Diary of a mad county

JANUARY The realfirst day of the millennium came and went without a hitch. Did anyone really think something bad, evil, deadly, horrific and life-as-we-know-it-altering would ever happen to us? . . . Patti Dalby and ex-boyfriend C. Brooks Brann entered a Newport Beach courtroom to fight for custody of a 125-pound, black-and-tan rottweiler named Guinness. It's times like this we'd like to wipe with the jury-duty notice we get in the mail. . . . Orange County's pro-airport Supervisors Chuck Smith, Jim Silva and Cynthia Coad approved a monster $1.5 million plan to push the Navy and Federal Aviation Administration into handing over El Toro, allowing commercial flights to begin immediately. We're still waiting. . . . Dozens emerged from OC's underground Laseriums and flicked their Bic lighters to honor the 55th birthday of Syd Barrett, the reclusive Pink Floyd founder who quit the band in an LSD haze just before they hit it big at the end of the '60s. . . . Employees peeped through a hole at a Burger King restaurant in Anaheim and watched a Chino Hills woman and her nine-year-old daughter go wee-wee, according to a lawsuit that went to trial in Orange County Superior Court–where the jury would later toss it out like a Whopper wrapper. . . . John G. Schmitz, the ultraconservative firebrand and former Orange County lawmaker, died at age 70. His career highlights included membership in the John Birch Society; loss of the presidency by a mere 44 million votes as the 1972 American Independent Party nominee; his 1982 press release titled “Senator Schmitz and His Committee Survive 'Attack of the Bulldykes'”; that release's description of feminist attorney Gloria Allred as “a slick, butch lawyeress”; his apology to Allred to settle a $10 million defamation suit; his announcement of his 1982 candidacy for the U.S. Senate with Yasser Arafat at his side; revelations that the staunch critic of declining American morals and father of six also had two more kids with a mistress; and revelations that his then-35-year-old daughter Mary Kay LeTourneau, a Seattle schoolteacher, had sex–and later two babies–with a 13-year-old boy. All in all, a wonderful life! . . . George L. Argyros Jr., the son of the billionaire Orange County Republican Party sugar daddy, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for allegedly harassing a former girlfriend. He'd been charged with violating a court order, making a terrorist threat and making harassing telephone calls. And he's still not as terrifying as dear old Dad. . . . Approximately 200 janitors okayed the county's first-ever union contract after an organizing campaign that lasted less than a year. The three-year contract provided a wage increase, vacation time, sick leave and health insurance to roughly 3,000 janitors and was hailed as the strongest initial contract ever won by the union. . . . Chicano icon Bert Corona, 82, died in Los Angeles. More than 2,000 people came together in Los Angeles to pay tribute to the father of the Chicano movement. “Today, in many ways, was a reunion of four generations of political activists that he influenced in forming over seven decades of his political activity,” said Nativo Lopez of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional in Santa Ana. . . . Irvine family heiress Joan Irvine Smith made a rare public appearance at Crystal Cove State Park to say she supports an environmental coalition's efforts to stop the Irvine Co.'s private-resort development there. It marked the beginning of the end for the project. . . . Prodded by a group of UC Irvine medical students opposed to such investments, a University of California Board of Regents committee voted unanimously to remove securities in tobacco companies from its investment index portfolio, saying it would be “socially irresponsible” to invest UC money in tobacco companies. . . . Anaheim Union High School District board president Katherine Smith told a standing-room-only audience that what her low-performing high schools need to turn things around is old-fashioned etiquette! But a string of speakers denounced Smith's Stand In Respect program, and it was shelved. . . . After 13 years as a Huntington Beach police officer, Fountain Valley City Councilman Chuck Conlosh resigned from the force and checked into a hospital psychiatric ward. Most relieved were the two-termer's council colleagues, who didn't appreciate Conlosh keeping his police-issue 9mm semi-automatic handgun on the council dais. . . . The feds launched an investigation into the toy rifles on Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island following a freak accident that cost a 6-year-old North Hollywood girl most of her left index finger. It would be callous of us to say this is another example of Mickey getting the finger, so we won't. . . . White supremacist gangbanger Jeffrey Stuart Martin of Yorba Linda was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for a 1996 hate-crime stabbing of a black Buena Park teen. . . . The Anaheim City Council shot down a proposal by hatemongers that would have given police the power to arrest immigrants for being in the United States without documentation. . . . “Las Vegas has become Orange County with casinos,” says D. Taylor, an official with the union that represents bartenders, busmen, cooks and maids, in a New York Times story about Sin City's growing pains. Hey, maybe they'd take the Mighty Ducks. . . . A Camp Pendleton Marine Corps officer, who allegedly plotted to steal an armored car shipment of $2.7 million, was arrested on his way to John Wayne Airport to catch a flight to Brazil. The FBI said First Lieutenant Matthew Tenney, 24, had told the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles that the cash was for troops about to be deployed overseas (eight months too soon there, jarhead). . . . As he was being sentenced to five years in federal prison for extortion and money laundering, disgraced former Santa Ana City Councilman Ted Moreno told the court that he sought money from an FBI informant to save the city from moral decay brought on by the downtown arts district, a magnet for gays and lesbians. “I just know the gay lifestyle is a sin and offensive to God,” barfed Moreno, who obviously doesn't think God has a problem with extortion and money laundering.


