Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, July 20 Elvis Costello has left the building. Actually, the Aterballetto Dance Co.'s A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring music composed by the British singer/songwriter/musician closes at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (OCPAC). Which brings to mind something we experienced shortly after the release of The Juliet Letters, Costello's 1993 album with the Brodsky Quartet. Costello and the Brodsky performed the work to a sold-out crowd at UCLA's Royce Hall. But during the same SoCal swing, the Brodsky played OCPAC's 200-seat Founders Hall—sans Elvis. So we asked OCPAC why they booked the Brodsky in tiny Founders when their 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall could have been filled if Costello accompanied them. We were told Costello didn't fit OCPAC's "programming"—even though he performed art songs, not his old devil music with the Brodsky. During a subsequent press conference at which OCPAC officials tried to explain away poor ticket sales, we asked the Center's chairman—a prominent Orange County developer—about loosening up the programming. "This ain't the fucking Crazy Horse," he barked. Which reminds us: Costello performs his new devil music at Long Beach's Terrace Theatre on Oct. 1. OCPAC's Segerstrom is dark that night, but ancient actress Polly Bergensings in Founders.

SUNDAY, July 21 Not every Orange County Christian congregation has jumped on the pro-Israeli government, all-Palestinians-are-evil bandwagon. Placentia Presbyterian Churchhosts Sami Awad, the American-born and -educated political scientist whose Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust seeks the nonviolent creation of a democratic Palestinian state.

MONDAY, July 22 Congressman Ken Calvert(R-Riverside) hasn't even started representing the fine folks of way-South Orange County, yet some future constituents are already pissed at him. Thanks to redistricting, Calvert will represent all of San Clemente and half of San Juan Capistrano starting next year; thanks to Calvert's behind-the-scenes maneuvering, a section was added to the latest defense appropriations bill that would exempt private toll-road operators from state laws, literally paving the way for the extension of a toll road that will carve up San Onofre State Park and the city of San Clemente. The anti-toll road Friends of the Foothillssays of Calvert, "He needs to hear from South Orange County residents that this is a bad way to introduce himself to the community!"

TUESDAY, July 23 Your favorite ticking time bomb will never again question Anaheim Union High School District board president Katherine Smith. We branded her run for state superintendent of public instruction quixotic. Now she's in a runoff election for the post. Today, she releases documents that show at a key point state Attorney General Bill Lockyer refused to defend the recent lawsuit filed against the Pledge of Allegiance. Before we can tee off on Smith for strangely campaigning against Lockyer instead of her opponent in November, state Senator Jack O'Connell (D-San Luis Obispo), something even stranger happens: Lockyer and Governor Gray Davis capitulate. Two days after Smith's browbeating, they formally request that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reverse its decision finding the Pledge unconstitutional.

WEDNESDAY, July 24 Tim Hoiles, the 50-year-old grandson of Orange County Register founder Raymond Cyrus "R.C." Hoiles, demands that Freedom Communications, the libertarian-leaning paper's Irvine-based parent company, be put up for sale so he and other shareholders can cash out, the Wall Street Journal reports today. A London investment banker known for shaking newspapers loose from family ownership has been hired by Tim Hoiles, and he claims he can get $2 billion for the media company that owns 23 daily newspapers, 37 weeklies and eight television stations. The Journal surmises eager buyers include the Tribune Co., owner of the LA "By God" Times, Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, Laguna Coastline News, Huntington Beach Independent and—perhaps soon—every newspaper in Orange County that isn't OC Weekly. Shareholders meet Aug. 10 and 11 to hash things out.

THURSDAY, July 25 If you're not a Hoiles, you can always cash in on the Samantha Runnion tragedy. Fax.com, the Aliso Viejo-based company that specializes in "proprietary broadcast fax technology" sends us word that they have been enlisted by several missing-children's organizations and law-enforcement agencies as a result of the recent rash of child abductions. Thanks for sharing! Also horning in on the action are Assembly members Ken Maddox (R-Garden Grove), Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Jay La Suer(R-La Mesa) and George Runner (R-Lancaster), who announce today they've dusted off a slew of their going-nowhere crime bills and conveniently tied them to the Runnion spectacle. Five days later, Governor Gray Davis holds a press conference to champion the same child-abduction alert system called for in a Maddox/Runner bill he'd ignored for a year. On the opposite end of the political spectrum is Californians for a Moratorium on Executions, a coalition project of Mike "B.J. Honeycutt" Farrell's Death Penalty Focus, which picks the absolute worst time to kick off its drive to end convict killing until the capital-punishment system can be reexamined.

FRIDAY, July 26 With everyone in reexamination mode, it's high time for Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona and President George Dubya Bush to take a refresher course on the U.S. Constitution, something both of them swore to uphold with paws firmly on Bible. According to that document—the Constitution, not the Bible—defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. And yet, Carona tells the media he is "100 percent sure'' Alejandro Avila, who has not been tried, is guilty of murdering Runnion. Dubya piles on during today's speech on homeland security. After acknowledging Carona in the crowd, Shrub says, "He's the fellow who recently apprehended the killer of Samantha Runnion there in California." It's just one more example of Bush turning the whole goddamned country into Texas.

SATURDAY, July 27 As we're using our clock tower's facilities, the toilet bowl inexplicably tilts to the right. It seems the only way we can protect our leftist leanings is to get our mitts on the Adjustable Wax Toilet Bowl Ring developed by John Kepke of Trabuco Canyon and John Ripchick of Fullerton. The ring provides a solid foundation to the floor and an effective seal to the gassy hole under the bowl. While Kepke and Ripchick's invention has been licensed, it is not yet in production, which means we're going to have to prop our bowl up with strategically placed matchbooks in the meantime. You're welcome for sharing!

Illustration by Bob Aul

SUNDAY, July 28 Our attempt to skip this year's Orange County Fair is foiled six hours before closing. Because we haven't been paying attention, we assume this year's theme must be "Come See Boobies the Size of Rosie O'Donnell's Head." For some all-American oglers, that can be a good thing. But in most cases, it isn't—like the men with boobies the size of Rosie O'Donnell's head. As for many in the penisless set, here's an important fashion tip: if the belly flab hanging over the waistline of your too-short shorts sticks out farther than your boobies the size of Rosie O'Donnell's head, a tube top ain't for you. Of course, considering the closing-night headliner was Lynyrd Skynyrd, we may have been experiencing an invasion of folks from the 909 area code. Or maybe it's just one more example of Bush turning the whole goddamned country into Texas.


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