Pop Your Go Pills, Then Read

This pub loves, loves, loves to kick Irvine-based Freedom Communications and its flagship daily newspaper The Orange County Register of Santa Ana around the block for assorted foolishness. We really do. It's kinda sick, really. But since we so zealously tee off on, oh, metro columnist Gordon Dillow's loony rants, opinioneer Steven Greenhut's dark visions or gaggles of racist letters to the editor, we should be equally willing to pat our ink-stained brethren on their hunchbacks for doing something truly amazing. Which is what we're doing now in saluting Freedom for becoming the first national newspaper chain in the nation to enact a policy requiring its papers—including the knuckle-dragging Reggie—to print same-sex union announcements. As Joan M. Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, put it, "This is another huge step for gay and lesbian couples."

Of course, we reserve the right to return to our regularly scheduled snarkiness should Freedom papers bury those same-sex union announcements deep in the bowels of their classified sections—in microscopic type. Meanwhile, the writing on the caveman walls—based on what came out of last week's shareholders meeting spurred by heirs of Freedom founder R.C. Hoiles itching to cash out—is that the chain is about to be sold to a third party. It sounds as if existing media companies are a lot farther along in putting together the couple of billion it'll take to snag Freedom than the younger Hoilesians who want to buy out their disgruntled aunties and uncles. A non-binding vote by shareholders on the best buyout package is due by late February, with a final decision within a couple of months of that. So wouldn't it make stodgy old Freedom more attractive to prospective—and more progressive—buyers if the chain did something as radical as, oh, suddenly mandating acceptance of same-sex union announcements? COCA-CONFIRMATION
In this drool receptacle on Dec. 13, we mentioned how we weren't positive but were next to certain we had spotted a red Coca-Cola mug on the desk of The Charlie Rose Show. We found this curious because the supposedly objective newsman host (Rose is also a 60 Minutes II correspondent) was criticized for emceeing Coca-Cola's most recent annual shareholders meeting. Shortly after that, it was revealed the soft-drink giant signed on to sponsor Rose's nightly public-television program. But we could not unequivocally confirm that we'd spotted the Coca-Cola logo on the red mug because on subsequent viewings the same cup had the logo for Rose's show facing the camera. Well, the mystery was solved recently when manic comic actor Robin Williams appeared on the show, picked up the cup with the Rose logo facing viewers, then turned it around to expose the Coca-Cola logo on the other side. Perhaps sensing his host's nervous chuckling, Williams apologetically mentioned that he wasn't supposed to do that. Several nights later, the Coca-Cola side of the mug appeared during Rose's entire interview with actor Michael Caine, who was promoting The Quiet American. It was quietly disconcerting. IMMINENTLY QUOTABLE
"Ortega Highway, the best place to dump a body without anybody noticing, barely edging out the studios of OCN." Weekly contributor Arrissia Owen Turner in our 1999 Best of OC issue.

"It was a gruesome discovery."

—Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino, in the Jan. 16 Los Angeles Times, on a headless, handless body of a woman found off Ortega Highway.


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