FEBRUARY Eric Bechler, 33, of Newport Beach, was found guilty of bludgeoning his wife with a dumbbell and dumping her weighted body over the side of a speedboat into the ocean. Authorities never found Pegye Bechler's body, but her hubby had bragged about the dirty deed in an attempt to get into a bikini model's bottoms. . . . The Orange County district attorney's office officially filed–and then 30 minutes later suspiciously withdrew–a massive consumer-fraud lawsuit against a company owned by powerful, Newport Beach real-estate developer George Leon Argyros despite his prosecutors having found “thousands of incidents” in which Arnel overcharged tenants for repairs, shortchanged them on deposit refunds or simply billed them for fictitious expenses. The Orange County Register's Bill Rams and Andrew Bluth would break the story that DA Tony Rackauckas personally squashed the consumer-fraud case against his political crony. . . . What the hell? Beach weather? In February? Thank you, global warming! . . . Amid near-deafening hype, Disney's California Adventure opened and proved to be dinky, to reinforce pass California stereotypes, and to seldom thrill beyond anything at lesser amusement parks. . . . One February morning, an Orange County judge ordered a 32-year-old accountant being held in Santa Ana Jail on counterfeiting charges moved to another cell because of threats from his 270-pound cellmate, who sported tattoos of swastikas and the word “Hitler.” That night, the big ol' hunk of Nazi caught wind of the judge's order and made the numbers man pay–in the worst way–by beating and raping him. Jailers finally moved the accountant inmate with the sudden limp the next morning and then issued a memo to guards that essentially said, “Oopsie!” The Nazi was not punished, unless you count losing your prom date as punishment. . . . For Valentine's Day, Bonnie Seale decorated her husband's grave at Westminster Memorial Park with bunches of fresh-cut flowers and Valentine's balloons. The cemetery has a policy of removing flowers on graves each Wednesday–and what Seale calls “Honey Day” fell on a Wednesday. Despite Seale's buckets of tears, groundskeepers trashed her touching memorial. . . . Like we needed more evidence that Gray Davis is evil, Da Gov seized $30 million from community and park projects–including several in Orange County–to pay for bonusesfor power generators that open new (and pollutin') plants in time for the summer heat wave. . . . Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and Fucking, which centers on graphic gay sex, heroin addiction, snuff films, Chekhov monologues in the nude, statutory rape, drug dealing, phone sex, masturbation and petty crime, opened at the Santa Ana Arts Village's Empire Theater. Dave Barton, the play's director, was so moved by Ted Moreno's homophobic rant against the downtown arts district that he dedicated the production to the “ex-councilman/soon-to-be jailbird.” . . . Although Huntington Beach doesn't have a rent-control law, an initiative was officially put on the March 2002 ballot that would ban rent control at mobile-home parks, apartments and single-family homes. Why? Because mobile-home park residents are complaining about steadily jacked-up rents. . . . Placentia Police Chief Russ Rice ordered that his department–the only one in Orange County to use the letter “N” to designate race for blacks on traffic tickets–change its policy and now use a “B” like everyone else. . . . A brown pelican was found dead by workers at the San Onofre nuclear-power plant on the same day a coalition of environmental groups released “Licensed to Kill,” a study that shows the nuclear industry and federal regulators are allowing endangered aquatic animals and birds to perish rather than safeguarding them. . . . Fountain Valley City Councilman Chuck Conlosh–the guy who resigned from the Huntington Beach police force and spooked his council colleagues by keeping his police-issue sidearm on the council dais–lost his City Council seat after missing without permission several meetings during a 60-day period. . . . The Santa Margarita Water District waited 16 hours before notifying county health officials of a spill that flushed 42,000 gallons of raw sewage–not Christmas margaritas, as the district's name falsely implies–onto Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. County health officials say they need to know immediately about spills so warnings can be posted for swimmers. . . . Judy Simons pleaded not guilty–on behalf of herself and husband Ron Simons–to a misdemeanor of creating a public nuisance. The couple's alleged crime? Feeding ducks in Villa Park, where convictions on such infractions bring an automatic death penalty. . . . Dozens emerged from OC's underground Laseriums flicking their Bic lighters to honor the 34th anniversary of Pink Floyd recording their first single, “Arnold Layne,” in London.

MARCH The Mighty Ducks' prolific scoring duo was broken up when Teemu Selanne, the NHL's leading goal-scorer two seasons prior, was traded to San Jose. Selanne and Paul Kariya had been expected to bring Anaheim the Stanley Cup, but in five years together, they never came close. . . . The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, which regulates South County waterways, ordered six cities–Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo–to find the sources of the pollution and stop them from entering bacteria-infested Aliso Creek, which must be rendered safe enough for swimming. . . . Asked at the Fullerton Downtown Business Association meeting what is happening with the historic but disintegrating Fox Theater, Mayor Richard Jones replied, “Nothing, unless you people start a fire and burn it down.” Nodding at the city's fire chief, Jones added, “And you better have a flat tire on the way there. We need to start over from scratch.” Imagine that: the city's top elected official advocating arson. . . . The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reached a settlement with the book-banning Anaheim Union High School District that sounded more like a major civil-rights victory. Prompted by a teacher's remark to a librarian chastising books about gay achievers, the settlement dictates that any books about gays that are removed must be replaced with other books about noteworthy gays; no books can be unilaterally banned; any challenge of a book must be made in writing and include proof the complainant actually read the work in question; and the district has to formally encourage librarians to make their collections as diverse as their student populations when it comes to race, religion and sexual orientation. . . . Eric Bechler was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the dumbbell death of his wife, Pegye Bechler. . . . A Tustin substitute teacher accused of taping shut the mouth of a first-grade girl was fired. We do not condone such behavior, but having helped out at a local school, we understand. . . . According to a survey released by Baldassare Associates–the firm responsible for regional studies commissioned by UC Irvine and Orange County's daily newspapers–California voters are acutely aware of disparities in the availability of quality health care for lower-income and nonwhite children and families. They're unwilling to do anything about it, but they are aware. . . . Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) introduced a bill that would allow about 40,000 American prisoners of war to sue Japanese companies that used them as forced labor during World War II. Previously, he sponsored a bill demanding the Japanese government formally issue a “clear and unambiguous apology for the atrocious war crimes committed by the Japanese military during World War II”; riled up Asian-rights groups when he misused their concerns about college-enrollment limits on Asian-Americans as ammo for his bill to kill programs that enabled other minorities to go to college; went on network television to bash the Japanese just as then-President George Bush the Elder was about to carry out a program launched by Rohrabacher's old boss, Ronald Reagan, to build jet fighters with America's Far East ally; and voted against a bill–which passed overwhelmingly–to pay $20,000 each to Japanese-Americans who were held in U.S. internment camps during World War II. Does Dana have a bug up his ass or what? . . . Speaking of insects and orifices, the Reverend Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Anaheim-based hate group the Traditional Values Coalition, sent us this blathering: “President Bush Must Restore Ban on Gays in Military.” Why? Because gays have sex with as many as 1,000 partners each, and they'll spread AIDS and venereal diseases to the rest of the troops! Yeah, because two things our pre-“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” military always avoided were multiple sex partners and sexually transmitted diseases. . . . Some folks apparently didn't like our gift of compact mirrors at a Weekly-sponsored screening of the drug-dealer biopic Blow at the Block at Orange. One concerned mother characterized the schwag as “drug paraphernalia”! Come now, did you see them? They were soooo dinky. It'd take a helluva lot of tiny lines on a mirror that size to get us off. Or so we've heard from those, uh, coke-user people. . . . Speaking of the sniffles, a letter in our mailbox from an allergist advised us to march right down to our doctor's office and demand that our kids be prescribed Flonase, “the No. 1 prescribed brand of nasal allergy spray.” Sure, the rugrats may suffer such “mild side effects” as headaches, nosebleeds and sore throats, but they won't be sneezing and blowing their noses! And to get them psyched for Flonase, we'd be sent the free book, Go Blow Your Nose, Robert! We instead got suppositories so we could see what children's book comes with that. APRIL Facing Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), co-chairman of the Congressional Scouting Caucus and himself an Eagle Scout, defended the Boy Scouts' exclusion of “avowed homosexuals.” “An adult male who is attracted to other males should not be out camping, as they–as their adult supervisor, going into the pup tents, sleeping overnight with them, washing off with them to–to teenage boys,” Rohrabacher, uh, explained. Stahl countered that the Scouts do not allow any adult to camp with children unless there is another adult present, forbid adults from sleeping in the same tents with kids, and certainly don't permit communal showering. She also pointed to FBI studies that show homosexuals are no more likely to molest boys than heterosexuals and that the largest database of child molesters in the U.S. shows that those who prey on boys are three times more likely to be heterosexual in their adult relationships than homosexual. Rohrabacher's witty comeback: “I've been in the Scouts.” That apparently wasn't an admission. . . . Making his debut as the Anaheim Angels' new designated hitter in the season opener, Glenallen Hill came up to bat in the ninth inning with bases loaded and the team trailing by a run to the Texas Rangers in Arlington. In what would pretty much typify his brief Angels career and the hapless Halos' season, Hill grounded into a double play. Bengie Molina followed with a first-pitch grounder back to the mound. Angels lost, 3-2. . . . Orange County water and wastewater officials approved a plan to clean sewage, pump it underground and draw it up later so we can guzzle it down–then we expel it, have it cleaned up again, pumped back underground, and, well, you get the idea. . . . Trojan Brand Latex Condoms sent us word about the impending release of willie wrappers to accommodate one-pump chumps and dudes swinging Louisville Sluggers between their legs. While we couldn't be happier about this revolutionary product development, it did make us wonder what kind of courage it'll take for a guy to plop a packet of the climax-controlling Trojan Extended Pleasure condoms on the drugstore counter. And Trojan Magnum XL Extra Large? Could they possibly have packed any more big-dick descriptions into that name? . . . Bad news for Trojan. The long-dong market is, ahem, shrinking, according to the competing Lifestyles Condom Co. The average penis size, Lifestyles reports, is 5.877 inches–much smaller than the 6.2 to 6.4 inches cited in the groundbreaking Kinsey sex report of the 1940s. So that's how Bogey got the chicks! . . . Orange County district attorney's office stormtroopers seized computer equipment and a buttload of documents related to the ongoing conflict-of-interest investigation of Huntington Beach City Councilman Dave Garofalo. Ironically, Garofalo was ushered into the mayor's office in 1999 with District Attorney Tony Rackauckas at his side. . . . A day after a federal judge blocked an entertainment company's bid to televise Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's execution, Rich Agozino (controversial host of Crosstalk on the Costa Mesa-based “contemporary Christian” KBRT-AM) and his callers were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the judge's ruling. They agreed that God wants the execution televised for a national or international audience, and he wants a 40 share–or there'll be hell to pay! . . . It isn't every day that a multimillionaire Republican fund-raiser whose property-management company is under investigation for habitually swindling thousands of poor and largely immigrant tenants gets nominated for a big ambassadorship. But that's exactly what happened to local real-estate tycoon George Argyros, whom George W. Bush formally nominated as his ambassador to Spain and Andorra. MAY About 125 members of the radical Southern Kalifornia Anarchist Alliance, or Black Bloc, staged an angry May Day protest in downtown Long Beach. But they soon found themselves surrounded by 300 cops who–without warning, witnesses say–struck protesters with riot batons, lined them up against the wall and shot at least 20 with rubber bullets. There were 95 arrests. . . . Among those pushing George Dubya Bush to develop National Missile Defense is former Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, who told the Washington Post he began advising Congress and the Pentagon on ballistic missile defense after “I wrote a paper a long time ago and gave it to a friend, Dana Rohrabacher.” What's next, Dana: Sammy “I Can't Drive 55” Hagar advising Transportation on highway safety? . . . You'll recall the holy hell raised in the summer of 2000 when Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) scheduled an Al Gore fund-raiser at Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion. To Sanchez's credit, she's still poking fun at “Bunnygate,” showing up at a Washington, D.C., fund-raiser dressed as a bunny–not a Playboy bunny but an Easter bunny, complete with big ears and an oversized head. . . . The cameras started rolling on Orange County, an MTV Films production named after this Orange County and not Florida's or Texas' or New Jersey's. Starring Colin Hanks(Tom's son), Jack Black and John Lithgow, it's the story of a high school senior with a sterling academic record trying to get into Stanford University after his guidance counselor accidentally submits the transcript of a complete loser. Someone's got us so pegged. . . . It's curtains for the Edwards family's control of the largest Orange