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Observed at the "Dancing Fountains," The Grove, November 17, 2004, from 3:03 P.M. To 4:03 P.M., In Order of Rank:

Designer Jeans With a Funny and/or Disconcerting Fade: ¾ of all shoppers

Grown Women Dressed Like Teenage Girls: 34

Grown Men Dressed Like Teenage Girls: 24

Sets of Breast Implants: 24 (of which 15 belonged to GWDLTG)

Couples in Similar and/or Matching Outfits: 22

Designer Sunglasses With a Conspicuously Large Label: 18

Anything Sort of Tracksuit-ish: 18

Pregnant/Non-Pregnant "Cool & Hip!!!" Moms: 15

Babies Dressed Like Eastside Hipsters: 12

Uggs/Mucklucks: 11

Funny Non-Trucker Hats: 10

Future Wife of Jon Alain Guzik: 6 (2 of whom I think worked at J.Crew)

Anything Terrycloth: 6

Fat Dudes in Sports Gear: 5

Passé Trucker Hats: 4

Couples With Both Parties on Cell Phone: 4

Dogs in Sweaters: 3

—Jon Alain Guzik

8 Alley Shortcuts

Melrose: The small intestine of West Hollywood alleys, this bumpy stretch just south of Melrose from Fairfax High to La Brea (.8 miles) is a Saturday winner if you want to avoid the main drag’s clusters of overweight 13-year-olds consuming 60-ounce beverages while strolling ever so slowly in dirty platform flip-flops. (Nightmare.)

Doheny: Go north off Carmelita, north of Melrose just west of Doheny, and this dark, high-walled alley will take you all the way up to Sunset. The bright lights there are visible from the beginning of the journey a half-mile away — it’s like seeing heaven!

Robertson: West of Robertson, the alley from Alden to Burton Way offers a speedy alternative to rush-hour and weekend traffic. Great if you’re in a race for parking; bad if you like to see and be seen.

Fairfax: Start at the parking lot right behind Eat-a-Pita and head south, south, south past that annoying pedestrian free-for-all near Canter’s. You get all of the neighborhood’s flavor and none of its hassles.

Beverly Boulevard: At Croft, south of Beverly, take the alley all the way to the gas station at Fairfax. There’s even an alley intersection — to avoid the Farmers Market traffic make a right on the alley paralleling Fairfax and you’re good all the way to Wilshire.

Wilshire in Beverly Hills: Another small-intestine alley, this long one-way ride starts south of Wilshire at Beverly Drive and takes you east down to Clark. Along the way, tons of north/south alleys that parallel most of the streets in the stretch — Cañon, Rexford, Oakhurst — offshoot from the main artery and make up an impressive alternative network.

The Fairfax/Olympic/San Vicente mindfuck: Not necessarily a frequent-use alley, but good to know about. Behind Starbucks and Shakey’s, this one connects Fairfax/Olympic to Fairfax/San Vicente, essentially making a nifty triangle that connects the three. It’s a gem.

Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills: The autobahn of L.A. alleys begins around the 500 block of Sierra, just north of Santa Monica Boulevard. Aside from the median strip at Rodeo, this lush alley — thank you, Beverly Hills taxpayers — will take you down to Wilshire. Renata Faiman, 23, sums up the alley commuter’s attitude, scoffing at those who think Carmelita is a golden ticket: "Carmelita Shmarmelita. It’s got all those stop signs! In the alley, you just cruise right through."

