Diary of a mad county

Illustration by Bob AulSUNDAY, March 24 Back before Clockwork could tell time, the Whammo toy company hawked a fat-barreled pistol that made a loud popping noise as it discharged a rush of air. Kids were supposed to use it to knock down Whammo-supplied targets, but that grew boring, so we—I mean they—would instead sneak up on unsuspecting playmates and promptly blow out their eardrums. The occurrence was so common that Whammo eventually banned the air guns. An incident today prompts such nostalgia: Gary Michael Holdren is in-line skating in Newport Beach when he's repeatedly shot with paint-ball pellets, causing the 54-year-old to fall, crack his skull and eventually drift into a coma. Three boys packing pellet guns were seen nearby. The Whammo Rule would have predicted such an event: it was only a matter of time before youths and out-of-work security guards wandered from designated paint-ball courses and into polite society. But since the sport is training future real marksmen, don't look for any bans; surely the National Rifle Association is already cranking out bumper stickers declaring, "I'll give up my paint-ball gun when they pry it from my cold, paint-spattered fingers."

MONDAY, March 25 During the halcyon days of energy deregulation, we chose as our electricity supplier the wind and solar power-promoting Green Mountain Energy Co.even though its billionaire, former Texas oilmen owners supported incineration as an energy source and George Dubya Bush as a U.S. president. Green Mountain's necks, it turned out, were red. But while everyone else struggled with triple-digit energy bills, we enjoyed monthly rebate checks—until Green Mountain promptly pulled out of Cali and sent us back to even-eviler Southern California Edison. So we take smug delight in the fact that, as of today, more than 200 Green Mountain customers in Pennsylvania had called in with complaints about a letter they received about an upcoming 1.6 percent rate increase. It wasn't the price spike that had 'em fuming—it was Green Mountain's toll-free number printed on the letter, which instead took them to a phone-sex service. Green Mountain apologized and fixed the error, oblivious to cross-marketing opportunities to be had with future customer-service messages that would begin: "To check your account balance, dial 1; for service, dial 2; to listen to a busty blond jerking off a marsupial while a legless dwarf watches, dial 3 . . . " TUESDAY, March 26 After critical comments by Anaheim Angels bullpen ace Troy Percival are read back to Mo Vaughn, the rotund New York Mets slugger goes off on a 10-minute tirade (laced with 35 expletives) against Percival. While we can make educated guesses as to which expletives Vaughn chose, we'll have to resort to sound effects since we failed to secure unedited source material. "Who the [bleep] is Troy Percival?" asked Vaughn, whom the Angels traded to the Mets in December. "He hasn't done [wheeezzze] to lead them anywhere. I got hardware. I got playoff appearances. I got an MVP. I've been to the playoffs twice. What the hell has he done?" As for our hapless Halos, Vaughn says, "Ain't none of them done a damn thing in this game, bottom line. They ain't got no flags hanging at [ahhh-ooo-gaaawww] Edison Field, so the hell with them." Turns out Percival's been peeved since a 1999 game in which Vaughn failed to join teammates defending the pitcher in a bench-clearing brawl in Cleveland. Sadly, the Mets won't be in town for the Big Ed's "Paint Ball Night" this season. WEDNESDAY, March 27 A little farther south, in El Cajon, the Grossmont Union High School District rejects Paul Scott's plea for separate restrooms for gays and lesbians. Check that: separate restrooms for any students "perceived" to be gay or lesbian. Scott filed a complaint a month earlier alleging that his daughter is being discriminated against because she has to share toilets and dressing areas with lesbos. In his perfect world, how would schools differentiate between "perceived straights" and "perceived lesbians"? We suspect he'd recruit those enlightened teen boys who, a day before the Grossmont school board meeting, pinned 17-year-old April Mora down in an alley near her Denver, Colorado, home and carved the word "dyke" into her forearm. THURSDAY, March 28 Orange County People for Animals leader Ava Parkencourages members to dine at Burger King at least once a week for the next four weeks. Has our favorite babe-ilicious critter protector gone stark-raving mad? Heck, no. She wants animal lovers to order BK's new veggie burgers and thank management for offering meatless meals. Not that vegans are totally satisfied. Park also passes along a complaint from fellow activist Karen Dawn, who reports, "The new burger is not strictly vegan. The patty is vegan, the low-fat mayonnaise, which can be left off, is not, and the bun, harder to omit, has traces of dairy." But Dawn ultimately sides with other vegans who are "willing to forsake personal purity in order to help this landmark item succeed." So do you want beef fat-drenched fries with that? FRIDAY, March 29 Orange County gazillionaire and U.S. ambassador to Spain George "Super Size It" Argyros occupies the top spot on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's "10 Mariners We Weren't Crazy About." For you non-baseball fans out there, Argyros owned the Seattle Mariners from 1981 to '89—and folks in the Pacific Northwest still aren't over it. "He was cheap, greedy, arrogant and inept," writes the P-Iof El Tubby. "He spent his entire ownership bitching about the Kingdome lease and threatening to move the team. He was worse for Seattle baseball than February rain. And now he's the U.S. ambassador to Spain. There are only two words to say about that: poor Spain." SATURDAY, March 30 The day before the celebration of Christ having risen, about 500 young people get closer to the Big Guy with the help of skateboard ramps at Skatefest 2002, a rockin' skate-stravaganza in the parking lot of Fullerton's Impact Community Church. In between ollies, Christian punk and commerce (booths hawking Jesus freaky T-shirts), teens hear the Word from various speakers. Onward, Christian boarders! SUNDAY, March 31 Stop the bleeding already: our all-new, all-red Anaheim Angels drop their season opener to the Cleveland Indians, 6-0, at the Big Ed.

Shoot! Good Friday (March 29): TBN wishes Jesus happy birthday on his death day.
Photo by Jack Gould


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