County-based theater chain, which was swallowed up by Denver's Anschutz Corp. for an estimated $300 million–and all the Goobers and Raisinettes the Edwards can shove down their pie holes. . . . Lefty extraordinaire Tom Hayden pulled a Loretta Sanchez when he canceled–amid vehement criticism–a Los Angeles City Council campaign fund-raiser he'd scheduled at the offices of Larry Flynt's Hustler magazine. Not to be outdone by Sanchez's bunny outfit, Hayden reportedly shopped for a beaver costume. . . . Despite a protest by nearly 20 high schoolers gathered nearby, Tony Barnes' agriculture class at Carbon Canyon Christian School, located in the rural outskirts of Brea, watched a 1,000-pound steer named T-Bone get slaughtered as part of a lesson plan. . . . To promote its Gay Pride performance at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, the South Coast Chorale capitalized on all the ruckus over a study that purported gays can be straightened out. “Gays Show They Can't Turn Straight” was the chorale's headline over its announcement for the Steven Landau musical based on the coming-out stories of 23 lesbians and gays, Out! . . . Eighty percent of the U.S. shoreline is eroding, San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation concluded in its second annual State of the Beach report. California got high marks for beach access, number of surf spots, and the amount and availability of water-quality testing data. “Unfortunately, the coast is plagued with water-quality problems and a rapid increase in shoreline armoring that threatens the beach experience in the state,” the report states. . . . The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) damned Governor Gray Davis for issuing an executive order allowing diesel-powered generators to be used in the event of electrical blackouts. CALPIRG apparently has a problem with diesel fumes causing death. The pussies. JUNE Mega-developer George Argyros was added to the civil lawsuit that alleges his Arnel Management Co. discriminated against minority tenants and withheld their security deposits. If the allegations are true, one could easily connect the dots between ill-gotten gains and contributions over the years the ambassador-to-Spain designee has made to Chapman University; Newport Beach society shindigs; the relentless pursuit of a 24-hour, noise- and-pollution-spewing international airport in South County; the Republican Party's soft-money war chest; and individual GOP politicians from dogcatcher on up to the dunderhead who nominated him ambassador to Spain. . . . Before heading off to face angry Europeans, George Dubya Bush “fast-tracked” a report on whether global warming really exists. If Bush understood it, he probably did not like the answer: his “blue-ribbon,” 11-member scientific panel–which included UC Irvine professor and Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist F. Sherwood Rowland and his boss, the panel's director, UCI chancellor Ralph Cicerone–declared global warming a real problem that's getting worse. . . . Just days after it was revealed that the U.S. government withheld data on the cancer-fighting powers of marijuana, a study appeared in a scientific journal purporting that pot users may be able to smoke and eat all they want without gaining weight. Think about it: How many heavyset potheads do you know? Okay, besides that Deadhead behind the counter at the corner record store. . . . At the Southern Baptist Convention and Jug-Blowin' Hoedown in New Orleans, Wiley Drake, pastor at First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, made a motion to ask George Dubya Bush to declare June Heterosexual Family Pride Month, instead of Gay Pride Month as Bill Clinton did. It quickly died on the floor as the Southern Baptists tried this year to come off as more inclusive and less controversial. . . . Representative Christopher Cox(R-Newport Beach) rose on the floor of the House to commemorate Irrelevant Week, the annual deal in which rich white guys in Newport Beach throw a weeklong booze fest for the player picked last in the NFL draft. What better politician to carry the water for irrelevance: over the past dozen years, Cox has been denied anointments, uh, appointments, as U.S. senator (three times), speaker of the House (twice), vice president (twice), CIA director and, most recently, federal judge. . . . The season for the Anaheim Angels, who trail the league-leading Seattle Mariners by 19 games, is over. Unfortunately, they still have 95 games to play. . . . The Walt Disney Co. settled for an undisclosed sum a lawsuit filed by a Texas woman who claimed she suffered brain damage after riding the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. Deborah Bynum, 46, says she developed an aneurysm and severe brain bleeding as a result of the herky-jerky Jeep ride that's themed after the popular Indiana Jones movies. . . . Dick Nixon's daughter Julie “Not the Hot One” Nixon Eisenhower, in an interview with walking cadaver Larry King, said she wanted her dead dad's dead dog Checkers exhumed from a Long Island pet cemetery and moved near the former first couple's crypts at the Richard Nixon Library, Birthplace & Deathplace in Yorba Linda. In a related story, the Nixon Library is desperately trying to locate Pat Nixon's old cloth coat, which was last seen being peed on by a homeless guy in Buffalo. . . . Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Irvine, Orange and Santa Ana are now “Boomburbs”–cities with more than 100,000 residents that are not the largest cities in their metropolitan areas but have maintained double-digit population growth in recent decades–according to a study released by the Fannie Mae Foundation. The OC six are among 53 Boomburbs across the U.S., but before they celebrate, they should know that panhandling, muggings, clogged traffic, outrageous parking fees and homeless guys peeing on old cloth coats will likely increase. . . . Three adults were arrested after a brawl erupted at an AYSO soccer game between teams of 14-year-olds in San Juan Capistrano. After the customary end-of-game handshakes, an assistant coach for the Chino Hills Chiefs allegedly picked a fight with a player on the Palmdale Eagles. Sheriff's deputies arrived to find a 150-person melee in the middle of the field. . . . White Aryan Resistance supremacist Tom Metzger was a special guest at the White Power fest at the Shack of Anaheim. A review of the show on a racist website ended with the ominous promise “Everyone in attendance seemed to understand how important it is for us to be able to leave behind our confrontational mindsets once in a while for us to come together with our people and celebrate the continuing success and growth of the White Racialist Movement. We look forward to the next show in OC.” . . . Junipero Serra High School, a private Catholic campus set to open in San Juan Capistrano in 2002, decided to drop its team name. It turns out that having a bunch of Catholics calling themselves “the Crusaders” offends Muslims, who were targets of the bloody crusades of the Middle Ages. George Dubya Bush apparently didn't catch this item. . . . Three conservative Orange Unified School District board members lost their seats by such slim margins that you should expect to see them hovering around a while longer. The recalled right-wingers garnered plenty of support from Orange County GOP chairman Tom Fuentes, the Newport Beach-based Lincoln Club, county Treasurer John Moorlach, Home Savings and Loan heir Howard Ahmanson Jr. and fundamentalist Christian groups nationwide. . . . Dozens emerged from OC's underground laseriums and flicked their Bic lighters to honor the 33rd anniversary