Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Jan. 25
Watching the morning news and up pops something about Morteza Bakhtiari, the guy accused of running down a married father of four with his BMW. Prosecutors allege that Bakhtiari ran over John Royston in an Aliso Viejo parking lot—putting Royston in intensive care—after Royston and his friends yelled at Bakhtiari to slow down. Bakhtiari, 26, of Costa Mesa, pleads not guilty and claims that he was actually the victim; that he feared for his life after being confronted by Royston and his friends. If it sounds a little far-fetched that someone driving away in a BMW would fear for his life from guys on foot, perhaps it helps to tell you that Bakhtiari's attorney is—all together now—Joseph Cavallo. Yes, the same guy who defended the Haidl bunch by claiming they were in fact the victims of a lying aspiring porn star who only pretended to be passed out while they shoved pool cues and Snapple bottles inside her. Cavallo claims that Bakhtiari feared for his life, especially after one of Royston's friends threw a soda can at him. (Given what Cavallo clients have done in the past with similar objects, Bakhtiari should be grateful they just threw it, allegedly.) Anyway, Cavallo seems to suggest that the 12-ounce soda can was so ominous a force that Bakhtiari's only option was to plow his 3,500-pound car into a human being, what is otherwise known as the Grenada Defense. Court observers say Cavallo will probably intimate that Royston and his friends were aspiring porn stars, you know, for old times' sake.

Thursday, Jan. 26
In the most anticipated move by new owners Henry and Susan Samueli, the couple announce the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will no longer be known by that stupid, stupid name—Anaheim ducks being world-renowned for behavior that is decidedly fey. The Samuelis employed Irvine-based Paine PR to guide the name search, a search, says David Paine, that included “qualitative research and a formal quantitative telephone survey of Mighty Ducks season-ticket holders.” And what did they come up with? Well, the former Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will now be known as . . . the Ducks of Anaheim. Now, I'm not saying the Samuelis wasted their money, but they could have pretty much come up with that name by looking at the Mighty Ducks name on the Pond marquee and covering their left eyes. People already called them the Ducks. I'm not bragging, but I think I could canvass my office right now and come up with a lot better team names. Here, gimme a second . . . okay, I sent out an e-mail requesting a new name for the Ducks, and here's what I got:

The Duck-Billed Platypuses

The Mighty Ducks of Riverside

The Lemurs (mine)

Who are you?

The Mites

Who are you and what is your fascination with lemurs?

Happiest Face Check on Earth

The Mighty Flucks

No, I do not care in the least that lemurs have scent glands on their bottoms.

The Dighty Mucks

I have referred this matter to Human Resources.

La Migra

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Henry and Susan Samueli as well as the creative and hard-working folks at Paine PR if I in any way intimated that the Weekly staff was capable of coming up with a lot better team names when I wrote that the Weekly staff could “come up with a lot better team names.” Go Lemurs!

Friday, Jan. 27
Talk to John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren N Stimpy, for a story in this issue about his upcoming appearance at Anaheim House of Blues, Feb. 9. As with all stories, there is some good stuff I can't fit in, especially these two little nuggets. Enjoy:

Michael Jackson invited me up to Neverland. He wanted to start a family network and wanted to make cartoons that kids actually would like. I thought, 'Great.' He met me in pajamas. But before you meet him, he makes you wait, you know, like royalty. You sit and you wait and what's weird is that there are all these people you see when you first arrive there, except they're not really people. They're like mannequins, statues that really look like real people in natural poses all over the place. There's a bunch of fake kids sitting on couches.”

(Asked if the wealth of adult cartoons today—made possible by the success ofRen N Stimpy 15 years ago—constituted a renaissance in the industry.)

“That's not a renaissance, it's a glut. I don't like anything modern. Everything I see is so badly done, they're poorly drawn and look like a bunch of guys sitting around making a bunch of pop culture references. Your mailman can do that. Cartoons should be like music, they should pleasure your senses. Cartoons today assault your senses. To me, when you're watching art, you should be sucked into the experience. The only experience I see from this crop is 'Oh, I got that joke because I saw the movie they're talking about.' Asking me to do something like that would be like asking Hitchcock to do Mystery Science Theater.”

Saturday, Jan. 28
In a story in TheOC Register, Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) says he witnessed the recent execution of four-time murderer Clarence Ray Allen. Spitzer, staunchly pro-death penalty, says he was impressed with how “professional” the procedure was, mentioning that one of the attendants wiped down the 76-year-old Allen's arm with an antiseptic pad before inserting the needle that would deliver the killer cocktail of drugs. I am reminded that in the excellent film Capote, the film's subject is fascinated and horrified that the four-time murderers position a boy's head on a pillow before they shoot him, marveling at the macabre juxtaposition. Speaking of macabre juxtapositions, Spitzer later says in the piece that witnessing Allen's death “made me realize that it absolutely is a humane process to put someone to death.”

Sunday, Jan. 29
I miss football. Do you know if there are any more games scheduled?

Monday, Jan. 30
At the Anaheim vs. Angels trial today, the city's expert witness, Laren Ukman of a Chicago firm that helps value sports franchises, says that Anaheim lost out on $33 million of media exposure last year because the Angels no longer called themselves the Anaheim Angels. She says the city will lose $191 million of exposure by 2016 when the team can opt out of its lease and will lose $373 million by 2029. Frankly, I think the last number is pretty low, considering the team will have moved 13 years before.

Tuesday, Jan. 31
The USA Men's National Volleyball Team announces it will relocate to Anaheim in May. All that's left is for Anaheim's City Council to approve the three-year agreement, which includes the city assisting the team in procuring lodging, sponsorship and then suing it for not calling itself the Anaheim Men's National Volleyball Team.


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