Year of the Blog
The best posts of 2008, direct from the Weekly’s parallel universe
What, you haven’t been reading our blogs? You know, those piles of pixels we painstakingly piece together at ocweekly.com? Well, you’ve been missing out. On our Heard Mentality music blog, we’re covering Orange County sounds and beyond, weeding out the righteous from the ridiculous (speaking of, are Sugar Ray still around?). On Stick a Fork In It, our still-smelling-like-new food blog (birthed this past September), we’ve got reviews, restaurant news and random Taco Bell crimes not named “Mexican Pizza.” And there’s our most hopping blog, Navel Gazing, where we’re clickety-clacking breaking news, getting cats out of trees, rescuing puppies from abusive owners, bashing the ever-bashable suspects who like to think they run Orange County (as well as pedo-priests, The Orange County Register—speaking of, is that still around?—9/11 conspiracy types, Armenian Genocide deniers . . . this could take all day), and holding re-naming contests for SanTana Mayor Miguel Pulido (now known as “Papi”) and Mike Carona’s penis (formerly known as “The Little Sheriff,” which now must be called “The Little Debbie Snack”).
Since our first issue in 1995, we’ve been proclaiming we’re the go-to pub for OC stories you won’t find anywhere else. We’re proud to say that still holds true—it’s just that you’re ever-more-likely to read them first on our blogs. Even better, we invite reader feedback there, so if something a Weekly scribe writes pisses you off, you can tell them right to their digital face. Join us, won’t you?
What follows are excerpts from some of our better posts of 2008, along with, in some cases, reader comments.
MORE QUOTES FROM LOUIE PEREZ OF LOS LOBOS
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Heard Mentality, Jan. 18
On the first time he ate in Anaheim Hills: “I went to Esperanza Burgers, and I saw a photo of white guys on horses with baseball bats. I started getting freaked out until realizing it was the Esperanza High baseball team and that Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills have a lot of people who own horses. I had to tell myself, ‘Louie, don’t get so fucking paranoid about things.’”
About living in Orange County: “I always lived in places where I’m not supposed to live. All the neighbors wherever I’ve lived tend to look and say, ‘Hey, who is this guy?’ My job is to educate them that Mexicans don’t carry bandannas and switchblades all the time—just some of the time.”
THE “REAL” HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY—THE END!
Posted by Amanda Parsons, Navel Gazing, Jan. 23
Back in Coto, Jeana throws a “goodbye to television” party, and all of the housewives are invited, even Jo, a housewife from last season. Vicki walks in and gets shitfaced right off the bat, as usual. Her daughter has to tell her to stop drinking because she is acting like a floozy, and Vicki decides to yell, “She doesn’t like it when I get drunk, and I usually don’t.” Sure. Keep telling yourself that.
The whole party is abuzz with chatter about Vicki’s drunkenness and Jo’s career. Apparently, Jo is performing at the Anaheim Grove later that evening, and everyone is super-proud.
“Maybe she is the opener for the opener of the opener or something,” Vicki’s daughter says.
“Or maybe she is parking the cars,” Vicki’s husband, Donn, answers. Ha! I love Donn. And apparently Jeana and Quinn love Donn, too, because they are both throwing themselves at the poor bastard while his drunk wife hits on the waiter.
Ah, the drama continues—but from here on out, we won’t be subjected to it. We will have only our imaginations to see how the rest of these spoiled bimbos’ lives play out. I don’t know about you, but I am imagining a mass suicide. Sweet release.
Sara says: I hate that everyone is attacking Vicki, though she is amazing, hard-working, fun and great. Just because she likes to party and make money doesn’t make her a bad person.
[Note: Sadly, The Real Housewives of Orange County was renewed for another season.]
MTV’S BEST AMERICAN DANCE CREW: KABA MODERN
Posted by Vickie Chang, Navel Gazing, Jan. 28
Though UC Irvine hip-hop dance team Kaba Modern have been making a name for themselves in underground circles and national and global competitions for some years now, it looks like they’ll finally be getting the mainstream attention they deserve. Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew is MTV’s latest foray into the bizarrely popular reality-dance-competition phenom. The show has scoured America for the best street and studio dance crews, and they’ve narrowed it down to just 12—including Kaba Modern. Kaba’s made it past the tough audition phase of the show, facing a panel of judges that includes JC Chasez and Shane Sparks and, uh, host Mario Lopez, but now they’ve got to go up against some of America’s best . . . but that’s nothing they’re not already used to.