of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and T. Rex playing Hyde Park's first free rock festival. . . . We laughed so hard we peed ourselves while reading The Orange County Register's editorial page. One editorial (“Rosy Forecast for Economy in OC”) said Orange County's economy “will benefit from a boom in aeronautic defense spending.” The next one concluded, “Orange County's congressional members should vote for no increase in the Defense budget.” JULY Fireworks of assorted size and legality were being fired in all directions of west Costa Mesa just after nightfall on the Fourth of July, so we sought cover in a ritzier Mesa Verde neighborhood. We headed to Santa Ana, one of the few other OC cities that allows fireworks sales. An endless barrage of what sounded like automatic-weapon fire startled us. Wait a minute–that's any night in Santa Ana! By about 11 p.m., the mortar rounds stopped, and spent arsenals littered streets all over OC. . . . No worries about spent arsenals littering streets all over OC: rain fell the next morning and washed all those harmful chemical residues from sparklers, fountains and firecrackers into the storm drains. That means our coastal sea life feasted on them. Mmmm, tainted mussels! . . . A federal judge ruled that authorities can destroy nine tons of squid and most of 13 tons of cocaine being preserved as evidence in a San Diego drug trial. The Coast Guard seized the drugs and mollusks aboard a Belize-flagged fishing boat in April. That pretty much sinks our plans for Cap'n Coker's Crack and Calamari Grotto. . . . Residents of those weathered old cottages at Crystal Cove were evicted–and expected us to get all teary-eyed over it. Don't. Why was it okay for taxpayers to subsidize their exclusive beach lifestyles for so long? They should have been cleared out like cockroaches years ago. . . . Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to experience nightmares when they dream, according to findings released at the 18th annual International Conference of the Association for the Study of Dreams in Santa Cruz. Hell, if we had to kiss Nancy Reagan, Phyllis Schlafly or Gloria Matta Tuchman good night, we'd have nightmares, too. . . . The best acceptance speech at the Webby Awards–billed as “the Oscars for the Internet”–was given by Steve Hawk of San Juan Capistrano-based Swell.com. Speeches were strictly limited to five words, so after Hawk walked up to accept the sports-category award from Sam Donaldson of ABC News, he remarked, “Sam Donaldson, dude, gnarly toupee.” . . . Results of the state's September 2000 beach cleanup were released, and the 67,512 pounds of trash picked up in OC made our beaches the second dirtiest in Southern California. Which means we just aren't trying hard enough to overtake LA County. Give a hoot, people! . . . Truong Van Tran, who was vilified by angry protesters for weeks in 1999 after he hung a Ho Chi Minh poster and Vietnamese flag in his Little Saigon video store, surrendered to authorities to serve a 90-day sentence for video piracy. It's common knowledge in Little Saigon that many other stores sell pirated videos and that none of them has been cited, so one might argue that Tran is really a political prisoner–one with bizarre commie/capitalist leanings. . . . George Dubya Bush nominated former Orange County Supervisor Guadalupe “Gaddi” Vasquez as director of the Peace Corps–even though Vasquez has no foreign-service experience, has no experience running a large government agency, and, oh, yeah, helped lead Orange County into its $1.7 billion bankruptcy in 1994, the largest municipal calamity in modern financial history. But Vasquez did have experience in giving the GOP $100,000 in the presidential election cycle. . . . A posting on supremacist Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance website said neo-Nazis planning to attend a concert at the Shack of Anaheim should be wary: “Public gatherings are risky both physically and the fact that all such events are infiltrated heavily by Jew law enforcement both local and federal.” AUGUSTThe Original Pancake House of Laguna Hills made the big time: this month's issue of Consumer Reports. But the write-up wasn't about the restaurant's fluffy flapjacks. The mag's “Selling It” page needled the joint for a flier that said, “Bring Mom in for Mother's Day” and advertised half-price specials–which the small print says were “Not valid on Mother's Day.” . . . Edwards Theatre Circuit Inc. ended the five-year run of IMAX in Orange County, closing the curtain on its large screen at the Irvine Spectrum amid hot-buttered bankruptcy proceedings. . . . Only 29 percent of Orange County residents could afford a median-priced home here in June, according to the California Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, one-fifth of California homeowners spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The census also found that over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of newcomers poured into densely populated neighborhoods in north and central Orange County, where few new homes were built. But new homes popped up like weeds in formerly sparse areas of Irvine, South County, east Orange and Newport Coast. . . . Newport Beach Mayor Gary Adams urged county supervisors to keep Newport Beach and Newport Coast in the same supervisorial district. Adams called it unfair that a redistricting plan tentatively approved by the Board of Shtups would give Newport Beach and unincorporated Newport Coast–which the city covets–different supervisors. Poor baby! Where was he all those years white supervisors were carving the city of Santa Ana up like a Thanksgiving tamale to dilute brown power? . . . The Boston Globe carried an editorial blasting George Dubya Bush's nomination of former Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez to head the U.S. Peace Corps. “The public has learned to shrug off the practice of both Democratic and Republican presidents who reward generous campaign contributors with plum ambassadorships from Dublin to Rome,” stated the Globe. “But a line should be drawn at handing out the top posts of important government agencies this way, especially when the nominee's public-service experience was to help bankrupt his county.” Ouch! . . . The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) sent 4,000 letters to South County residents along the 5 freeway, warning them that their houses will have to be torn down for freeway widening if the Foothill South toll road is not extended. Of course, the state transportation department–Caltrans–is responsible for widening freeways, not the shadowy, sorta public, mostly private TCA. No, the TCA's just there to spook folks into accepting their financially and ecologically devastating roads to nowhere. . . . Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)–the right-wing group that has never met a personal-injury lawyer it likes–put out a press release listing the most frivolous lawsuit of the month: a suit brought by a couple against the Kellogg Co. and Black & Decker because a cherry Kellogg Pop-Tart caught fire in their Black & Decker pop-up toaster, igniting a blaze that caused $100,000 damage to their home in Washington Township, Pennsylvania. . . . According to a Philadelphia Inquirer investigation, flaming Pop-Tarts have been listed as the origin of more than a dozen fires over the past decade in kitchens from Canada to California, and some of those blazes caused injury and extensive damage. Of course, if a CALA member lost a home and a limb in such a fire, we are sure he or she would never think of suing. . . . An e-mail sent out by Blood & Honour and the Costa Mesa chapter of Women for Aryan Unity claimed the Shack of Anaheim would host supremacist bands Youngblood, Hate Crime and Warfare88; that the show would raise money for a compilation CD featuring like-minded pro-Nazi groups; and that new white recruits were expected. But the e-mail fell into the hands of anti-racist groups who promised vehement protests, and the show was canceled. . . . Speaking of canceled shows, the Monkees were forced to bow out of their gig at the Sun Theatre in Anaheim due to the illness of drummer Micky Dolenz. The Monkees are a 1960s pop band that was manufactured for television–just like the controversy swirling around Congressman Gary Condit (D-Modesto). . . . Police investigated a report that Dennis Rodman doused patrons with a fire extinguisher at the Hooters restaurant in Newport Beach. Rodman, ever the gallant hero, had apparently been told chicks with smoking bodies were there. . . . The Placentia-Yorba Linda School District banned Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest from its high school core reading list. Superintendent Dennis Smith said the counterculture classic was removed because district policy forbids books that haven't been approved by the state, but an Education Department official later countered that is so much bullshit because the state does recommend the novel for high school use. . . . An Orange County judge ordered prosecutors to give law-enforcement records to Dennis Rodman's attorney, who claims police are singling out his client–like he's Gary Conditor something! SEPTEMBERAnother beautiful Sunday in Orange County! The day before Labor Day, neo-Nazis set up band equipment and literature tables for another Sunday show of racist rock and recruitment at the Shack. Outside, reporters, placard-waving demonstrators and a stream of Nazis mingled at the club's entrance in north Anaheim. . . . UC Irvine again tied for 10th place among the nation's best public universities in U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of America's leading institutions of higher learning. . . . UCI also earned a spot on the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of politically correct classes compiled by the conservative educational group Young America Foundation (YAF). UCI got the nod for “Sexism and Power,” which YAF accuses of teaching “feminist propaganda” and asserting that “males and females are objects constructed in powered language dominated and controlled by males to their positional and distributional advantage.” Don't know what that means, but it makes us hot. . . . Santa Ana police officers raided Orange County medical-marijuana activist Marvin Chavez's home and confiscated 46 live marijuana plants and “numerous” dried plants. It was the third time in as many years that Chavez had found himself playing a reluctant host to cops in his home–and the latest proof that Orange County law-enforcement authorities refuse to comply with California's overwhelmingly supported medical-marijuana law. . . . Orange County Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Didier ordered the immediate release of George Lopez, the Garden Grove teen who spent two years in prison for an armed robbery another man has since confessed to committing. It was the latest in a string of overturned convictions of cases prosecuted by the OC district attorney's office. . . . SEPT. 11: IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, AND BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS FEEL FINE. . . . Orange County marked its first hate crime since the terrorist attacks when Jason Fulkerson, 31, of Fullerton, allegedly chased two Afghan ice cream vendors down a street with a baseball bat–and no, he was not trying to scare up a game of over-the-line. Fulkerson faced charges of brandishing a weapon and interfering with the civil rights of the victims. . . . Fountain Valley-based California Young Americans for Freedom faxed us to say they support a declaration of war against the Taliban, the use of nukes in that war, and the resurrection of the House Un-American Activities Committee to root out terrorists and their supporters on American soil. Somewhere in hell, Joe McCarthy is smiling. . . . Willie Mitchell scored at 4:18 of the third period to snap a tie and lift something called the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks in the season opener at the Pond of Anaheim. It's downhill from there, as the Ducks' unenthusiastic owner, the Disney Co., can't seem to unload the NHL franchise. . . . Two Internet watchdog groups released advisories warning e-mail readers to be wary of solicitations for “Express Relief Funds” and “Victims Survivor Funds” because donations may line the pockets of some scumbag spammer instead of victims' families. . . . Creeps went on eBay (www.ebay.com) to auction off rubble, debris and other assorted items said to be from the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster sites. Whoever coined the phrase “People suck” had no idea. . . . The La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries ad that appeared in the Los Angeles Timesand other papers against an Old Glory backdrop proclaimed, “The Spirit of America Lives!” Victims were mourned. Terrorists were scorned. “We revel in our relaxed, casual way of life,” the ad continued. “We don't demand that others think or feel as we do. We truly believe in individuality, freedom of thought, speech and ingenuity. That creative spirit led two cousins in 1927 in a Monroe, Michigan, garage to design a chair that reclined. Their belief in America and their idea spawned the world's largest and best known furniture company, La-Z-Boy.” Yep, from jetliners falling from the sky to lardasses falling into recliners. God bless America! . . . It's a public-relations axiom: if you want to bury bad news, release it on a Friday evening for the almost universally unread Saturday edition. And so the state attorney general on Friday, Sept. 28, announced a $1.5 million settlement in the consumer-fraud lawsuit against bazillionaire apartment mogul–and ambassador to Spain nominee–George Argyros. OCTOBER With American bombs raining on Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden promising more violence coming our way, a group of scientists and the feds agreed separately that the nation's 104 nuclear-power plants–including those magnificent breastices in San Onofre–are not properly protected against modern terrorist threats. The Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists, after examining Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents, says plants nationwide are unprepared for assaults by aircraft, boats, trucks and even intruders with primo power tools. . . . The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved doling out $300,000 for an inflatable rubber dam that will help divert polluted urban runoff in Huntington Beach. Fortunately, there are plenty of blowhards on HB's City Council at the ready to wrap their lips around the giant nozzle and inflate. . . . The Reverend Lou Sheldon of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition opened his pie hole to say that gays should not receive aid from agencies assisting attack survivors. Fortunately, the rest of the nation is more generous than this man of God will ever be. . . . The California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) posted this message on hundreds of billboards across the state: “Society Is Safer When Criminals Don't Know Who's Armed.” The Fullerton-based gun-rights group advocated arming all airline passengers. . . . Anaheim Union High School District board of trustees president Katherine H. Smith (of Stand In Respect etiquette in the classroom