Posted October 3, 2007 in News


The Palm Springs Desert Sun takes the weird trend in interactive newspapering—which, basically, assigns journalists to make news instead of reporting it—to an especially weird place by posing this question in one of today’s headlines: What’s it like when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian? The story goes on to ask more questions: Have you ever gotten hit by a vehicle while crossing a street? Have you ever struck someone who was crossing outside a crosswalk? Do you know anyone who’s been involved in a vehicle versus pedestrian incident? If so, reporter Colin Atagi ( wants you to contact him. See, that’s a lot easier than leaving the office and doing the footwork himself. A lot safer, too. Colin could get hit by a car. Or drive over somebody. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Hell, it’d be an awesome interactive story!



Hot Dog On A Stick celebrates its 61st anniversary by giving away free corn dogs—on free sticks—at all of its locations. This seems to me just another way to inconvenience and humiliate the hard-working mostly young women who are forced to wear ridiculous circus-colored smocks and hats as they serve up the corn dogs on the sticks, until I discover that Hot Dog On A Stick is the only fast-food chain that is 100 percent employee owned. And come to think of it, I learned about that back in college when we studied Karl Marx and I was assigned to read . . . oh, I can’t remember the title, exactly . . . but it was something like the Corndogmunist Mustardfesto. Meanwhile, the Animal Samaritans shelter in Thousand Palms is reducing the price of adopting adult cats to $30 through the end of June.



Parents of girls in an Apple Valley softball league picket outside the James A. Woody Community Center in the aftermath of a Saturday brawl among members of the White Sox and Dodgers—teams of 14- and 15-year-old girls . . . and some of their parents. The girls suffered cuts and bruises. White Sox team manager Maria Archuleta says that a 250-pound woman who was coaching for the other team picked up her 120-pound daughter, threw her on the ground and spat in her face. The protesting parents claim that the league doesn’t adequately protect their children, that games are insufficiently officiated and that there has been no attempt to get to the root of the problem—which appeared a few months ago during a previous game, and altercation, between the White Sox and Dodgers. One parent, Jimmy Blevins, notes that when the White Sox played against teams in Victorville and Adelanto, there were three adult umpires at every game. “Maybe,” Blevins suggests, “they should go see how Victorville runs things.” Maybe we all should.



As dawn, well, dawns on graduation day at UC Riverside, a palm tree is burning near the Life Sciences building. Weird, but not that big a deal on this campus—this is its fourth mysterious fire in a month. But then a couple of plastic bottles, filled with an unnamed flammable fuel, are discovered nearby. And then some sort of “suspicious device”—the official term of investigators; that’s why they go to investigator school—is found in a nearby planter. Meanwhile, a couple of threatening letters arrive, and campus officials decide to postpone some final exams and the graduation ceremonies of some 600 business administration students. What gives? Nobody seems to know. But while investigators scurry around, I go home and put on the DVD that came out this week, and somehow, a theory comes to me: What if, long ago, a superstar motorcycle stunt rider named . . . oh, let’s say, Johnny Blaze . . . made a deal with the devil to protect the ones he loved most: his father and his childhood sweetheart, Roxanne? And now, what if the devil has come for his due? So that by day Johnny is a die-hard stunt rider, but at night, in the presence of evil, he gets all fiery and becomes the Ghost Rider, a bounty hunter of rogue demons. And maybe he finds some at UCR, you know, amid all those business administration majors



For its traditional parting gift, Hemet High’s senior class of ‘07 gives the school a bronze sculpture of a bulldog. The students chose a bulldog because it is the school mascot. They chose bronze because it is durable. How durable? Just listen to sculptor Daniel Aronson of San Jacinto, a Hemet High alum: “Bronze never deteriorates. I believe it’s the gold standard of art right now.”






While drinking my morning latte at Starbucks—or maybe it was Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf . . . or Peet’s . . . or Seattle’s Best—I read that Wingstop is planning to open 10 more chicken-wing restaurants in the Inland Empire during the next two years, adding to the five it already has. It’s part of a plan to open 180 Wingstops in Southern California during the next five years. Wingstop, based in Texas, serves bone-in chicken wings and boneless wing strips in nine flavors in restaurants with a nostalgic, aviation-themed atmosphere. It recently announced that it had served its one-billionth chicken wing. We are such tools.   




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