On the Outside Looking In

A few weeks ago, Clockwork was dragged away kicking and screaming from our Costa Mesa manse and forced into a Balboa Peninsula flop house. The temporary relocation thus hits us during the doggie-style days of summer. Did somebody say heat wave? The weather here on the Pen has been in the mid-70s daily, with the coastal fog rolling in by early evening to further cool things off, with the gentle ocean breezes comforting us at night. This is the OC depicted on The O.C.—except there're no shapely teen girls prancing around in lacy blue bras. Speaking of which, the Newport Beach exclusivity captured on Fox's teen soaper is obviously having an impact. After recreating the best Corona beer commercial moments on the sand near the Balboa Pier on Sept. 7, we were lugging our towels, bamboo mats, beach chairs, beach bags, umbrellas, newspapers, water bottles and lithium pills back to our room when we passed a large family exuding that unmistakable 909 aura. As they waited for a young 'un to cross the sand so they could vamoose back to Smogsville, a girl of about 15 with that unmistakable 909 Okie twang cracked, "I wonder if the lifeguard realizes there's a redneck on the beach. Isn't that illegal here?"


As for mistakable accents, we've encountered so many down here we now actually believe the bullshit in the visitors bureau pamphlets about Newport Beach being an international tourist destination. It used to be that you'd bump into a drunk German or three near the Balboa Inn. But with the rowdy, beer-bonging summer crowd back at SC where they belong, furriners fill so many local shops, restaurants and coffers, you'd think U.N. interpreters were on tour. Before encountering the 909ers, Clockwork sprawled on the beach with a Chechen-sounding couple on one side, some Frenchies on the other, and a large family from somewhere in the Far East on the blanket behind us. Various Latin Americans, Eastern Europeans and godknowswhatelses frolicked nearby. If Gray Davis had been around, he would have made fun of everyone's funny accents—like he did to Arnold Schwarzenegger this same weekend. At the risk of piling on the xenophobia, we must admit the sound of all those foreign tongues eventually got to us. We fixed things by heading back up to the Costa Mesa DMV office, where we waded through the illegals getting their drivers licenses so we could once again wallow in a language we're used to hearing: Mexican.


Orange County sheriff's deputies on Sept. 3 removed 2,200 marijuana plants found on three previously secret farms along Ortega Highway in Cleveland National Forest near the old Upper San Juan Campground. No arrests were made, but the haul could have brought $1 million on the street, according to sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. Sadly, it's taken much longer than expected to burn all that pot, as workers inhale the fumes and demand more lunch breaks.

NBA comeback up in smoke?
Johan Vogel


Newport Beach's Public Enemy No. 1, Dennis Rodman, was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness the afternoon of Sept. 4 after witnesses told the sheriff's harbor patrol that he was erratically piloting his boat Sexual Chocolate (awww, yeaaahhh!). Deputies caught up with The Worm as he was trying to tie his boat up near the Cannery restaurant, something sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino likened to a drunk on the street trying to tie his shoe. It's, of course, the bazillionth time local cops have busted Rodman, and it certainly doesn't bode well for his planned NBA comeback. Indeed, since that's about the only moneymaking venture Sir Freak has remaining, his agent Darren Prince and attorney Paul Meyer were quick to ring up the media and quash the significance of the latest bust. Meyer vows the charges will be dropped, and Prince called into the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Radio Showto make an allegation of his own: the local fuzz is out to get Newport Beach's only 6-foot-9, tattooed, flamboyant brother. My, that sounds so unlike them.