Manny says: HECK YEAH! This crew is by far one of the best dance crews I have ever seen! People would have to be foolish not to give them the number #1 spot! I still remember the beginning of their routine! . . . It made me cry :’( lol.
sharlie says: U GUYS ARE SO COOL I HOPE U GUYS WIN GO KABA MODERN
Ashley (Gangsta) says: Hi KABA MODERN, Keep It Up The Good Dance Performance ! I really like you guys and gurls make hip-hop having new favor. . . . What We Say In My HOOD (That Is RAW And Uncut OR It Been A Wrap!) Peace and Love Da 2 KABA MODERN Peace Out !!!!!! Ashley A.K.A. Gangsta
#1 KM fan says: I wish u guys could like send me t-shirts and stuff like that.
[Note: Kaba Modern came in third. They wuz robbed!]
I REMEMBER CLAUDIA ALVAREZ
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Navel Gazing, Jan. 30
I remember SanTana council member Claudia Alvarez. I remember back in early 2000, when a friend of mine asked if I could help stuff envelopes for a campaign he was working on for a deputy district attorney. I remember meeting her—young, energetic, sincere—and thinking I wanted more politicians like her in office.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember stuffing envelopes in the garage of her mother’s realty firm, bundling up next to the heater as my friends and I worked for free. I remember looking in the trash can and discovering some crazy rag called OC Weekly.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember hanging with the Democrats in 2000 at whichever Anaheim hotel they always have their post-election party. I remember seeing an exhausted Claudia walk in with her supporters, certain of victory over some Papi Pulido puppet.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember seeing her at SanTana City Council meetings, where she would wave hola to me from behind the dais.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember writing a piece highlighting her 2004 campaign for an assembly seat. She was just wrapping up her four-year term on the SanTana City Council, a good term. I thought she’d be a great representative for SanTana in Sacramento.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember the shock when SanTana activists told me she was accepting muchos donations from developers. I remember the disgust I felt when Alvarez’s response to my articles was to attack her opponents.
I remember Claudia Alvarez. I remember hearing that SanTana’s Measure D—which would extend term limits from two four-year gigs to three—was designed specifically for Alvarez, whose second term is up this year. I remember being skeptical that politics could be that craven—until actually bothering to investigate. And I remember the cynical laugh I uttered this morning, when Los Angeles Times SanTana reporter Jennifer Delson revealed the Yes on Measure D campaign is being run out of Alvarez’s house.
I remember Claudia Alvarez.
Mission Vieja says: Great post, Gustavo. I don’t live in SanTana and only started following the politics there recently. I hear a lot of hatin’ on Claudia and have never really understood why. You explain it well, and in the style that’s all yours.
Anonymous says: DUMP CRAZY CLOWNIA!! VOTE NO ON MEASURE D!!
Art Pedroza says: A tragedy indeed. Somehow Pulido and his cabal infect and destroy everyone they come into contact with.
Claudio Gallegos says: Yes, the fond memories of what might have been. I remember in 2000, hearing about a fellow Santiago High School alum running for the Santa Ana City Council and actually having a good shot at winning. I was so excited at the idea that someone from Santiago High was going to be elected to the SA City Council. Then toward the end of 2002, I started to hear not so good things about her. By the end of 2003, I started to realize those rumors were true. I am embarrassed that she is a fellow Cavalier.
LET THEM EAT PUSSY!
Posted by Daffodil J. Altan, Navel Gazing, April 16
It seems Orange County can’t bear the thought that it is nationally renowned for being full of normal, educated couples who (gulp) swing. Yes, swing, as in go out and have recreational sex in a safe environment with your partner or with other people’s partners on a regular basis. Or maybe it’s The Orange County Register that can’t bear the thought.
