Let's recap: In 2010, Amy's Baking Company, a Scottsdale bistro, became "famous" for going after a reviewer on Yelp. Late last year, during the taping of Fox's Kitchen Nightmares, Scottsdale PD were called to the scene to defuse a shouting match between owner Samy Bouzaglo and a patron who waited more than an hour for his food.
Last Friday, that episode of Kitchen Nightmares aired, resulting in magic like this:
From there, things only escalated for: The Facebook, Twitter and Yelp pages for Amy's Baking Company flooded with general Internet haters — and, as they have done in the past, Amy and Samy defended their company. Viciously.
Now, they're the most recognizable name in publicity stunts gone horribly wrong — which is saying something in a world where LED boards with cartoon characters were considered bombs, and a movie theater brought in dudes in body armor with AR-15s to promote Iron Man 3.
As we've already noted, Amy's Baking Company is going ahead with a Grand Re-Opening, in which they hope to ignite all sorts of love and goodwill (and also stick it to Ramsey, apparently).
But the fact that everything melted down for Amy's means that the rest of us have had the chance to enjoy comedy gold.
Take this parody commercial, for instance, which just doesn't feature enough meowing for my taste:
Or this, from an Amy's Baking Company Twitter parody:
WHO THE HELL IS SUPERTROOPERS AND WHY IS EVERYONE MEOWING AT ME?— Amy's Baking Co (@AmysBakingCo) May 14, 2013
But the best (worst?) part is the newfound Internet fame that has befallen Katy Cipriano, the young waitress that was dropped like a bad habit for giving Amy an "attitude" during the show. Her Reddit AskMeAnything Q&A session was, for two days, one of the top posts on the site...and it looks like it's resulted in a nice, creepy following:
@cipppa I think I might be in love with you. Just thought you should know.— Gilbert Redman-Ernst (@Gilbee_) May 16, 2013
Which, of course, she retweeted, because SOMEONE has to be into her obsession with Phoenix Suns player Channing Frye.
We'll see how long the interest in Crazy Amy's Baking Company lasts — though I will say, we're waiting with bated breath for next week's Grand Re-Opening and all of the crazed publicity that's sure to follow.
In another case of a Scottsdale-idea-gone-terrible, we present Gutzy Wear, a clothing line made especially for singles who are ready to mingle — and desperate enough to do so that they're wearing specifically branded clothing saying that they want a date now, please-and-thank-you.
The idea behind Gutzy Wear, according to creator and Kickstarter creator Kari Holt, is that married people wear wedding rings to show that they're unavailable — single people can wear Gutzy Wear to say "hey, you should approach me!"
Which is a great idea. In theory.
You know, like communism.
A new TV ad featuring Caren Teves, who son was slain in the Colorado movie theater massacre, hits Sen. Jeff Flake for not supporting the Manchin-Toomey background-check legislation.
Flake responds via Facebook:
If you are anywhere close to a television set in Arizona in the coming days, you’ll likely see an ad about gun control financed by NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
Contrary to the ad, I did vote to strengthen background checks. I voted for the bipartisan Grassley Amendment, which included language from a bill I helped write which strengthened background checks for those with mental illness. The Grassley amendment also included language to increase prosecution of criminals and fugitives who circumvent the current background check system.
Mayor Bloomberg can spend millions trying to get me to support his view of background checks. That’s his call. But we Arizonans aren’t easily bullied. The legislation that would have done the most to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them was the Grassley Amendment. And that’s the amendment I supported.
The Range reported on Flake's background-check history here.
Daniel Stolte of the UA Communications team reports that the UA's OSIRIS-REx mission, which will send a space probe to an asteroid for a few years before returning to Earth, is a go:
OSIRIS-REx, the $1 billion asteroid sample return mission led by the University of Arizona, reached a major milestone on May 16: The project passed the agency-level confirmation review called Key Decision Point-C, or KDP-C. KDP-C authorized continuation of the project into the next phase of development, giving the team the authority to proceed toward launch in 2016.
"This means we have now made the final deal with NASA in terms of the mission objective, the cost cap and the schedule all the way from development and launch through Earth return," said Dante Lauretta, UA planetary science professor and the mission's principal investigator.
"We have presented our plan, including all aspects of the mission, from the engineering to the science to the schedule, and NASA has accepted that plan and committed to fully fund the mission."
