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Excerpts: Part 3

Photo by Myles RobinsonSept. 17, 1999 We spoke through the glass by means of a telephone. I was constrained by his lawyer in terms of what I might ask him, but asking anything seemed for some reason a difficult proposition.

How are you doing?

Having any problems inside?

How do you pass the time?

What exactly do you say to a 17-year-old boy who may be a 29-year-old man before he emerges again into the world? And thus the conversation wound on and wound down.

"I've been keeping up with my schoolwork," Arthur said. "I would like to go to college."

I had to turn away. At my side, the lawyer stirred. And down the long, bleft, distant corridors, the shouting erupted once more, troubled and indistinct. I kept the phone to my ear, but I wasn't sure I could bear to hear anything more.

"My dream is to become a chef," Arthur said softly from behind the thick glass.

Bob Emmers, "The Kid Is Innocent: The only question is whether the DA will do anything to free 17-year-old Arthur Carmona"

Sept. 24, 1999 Barry White's constipated groan of a voice gurgling libidinous exhortations atop overproduced tracks rife with washes of whinnying strings and cheesy wah-wah rhythm guitar on such '70s schlock-o-rama fare as "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" are among the most insufferable examples of soulless soul imaginable. White had already descended into self-parody before anyone even knew who he was. How this gelatinous sac successfully brought himself off as a sex symbol for a number of years remains one of history's great mysteries.

Buddy Seigal, "Barry White?! Do not step on my funk, please"

Oct. 8, 1999 Lynn Harris is a man. Sort of. He is also a woman. Sort of. He is both, although it could be argued that he is neither or that he is a third sex. Harris is a hermaphrodite, or intersex, possessing both a vagina and a penis that is, he says, about 2 inches long when erect. He has female chromosomes with male genetic patterning, male hair patterns and skeletal structure, and no breasts. He urinates from beneath the base of his penis. He has some mixed ovarian and testicular tissue. His voice is an eerie, androgynous purr. If you met him on the street and he told you he was a man, you'd believe it without question. If he told you he was a woman, you'd probably believe that, too.

Greg Stacy, "Interview With the Hermaphrodite: The many faces of Lynn Harris"

Oct. 8, 1999 OC Weekly: Got any good show-biz gossip for me?

Richard Lewis:That's rude! I wouldn't dish on anybody! I'd be sued. Look, I'm saving it all for the book; let me get sued by all 300,000 people at once. You're captivating, you know that? Sorry, I have to write this all down by hand because my tape recorders always fuck up at the wrong time.

I wish you had a tape recorder; you're gonna misquote me.

No, I'm a great quoter. You know, like Truman Capote trained himself to remember conversations word for word! It's just like that, except, you know, I write everything down, so it's not really like that at all.

Schoenkopf is a great name. Your uncle could have invented the atomic bomb. Or else it sounds like a cough.

That's great. Thanks.

You have a really sensual voice. It's captivating. I'll give you five seconds to get that thing out of your closet. I'm wearing black silk pajamas. I love silk pajamas.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, "Saint Lewis: Richard Lewis is a nice guy, even during attempted phone sex"

Oct. 15, 1999 He could feed his family for life by marketing his name and image alone. He's frickin' Tony Hawk. He has already pulled the loop: two-and-a-half rotations in succession in midair, a.k.a. the 900, the kind of classic maneuver that landed him not in the hospital but in one of Annie Liebowitz's milk ads and a Gap commercial. His Birdhouse skate movie, The End—a kind of MTV music video meets feature film—was last year's highest-selling skate video. He has a Sony PlayStation game with his name and image as the selling point. Skaters like to say that Michael Jordan is the Tony Hawk of the basketball world. And now he's the champ again.

Arrissia Owen, "He's Frickin' Tony Hawk! Skating's poster boy comes in for a soft landing"

Oct. 29, 1999 Beneath the carport of a perky yellow house, his body lay motionless at my feet, still bleeding but already dead. And as if mimicking the last beat of his heart, mine suddenly swelled with the rush of ultimate justice, then instantly drained with the realization that I probably didn't have to shoot the man. I mean, it's not as if he'd stolen my plastic Halloween pumpkin.