The county’s latest victim is Club Amnesty, the friendly, mellow sex club we profiled last month (see “Swing Shift,” March 14). After our article ran, the Register started asking questions and began to dig for whatever scummy sex dirt they could find. So the Reg decides to sic not one, but three reporters (threesome!) on the club. City officials in Orange began to investigate, and voila, you’ve got business-license and code violations, a mayor crying out in shock and disbelief, and a tawdry sex club exposed. Exposed! (Actually, as sex clubs go, this one is known nationally for being one of the friendliest, nicest places to visit. But that part didn’t quite make it into the article.)
Now the city has ordered the club to shut down unless the problems are fixed by May 1. Owner Gary Nalder told the Reg he now has plans to sell the building and close up shop. Makes sense: It’s too public now. The club—and its many professional patrons—operate on the premise that the location remain discreet.
Halie says: All those people who are screaming . . . are people who either aren’t having any sex, don’t like sex, have never had good sex, or don’t know what sex is or how great it can be. And those people need to get over it.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AT HONDA CENTER: FINGER-LICKIN’ GOOD!
Posted by Rich Kane, Heard Mentality, April 10
I’m in the pit on the Clarence side against the front barricade. Bruce comes over during a verse (What was it? “Girls In Their Summer Clothes?”) and crouches down in front of the ladies on my left. He’s holding someone’s hand and singing right at her. I realize I’m arm’s distance from the man. It’s late in the show, and he’s really sweaty. I reach out and drag my index finger across the top of his hand. He doesn’t notice. He stands up and walks back to center stage. I stare briefly at the glob of Bruce Springsteen’s glistening perspiration on my finger. And then I licked it off. Mmmm . . . salty!
HORRIFYING DOG ABUSE IN OC CAPTURED ON VIDEO
Posted by R. Scott Moxley, Navel Gazing, July 28
Several months ago, I drove three times to visit the Santa Ana Police Department Animal Control to report a neighbor’s dog abuse. I was told my word wasn’t good enough—that I needed evidence such as photographs, video—proving the abuse.Today, I went home for lunch and found another neighbor repeatedly punching, choking and strangling her small dog in the courtyard of my condo complex.
An immediate call to a local animal-cruelty organization produced only a figurative shoulder shrug and a suggestion to call the Santa Ana police. In a call to Santa Ana police, an officer said they were too busy to listen to my report today but will “try to call” tomorrow.
Gustavo Arellano says: For the non-wabs at home: She keeps telling the dog to “Get up, get up” in a mocking voice. Then, she says, “Oh, it doesn’t hurt you?”After seeing this, even I want to deport Mexicans.
Debby Bodkin says: WOW! I was shocked to read how difficult it has been to report animal abuse. Why are some laws enforced for some and ignored for others? Thanks for your attempts to protect an innocent dog!
Señor Ben Dayhoe says: R. Scott, Where can we direct the authorities to handle this abusive piece of sh!t?
Kat says: Why didn’t you intervene and stop this action?
PETA pal says: If Kat had read what Moxley wrote about prior experiences trying to get animal control to take action, then she wouldn’t have fired off that knee-jerk question.
STALINISM, SEX ABUSE AND THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Navel Gazing, June 2
Under the reign of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown, the Catholic Diocese of Orange has lied, spun, hid, dismissed, excused and ignored its shameful sex-abuse scandal—no surprise there. But never in my four years of reporting on the story have I ever encountered such a ridiculous action as the one I’m about to explain.
Look closely at the picture in this post. It’s from the Orange diocese’s new history of itself, which I reviewed this week. Pay special attention to the space between the lady and the guy on the farthest right.
Notice anything different? You see that guy where once there was nothing? None other than John Lenihan, one of Orange County’s most notorious rapist padres and my childhood priest. That’s right: the Orange diocese PHOTOSHOPPED A FREAKING PICTURE SO READERS WON’T KNOW THAT IT LET LENIHAN STAY AROUND LONG AFTER HE ADMITTED TO HIS RAPES. The snapshot was taken in 2001, when Lenihan was serving as an adviser for the then-developing JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano. Brown didn’t seek to laicize him until spring of 2002—almost a decade after he admitted to molesting a 15-year-old girl during the 1970s.
