Tom on the Pima GOP, cashless pay stations and Mr. Taco Stein

Bring back Brian Miller!

All the former head of the Pima County Republican Party did was insult a lot of people in his own party (including his predecessors), and insinuate that certain law-enforcement personnel had participated in a murder. At least he didn't try to raffle off a gun several months after a similar gun was used to shoot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head and kill six people.

Interim party chief Mike Shaw sent out a newsletter that read, "Help Pima GOP get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock." The $10-per-ticket raffle is a fundraiser for the local Republican Party. In related news, the World's Most Insensitive Clod award has been officially retired and will be bolted to Mike Shaw's mantelpiece.

I'll admit that I've never understood this gun thing. I used to be more outspoken on this issue, but over the years, I've adopted a philosophy of "live and let ... them shoot at each other." I realize that there are a lot of people out there who need to have a gun in order to feel all manly and stuff, but this move by the county Republicans clears the Green Monster of basic human decency and is still rising.

Somebody explain it to me, please. And don't use the old, tired clichés about how "a gun is just a tool." You're a tool.

If somebody wants to kill somebody badly enough, they don't need a gun. Yeah, that's true. Jared Loughner could have stabbed 19 people in a Safeway parking lot, killing six of them with a knife, right? And with a knife, you don't have to reload. I love that argument.

According to that "logic," those jackasses who flew airliners into buildings 10 years ago could have just as easily carried out their missions using hot-air balloons. They both fly, right?

• Speaking of guns, under an "emergency" law passed in Texas, a concealed-weapon permit is admissible as voter ID in that state, but a student ID (with photo) is not. I can just see Arizona State Sen. Frank Antenori pacing in the war room, talking about how we have a gun-nuts' rights gap.

• OK, so I went to the University of Arizona the other day to conduct some bidness. I parked in front of McKale Center and dug out a couple of quarters from that place in my car where the quarters go. But instead of a meter in front of my car, there was a sign directing me to a "pay station."

I carried the quarters down to the pay station, only to find that it doesn't accept money. You need to have a CatCard (for UA students), or you can use a specific type of credit card. As it turns out, I actually have one of those credit cards, but I usually keep it in a drawer and only use it when I travel.

Have you tried recently to pay for a rental car with cash? They look at you from across the counter and say stuff like, "Tom, huh? Is that Irish for 'Abdul'?"

Please don't tell me that time is passing me by. I watched the entire series of Max Headroom. I know what happens when everything gets put on a computer. Besides, I like paying in cash. I don't like owing money.

In other news:

• Big Boi, half of the monstrously successful hip-hop duo Outkast, was arrested recently in Miami for possession of illegal substances. Antwan Andre Patton, who also goes by the names of Sir Lucious Leftfoot, the Son of Chico Dusty, Hot Tub Tony and Corporal Sticky Pantzz, was said to be in possession of ecstasy and Viagra, for which he didn't have a prescription.

Viagra?! You're 36 years old! And your name is Big Boi!

This is sad. From now on, you're Big Boi With Help From Chemistry.

• Aruba's solicitor general, the person in charge of the investigation of the disappearance of an American tourist on that island, is named Taco Stein. That's right: Taco Stein. But, remember, Aruba is a Dutch protectorate, so in English, his name is Hamburger Mug.

• Former model Linda Evangelista, who recently had a child that was fathered by some rich guy, is asking for $46,000 a month in child support. She claims that she needs, among other things, drivers for the baby who are on call 24 hours a day, and a $175,000-per-year bodyguard for the kid.

The father of the child, billionaire François-Henri Pinault, was cheating on his then-girlfriend/now-wife Salma Hayek when he got Evangelista in a family way. There are too many punch lines there to even know where to begin.

• Finally, did you see that Sarah Palin's son, Track (good Christian name), became a daddy just three months after he married his girlfriend? He joins his sister, Bristol, in the "Ahem" category, as she continues to try to earn a living in her self-appointed position as poster child for abstinence-after-the-fact.

So, Mama Grizzly, how's that family-values stuff workin' for ya?