The UA is leading the mission. For the first time in space-exploration history, the mission will travel to and return pristine samples of a carbonaceous asteroid with known geologic context. Such samples are critical to understanding the origin of the solar system, Earth and life, Lauretta explained.
"Successfully passing KDP-C is a major milestone for the project," said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This means that the agency believes we have an executable plan to return a sample from the asteroid, Bennu. It now falls upon the project and its development team members to execute that plan."
The OSIRIS-REx mission will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu (named via a recent student competion), study it for a year with a variety of instruments, collect a sample and return it to Earth in 2023.
The University of Arizona is planning a new bike path that will help cyclists avoid one of the busiest intersections around campus. Check it out.
Two national lists rank Tucson in the top 10 for biking. Find out where the city ended up on each list.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department is requesting more info on the tacks that are being placed on Catalina Highway. Check out the story here.
Gov. Jan Brewer's statement on tonight's Senate vote to expand Medicaid:
I thank the Arizona State Senate for acting in bipartisan, courageous and collegial fashion today to approve the single most critical policy issue that has faced our State in years: the restoration of our Medicaid program in accordance with the wishes of Arizona voters.
Now, I look forward to a similarly lively and productive debate in the Arizona House of Representatives.
When I announced my health care plan in January, I knew this would be a long and difficult road. But I also knew that as the information was presented to Arizonans, they would reach the same conclusion I had. Public polling bears that out, with strong support for my Medicaid Restoration Plan across party lines and among residents from every corner of our State. Even better, public support grows as people learn more.
With Medicaid Restoration, we can keep Arizona tax dollars in Arizona. We can use these resources to provide cost-effective health care to Arizona’s working poor. We can protect our critical rural and safety-net hospitals. We can create thousands of jobs and improve Arizona’s economic competitiveness.
These are all important reasons to support this Medicaid Restoration Plan, but there is also one more: Arizonans have voted twice to expand Medicaid to the working poor. With my plan, House legislators have an opportunity to make good on that promise with a vote of their own.
It appears that Sen. Al Melvin left his fireworks in his other pants. The Arizona Senate passed the budget bills tonight in a relatively quiet third-read session and has adjourned until next week.
Melvin made a brief speech commending Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but otherwise was content to just vote on the losing end of the budget battle this evening.
In other budget news, the Children's Action Alliance celebrates the spending plan in an emailed bulletin to supporters:
During the Committee of the Who'e this afternoon, the Arizona Senate voted to restore and expand Medicaid coverage for adults as Governor Brewer and dozens of community groups have been supporting.
In addition, they also voted to increase critical funding for abused and neglected children. These increases include:
$4 million for Children Support Services. The original legislation did not include any increase for Children Support Services. (CAA called for $10 million.)
$4 million for Child Care. The original legislation provided an increase of $5 million; the amendment brings the increase to $9 million. (CAA supported the Governor’s plan which included $9 million.)
$1 million for Grandparents Stipend. This provides the funding needed to support a monthly $75 stipend for qualified grandparents raising their grandchildren. (CAA called for $1 million.)
Other changes increased parity funding for the universities and added $4.5 million to the Department of Education's budget for adult education.
Once the Committee of the Whole finishes its work, the legislation goes to final vote by the Senate before moving to the House. Stay tuned…
Sen. Al Melvin is promising GOP fireworks when the Arizona Senate goes to a third read vote on the budget, which was amended—against Senate President Andy Biggs' wishes—to include Medicaid expansion.
A GOP-led roll call vote on all of the Medicaid bills that would have put senators on the record for supporting or opposing the amendments was thwarted and followed by a hasty recess. Melvin said he was upset because he wanted senators' family names to be tied to their votes.
Senate President Andy Biggs left in a huff and was visibly agitated when he called recess.
Melvin does agree with Sen. Steve Farley on one thing: Both said they haven’t felt this way about the budget since former Gov. Janet Napolitano left the state.
For Farley that’s a win. For Melvin it’s a step back.
“It’s just like when we inherited this train wreck of Napolitano in '09 and it took us four years to whack $3 billion out of it,” Melvin said. “You shouldn’t have to do that every couple of years. You should keep it steady, but they’re caving.”
The SaddleBrooke Republican is at a loss as to why Gov. Jan Brewer wants the expand Medicaid when 27 states are fighting Medicaid expansion.