REVIEW: THE LONG BEACH LOBSTER FEST
Posted by Rich Kane, Stick a Fork In It, Sept. 7
Calling it a “Lobster Festival” but providing so little variety is kind of like having a Japanese-food festival where the only available cuisine is Yoshinoya. Or a Mexican-food festival where everything is from Taco Bell. Other random bitching: I saw several people giving business to the hamburger, corn-dog and cheesesteak stands. Who the hell goes to a lobster festival to eat corn dogs?
Stella Gayite says: Rich Kane’s review is kinda silly. It never claimed to have lobster water, lobster desserts, lobster sunscreen, lobster kitchen sinks, whatever.
DEATH OF A FOOD COURT
Posted by Edwin Goei, Stick a Fork In It, Sept. 8
It happened so slowly it seemed unnoticeable, but as one food stall after another called it quits, the writing on the wall became more obvious: Cafe Court was dying.
If your office wasn’t nearby—like say within the area bordered by Red Hill, Alton, Jamboree and Barranca—you probably didn’t realize a food court was even there (behind the Sam’s Club on Von Karman and Barranca). Neither did I. And when I did, I wasn’t initially impressed.
Then I discovered Zesty Thai, which quickly became my favorite place to get pad see ew, made to order in minutes by a warm Thai mother. But by the time I revisited Cafe Court about a month ago, there were two stalls left. Zesty Thai was long gone. The rest was shuttered-up like a self-storage yard in a deserted, postapocalyptic ghost town. I heard that the place finally bit the dust last week. So, rest in peace, Cafe Court: I can’t say I’ll miss you, but I will remember the pad see ew.
JB says: Even though I’m sure I never went there, it’s sad. Wondering why it failed . . . don’t Sam’s Club shoppers get hungry?
RACE-BAITING GIGANTE SUPERMARKET NOW CLOSED
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Stick a Fork In It, Sept. 15
One of the first investigative series I wrote was on Gigante Supermarkets, a multibillion-dollar Mexican chain that wanted to open a store in Anaheim in order to conquer local Latino households. Its efforts made national headlines because this multinational cried the race card after Anaheim planning officials approved their plans but denied a liquor license because the area where Gigante wanted to open a store already had too many over the legal limit. Gigante won, opened in 2003 and quickly spoke of becoming the dominant Latino supermarket in Southern California.
So what was the sign we saw yesterday while driving up Euclid on the way to visit Mami y Papi? A new sign proclaiming, “EL SUPER.” This is what I get for not reading the Orange County Business Journal—seems Gigante sold off its American holdings to another business over the summer, and the Gigante Reconquista is over. The culprit wasn’t the faltering economy, but rather homegrown—the Northgate Gonzalez supermarket empire, one of the largest Latino supermarkets in the country and a household name in Latino OC. When Gigante opened, they were specifically going after Northgate dollars, going so far as to proclaim in private they would crush them.
But Latinos in Orange County are loyal, and while Gigante drew crowds, it could never beat the specials or brand name of Northgate. Northgate slaughtered Gigante so bad that they never opened another store here. To see El Super now take over is wonderful, hilarious and a victory for the small guy, even if the small guy is a multimillion-dollar company.
Gabriel San Roman says: For all the Know Nothings’ sudden concern back then for liquor licenses in the area, I only bought a case of beer once at that Gigante . . . fake Social Security cards in the parking lot, on the other hand . . . just kidding. Maybe!
GRAND THEFT KETCHUP
Posted by Nick Schou, Navel Gazing, Sept. 30
Last weekend, Steve Rocco was busted for stealing a bottle of ketchup from a cafeteria at Chapman University. He was observed taking the bottle by a security guard who alerted police, who cited Rocco for misdemeanor theft, for which he will have to pay a $250 fine if convicted by the justice system, a system that, as Rocco has personally revealed and first reported here, is secretly controlled by the Partnership, a shadowy cabal Rocco first came across back in 1981, when he was busted for stealing several rolls of Kodak film and a Smoke Craft sausage at an Albertsons store in Santa Ana.
