Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, Sept. 14 Today's Los Angeles Times heralds the debut of a new taste sensation at the LA County Fair in Pomona: a battered, deep-fried Snickers bar. News of the $3-angioplasty-facilitator-on-a-stick comes as leading British nutritionist Andrew Prentice warns that worldwide obesity represents an evolutionary shift in the human body shape and that parents may outlive their fat kids. Meanwhile, body-conscious Australia wraps up a Childhood Obesity Summit that concludes modern-life cruelly encourages sloth and an obesity pandemic among the PlayStation generation. Speaking of computer gaming, Intel has just struck a multimillion-dollar product placement deal with McDonald'sfor the hotly anticipated The Sims Online computer game. With McDonald's capturing the attention of young consumers through TV, the radio, grade-school kiosks and now computer play time, the next logical step is to implant computer chips into the skulls of flabby kids so Big Macs can monopolize their sleep time as well.

SUNDAY, Sept. 15 A group of American Indians, including local Juaneos, burn sage and pray over sacred land in San Juan Capistrano. They want the city to buy the parcel, build a cultural center on it and protect the ancient Juaneo burial site there. But they are not the only ones with their eyes on the 29-acre plot. The Capistrano Unified School District wants a public middle school there; city officials prefer something that generates sales-tax revenues; and the land owner—the Catholic Junipero Serra High School—envisions athletic fields there. Indian land overrun by Catholics in San Juan Capistrano sure has a familiar ring to it, dontcha think? Which segues perfectly into a plug for the Gabrielino/Tongva and Juaneo/Acjachemen Peoples' sixth annual A Pilgrimage Honoring Our Ancestors on Oct. 5. You'll start at 7:30 a.m. in the San Mateo Park Campsite parking lot off Cristianitos Road in San Clemente and then caravan north to a half-dozen sacred sites in what is now Orange County and Long Beach. Last year's pilgrimage was the most spiritually rewarding day in this cynical old bastard's life.

MONDAY, Sept. 16 The hoity-toity St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, which three weeks ago was the site of an invite-only fund-raiser for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon starring Dubya, is informed by the Dana Point code-enforcement office that it's running afoul of city law. In a letter sent to the resort today, code-enforcement officer Angela Duzich states that residents in the Ritz Cove neighborhood across Pacific Coast Highway from the St. Regis have griped about excessive noise from events on the outdoor terrace of the resort's Club 19—noise banned under the resort's use permit. Resort officials vow to investigate and abide by the permits. Of course, if Simon's somehow elected, all bets are off, so Ritz Cove dwellers better vote against him.

TUESDAY, Sept. 17 Laguna Beach narcs seize 12 pot plants grown at an apartment complex catering to people with HIV/AIDS and disabilities. Whoa, a dozen plants! We had a bigger crop in our dorm's window box. Cops also bust a 53-year-old man for alleged dealing. Perhaps he'll share a cell with Orange County Cannabis Co-op's Marvin Chavez, who may be prison-bound. So much for compassionate use in OC. As this nonsense goes on, free pot is given away on the steps of city halls in San Diego and Santa Cruz to protest the feds willfully ignoring state law and breaking up co-ops that get cannabis to sick people.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18 Actress Tawny Kitaen quietly settles the spousal-abuse case brought by estranged husband and former Angels pitching ace Chuck Finley. If the prescription-pill-popping performer successfully completes a year of counseling, the two misdemeanor abuse counts will be dropped. The divorce sought by Finley, who now pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals, is still pending. They both have access to their two daughters, but Kitaen for now has no access to her ex-, who as part of the settlement got a three-year restraining order barring her from contact with him or their Newport Beach estate.


THURSDAY, Sept. 19 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon pens a deal worth mid-seven figures to write the sequel to the summer box-office smash Spider-Man, Hollywood trade paper Variety reports today. He'd really have to screw up to fail at this assignment since Columbia Pictures has already locked up the first flick's stars (Tobey Maguire and Kirstin Dunst) and director (Sam Raimi). And Chabon has that goddamned golden-boy touch going for him. He was one of the first stars to come out of UC Irvine's master of fine arts program. His first novel, published when he was 24, was a best-seller. And, of course, there's his 2001 Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which he has already adapted for the screen. Did we mention we hate his guts?

FRIDAY, Sept. 20 In more Columbia Pictures news, the studio today releases the thriller Trapped without pre-screening it for film critics or having its stars hit the yak-show circuit to promote it. Must be a real stinker, you're probably thinking. You're probably wrong. Studio execs explain that the quiet opening is out of deference to Orange County's Samantha Runnion abduction case and this summer's other high-profile child snatchings. In the movie, Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love kidnap an 8-year-old girl, whose yummy mummy, Charlize Theron, defies the FBI to try to save her. It's too early to tell if goddamned golden boy Michael Chabon will pen the sequel, but let's keep our fingers crossed there's a part for Tawny Kitaen.

SATURDAY, Sept. 21 There was the 1997 game where the Notre Dame Fighting Irishcame out in green uniforms before their game against the USC Trojans, who went on to lose. There were all those decibel-shattering pre-game ceremonies during the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. And there was the San Francisco Giants last year wearing replicas of their 1951 uniforms in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who as the Brooklyn Dodgers lost a heartbreaker to the then-New York Giants in '51. The latest attempt at pre-game psych-outs comes before today's game between the Anaheim Angels and Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, where Dave Henderson throws out the first pitch. The Angels were one strike away from going to the World Series in 1986 when Henderson hit a two-run home run that eventually led to his Boston Red Sox going to the big show. The Angels have not been back to the playoffs since. The Mariners claim the timing of the ceremony featuring Henderson, who capped his career in Seattle, is purely coincidental. But the Angels, who can clinch a spot in this year's playoffs with a win, lose, 6-4.

SUNDAY, Sept. 22 About 300 Vietnamese-Americans apparently prevent a 30-member red Vietnamese trade delegation from meeting at Whittier Law School. Waving placards, U.S. and South Vietnam flags, and an effigy of Ho Chi Minhdangling from a noose, the protesters yell anti-Viet Cong chants at every car that pulls into the Costa Mesa campus. "Folks with the Vietnamese government, who are in the process of a weeklong trade delegation to the U.S., rented a public room here to meet with local businesspeople," explains Scott Wylie, the school's associate dean for external affairs. "The local Vietnamese community decided to come out and exercise their First Amendment rights, which they have every right to do. The trade delegation never made it into the facility." It's easy to see why they bailed. A slight man wearing army fatigues whips up the crowd with several chants in Vietnamese and one in English: "Down with Viet Cong!" to which his audience shouts back, "Down! Down! Down!" Son Do of Westminster tells us that someone learned the Vietnamese delegation was staying in a Garden Grove hotel, figured out their meeting itinerary and quickly spread the word to protesters, who prove quite united in their commie hatred. "The Viet Cong sold land to China," one man tells us. "The Vietnamese communists send poor girls to Malaysia and other places to be prostitutes," informs another. An elderly gent who claims the Vietnamese government supported the Sept. 11 attacks says he supports Dubya's War on Terrorism because he hopes the war will eventually go to Vietnam. Again.


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