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Bailout Nation 

Our review of 2008: A year of rapid collapse

It's all coming to an end: We're losing our jobs, our homes, our retirement accounts, our banks, our basketball program, our baseball teams, our automakers, our miniature-golf courses--you name it, it's going, going, gone.

But here's one thing you can still count on: Our annual look back at the year gone by.


STOP THE HOFF! DON'T LET HIM HOLLYWOOD-IZE THE OLD PUEBLO!

Baywatch star/producer David Hasselhoff, who now appears on NBC's America's Got Talent, spent Labor Day weekend in Tucson getting his daughter, Taylor, settled in for her freshman year at the UA and attending a football game.

Hasselhoff told Johnjay and Rich on KRQQ FM 93.7 that he loved his stay at the Arizona Inn. He said it reminded him of "old Hollywood," and he wanted to buy the inn.


MUST'VE BEEN A UNION JOB

An employee of a Sunbank branch at Wal-Mart in Green Valley credited Nick Ulibarri with a deposit of more than $148 million. He noticed the error and immediately returned to the bank to correct it. Ulibarri has worked in the mines around Green Valley for years.


BEER

Study Finds Way to Erase Memories

--The Seattle Times


SHE LIKES OLDER MEN

Ex-Scottsdale Teacher Gets Jail Time for Sex With Student in 80's

--Arizona Daily Star


GERALDO RIVERA WAS INSIDE

Teenage Girl Missing on Mount Lemmon Found Safe

--Arizona Daily Star


SUN RISES IN WEST

Fifty students at Tucson's Valencia Middle School marched out of class in protest after going months without a regular math teacher. The kids carried posters bearing slogans like, "We deserve math!" and, "It's our right!"


SOMETHING TO FALL BACK ON

French Man With Two Asses Surprises Swedish Officials

--The Local (Stockholm)


BUT WE'RE SURE IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY

The Associated Press reported that the Department of Homeland Security would not complete 670 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the year.

"Since 2006, Congress has appropriated $2.7 billion for the fence," the AP noted. "But there's no estimate on how much the entire system--the physical fence and technology--will cost to build, let alone maintain."


CHUCKLEHEAD

At a pro-illegal immigration rally outside of a Barnes and Noble on Broadway Boulevard, protesters wildly beat a piñata made up to resemble Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. As the stick-wielders beat the piñata, Pima County Public Defender Isabel Garcia stood by and laughed.


WHEN THEY SAY JESUS IS COMING, WE DON'T THINK THIS IS WHAT THEY MEAN

Facing charges that he ran a house of prostitution near the UA, John LaVoie told a jury that Angel's Heaven was actually the outreach arm of the Church of Liberty, and the angels at work in the establishment were healing customers by the "laying on of hands." The jury ruled against LaVoie, ordering him to forfeit more than $930,000 and a house valued about $750,000.


THE WRITE STUFF

Two self-appointed "grammar vigilantes" were sentenced to a year's probation after pleading guilty to damaging a rare hand-painted sign in Grand Canyon National Park.

The men, Jeff Michael Deck, 28, and Benjamin Douglas Herson, 28, travel the country correcting "as many typos as we can find, in public signage and other venues where innocent eyes may be befouled by vile stains on the delicate fabric of our language."


ALL THE OTHERS MEAN NOTHING TO ME

Memoir Says Madonna's True Love Is Herself

--The Associated Press


HEY, POPE... WE LIVE ON THE BORDER

Vatican: It's OK to Believe in Aliens

--The Associated Press


DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME

John McCain was late to a press event in which President George W. Bush endorsed him in the White House Rose Garden. Once McCain arrived, he faced a blunt question from the press: "Given President Bush's low approval ratings, will this be a negative or a positive for you?"

McCain told reporters he'd be delighted to have Bush campaigning for him "as much as is keeping with his busy schedule."

Added Bush: "You know, if he wants me to show up, I will. If he wants me to say, 'You know, I'm not for him,' I will. Whatever he wants me to do, I want him to win."


ZZZZZZT... DON'T FORGET THE WD-40... ZZZZZZT

Robots to Become Lovers, Predict Researchers

--Discovery.com


SHOULDN'T HE BE ON TOUR?

Sting Catches Unlawful Drivers

--Peoria Journal Star


WE'D PAY TWICE THAT TO KEEP HIM AWAY

Taxpayers spent $99,000 to provide police protection to President Bush, who came to Tucson to raise money for Tim Bee in his failed effort to win a seat in Congress. Bush appeared at a $1,000-a-plate foothills breakfast and charged $10,000 for photos.


