Weird Stuff

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Note of Resignation: Pima County Supe Ally Miller's Communications Aide Calls It Quits

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Ally Miller investigating potholes - COURTESY ARIZONA DAILY INDEPENDENT
  • Courtesy Arizona Daily Independent
  • Ally Miller investigating potholes
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller’s embattled communications staffer, Timothy DesJarlais, quit his job on Friday, June 3.

In case you're counting, that makes at least 11 staff members that Miller has burned through since taking office three-and-a-half years ago.

DesJarlais, 19, had been in the media spotlight every since a strange news website, the Arizona Daily Herald, emerged in mid-May. The Herald was purportedly the work of editor Jim Falken, who does not exist, except as an alias that DesJarlias has used in online gaming and various odd projects, such as the development of a fantasy nation called the Independent Republic of Dido Place, named for the street on which DesJarlais lives with his parents.

Despite the links between DesJarlais and Jim Falken, DesJarlais has denied being behind the Arizona Daily Herald and initially pointed the finger at another Republican activist, John Dalton. After Miller leveled accusations at Dalton, however, Dalton told the press that he didn’t know anything about the entire bizarre affair, but he would like someone to get to the bottom of it so he could take legal action against whoever was pretending to be him. And then another sketchy email arrived in the email boxes of various members of the media and political activists, claiming to be from another John Dalton who took the blame for the entire affair—except no one seems to be able to locate this second John Dalton, which suggests that he also does not exist. Or at least that what is suggests to us—Miller and her allies say that that the emergence of a second John Dalton who exists only as someone who sends emails clears DesJarlais of all charges.

Nonetheless, Miller has stood behind DesJarlais, suggesting the media should be ashamed of following the story and besmirching her staffer’s good name. Miller and DesJarlais went as far as to file reports with the FBI alleging identity theft.

If all this seems absurdly complicated—well, it is, so if you want the details, you should check our coverage here, here and here.

In the meantime, we’re waiting to see if the FBI has any interest in investigating this nonsense. And Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson has asked County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to look into what’s going on. Huckelberry has asked Sheriff Chris Nanos to check in with the FBI to find out if an investigation is underway. Huckelberry is holding off on any other action until the county is able to fulfill a massive public-records request from the Tucson Sentinel that might get to the bottom of whether DesJarlais was moonlighting as Jim Falken, intrepid reporter for the Arizona Daily Herald—and, more importantly, whether Miller had any knowledge of that project.
Huckelberry said those records could “shed some light as to any county equipment being used on premises or owned by the county—computer systems or phones or anything else, or employees doing similar actions while being paid by the public.”

We hear that Miller’s office is now reviewing thousands of pages related to that record request, so it might be awhile before we get to the bottom of this. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

This Is the Best Email About Pima County Supe Ally Miller's Crazy Links to Bogus Website

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Admittedly, you have to grok Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, the AZ Daily Independent (and in particular, what they call cartoons) and the recent Arizona Daily Herald dustup to appreciate the brilliance, but if you do ... well, Gerald gets all the wrong stuff exactly right in this pitch to Arizona Daily Independent loon-in-chief Loretta Hunnicutt:

Dear Miss Loraina Hunnicutt,

I am a big fan of your cartoons, and I would like to submit 1 here. I look at all your cartoons and my dad got me photo shop and I learn it at school. I am getting an B in my computer drawing class.

I did it in the style of your cartoons and it is about a funny story you have been reporting and so have the news other people.

attachment.jpg

If you need me to explain it here goes - in Star Wars Episode IV (a New Hope), Obi-Wan Kanobe says to the stormtroopers "These are not the droids you are looking for".

Everyone loves Star Wars jokes, so this one is funny.

But in my joke, it's about how Ali Miller and Tim Deloris are pretending not be Jim Falcon, even though everyone knows that the Arizona Daily Herald was really Gerald Falcon. John Hucelbarry and Chuck Winchester are in the back ground. Andf I put in a saguaro and deathstar.

If you don't want to buy it, even though it fits your style, I am offering it to the Tucson Weekly, or Tucson Sentimental or Northeast Explorer, which I have cced to show that I'm serious.

You can use it for only $74.99, which I think is cheap. I will take $49.99 if I retain synication rights.

