Ring of Ire

Photo by Jessica CalkinsIs this a great country or what? Manhattan Beach-based website MyRedHotDeals.com is hawking a cubic zirconium replica of the $4 million ring Kobe Bryantbought his wife, Vanessa, to make up for cheating on her. The sterling-silver shank with a six-prong setting holds a “sparkling lavender” fake stone, and just to prove this isn't another trashy, inappropriate, pop culture-inspired curio, the ring comes in a velvet box. Classy! Total price: $39.95—what it used to cost to paint a car at Earl Scheib. Yes, for less than 40 bones, you, too, can make it up to your spouse/significant other for your skanking ways. And while you ladies can't show off the ring at the Teen Choice Awards (as Vanessa recently did), you can impress the early-bird crowd at Sizzler. Hurry, supplies—like scruples—are limited!

HOUSE OF CARDS Speaking of products ripped from the day's headlines and available only on the Internet, Orange County caricaturists Max Espinozaand Ruben Gerardhave devised a card game called Gov-A-Nator that's inspired by the California recall election. It would be pointless (no pun intended) to summarize the complicated point system used to score in this game, since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appealswon't let you play until March anyway. Let's just say it's similar to that old summer camp chestnut Crazy Eights, only instead of playing cards, you compete with cards adorned with cartoons of Arnold, Cruz, Arianna, Angelyne, Gary, Gallagher and the rest. Gray Davis—in clown face—is the wild card. You can download a deck and print them onto standard business-card templates by logging onto their website (www.recallcardgame.com) and paying $5.99 through PayPal. Wonder if you can remove all the Larry Flyntcards for a separate game of Go Fist?

THE HIGH COST OF BEING POOR Speaking of the California recall, there were a couple of news nuggets buried so deep in the bowels of the media that you wouldn't have heard candidates bring them up on the campaign trail—unless, perhaps, the candidate's last name rhymed with “uffington.” First, the annual report by the Washington-based National Low Income Housing Coalitionreleased on Sept. 8 found that low-wage earners in Southern California are finding it ever more difficult to find affordable rents for decent apartments. Ah, well, at least we have our health, right? Uh, well . . . A study by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundationreported Sept. 9 that health-care premiums have shot up 13.9 percent this year, mostly due to higher prescription-drug costs, expensive new medical technologies and hefty profit gains by insurers. The poll found that 33 percent of those insured worry that their incomes can't keep up with rising health costs. Meanwhile, nearly every publicly traded HMO enjoyed record profits in the most recent reporting period. On the bright side, slum lords can still afford health insurance premiums and stock in HMOs.

IMMINENTLY QUOTABLE “This project takes a large piece of property that right now has absolutely no benefit to the city and gives us an upscale neighborhood.”

—Orange City Councilman Mike Alvarez in the Sept. 10 Orange County Register, explaining why he'd just provided the swing vote to a Fieldstone Communities plan to build 177 estates onto land that used to be an old sand-and-gravel mine. Previous Weekly reporting has shown that mine may have closed without proper environmental mitigation, that deadly gases could be trapped underground and that the whole community would be in the true path of a nearby river. Other than that—and ginormous flies and the smell of horse shit from an adjacent equestrian center—we're sure it'll be a swell place to live.

FOR WHOM THE TOLL TOLLS The Transportation Corridor Agencies(TCA), which owns toll roads in Orange County, on Sept. 11 released the results of a poll it conducted that found that Orange County residents want more toll roads built. The TCA used the poll results to further push for extension of the Foothill South (241) toll road to just about where the sea spray settles at the world-famous Trestles surfing beach in San Clemente. Surfrider, the Sierra Cluband other environmentalists oppose the extension, so it's a pretty safe bet none of them were on the TCA poll takers' Rolodexes. Isn't having the TCA conduct a poll that finds most people love their financially flawed, congestion-making, polluting product a bit like having crack dealers report that four out of five crackheads recommend their brand of crack for crackheads who smoke crack?

ANYONE WHO'S BOUGHT A TORK THERE KNOWS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT Speaking of dubious surveys, according to a Swedish publication, there are now more copies of the Ikea catalog printed worldwide than the Bible. A total of 130 million catalogs are reportedly printed in 28 different languages and sent to residents of 36 countries—which may explain what prompted 286 million people to get off their asses last year and visit one of the 175 Ikea stores worldwide. What all those cheap-furniture shoppers probably didn't realize—at least not until they'd lived with their purchases a couple of months—is that “ikea” is Swedish for “crap.”

WEENIE ROAST In still yet another poll, the men's toiletries website GroomingLounge.comhas found that 74 percent of men who are going bald would willingly shrink their private parts in exchange for a full head of hair. Ironically, Clockwork's own survey found that 84 percent of men with tiny tools would willingly shave their heads in exchange for affordable rents, reasonable health-insurance premiums, free-flowing traffic and non-crappy furniture.

For the straight poop (literally) on penile lengthening, take a gander at Savage Loveelsewhere in this issue. Clockwork will look for a free plug from Dan Savagein his next installment.

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