TUESDAY, JUNE 10
After driving the same way to work for so long, it’s been weird for Jack H. Brown—the head man at Stater Bros., headquartered in Colton for 43 years—to drive to the company’s new headquarters in San Bernardino. No, I mean weird, as in disturbing. “My first week at the new place in San Bernardino, my car kept pulling me back toward Colton,” Brown tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “I had to say, ‘No, no Jack, we’re at the new place now.’” If anybody can get a word in edgewise between all Brown’s talking to himself, would somebody please tell this guy that his car is waaaay overdue for an alignment?
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11
A chest cold in June?
THURSDAY, JUNE 12
They’re trying to improve the cages where they keep the kids at Riverside Juvenile Hall in Indio, but in the meantime only the kids are getting cagier. While officials stumble over themselves trying to plug the leaks in the dilapidated 60-year-old jail, more and more of the inmates—the official name for them is “ward”—are escaping. A 17-year-old boy who escaped eight weeks ago is found today hiding in an apartment. He’d gotten out by hiding behind a trashcan as the rest of his class returned to quarters from an open recreation yard. Last October, five boys attacked a guard and scaled a fence. Last Friday, a kid just walked out of the nearby Van Horn detention center. Not to worry. Officials just put up some new razor wire and they’ve got $5.2 million in upgraded fencing, cameras and lighting coming. That oughtta keep those darn kids off our lawns!
FRIDAY, JUNE 13
This is Big Bear High School, so of course the name of the beloved counselor who is retiring today after 34 years is Kathy Motherspaw. And naturally, some of the many students and colleagues and relatives whose lives she touched over those many years come back to pay tribute to the woman they’ve affectionately known as “Mama Bear.” Well, if they haven’t been calling her that, they should have—it’s the perfect nickname. Most memorably, David Bumstead—once a student and now a teacher at Big Bear High—recalls the year the football team enrolled in Mama Bear’s home economics class—eating a lot, but continuing to cook and cook and cook. By semester’s end, everybody was pretty sick of porridge. Papa Bear is there, showing there are no hard feelings after the divorce, although people wonder whether he really had to bring his new trophy wife. Goldilocks comes, too, which nobody can understand, after all these years still uncomfortably chagrined—and as a matter of fact, still a registered sex offender—because of that incident in Baby Bear’s bed. Baby Bear cannot make it, though—he’s in rehab, again—and kind of ironically can’t get a day pass from his counselors. But somebody smoothes it over by making a joke about counselors and how Mama Bear could probably relate, and everybody gives a perfunctory laugh and quickly moves on.
SATURDAY, JUNE 14
No, those middle-aged guys are not “packing quite a pup-tent there,” and they will not pardon the expression. As a matter of fact, those are rockets in their pockets—and they’re happy to see you out on this dry lakebed in the Lucerne Valley. It’s the second day of ROCstock, the 27th semi-annual celebration of long, cylindrical things that blast off. All weekend long, amateur rocketry enthusiasts are launching all kinds of phalluses into flight in an event sponsored by the Rocketry Organization of California (ROC). Most participants report an increasingly heightened feeling of excited anticipation as launch time approaches, a feeling of ecstasy at liftoff, followed by a nearly irresistible desire to roll over and go to sleep.
SUNDAY, JUNE 15
The fans have turned on the celebrities who have been coming out in droves to be seen courtside for the Lakers-Celtics showdown in the National Basketball Association finals. The fans are blaming the Lakers poor performances on the fact that Justin Timberlake, Andy Garcia and Denzel Washington aren’t cheering loudly enough. Yeah, that’s it. Expect Kobe Bryant to ask for them to be traded after the season.
MONDAY, JUNE 16
The news that Reel Big Fish is the headliner for this week’s Warped Tour kickoff show in Pomona kind of underscores what a small pond that music festival has become. The Time Warped Tour is more like it. Nothing against Reel Big Fish, who were great when I saw them open for the four surviving members of the Sex Pistols the year Johnny Rotten reformed them for their official sellout, aptly named the Filthy Lucre Tour. But that was 1996! Matter of fact, I saw Reel Big Fish one more time that year—at the Warped Tour! So, all these years later, they’re headlining again? What, Neil Young wasn’t available? Actually, I think he was on the bill at that 1996 Warped Tour, too. Anybody for an Oingo Boingo reunion? I know, me neither.