Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Feb. 8
I couldn't fit this in last week, but I thought you'd be interested. I don't know if you remember, but I wrote about a Chapman law professor named John Eastman who'd gone on a local radio program and proclaimed that George W. Bush not only had the right to break the law and wiretap American citizens but a duty to do so (this, coincidentally, will be one of Saddam Hussein's defenses). Anyway, while attempting to research Mr. Eastman, I came upon an item on the Chapman website that said its law school had been ranked as one of the 159 best law schools in the country in a book by the Princeton Review. Apparently the book has a Zagat-esque section where students comment on particular schools, and one Chapman kid gave what I believe is the definition of faint praise when he said Chapman was the “premier law school in Orange County.” As compared to what? Bolsa Grande High? Toon Town? The book's authors followed suit with the definition of a backhanded compliment when they wrote that Chapman's reputation as a law school “has nowhere to go but up.”

Thursday, Feb. 9
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
win their case with the city of Anaheim and can continue to call themselves the Los Angeles Angels of Blah Blah Blah. After weeks of testimony, expert witnesses and disputed statistics, it takes the jury just four hours to arrive at its verdict. Interviewed afterward, jurors say they don't so much think the Angels presented a good case as they believe Anaheim agreed to a really crappy contract that in no way required that their city's name appear before the team name. This would be shocking if it weren't so typical of Anaheim, which has been signing crappy deals with professional sports teams for a long time, whether it was the Rams, who bolted, or the Angels under Disney, which got Anaheim to agree to enormous concessions and, in return, allowed Anaheim to run the parking lot. Of course, when Anaheim attempted to recoup some money with a huge entertainment development called “Sportstown,” Disney promptly killed it. You know, if Anaheim is serious about attracting an NFL team, perhaps they should outsource the actual contract negotiations to someone else in some other city. When it comes to writing contracts, Anaheim has nowhere to go but up.

Friday, Feb. 10
I love Fridays.

Saturday, Feb. 11
Dick Cheney
, vice president of the United States, shoots a man in the face while hunting on a ranch in Texas. This makes Cheney the first sitting vice president to shoot a man in the head since Lyndon Johnson did it in 1963, coincidentally, also in Texas. (Oh, don't be so naive.) But we don't know about this yet because the White House doesn't believe that the vice president shooting a man in the face is anything worth knowing, so mum's the word. Funny, that's exactly what they said in 1963.

Sunday, Feb. 12
Today we learn (wink, wink) that Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States, shot a man in the face yesterday on a ranch in Texas. Cheney's people insist that the shooting was an accident, that though Cheney enjoys killing small, unarmed animals for sport, Cheney would never shoot a person. No, he has working-class teenagers to do that for him. The lucky man to catch Cheney's discharge is millionaire attorney Harry Whittington, who, fittingly, is chairman of the Texas Funeral Services Commission, which may sound like a do-nothing post until you consider that he was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush, who was in the process of executing a good portion of the state. Whittington was quickly taken to a Corpus Christi hospital after the incident. Fortunately for him, Cheney travels with an entourage of medical personnel because he suffers heart attacks like most people go to the bathroom. What's more, Cheney's also got an ambulance on call. When people talk about Washington being insulated, I believe this is exactly what they're referring to. In the real world, a guy with a heart so bad that he has to be followed by his own ER wouldn't be let near a TV remote, let alone a gun.

Monday, Feb. 13
Word comes that the Anaheim City Councilwill meet tomorrow in closed session to discuss how to proceed with their name change fight with the Angels. Lemme make this easy for you, fellas. You spent more than $2 million making a case that jurors dismissed after just four hours of deliberations. What's more, rumor is that the Angels will ask that you be ordered to pay their legal fees, which reportedly are around $7 million. Next move? Pull your pants up from around your ankles, thank the Angels very much and ask if you can make them a sandwich.

Tuesday, Feb. 14
Valentine's Day. On this day we devote to love, permit me to celebrate the language of love between a father and his son. This conversation took place several days ago, while my son and I were driving somewhere in the car. It will be helpful to imagine that through most of it my mouth was agape:

“Hey, Dad, do some people work in stores just so they can get the employee discount?”

“Yeah, I think some people do that.”

“I think that's a good idea.”

“Yeah, I guess. Except if you're going to do that, you better make sure you really like what the store sells and are going to want it over and over. I mean, it's stupid to do that in a store where you only want one thing.”

“If I was going to do that, you know where I'd work?”



“Williams-Sonoma? Why?”

“Because they've got great dinnerware.”

“[. . .]”

“They do. A spoon there costs like 25 bucks.”

“[. . .]”

“You gotta have spoons.”

“Yeah, you gotta have spoons. Are you serious? Williams-Sonoma?”

“[Excited.] Yes. [Voice lowered.] What? . . . [Flatly, registering dread.] You're going to write about this in 'Diary,' aren't you?”


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