The Year in Diary of a Mad County

6 So voters in the 48th District go to the polls today in what is supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Warm body John Campbell, whose greatest asset is that he has an (R) after his name, is the odds-on favorite to win in this overwhelmingly Republican district. Still, to say voters aren't excited about Campbell—the choice of local Republican power brokers—is an understatement since, in a district 163 percent Republican, he received only 45 percent of the vote in the primary. Campbell, who appears so lifelike at times it's frightening, will probably get his biggest challenge from Jim Gilchrist and his message of getting tough with those who defile our borders. Gilchrist is running so strong that it's actually caused Campbell to sort of run away from the immigration issue. Campbell, his lips moving in perfect synchronization, says he'd like to be talking about other things besides illegal immigration, mostly about how he has the (R) at the end of his name. 8 In other election news, Gwen Stefani's “Hollaback Girl” earns a Grammy nomination as Record of the Year. The Grammys are among the lamest of the entertainment awards, outdistanced only in cheesy cluelessness by the Golden Globes (TV, movies), the Golden Showers (prostate, bladders) and Pulitzers. So it's not like I'm surprised that an organization that saw something in Christopher Cross would also see something in “Hollaback,” which is “Achy Breaky” lame. But Record of the Year? No. I assumed “Hollaback” would be recognized in a novelty category, you know, competing against that “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” deal or something by the Wiggles . . . 11 The Orange County Sheriff's Department takes a crime report for the theft of a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria stolen for the second time in two weeks. The car's owner? The Orange County Sheriff's Department. Yes, the department's white Crown Victoria with side spotlights on each front door and a siren is taken from a parking lot at the Theo Lacy Jail in Orange. Law-enforcement officials are said to be looking for a thief with mechanical skills—the car was hot-wired—who also happens to have the largest set of balls this side of Christiane Amanpour . .. 14 Mexican officials dismantle a cross-border counterfeiting ring that printed an estimated $5 million in fake $100 bills. Law enforcement officials were tipped off when they discovered a subtle flaw in the bills: Benjamin Franklin's “Thug Life” tattoo was placed on the wrong side of his face. The previous Friday, U.S. Secret Service agents arrested 10 people and seized $75,000 during raids on three houses in Santa Ana. Perhaps one reason the folks in Santa Ana believed they had to print money is spelled out today in a housing affordability report that says a family must earn $25.69 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Orange County. That works out to four people working full-time at minimum wage or one full-time wage earner working 152 hours per week, which sounds like a lot but still won't get you health benefits at Wal-Mart . . . 18So, I'm sitting down with my family—they dutifully observing daddy's 4.5-foot “magic moat of personal space”—watching some classic holiday TV like, I dunno, How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Surgical Instruments Left Inside Patients, and suddenly we are confronted with a scruffy-looking guy standing before a cow. Music starts pumping, and the scruffy dude begins petting the cow, then caressing the cow, moving and garoovin' with the cow until finally he is getting full-on freaky with the cow. Needless to say, having never seen the Tonya Harding wedding-night video, I was shocked. Then I put things together: funky music, guy dry-humping a cow—or, as it is known in the Midwest, high school; deviant sex set to music . . . this has gotta be a Carl's Jr. commercial! In the past, Carl's has run ads with a woman simulating sex with a mechanical bull and Paris Hilton simulating sex with a car. So bestiality actually represents a step up for them. A step up being what the scruffy guy was going to need if he wanted to, well . . . 20 I'd like to share something very special I recently discovered. Like all aspects of truth, it seems very simple at first, but the more you think about it, the more powerful it becomes until, finally, it seems to hold the very key to life itself. As you'd expect, I found it in the Irvine World News (it may help while reading this to imagine it being said by Linus under a spotlight, perhaps fondling a cow): “The issue of windows in home additions and remodeling [in Irvine] has been big enough that it took up three Planning Commission meetings and brought out half a dozen residents, despite the unflattering name of a 'zone change to allow windows and openings on zero lot line properties.' The frustration over balancing windows and neighbors' privacy started in 1997. The City Council passed an ordinance preventing windows or openings from being added into the walls of homes built directly on the property line. The ordinance came out of pressure from neighbors who wanted more privacy. The issue was recently brought to the Planning Commission by residents who want the 1997 ordinance repealed. At the commission's Nov. 3 meeting, some residents spoke in favor of keeping the ordinance, and residents remodeling homes asked that the ordinance be repealed. The commission voted 3-1 to repeal the ordinance. Commissioner Bill Mavity voted no. Neighborhood associations are free to decide whether to prohibit windows on zero-lot line properties.” Breathtaking, isn't it, the way it gets right to the heart of things? Which Russian writer was it who said that life is one big slog of pain and misery—oh, that's right, it was all of them. Yes, rife with disappointment, tragedy and Theo Douglas, and then it's over too quick—unless Theo wants to tell you about vintage Japanese motorcycle jackets, and then you can't welcome the sweet kiss of vile death quick enough. So, here we have these people in Irvine yammering and arguing and meeting about window heights, and at one time, they thought and spoke of love and beauty and joy and made love and danced—though probably geekily at their cousin Jocelyn's wedding, off-beat and biting their bottom lip . . . scratch that last one. The point is they were alive, and then something happens and suddenly the height of a window becomes the most important thing in your life and you talk it and walk it all the while ignoring that voice very deep inside you, imploring your brain to find the courage to jump out of your head and stab you repeatedly with a pick ax. Now that's Intelligent Design! Happy birthday, Jesus! The other thing it proves is what a magnificent bastard Bill Mavity is! Give 'em hell Mav'rick!

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