Dennis Rodman was known as a bad boy long before he arrived in tony Newport, but his reputation for off-court lawlessness has certainly soared to new heights—or should that be depths?—here. Which begs the question: What is it with pro athletes once they relocate here? Does someone slip them crazy pills or something? One need only look up the coast—literally, to Newport Coast—to the heavily guarded estate of Kobe Bryant. Formerly known as Mr. Clean, since moving here the Lakers superstar is at best an adulterer and at worst a rapist. Now comes word that Rex "The Hud" Hudler, who bounced around just about every Major League Baseball clubhouse before landing in the Anaheim Angels TV broadcast booth, has been popped for marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession. Yes, it's the same Rex Hudler who's known for being a raspy-voiced cheerleader for the team and advocate for disabled children (he's the father of one). The Hud is such a hyperactive motormouth that he'd be the last person one would suspect of partaking in the mellowing devil weed, but the Angels suspect him enough that they've suspended him indefinitely. His replacement in the booth is Jose Mota, whose last name is Mexican slang for—tah-duh—marijuana! (We learned this from the guy in line in front of us at the DMV.) Meanwhile, there's no word on whether Hudler had previously been spotted with hoe and watering can along Ortega Highway in Cleveland National Forest near the old Upper San Juan Campground.


A locomotive broke loose from the Big Thunder train ride at Disneyland on Sept. 5, killing 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of Gardena and injuring 10 others. Since the roller coaster that mimics an Old West-era runaway mining train actually became one, we're staying the hell away from Space Mountain. Victims of the tragedy at the Happiest Accident Scene on Earth were initially treated at a makeshift staging area near River Belle Terrace. Make sure to visit River Belle Terrace next time you're at the Magic Kingdom for all your triage needs. Big Thunder, of course, is the same ride that mangled the foot of young David Fackler in 1998, turning his mother, Kathy, into one of the nation's leading theme-park safety advocates. New public disclosure of Disneyland accidents— brought about thanks to the tireless efforts of Ms. Fackler and others—allowed The Orange County Registerto report over the weekend that there have been 17 mostly minor injuries on Big Thunder since Jan. 1, 2001. But the strangest mishap occurred a decade earlier, when a 40-year-old Romanian man was found lying injured next to the Big Thunder tracks. Paramedics thought he had fallen off the ride, but, since there were no witnesses, Disney's official response at the time was, "Quite frankly, we don't know how he ended up where he was found." No such mystery this time, Mouseketeers.


Good friend of Clockwork and former Republican candidate for governor Nick Jesson was charged on Sept. 5 with six felony counts of state income tax evasion. Jesson and his wife, Trina, allegedly failed to report more than $3 million in income—proof positive that we've got to start charging the longshot political candidates we write about. In a day of carrying water for tax collectors, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' office also announced they'd taken down Newport Beach socialites and GOP benefactors Richard C. Engel and his former wife Jolene on similar charges. Which just goes to show, The O.C.'s storyline about a Newport Beach family being torn apart by business scams ain't so far from the truth. Speaking of which . . .

THE O.C. WATCH Episode 6: If there were any doubts that real estate developer Kirsten Cohen's mega-rich father was not patterned after Irvine Co. chairman Donald Bren, they're blown out the proverbial poop chute on this installment of The O.C. Like Bren, Caleb Nichol runs a company—the Newport Group—that owns most of Orange County, has a 24-year-old bombshell dangling from his arm and is referred to by one character as "the Donald Trump of the West." Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we refer you to a variety of business-magazine and mainstream-newspaper stories over the years that have referred to our man Bren as everything from "the Donald of the West" to "a horizontal Donald Trump."

After Kirsten is kinda fired, kinda quits, The O.C.'s would-be Trump gives her the don't-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-ass treatment—but all is well by show's end. Not so for reformed Chinoan Ryan and the Newport girl of his dreams, Marissa. After walking in on Ryan sorta banging Nichol's honey, Marissa runs off to lose her virginity to stud- muffin Luke. To further prove we've entered bizarro world, Ryan's nerdy surrogate brother Seth seems poised finally to score with Summer. Hey, whatever happened to Anna Stern, the girl Seth hooked up with in Episode 4 after Summer ditched him for Luke?

Christ, we need a life.

LINE OF THE WEEK: "You're still smoking the weed, aren't you?" Caleb to Sandy Cohen, who discloses his family wants to leave OC for yucky Berkeley.


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