The nice thing about putting together our annual collection of craziness and claptrap is that we never run out of material. So once again, we've spent the year scouring the Arizona Daily Star
, Tucson Citizen
, The Wall Street Journal
, The New York Times
and so many other newspapers, clipping the strangest, the silliest and the stupidest stories of 2005. Then we bundled it all together in one easy-to-read package for you lucky readers!
These are the moments you'd rather forget: conservative columnist Ann Coulter's battle with local prosecutors after she was attacked by pie-tossing leftists. City Councilman Jose Ibarra's early efforts to pick up chicks. Former Marana Mayor Bobby Sutton's federal indictment. And, in one hell of a booty call, the poor schmuck from Pennsylvania who woke up to discover his onetime gal had glued his penis to his stomach and sealed his asscheeks together.
Dig in. Enjoy. And then go do something idiotic yourself so we can include you in next year's edition.
ALWAYS THE CHEAPSKATES, ALWAYS
One out of every 10 employees of Wal-Mart in Arizona gets health insurance paid for by Arizona taxpayers. The 2,700-worker company, the state's largest private employer, leads all other state companies in the number of workers on the dole.
FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MEGA-RETAILERS, AND I SAID NOTHING
In an effort to persuade Flagstaff voters to reject an anti-Big Box ordinance, Wal-Mart ran a newspaper advertisement that featured Nazis burning books.
BUY SOME MR. CLEAN AND FORGET ABOUT IT
"Jobless Programmer Gets Poop on Outsourcing" --Houston Chronicle
WHAT'S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE, BUB
After a Pima County jury found that Tucson's Center for Biological Diversity owed rancher Jim Chilton $600,000 for defaming him on its Web site and in a press release, Kieran Suckling, the group's policy director, complained, "We really feel victimized by a wealthy banker who can afford to hire a legal team to nitpick you to death."
MORE PERFECTLY GOOD AMERICAN JOBS BEING OUTSOURCED
Local law-enforcement officials now estimate that 75 percent of meth in the community is being imported from Mexico.
NOW FOR A SLICE OF INTERNATIONAL NEWS
"Thousands Circumcised in Morocco" --The Associated Press
With national rankings showing Tucson has one of the highest property crime rates, Tucson police announced a crackdown on jaywalking.
WHEN YOU REALLY HAVE TO GO, THERE'S NOTHING LIKE IT
"Police: Bar Employee Finds Ecstasy in Bathroom" --KMGH-TV (Denver)
OK, MAYBE IT'S NOT THE BEST MARRIAGE
"South African Woman Killed by Partner Every 6 Hours" --Reuters
TRADITIONALLY, THE SHAKEDOWN HAS WORKED THE OTHER WAY
Federal prosecutors accused Marana Mayor Bobby Sutton of extorting Waste Management into paying a friend up to $60,000 a month in exchange for keeping quiet about overloaded trash trucks.
NOW IF THEY COULD ONLY ATTRACT FANS
A spring training Diamondbacks-Rockies game was called off in the fifth inning after bees began swarming over the players. Pitcher Darren Oliver mused that the bees may have been attracted to the coconut oil in his hair.
COME TO YOUR PEPPERONI PAPA
Peter Picurro, the 44-year-old founder of Picurro Pizza, was accused of luring a minor for exploitation when he allegedly sought sex from a 14-year-old girl on the Internet. The "girl" turned out to be a police detective.
CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
Mexican President Vicente Fox declared that illegal entrants from Mexico "are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."
KIBBLES ARE YUMMY WHEN YOU MASH THEM UP WITH MILK
"Pet Food Drive to Help Low-Income Seniors" --The Arizona Republic
SHEESH ... THAT'S A RELIEF
"Woman Is Informed by Federal Agency That She's Alive" --The Associated Press
IT'S HALLOWEEN YEAR-ROUND!
A Tucson man lived for two years with the corpse of his deceased sister in his eastside apartment. Police were unable to determine why Samuel C. Burton kept the smelly, skeletal remains of his sister, Brenda, in his home.
DON'T DRINK THE WATER
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon warned his citizens to boil tap water before drinking it after water-treatment plants backed up.
