Queen of Cactus

If there's a story about the saguaro cactus that's stuck in my head since I heard it back in 1982, it's the one about David Grundman, the drunk knucklehead who, after failing to run down one of those mighty cactus in his jeep, decided he'd blast it with his shotgun. The saguaro got the last laugh, falling right atop of Grundman and permanently ending any threat he might pose to the plant world in the future.

David Yetman, known for his work hosting the PBS series The Desert Speaks and In the Americas, recounts that tale as part of his introduction to The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History, a new UA Press book we're proud to excerpt in this week's cover story. In the book, Yetman writes about the cactus' botanical and cultural history, while his colleagues Alberto Búrquez, Kevin Hultine and Michael Sanderson tackle other aspects of the iconic cactus. Big thanks for UA Press for sharing the feature with us.

Elsewhere in this week's issue: Contributor Maria Nasif looks at some of the deeper questions raised by the Arizona Game and Fish Department's decision to "lethally remove" (read: kill) three mountain lions in Southern Arizona a few weeks ago; Tucson Salvage columnist Brian Smith reflects on how his gorgeous new baby opened his heart in ways he could never have imagined; columnist Tom Danehy has new questions for the new year; UA journalism student Sebastian Janik introduces us to Nathan Thompson Avelino, the palate behind Whiskey del Bac; arts writer Margaret Regan previews the upcoming Tucson Ballet production; comedy correspondent Linda Ray fills you in on where to find laughs around town this week; staff reporter Austin Counts does double duty, writing about the new album from local country crooner Hank Topless and a new cold brew created by Halo Infusions and Extractions and Yellow Brick Coffee; and, of course, there's plenty more to guide you through all the fun you can have in Tucson this week.

See you in the shade of the saguaro!

— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor

Hear Nintz talk about what's happening in Tucson's entertainment scene Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. during The Frank Show on KLPX, 96.1 FM. Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs at 4 p.m. Sunday on KXCI, 91.3 FM.