Sunday's Headlines & Surprises

  • John Wayne and the Grey, er, Wild Goose: Greg Aragon reports that John Wayne's 1942 yacht, Wild Goose, remains a work horse tour boat for Hornblower Cruises & Events in the area and that the long dead actor's spiritual presence is aboard. (If dying doesn't change bad habits, I presume he's still inhaling cigarettes and liquor while coughing up pro-Nixon platitudes.) Aragon writes that “soon after [Wayne] died [in 1979], his ghostly image was reportedly seen numerous times aboard the vessel.” Others say it's not just a visual spook but an ecologically insensitive and possibly felonious, 180-proof spirit. One source said she "hasn't seen any ghosts, but the lights turn on and off by themselves on the yacht and a fire ax fell off the wall and landed next to me one night." Before Wayne's ownership, the boat was commissioned as a U.S. Navy minesweeper for patrols in the Aleutian Islands during WW2, according to Aragon. Footnote: Its sistership was the famed Calypso used by sea explorer Jacques Cousteau.
  • No, we're watching you, girl: Dena Bunis, Washington, D.C. correspondent for Freedom Communications, Inc., wrote an 1,100-word article detailing how Orange County's congressional representatives earmark loads of federal spending into pork. This subject is a particular pet peeve in conservative circles--or, at least, it is in theory. Interesting story, except for one glaring problem. Who is the biggest porker? Well, hands down it's self-described libertarian-leaning Dana Rohrabacher (R-Hypocritesville). Get this: He's earmarked . . . ready? . . . $7.8 trillion! Yet in a story dedicated to OC earmarks, Bunis oddly failed to identify who is King Oinker or to get his explanation. For example, Rohrabacher sought a whopping $750,000 in taxpayer funds for some project called "Working Wardrobes" in Fountain Valley. Why is there no Reg editorial on their pal's gross porkisms? Oh, surely coincidentally, the congressman is a former Freedom Communications employee at the Register. Bunis, who has a long history of flacking for Dana, ended her piece with this hollow threat to the congressional delegation: "We'll be watching."
  • Full local bus service said to resume next week: The Orange County Transportation Authority bus driver strike has cost union drivers nearly $1.6 million in lost wages, but both sides allegedly came to an agreement this weekend, according to the Reg. OCTA spokesman Ted Nguyen told the paper that the new contract is “worth $18.2 million in pay raises and benefits over three years.” Meanwhile, Daily Pilot editors side with the bus drivers: "One thing's for sure: It didn't have to happen. Keep in mind, the tentative agreement means a less than 4% annual raise for all drivers. The authority dropped the ball on this one . . . It didn't have to come to this.” The deal is not yet formally done, though.
  • Sickos: “Nine close-up, color images of the remains of the Porsche,” with 18-year-old Nicole “Nikki” Catsouras still strapped in the driver's seat splashed on the Internet after last Halloween's fatal two-car collision on the 241 toll road near Lake Forest, reports Greg Hardesty. Officials with the California Highway Patrol have apologized to the Catsouras family, but declined to explain how the photographs appeared on 2,000 websites worldwide. That move didn't satisfy the Ladera Ranch family. After private negotiations fell apart, they've decided to sue for $20 million because “an apology isn't good enough.” Nicole, who was sober, took her father's Porsche without permission and drove more than 100 mph before she crashed into another vehicle and a toll booth. She was decapitated
  • Where to tell visitors from Riverside & San Bernardino to swim today: They clog our highways on the weekends in desperate trips to mob our fine shores. They tailgate. They illegally park. They mad dog locals like they're trying out for a rap video. Then, in a final insult, they leave their trash on the beaches where they'd gathered like hungry ants. The litter collection is always impressive: jumbo-sized potato chip bags, cans, candy bar wrappers, orange peels, apple cores, uneaten grapes, cigarette butts, broken toys, oddly discarded clothing, empty lotion bottles, pizza boxes--even used needles. So please send our friends to two beaches: Doheny's north beach in Dana Point and Poche Beach (not far from President Nixon's old estate) in San Clemente. Public restroom toilet water after a Rolling Stones concert is cleaner than those two spots at the moment, according to recent testing.
  • Return of the web rodents: Yesterday, I asserted that the Register's often impenetrable maze of a website was designed by six intoxicated MIT lab rats during the 1970s. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd unfairly insulted the rats. It's Sunday, you know. But six friggin times already today I've gotten this message: “The page you have requested was not found.” Dear folks on Grand Avenue: If you're going to publish a headline link, is it too much trouble to supply the story? Also, why does your search engine continue to suck?
  • Huntington Beach athlete nears Major League Baseball deal: Columnist Mark Whicker has a good story about Collin Balester who could be close to playing for the Washington Nationals franchise. According to Whicker, the 21-year-old--who stands 6-foot-3 and throws a 95-mile-per-hour fast ball--was recently promoted to the club's Triple-A club in Columbus. And the Nationals play the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 27-29... Have I told you about the jinx I've had on the Dodgers since they traded Mike Piazza to the New York Mets nine years ago? With phenomenal frequency, I can stop on a game while channel surfing and the first play I'll see is either a hit or home run for the opponents or a strike or an out for the Dodgers. Las Vegas sports bookies could make even more of a killing if they knew my clicker moves in advance.
  • Hearts of fire creates love desire: The Grammy-award winning band Earth, Wind and Fire performs tonight at the Pacific Amphitheatre as part of the Lexus Summer Concert Series. Just remember that the obnoxious woman in front of you could be Sheriff Mike Carona's wife. 100 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Tickets are $29.50 to $65. Call (714) 740-2000 or get scalped at www.ticketmaster.com.
  • And finally, a little known fact: I'm told the phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb. See the fun facts you can learn covering criminal trials?
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