REMIND US: WHICH ONE IS THE CARTEL?
Mexican Bishop Ramón Godinez created a row when he acknowledged that Mexican drug dealers often make significant donations to the Catholic Church, but said the money is "purified" once it passes through parish doors.
"We live on this, on the offerings of the faithful," said Godinez.
Circle K clerk Delia Kerr was arrested on charges of swiping a winning lottery ticket worth more than $1 million from a customer who came in to see if he had a winner.
SORRY YOUR LIFE IS OVER; NOW SHUT UP AND GO AWAY
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson emerged from bankruptcy after writing a check for $15.7 million to a compensation pool for victims sexually abused by its priests.
The money is an initial payment of $22.3 million the diocese will make available to more than 50 victims.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas apologized to all victims "who have been harmed within the household of faith."
BUT FORMER NAZIS ARE TICKLED PINK
"Clarification: Sinners Unhappy With New Pope" --Grand Forks
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was cited for speeding on South Kino Parkway. The lawman was clocked doing 55 mph in a 40 mph zone. "The worst part of the whole thing is the woodshed incident I had to undergo when I went home and told my wife," said Dupnik.
PITCHFORK, OVERALLS AND MOUTH-STRAW EXTRA
Patriot Outfitters, a Kansas company, became the official clothing and accessory provider for the Minutemen, the self-appointed border watchers. Items range from special sunglasses/goggles for $89.99; combat boots for $133; and black leather gloves for $28.50.
FOR THAT KIND OF MONEY, WHY NOT BUY A GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM?
After more than 20 years, Northern Arizona University replaced its familiar logo with a new one depicting a pine tree, a green mountain and blue sky. The new design cost $320,000.
Citing fears of pedophilia, Democratic City Councilman Steve Leal proposed making ice cream-truck drivers pass a background check to get a city license.
CRACK INVESTIGATORS ISSUE REPORT
"Jail Official: Woman Who Hanged Self Seemed Disturbed" --Tucson Citizen
Hotdog vendor Frank Sanzo, who's been selling mainly to traffic violators for 11 years in front of Tucson City Court, said, "Hotdogs are a health food. You get something from all your major preservative groups: your BHA, your BHT, your nitrites, your nitrates."
EVERYTHING WENT TO HELL AFTER SONNY SKIED INTO THAT TREE
Cops arrested 13 vendors for selling unlicensed Cher T-shirts at the singer's Tucson concert. Remarkably, police found that the vendors had more than three dozen criminal convictions among them, including for murder and kidnapping.
YOU'VE RUINED MY REPUPATION, YOU JACKALS!
"GOP Chair's Suit: I Was Married Five Times, Not Six" --FoxNews.com
WHY ALL THIS PERSPIRATION WHEN THERE'S SO MUCH GOOD STUFF ON TV?
Tucson ultra-marathoner Pam Reed ran 301 miles without stopping for almost 80 hours.
"What Pam did here in the last four days is something that has never been done in the history of the human race," said fellow runner Chuck Giles. "This lady is indomitable. It's just overwhelming."
HE'S MY LITTLE COCKER SPANIEL
"Tommy Lee came up and licked my face, and I gave him my phone number." --Pamela Anderson, on how she met her ex
THE MAGIC TUNNEL: WALK IN NORMAL; WALK OUT A VICTIM
The UA's diversity commissars sent out a campus-wide e-mail encouraging students to visit the so-called "tunnel of oppression," a series of rooms with interactive skits, multimedia videos and role-playing designed to sharpen student awareness of oppression.
"It was exciting and actually a turning point in our relationship. It was exciting, because it was Fenway Park." --Jessica Canseco, on making love with then-husband Jose Canseco, in an office at the old Boston ballpark
Cementing its reputation as America's most politically correct newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star
published a long, section-front story on smoking in movies. Chief hand-wringer Phil Villarreal wondered whether this year's holiday pictures will prove deadly for kids by suggesting that smoking is cool and popular.
AND DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT JOHN BARACY HAS CHANGED HIS NAME TO GEORGE ORWELL
Scottsdale Unified School District changed some common job titles to make them more meaningful. A bus driver became a transporter of learners; the driver's boss became the director of transportation of learners and safety; and the receptionist is now called the director of first impressions.
