Photo by Keith MayVice president Al Gore emphatically made it known that he will not swing by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez's party at the Playboy Mansion during the Democratic National Convention, The Washington Post reported on July 16. And a number of party faithful have one question for the Garden Grove Democrat: Loretta, what the hell are you thinking? "This totally contradicts what our party stands for in terms of equal rights, civil rights for all people, and respecting the human dignity of every individual," Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) told National Public Radio. Of course, when it comes to moral outrage, nothing beats a Kennedy! And you knew attorney/feminist activist/Dem-platform committee member Gloria Allred would be nosing around this shit, telling anyone who could bend down that far that booking a gig at the mansion is a mistake that, for her, "would not even be a close call." Sanchez ducked media inquiries into the bunny brouhaha, instead feeding her spokespeople to the ink-stained wolf pack. The whole thing is no biggie, her peeps insisted; the congresswoman simply chose Hugh Hefner's house because it would generate mucho publicity for event beneficiary Hispanic Unity USA, a political-action committee. You certainly scored there, honey! Sanchez, who Gore tapped to co-chair the Democratic National Committee because of her Hispanic maiden name, received a $1,000 campaign contribution from Hef in 1996, and the vice president pocketed a cool grand of his own from the Playboy founder this election season. Loretta vows her fiesta is staying put despite Gore 2000's push to move it elsewhere. Hey, how about a Buddhist temple?
ERECTION SEASON Clockwork was nodding off to PBS's Charlie Rose on July 18 when screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (the brilliant Basic Instinct; the repellent Showgirls) was chatting up his new book, American Rhapsody. Rose, ever the Southern gent, politely wondered whether it might have been a mistake for the author to mix fiction, nonfiction and memoir in one tome. Eszterhas asked the host to be more specific. Rose stammered around as only he can before finally asking whassup with the chapter written in the voice of "Willard." Eszterhas then explained for viewers that Willard is Bill Clinton's schlong. If that didn't tell us all we needed to know about American Rhapsody, there was this pithy line in Hollywood producer Lynda Obst's scathing review in the July 23 Los Angeles Times: "Trees have been felled for this. Why?" Meanwhile, before invitations to Sanchez's Playboy Mansion blowout had even gone out, White House officials announced that Clinton won't attend. They didn't disclose Willard's plans, however.
SURF SHITTY Plenty of surfers who competed in the Bluetorch Pro at Huntington State Beach worried whether the brown water would sicken them, according to comments the sponsor solicited on the beach and then posted on its website on July 19. "It's really dark-brown now," said Ross Williams. "It can't be too good for you 'cause it's all thick and grainy, and I think you could get maybe an eye infection or an ear infection." Rob Machado asked if anyone had tested the water. "It's weird," he said. "The water doesn't look all blue and happy." Pat O'Connell was the most blunt: "I think we should not surf today. Does Kobe Bryant have to play if there are viruses on the court or a piece of crap at the free-throw line? But they don't care about surfers. If they did, we wouldn't be surfing." But Beau Emerton was more miffed over something that reportedly has organizers of several contests considering skipping Surf City in the future. "The surf," he said, "is more of a concern—how shitty it is." By shitty he means flat, not shit-filled.
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