An impeached president. An app that warns you of poop on the sidewalk. A potty-mouthed mayor. And just so, so, so much BS. It feels like we’re gonna have to flush 10, 15 times to get rid of all of this year’s backed-up stupidity. Once again, correspondent Leo W. Banks has read through the news and remembers—hopefully for the last time—the mooks, malcontents and madmen of 2019 before it all swirls away.
IF YOU RECEIVE THE ZENGER AWARD, SHOULDN’T YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST AMENDMENT?
Reporters should never call for the country’s most powerful police agency to shut down political speech, but CNN’s Christiane Amanpour did just that, saying to former FBI director James Comey: “‘Lock her up’ was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you, in retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order, had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could’ve created violence, that it kind of is hate speech?” The UA’s School of Journalism awarded Amanpour its John Peter Zenger Award for Press Freedom.
MONEY TALKS, BUT YOU CAN’T
The NBA apologized to China after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. Later, as part of the fallout, a man and his wife attending an exhibition game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Guangzhou Loong Lions of China stood up behind the Lions’ bench and shouted, “Free Hong Kong!” The 76ers showed their love of free speech by ejecting the couple from the arena. The game took place in Philadelphia, not China.
THE CHINA SYNDROME
Sixty percent of millennials believe America goes too far in allowing free speech and the First Amendment should be re-written to reflect today’s cultural norms. In a poll conducted by the Campaign for Free Speech, 54 percent supported jailing anyone found guilty of “hate speech.”
ARIZONA DAILY TITANIC
The Arizona Daily Star’s 220,000-square-foot building was placed on the market so the newspaper staff could relocate to a smaller and cheaper site in Tucson.
In his memoir, Darkness to Light, former NBA star Lamar Odom revealed that he used a prosthetic penis to pass a drug test for the 2004 Olympics. After searching Google and getting next-day delivery on a “giant, rubber, black c—-”, Odom had another man urinate into the fake phallus and then strapped it on. In the bathroom, with the NBA’s drug tester two feet away, he surreptitiously slid the fake penis through the zipper hole. “To get the pee to come out of the tip, I had to squeeze the shaft repeatedly.”
SHITTY BY THE BAY
Homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco have so deteriorated life in what once was America’s most beautiful city that visitors can now consult two smartphone apps to help them avoid human excrement on the sidewalks. The Wall Street Journal also reports that a private developer introduced Snapcrap, which allows residents to upload a photo of an offending specimen directly to a city website, part of its hilariously named San Francisco at Your Service program.
SHARKS USE IT AS A SCRATCHING POST
Tucson artist Ghazal Ghazi co-created a 10-foot stainless-steel saguaro sculpture that was placed 60 feet below the ocean surface off the Gulf of Mexico, part of the Underwater Museum of Art off Grayton Beach State Park, in Florida. “Sea life will be growing on the sculptures,” Ghazi said. “We thought about how saguaros are so vital to maintaining and promoting life in the desert. The sculpture would be accomplishing the same role underwater.” The museum is free, but only those with diving equipment can visit.
IF COLONIZERS BROUGHT CARNE ASADA, HAIL THE COLONIZERS
Three vegan Mexican food restaurants opened in Phoenix, offering such dishes as vegan carne asada. Gustavo Arellano, an LA-based columnist, said “real Mexicans” aren’t supposed to be eating this meat in the first place because colonizers brought it over from Spain, changing what had been a mainly plant-based diet.
AT NIGHT, BELLA SETTLES INTO HER PEN AND READS DR. SEUSS
Former Tucsonan Paula Behrman, now living in Hereford, in Cochise County, takes her therapy pig, Bella, to hospitals, nursing homes and schools to give folks a boost. Behrman says her 65-pound pet, who often wears a brightly-colored tutu, has a remarkable ability to get silent dementia patients to talk. “When they meet Bella, they start talking about when they were on the farm when they were younger,” she said. “This one lady was talking about how she used to ride her pot-bellied pig and the staff were like, ‘She never says that.’ She brings something out in people.”
MEANWHILE, IN OTHER SWINE NEWS
Singer Miley Cyrus mourned the passing of her beloved pig Bubba Sue, AKA Pig Pig, posting on Instagram: “I will miss U always. Thank you for so many laughs and good times, girl.” She also shared the cover photo from the summer 2015 issue of Paper magazine in which Miley posed nude and muddy with Pig Pig.
Former Republican presidential candidate and well-known milquetoast Willard Mitt Romney was caught using a fake name on Twitter to respond to critical remarks about him. His Twitter handle was Pierre Delecto. The nom-de-underpants Carlos Danger was already taken.