 

It's impossible to unfire a bullet, of course, but it didn't make me feel much better that nobody was asking me to. I was stunned and appalled by what I had done. Worse, I was haunted by imaginings: How would I be feeling if my gun had fired a real bullet, rather than a paint pellet, and if the man who had fallen at my feet had really died, instead of pretending to?

Dave Wielenga, "Armed and Dangerous: A Weekling with a gun"

Nov. 12, 1999 Thinking back, I don't know why that should have been any kind of revelation. Of course, punk is rage against a machine that forces kids to grow up so quickly, so savvily and so unmentored that their natural response is to throw on the thick armor of aggression and cynicism. What happens, though, is that they start to believe their own pose, and they keep it up until something shatters it, whereupon they're stuck holding their naked hearts in their hands, wondering why this strange beating thing hurts so much, and then they start wailing like Munch's homunculus about betrayal and loss of innocence. Americans can't give up their loss-of-innocence myths, and this is one that Gens X and Y have been telling themselves for several years now. It is certainly embedded in Jumping the Green. Leslie Schwartz's novel isn't punk, but it does its best to be cynically tough in a youthful, alluringly fucked-up way. Still, that anger—though fairly articulate here—is a thin veneer: Schwartz turns out to be a softy, too, much more akin to Love's self-pitying narcissist than to Cobain, who, until his suicide, knew his own art would get compromised as soon as it started functioning as a plea to the audience to indulge his particular pain.

Cornel Bonca, "Punk Junkies: How to be part of the Zeitgeist without being onto it"

Nov. 19, 1999 Angry, urgent music for angry, urgent times. But unlike lesser rap-rock bands who have come up in the years since Rage's 1992 debut (the one with the 1963 photo of a monk burning himself to death to protest an anti-Buddhist movement in Vietnam—an art direction decision that was alone a signal that here was a band worth keeping an eye on), Rage actually have something meaningful to say. Kid Rock? "Put my balls in your mouth!" is about as deep as he gets. Korn's Jon Davis apparently still can't get over his bad childhood, so long as he can make money selling it back to you (Korn "aren't really screaming about anything. It's just this fabrication," says de la Rocha in the latest issue of George). Limp Bizkit are just stupid, one of the most ego-driven, self-centered piles of aural poop ever. At this year's KROQ Weenie Roast, [Limp Bizkit front man Fred] Durst nearly incited a riot when he called out for everyone in the crowd to come down to the stage. "Fuck security!" he screamed into his mic. (I watched a woman in a wheelchair get knocked over by some doofus, which, conveniently, reminded me of a Rage lyric: "They say, jump; you say, how high?") Meanwhile, Wes Borland, Bizkit's guitarist, came out wearing blackface; obviously, history wasn't the boy's best subject.

While the anger that these three project seems neatly packaged for their largely pent-up teenage-boy audience in order to move as much Cha-ching!—Rage's anger has always been rooted in real causes. De la Rocha was warming his hands over a burning American flag in the first song on the band's first album. And while Rage's music is almost always good (except when it's great), what's maybe most intriguing is this: at a time when real Leftist ideals—"radical" stuff like justice, affordable housing, feeding the hungry, human lefts, a living wage—have all but disappeared from mainstream debate, Rage is the only band talking about them, certainly the only one with such a huge forum.

Rich Kane, "Anger Is a Gift: Rage Against the Machine"

Dec. 17, 1999 9:28 a.m. Continue work on hard-hitting news story on Congressman Ron Packard's shady campaign finances. Take close notes for future campaign fund-raising strategies.

11:45 a.m. Receive phone call from Registrar of Voters informing me that—because I've only been a registered Libertarian since May and was a Democrat before—I am ineligible for the [delegate] position I was running for. Registrar mentions something about being on the lookout for possible stealth candidates ever since "that Scott Baugh mess."

11:48 a.m. Argue vehemently the unfairness of my being unable to run while presidential wannabe Pat Buchanan can change parties overnight to secure the Reform Party presidential nomination. Am informed, "I know Pat Buchanan. I worked alongside Pat Buchanan. And you, sir, are no Pat Buchanan."

 

11:49 a.m. Thank the registrar for

the compliment.

