Want Fries With That?

Illustration by Bob AulListen up: the Orange County grand jury came out five weeks ago with a report that blamed restaurant grease for dirty beaches. The reasoning: sewer lines are so choked with greasy buildup that the shit that's supposed to flow through clogs up, shoots out of manhole covers and oozes into creeks, rivers and storm drains that empty into the ocean. Cut to Sacramento, where, in the wake of the energy crisis, Governor Gray Davis just issued an executive order allowing diesel-powered generators to be used in the event of electrical blackouts. Meanwhile, various entrepreneurs want to convert grease into diesel fuel. Such greasy diesel burns cleaner and fills the air with the pleasing aroma of McDonald's French fries. So we can hook the pumps right up to Mickey D's, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, stave off the energy crisis, clean the beaches and fill the air with the pleasing aroma of McDonald's French fries?! 24-7?! Biodiversity rocks! Of course, someone's gotta, uh, crap on the whole thing. The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) on May 24 damned Davis for choosing diesel over cleaner alternatives. They apparently have a problem with diesel fumes causing death. Are you damn hippies paying attention? THE PLEASING AROMA OF MCDONALD'S FRENCH FRIES!!

ON SECOND THOUGHT . . . CALPIRG took Springfield Nuclear Power Plant owner Monty Burns and his bundles of cash to Century City and Sacramento this week so he could thank George Dubya Bush for whoring nukes. All is forgiven, CALPIRG.

WHERE ARE WE AGAIN? In a May 20 story about Orange County's dominance in the action-sports apparel biz, the New York Times referred to OC as "Velcro Valley." It's curious that the "Newspaper of Record" reported that we're "widely known as Velcro Valley" when no one here's heard of Velcro Valley. But though naming us after the fly fastener on board shorts is a gentle jab, it's certainly less odious than our old John Birch Society-induced tag "behind the Orange Curtain." One problem, however: huge swaths of OC real estate will now be subject to having mile-long strands of thread and lint bunnies the size of Winnebagos entangled in them.

EURO TRASH Speaking of out-of-town publications without a clue about OC: the 2001 California edition of Fodor's Road Guide USA ("Everything to see and do") includes this for its Santa Ana listing: "For a taste of the Old World, check out the South Coast Plaza at Bear Street, as well as Sunflower Avenue with its Eurostyle marketplace." Because when you think of the Old World, you think of giant, shiny shopping malls with Saks Fifth Avenues, valet stroller parking and Sears Auto Centers.

JETBLUE IN THE FACE A trendy airline outta—where else?—New Yawk announced on May 22 that Long Beach Airport is now its Left Coast base. Why LB? According to JetBlue Airways—the only carrier with free live satellite TV in every seat (must get cramped)—it's because Long Beach is chronically "underused." Why did the Long Beach City Council allow JetBlue—low fares! Plush gray-leather seats! Designer flight-attendant uniforms! Youngest fleet of quiet, environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, factory-fresh (European-made) Airbus A-320 jetliners! And no crummy meal service; bring your own food!—to devour all available LB flight slots? Because, as one city official told the Los Angeles Times, "over the past two years, we have begged virtually every airline to come to Long Beach." Hmmm. An airport just minutes away (indeed, closer to overpopulated north and central Orange County than the former El Toro Marine base) that's underused and begging for more flights. What's all this crap about OC needing a second airport?

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