Diary of a Mad County

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey says we Orange Countians spend more on cars, homes, clothes and grooming than the rest of the country but less on books, booze and cigarettes. Because it's better to look good than to feel no pain. The study, which tracks annual household expenditures, lumps us in with Los Angelenosand Riversiders for regional comparison purposes, and Team SoCal devotes 37 percent of its annual income to housing, which is more than San Diegans and whining San Franciscans and one-third higher than the national average. We also spend more to keep our cars on the road than everyone else but less on getting around in general—seeing as how there's scant public transportation. We burn $204 on tobacco products, which is $105 less than the national average, and our $337 alcohol tab is also lower than the rest of the country. Meanwhile, those lushes in nippy Frisco drop $771 every year on hooch.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 Recent Weekly cover boy Ronald Reagan turns 91—and he don't even know it! The special day brings to mind a joke we heard just weeks before Reagan became the 40th president: What's hot, flat and glows in the dark? Iran—after Ronald Reagan gets elected! You see, kiddies, there was this Iranian hostage situation going down at the time, and everyone figured Raygun would get in there and nuke the bastards back to whichever century comes before the one they're stuck in. Little did we know the Gipper was secretly negotiating with those same bastards, persuading the terrorists to delay the release of our countrymen until after the 1980 presidential election. Yep, give that man another monument! THURSDAY, Feb. 7 A 20-year-old student with “Liberty or death” scrawled on his bare chest tries to burn an upside-down American flag in the Fullerton College quad, but a crowd of students stops him before half a dozen cops in riot gear break up the demonstration and whisk El Flamoto safety. Rumors spread through campus and into the mainstream press that music student Parham Khoshbakht supports the Taliban, but it turns out he was protesting campus police who stopped his outdoor guitar strumming and singing. For the record, Khoshbakht believes George Dubya Bush and Osama bin Laden are both murderers. The lad was not charged with a crime—seeing as how he was exercising his constitutional right to free speech—and campus officials say he could have continued with his protest had he simply filled out the right form. Wonder if that form has a box to check off if you'll be torching Old Glory. FRIDAY, Feb. 8 Your favorite time consumer flips on the telly to catch the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, and it becomes immediately clear that there was no reason to fuss over the inclusion of the tattered American flag that was recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center. Not when there are so many other off-putting, overly patriotic, maudlin gestures ripe for pissing off the rest of the world. From the opening visual montage of Sept. 11 scenes from New York City layered over Utah's snowy peaks to anyone with an arm in the stands waving little American flags, from the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing the national anthem to a New York City cop belting out “God Bless America,” we force our pain on everyone. Like the Bush foreign policy, you're either with us or against us. Foreign reporters had to ask American journalists in the press box why the 1980 U.S. hockey team was lighting the Olympic torch. You mean everyone on the planet does not share our shining athletic moments? Meanwhile, there were reports of hypersensitive Olympic security guards roughing up foreign athletes. Ah, the glory of Olympic competition. SATURDAY, Feb. 9 In Orange County, the stars come out at night! God, did we really just write that? Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson visit the Laguna Art Museum as the featured guests of “Art for AIDS: A Tribute to Rock Hudson,” a fund-raiser for the museum and the AIDS Services Foundation of Laguna Beach. They arrive late. Liz is in a pants suit adorned with jewels. Or is that Jacko's glove? They stay in a little room away from the riffraff for a half-hour. Then they leave. Some who paid $125 to mingle with the pair are mighty pissed. Imagine how those who paid $2,500 to dine with them earlier in the evening and reportedly endured the same treatment felt. But it was for a good cause, right? SUNDAY, Feb. 10 Like everyone else, we shop for Valentine's Day at the last minute. Unlike everyone else, we don't go to shops, teleflorists or the Internet. We instead rifle through a moldy stack of press releases. Mike Berenson, address unknown, claims that while on a date nearly 30 years ago, he discovered “Magical Kissing,” a kiss so intense it transports kissers “to a dimension of deep sensuality.” Berenson, who boasts of having refined the kissing technique with more than 200 women over two decades, says he can now tap into that “pure passion” at will. And he'll teach it to you—if you call his pay telephone line, (888) 783-4523. We decline, repulsed at the thought of sticking our tongue into the phone's mouthpiece. So for our honey's gift, it's snow tires again.

Illustration by Bob Aul MONDAY, Feb. 11 Someone who has caught the Weekly's continued coverage of the homophobic exploits of ex-Congressman Bob “B-1 Bootlicker” Dornan and hate-filled preacher Lou Sheldon sends us a synopsis of a study that appeared in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. It found that the fear, anxiety, anger, discomfort and aversion that some ostensibly heterosexual people feel for gay individuals is the result of repressed homosexual urges that the person is either unaware of or denies. Researchers at the University of Georgiacame to this conclusion by showing gay and lesbo porn to 35 homophobic men and 29 nonhomophobic men. The homophobes got erections while watching the hot man-on-man action; the nons got none. We'd be happy to host a screening for OC's most notorious homophobes, but we'll be damned if we're checking them for boners.

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