Google Dolls

The other day, while getting the website that mirrors your favorite OC alt.-weekly pub ready for ya'all, Clockworken noticed something interesting upon opening Gustavo Arellano's popular column !Ask a Mexican! (Special Cesar Chavez Edition). Along the top of the virtual page was a Google advertisement inside a rectangular box, but upon opening El Mex the copy inside changed. Gone were the previous product-hawking sites, which we can't recall at this moment due to a weekend spent swimming with a worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle, but we do recall the new text, which directed readers to sites to trace your ancestry, read a Pew Trust analysis on how many people are trying to migrate to the U.S. legally, and . . . wait for it . . . save our borders!!! Yep, just pop into the Stop Illegal Immigrants site, sign the online petition in their knuckle-scarred clutches and our borders will be saved. This seemed very odd to us here in the left-leaning, let-'em-all-in advocatin' world of OC alt.-weekly journalism (at least pre-New Times OC alt.-weekly journalism; who knows where the hell we stand now?). Seeing that ad proved to be such a rib-tickler that we stuck our head out the door, shouted out into the newsroom, "Got an important call," shut the door and pretended to actually do real work, when what we really did was spend the next coupla hours seeing what other interesting advertising Googlizations got attached to this week's batch of Weekling articles.

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Some matches were as you'd expect. A link to a site that shares the secrets of getting sponsored by a skateboard company came up with Theo Douglas' story on the Placebo Skateboard (which you can either skate in the water or surf on land; we never did quite figure that out, which ain't Theo's fault. Comprehendin's hard!). Douglas' Trendzilla column on tattooist Ed Don Hardy or Don Ed Hardy or Laurel & Hardy (see comprehendin's hard!) having his style Von Dutchitized drew links to sites hawking tattoos, tee shirts, a tattoo eBook and Orange County Choppers swag. Links to Nirvana mp3s, posters and boxed sets came up with the music feature on Dale Crover (no Melvins or Altamont, though), while Rex Reason's Hits! column, which lists the top sellers at a rotating roster of record shops, directed readers to underground Hip Hop, free Hippity-Hop downloads and "luxury velor sets." 'Cause that's how we roll in Irvine, yo!
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There were some surprises. Steve Lowery's Diary of a Mad County, which recounts the week that was, had links to sweaters, wool socks and jobs for on- and off-duty cops. That had us scratching our time-winder until we actually read Lowery's column for a change: his first item was on the Long Beach Police Department and the second mused on how we should dress in this age of global warming. Arellano's not going to like this, but among the ads accompanying his This-Hole-in-the-Wall dining column on 369 Shanghai restaurant were ones offering a free Red Lobster dinner, Rachel Ray cookbooks and $100 worth of free fried chicken from KFC Online Reward Center. Scott Foundas' Q&A with Albert Brooks included links to buy tape recorders or hire magicians like DePalma, Rod Reyes and Jersey Jim. The story began with Brooks asking Foundas if he was recording their chat (he was), but there is no mention in the piece of a magician, although there is a reference to Brooks' lame ventriloquist act in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.


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We hoped something shocking would come up whenever we called up the Savage Love sex-advice column, but all we got the 47 times we tried (one handed!) was a plea to help Hurricane Katrina victims. Stupid, stupid Hurricane Katrina victims, messing up our jollies-gettin'-offin'! Of course, the hurricane did BLOW into town, and Savage-advice seekers do their fair share of . . . okay, even the Great DePalma wouldn't repeat that one. No, the biggest shocker of all came with Commie Girl. It linked to a Santa Monica dance club, blended iced coffees, a bartender school and All About "You" Events. That's not the surprise, because like most of Rebecca Schoenkopf's extremely well-read, back-of-the-book columns, this one dealt with drinking, socializing and All About "You" Events, if by "You" you mean "Rebecca Schoenkopf." No, the shocker was the Google ad that ran down the side of her column for Rabbi Tsatreer Lev, "a conservative rabbi for your Bris." This was one of the few Commie Girls where Rebecca did not mention she's half Jewish; how the heck did the Google-izer know?


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