Want to know what's rattling around Tom's head?

Things that have caught my attention recently:

· Last year, a couple of do-gooders got busted for giving a ride to some illegal vagabond immigrant undocumented migrant alien entrant worker laborers. (There, I ran the entire euphemism gamut.) People expressed outrage that they would be arrested for breaking a law simply because that law was ... well, you know, a law.

I don't think anybody actually wanted them to see jail time, but some figured it would be appropriate to let them know that, here in America, we generally don't get to pick and choose which laws to ignore. Well, those aforementioned "some" sure got put in their place after Judge Raner Collins dropped all the charges, because "somebody had told (the ride-givers) that it was OK."

Well damn, does that set a new legal precedent? Back where I grew up, there were people who said it was OK to knock the clerk in the head and rob the liquor store, because alcohol was just another way to keep the black man down. (Or the really poor white guy, as the case may be.)

JUDGE COLLINS: You've been charged with assault and battery, and armed robbery. How do you plead?

DEFENDANT: Not guilty, 'cause this guy who hangs out down there by Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road told me it was OK to rob liquor stores, that it's a political thing. Now, I know I shouldn't rob grocery stores; that would be wrong.

JUDGE COLLINS: Case dismissed!

· This may be the most inconsequential thing I've ever written about, but it drives me nuts. On the sports-talk radio station that I listen to from time to time, they have a commercial for The Wingstop. Despite my love of fried chicken, I've never actually eaten there, but I have friends who say that the wings are really good.

Anyway, in the commercial, they say that you can get 35 wings for $19.95, and 50 wings for $29.95. That means that 50 wings are more expensive (per wing) than the smaller order. That's just not right! Somebody tell them, please.

· The chairman of the Hopi tribe, Ivan Sydney, got arrested for public drunkenness and had a blood-alcohol level of .31, nearly four times the legal limit. How is that even possible?

He was in a hotel in Winslow and reportedly urinated in the lobby, partly because he was too drunk to walk. Sydney later issued a statement, calling the whole thing a "medical incident."

· Every weekday morning at 6:55, I turn the TV on to KVOA Channel 4 to get the weather and traffic reports (not that I'm actually going to be leaving the house or anything, but I like to see how the other 99.995 percent live). They have local news cutouts the final five minutes of each half-hour of the Today show. But Dara Demi, who is on the local news, says, "We'll be back every 25 minutes."

That's not true. That means they'd be back on at 7:25 (which they are), then 7:50, then 8:15, then 8:40. Somebody tell her, please.

Anyway, after the local segment, I stay and watch the first part of Today, because it has Ann Curry, and she serves as a living reminder that it's possible for any of us to become rich and well-known despite our utter lack of talent or personality.

· When a Republican national committee pumped more than 100 large into Steve Huffman's primary campaign, I was disappointed that more local Repubs didn't throw a fit: It's none of their damn business who wins a local primary. If Howard Dean tried to throw money behind one candidate or another on the Dem side, I'd be heated.

I don't really mind if out-of-staters pump money into a general election, but the primary is our business, and we should get to pick our horses in the race. I'm not sure which would be worse for the nosy money men: Having Huffman win, setting a precedent for primary campaigns all over the country, or having him lose, leaving the would-be influencers with egg all over their faces.

Here's hoping that an expensive loss will make them rethink their intrusive actions.

· The U.S. Senate, with a 10-seat Republican majority, released an official report stating unequivocally that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with al-Qaida. For a GOP-controlled Senate to finally get around to admitting what the rest of us have known for years had to be galling. They had to have exhausted every possible connection the two could have had, including seeing whether Hussein and bin Laden both signed up for the same Columbia House Record Club, with each receiving their 10 free CDs and then changing their respective addresses.

· And finally, for the person who e-mailed me to complain that Tucson doesn't have an online traffic school, boy, did you come to the wrong person! You're probably part of that group of idiots who runs red lights two or three cars at a time, making tire-squealing right turns after the light has turned red and cutting in front of oncoming (right-of-way) cross traffic.

If I had my way, traffic school would be taught at the prison by guys named T-Bag and Buster.

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