Victor D. Infante, "My So-Called Political Life: Diary of a mad Libertarian"

Dec. 17, 1999 According to the letter, a few days earlier, on Sept. 3, the appeals court had unanimously overturned his marijuana conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct by a now-retired Orange County deputy district attorney named Carl Armbrust.

For Dave Herrick, the letter was a long-overdue get-out-of-jail-free card. Beaming, he shouted at the nearest prison guard.

"Check this out, man. I've been reversed," he bragged.

The guard glanced down at the paperwork and then looked back at Herrick, expressionless.

"So what?"

Herrick's mood was too good to start an argument. He returned to his bunk and started packing his few belongings. The next morning, after 29 months behind bars, he walked out the doors of the prison a free man.

Nick Schou, "Redemption Song: Dave Herrick's strange odyssey through the U.S. war on drugs"

Dec. 24, 1999 It's a couple of hours before show time, and the wrestling ring in the Galaxy Concert Theatre is gridlocked—with dancing couples. They hold hands, they lift and spin out of holds, repeating moves two, three, four times, making adjustments—I'll slam you here, you pile-drive me there, what do you think about spitting in my face?—getting things left. This is one of the first things they teach you at Ultimate University: your opponent is your best friend. Though you will get on the microphone and say terrible things about his family and posture, though you will promise to CRUSH! and POUND! and send him BACK TO MOMMA IN A PINE BOX! it's your opponent who will sell you to the audience and, hopefully, to the scouts of the major wrestling circuits, the wildly successful World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling.

Steve Lowery, "School of Really Hard Knocks: A night in the life of Ultimate University"

2000

Jan. 7, 2000 So, have we all managed to cross the vaunted bridge into the 21st century without going over the side at the realization that it is, of course, a toll bridge? If the exploitive trends of the closing century continue into this one, humanity will soon be little more than aphids, existing to be milked by our ant-like corporate masters, who will then sell the milk back to us with a smile and maybe a few genetically modified additives.

The triumphant return of Jim Washburn, Lost in OC

Jan. 14, 2000 A decade into California's toll-road experiment in Orange County, it is painfully obvious that when it comes to the toll roads, a crime—at least figuratively—was committed. The supposed goal for building the roads was to significantly reduce near-intolerable daily traffic. But that's not what has happened. For example, you would think that the multibillion-dollar, 16-mile San Joaquin Hills toll road would have dramatically reduced congestion on nearby Interstate 405 and Interstate 5 when it opened in late November 1996. But according to a Weekly review of daily traffic reports provided by Caltrans, the state's transportation agency, congestion on the freeways has essentially remained the same or worsened since the tollway opened. At one section of I-5 below the infamous El Toro Y, the average number of daily vehicle trips increased by more than 8,000 from 1996 to 1998. "That's really shocking," a Caltrans official said after double-checking the agency's traffic count. "You wouldn't think that would be the case, would you?"

R. Scott Moxley, "Highway Robbery: OC's toll roads were supposed to be the model for our transportation future. Now they look like roadkill"

Feb. 11, 2000 OC Weekly: Now, when you announced you would not support the Knight Initiative, you also said that you would announce an alternative proposal of your own. Are you ready to do that now?

Sam Guy: Yes. What I'm proposing is that homosexuals not only be allowed but also be required by state law to marry by the age of 30. What?

If you're serious about ending sex, I know of only one time-tested method.

Marriage?

Make them commit to one person for life. See what happens to that little spring in their caboose after they listen to all the petty whinings, all the petty victories night after night after night after night. "Oh, you should see the table lamp I got on sale at Target." "Oh, yes, please, absolutely, let me bask in the glow of this triumph of the human spirit! Just let me first plunge these L'il Abner corn holders into my eyes." Let 'em get into fights about the color of the shower curtain or whose parents are less loathsome to spend the holidays with.

Steve Lowery, "How to Stop Homosexual Sex Now: Sam Guy on the counter- Knight Initiative"

Feb. 11, 2000 When a woman is arranging dildos and cock rings on your coffee table, there's not much you can say to her that doesn't feel like small talk. Probably the best you can do, as she pauses to find space for a gently curved, pink-jelly G-spot vibrator with clitoral shelf that's so big she's got to hold it with both hands, is make certain your conversational surrender is completely obvious. "Could that be a bit of a Rhode Island accent I hear in your voice?" you might ask. "Well, yes, it is an accent," she might acknowledge with a gracefully victorious smile and shrug. "But I'm from Australia."

