The Coleman Chronicles 

Only suckers donate to Arnold Drummond; game-show follies; and our one chance to get bin Laden

North of the recall

Not long ago the Express received a letter to the editor from Dwight Brown, ostensibly a Gary Coleman supporter from Ontario, Canada, that read precisely as follows: "I myself, as a fan of Arnold Drummond has set up a website votearnoldforgovernor.com to get him elected! I am glad you are also backing him!"

Tickled that the international community was rallying behind our man, we checked out the guy's Web site. It's registered under the business name "Profit Internet," which is interesting, since among other things, its owner is soliciting money. "Whether you can donate $1, $5, or $100, all money will go to Arnold's political bid. Make history, support the nomination and your support of Governor Arnold Drummond will give you high level access to California's political halls once he get's [sic] the gig!"

Cute, but it also appears to be fraud. Gary Coleman is not accepting campaign contributions, and this solicitation is no gag -- Brown has set up a full-fledged PayPal form that allows him to receive donations from whoever is stupid enough to provide them. Among the strangest things about the site is that Gary Coleman is only mentioned once in passing, as though he's the TV character. All other references are to "Arnold" and the rest of his fictitious television family, which the candidate now views with disdain. At the same time, there's entertainment to be found here, especially on the site's useless petition page signed by 39 out of the nearly 4,100 visitors claimed by the site's counter. Behold the undistilled feedback of the masses:

Barney Fife: "I hope you lose (which you will)."

Victoria Patterson: "Do you like onion rings?"

Bernard Stringer: "Where do you stand on female circumcision? I am horrified to discover this disgusting practice is still legal in the state of California. Arnold Drummond, will you make this issue central to your campaign?"

Ngugo Amboli: "Well done Bernard, I am a circumcised woman, the horrendous operation took place in Mulholland in 1994. Lets hope Arnold Drummond will pass law to end this brutal practice."

Red Madras: "If you get elected, you'll have plenty of toes to suck!

Rollie: "This is a f---en joke, God save us from you IDIOTS"

Brian Ryder: "This kicks more ass than anyone realizes. California is the biggest joke on Earth."

Lisa: "The virgin gets my vote."

Jon: "Arnizzle fo shizzle!"

Ann McLaurin Wisdom: "We need more Liberal Republicans like Arnold!"

Either that last one's Canadian or we're all in serious trouble.

The game game

Our candidate debated porn star Mary "Carey" Cook last week in the Game Show Network's mock debate -- or at least we think he did, because none of us get the damn channel, so we can't report on that firsthand. What we can report on is how that crucial voting bloc, Game Show Network viewers, might lean in the upcoming (sort of) recall election. GameShowNetwork.com is hosting a mock election, along with another gubernatorial doodad called "Pretender or Contender," in which you can page through all the candidates and rate them on a 1-to-10 scale from pretender (1) to contender (10). Sure, it's stupid, but it also says something about the nation's TV culture (you don't have to be Californian to participate). Of the 135 hopefuls, only around two dozen had ratings above 4.0. Those consisted primarily of the better-known candidates and, get this, blond women: Every last young, blond, female candidate whose picture was included on the site scored up there with her more-prominent rivals.

What has all this to do with Gary Coleman? Nothing, except that if these online wags bear any resemblance to California voters -- and scientists have at least some evidence that they do -- our man Gary would be allowed to take part in the "serious" debates. As of late last week, the five frontrunners in "Pretender or Contender" were: Mr. Schwarzenegger (6.41), Mr. Bustamante (5.19), Ms. Huffington (4.97), Mr. Coleman (4.95), and last, but arguably least, Ms. Cook (4.93).

Fair exchange? We wish.

Last week, the Express received an unexpected inquiry. Mind you, for many weeks after announcing Mr. Coleman's candidacy, we were barraged with requests for the candidate's time, which we duly forwarded to his publicist. But we were caught off guard by this latest inquiry from the Qatar-based Arabic-language network Aljazeera, the only press outlet that's managed to score a sit-down with Osama bin Laden in recent years. The network's English-language Web site (English.aljazeera.net) needed photos for an article on the recall candidates, and boy, were we tempted: "Get us an interview with Osama," we wanted to say, "and you'll have your photos yesterday."

Alas, we won't be interviewing Mr. bin Laden anytime soon.

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