—Elizabeth Arnold

26 Clubs To Join

1. Afro-American Quilters of Los Angeles

2. Bunker Hill Stamp Club

3. California Rare Fruit Growers, West Los Angeles

4. Coalition To Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

5. Cowboy Lawyers Association

6. Fifty Men With One Accord

7. Free Arts for Abused Children

8. Friends of the Los Angeles River

9. Golden State Chinese Shar-Pei Club

10. Habitat for Humanity, Los Angeles

11. Hole in One for Life

12. In the Meantime Men’s Group

13. Iranian Dental Association

14. Kooli Indian Association

15. L.A. Classic Chevy Club

16. Los Angeles Mycological Society

17. Pacific Palisades Stamp Club

18. Pagan Pride Los Angeles

19. Sisters in Crime

20. Socialist Party of Southern California

21. Southern California Transit Advocates

22. Southern California War Tax Resistance

23. Students for Teaching Ethical Awareness Through Movies

24. Virtuous Woman Under Construction

25. Watts Labor Community Action Committee

26. World Future Society, Greater Los Angeles Futurist

—Kate Wolf

Top 10 Numbers

1. 4

2. 3

3. 7

4. 2

5. 8

6. 1

7. 10

8. 9

9. 5

10. 6

—Anne Fishbein

Top 4 March-On-Washington T-shirts

1. This Is What a Feminist Looks Like

2. The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own

3. Surgeon General’s Warning: This Administration May Be Hazardous to Women’s Health

4. Get Your Bush Out of My Bush

—Nora Zelevansky

6 Wonderful Bush Judicial Nominees and Appointments Full Court Press By Judith Lewis

"The Senate has confirmed 201 of [Bush’s] judicial nominees, more than the per-term averages for Presidents Clinton, Reagan, and Bush senior. Senate Republicans blocked more than 60 of Clinton’s nominees; Senate Democrats have blocked only 10 of Bush’s. (Those 10, by the way, got exactly what they deserved. Some of them . . . rank among the worst judicial appointments ever attempted.)"

—The New Yorker’s editors, November 1, 2004

Below is a partial list of the Bush administration’s more provocative nominees and "recess appointments" — judges given temporary appointments while the Senate is not in session — to federal courts in 2004:

William Myers III: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco. Myers has little courtroom experience, was rated "not qualified" for a judicial post by the American Bar Association (ABA), and has spent most of his 23-year career lobbying against environmental protections on behalf of developers and coal companies — whose cases often end up in the Western states’ 9th Circuit. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to confirm Myers’ nomination in April 2004; only a Democratic filibuster has so far blocked his confirmation.

Charles Pickering: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, New Orleans. A Mississippi oil baron, Pickering is the father of Charles "Chip" Pickering Jr., a four-term U.S. congressman and a House Energy Committee member who is also a partner in Dad’s energy business. Pickering lost a Senate vote in October 2003, but in January was given a recess appointment to the 5th Circuit, which hears cases from three oil-rich states.

Claude Allen: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Richmond, Virginia. Second in command at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2001, Allen has promoted the use of federal tax dollars to fight sex education, limit reproductive rights, and promote abstinence in the schools. Until 1995, however, he was an energy-industry lawyer, working for Houston law firm Baker Botts, which keeps an office open in Riyadh. The Virginia-based Allen received the lowest passing rating from the ABA. His appointment was blocked before, but Allen was renominated in January 2004. His confirmation is pending.

Thomas B. Griffith: District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. A member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and former lead counsel for the Senate during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, Griffith was found to have been practicing law in Utah without a license for the last four years as general counsel for Brigham Young University. He also let his license lapse while on the job in Washington from 1998 to 2000. Griffith received the lowest possible passing grade from the ABA for judicial nominees. He was nominated on May 10; his confirmation is pending, but in peril.

William H. Pryor Jr.: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atlanta. As Alabama attorney general, Pryor filed an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas urging the Supreme Court to uphold Texas’ law banning same-sex sodomy on the grounds that such sexual freedom would necessarily extend to "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia." He has been quoted often on Roe v. Wade, recalling with horror "the day seven members of our highest court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children." He also opposed a Supreme Court ruling that said tying prisoners to hitching posts was cruel and unusual. Despite opposition in the Senate, President Bush recess-appointed Pryor on February 20.

William Haynes II: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Richmond, Virginia. As the top lawyer for the Defense Department, Haynes drew up the "enemy combatant" doctrine, which cleared the way for citizens to be held indefinitely without access to a lawyer on the president’s orders. (The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled in the case of Jose Padilla that the doctrine overran the president’s "constitutional authority.") Haynes’ trial experience is meager, but he did supervise a team of lawyers who argued that bombing an island in the Northern Marianas would enhance bird watchers’ pleasure because people "get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one." His confirmation is pending.

Top 5 Sandwiches I Invented in 2004

1. The Yul Brynner: tongue and Swiss on challah

2. The Dick Cheney: pimiento loaf and American cheese on low-carb toast

3. The Jacques Derrida: garlic roast pork, coppa venezianna, sopresatta, mesclun greens, olive oil, vinegar on a bed of rapini, served open-face on a warm and yeasty rustic bâtarde

4. The Dubya: Cajun turkey, mesquite turkey, rotisserie turkey, lemon turkey, cracked-pepper turkey, honey turkey, honey maple turkey, honey molasses turkey, smoked turkey, extra mayonnaise on roasted communion wafers

5. The John F. Kerry: corned beef and oven-roasted ham on a French roll with all the fixings. Eat this and the deli closes down for good.