Gerald

Continue reading »

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Get In Touch With Downtown's Paranormal Side With Specter Tours

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Robert Owens discusses the haunted history of the Ronstadt Transit Center on his downtown Tucson ghost tour. - NICHOLAS A. JOHNSON
  • Nicholas A. Johnson
  • Robert Owens discusses the haunted history of the Ronstadt Transit Center on his downtown Tucson ghost tour.


Historians, skeptics and believers in the paranormal can all find something to love about the downtown Tucson ghost tours put on by Specter Tours.

The small Tucson-based tour company leads walking tours around downtown Tucson. 

Tour guide and business owner Robert Owens is a dedicated historian and entertainer. Tour goers are taken around many Tucson landmarks such as the Rialto Theater, the Fox Theater and the Pioneer Hotel.

The Pioneer Hotel, the site of Arizona’s most deadly fire, has a rich history and spooky ghost stories to compliment it.

The tour also stops by 101 E. Pennington Street, an old mortuary that is now the home of Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink and Tough Luck Club. Owens recommends it as a place to relax with a drink while looking for apparitions after the tour.

Specter Tours is in the process of adding a new route, which is expected to open in early July. The new route will take tour guests around Fort Lowell Park with ghost hunting equipment similar to what you might see on television, like thermal imaging scanners.

Tickets can be purchased through Groupon for the Friday and Saturday tours. Tours start in front of the Rialto, loop around downtown, and end at Hotel Congress. 


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Friday, May 20, 2016

Pima County Supe Ally Miller's Aide Claims He Was Victim of Online Impersonation and Did Not Try to Masquerade as a Reporter, But The Story Seems Less Than Credible

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2016 at 1:47 PM



The bizarre story about Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller’s staffer, Timothy DesJarlais, has taken some new twists today.

As the Weekly reported yesterday, DesJarlais has an alter ego, Jim Falken, and recently someone had used the Falken name to create an online news site and to query members of the Board of Supervisors as well as candidates for office.

Big kudos to Tucson Sentinel’s Dylan Smith, who has a comprehensive report on DesJarlais’ strange cyber trail and the only interview with DesJarlais about this peculiar episode. It was after Smith reached DesJarlais via phone on Tuesday night that traces of “Jim Falken” began vanishing almost immediately from the web.

DesJarlais, who is also seeking a seat on the Marana School Board, has not returned multiple phone calls from the Weekly to confirm or deny that he set up an online news source—the Arizona Daily Herald—under the name of “Jim Falken.” But he did release a statement to the online propaganda blog Arizona Daily Independent.

DesJarlais acknowledged creating the “Jim Falken” identity “as part of a high school project” but said that he did not have anything to do with Jim Falken’s effort to create the Arizona Daily Herald:

“Regarding the current Arizona Daily Herald site and email address, those accounts are bogus accounts created by someone trying to impersonate me,” DesJarlais said in his statement. “As I work for Supervisor Miller and know both Kim and Marla well, I would have no reasons or time to pull any stunts like this. Nevertheless, I do apologize to anyone for the inconveniences caused to them and charge whoever did this to come forward and confess the truth.”

Perhaps DesJarlais will join O.J. on the hunt for the “real killers” next.

Continue reading »

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Blog Post That Jumped Out Of A Tree

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 1:36 PM



I was enjoying a quiet moment sitting in the shade of my favorite old tree at Catalina Park earlier this week, blissfully unaware of my surroundings until I felt a small impact ripple across the ground. Mystified, I looked behind me and a young male had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I stared at him for a second, trying to process where in the world this person could have come from. He told me that he’d been up in the tree, enjoying the beautiful day and if I was “feeling adventurous” I should try it out myself. He caught me on a laundry day in a pair of pants that have gotten a little bit tighter over the years, but I promised him I’d come see what the tree is all about when I’m wearing something stretchier. With a warm smile, he told me to have a good rest of my day in that very genuine Tucson-way that reminds me of why I love living here, and off he went.


Today, I came back to that towering (for the desert) tree. Using the gnarly old lumps dotting the trunk as footholds, I hauled myself up into the canopy and appreciated the view from 20 feet up, letting go of the stresses of four classes, two jobs and an internship for a few minutes and watching the storm clouds roll by through the tree branches. Sometimes strangers have good advice.  