WHAT DOES THE C IN C-SECTION STAND FOR? ... CUCKOO!!!
"What would matter is, has she given birth to herself yet to where she can raise a child? I was 31 when I had my first child and I hadn't given birth to myself." --Jane Fonda, advising Britney Spears on her pregnancy
LET'S LEAVE THE PENOLOGICAL STUFF OUT OF THIS
Ireland's High Court, about to rule on the extradition to the United States of former Phoenix priest Patrick Colleary, stopped the effort after a government attorney saw newspaper photos of Maricopa County jail inmates in pink underwear and flip-flops as they paraded in pink handcuffs down a Phoenix Street.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio was moving nearly 700 almost-nude prisoners to a new jail. Irish officials demanded to know whether the disrobing of the inmates was necessitated by "security or penological interests."
NOW WE'RE SAD
Psychologist Doris Woods, 66, fighting the county over the smelly, 60-head goat herd she keeps on her Catalina property, says the animals have helped many people suffering from depression.
"One of the things I do is come out with my sleeping pad and sleeping bag and have a sleepover with the goats," says Woods. "They're very intuitive. If you're sad, they know it, and they'll come and sit by you."
LET'S SEE SOME PROOF
"Man Who Put Mom in Freezer Had Odd History" --The Associated Press
BUT DICK CHENEY WAS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
"Good News on Severed Goat Head: Satan Not Involved" --Reuters
TOOTHLESS ONCE AGAIN
Tucson prosecutors dropped trespassing charges against members of the Raging Grannies, a women's protest group ranging from 65 to 81 years of age. They'd tried to enlist in the Army at a military recruitment center on Speedway Boulevard.
Granny Pat Birnie said she was happy the charges were dropped, but "we were disappointed to lose our media audience as a result."
WAVE THE FLAG FOR CHEAP LABOR
The Tucson company Lapel Pins and More sold $5 patriotic lapel pins as reminders of Sept. 11 that were made in China. Company owner Sid Leluan said he understands that "it turns the jaw of some people to have things made overseas," but the wholesale price--61 cents each--made it worthwhile.
THEY'D POOP A LOT
In an article in Nature
magazine, Earth First! founder Dave Foreman argued that North America should be repopulated with animals that haven't lived on this continent in hundreds of years, including elephants.
"If we had some elephants on some private ranch lands where there are problems with mesquite or buffel grass," Foreman asked, "what would the impact be?"
DUDE ... CAN YOU, LIKE, REPEAT THAT?
"It's better than being on drugs. At least I can remember what I did yesterday." --Kelly Osbourne on sobriety
WHAT A SENSITIVE GUY
After being booted from the 10 p.m. broadcast, longtime KVOA-TV news anchor Patty Weiss quit the station, saying she planned to do a lot of emotional thank-yous to those who supported her over the years.
"What my husband said, which is so lovely, is that most people, when they die, they have the eulogy," Weiss said. "He said, 'You're so lucky, because you got the eulogy without having to die first.'"
COLLEGE CREDIT FOR A SUICIDE TRY?
Calling the stunt irresponsible, Tucson Fire Department officials lectured Johnjay and Rich, the zany morning radio hosts on KRQQ-FM, for sending intern Randy Stein rafting down the flooded Santa Cruz River in a boat.
Station DJ Rich Berra explained, "People who think it's irresponsible don't have an intern trying to earn college credit."
ALL RIGHT, NOW IT'S GETTING A LITTLE WEIRD
"My longest relationship was 2 1/2 years. That's very short when you consider how long I've been friends with Ben Affleck. I can imagine growing old with him." --actor Matt Damon
OVER THE LIPS AND THROUGH THE GUMS, LOOK OUT STOMACH, SOMETHING EXPENSIVE COMES
Police arrested 46-year-old Westin La Paloma resort employee John Thomas Hemmerick for allegedly stealing a 50-year-old bottle of scotch whiskey valued at $3,200.
