Voters pick from the fruits, nuts

Oct 7, 2003 9:02 AM

All of what follows actually happened during the last week in the insane asylum next door, where the California gubernatorial campaign was winding down. None of this is made up.

Three women told the Los Angeles Times that The Gropinator had grabbed their breasts. A fourth said he had reached under her skirt. A fifth said he tried to strip off her bikini in an elevator. A sixth said he asked her if she were experienced in a particular sex act. The Gropinator, in response, said "Where there’s smoke there’s fire," did not specifically deny the accusations, and apologized "if I offended anyone." This was not a guy running for dogcatcher. It was a guy running for governor of the nation’s most populous state, the same guy who boasted about group sex and orgies in the gym years ago and now says it was just propaganda to build up body building emporiums. If he considers grabbing and propositioning merely "offending anyone," there are merry times ahead in the nuthouse.

One of the women who accused Musclebound of threatening to rape her was hooted and abused by his noisy supporters, who called her, among other things, a lesbian, presumably on grounds that anyone turning down an opportunity to consort with Muscles was either a lesbian or out of her mind.

While this was going on, a film producer who produced the documentary Pumping Iron ”” recalled that The Gropinator had said, at the time, that he admired Adolph Hitler, not because his own father was a Nazi but because Hitler "was a good speaker and what he did with it."

All of this might be amusing, but the shrieking crowds who greeted Muscles, disregarding all of the above, are downright scary, and so is the prospect ahead for California.

Also worth noting, along the campaign trail, was the appearance of self-proclaimed porn queen Mary Carey at an aptly named session called, "Are Californians Crazy," at which she promised, if elected, to keep bars and nightclubs open until 4 a.m. and put a tax on plastic surgery and breast implants. Compared to Gropinator’s ducking and dodging, Mary made sense.

While this was going on next door, the garbage collectors went on strike in Chicago.

This is not new in the east, of course, where garbage on the streets is part of the scene of "I Love New York," but it is revolutionary for Chicago, where the Daleys, father and son, have among other things kept Carl Sandberg’s City of Big Shoulders free of refuse for years. The current Daley said he will not intervene in the strike, but the city’s rats could change his mind if this thing drags on. One restaurant owner said she would store her garbage inside, because if she put it outside and the strike continued, "the rats would be like vultures."

There were bizarre development elsewhere.

In Louisiana, the state ”” faced with a loss of $6 million a year in federal highway construction money ”” finally capitulated in its fight against federal standards for alcohol blood testing of drivers. Louisiana, which has drive-through windows for daiquiris and until 1995 allowed drinking by 18-year-olds, didn’t want to restrict the partying nature of its residents, particularly Cajuns, but that $6 million in Washington money spoke up and the legislature conceded reluctantly. One Republican representative said he didn’t like the fact "that the federal government mandated us to do it," but said nothing about the government ostracizing, and in some cases like the Plame CIA leak, endangering the lives of people who don’t agree with its policies.

Finally, there was New Jersey, where a new law has been put on the books making it illegal to drive while drowsy. A survey showed 51% of motorists are in danger of violating the law, since they admitted feeling drowsy while driving, and 20% said they have fallen asleep while driving in the past year.

They should move to California. There is enough weirdness going on there to keep them awake and alert every minute of the day, wide-eyed and worrying about what the crazies there will do next.