Gray Lady Marmalade

Photo by James BunoanAlex from The New York Times was on my line, and he wasn't even trying to sell me a subscription. No, he wanted to do a story. I guess Wonkette was busy.

Now before you (and I) get excited, it's not a story on little ol' me, pumpkins, deserving though I am and gripping though it would be. It's a story on . . . you guessed it! The real The Real OC.

Who better to show him around? Besides Mary Reilly?

Alex, it was being bandied around the office, had once worked at the Daily Pilot. It confused us, too.

Okay. Did he want to see North and Central OC, with their punks and drunks and peoples of color, or was he a-hankerin' for puffy lips and puffier breasts? Please. Like what he wanted mattered unless what he wanted was to get me hired on at the Old Gray Lady. (Even though they're not allowed to say schmuck, suckor even freakin'. And they can't call people twats no matter how much they deserve it. Still, wouldn't you enjoy Maureen Dowd's whimsies if I wrote them instead?)

I took him first to Los Vacitos in Orange; that way we could get Long Beach without having to brave the 22. (And is it just me, or do Bruce Broadwater's campaign signs promising to “fix the flow” remind you unpleasantly of gushing menses? It is just me? Just checking.) But Los Vacitos was closed for a remodel, which made me look less than in-the-know. So that is not where my photographer James Bunoan snapped this picture. In fact, he and I are—like unhappy marrieds—no longer even going to the same events, so here is a picture he took at the New York Dolls show at the Mouse House. Isn't he talented? Don't you wish he were yours? Well, if you're blond and naked, you might stand a chance.

Stupid Los Vacitos.

We went around the corner to O'Hara's, where the Angels game was on the teevee and Guns N' Roses were on the box. “Who comes here?” Alex wanted to know. “Punks and college kids,” I answered, and then didn't speak to him again as I watched the game. I'm an excellent hostess!

I then took Alex to Fullerton's Continental Lounge. The musicians were tight, if heavy on the disco covers, and the place was packed with happy, reasonably attractive folk. I showed him the booths with the stewardess call lights. The Continental was making the county look good, so after our lemondrop, we left.

A weekend isn't a weekend without a swing by The Fling. Unlike a recent visitor from New York who, granted, had had an hourlong “talk” with his girlfriend on the way to Santa Ana, Alex didn't sneer that a) the Fling is in a strip mall; b) there's only so much kitsch he can take; and c) “not one of these guys will give you a massage in the morning and take you out to brunch.” Was he kidding? If one of these moldy oldsters got his life's dream to come true and actually succeeded in taking home a honey? You don't think he'd be trying to rub her down each and every second, and you don't think he'd pop for breakfast?

No, Alex was game, a smile on his face throughout the evening—even while I was lecturing him on how to write and (for some reason) parenting even though he and his wife have no children. He did not sneer even with Eddie Day, the Wizard of Rock N Roll, halfway through a Neil Diamond medley and sounding just as nasal as always. Also—and this did not reflect well—there seemed to be a lot of skinheads in the bar, and one little longhaired Hessian/house painter kept trying to tell us he was voting for Kerry despite the fact Kerry was a flip-flopper. After I tried to explain to the little man (he wasn't in peak listening form) the difference between the two appropriations bills on which Kerry had voted, he had this clever retort: “Would you rather have Saddam in power or in jail?” Honestly? If it's only a or b, and I have to choose as subsets of those questions war or not war? I'll go with not warand in power. It seems most Iraqis feel that way these days as well.

Then I took my leave to dance with someone very, very old.

The moral of the story is that The New York Times is awesome and I would be an excellent draft pick for it; Alex was dear and not lame at all, though after 15 years or something in New York City, really, he's a terrible driver; and I need some new regular spots. How many times can y'all hear about the Fling?

There were hijinks in the Santora stairwell at the Artists Village opening Saturday night—and by hijinks, I mean head. Now they'll never give me a job at The New York Times.

That was pretty much all that happened at this month's opening, and I got home, hammered, at 2 a.m., and the first thing I did was cut my own hair.

It could be worse.

After that, I turned on C-Span; they were showing the Gore/Bush town-hall debate from 2000. It's not the famous sighing one. It's casual, and they're both striding all over the place like they're Phil Donahue, and Gore is on his freaking best behavior and he still looks like an asshole.
And it turns out I was right to be confused by how absolutely terribly Bush conducted himself this Thursday. I thought he was stupid back when he was debating Gore; he used lots of constructions that said nothing, like “It's about leadership, and I will be a leader,” while Gore was lisping chapter and verse on every fucking thing and another. (Gore was bloviating like I was afraid John Kerry was going to this week.) “I'd like to use the rest of my time to finish answering that other fucking question I already spent two minutes on,” said Gore in what I believe is a direct quote.

Hey. It's not like I voted for him. But as I was saying: even though Bush said plenty of simple and simplistic things in this here debate from 2000, he also spoke in paragraphs (sometimes) and remembered more than one talking point at a time and synthesized them. (Even though you could see his brain spinning as he did so. But still!)

But the best part, the part that hammered me plumb-sober, was Bush saying—and this time I really do quote—that he would never send troops into harm's way without making sure they had better housing, better pay, better health care, better armor and a clear exit plan. Yes, he actually said each one of those things. He may have even said “a plan to win the peace,” but it's possible I hypnotized myself with the bizarre irony, like a fine Fielding novel, of the whole thing, but with even more foreshadowing. Isn't it ironic? Yes, it is, you ignorant twat.

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