Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Dec. 6
Driving to work on the Garden Grove Freeway (22) that everyone—news reports, Governor Schwarzenegger—keeps telling me CalTrans has widened. And, indeed, the freeway's new lanes are ready, I can see them, I just am not allowed on them. Tease. Oh sure, 22, you'll let me look, but you hide behind your orange plastic thingys to prevent me from merging, and oh how I long to merge onto you, 22. Oh, you'd know you'd been merged. But you play your cruel games. Why? Did someone hurt you in the past? A gravel truck? Cement mixer? Some smooth talker with a “Wide Load?” Can't you see that I'm not like that? I'm here for the long haul. Why was I born with a heart?

Thursday, Dec. 7
HB Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and a bunch of his buddies send a letter to George W. Bushasking him to commute the sentences of two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an illegal immigrant at the border. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean got 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, for shooting the man, an admitted drug smuggler. “These Border Patrol agents are heroes,” Rohrabacher says at a press conference today. “Bringing felony charges against them is a travesty of justice beyond description.” No. 1, speak for your indescribable self. Two, I have no idea about these two guys, so maybe they did or didn't get the sentence they deserved. But I know this: every month, we write about someone in Orange County who's in prison for something they didn't do, and when we're not writing about that we're writing about 18-year-old Huntington Beach women who get shot dead by the police, and when we're not writing about that we're writing about people who get beat up and/or killed while in police custody, and Dana Rohrabacher never takes the time to pen so much as a postcard to talk about their indescribableness. I dunno, maybe he has more time for correspondence now with his back-benching imminent. That was made official when he was beaten out for the crumb that is the position of ranking member of the House Science Committee by 83-year-old Ralph Hall. Being the ranking member of a committee means you're the top person for the minority party, i.e. you get the honor of being the first person everyone ignores. Of course, it's no shame for Rohrabacher to lose to Hall, who is not only the House's oldest member but whose scientific credentials include being born several years before science was invented.

Friday, Dec. 8
I don't know if any of you have daughters and I don't know if any of them attended a winter formaltonight and therefore I have no way of knowing if your daughter—whose smile and laugh make you so happy that you welcome the crushing in your chest they bring—was named sophomore class princess at her winter formal tonight. And so I pity you, I really do.

I love you more than you could ever know, principessa.

Saturday, Dec. 9
My son asked me today if we could go to Taco Bell. We do this from time to time (all the time). I say no because people in several states who ate at the Irvine-based fast-food giant got sick from what health officials believe is E. colipresent in Taco Bell's green onions. So, I tell my son that we can't go to Taco Bell and he asks me why and I say they found E. coli in their food and he asks is that bad and I say yes and he asks can it make you sick and I say yes and he asks but can you die from it and I say I think so and he thinks about this a moment and says, “I'm willing to risk it.”

Sunday, Dec. 10
Augusto Pinochet dies
. The former Chilean leader is remembered for his humble manner, kindheart and ability to laugh at himself . . . wait, that's Fred Rogers. Pinochet was a heartless troll who came to power via a bloody coup backed by the U.S., assassinated his democratically elected predecessor and plunged his nation into terror and misery. Now, whether he and Strom Thurmond were homosexual lovers who liked to give it to each other roughreally, rough—has never been confirmed. It has never been denied, either. The point is the man had a soft side and so it is somehow fitting that he passed away during the Christmas season since rumors have long persisted that Pinochet was the model for Dr. Seuss' Grinch character. Of course, in the earlier versions of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the character was much truer to Pinochet himself, the Grinch didn't trick Cindy Lou Who into thinking he's Santa; instead he made her disappear and no one in Whoville said a thing about it. Then the Grinch had sex with his dog, Strom Thurmond.

Monday, Dec. 11
Going to the Public Enemy show at the House of Blues in Anaheim tonight. Someone, hearing I was going to the show and knowing that the band has ties to the Nation of Islam, asked me if I was concerned. No, I say, rock shows are usually pretty safe, and who can predict anything when the only shows at which I've ever experienced any harm to my property or person were the Romantics (“What I Like About You”)—those dudes were as hard as their matching pink leather suits and skinny ties—and a Fleetwood Mac show that devolved into me pleading “Not the face! Not the face!” I am concerned, though, about how I will be seen at the concert. So, I linger in my closet trying to make the absolute right choice. Jeans? Sure. Dress shirt? Bold, embracing my 40-plus years and my slow, inevitable surrender. Too narc. Collared golf shirt? Hmmm, will its ironic Tom Kite-i-ness play? Risky. My Super Friends T? No question of irony there, of course, no question that I'll look like I just came from a gaming convention. Paul Frank Julius the Monkey shirt? Funny—right up to the instant of inevitable and deserved beating. No, we will go surf industry T. After all, it speaks to everything I am, with the exception of being a surfer. But which surfer T? Quiksilver? Too corporate. RVCA? Too arty, plus my RVCA T is bright green and I can just imagine the ribbing Chuck D will give me. “Hey, look at this fellow,” he'd say. “His blouse is more brilliant than a Christmas Tree come Boxing Day, which is little more than a fortnight away!” Oh, Chuck D, you certainly are the people's poet . . . and a scamp! I decide on a Spyder T, because spiders are kinda menacing and because it's brown—know what I'm sayin'? In other fashion news, Theo Douglas shows up for work today wearing a jaunty little knit cap atop his head which makes him look like a cross between Burgess Meredith in the first Rocky movie and a featured performer in Andrew Lloyd Weber's upcoming musical version of On the Waterfront (Waterfront!).

Tuesday, Dec. 12
! (The good kind.) The Garden Grove Freeway is open. Boy is it. Hey, I won't lie: I like my freeways wide. Nice and wide. You can have your skinny-ass 55s, your boney diamond lanes. Make mine expansive. Oh, yeah. Look at my dials, 22 freeway! They're all pointing up. Mmmm hmmmm. You like this, don't you? Like it when I go fast. But not too fast, let's make it last. Uh huh. What's that? A sign up ahead telling me to get off. Oh, I'm gonna get off. You can bet I'm gonna get off (so lonely).


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