—Jon Alain Guzik

11 Villains 2004

Count OlafPhoto by Francois Duhamel

1. Lemony Snicket’s Evil Count Olaf. He is a master of disguise and is not averse to murdering small orphaned children for money.

2. Harry Potter’s Dementors. With their creepy flowy black robes, they’re like Death, only scarier and with no sense of humor. They suck the happiness right out of you. Chocolate is the only cure.

3. Avian Influenza Virus H5N1. We ran out of flu vaccine this year. We developed a phobia for chickens.

4. Alien vs. Predator. Predator has brains, but Alien has acid for blood.

5. Spyware. It’s on your computer, stealing your name, memorizing your passwords, logging your keystrokes, reading your e-mails, taking pictures of your desktop.

6. Zombies. They walk, they run, they moan, they eat the flesh of the living. And they have poor hygiene. Could one be more cursed?

7. Janice Dickinson, "world’s first supermodel" and judge on America’s Next Top Model. If Joan Rivers and Simon Cowell mated, this used-up runway trash-talker would be their unholy media-whore spawn.

8. American soldiers at Abu Ghraib. Oh wait, you said do not torture the prisoners? These joes put the "terror" in "interrogate."

9. Catholic pedophile priests. Thank heaven for little boys.

10. Obesity. The fastest-growing cause of disease and death in the U.S. today, killing 300,000 annually (to tobacco’s 430,000). Fat is a link in the chain that goes from obesity to diabetes to heart disease to death.

11. Mad cows. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy? That was sooo 2003. Until a crazy cow tipped over in June, and then again in November.

—Gendy Alimurung

Best New Drugs Advertised on Television

1. The one that makes the lady ride a bicycle.

2. The one that makes the egg smile at the butterfly.

3. The time-release penis-turgidity enabler covered by most insurance plans.

4. The one that prevents euphoria in a lovely meadow.

5. The one that Jesus recommends, despite side effects that include headache, shortness of breath, diarrhea, liver damage, dependency, impotence, coma, breast cancer, cremation and divorce.

6. The pretty, shiny one.

7. The great-tasting one that requires no prescription and kills more than all the others combined.

—Dave Shulman

5 Reasons Why People From L.A. Make Fun of O.C.

1. The drive from L.A. to O.C. is worse than having your teeth ground down to the gum line, then gargling with cold Pepsi.

2. Even the ocean is boring down there, and all the houses and apartments have the same dull pinkish-grayish color. There must be only one can of paint.

3. The guys all wear the same shorts, and the girls all wear the same denim skirts pulled half-way down their asses.

4. Punk rock and SUVs don’t mix.

5. Mickey Mouse is an asshole.

5 Reasons Why People From L.A. Keep Going Back to O.C.

1. From L.A. you have to drive through there to get to Tijuana.

2. The air smells like ClingFree.

3. The panhandlers are less aggressive.

4. It’s nice having battleships guarding your beaches.

5. Oranges are one of the better fruits — Melon County just doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

—Peter Fletcher

10 names for Kush strains smoked by Eastsiders like Snoop Dogg and B-Real

(Kush is not your normal hippie lettuce; this stuff, grown along the Hindu Kush mountain range, is potent stuff — see the film Alexander.)

10. Big Skunk X Korean

9. Black Domina

8. Skunk 11

7. Early Skunk

6. White Giant

5. Master Kush

4. Power Skunk

3. Critical Mass

2. White Widow

1. Kryptomania

—Ben Quiñones

2004 Fashion Trends We’ll Regret By 2006

1. Uggs (short for "ugly")

2. Woven ponchos

3. Gummy Hermés bags

4. Sequined mesh slippers (they’re insanely cheap for a reason)

5. "4 More Years" T-shirts

6. Bangs

7. Leg warmers, oversized plastic earrings, and everything else that crept back from the ’80s

8. $50 T-shirts

9. Culottes

10. Initial bags, purses, wallets, belts blah blah blah

11. Juicy Couture jumpsuits (especially the J-Lo version, inscribed on the ass)

12. Von Dutch. Anything Von Dutch.

13. Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. Le Sport Sac

14. Excessive spray tans

15. Uggs (Again. It’s time to let them go!)

—Nora Zelevansky


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