Diary of Mad County
Wednesday, July 12
Thursday, July 13
Gustavo Arellano arrives in the office hefting the August edition of Playboy magazine, and if his mother or girlfriend or the nuns who taught him are reading this, he didn't really come into the office holding a Playboy indexed with pink Post-it notes. Anyway, Gustavo comes in with the Playboy and one of the Post-its—which are really more of a, I dunno, what do you think, Gustavo, pomegranate?—marks a pictorial titled "Real Girls of the OC." And indeed they are "real" in the same way that Lara Croft, King Kong and Liza Minnelli are real; the same way anything is real that has been airbrushed, architecturally retrofitted and shown doing those things that women from Orange County do every day: naked sunbathing, naked surfing, naked kickboxing, naked perching on knees listening to an iPod and—this being a family-oriented region—naked leaning against the Sub-Zero fridge thrusting pelvis in air, most likely while thinking about after-school snacks. Yes, Playboy certainly nailed OC, and if the pictures weren't proof enough, here's the little bit of Alexis de Tocqueville that accompanied them: "When they're away from the beach, local hotties nest whenever possible in outsize pool houses. They break up the day with trips to the personal trainer and the spa, and with sips of skinny soy lattes at a Starbucks with outdoor seating." Ah, yes, the decadence that is outdoor seating. But this brings up a bigger point. How cute is Playboy? They're still producing lame-ass copy that sounds like it was written by the boys in publicity at Metro to accompany their comparably mild pictures at a time when anybody with a computer is receiving a steady stream of farm-sex emails. Adorable!
Friday, July 14
Orange County Superior Court Judge Daniel Didier, at the behest of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, issues an injunction against 134 alleged members of the Santa Ana street gang SantaNita. Among other things, the court order imposes a 10 p.m. curfew, forbids the 134 from associating with known gang members—so talking to themselves is right out—and forbids them from wearing any gang attire, including the exciting new line from Dior. Okay, we can all agree that we don't like street gangs, that violent street gang members are a blight on our country, and that gang members should be arrested . . . when they break the law. Carrying an illegal weapon? Arrest them. Looks like the sort of person who would carry an illegal concealed weapon? Don't. See how that works? This is a nation of laws. Well, laws and all-you-can-eat shrimp. It's not a nation that allows the government to impose restrictions on people because they look like the sort of people who might break the law. Well, not yet it isn't. Much. See, this is that uncomfortable moment where you're forced to defend the Ku Klux Klan's right to march or gang members' right to exist AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT BREAKING THE LAW. Hey, if the police want to set up special task forces to nab gang members BREAKING THE LAW, that's cool. If they want to get court-approved wiretaps or surveillance of members BREAKING THE LAW? Lovely. But it's too easy to just throw a blanket over a group and call them a gang—or terrorists. It's just a few steps up from "Shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out." Amazingly, Didier acknowledged as much when he said that of the 134 people mentioned in the injunction, some of them were not gang members. He encouraged them to seek legal advice. I would urge him to read the U.S. Constitution.
Saturday, July 15
Sunday, July 16
The Angels beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 7-5, for a season-high sixth straight win and the 11th victory in their last 12 games to climb within one and a half games of first place in the American League West. Left for dead a month ago, it's a testament to the tenacity the team has displayed through manager Mike Scioscia's tenure. It's also a testament to how lame the American League West is. Consider that division-leading Oakland's .516 winning percentage would place it no better than fourth in the Central and East divisions. Now the Angels start a week that could see them on top by the end, since they'll be playing sub-.500 Cleveland and sub-.400 Kansas City, which are a combined 50 games out of first place.
Monday, July 17
I'm not sure why Money magazine keeps doing these "Best Places" deals—except that people like me keep mentioning them. They've just published one about the cities with the highest median incomes and there is an Orange County city in the top 10, but it's not the one you think. Newport Beach? Nope. Laguna Beach? Uh-uh. According to Money, the OC city with the highest median income is Yorba Linda, Land of Gracious Living, where the median income is 100 grand. There's a tendency not to think of Yorba Linda when one thinks of wealthy Orange County, what with there being nothing but horses and women thrusting their pelvises at Sub-Zero refrigerators. Trust me, Yorba Linda does have its affluent/outdoor seating side. Money has another list that ticks off the most expensive median house prices, and Newport Beach ranks first in the nation at $1.3 million. In a nod to God's wicked sense of humor, though, only seven of the nation's 25 highest-income cities are in California, but the state boasts 24 of the 25 highest-priced citiesin which to buy a home. Hilarious.
Tuesday, July 18
When we ran the picture of George Bushflipping off a TV camera in our Nov. 5, 2004, edition, we got a ton of angry letters whose writers were sure that we had doctored the photo and degraded the children. "It honestly makes me sick to know that the picture of our president and his middle finger is sitting in front of a local sandwich restaurant where small children can easily see it. Your paper makes me sick." Well, well, well, look who was caught on microphone at the G8 summit saying that the present unrest in Middle East could be solved if Syria could "get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over." You know, I could care less that President Potty Mouth used the S-word. Contextually, he's right on the mark. Bad shit has distinguished the Middle East situation since, um . . . when was Nebuchadnezzar born? I'm much more offended by the sweet sounding words Bush uses; words like "defending marriage" and "mission accomplished" and "heck of a job."
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