fame and No. 16 on the Weekly's 2001 list of the 31 Scariest People in Orange County) tossed her pillbox hat into the ring for state superintendent of public instruction. On her hilarious website (www.superkathy.com), Smith ticks off some of her ideas for “improving” education–including issuing report cards to parents who need to improve their parenting skills and filling state schools with patriotic symbols, music and curriculum. . . . A scumbag ran into two Coco's restaurants in Mission Viejo and a Ruby's Diner in Laguna Hills Mall and made off with jars filled with donations for Sept. 11 victims. . . . Trustee-cop Harald G. Martin's proposal to require new students to produce a U.S. birth certificate or proof of residency lest they be turned over to immigration officials was quickly torpedoed at the Anaheim Union High School District board meeting. District lawyers deemed such a requirement illegal, and other board members said they're more interested in educating children than in deporting them. . . . A crappy week for the Anaheim Angels was capped by top relief pitcher Troy Percival demanding a trade after someone in the organization leaked details about his contract negotiations to the press. The team's top slugger, Mo Vaughn, said he wants to leave the hapless Halos and return to the Boston Red Sox. The ESPN Classic channel rebroadcast a special on Donnie Moore, the former Angels reliever who was so haunted by giving up the decisive home run in Game 5 of the 1986 American League playoffs that he committed suicide three years later. And finally, mercifully, various press reports claimed the Angels are about to be folded in with another money-losing ball club. . . . While condemning the “crime” committed on Sept. 11, mourning the loss of up to 6,000 fellow Americans and supporting convictions of those responsible, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) bravely called on the U.S. to stop dropping bombs on Afghanistan. “We are put in a difficult situation,” said Hussan Ayloush, executive director of CAIR's California chapter office in Anaheim. “On one hand, we support any effort to capture terrorists and their supporters. On the other, we don't want this done by bombing Afghan cities and villages. To do so is doubly victimizing to the Afghani citizens.” . . . Newport Beach bon vivant Dennis Rodman, who never met a camera he wouldn't mug for, sought to prevent Court TV from broadcasting the trial accusing him of inflicting emotional distress on a Vegas craps-table dealer. Rodman is being sued for 300 grand because he allegedly rubbed his head, stomach and groin with the dice before rolling. He says rolling cameras would create a circus atmosphere–and, yes, we choked on our chalupa over that one, too. . . . Richard Nixon Library & Car Wash officials crowed about being designated the National Weather Service reporting site for daily temperatures and rainfall in Yorba Linda. Knowing how often the truth gets cloud cover at the library, we expect reports that say, “Late night and early morning low clouds, and Archibald Cox deserved to be fired!” And whenever rain pounds Cambodia, Nixon apologist and library director John Taylor can go on national TV to say it isn't happening. NOVEMBEROC medical-marijuana activist Marvin Chavez pleaded innocent to charges of cultivating and possessing pot for sale. The Santa Ana resident has admitted to growing and smoking grass to relieve pain from spinal arthritis–he even has a doctor's note. . . . Yipppeee!!! Nov. 5 was the fifth anniversary of California's passage of the medical-marijuana initiative, but George Dubya Bush did not send a card to mark the occasion; he sent jackbooted federal thugs up and down the Golden State to uproot pot grown by ill people, break up cannabis co-ops, and seize files from doctors who recommend the drug for patients. . . . Lest anyone worry, Hustler Leg World, the fastest-growing title in foot-fetish magazines, reports, “The threat of anthrax hasn't slowed participation in Leg World's Garment Giveaway, a monthly raffle of models' used hosiery.” Because if horndogs stop getting Hustler models' used hosiery, the terrorists win! . . . Conservative Republican mouthpiece Hugh Hewitt announced his run for lieutenant governor, prompting a visitor to his Internet fan site to express sadness that Hewitt would have to end his daily radio show since he can't remain on air as a candidate unless he provides equal time to his opponents. Then another Netizen wondered why the Federal Communications Commission hasn't taken action against Hewitt for frequently soliciting contributions to the Republican Party on the air. . . . Hewitt's spokesman Matthew Cunningham announced the next day that his boss was pulling out of the lieutenant governor's race because the FCC had raised equal-time concerns. Hewitt posted this message on his website (www.HughHewitt.com): “It was get out or get off the air. There is just no humor in politics anymore.” . . . A powdery substance spilled out of an outgoing letter addressed to someone in New York that a Laguna Beach lady found in her mailbox. Letter? New York? Powder? Anthrax! She called the fire department, which sent out a hazmat unit. The street was sealed off with police tape. Guys in space suits examined the letter. The substance? Glitter and perfume. The lady's teenage daughter was sending a letter to a boy she met on the Internet. . . . The California Coastal Commission approved the $100 million restoration of the Bolsa Chica wetlands near Huntington Beach, a plan that would carve through Pacific Coast Highway to reunite the marsh with the ocean for the first time in a century. The clean-water-lovin' Surfrider Foundation opposed the plan, fearing that bird shit, dead animal parts and residue from nearby rusty oil equipment will flush out of the wetlands–Ma Nature's filter–and into Ma Ocean. . . . Members of Local 681 of the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union picketed the exclusive Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach over low wages and crummy benefits for hotel workers. The club's only response to the bargaining demands was to hand workers news clippings bemoaning the post-Sept. 11 downward plunge in Orange County's tourism economy. . . . Libertarian Party of OC vice chairman Doug Scribner had been registering voters at Santa Ana College for about an hour when a security guard came up and told him he could not continue unless he filled out four permission slips (in quadruplicate) and provided proof that the party's insurance covered the students on campus. Ironically, the clash with campus fuzz occurred a few feet from a memorial stressing the importance of a constitutional government and the value of free speech. . . . Remember that accountant who was fouled by his 270-pound Nazi cellmate in Santa Ana Jail? The city of Santa Ana agreed to pay the victim $95,000. . . . Disney's moribund California Adventure theme park plans to open a new attraction: Tower of Terror. Riders will free-fall 13 stories down the elevator shaft of an abandoned hotel. Despite the lack of tourists since Sept. 11, we assume that won't be the Disneyland Hotel. . . . Promoters of a gun show at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa ousted a Nebraska author who was hawking a book that included a crude recipe for anthrax. Timothy W. Tobiasonhad apparently bragged of hating the government and likened himself to Timothy McVeigh. Hell, we figured those qualities were prerequisites to getting a gun-show booth. . . . Speaking of the violent overthrow of the government, where in the hell are Orange County's rabid Ronald Reagan lovers? Because only 764 applications