“I can’t figure it out to save my life,” Melvin said. She’s going against her own party."
He’s not pleased with the five Republicans (Sen. John McComish, Sen. Rich Crandall, Sen. Bob Worsley, Sen. Steve Pierce and Sen. Adam Driggs) that he says rolled on their party either. He promises there will be a “reckoning.”
“I hope they pay and I hope they pay with their seats,” Melvin said.
He was especially perturbed with Senate Majority Leader John McComish, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the Medicaid expansion amendment.
“What’s really sad and pathetic is they’re in our so-called leadership and there will be an accounting on that too—if not immediately, eventually,” Melvin said.
Because those five felt so emboldened, the GOP has had to “rely on parliamentary procedures and other things to stop this from happening,” Melvin said.
Melvin commended Senate President Andy Biggs’ on his quasi-filibuster earlier today.
Biggs read from a bag of papers for more than 30 minutes regaling members with different analogies and vignettes about why Medicaid expansion was a bad movie and the federal government is a “dubious partner.”
“I thought it was historic and I gave him my full attention,” Melvin said.
The Senate heads back to the floor in moments and it will be a show, Melvin said.
“We ought to charge admission,” Melvin said. "It’s going to be good. It’s going to real good. We’re not going to roll over and play dead on this.”
State Sen. Steve Farley is feeling downright ebullient about the state budget that made it through the Senate's Committee of the Whole after a marathon session today.
"It's an amazing day," the midtown Tucson Democrat told The Range in a phone interview after the COW session wrapped up. "I haven't felt this good about a budget since (former governor Janet) Napolitano left. … This is the type of budget that the people of Arizona have been waiting for for a really long time."
Among the highlights, from Farley's perspective:
• Gov. Jan Brewer's proposal to expand Medicaid to 133 percent of the federal poverty level is now in the budget.
• A GOP plan to eliminate school funding for soft capital—books, computer accessories, etc.—was blocked and for the first time in years, the soft capital is actually funded.
• Child Protective Services will get a funding boost.
• An elections omnibus bill that emerged from the Senate Appropriations Committee stalled before coming up for a vote in the Senate Rules Committee. "I have it on pretty good authority that it isn't going anywhere," Farley says.
• About $4 million a year in interest from the state's rainy-day fund will go to support state parks and arts organizations.
"We managed to come today across the partisan divide, which is not easy," Farley said. "We found the things we have in common."
The Senate bills still need a final vote in the Senate, which Farley hopes to see tonight. Next, it'll head to the House of Representatives, which is now scheduled to get back to work on Tuesday, May 21.
More to come as lawmakers react and the legislation advances.
I've gotten to know a few meal worms in my time—namely, the ones I used to feed to my son's lizard. I was the only one in my household bold enough to take them out of their containers, pick them up and toss them in the lizard's dish. Didn't bother me and I loved watching the lizard happily gobble those guys up.
Besides reminding me of how I left the lid of the lizard's cage off when I went out of town for a week (so sad), all this meal worm talk brings me to a Slate article about how the UN wants us to eat more bugs—it's the food of the future, not soylent green.
The story in Slate:
Over the weekend I read a bit about Rand Paul's efforts to fundraise off an alleged United Nations plot to confiscate your guns, but they turn out to be up to something considerably more insidious—they want us all to eat more insects. Now, on the merits, the case for insect eating is pretty strong. Bugs are high in protein, much like proper animals, but compared to—say—a cow "they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint." Which is to say insects reproduce quickly, they grow quickly, and, since they're really low on the food chain, the plant-to-insect-to-food path is one of the least resource-intensive ways of converting solar power into fuel for humans. Of course the problem with eating insects is that it's kind of gross and they don't taste very good. ...
Fear not, dear Tucson. Scanning Facebook this morning, I remembered that the Loft Cinema has put some tasty Chapul bug bars on the menu. Yeah, my son and I split the chocolate and peanut butter cricket bar. Not bad. Crunchy in its own unique way.
There's a cool Tucson connect: The Chapul founders went to grad school here at the UA, but the company is based in Utah. Check out the website here. There's a video on the home page that explains a non-UN version of the benefits of eating bugs. Humanity has evidently been doing it forever.
March against Monsanto and GMOs (refers to genetically modified organisms in food) at noon, Saturday, May 25,… More