A Day for Chewing on Idle Thoughts on the Menu of Life

When better than the day after Thanksgiving for leftover thoughts, reheated ideas and half-baked offerings?

* Given all the big-ticket items floating around, is this really a good time for the Anaheim City Council to have so many new faces?

* Many people instinctively recoiled at Newt Gingrich's thinking-out-loud remarks about putting children of welfare mothers in orphanages. Don't worry, it'll never happen, but don't we also instinctively know that many infants and children would be better off almost anywhere else than with abusive parents?

* Because of the National Hockey League lockout, we'll never know whether my prediction that the Mighty Ducks would be 23-0 at this stage of the season would have been correct.

* On the other hand, I should finally get some credit now that scientists concede the universe may be as young as 8 billion years old, instead of as old as 20 billion as they previously thought. I've been saying that for years, but no one would believe me. Frankly, if 12 billion years is considered an acceptable margin of error, excuse me if I'm a little skeptical of future announcements from cosmologists.

* One of these days, I'm going to come up with a Top 10 list of the most aggravating things drivers do. Somewhere in there would be people at the head of a long line in the left-turn lane and who are daydreaming when the arrow comes on. PEOPLE: YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY ATTENTION!!!

* In-Case-You-Missed-It Department: Dearborn, Mich. (AP)--A police officer who was suspended for three days for writing his sevens European-style, with a line through them, is back on the force in good standing.

* It's too late now, but I wish illegal immigrants in Orange County were unionized. I wonder what a three-day strike by them would have done to flesh out the debate on their impact on other people's daily lives and pocketbooks.

* To get on the Anne Rice bandwagon, I guess I'll have to go see "Interview With the Vampire." I've had Rice's "Queen of the Damned" for at least two years and, despite repeated tries, cannot seem to get past Page 10.

* Isn't this how revolutions start? Voters overwhelmingly pass ballot measures, such as Prop. 187, only to see their implementation delayed or struck down by courts. That fuels voter cynicism and anger, but the fault lies with supposed leaders such as Gov. Wilson, who knew court challenges awaited and even welcomed them. That's fine for him and whatever percentage of voters also were aware of it, but does it really help a democracy to devalue what happens at the polls?

* Is there anyone in Orange County who actually thinks the Santa Ana Freeway construction projects will be finished in our lifetimes?

* Whatever happened to the Board of Supervisors?

* Here's one reason I love the news business. The following is a correction run by the Associated Press in Spokane, Wash: "In a story Monday about hearings into a 1965 federally funded radiation experiment, the Associated Press reported erroneously that former prison inmate Harold Bibeau had his testicles removed."

* I'm not going to miss "The Lion King" this time around.

* Mike Huffington claimed voter fraud. That may be the most ironic statement ever uttered by a California political candidate.

* Immigration control is a good idea, because of its impact on slowing population growth in the United States. But people who make a knee-jerk connection between race and fertility should read a book entitled, "How Many Americans?" Its authors note that Latino and black women have higher fertility rates than Anglos, but attribute it to Anglo women's generally greater education. "The relationship between education and fertility is more significant than that between race and fertility," they write. "For example, Anglo women, regardless of years of school completed, have much higher fertility than black women with a college education."

* The authors also point out that income levels affect fertility rate, with higher-income women having fewer children. Latino fertility is high, but the authors add: "There is evidence that Hispanic fertility falls in the second generation and where some assimilation has occurred. As immigrants and their descendants learn English--a good indicator of acculturation as well as increased education--fertility falls.

* The search is over! We have found someone who's not in denial and who owns up to his shortcomings: Gordon Davey, after being named Britain's most boring man, said, "I shall obviously have to try to be more interesting."

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Dana Parsons' column appears Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Readers may reach Parsons by writing to him at The Times Orange County Edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626, or calling (714) 966-7821.

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