WHY DOES ANYONE QUIT SCHOOL? TOO MUCH PARTYING; LOUSY GRADES
"SUV Crashes Into Pool Moments After Leaving College" --Boston Globe
In spite of attacks from critics, UA professor Gary Schwartz declared that Allison DuBois, the Phoenix psychic who inspired the TV drama Medium
, had passed scientific testing at the UA and really can contact dead people.
Schwartz said his critics ignored facts that do not support their biases. "This is like a skeptical sports reviewer focusing on Michael Jordan's few air balls and fouls, and drawing the conclusion that Jordan can't play basketball," he said.
ACTUALLY, HUGH, WE'RE WAITING FOR YOU TO GO AWAY
"The marriage lasted 8 1/2 years, and I was faithful to it the entire time. I came out of it emotionally beat up and bruised to find a whole generation had grown up and was waiting for me to come out and play." --Hugh Hefner, on his marriage to Kimberly Conrad Hefner
The Pima County Attorney's Office announced that 539 cases of drug possession had fallen through the bureaucratic cracks, and would be dismissed without filing charges. Chief Barbara LaWall said that allowing the druggies to walk was not a "huge problem."
THIS COP'S A FLOP
A report by the Tucson police alleged that one of its former officers, Jacob Wycoff, used his badge to get sexual favors from distraught women, including a 19-year-old domestic-violence victim whose boyfriend Wycoff had just arrested.
The report charges that Wycoff took her to dinner and a movie, had sex with her at his home and told her to "drop to zero and get with the hero."
DEAR BUD: BECAUSE WE'RE TOO GUTLESS AND WEASELLY TO TELL YOU IN PERSON ...
In return for Bud Grainger's work since the 1960s arranging baseball umpires for the UA's games, the school waived the tax normally paid on priority-season tickets for basketball and football.
The Star's Greg Hansen reported that the Athletic Department ended his exemption this year, informing the 84-year-old Grainger that after almost a half-century of service, he'd have to pay $800 on taxes on his tickets this year. He was told of the change by letter.
WE ASPIRE TO 'GIGLI'
Actress Jennifer López sent Hollywood buzz through Nogales when she arrived to film scenes from her upcoming movie Bordertown
, based on the killings of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico. "She is awesome. She's my role model," cooed one of the young female onlookers.
"Man Found Dead in Cemetery" --News-Dispatch
(Michigan City, Ind.)
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
As the film version of John McCain's book, Faith of My Fathers
, was being made in Louisiana, the senator's wife, Cindy McCain, took a seat on the new Arizona Film and Television Commission, dedicated to bringing more movie-production companies to Arizona.
POOR FRED MUST BE WONDERING: WHEN WILL I BE LOVED?
Singer Linda Ronstadt hosted a fundraiser for Nina Trasoff in her successful effort to win election to the Tucson City Council. Trasoff's opponent: Ronstadt's cousin, Republican Fred Ronstadt.
THEY'LL OPEN THEIR OWN DAMN DOORS, IF YOU DON'T MIND
"Experts Tried to Open Doors for Stem Cells" --Houston Chronicle
ARE THERE ANY OTHER CHOICES?
The 6-year-old racehorse named Rain, Hail or Shine died in its paddock Wednesday after being struck by lightning. --CBS SportsLine.com
With attendance slumping and revenue down, the Arizona Diamondbacks offered the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at each baseball game. Cost: $4,000.
WE HAVE A LONG LIST OF CANDIDATES
"Boy's Death Moves City to Favor Required Neutering" --San Francisco Chronicle
Defending his cameo appearance in the sex-filled movie Wedding Crashers
, described by Matt Drudge as a "boob raunch fest," Sen. John McCain said, "In Washington, I work with boobs every day."
GUNS MAKE A LOT MORE NOISE
To stem UA-area crime, including a spike in rapes, Tucson police handed out plastic whistles to students and residents close to campus.
"Don't hesitate to make noise using your whistle or honking your horn or screaming to draw attention to yourself," advised TPD Sergeant Ron Zimmerling.
WILL THEY GET TWO UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS?
"Jobless Workers Could Lose Jobs" --South Bend
At this year's funeral directors convention in Florida, a man unveiled plans to sell tombstones embedded with flat-screen monitors to play memorial videos of the dead. Inventor Joe Joachim says he wants to be the Walt Disney of the funeral business.
