TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
The Rialto City Council’s search for something good to say about the city reaches the absolute bottom of the barrel—that’s where Congressman Joe Baca lives . . . which turns out to be Rialto. Guess the guy’s got to live somewhere—it’s one of the requirements to be in Congress. But rather than keep it to themselves that they’ve got one of the most self-aggrandizing practitioners of political patronage living in their midst, the Rialto city council wants to brag about it—and use taxpayers’ dollars to do so. They’ve voted to spend $3,750 to buy 30 little “Home of Congressman Joe Baca” banners that will be attached to the “Welcome to Rialto” signs posted at the city limits. To emphasize their complete lack of shame—not to mention ethics—they’re doing it at the height of Baca’s campaign for re-election. That’s using public money to fund a partisan campaign. Listen to how little that bothers this Rialto city councilman: “I think it’s an honor to have a congressman live in your city,” says Joe Baca, Jr. Well, of course. It’s like they always say in Rialto—the bullshit doesn’t fall far from the horse’s ass. I believe that’s what they always say in Rialto. They should, anyway.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
The photo of comic-and-very-bad actor Andy Dick—charged with pulling down the blouse of a 17-year-old girl in Murrieta—that’s running on the Riverside Press-Enterprise website answers a question I’ve had for a very long time: Why don’t more accused criminals smile for their booking mug shots at the police station? Very, very disturbing.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
The mug shot of columnist-and-very-bad-food-eater Jeff Girod—even more disturbing than Dick’s—will no longer run in Riverside Press-Enterprise. After more than 800 columns, the self-proclaimed Fast Food Dude announces he is “moving on.” Not fast enough for some of us, although we still hope that his choice of words was not a reference to an intestinal event.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
David Foster Wallace, who among other things was an English professor at Pomona College, hangs himself in his Claremont home while his wife is out—leaving her to deal with the gruesome discovery of his dead and dangling body for the rest of her life. Not cool. Then again, there’s nothing cool about depression—Wallace had battled it for 20 years—notwithstanding all the romance we often attribute to suffering for art. Wallace was widely considered one of the greatest English-language novelists in history, but the novel that earned him that designation—Infinite Jest—was published 11 years ago. Even back then, with all that success, the greatest question in his life seemed to be whether it was worth the trouble. During an interview with Charlie Rose back then, Wallace revealed that “The people who most interest me now are people who are older and have been through a midlife crisis—they tend to get weird because the normal incentives for getting out of bed don’t tend to apply anymore.” He added that he wasn’t finding any incentives for getting out of bed, either. “But I’m also not getting ready to jump off a building or anything.” Tonight, apparently, he was finally ready.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
While settling in for the USC-Ohio State game, I decide to re-read Goodbye, Columbus. Thank you. Thank you very much.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Maybe they don’t have their names on “Welcome to Wherever” signs in any Inland Empire cities, but Ken Calvert and Jerry Lewis are on the new list of the “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” released annually by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Lewis (R-Redlands) is connected to an on-going federal investigation of the now-defunct Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton & White, which received millions of dollars through earmarks. Calvert (R-Corona) is involved in a land deal in Jurupa that a Riverside County grand jury has since concluded violated state law. Better luck next year, Baca!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Today’s helpful hints come from 27-year-old Wesley Brockway of Ontario, who tells us—and the court where he’s on trial—how to explain away hacking your friend nearly to death with a samurai sword up on Mt. Baldy. First, claim self defense, something like you were pepper sprayed in the face and struck in the head with a baseball bat by your friend, simply because you’d jokingly sprayed profane, derogatory graffiti all over the rocks near his cabin while you were drunk. Don’t forget to say your buddy reached for the samurai sword first. Explain that as you both struggled with the weapon, the sheath was pushed off—and that’s what caused the catastrophic wound to your friend’s left shoulder . . . and, okay, yeah, the numerous other gashes to his left arm and hand, too. Second, pray to whatever you call God that the jury buys it.