Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, Dec. 29: Johnnie Crean, the travel-trailer tycoon, one-time congressional candidate and son of Santa Ana Heights travel-trailer trailblazer turned public-TV cook John Crean, was sued for alleged sexual discrimination and harassment, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Also named in the suit was the Carlsbad Army and Navy Academy, whose admissions director Margarite M. Daniel claims the younger Crean—the academy's CEO, chairman of the board and an alumnus—made several sexually explicit remarks to her over seven years. It's not the first time his behavior has been questioned: in 1982, Crean was portrayed as a racist, mud-slinging, spoiled rich kid when he spent roughly $838,000—at that time, more than any candidate in the nation—to win the GOP primary for the congressional seat straddling southern Orange and northern San Diego counties. Fellow Republican Ron Packard, running on a platform that Crean was a political scandal in the making, won the general election as a write-in candidate—only the third time in history that had ever happened.

SUNDAY, Dec. 30: Phoung Huu Ly was smoking a cigarette with friends outside the PC Cafe in Garden Grove, waiting for a computer station to open, when he was confronted by two teens, one of whom stuck a screwdriver into the side of his head. The pair then yelled gang names and fled in a green Honda Accord. The 20-year-old Santa Ana resident died eight hours later at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. He'd always dreamed of becoming a doctor. In the wake of the slaying, Garden Grove Mayor Bruce Broadwater suggested that cybercafes be regulated. Thanks for sharing. MONDAY, Dec. 31: Republicans unleashed anti-Gray Davis radio ads with characters who sound like Stan Marsh and Eric Cartman of South Park, reports the Sacramento Bee. The GOP assured Comedy Central officials that any likeness to their fictional characters was purely coincidental, but this chronometer believes it's just another example of Republicans robbing Libertarians of their best ideas. Way back in 1998, the Libs produced Davis-skewering cable-TV ads for their gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby featuring South Park-like animation. Those spots went on to win awards but, sadly, not the governor's mansion.

Illustration by Bob Aul
TUESDAY, Jan. 1: Long Beach cops usher in the new year by reassuring a jittery public, “Women with long hair can rest easier.” Yes, they apparently nabbed the elusive Hair Bandit who snuck up behind six women during the last two weeks of 2001 and sheared their flowing locks with scissors or a knife. Michael Lynn Howard, 47, who co-owns a Huntington Beach bike shop, was turned in by his brother, a Los Angeles County probation officer who found his sibling's fetish, um, bizarre. Or was it a fetish? Think of all the money to be had selling real hair to Italian wig makers. WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2: The Anaheim Angels unveil their latest marketing gimmick, “Red Dawn.” New uniforms (goodbye, periwinkle) and logos will be awash in red for the first time in team history. Leave it to the Angels to craft a marketing ploy around a crappy 1980s movie they know gets OC conservatives all wet. Released in the middle of the Ronald Reagan era, Red Dawn was about Soviet paratroopers landing in the Midwest to launch World War III, only to be thwarted by a bunch of high school kids. We can't remember if it was based on a true story, but we do recall such memorable lines as “Avenge me. AVENGE ME!” and the one we can now chant whenever the Angels bring in a relief pitcher: “Get up there, and piss in the radiator!” Several theories abound as to why the Angels have chosen to paint the suburbs red. It could just be the color that naturally came to mind when they thought about franchise profit-and-loss statements. Or they could have noticed the shade of fans' faces after yet another blown lead. Or maybe they're taking a cue from the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s—only in the Angels case, it'll be the “Little Red Wind-Up Rally Monkey.”

Before the trial began, novelist Sylvia Fleener settled for an undisclosed sum her lawsuit alleging televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network in Costa Mesa plagiarized her work for a crappy Christ-o-rama flick. Fleener had claimed parts of her book The Omega Syndrome were lifted for the Crouch's 1999 production The Omega Code. Meanwhile, jury selection has begun in a separate defamation suit filed by God.

THURSDAY, Jan. 3: Your favorite timekeeper was inundated with suggestions over what the hell it was obscuring the photo on page A3 in the Dec. 22 Los Angeles Times. Andrea Usiewicz thinks it might be part of a tree trunk. Huntington Beach eco-avenger Joey Racano says it's a cocoon, a spilled root beer float or a piece of Styrofoam. Laguna Beach artist Jorg. R. Dubinjoined Weekly contributor Tom Vasich in being absolutely positive it's a Fritos corn chip. “If it were to be turned around, you would see that the other side would be concave, thus enabling it to receive copious quantities of a variety of dipping products,” noted Dubin. But when we turned it over, all we saw was non-dippable newsprint. Robert Stelle's explanation: “It's none other than the unknown [Osama] BIN LADEN! In a pinch (loaf) of a hurry, Mr. Laden pulls his trusty (but smelly) paper Port-A-Pottie out from underneath his dress (sheet), unfolds it, and pulls it over his head, hoping to go unnoticed as he tries to order a falafel at the local McDonald's. Or was it Disneyland?” But Weekly New Orleans correspondent Paul Brennanmaintains “you are seeing what the caption says you are seeing: a member of the Northern Alliance. And we have won not only the heart and mind, but also the scalp of our sturdy ally. Although I don't know the correct name for that bit of tonsorial architecture—high top?—it is obvious he is styling his hair in imitation of rappers of the late '80s/early '90s, particularly Kid of Kid 'N Play (assuming Kid was the one with the high hair). Of course, it is no longer in fashion here, but the Afghans have been busy dying in astounding numbers since 1979, so it is only natural that they are a little behind on fashion. But it is heartening to see that the House Party movies are so popular with the Northern Alliance. Can break dancing in the streets of Kabul not be far behind?”

Tavares: Duck soup
FRIDAY, Jan. 4: Red Dawn claimed its first war casualty when the much-loathed Tony Tavares resigned as overlord of the pathetic Anaheim Angels and more pathetic Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Chalk another one up for the Angels Curse, which managed to snuff out the Disney Magic. Leading the Ducks since the first quacker was blown at the Pond in 1993, Tavares took over the hapless Halos when Disney acquired the ballclub three years later. He boasted that he wasn't there to ensure winning teams, that he'd simply fill the seats by providing wholesome family entertainment. Unfortunately, in between the fireworks and Wild Wing and monster jams and rally monkeys was exceedingly poor play. Fans eventually got tired of losing and stopped buying tickets, leaving both teams so unattractive that the Mouse can't unload them. Figuring they'd better win some games to snag a buyer, Tavares was shown the door. Arriving as a seasoned businessman who'd take responsibility for his actions, Tavares left by claiming to be the victim, calling players he'd drafted and acquired poor losers. We miss him already. SATURDAY, Jan. 5: What's this? Dennis Rodman? Arrested? Yep, as strange as that sounds, the ex-NBA bad boy was booked for allegedly preventing Newport Beach police from entering his Josh Slocum's restaurant to see if drinking was going on 40 minutes after the 2 a.m. alcohol curfew. Do you think Newport's finest checks all the local establishments at that hour, particularly the ones frequented by the parents of Slocum's youngish clientele? No, we didn't think so either. SUNDAY, Jan. 6: To add to the indignity of being popped, Rodman is no longer Newport Beach's best basketball player as the Orange County Register reports that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is moving into Newport Coast. With homerun king Mark McGwire a few doors down, that also means Newport overtakes La Palma as having the most potential Hall of Famers within its borders.

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