Diary of A Mad County

Wednesday, Jan. 19 George W. Bush blames a lack of “human intelligence” for the quagmire that is Iraq, providing the easiest straight line since the mugger told Jack Benny, “Your money or your life!” Bush, in an interview with CNN, defines human intelligence as the “ability to read somebody's mail, the ability to listen to somebody's phone call.” Funny, I thought that was his domestic policy.

Thursday, Jan. 20 Marking yet another failure of human intelligence, George W. Bush takes the oath of office after he phonetically reads his pledge and earns a cookie. Conservatives and speculators in human misery rejoice, having never seen a growth opportunity like this since the salad days of the Spanish Inquisition. And when you're talking misery, of course, how can the Reverend Lou Sheldonof the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) be far behind? Sheldon—coincidentally, obsessed with behinds—hosts other like-out-of-their-minded Christians at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C., to pray for their faith-based agenda. If you're a little sketchy on what that agenda entails, all you need do is check out how subject links are stacked on the TVC website. Yes, there is a link for those who want to help tsunami victims, but it's buried under much larger links for videotapes about the homosexual agenda, inaugural-party highlights and a piece about homosexual lawyers oddly bereft of Roy Cohn. Four more years of this? Jesus! Weekly managing editor Matt Coker attempts to lighten the mood by showing me an electronic counter someone sent him that counts backward the amount of days, hours, minutes and seconds left in Bush's second term. We have a good laugh about the device until we actually look at it and see it reads “1,460 Days,” and then things get real quiet real quick.

Friday, Jan. 21 SpongeBob Squarepantsis among the cartoon icons accused of promoting homosexuality by such conservative Christians as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Now, a lot of people are going to get angry about what these guys are saying, but I for one am impressed. I mean, at a time when drug companies make millions, billions, off the likes of Levitra and Viagra to get guys' thingies all artificially hard, a guy like Dobson—who, to look at him, appears to be a tick past Pleistocene—gets his naughty bits all in a dither just watching SpongeBob blow bubbles. I mean, even porno guys need professional fluffers to stay at attention, yet Stout Woodsman Dobson must go through trousers like moist towelettes when watching Cartoon Network and have to put down drop cloths when Boomerang reruns buffed out Space Ghost, not to mention leather dom Bird Man. I can just imagine little Jimmy Dobson as a kid, sitting in front of the TV, watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs dresses up like a woman and starts making out with Elmer Fudd, and little Jimmy feels that familiar stir and cries out in ecstatic horror, “Mommy, my pants are dancing again!” Of course, there's an entire like-minded and libidoed staff over there at Focus on the Family—and what an obstacle course that must be. Timber must sprout every time someone puts up one of those posters of a cat hanging off a long, stiff branch; it must feel like running the high hurdles just to get around the office.

Saturday, Jan. 22 Most experts believe that 10 percent of the population—that would be the non-animated population—is gay. This is significant since a CNN online poll asks, “SpongeBob Squarepants is . . .” Ten percent answer that the little guy is “promoting homosexuality.” Hmmmmm. Hard to tell if those answering thusly are homosexuals copping to the charge or closeted-Christian types who just found the poll after switching over from some furries-love site. Interestingly enough, the most popular answer—with 73 percent—is that SpongeBob is “absorbent, yellow and porous,” which is also the top vote getter when CNN asks, “George W. Bush is . . .”

Sunday, Jan. 23 Johnny Carson dies. I first hear the news while driving in my car with my son. He notes how stunned I look, and I tell him that Johnny Carson was a big part of my growing up. “Was he popular?” my son asks. “He wasn't popular; he was Johnny Carson.” And I go on to explain that everyone watched Johnny Carson at a time when there were only seven VHF channels, some of which went off the air at 11 p.m. “Oh,” he says. “That's sad.” “About Johnny?” “No, that TV went off at 11.”

Monday, Jan. 24 Dianne Feinstein announces she'll be running for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2006. Republicans, who have been running increasingly lame opponents against Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (most recently the intellectually and visually absent Bill Jones), consider their options, which at this point come down to a cardboard cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger they would market as his half-brother, “Biff.”

Tuesday, Jan. 25 A chemical odor forces the evacuation of the kitchen at the exclusive Balboa Bay Clubthis morning. While the cause of the odor is a mystery, many believe it may have been caused by an accumulation of avarice over the years. Others think club members' penchant for pearl-dust omelets may have something to do with it. Either way, about 25 kitchen staff are evacuated; seven of them are taken to Hoag Memorial Hospital, where they are treated and docked a day's pay. A Santa Ana Fire Department hazardous-materials team is sent to the scene, though it isn't clear whether they are admitted into the club because, you know, nothing against hazardous-material teams, some of the best people we know are people who are friends with people from hazardous-material teams, it's just that, you know, chances are hazardous-materials teams would be happier hanging out with other hazardous-material teams, you know, in Santa Ana.


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