IS IT LEGAL TO GRAB SOMEBODY'S BRUNT?

Texans Feel Dolly's Brunt

--Arizona Daily Star


BUT IT'S WORKING AS WELL AS MOST OF OUR EFFORTS

Only eight people illegally in the country volunteered to be deported under a nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that allowed them to surrender and face no penalty.

Jim Hayes, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's detention and removal operations, told The Associated Press: "The bottom line is, it is not effective."


DUTCH TREAT

Officials at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum closed the facility after a wild javelina bit a 45-year-old tourist from Holland on the right calf and hand. Visitors were cleared from the grounds as officials searched for the offending animal.


POLITICS AIN'T BEANBAG

The estranged wife of Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman told police that Berman plotted to run over City Councilwoman Linda Abbott while she was jogging.

Berman's lawyer released a written statement that blamed his wife's allegations on "her long-term and verifiable addiction to prescription painkillers."


AHEM. AT THE TIME, STOOPS WAS 17-29

At the Wildcats kickoff luncheon in August, football coach Mike Stoops took a swipe at the media, saying his team had made progress since his arrival four years ago, in spite of reports to the contrary. "If you look at what we've done the past few years," says Stoops, "a lot of it is tarnished by what's written."


HOW WILL WE KNOW?

Science Close to Unveiling Invisible Man

--Times (London)


ROBIN HOODS

Thugs punctured 20 tires on five vehicles clearly marked as belonging to Humane Borders, which leaves water in the desert for illegal crossers. Group head Robin Hoover said a surveillance video showed a man on a bicycle stopping to puncture the tires while someone else, possibly in a vehicle, shined a light.


IN OTHER WORDS: IT'S POLITICS AS USUAL

Paris Hilton's mom criticized John McCain for running an ad suggesting that Barack Obama was a vapid celebrity just like her daughter.

McCain campaign donor Kathy Hilton wrote on the online Huffington Post that the ad was "a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next president of the United States."


SUCH LANGUAGE!

Mike Haener, an aide to Gov. Janet Napolitano, was so upset by a vote on a bill to reform Child Protective Services that he sent an e-mail to Democratic Rep. Chad Campbell chiding him for supporting the legislation.

"That fucking blows," Haener wrote. "Glad to see the fucking caucus is willing to help. Hope that there are no fucking changes in the Senate."


NO CHANCE FOR EXTRA CREDIT? SHEESH!

Egyptian Teacher Kills Student for Not Doing Homework

--Fox News


PLEASE TASE ME, BRO

In an early-morning brawl with another man outside of their running cars, Wildcats basketball player Jordan Hill had to be subdued by police with a Taser. After Hill disregarded several commands to stop fighting and kept pushing his opponent, an officer used the Taser on Hill, sending him to the ground.


WHAT ABOUT SHRINKAGE?

Movie Gem From Down Under Is Sure to Charm Your Pants Off

--Arizona Daily Star


SHE WON BY A NOSE

Maxim magazine named Sex in the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker "the un-sexiest woman alive," beating out Sandra Oh, Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears. Maxim called the 43-year-old actress "a Barbaro-faced broad," referring to the racehorse.


SORRY, YOURS IS UGLY

Child Exchange Center Opens

--Atlanta Journal-Constitution


THANKS, DOC, WE'LL TAKE THAT BACON EXTRA-CRISPY

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Tucson doctor Gordon Ewy, head of UA's Sarver Heart Center, a finalist for its Vivisector of the Month for his experiments on pigs. Although Ewy has been credited with saving many thousands of lives by improving CPR techniques, PETA believes he should've experimented on people instead of pigs.


BUREAUCRATS GONE WILD!

Staffers in the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service branch used cocaine, had sex with oil-company workers and set up rigged contracts to benefit themselves, according to an Inspector General's report.


HE WENT WEE-WEE-WEE ALL THE WAY HOME

Suspected Beer Thief Leaves Liquid Trail

--Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail


DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH URANUS?

Planet Lands in Fargo After Fire in Restroom

--The Associated Press


HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN

In April alone, seven illegal aliens were killed and 14 more were critically injured when vehicles in which they were riding overturned on Southern Arizona roads. It was the worst month for such accidents in four years.


HAVE YOU CHECKED IHOP?

