Should We Talk About the Weather

I hate REM as much as the next girl—Michael Stipe's nasality, after all, blazed the trail for the devastating whine of the fat dude from Counting Crows. But Stipe did offer us two immortal questions: Should we talk about the weather? And should we talk about the government?


We'll start with the far more interesting of the two. Perhaps you got to wallow in a glorious conversation about the weather this week, considering we finally experienced some! Wasn't that first perfect autumn day just . . . perfect? Did you see the stars on Saturday, the night after that bizarre thing where water fell from the sky? Those stars were preposterous! Perhaps you also got to blather about how now you were going to buy some boots! Because it's autumn! And you need boots!

And the best thing by far? Idiotic local news anchors (and by idiotic, I mean Paul Moyer) are forbidden by common decency—or an approximation thereof—from looking crestfallen and woebegone every time it sprinkles and demanding of their weathermen when (for God's sake, when!?) the little drizzle will stop. After all, at least for the next few weeks, until we're distracted again by shiny things (like The O.C.or Sheriff Mike Carona), we'll remember that rain is good because it puts out things like fires.

At least until the mudslides start.

As for the government? I was flitting around Sacramento once when a bunch of sunglasses-wearing Hollywood rock & rollers appeared there to lobby for a recording artists' rights bill, creating a crush in the halls as newsmen who had forgotten where the Capitol was suddenly took an interest in civic affairs, but the Capitol's clerks and administrative assistants weren't as knocked-out as one might assume by the likes of Beck and Carole King (who was lovely). A couple of middle-aged women staffers, trying to make it through the blocked corridor, sniffed amongst themselves. "Great place to hold a press conference," they said acidly, refusing to be impressed even when Don Henleystarted talking to the cameras. He was tanned, and his hair was very expensive. Feh. Don Henley. So all I can say is your garden-variety assemblymen and state senators (and by garden variety, I mean John Campbell) might be impressed when Icky Arnold comes to town, but the people who actually run our state are going to be a harder sell.

Hey! Halloween was on a Friday this year! Since it's been on, like, a Tuesday forever, that meant a whole new realm of party possibilities! After giving it a lot of thought, I stayed home and drank. I would like to report that of the trick-or-treaters in my Santa Ana hood, exactly all of them were dressed as Jason, while the rest of them were dressed as Scream.

Saturday, expecting a wildly bacchanalian weekend, I disguised myself as "me at my prom" and hit Laguna Beach for a party at Peter Blake Gallery. With fond if hazy memories of Peter Blake's last party, which involved being dragged away by 9 p.m. already as glassy-eyed as Nancy Reagan, I was sure this one would be a hoot! The only person in costume was Blake himself, who was dressed as a person in a sharp suit for the anniversary party of his wife, Fetneh's, boutique, which was perpetrating down the street. "I figure it's my wife's anniversary. I don't want to ruin it for her by dressing shitty," Blake said charmingly before my pal Schmedric and I sneaked away from all the same old people standing around looking at art. We figured the party spirit would be alive and throbbing at the Royal Hawaiian across the street, and it was, in the persons of two blond misses who hooted and shrieked and cussed and drank and stuck an entire Lapu-Lapu (in one of those gigantoid brandy snifters) into their very chic purse.

It must have been at that point we decided to be friends—or perhaps it was they who took us to their bosoms when I told them Schmedric and I are just great pals, and yes, he's very eligible. "Perhaps you would care to come over for a drink?" they asked, except they asked it like this: "YOU GUYS HAVE TO FUCKING COME OVER FOR A DRINK!" Okey doke! We liked the girls even more when they revealed they were an ecologist and a schoolteacher while we'd pegged them as typical beach-town bims, albeit bims with jaunty True Romance style and some five-fingered-discount booze.

Sunday, I made my way to the Balboa Fun Zone. Were y'all aware that smack in the middle of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, there are bumper cars and a Ferris wheel and video arcades where you can be a terrifyingly accurate sniper (you can only see up close if you're actually looking in your scope)? There's not, as yet, a Columbine game, but don't you think there should be?

Me, I was not so much aware of this little slice of heaven where there are spinning teacups and a "dark scary ride" that I didn't get to go on because my small buttercup of a son is "sensitive."

It was an absolutely lovely day, all brisk and clear, and from the Ferris wheel, you could see a thousand boats making the most of the strong, cool wind. Immediately after I asked our hosts Mark & Mary whether the Balboa Fun Zone had ever been cool and seedy like Long Beach's roughneck Pikeused to be (they said no), we saw promenading a nice skinhead family. Tattooed neck? Check. Fat blond wife? Yep. The next generation of Li'l Hitler-Lover? Check, check and check. And emblazoned on the proud dad's clean white T-shirt: "Visualize World Hatred." How fun is that?

Aside from them, there were almost no people; we never stood in a line, and the acned young folk manning the rides didn't have any work or worries to distract them from their sullenness. I wanted to get a summer job there, but then I realized I'd have to be there in summer. That's when it's hot and stinky and fat people from Iowa jostle you and teenagers make out in front of you in that awful open-mouthed drooly way of theirs and everywhere you walk it's sticky—just like a night at the Boom Boom Room! So maybe not so much.

Humble apology: if Jayson Blair were to write a hatchet-jobby little blurb on the Bowers Museum's publicist Rick Weinberg, it might read a little something like the one what I wrote. (The New York Timesonce had to issue a "clarification" that was longer than Blair's original story—and that wasn't even Blair's patented fiction, but plain-old-just-wrong-ness.) Not only did I misidentify Weinberg and misidentify the publication for which Richard Chang writes, but Weinberg also says there was never an uncrating to which he could disinvite Chang. As I also received an invitation to an uncrating, I'd quibble with that, but I can't quibble with the appallingly unprofessional job I did. Unfortunately, unlike Jayson Blair, once I get fired, I won't be getting a movie deal. My sincere apologies. And—yep—this is now way longer than the original blurb.

Love means never having to say you're sorry.


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