Hey, Los Angeles! How've you been? Yeah, that's great. Listen, I know you don't pay much attention to what we say down here in "the OC," unless it has to do with our boy-diddling priests or that Haidl schmuck, and I don't really blame you! What have we given you lately besides Rodman, Kobe and Tawny Kitaen? That's a trick question: the answer is "Not much," and now we're giving you even less.
His name is Ted Crisell. He's running for mayor of your very fine town. And though a goodly portion of you might be inclined to vote Green (me, I got cured of it with my second Nader vote in 2000, just like my mom—who still regrets voting for Eldridge Cleaver—said I would), well, Ted Crisell's just not okay.
"Not okay" like that loony toon you bus away from your Santa Monica Third Street Promenade, but not, you know, actually crazy because that's actionable. I just mean he's crazy-like.
"Not okay" like that fucking tsunami.
Yes, I am saying Crisell will bring untold devastation and contaminated wells and a history of wearing capes and a love of the Dance.
In 2000, when Crisell ran against "Surfin' Congressman" Dana Rohrabacher here in Huntington Beach's 45th, I wrote this:
"Ted Crisell . . . calls himself a moderate, and the word 'Democrat' appears nowhere on his brochures. This irks us. But then he says he supports a living wage, HMO reform, gun control and pretty much every other leftist plank known to man. Also, he lives on a commune. But he says those aren't 'liberal' positions. It kind of reminds us of this one guy who says he really likes us but he doesn't want to date us but he wants to go on dates with us but he doesn't want to go on dates with us right now. Despite that, we really liked Crisell, after he finally admitted to all his liberal positions, sort of."
Crisell responded with two four-minute messages, screaming in each that I was "a fucking piece of shit" because he was not a "leftist" as I had "labeled" him. He also sent me this charming e-mail:
"Hello, Communist Girl! In church today, I was praying for you and had this miracle revelation that you are actually seeking redemption and you use your poison pen to purge your soul. But actually, I realized you are missing a soul; I find souls are earned. I feel you are crying out for the spanking you never got, but don't worry—this man is not in that game. I am beginning a populist movement in the state to root out evil spirits and poor writers. You belong in both categories. Just a thought from your friend, the loony, communal, lefty. . . . Ever want to know the truth, pick up the phone and call me for coffee, if you dare, but I know you are afraid of the truth. Good luck with all your evil dreams. [Dana] Rohrabacher and [Orange County GOP chief Scott] Baugh must love you. Is it true you slept with both of them??"
Actually, no. It's not.
I kept seeing Crisell around—at art openings, for instance—and would hide from him because he was scary when he screamed at me, and once I saw him wearing a cape.
Then he sent us this spam: "Theo Sends Urgent Message to Dance World."
In it, he explained, "Just this past year, I ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress—AND I love to dance!!"
Then he offered us "a full-time income, a large full-time income with part-time work.
"Would you like another $1,000 per month, $5,000 per month, $10,000 per month, $20,000 per month???? No meetings, no staff, no overhead, no paperwork!!! Cash flows in this company in one year will be over $100,000 per month—those that get in early will become rich. THIS IS TRUE!!!"
Two years later, he considered running against Rohrabacher again. My colleague Dave Wielenga interviewed Crisell. Crisell said many thoughtful things, Wielenga reported, things that occasionally made you think, yes, this is a man who could—should—be in office! A refreshing man, an honest man, a free-thinking man!
But then, in the same interview, he would get all crazy and shit again (again, non-actionably so).
"Why was Rohrabacher in the Ambassador Hotel that night that Bobby Kennedy was killed?" he asked Dave, referring to the June 5, 1968, assassination of Senator Robert. F. Kennedy in Los Angeles. "Now, Rohrabacher was involved in some funny organizations at that time. . . . Check out those young, ultra-right-wing organizations that he was in—they weren't just regular right-wing; they were some extreme right-wing organizations that Rohrabacher was a party to. I think there's a lot more to these assassinations of the Kennedys than is out there. Tie Rohrabacher to it."
No, no, no! Rohrabacher was a spook in Prague in 1968, busily neglecting to stop the march of the Russian tanks! And the CIA killed John Kennedy, not Bobby! Everybody knows that!
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No, not you, LA. Ted Crisell! You guys are tops!