Convicted of that theft by a judge and jury controlled by the Partnership—which in turn is controlled by, you guessed it, Albertsons, Kodak and Smoke Craft sausage—Rocco dedicated his life to unveiling this dark conspiracy.
Well, that, and selling stuff at swap meets and running for local school-board races that he never won until four years ago, when he beat a union-backed candidate to become the wackiest member of the already-wacky Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees. Ever since, he’s been an enigma, showing up for meetings in dirty clothes, a funky hat and sunglasses, mystifying the public with his bizarre rants about the Partnership.
Agi says: Is this dude up for re-election this November? If so, vote Rocco!
LAST NIGHT: THE KOOKS, THE WHIGS AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES
Posted by Albert Ching, Heard Mentality, Oct. 28
I’m not an eavesdropper, but sometimes, y’know, you just can’t help it. Like when you overhear something like this, from one of the many enthralled young teenage fans leaving the Kooks concert Monday night: “If he had AIDS, I wouldn’t care,” a clearly misguided young female said of (presumably) her answer to a theoretical offer of a sexual encounter with undeniably dreamy Kooks lead singer Luke Pritchard. “As long as he sang to me, it would be okay.” Pretty spicy talk for just a few yards away from a Build-a-Bear Workshop and the type of heartfelt (albeit creepy) praise that Leif Garrett and David Cassidy never got a chance to receive.
FLORAL PARK’S SEGREGATED HALLOWEEN CONTINUES
Posted by Gustavo Arellano, Navel Gazing, Nov. 1
Floral Park imagines itself as an oasis of tranquility in SanTana, a respite from the city’s gritty reality. Really, this neighborhood is built on apartheid. Need proof? There’s a house in Floral Park with “TARA” on its front gate, for chrissakes, and direct access is blocked if you’re coming north from the rest of the city. Need more substantial proof? Take what happened yesterday, and what’s been happening every Halloween in the neighborhood for years.
Last evening, hundreds of Mexican kids descended upon Floral Park to partake in a richer neighborhood’s ostensibly better candies, a tradition followed by American kids for decades. Dressed up as Darth Vader, as princesses or ghosts, they walked in virtual darkness. At least three-quarters of the Floral Park homes had their lights off, and the number was probably bigger than that. That’s because the Mothers of Floral Park group held the neighborhood’s official trick-or-treat last Saturday.
A Floral Park resident that requested anonymity for the obvious reason argued that the neighborhood was simply tired of cleaning up after the hordes. “They’re not even from the neighborhood, but they drop their trash all over the place—and we have to clean up after them,” she argued. “It’s better to let our kids celebrate it on another day. It’s not a racial thing.”
HA. Have you ever seen a spic-’n’-span neighborhood after Halloween? Candy tends to create littering, y’know. Besides, Halloween is supposed to be America’s great unifying holiday, a bona-fide celebration not based on any religion or ethnic group, but on getting everyone together.
Tim says: Even the illegal aliens know their urine-stenched violent neighborhoods suck. So your solution is for the rest of us to lower our standards to that of the uneducated Latino hoards? Why don’t you publish your address and have a big party for the niños next year at your house? Why don’t you step up for once, Gustavo, and admit that Mexico and most of Latin America are Third World pits. Despite your views to the contrary, dragging America down to the level of Mexico doesn’t help anyone.
INDICTED EX-SHERIFF MIKE CARONA CLAIMED THE BIBLE RAN HIS DAILY LIFE
Posted by R. Scott Moxley, Navel Gazing, Nov. 15
“Silly ass . . . no shit . . . shit . . . fuck you . . . get fucked . . . two cocksuckers . . . all that shit . . . bitchen! . . . Look at the size on that one! . . . bullshit . . . evil fucking evil . . . kick your ass . . . to the fucking bank . . . gonna fuck you up . . . such an asshole . . . my fucking heart . . . Jack Hanshaw [is] a weird motherfucker . . . fucked her over . . motherfucker! . . . fucking shitting me . . . fuck you in the ass . . . fucking Coto de Caza . . . fucking German attitude . . . her core fucking belief . . . I don’t think they have shit on us . . . Donna [Porter] is such a fucking squirrelly cunt . . . lying about that shit . . . fuck George . . . Tony [Rackauckas] and I are in a fucking death spiral . . . a huge fucking battle . . . oh, fuck! . . . fuck, yes . . . shit on that one . . . cover shit up . . . all this shit.”
