HEAD SHOPPerhaps you've seen the big cannabis leaf on advertisements plastered across bus benches along major thoroughfares and told yourself, “I don't know what they're selling, but I'll take two!” Too late: Coast United Advertising pulled its 106 bus-bench ads on Nov. 2 because of pressure from Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), the national organization that hammers anti-drug messages into the minds of schoolchildren. The ads promoted Westwood-based Alterna Inc.'s shampoos and conditioners that contain hemp-seed oil. Hair care is just one of millions of uses for industrial hemp that do not involve getting stoned; if you put Alterna Hemp Shampoo in your pipe and smoked it, you'd probably vomit before you were overcome by an uncontrollable urge for Nabisco products, tie-dyed clothing and Iron Butterfly recordings. But that didn't stop Glenn Levant, president of DARE America in Los Angeles, from contacting city officials in an attempt to get the ads yanked. “My big objection is that public property was being used to promote an illegal substance,” Levant reportedly said of the non-illegal substance. “This is not the sort of thing we should see around our schools, parks and children.” The sad thing is no one would have complained a wit if Bride of Chucky ads replaced the shampoo ads.
PARTY HEARTY A day after Philadelphia was chosen as the site for the 2000 Republican National Convention, the Los Angeles Times reported on Nov. 6 that LA has emerged as “the overwhelming favorite” to host that momentous year's Democratic National Convention. Which means, of course, the two major parties blew an opportunity to stage a classic freeway series. It peeves Clockwork to no end that Republicans refuse to convene in Orange County. Hell, nationally known GOP candidates spend so much time here every election cycle scooping up hefty campaign contributions from wealthy locals that an OC convention would probably cut their travel costs. That would leave more money for those future negative campaign ads Times OC columnist Ken Khachigian advocated in his Nov. 8 column (his bosses must be so proud). Clockwork would nominate the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim as a GOP convention site, but that town re-elected a Democrat (Tom Daly) for mayor. Speaking of which, state Republican Party chairman Michael Shroeder reportedly caught shit from GOP candidates who lost close legislative races because they say he diverted party funds to Bob Zemel, Daly's Republican challenger for the nonpartisan office (Zemel should have linked Daly to Willie Horton, eh, Mr. Khachigian?). With Anaheim out of consideration, how about using one of those Tustin hangars for the convention? Oops, almost forgot: we need someplace big enough for Rush Limbaugh's ass.
WE'RE IN FOR A BUMPY RIDE California's pockmarked urban highways damage vehicles to the tune of $1.2 billion annually, and money that should be spent to repair those roadways is instead being used to build new highways in areas where far fewer people live or on projects of little merit, according to a study released on Nov. 5 by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. The coalition of 175 local and national organizations interested in transportation policy ranked California 22nd on its “pothole index,” which measures how much of the state's federal highway funds are spent on existing pavement. Meanwhile, California's urban areas (OC, LA and Riverside counties are lumped together as one urban area) were second highest in the nation in the average cost per car in damage, wear and tear and reduced fuel mileage caused by bad roads. In other transportation news, the Orange County Transportation Authority ditched plans to study the effectiveness of carpool lanes because of cost and timing restraints. The saved time and money will be used to-you guessed it-build more carpool lanes. Would this be a bad time to ask for a study of potholes in carpool lanes? How about their effectiveness?
SIEGE MENTALITY Fifty or so Muslims handed out fliers about Islam to moviegoers outside the Edwards 21 Megaplex in Irvine on Nov. 6. They were part of 13 Islamic youth groups who fanned out to 23 OC theaters to criticize the new Denzel Washington vehicle The Siege. It is not the specter of overpaid overactor Bruce Willis chewing up the scenery that offends the Muslims; it's what they believe to be the flick's negative portrayal of Arabs as Islamic terrorists. “I don't want to stop anybody from watching this film,” 23-year-old Ahmad Alan Abdo of Huntington Beach reportedly said. “But we're here to show that Muslims are your neighbors, friends and co-workers-not the perverted terrorists of Hollywood.” No, those would be the agents.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.