita so that a road can be expanded. One activist has planted himself in the tree to keep it from budging, and a few more show up outside Laing's Dove Street headquarters with signs, slogans and evening news-ready spiels. The joke's on them: Laing is closed for the Thanksgiving weekend.

SATURDAY, Nov. 30 Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. Atlachinolli Front, whom you may know from previous protests against Columbus Day, schools with Indian mascots and other symbolic slights, holds a "No Thanks" presentation/discourse at Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana about what Thanksgiving means to indigenous people. We'll go out on a limb (sorry, Old Glory) and guess what they think ain't pretty.

SUNDAY, Dec. 1 We hit the aisles at our local Trader Joe's, safe in the knowledge that the supermarket chain is trying mightily to remove all genetically engineered (GE) food from its premises. The company almost reached its goal of eliminating all GE products last month, hoping to join the bans carried out already by Wild Oats and Whole Foods markets. We haven't checked, but we're sure Mother's must've banned them as well. (To find out which brands and labels are GE-free, log onto Greenpeace's True Food Network site: www.truefoodnow.org.) What we put into our bodies is a hot topic lately, with a federal judge recently ruling that former Dodgers great Steve Garvey did not engage in false advertising by hawking a weight-loss product that promised results even if consumers ate such "forbidden foods" as ribs and buttered biscuits. Speaking of forbidden foods, today marks the first day of a new diet by a plump porn star. Kim Kelly of Santa Monica is going to spend the next 30 days subsisting only on "man juice." Christ, if only we knew about the weight-loss implications back in high school when we were trying to con girls into swallowing because it would clear up their complexions.

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