 

And now that your crushing defeat is complete, probably the best you can do is join her in a laugh at your own expense. Because amid the anal beads, Ben-Wa balls, erection lasso and senso vagina, it should have been completely obvious all along that this is a woman who comes from Down Under.

Dave Wielenga, "Party Favors"

Feb. 11, 2000 I've just watched 55 minutes of slow, languorous, sensual, unwatchable, unsexy sex. I do not want to get on it, get up in it, get down with it, or get jiggy with my bad self. I have just watched 55 minutes of couples so stilted, unnatural and wooden they look as if they'd be uncomfortable riding an elevator together, let alone exploring each other's secret fantasies.

I have just spent 55 LONG minutes sequestered in my bedroom, sitting inches from my television set with the volume turned low so that my landlord, who is caulking tiles in my roommate's bathroom, will not think I'm a big shifty pervert because I'm sitting at home in the middle of the day watching a little curio titled Playboy's Best Kept Secrets and claiming it's for work. This video is less tantalizing than caulking bathroom tiles.

Alison M. Rosen, "Sex Ed. Video"

Feb. 11, 2000 Candy Apples, after much puttering, finally finds the earrings she took out of her nipples; she wants to stretch her earlobes with them. Then it's off to Newport Tattoo on the Balboa Peninsula. Next door to the tattoo parlor, people are hanging around outside a bar, smoking. A truck is parked out front; two boxers sit quietly inside, waiting for their master. After the piercer, a friend of theirs whom they haven't seen for a while, stretches Candy's ears and puts new balls on Bill's earrings, Bill hands him a $20. He always carries the money, although Candy is the one who makes it, and I think to myself that she's smart. She'll never let him feel like less of a man. He is lover, chauffeur and baby-sitter in one. She pays the bills and likes anal. In the year they've been together, they've spent three days apart: when Keith Richards, "who is a really big fan," flew her to Vegas for a Stones video shoot. How often do Candy and Bill have sex? Every day. "I pout if I don't get it every day," Bill says, laughing. "He wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning," Candy grumbles good-naturedly. But she loves him, and aside from her job and those 742 men, she sleeps only with him.

Rebecca Schoenkopf, "The Domestic Life of a Porn Star: Porn stars are different from you and me. They have more sex"

Feb. 25, 2000 Three small orange trees grow along the curb in front of her stately mansion in an old-money neighborhood above Los Angeles, and the bleft pink that has replaced brassy platinum as her hot new hair color glows all the way down to her scalp. No, Gwen Stefani has not forgotten her roots. But it's going on five years since No Doubt, one of Orange County's most enduring and identifiably local bands, experienced its overnight international sensation. Since then has come the 15 million-selling CD, the sold-out global tour, the fanzines and websites and MTV awards, the weekly photographic updates in Rolling Stone on every change of clothes, boyfriend or party itinerary—all of it laced with just enough rags-to-riches pathos and angst to green light an upcoming VH-1 Behind the Music special, which will be synergistically broadcast in April to coincide with the release of the band's new album. By now, Stefani has been a bona fide pop Tinkerbell for so long that it's sometimes hard to believe she was ever that just-a-girl who grew up near Disneyland. Her faithful little doggie—a 15-year-old Lhasa apso named Maggen that is one year older than the band—is still at her side, Toto-and-Dorothy-style. But the Oz they inhabit clearly isn't Anaheim anymore. When No Doubt's tour stopped for two nights at the Pond a couple of years ago, Stefani's parents visited her in a hotel. "Something happens to you when you travel the world and embrace everything," Stefani acknowledges. "Suddenly, you realize that the small, little back yard you came from is such a . . . like . . . Anaheim is such a weird place to come from."

Dave Wielenga, "No Doubt: Like Anaheim, superstardom is a weird place to come from"  

March 31, 2000 No. 1:That new airport smell.

Anthony Pignataro, "Strippers and Children: 18 reasons why the county's proposed El Toro International Airport is cool."


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