Man Who Lost Leg Seeks Hit-and-Run Mercedes Driver

--Chicago Tribune


HE WAS A LOAFER

Man's Shoe Discovered in Stomach of Dead Bear

--The Daily Times (Maryville, Tenn.)


BOOK ME, DANO

Police cameras set up at Tucson intersections to catch traffic violators have also caught cops speeding and running lights, triggering photo-enforcement tickets. The Arizona Daily Star reported that one of those ticketed was TPD Assistant Chief Kathleen Robinson, who oversaw the photo-enforcement effort.


HIS FEET NEVER TOUCHED THE GROUND

Christ Runs for 232 Yards in Catholic Victory

--Gloucester County Times (N.J.)


TOOK US A WHILE, THOUGH

Local Alzheimer's Association Founder Recognized

--News and Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)


HEY, COPS NEED TO EAT, TOO

The Arizona Daily Star reported that hundreds of thousands of dollars seized from criminals by law enforcement in Pima County were not funneled back into law enforcement as expected, but instead went to pay for banquets, office furniture, funeral flowers and promotional gifts.

Then-Tucson Police Department Chief Richard Miranda spent about $173,000 on tables at community fundraising banquets, such as with the UA Hispanic Alumni Club, an Asian New Year's celebration and a retirement party for Congressman Jim Kolbe.

"I can think of no better way of using money that we've gotten from criminals," Miranda told the Star.


CATCH OF THE DAY

Man Caught With Frozen Shrimp in Pants

--The Associated Press


NO BALLS?

The Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League traded 26-year-old minor leaguer pitcher John Odom to the Laredo Broncos for 10, 34-inch maple bats.


GET A LOAD OF THAT PAIR

Surgeons Made Me a New Nipple From My Earlobe

--Daily Mail (London)


WE NEED A HARVARD GUY TO TELL US THIS?

Harvard Professor: Children Can Send Marriage Into Downward Spiral

--Fox News


HIGHER POWER

The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected Danny Ray Hardesty's effort to have his conviction on charges of marijuana possession thrown out based on his use of the drug as a religious sacrament. The Arizona-based Church of Cognizance, which is based on Neo-Zoroastrian beliefs, asserts that smoking dope provides a path to the divine mind and spiritual enlightenment.


THE KING AND HIS PORK

At $14 million, Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor easily leads his Arizona House and Senate colleagues in spending known as earmarks. "If it doesn't get spent on Arizona projects, the funding will be spent elsewhere," Pastor said. "All the money Arizona doesn't take goes to Alaska."


BUT AT LEAST HE DIDN'T ASK FOR A LOT OF PORK

Republican Congressman Rick Renzi of Flagstaff was indicted on 35 federal counts of extortion, wire fraud and money laundering related to a land deal with a business partner.


IT'S A FAST READ

New Eminem Book to Detail His Thoughts

--The Associated Press


IT'S THE FUNNY HATS WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT

View From America: Do "Jewish Ties" Really Matter?

--Jerusalem Post


WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SHUT HER UP

Republican Arizona Sen. Jack Harper, unhappy that Democratic Sen. Paula Aboud had launched a filibuster to delay a vote on whether to place an initiative on the state ballot that would amend the state Constitution to ban gay marriage, shut off her microphone. Harper initially told the press it was an accident, but later said he was within his rights, because Aboud wasn't really debating the issue.


FROM HOOP DREAMS TO HOOP NIGHTMARES

Retired UA basketball coach Lute Olson's physician, Dr. Steven Knope, obtained a restraining order against Christine Toretti Olson, Lute's former wife, after she left a bullet-riddled target sheet on his chair in his office. The order said that on other occasions, she went to the office and behaved in a threatening manner toward Knope and his staff.


FOR ONE THING, HE HARDLY EVER TAKES ME TO THE SHOOTING RANGE ANYMORE

A few months before he retired, Lute Olson called the KRQQ FM 93.7 morning show to complain that his estranged wife was out to destroy him. Olson made the call after the Arizona Daily Star reported that Olson had transferred funds from a joint account to a separate account controlled by Lute. Coach O also told DJs Johnjay and Rich that the morning daily was just too darned negative.

After Lute got off the line, Christine Olson called to assure Johnjay and Rich that she would never try to destroy Lute, because she still cared so much for him. "This is not the man I met six years ago," Christine Olson said. "This is not the man I married."