If you want to climb the tree too, look for the tallest tree in the southwest corner of Catalina Park at 900 N 4th Ave.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Into the Mild: Rednecks For a Better World

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Houston, Texas – December 2015

Could first impressions be worse?

There they were, the four of them talking so loudly to each other that they were almost yelling. Their Cajun accents were so strong that they would have better fit in a cartoon. Their voices drowned out the conversations in the seats next to them. Two of them had the lower lip and gum decay that only a lifetime of chewing tobacco can inflict on someone, and they all wore amazingly greasy hair. Despite the frigid December weather, they boarded the plane in sleeveless shirts and ripped jeans. Did I mention that they were loud?

My mind was set.

I fortunately sat far enough away that their voices faded out after 30 minutes and I slept deeply. I was awakened to an intercom announcement: “We are now making our final descent into Istanbul, please turn off all electronics and return your seat to the upright position.”

“Idunmind if they speak Turkush here, suhlonguz everone understanz English too!” cackled my Cajun friend. It had to have been a joke. Nobody who willingly leaves their own country really thinks like that. But nobody else was laughing. Not even the others in his group.

Continue reading »

Monday, March 14, 2016

Into the Mild: Misadventure in Mozambique

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Mozambique and I got off to a bad start.

After less than 24 hours at my new job in coastal Mozambique, I decided it was time to leave. My new boss had changed his mind or been misleading about a couple of key things, then wouldn’t be available for several days to answer questions. I had a bad feeling. So I left.

Ilha de Mozambique
  • Ilha de Mozambique
First I wandered onto an island nearby and asked a hostel if they needed help. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. I went to a hotel, asked the same question, and got the same answer. I decided to look for work at a hostel in a nearby city where I had grown impatient previously because there was nobody working in the morning. I grabbed my backpack and flagged down a van, stuffed to the gills with 25 people people and their bags. It broke down 30 miles into the 120-mile trip. The driver of course didn’t offer a refund.

I flagged down a Toyota Tacoma and rode in the bed for the next 30 minutes, then was left at a fork in the road. A passenger from the first minibus helped me find another ride and jumped into the bed of a farm truck with me.

We spent the next hour driving down a small highway, constantly surrounded by green plants, palm trees, and small hills. It was perfect. But the approaching grey clouds made us nervous.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's Keep Piling Up All of the Ridiculous Things Some GOP Extremists Say About Obama

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 1:15 PM

I will burn plenty of San Judas candles for all of you, Texas K-12 students.
  • I will burn plenty of San Judas candles for all of you, Texas K-12 students.

Just when you think things couldn't get any weirder with extremist Republican wannabe public officials, you come across a post by Slate that reads somewhere along the lines of, "A retired teacher who thinks Obama was a prostitute won big on Super Tuesday."

Her ever-so predictable anti-Muslim, climate-change-is-a-Marxist-hoax, and Obama-was-a-prostitute-when-he-was-in-his-20s rhetoric got Mary Lou Bruner, a candidate for the Texas State Board of Education, roughly 48 percent of votes in a three-way Republican race for the board's 15 seats, though. Something is working. The same thing that's pulling strings for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Texas has long been ground zero for wackazoid right-wing politicians, who seem to get more entrenched every year: The current agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, is on a heaven-sent mission to put deep fryers and vending machines back into schools after a 10-year ban, and the attorney general, Ken Paxton, is obsessed with invalidating same-sex marriages, even on death certificates. (Paxton could be disbarred for encouraging clerks to ignore the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, among numerous other ethically questionable acts.)

But Bruner, a retired teacher with 36 years of experience in Texas schools, is exceptional even by Lone Star standards. Earlier this year, she made headlines for claiming that President Barack Obama bankrolled his drug habit by plying his wares on the street, as first reported by Texas Freedom Network. She posted on Facebook:

Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.

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Tour the UA Tree-Ring Research Lab

Docents guide tours of the center of some of the world's leading research about dendrochronology as it… More

@ The UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Second Tuesday of every month, Third Wednesday of every month and Fourth Thursday of every month The Bannister Building, 1215 E. Lowell St.

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