THANK GOD ARMSTRONG DIDN'T GO TO THE BATHROOM WHILE HE WAS THERE
Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon, sued Marx Sizemore, his ex-barber, for collecting some of the former astronaut's hair off the floor of his Ohio barbershop and selling it to a celebrity hair collector for $3,000.
PLEASE TELL US THIS MEANS THE '60S ARE REALLY OVER
Using a cannon, friends blasted the ashes of the late writer Hunter S. Thompson into the sky over his Woody Creek, Colo., home. Actor Johnny Depp spent $2 million to finance the memorial show, which included fireworks, blowup sex dolls and celebrity guests Sean Penn and Bill Murray.
Oklahoma criminal Eric James Torpy, set to receive a 30-year sentence on two charges of shooting with intent to kill, instead demanded a 33-year sentence.
The number 33 had special meaning to him, because it adorned the uniform of Boston Celtics basketball great Larry Bird, Torpy's hero. The judge granted his request for more jail time.
STUCK ON YOU, BABE
Ken Slaby sued ex-girlfriend Gail O'Toole for damages after she acted on a long-planned desire for revenge over the breakup of their relationship. She invited Slaby to her home in Murrysville, Pa., on the pretense of reconciling, then waited until Slaby fell asleep before gluing his penis to his stomach, gluing his testicles to his leg, and gluing the cheeks of his buttocks together, seriously crimping his normal bodily functions.
WE LOVE THE POOR MIGRANTS ... AS LONG AS THEY'RE IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S BACKYARD
Parishioners from Southside Presbyterian Church, gathering place of the No More Deaths Samaritan group, were among those complaining to police about day laborers, including numerous illegal aliens, congregating in their neighborhood.
HE GIVES GOOD MEETING
"After the picture came out, President Bush reiterated his opposition to gay marriage--unless one of the partners has several billion barrels of petroleum." --Humorist Andy Borowitz
THIS JUST MEANS YOU'RE GETTING SCREWED LESS
The UA's in-state tuition rose 74 percent the past three years, the largest tuition increase in the country, according to USA Today
. "Relatively speaking, it's a bargain," said Paul Allvin, UA spokesman. "We're still well, well below what other states are doing."
LET'S SEE IF WE'VE GOT THIS STRAIGHT: THERE'S NO PLACE TO PARK YOUR CAR, BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER, BECAUSE IT WON'T BE THERE WHEN YOU COME BACK ANYWAY
The UA in 2004 led the country's major colleges in property crimes, such as burglary, larceny, arson and auto theft.
JOSE IBARRA, CHICK MAGNET
In an Arizona Daily Star
story on gangland chaos around "A" Mountain, City Councilman Jose Ibarra waxed nostalgic about his youth, when he and his friends liked to cruise up the mountain on Sunday nights to hang out.
"We'd just listen to music, look out over the city and meet people," Ibarra said. "In my case, I'd be trying to get phone numbers, and it never worked out."
QUICK, SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ANN COULTER, ISLAMO-FACIST MASS MURDERERS AND TOFU CREAM PIES
In a November broadcast reporting the guilty plea of a UA student charged with throwing a pie at right-wing columnist Ann Coulter, KOLD-TV actually headlined its report: Al-Paida.
Citing fears of pedophilia, Democratic City Councilman Steve Leal proposed making ice cream-truck drivers pass a background check to get a city license.
THEY ALSO PLANNED TO AIRDROP IPODS THAT ONLY PLAYED SHOW TUNES
Documents released this year revealed that U.S. military officials in 1994 nixed a proposal to develop an aphrodisiac-type chemical weapon that would spur homosexual activity among enemy troops, adversely affecting "discipline and morale" in enemy units.
JIM KOLBE: MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF SERVICE, ONE LAST CHEAP SHOT
After announcing his decision not to run for re-election, Congressman Jim Kolbe declined to handicap future candidates for the office, with one exception. When speaking of his opponent in the 2004 Republican primary, the nasty competitor in Kolbe came out when he said, "I'll be honest: I think we can do better than Randy Graf."