Diary of a Mad County

Illustration by Bob AulSATURDAY, July 13 There's enough tomfoolery these days to make you wanna chuck it all and move to the South Pacific or at least Fresno. Then in one shining moment, Orange Countians restore your faith in humanity. That's what happens today when 7,500 fans at the KLOS-FM 95.5 Livestock rock and comedy festival pull together for a single purpose: to boo increasingly unfunny comic Richard Lewis off the stage at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. Lewis, who squeezed his last mild yuk out of Jewish single-guy neuroses back in the Bush Sr. presidency, proved within moments of his set that he hasn't grown one wit since. It didn't take long for the crowd to show that it has. It's enough to make us cry like Commie Girl at a Capra film festival.

SUNDAY, July 14 In a move that may hit this fish wrap in its scaly wallet, the Huntington Beach City Councilnow requires escort services and their pulchritudinous employees to register with the police department, the Los Angeles Times reports today. The PD's vice squad claims that some escort services that advertise in daily and weekly newspapers are actually fronts for prostitution! The WHORE, er, HORROR! [OC Weekly Legal Department note:OC Weekly does not promote nor condone illegal activities on the part of its advertisers and would be shocked to discover that any of the fine ladies—such as Amber the Amorous Debutante on page 116—are what Subsection 69-XXX of the California Penal Code officially refers to as "street meat."] Surf City leaders apparently want the escorts registered before the completion of the new Hyatt resort and Waterfront Hilton expansion currently uglying up the inland side of PCH. They fear hos will be drawn to the hundreds of conventions coming to those soaring stucco cesspools. So how come horny out-of-state conventioneers who dial up local escorts don't have to register with the Man?

MONDAY, July 15 A story by Chris Cziborr in today's august Orange County Business Journal hints that racism may have played a part in the Anaheim Planning Commission's unanimous rejection of a liquor license for a Gigante supermarket coming to Anaheim Plaza at Euclid Street near the 5 freeway. Because the Gigante chain is based in Mexico, most of its customers are Hispanic and music playing in its existing stores is sung in Spanish, city officials reason that the store is not "ethnically diverse" enough for Anaheim (about half of which ain't brown).

At their undoubtedly whoreless convention in Anaheim, the Christian Booksellers Association officially teams with the American Bible Society to launch a new crusade: wiping out illiteracy by making children and adults read the Bible. RIGHT NOW, HEATHEN! "With 70 percent of primary and middle school students not able to read at grade level, a huge chunk of the next generation is at risk of not being able to know God through reading in the Bible," says the Reverend Trevon Gross, who leads the crusade aimed at starting 1,500 new Read All About It programs by the end of the year. Hey, it worked at the Spanish missions. Of course, that involved enslavement and whips and priests—lots of priests. Uh, never mind.

TUESDAY, July 16 Editor & Publisher, the trade paper for ink-stained wretches, reports today that as alternative newsweeklies (that's what they call fish wraps such as yours truly) consider pulling back on ads for escorts, dominatrixes, strip clubs, massage parlors, phone-sex lines and adult bookstores, mainstream daily newspapers are thinking about boosting such advertising. You Orange County Register and Los Angeles Timessubscription solicitors who are always interrupting our dinner might want to give Huntington Beach Vice a call.

WEDNESDAY, July 17 Videos seized from a suspected terrorist in Spain—not U.S. Ambassador George Argyros, but a different suspected terrorist—contain footage of Disneyland, but officials at the theme park and Anaheim Police Department downplay any security risks. A Mouseketeer says they don't consider the threat credible. Besides, since Sept. 11, they've already been on high alert—increasing patrols, checking all bags, restricting certain areas and putting snipers on Thunder Mountain (okay, we made up the last one, but we can dream, can't we?). To show how on top of security Disney is, Uncle Sam has hired away Mickey Mouse's top spy. As chief of research and development, Eric Haseltine was in charge of the Walt Disney Co.'s top-secret science division. He'll do pretty much the same thing for the National Security Agency—only his work will be aimed at thwarting hackers, terrorists and secret agents instead of pre-teens trying to steal the apple from the witch on the Snow White ride.

THURSDAY, July 18 Rock stars usually promote concerts with newspaper stories, radio interviews and the occasional publicity stunt. Heart's July 26 Orange County Fair show is heralded with today's announcement that lead singer Ann "Don't Call Me Carnie" Wilson got a fat belt. Actually, the device placed around her stomach to reduce her food intake is called a Lap-Band. And Wilson, who has reportedly lost 50 pounds since undergoing the surgery at Huntington Beach Hospital in January, didn't actually break the news. It was her surgeon, Dr. Brian B. Quebbemann. It was unclear at press time whether Wilson considered her blabbing physician a "Magic Man" or a "Barracuda." But anyone at the fair that night should be on high alert to keep Wilson away from the hot-buttered poodles or whatever the hell it is they serve there.

FRIDAY, July 19 Lake Elsinore resident Alejandro Avila is arrested in connection with the chilling kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion of Stanton. No one is more chilled than OC Weeklings. Our cover story on the kidnapping and murder of a 10-year-old girl in 1951 (Nathan Callahan's "Live Noir," July 12) hit the streets just three days before Samantha was abducted. The 1951 case—with its round-the-clock coverage—has been pegged as the originator of reality television. The 2002 case—which tops the news on all the Los Angeles TV stations, gets picked up by the 24-hour cable news channels and is splattered across front pages throughout the country—shows not much has changed since 1951.


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