The Rundown

Posted September 17, 2009 in News


Back from Labor Day, which didn’t seem so special this year—what’s the big deal about a day off when you don’t have a job?



It’s 9-9-09, which brings to mind “Revolution 9” off  The Beatles “White Album,” which at 8 minutes and 15 seconds is the longest-ever Beatles song, and which, when played backward, sounds like “turn me on dead man,” which reminds me that 9-9-09, when looked at upside down, is 6-6-6. That’s what it brings to my mind, anyway. 



Pharaoh’s Theme and Water Park, the defunct fun center that since 2006 has been putting shit-eating grins on the seriously defunked-up faces of the thousands and thousands of kids who attended its raves, again becomes the property of its original owner, the Aladdin Entertainment Group LLC. San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Warner denies Shavand Aryana—the dude who’s been putting on the raves—of his claim to Pharaoh’s, and Aladdin’s attorney, Rima Badawiya chips in that “Aryana, along with his various corporate entities . . . have been unlawfully occupying the premises.” Delbert Braswell, a part-owner of Aladdin, unsuccessfully tried to retake the park by force March 11, showing up at the front gates with a group of armed security guards, but the Redlands Planning Commission revoked Pharaoh’s conditional use permit on June 23. Aryana is abandoning his appeal of the Planning Commission decision to the Redlands City Council; instead, he’s headed for court. Meanwhile, there’s talk that Aladdin will reopen “a new and improved Pharaoh’s” in the near future. All in all, great news, although personally I couldn’t care less whether the kids who play at Pharaohs are using water slides or water pipes. I just don’t want this saga to end.



Ottillia “Toots” Bier! Ottillia “Toots” Bier! Ottillia “Toots” Bier! You hear that chant a lot at this time of year during chug-a-lugs in the ol‘ frat house as beloved Greek brothers rev themselves up for the homoerotic sadomasochism that passes for the rite of passage known as Rush Week. But it’s also a byline in Riverside’s The Press-Enterprise, where Ottillia “Toots” Bier writes a gardening column—and, in fact, calls herself The Master Gardener, which I think is also part of the dominant-submissive component of most Greek initiation ceremonies. Typically, pledges are asked some obscure question, then are punished—usually some manner of genital torture, as I remember it—when they can’t come up with the answer. This year’s question, according to this week’s column by Ottillia “Toots” Bier: My orange tree has lots of leaves with squiggly lines and rumpled leaves. Do you know what is wrong with it? The answer: An infestation by the citrus leafminer. That’s good to know, although in the spirit of the initiation, not that good. “The bad news,” writes Ottillia “Toots” Bier, “is there is little the home gardener can do to prevent citrus leafminer infestations.” Of course, that’s not the worst news for the poor pledges. Not even close.



In a calm and reasoned editorial, The Press-Enterprise takes a stand against the “strip shows and drunken revelry” that it says have been turning California’s desert playgrounds into red-light districts . . . and which, I gotta admit, I did not know about. Fortunately, the journalistically solid P-E points out that the Bureau of Land Management is taming adult entertainment and rowdy partying at the Imperial Sand Dunes—also known as Glamis—where “thousands of people would gather at campouts, with nudity, drunkenness and even mobile stripper shows.” Good thing I read further, because the P-E reports that the crackdown has pushed the debauchery to Dumont Dunes, north of Baker. Terrible! Of course, no self-respecting journalist would accept this report without doing some personal fact-checking.



OK, give me a 100 for fact-checking. Self respect? Not so much.



More than 2,000 pounds of Butcher Boy frozen burritos—hey, why be so vague: exactly 2,268 pounds of the red chile beef and bean ones—have been recalled because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. That’s troubling, and not only because they were made in Riverside. What’s worse is that Butcher Boy is a brand of Windsor Foods, which is based in Houston, Texas. Worse yet is that Windsor Foods is blaming the problem on an unspecified third-party warehouse where the burritos were being kept before being delivered to retailers—every partygoer knows that by the time you get to the third one, you by all means never eat the burritos. But what’s worst—for me, anyway—is that the problem is Listeria monocytogenes. I always include a cup or so of them in my burrito recipe. Guess that explains the fevers, severe headaches, neck stiffness and nausea as well as miscarriages, stillbirths and in some cases, fatal infections that always seem to bring an early end to my parties. On the bright side, I’d always thought it was me.


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