TUESDAY, JULY 24
There’s a traffic jam at the opening of the world’s newest freeway link, the 7.25-mile stretch of the 210 that connects San Bernardino and Rialto, a route which in Southern California’s romantic early days was known as "The Road to . . . No! Where?" Now, of course, the thoroughfare is being touted as the fastest way yet to get the hell out of San Bernardino and Rialto and into Los Angeles, which still sounds kinda old-timey romantic to me. Then again, I’m a sucker for the quaint and outdated sepia tones of history–and what is a freeway, if not quaint and outdated? The things were invented back in 1940! And as for sepia tones, well, just take a look at what color they’ve turned our air. The new 210 section completes a 59-year-old campaign by transportation officials to create a continuous freeway along the Inland Empire’s northern foothills. That means they came up with the plan in 1948. Know what else was getting people excited in 1948? The first color newsreel (of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl), a show called Toast of the Town (later, The Ed Sullivan Show) and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which went to the guy who discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT. Celebrating a new freeway makes about as much sense as celebrating a new rotary-dial telephone.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25
Last week’s study by UC Riverside professor Karthick Ramakrishnan–the one that revealed IE residents to be the most politically and civically apathetic in California–suddenly makes sense. Ramakrishnan’s interviews found that barely half of eligible voters closely follow the current presidential campaign, fewer than 20 percent attended a public political meeting in the past year, and fewer than 16 percent served as a volunteer. Ramakrishnan concluded that it’s all the new residents–who aren’t yet committed to the IE–that are driving down political and civic participation. But I say it’s driving, period. Every-damn-body is on the freeway commuting to and from work. Thank you. Thank you very much.
THURSDAY, JULY 26
Apparently, I’m the last person in the world to be cued in to Sunday’s blog entry by San Bernardino Sun sports columnist Paul Oberjuerge, who weighed in on the boinkworthiness of colleague Christine Daniels of the Los Angeles Times. Daniels, the former Mike Penner, recently came out as a woman, and Oberjuerge basically ran her physical attributes through his Wiener-Meter and announced that he wouldn’t want to do her–although, we all know how that goes. Wasn’t it Shakespeare who said, "The lame-brain doth protest too much, methinks"? Oberjuerge may have revealed more than he wanted about himself when he spoke authoritatively of the can’t-tell-the-difference ways of what he called "veteran transsexuals." The item was petty and (by his own admission) cruel, but ultimately pretty inconsequential–I mean, Paul Oberjuerge? Yet, beneath it all, I could sense somebody who knows what it’s like to awkwardly wrestle with the painful process of being true to who he really is. Because I’ve known Oberjuerge for a long time, from back in the days when he began to go bald . . . well, OK, not that long; I didn’t go to high school with him, or anything. But certainly since his early 20s, when he already had one of the worst comb-overs ever. Knowing he was bald but not feeling free enough to go out in public that way, well, it had to fuck with his soul. And now to see Christine Daniels so happy and free and accepted–and as always, so much better a writer. Awww, Paul. Need a hug?
FRIDAY, JULY 27
Sales clerk Jeffery Lee Cook, Jr., is arrested at the Promenade Mall in Temecula, where he works in a kiosk selling belts, buckles, clothing–and, apparently, marijuana. "It takes a bold–and foolish–individual to think he can get away with running an illegal business in the middle of a busy mall," says Riverside County Sheriff’s Det. Tim Brause. In other news, sales drop dramatically at the Promenade Mall food court.
SATURDAY, JULY 28
SUNDAY, JULY 29
Spain’s Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France, although by the time you read this (remember, it took four days for the drug test of last year’s winner, Floyd Landis of Temecula–and no, he was nowhere near the Promenade Mall on Friday–to come back positive for testosterone), the title may have been passed to second place Cadel Evans of Australia . . . or third place Levi Leipheimer of the U.S. . . . or fourth place . . .
MONDAY, JULY 30
Sitting here studying Paul Oberjuerge’s mug shot and realizing that he might not be a bad looking woman, you know, if he put on a little lipstick and let his hair . . . oh yeah, sorry.