Nordstrom Pit Stop

It was 11 a.m., and I needed a beer. I'd awoken at 8:40 a.m. Saturday in Oxnard—long story—after three and a half hours' sleep, and hauled ass to Costa Mesa by 11 a.m., with a pit stop at the South Coast Plaza Nordstrom, where the women at the Clinique counter were kind enough to cover my ravaged skin for me. (This is a trick every woman should know; when it's the next day and you haven't been home yet, stop by a makeup counter for a free touch-up. The men don't know, but the makeup ladies understand.)

You see, I would be lunching with Senator John Edwards of North Carolina (not psychic John Edward of Crossing Over—but you saw that) and the Orange County Democratic Foundation, and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is a fox who doesn't need to know what my skin really looks like, especially after three and a half hours of sleep. That is one handsome senator. (It took me forever to catch a glimpse of his left hand, which does indeed sport a wedding band. I don't know why I thought it might not; Barney Frank is probably the only unmarried member of Congress, and we all know to which side of the aisle Frank swings.) Oh, and Edwards might very well be the next President of the United States. At least, he certainly didn't correct anyone who said so.

Antonello's Restaurant was well-stocked with foundation members, such as ancient OC kingmaker Dick O'Neill, whose family owned so much of Southern California that they actually gave Camp Pendletonto the U.S. Marine Corps and with whom I had a lovely chat about booze. The upshot? We're both for it. Floating about was Bette Aitken, the Goldie Hawnish wife of foundation head Wylie Aitken. She's lovely. Also there was the attorney for both embattled Huntington Beach Councilman Dave Garofalo and the OC Weekly's favorite alleged defrauder, ambassador-designate and buh-buh-billionaire George Argyros. (Although, come to think of it, the husband of Republican Partyofficial and Eagle Forum member Jo Ellen Allen is displacing Argyros in our hearts in the “bilking” category. Sadly forgotten is Democratic congresswoman Loretta Sanchez's former campaign manager, who used to wear the heavyweight belt in these parts. He was convicted of actually bilking little old ladies of their life savings, but alas, we can't dredge that up forever, especially with new people clamoring to make our list.)

At my table were former congressman Jerry Patterson and his wife, former Huntington Beach mayor Linda Moulton-Patterson, who describes herself as Queen of Trash because she's on some kind of state waste-management board. At least, I think that's why she was saying it. Also there was an old man with the loveliest manners I've ever seen and another old guy who asked me to go sailing. Hot!

Oh, Edwards' speech? It was perfect, really; Edwards is a man who can actually put sentences together all by his lonesome, and he answered questions cogently and with an intelligence we've all been missing. Don't tell me you haven't been missing intelligence! You have, too! And the yellow tie? Always a good choice! He discussed national security (though nothing classified, unfortunately) and touched on any good Democrat's stump points: education, health care, and “keeping our environment green and pristine.” He ragged on the ridiculous economic stimulus package passed by the House, in which IBM alone gets more than $1 billion in retroactive tax cuts, pointing out his fundamental difference with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle: “We need to get money into the hands of people who need it and who will spend it,” said he. Hey, I hear Enron could use some lettuce these days. And he got Bill Clinton-empathetic, telling the assembled, “I really am as interested in your concerns as in what I have to say.” All that was missing was a bit lip. Fabulous!

I got a call from Larry Feldman, who reps ad company dGWB (they're the Santa Ana company that does those heartbreaking Wienerschnitzel ad featuring the poor little hot dog running from all the people who want to eat him until he's dead; they could double as public-service announcements from our friends at PETA). Larry was inviting me to the grand opening of David Rickey Sport, which is clothes for rich guys, and he wanted me to know there would be male models and maybe some Lakers. (“David dresses all the Lakers,” Larry told me . . . twice.) Of course, the Lakers were in Houston the night of the party (Nov. 15), so anyone claiming to be Robert Horry was probably lying.

You know there's a party when the Riviera peeps are in the house. In fact, the folks from the new OC lifestyle mag for the very, very rich are everywhere I go these days, which probably reflects badly on me. But with caviar on new potatoes and bottomless champagne glasses, I'm not complaining—much.

The place smelled good, like a topless dancer, even if it is in the less classy parts of Newport Beach (a strip mall near the Haute Cakes Caffe), and there were indeed lots of 'spensive clothes for guys who don't want to go to Structure, as I heard someone say. By 8:30 p.m., the back patio was jammed with men promising to buy women new cars if they had to leave their own overnight, but they were just lying. They weren't actually going to buy the women new cars. I'm almost positive.

The Muckenthaler museum in Fullerton is a lovely place. It sits on the crest of a hill, lawns surrounding it like a plantation in the Deep South. It has an amphitheater with little tables so you can pretend you're in the good seats at the Hollywood Bowl. And it's stuffy like a DAR meeting. (Do we have DAR meetings in OC, and if so, can I come?)

So why, on Saturday afternoon, were Jay Buchanan and the Dibs' Chris Hanlin—two of the hippest musicians in these parts—preparing to take the stage and wow the old ladies with the fingers in their ears? I still haven't figured that one out. But it may have something to do with the fact that the Muckenthaler's new exhibit is a roundup of contemporary local artists, many of whom are—shhhhh!—edgy.

Edgy? The Muckenthaler? Well, sock me in the mouth and call me Violet! But only if you want to.

Invite the Girl to your DAR meeting: Co**********@ho*****.com">Co**********@ho*****.com.

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