One of the penalties of last-minute Christmas buying--which I've developed to a fine art--is running out of time to complete my shopping list.
It's going to happen again this year. So here is a list of the Orange County Christmas gifts I wanted to send--and won't:
* To the Garden Grove City Council, which withdrew support from its fine Grove Theater Company (and its Shakespearean Festival): a short course in the humanities and a copy of the collected works of William Shakespeare.
* To Mike Port, general manager of the California Angels, who came back empty-handed from the baseball winter meeting: an annotated copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
* To the Democratic Party in Orange County: a legitimate candidate. Or two. Or three.
* To Mickey Mouse: a Dan Quayle watch.
* To Rep. William E. Dannemeyer: an embossed copy of the surgeon general's report on the transmission and treatment of AIDS, along with an autographed picture of Lyndon LaRouche, who also supported Prop. 106.
* To Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder, who forgot she hadn't graduated from college: a seminar in memory retention.
* To the UC Irvine administration: the Unequal Opportunity Award for compiling the worst record in the UC system for promotion of blacks and women.
* To former President Richard M. Nixon: a videotape of the ground-breaking ceremony in Yorba Linda to prove to him that someone has actually agreed to provide a site for his library.
* To Congressman-elect Dana Rohrabacher, just back from an unauthorized trip that stirred up the revolutionary brew in Burma: a one-way ticket to Rangoon.
* To the Santa Ana city administration: a heart, large enough to replace the belongings it confiscated from homeless citizens.
* To All-Star catcher Bob Boone: that extra dollar he took to leave the Angels for Kansas City.
* To county GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes, accused of intimidating Latino voters: a weekend in a Santa Ana barrio--without his security guards.
* To Rep. Robert K. Dornan: a pass to the United Nations gallery, wrapped in an autographed copy of President-elect George Bush's statement that no congressmen are being considered for appointive jobs--including U.N. ambassador--in the Bush Administration.
* To Sally Dornan: an introduction to her brother.
* To the ghost of John Wayne: 2 minutes alone in a room with the men who beat up his daughter.
* To Donald Bren: an autographed picture of Joan Irvine Smith.
* To the National Rifle Assn.: a bill for the cost--borne by local taxpayers--of treating people wounded by handguns.
* To Henry Segerstrom, whom voters denied the right to build Orange County's first skyscraper: an erector set, so he can build his own high-rise at home.
* To each customer of Orange County's record number of failed savings and loans: a wall safe.
* To the architects who misjudged the cost of the new John Wayne Airport passenger terminal by $6 million or so: a course in remedial math.
* To Harold W. Ezell, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service regional commissioner, whose zeal to track down suspected illegal immigrants has led his agents into a church and other buildings: a dash of humility, a smidgen of doubt and a soupcon of restraint.
* To former South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, a resident of Huntington Beach: a swagger stick, to preserve his image.
* To the comfortable citizens of Orange County (including me) who, according to pollster Mark Baldassare, have one of the worst ratios in the nation of income to contributions to charitable causes: the Bah Humbug Award.
* To the U.S. Navy: a truckload of concrete blocks to tie onto the next batch of chemical vials and medical waste it chooses to dump at sea--so the stuff doesn't wash ashore on Orange County beaches.
* And, finally, to Santa Claus himself: a devout plea that he not listen to those progressive reformers who want him to add wheels to his sleigh to facilitate getting around places like Orange County that don't have snow. If Santa Claus ever got on one of our freeways on Christmas Eve, he would still be delivering gifts on Valentine's Day.