LEAVE THE SPIN TO THE PROS

In the midst of a scandal involving then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's visits to a prostitute, Daniel Spitzer, a neurosurgeon, tried to defend his brother by saying: "If men never succumbed to the attractions of women, then the human species would have died out a long time ago."


EXPERIENCE A MUST

Marshals Seek Level 3 Sex Offender in Tucson

--Arizona Daily Star


THEY'VE BEEN MEETING ON THE DOWN-LOW

McCain, Obama Avoid Same-Sex Marriage

--PlanetOut


HE THOUGHT HE WAS ON THE DRIVING RANGE

Donald LeGate, a 98-year-old legally blind man, shot a hole-in-one at Sedona's Canyon Mesa Country Club. "I never saw it," he explained.


TASTES LIKE CHICKEN

Police arrested Michael Hernandez of Chandler after a fight in which he bit off the tip of his wife's finger. Melanie Hernandez was pointing at her husband when he chomped the offending digit.


SUDS FOR SCUMBAGS

The Minerva Brewery of Guadalajara, Mexico, began selling Malverde Beer, named for the patron saint of Mexican drug-traffickers, Jesus Malverde, who, according to legend, was a Robin Hood-like figure around Sinaloa. The country is in the midst of a vicious war against drug cartels.


ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Worried that hybrid cars have gotten so silent that they've become a threat to blind people trying to cross the road, Democratic Rep. Ed Ableser pushed a bill in the Arizona Legislature to make hybrids noisier.


SHE WAS OK, BUT THE POTATO SALAD WAS TO DIE FOR

Sheriff: Family Cremated Mom on BBQ, Kept Benefits

--The Associated Press


STRAIGHT SOMETHING EXPRESS

Presidential loser John McCain vehemently denied a report in The New York Times suggesting he might've had a romantic relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist. In a separate piece, The Washington Post quoted former McCain staffer John Weaver as saying he met with the female lobbyist before the 2000 campaign and urged her to stay away from McCain.


WELL, YEAH, BUT HE WORE REALLY COOL BERETS

Arizona Republic columnist Doug MacEachern charged that the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican American/Raza Studies Department teaches a separatist version of American history in which students are taught that the United States is racist and should be overthrown. Department classrooms are allegedly decorated with portraits of Fidel Castro's revolutionary pal, Che Guevara, who has been unmasked as a torturer, mass-murderer, peasant-executioner, labor-camp boss and firing-squad honcho.


DEVILS MAY CARE

After losing two recruits to Arizona State University, UA football coach Mike Stoops took a swipe at his Tempe rival, suggesting the school has become a junior college regarding the kids it accepts. "Obviously, Arizona State's, you know, turned into a JC, and we're a four-year college," Stoops said. "According to all the players, they say it's easier to go to school there, easier to get in."

Stoops later apologized.


THROW AWAY THE KEY

After being convicted of negligent homicide and aggravated driving under the influence after the death of bicyclist Paul L'Ecuyer, Melissa Arrington was overheard laughing about the cyclist's death.

In a recorded jailhouse conversation, a male acquaintance told Arrington she should get "a medal and a (expletive) parade" because she had taken out "a (expletive) tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot."

Arrington laughed; when the acquaintance said it was a terrible thing to say, Arrington responded, "No, it's not." Judge Michael Cruikshank gave Arrington a longer sentence as a result.


JUST WIN, BABY

Only 41 percent of UA football players enrolled from 1998 to 2001 graduated within six years, giving the school the worst graduation rate among 64 schools nationally. The ranking placed the Wildcats last in the Pac-10 for the fourth straight year.

The UA basketball team graduated only 20 percent of its players in six years, giving it the worst ranking in the Pac-10 for two straight years.


GOOD IDEA: PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER IN ONE SMALL SPACE...

Maine's Camden-Rockport Middle School banned "intentional farting" after eighth-grade boys took the practice to new heights. Administrators promised that violators would be given detention.


ALWAYS DOES

Giant Inflatable Dog Poo Wreaks Havoc

--The Australian


THE AMBULANCE CREW CONSISTED OF FOUR CATS, TWO DUCKS AND A VERY TALKATIVE FERRET

When Scottsdale resident Joe Stalnaker had a seizure, his German shepherd called 911 to summon an ambulance. The operator heard the dog, Buddy, who'd been trained to tap the phone buttons, whimpering and barking into the receiver. Police arrived in three minutes.

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