It's hard being a police officer in Hollywood, and Tailpipe's not even talking about the shaking down of pimps or the pocketing of bribes from FBI agents posing as drug smugglers or any of the other questionable deeds with which the department has recently been linked. No, the 'Pipe refers to one of the state's most grueling police training programs.
From what this battered auto part hears, the 18-week program, for officers recently graduated from the police academy, is a lot like boot camp scenes from a Stanley Kubrick movie. During the hottest part of the afternoon, cadets shamble out to a training course near the Metrolink station at I-95 and Hollywood Boulevard to climb across red-hot monkey bars and scale chainlink fences. Then they climb over a ten-foot-high cement wall in Presidential Circle. And then, just in case they haven't been tenderized enough, cadets are directed to the water trap in Orangebrook Country Club, where they wrestle one another to the amusement of their field training officers.
A source with knowledge of the program says there's also a fraternity-style hazing, one aspect of which is pushups in the shower room. The same program has purportedly discouraged a slew of women aspiring to be officers.
A woman who witnessed the training regimen e-mailed a complaint to Mayor Mara Giulianti, saying it "might be good for warfare but not for policing." She added: "How can we expect people put through these programs to patrol neighborhoods and deal with children?"
The complaint found its way to City Manager Cameron Benson. Then Police Chief James Scarberry ordered an investigation. But the investigators were the same officers who are in charge of the training program.
Predictably, the investigation only confirmed the merits of the program. Capt. Mark Smith wrote to Scarberry that his cadets (all of them still on probation) "indicated everyone participated in the physical training, which built team work and cohesion. No officer stated they felt they were demeaned in any way nor did they experience a hostile work environment."
See? Cadets love this program.
Correct That Correction
Ever notice how pro athletes tend to think a lot about their sport, leaving little time to look up definitions of the kind of four-syllable words that reporters throw around? A Miami Herald reporter recently asked the Dolphins' new linebacker, Joey Porter, if there had been any "residual" effects from arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
Porter, a nine-year NFL veteran who graduated from Colorado State, reportedly laughed at the question.
"What's 'residual'?" he asked. "What does that mean? Just hit me with the regular words. You don't have to hit me with the big words."
Yeah, that's a good one. An even better one is the way the Herald spelled the term "residual affects" (meaning feelings as opposed to rational thoughts) rather than effects (results or outcomes). This is where spellcheck cannot help you. Perhaps what the Herald needs is a good copyeditor, like New Times' Keith Hollar, who brought this to the 'Pipe's attention. Meanwhile, Tailpipe is trying to get over his residual feelings of professional dismay.
Hollywood's Arnold Cohen believes that, when it comes to clean butts, America should catch up with the Old World. He believes in the bidet.
"It's my life's work," Cohen says. "Changing the habits of a nation, weaning us off the Charmin."
The bidet was employed by Napoleon's cavaliers to cleanse their saddle-worn behinds, then progressed to the bedrooms of fashionable French households. By the middle of the 20th Century, bidets had spread throughout Europe and parts of South America and by the 1980s to the Far East, where a new toilet seat/bidet hybrid took hold. These days, an estimated 60 percent of Japanese households contain toilet seats that squirt their users in the bum. Whom to thank?
Quite possibly Cohen, who likes to call himself Mr. Bidet. Born to a wealthy family in Brooklyn, Cohen established his own advertising firm on Fifth Avenue at age 19, with a little help from his folks.
"I invented the American bidet 45 years ago to help my father with a literal pain in the A," he says.
He cobbled together plumbing parts to assemble a toilet seat that would wash and dry his father's behind. He also outfitted the apparatus with a hose that could be employed for "feminine douching and colonic irrigation." He patented it, he says, and called his gizmo the American Sitzbath.
It could be a lifesaver. Cohen, 72, warns that Elvis's end could be yours too, citing a statistic that eight of ten heart attacks occur on the toilet. With the help of the American bidet's soothingly invasive jet of warm water, he says, his customers don't have to worry about straining themselves into cardiac arrest.
Cohen began plying the device at trade shows and placing large, illustrated ads in newspapers. "Ninety-nine percent of Americans did not know what a bidet was," he says of those days, shaking his head. It was a hard thing to explain.