Diary of a Mad County

Courtesy HBPDWednesday, June 29
The 4th District Court rules that the Los Angeles Angelscan keep calling themselves the Los Angeles Angels, in a decision watched closely by almost no one since the point has become so moot that the only interesting thing about the moot point is that the only song I know of that actually contains the word “moot” is Rick Springfield's “Jessie's Girl.” Go Angels. Remember all those predictions of devastation and painful itching if the Angels kept Los Angeles in their name? Remember all the self-righteous Angel fans who said they'd never attend a Los Angeles Angels game? Well, somebody's going, because the team ranks fourth in all of Major League Baseball with an average home crowd of 41,451 a game. You could call them the TehranPuppyBuggerersand people would show up to see a championship-caliber team with a comfortable division lead and three All-Stars—BartoloColon, Garret Andersonand the incomparable Vladimir Guerrero. (What greater proof of winning solving everything than the fact that the people of Orange County have completely embraced a man named Vladimir?) What's more, in a turn of events that shows life is a cruel mistress—and a so-so tailor—the man who passed a bill through the California Assembly demanding that the team “disclose” on its tickets that it doesn't actually play in Los Angeles had to himself “disclose” that he was playing with someone other than his wife. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Coincidentally, the District Court not only ruled that the Angels could keep calling themselves Los Angeles but, after taking five of six from their National League rivals in Los Angeles—including a three-game sweep at Chavez Ravine—decreed the Dodgersmust also make the Angels a sandwich.

Thursday, June 30
Nick Carter
of the Backstreet Boys, arrested for drunkdrivingin March, works out a deal with Orange County prosecutors requiring him to undergo a three-month outpatient alcohol treatment program, spend three years on informal probation and pay a $1,200 fine. The penalty angers many observers who were hoping for something more stringent, like the death penalty, and this is before they learned he'd been arrested for drunk driving. Carter also agreed to have his driving privileges restricted and that his band's success was proof of the absence of a loving God.

Friday, July 1
You know, it may not be obvious always, but I stick up for this county whenever I can. Whenever I get wind of someone buying into that cartoonish “OC” image of plastic people consumed by consumerism; vulgar, self-obsessed, overly competitive, vapid, vulgar, selfish, narrow-minded and vulgar, I always say, “Define vulgar.” I point out the great people, art, music and youth culture that come from this county, but if you want people to stick up for this place, you're really going to have to do a better job of keeping some people in town. I'm up at an international volleyball tournament my daughter's participating in in Reno and there is a team here from south Orange County and the parents could not be any more “OC.” Crass, petty, vulgar. They yell at referees, who are volunteers; they yell at lines officials who are 13- and 14-year-old girls. What's worse is how these trolls embrace their vulgarity; the women, horrifically taut, sit cross-legged in their sports outfits, watching the game with some douchewad upper-middle-management type who entertains them with double-entendres about ballswhile making plans for that evening's cocktail run and then making a joke about cocktail since, you know, cock is slang for penis. He's some fiftysomething dude in his upper-middle-management casual costume of black polo shirt, generous-seated dungarees and top siders—yeah, I'm talking about you, dickless. The women, who you can just look at and know they do nothing except cooand loseweightand complain about 14-year-old girls while getting fashion ideas from them, coo, especially the leathery hag in the tight-fitting animal print and jeweled sandals—yeah, I'm talking about you, dickless.

Saturday, July 2
As I say, I've been in a lot of gyms, watching a lot of volleyball, so it's only today, walking by a hotel TV, that I get the news that SandraDayO'Connorhas announced her retirement from the Supreme Court. An audible sense of dread arises from a small crowd around the TV, and, let me remind you, I'm in Nevada.The idea that George W. Bush will leave his footprint on this country for years to come will do that to anyone. Bush will not only name O'Connor's successor—Attorney General AlbertoGonzalesis an early favorite—but will also name a successor to Chief Justice William Rehnquist—Antonin Scalia and JosephStalinare early favorites, through Stalin is believed to be too moderate for Bush's base supporters, who are as base as they come. Of course, someone first will have to get around to telling Rehnquist he's been dead for some time.

Sunday, July 3
Gaylord Nelson
, the former Wisconsin governor and senator, who founded Earth Day, dies at the age of 89. Nelson, an environmentalist before it was popular, then marginalized, overcame much to make Earth Day a possibility, not the least of which was the fact that his name was Gaylord.

Monday, July 4
In honor of Gaylord Nelson and as a favor to his long-suffering girlfriend, Tony Blair, George Bush takes a big dump on the Kyoto Treaty, the environmental pact signed by every major power in the world that doesn't have a mouth-breather as its leader. Bush, at the G8Summitin Scotland hosted by Blair, says he refuses to support Kyoto not because it's bad science, but because its goal of decreasing greenhouse gases would “wreck the U.S. economy.” Geez, give him credit, he told the truth for once. That's little comfort for gal pal Blair, who, because of his relationship with Bush, has not only sacrificed his political future but has also been humiliated. On the bright side, rumor is that Bush is going to buy him a big diamond ring.

Tuesday, July 5
Sure, he can't fight a war, and sure, he sucks at foreign relations, and sure, he's not smart, and sure, he's horrible on the environment, and sure, he'll kill us all, but at least GeorgeBushis good at making the rich richer. Orishe?In an annual IRS study, it's revealed that for the first time in 25 years the number of high-income tax returns fell during the first two years of Bush's administration, commonly known as the salad days. High income returns are defined as those from people claiming adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000. They grew every year under the likes of Gerald Ford. They grew under the first Bush! They grew under Jimmy Carter! But they fell 7 percent in 2001 and 6 percent in 2002—and these were the days before $2.50 gas, record unemployment, a slumping stock market and General Motors as a national punch line. On the bright side, I hear a deathcometis hurtling toward Earth.


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