statewide have come in since the legislature in 1999 approved special Ronald Reagan California license plates, they will be discontinued. . . . Despite being the hottest thing on television mere months ago, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?may not survive the current season, ABC executives revealed. That disclosure came 19 days after Disney–which owns ABC and Millionaire–opened an attraction based on the game show at their tourist-starved California Adventure. . . . Laguna Beach City Councilman Wayne Baglin's term on the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board ended when Governor Gray Davis failed to reappoint him. Ironically, Baglin had predicted upon Davis' election that the new Gov would get tougher on polluters than his Republican predecessors had. But Baglin, a Republican who has frequently threatened to fine Orange County public agencies over pollution, reportedly was not reappointed because he spoke out without first getting Davis' blessing. So much for the Davis years. . . . Gouging poor and middle-class tenants? Shoving a 24-hour, noise- and pollution-spewing international airport down OC residents' throats? Just being an overall fuck? No problem: George Leon Argyros is officially sworn in as ambassador to Spain by Secretary of State Colin Powell. DECEMBER The owners of the AES Huntington Beach Power Plant sued to delete nearly all the ballot language favoring a measure that would force AES to pay a city-imposed, $2.3 million utility tax. The words “the AES plant is ugly” are what really pissed off the company, with officials decrying any notion of paying an “ugly tax.” A judge later ruled for AES, proving justice really is blind. . . . Less than two weeks after the man who wants to become Orange County district attorney won the endorsement of the Orange County Attorneys Association, Wally Wade was endorsed by the Association of Orange County Deputy District Attorneys. That marked the first time in county history that neither association has endorsed the incumbent DA–in this case, Anthony Rackauckas. Wade also won the endorsements of the police unions in Anaheim, La Habra, Buena Park, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. In the interest of fairness, we must note that a meter maid did smile at Rackauckas. Once. . . . If he were still around, Walt Disney would have turned 100 on Dec. 5, an occasion some Disney family members, longtime company officials and die-hard Mouseketeers felt deserved a much bigger splash than was afforded it at his original theme park, Disneyland. Walt's heirs and Disney executives who worked under him were peeved that the company's major 100th-birthday activities were taking place not in Anaheim–the park that Walt built–but in Orlando–the park that opened five years after Walt left this small world (after all). . . . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its guidelines for ingesting potassium iodide (KI), something the Nuclear Regulatory Commission needed before John Hancocking an $800,000 check for 3.4 million doses of the anti-radiation pills. Prodded by Physicians for Social Responsibility, the governor's office wants a cut of the KI for Golden Glowing State residents around the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants. . . . Irv Rubin, the motor-mouthed chairman of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), and Earl Krugel, the JDL's West Coast coordinator, were charged with conspiring to blow up an Anaheim bar; Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's San Clemente office; and various Islamic religious buildings in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. . . . The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story titled “Maligned B-1 Bomber Now Proving Its Worth; Military: Plane's successes in war have quieted critics in Pentagon–for now.” Later that same day, a B-1 bomber crashed into the Indian Ocean. Air Force Captain William Steele, the plane's pilot, was rescued at sea with his three crewmen and summed up the B-1's worthiness: “We had multiple malfunctions, the aircraft was out of control, and we had to eject.” . . . Remember that IMAX Edwards closed at Irvine Spectrum? Check out their new spin on the building: “Breaking new ground in the exhibition world, Edwards Theatres Inc. will open newly engineered Giant Screen Theaters in three Southern California locations–Irvine, Ontario and Valencia.” . . . Despite outshooting, outrebounding and outhustling fabled UCLA, the UC Irvine Anteaters lost the basketball as time expired, handing the Bruins a 75-74 victory before 7,379 stunned fans at Pauley Pavilion. Even more stunned were the Anteaters, who couldn't believe they came that close to the major college basketball upset of the year. . . . Faced with a stinging report from the state attorney general's office alleging various improprieties, the Tony Rackauckas Foundation–the OC district attorney's campaign war chest fund that was set up by Ambassador to Spain George Argyros and his neighbor, alleged mobster Patrick DiCarlo–folded. By dissolving and doling its remaining contributions out to various charities, the foundation avoided prosecution. . . . Gaddi Vasquez easily cleared the U.S. Senate panel weighing his nomination as Peace Corps director, meaning that he'll most likely win confirmation and get another chance to lead a public agency into bankruptcy. . . . Former motorcross promoter Michael F. Goodwin appeared in Orange County Superior Court on a MONDAY!!! MONDAY!!! MONDAY!!! to plead not guilty to allegations that he ordered the 1988 hit of his former partner, impresario of TOP-FUEL, PEDAL-TO-THE-METAL, NO-HOLDS-BARRED RACING ACTION, Mickey Thompson and his wife, Trudy. You won't want to miss this ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME SPEED EVENT taking place in OCSC, where Goodwin faces charges that could bring his DEATH-DEFYING death if he's CONVICTED!!! CONVICTED!!! CONVICTED!!! You'll won't have to pay for the WHOLE SEAT in the courtroom because you'll only need THE EDGE. . . . Dave Garofalo gave Huntington Beach an early Christmas present when he quit the City Council. Sources close to corruption probes by the OC district attorney and the state Fair Political Practices Commission said Garofalo would plead guilty to one felony and 15 misdemeanors, be banned for life from elected office, and pay a $50,000 fine. . . . Merrill Lynch analysts say if history is any guide, it may take at least two years before attendance at Disney's Anaheim resort returns to pre-Sept. 11 levels. . . . Finally, we contacted God on Christmas Eve to ask if 2002 will be as fucked-up as 2001. And He said, “Lissen up, bee-yatch, don't be getting all up in my face!” And we said, “Whoa, dude, chill! We just asked a simple question.” And He was all, “Don't you go telling me to chill, fool. I'll smite yo' ass.” And we said, “Oh, yeah, wanna take it outside?” And He said, “OUTSIDE? I owns OUTSIDE, bee-yatch.” And we said, “What the hell is this 'bee-yatch' shit? That's so 1998. We wanna know about 2002.” And He said, “Ask your momma about 2002; she's right here on my face.” And then we got really pissed because our mom's an atheist living in a trailer in Norco, and there's no way she'd be, like, on the face of the Almighty. “That's it, you omnipotent bastard! You're toast!” we yelled. And He just laughed and said, “Toast? Love some.” Then He turned us into a pile of salt and got a taco. The END!!! END!!! END!!!   By Matt Coker, with contributions from Victor D. Infante, Rich Kane, Steve Lowery, R. Scott Moxley, Anthony Pignataro, Nick Schou, Will Swaim and Dave Wielenga.

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