The Reg-O-Meter©: Week Ending March 22

It’s another edition of our occasional chronicle/critique of the Orange County Register, using highly-detailed, top-secret scientific research crafted in the sub-basement of the OC Weekly DataLab®.

Every week, we start the Register off with a generous 100 points. Then our expensive-ass computers (the same ones used to coordinate BCS rankings, control space shuttle launches and animate Daybreak OC’s Pete Weitzner) add or subtract points based on the quality of the Register’s print edition, their website, and anything else Reg-related. If the end tally meets or exceeds 100 points, we’ll officially proclaim the Register as The Greatest Newspaper That’s Ever Existed In The History of Recorded Information, and immediately discontinue our monitoring. But if the final number freefalls to zero or below, well . . . we just keep on going.

This week’s Register-culled info entered into the Reg-O-Meter©:

SUNDAY, MARCH 16 •It’s a glorious, sunshiney day—time to break out the BBQ grill! We’ve got shrimp, hot dogs and chicken, and our XM tuned to Bob Dylan’s show. What could possibly go wrong? Especially since, just six days earlier, the Register’s Gary Robbins scribbled blurbage on the front page of his fishwrap’s Local section, a story headlined “The Prediction is a Rain-Free March.” To support this claim, Robbins interviewed one Stan Wasowski, described as “a veteran weather forecaster,” which, for all we know, could mean that he was born with the uncanny ability to look up at the sky. Turns out Wasowski sucks at forecasting, and that goes doubly for Robbins, because later this afternoon, we’re left staring out our patio window with a plate of ready-to-char meat in our hands—hoping the goddamned rain will go away. Register! Why do we bother trusting you?!?

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DON’T TAKE GARY ROBBINS TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS: minus 43 Reg-O-Meter Subtotal: 57 POINTS

MONDAY, MARCH 17March Madness! And who’s showing up for the Big Dance? Holy crap—it’s Cal State Fullerton, who haven’t made it to the NCAA basketball tourney in 30 years! Sure, they’ll be knocked out in a first-round game later on this week, but still, things don’t get more local than that. So how does the Reg play the big news in their special tournament section, as well as on the front page? With color photos of UCLA’s Kevin Love (relative of total fucking douchebag asshole Mike Love, of what’s left of the Beach Boys) and USC’s O.J. Mayo. Let’s see . . . UCLA is, what, 35 miles from Orange County? And USC is around 20 miles? Oh, wait, there’s the CSUF story—on page 8 of the special section, teased by teeny-tiny type that reads “Titans all over the map.” Just not all over the Reggie.

Nutjob Letter of the Day Prize goes to Jack Van Auken of Yorba Linda, who thinks Dilbert is Satan. “For three days the Dilbert comic strip has made fun of the name and person of Jesus Christ. Has the Register gone crazy to allow this? . . . The Register should apologize to the Christian public . . . This is way over the line.” Only Reg readers could find offense in Dilbert—other than the usual way Dilbert offends in being totally not funny. But these strips actually made us smirk. Go here and start your clicking with the March 8 strip, then move on to March 10-14, and see if you agree.

•Actual excerpt from today’s column by Teryl Zarnow, who writes about family stuff:

“Did you take my pen?” I ask my husband. “No,” he says, engrossed in one of the Sudoku puzzles he completes as relentlessly as I used to chew my No. 2 pencils. “I can’t find my yellow pen from the desk,” I say. “Don’t know,” he mumbles. “You’re using my yellow pen!” I shout in discovery. “Oh, yes, I have a yellow pen,” he answers.

Fucking riveting.

CSU-WHO?: minus 32.2 ALWAYS-ENTERTAINING REG LETTERS: plus 26.8 TERYL ZARNOW COLUMNS: STRONGER THAN SOMINEX: minus 19.9 Reg-O-Meter Subtotal: 31.7 POINTS

TUESDAY, MARCH 18Nutjob Letter of the Day Prize goes to—wait for it—B.J. Vetter of San Juan Capistrano, blurting about a Reggie story on veterans and young folks coming together, but not in that way: “Our veterans are an inspiration to our young people. This program deserved the front page of the local section, not page 7, and deserved at least as much of the front page as the coverage of . . .” What? What story could possibly be so upsetting to B.J. that it dared displaced proper coverage of his/her beloved wrinkly men in uniform? The impending 100-year Iraq War? The coming sequel to the Great Depression? The housing crisis? The Carona trial? Catholic preacher boy-buggering? Not even close. “. . . the 88-year-old lesbian.”

•New massage ad in the porn-o-rific sports pages, boasting a price of “$1 for 1 minute.” Gee, that doesn’t sound like much time for getting properly kneaded. What sort of pleasure can one possibly derive from a massage lasting only a few minutes? Seems it’d have to be an awful quickie one...

THOSE DARN LESBIANS: plus 27.1 REGGIE HAND PARTY: plus 8.2 Reg-O-Meter Subtotal: 67 POINTS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19 •“Gordon Dillow is taking the day off . . .” plus 84.4 •“His column returns Sunday.” minus 208.7

REG-O-METER GRAND TOTAL: NEGATIVE 57.3 points.

Better luck next time, kids!


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