Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, March 1
The Orange County Board of Supervisors retroactively approves the donation of 125 bulletproof vests and 805 protective vehicle panels from the OC Sheriff's Department to a Marine unit recently deployed in Iraq. Thing of it is the equipment is not something the kids at the Sheriff's Department purchased by raising money through the sale of baked goods or assistant sheriff badges. No, this material was used, waaaaay used. Nine years used. This stuff was so used the department was either going to donate it or destroy it—and suddenly I hear the voice of my mother enticing me to eat by saying, “I'll just have to throw it away otherwise.” Aaaanyway, according to the Sheriff's Department, they were going to destroy the equipment because it was more vulnerable to current types of ammunition. That's current types of ammunition available in Orange County. I wonder if they have current types of ammunition in Iraq? Do rocket-propelled grenades qualify? Still, the Marines are happy to get whatever they can, even if it's nine years old and only kinda bulletproof—bulletproof-ish. Well, at least the Sheriff's Department thought they deserved something. Which is more than the folks at the Pentagon, White House or Dick Cheney's hunting party believe, since they've given very little in the way of bulletproof vests, an exit strategy or a clue.

Thursday, March 2
Well, apparently the American people have a clue. Well, 60 percent of them, anyway. That's George W. Bush's disapproval rate in a just-released CNN/USA Today/Gallup/Well, Duh! survey. It's thought to be the highest disapproval rate since James Buchanan was wearing baby dolls and demanding to be addressed as “His Highness, the Grand Dame of the American Stage.” The news isn't that most people think Bush suck. News is that 38 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he's doing, that job including a disastrous foreign war/policy that has dragged America's reputation and moral standing through the muck and threatened the safety of the faces of our lawyers. Bush responds by leaving for India, where a recent poll found that 60 percent of Indians believe he will be reincarnated as a mealy-mouthed worm. When informed of the poll, Bush reportedly said, “What, again?”

Friday, March 3
Love Fridays.

Saturday, March 4
Well, it's that time of the year. Time to go to the mailbox and find the California League of Conservation Voters' “California Environmental Scorecard.” Like you, I called the kids in from burning the trash and read it to them. One thing that became apparent immediately is that if the people who are fighting the toll road that would destroy San Onofre are depending on help from their elected representatives, they're out of their minds. Of Orange County's nine Assembly members, only two—Democrats Tom Umberg at 74 percent and Rudy Bermudez at 100 percent—voted pro-environment more than 50 percent of the time. Actually, of the remaining seven Assembly members, all Republicans, the highest mark went to Tom Harman at 16 percent. Three came in at zero, while Van Tran came in at a zesty 5 percent. So, who's up for a toll road?

Sunday, March 5
Kudos to our friends over at the Los Angeles Times. A little more than a week ago, they wrote a Column One story about our own Gustavo Arellanoand things got crazy. Gustavo went on the Today Show; someone begged us to start writing an Ask a Mexican column, only about African-Americans, though he didn't used the phrase African-Americans; and what's more, Ellen Griley has become the new Yoko and Theo Douglas is the new face of Old Spice. Anyway, thanks LA Times; you're good people. Oh, and thanks a whole lot for today's Column One about Thomas Kinkade, the self-described “Painter of Light” who has two galleries in Orange County and a bunch around the United States. Kinkade is the guy who paints those villages that look like low-income housing for Smurfs, stuff he puts Christian fishes in and sells to mokes who think their home could do with a little more . . . Anyway, the Times piece comes in the wake of Kinkade being ordered by an arbitrator to pay nearly $900,000 to a couple of gallery owners who lost a lot of money on his stuff. Turns out there's more than a few other like-minded and rather angry gallery owners and employees who have either taken Kinkade to court or talked to the Times, painting a picture of Kinkade as a sort of urinating hellion. Apparently, dude likes to drink, and when he drinks, he does hilarious things like cuss out people or their wives. John Dandois, who used to work for Kinkade as director of retail operations, said Ol' Thom got wacky once when watching illusionists Siegfried and Roy and, believing one of the performers was wearing a codpiece, started yelling, “Codpiece! Codpiece!” I don't recall which one Kinkade thought was wearing the piece: Siegfried or Roy? Which is the one with the penis? Then there's former employee Terry Sheppard, who said that after a night of heavy drinking, he and Kinkade went to the Disneyland Hotel, where Thom spotted a figure of Winnie the Pooh and proceeded to, yes, pee on it. Sheppard said Kinkade was “marking his territory.” Kinkade allowed, when asked during an arbitration about urinating in an elevator, that “there may have been some ritual territory marking going on.” Rule of thumb: if someone admits “there may have been some ritual territory marking going on,” somebody was peeing on Pooh. Heheheheh. Pee. Pooh. But, be fair. Creative giants have needs different than ours and need different ways to blow off creative steam. I know for a fact that William Burroughs used to love peeing on Pooh. Though instead of “peeing,” he “fired a handgun,” and instead of “on Pooh,” it was “at his wife.”

Monday, March 6
Nick Lowe
's “Cruel to be Kind.” Yes. Salvation comes in all manner of gifts.

Tuesday, March 7
It's been a tough week, so I'd like to leave you with some words of solace from Thomas Kinkade, painter of light. When asked during a deposition if he had groped a woman's breasts—allegedly saying, “These are great tits”—during a meeting of Kinkade Gallery owners, he responded, “But you've got to remember, I'm the idol to these women who are there. They see my work every day, you know? They're enamored with any attention I would give them.” Yes! Now why doesn't he paint that.


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