—Then-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, a Bible-thumper in public and a man who prayed before restaurant meals when people were watching, talking in private in August 2007 and unaware that the FBI was surreptitiously recording his conversation. The cause of his anger and frustration? Federal prosecutors Brett Sagel and Ken Julian were conducting an investigation that would two months later result in Carona’s arrest on bribery, corruption and witness-tampering charges.
URINE, YOU’RE OUT, YOU’RE BACK IN AGAIN
Posted by Matt Coker, Navel Gazing, Nov. 26
A Huntington Beach man who co-owns the company that makes the Whizzinator, which allows workers, job-seekers and parolees to fake drug tests, pleaded guilty in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, federal court Monday to conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to sell drug paraphernalia.
Joining Robert Dennis Catalano in pleading guilty were the 62-year-old’s partner, George W. Wills, 65, of San Pedro, and their Signal Hill-based Puck Technology Inc. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20.
Puck started in 1999, classifies itself as a medical-technology company and reports annual sales of $2.2 million for its line of clean-urine-dispensing faux weenies.
So you might say the feds really took the piss outta these guys.
If they lied in court, would they be guilty of perjur-pee?
Guess this halts production of their new gizmo for black gentlemen, Whizzinator Magnum.
Besides the Whizzinator, Puck Technology sells another urination-simulation device called, and this is true, “Number 1.” Message to Santa: Should Puck have a spin-off product, please do not fill my stocking with “Number 2.”
Okay, I’ll stop now. Call me pee-shy. My rain has ended. Don’t wanna be accused of yellow journalism. Aiiiiiiiiiiiiii . . .
Bob Squalonero says: I don’t know, Matt. All those jokes you did seem to exhibit “piss poor” performance on your part. I suggest you quit while you’re “a head” and before you “piss off” someone. ;-)
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THE REAL TEACHERS OF ORANGE COUNTY?
Posted by Daffodil J. Altan, Navel Gazing, Dec. 3
What it is it about this sun-loving county that brings out the sex kitten in some of our teachers, provoking them to do unmentionable things with their underage students? Six teachers were arrested in the past three months for crossing the Lolita line. That seems like a lot for one county. Or at least like some sort of record. Seems we may now have enough teachers for another hit reality TV show.?The sixth teacher to be arrested for allegedly knocking it with a student was Aaron Westbrook, a 25-year-old social sciences teacher at Capistrano Valley High who also helped coach the girls’ beach volleyball and surf teams. September launched the teacher-fetish showdown, with the arrests of George Harcourt Bull, the substitute teacher and soccer coach from Lake Forest who was engaging in naughty web-cam sessions with a 13-year-old boy and was caught with child porn on his computer, and Thomas Cole, the Aliso Niguel High basketball coach charged with having sex with a student (and who was just arrested again today for sending text messages to that same student).
October ushered in the arrests of Christopher Brazelton, a first-grade teacher in Garden Grove who grabbed a 12-year-old girl’s butt at Wal-Mart, and Carlie Attebury, the music teacher at El Modena High in Orange who was arrested and charged with sleeping with one of her students. We met No. 5 last week when Gustavo Arellano broke the news of Alonso Gonzalez’s arrest on our blog. The teacher’s aide at Saddleback High in Santa Ana was arrested for not being able to keep his hands off of his special-ed charges. Worse, it seems officials at Santa Ana Unified turned a blind eye when parents complained.
This is a legacy county, after all. If you remember, the teacher at the center of the mother of all teacher-student sex scandals was Mary Kay Letourneau, the OC-born and -bred daughter of ex-ultra-conservative OC lawmaker John G. Schmitz, a Santa Ana College professor who fathered two children with one of his own students behind his family’s back. Mary Kay was the Seattle teacher who not once, but twice, was impregnated by her 13-year-old student, whom she says she fell desperately in love with. She delivered her babies in jail, served her time, got a divorce and married the teen (now all grown up!) who fathered her children all those years ago.