BUY A TV, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD
Tucson saw the opening of El Jefe Cat Lounge, where folks dealing with life’s troubles can hug a kitty for $10 an hour. Yes, cats, those furry aristocrats everybody tolerates, but nobody really likes. Co-owner Tiffany Lee told the Star she went to a similar joint in Tempe when her daughter left for college and took their cat. “I thought it would help if I could cuddle with a cat,” she said.
THE DEVILS GET THEIR DUE
The federal indictment alleging that actress Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli paid $500,000 to have their two daughters recruited to the crew team at USC contains an email from Giannulli stating he wanted to “make sure we have a roadmap for success as it relates to [our daughter] and getting her into a school other than ASU!”
QUERIES DOTH MAKE HIM WEARY
When a woman stepped away from a microphone after asking a question at a City Council meeting, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild twas heard whispering into an open microphone: “Why does everyone want us to answer their f—-ing questions?”
HE’S BALD AND HAS A BADGE
The Town of Patagonia took unspecified action against Marshal Joseph Patterson after his encounter with Hilde Kate Lysiak, a pre-teen reporter who runs the Orange Street News website. When the Marshal stopped the youngster on her bike, Lysiak identified herself as media, at which point Patterson allegedly said, “I don’t want to hear about any of that press freedom stuff.” He also told her, falsely, it was illegal to put his face on the internet and threatened to have her “arrested and thrown into juvey.”
THE OLD PUEBLO IS PISSED
A company called Byte analyzed 12 million tweets nationwide over the course of a year and concluded that Tucson is Arizona’s saddest and angriest city, based on the number of tweets labeled #Happy, #Sad and #Angry.” Gilbert is the state’s happiest city and Sunday is the happiest day.
LAMBCHOPS AND A BABY RUTH SOUND GOOD ABOUT NOW
Concerned about rampant diabetes, Navajo President Jonathan Nez banned participants from handing out candy to kids during the Navajo Nation Fair and parade held every year in Window Rock. Instead, he urged people to give out fruits and vegetables. The Fair includes the Miss Navajo Nation competition, in which participants are required to butcher a sheep.
BLOOD TESTS OPTIONAL
Prior to a basketball game at Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, an official asked the coach of visiting Pueblo High, which is 89 percent Hispanic, if his kids had their green cards. The Arizona Interscholastic Association fired the official, who claimed his remark was an attempt at humor. Patricia Coleman, a Pueblo mom, said it broke her heart that the boys “had to be part of this ugliness.”
OUR FAVORITE GENERAL
Speaking at a dinner in New York, former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis noted that President Trump was excused from military service in Vietnam due to bone spurs. In a biting remark made shortly after he departed the Administration, Mattis said: “I earned my spurs on the battlefield. Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.”
HERE’S LOOKING UP YOUR ADDRESS
The Green Valley News reported that a woman in Sahuarita called police to complain that a man was following her around a Fry’s supermarket. When police watched store video, they suspected that Kelvin Kirby Jr. was using a cell phone to secretly record under her dress and took him into custody, according to the News.
SHOCKED, SHOCKED THAT GAMBLING IS GOING ON IN HERE
Former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said she joined a Facebook group of Border Patrol agents whose members mocked illegal aliens and lawmakers so she could read what her personnel thought about her. One of the group’s parody postings showed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) performing a sex act on President Trump. Provost said she had no idea about such things. “I am as outraged as everyone else when it comes to the statements that were made on that page.”
THE FALSE TEETH FLEW
A game of bingo at a nursing home in Rideau Lakes, Ontario, turned nasty when two women, ages 79 and 86, fought over a seat. The episode turned into a genuine brawl when other women got involved.
I’M GRATEFUL FOR MOM AND DAD AND FAMILY, AND OF COURSE FOR BUBBLES THE POLE DANCER
In an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Denise Richards revealed that ex-husband Charlie Sheen once came to Thanksgiving dinner and announced that he had a hooker in his car in the driveway. “Ugh,” Richards said. “I’ll set a f—-ing plate. Even a hooker deserves to have Thanksgiving dinner.”
NOBODY LEAVE THE ROOM UNTIL WE FIND OUT WHY I’M DEAD
Failed mayoral candidate Steve Farley alleged that Regina Romero used big-money donations from Washington D.C. and Phoenix to sink his competing candidacy. “I’ve combed through multiple incomplete records at various levels of government to try to uncover who spent what to take me down,” said Farley. “I feel like I’m investigating my own murder.”
IF THAT DOESN’T WORK, WE’LL ADMINISTER SEVERE NOOGIES
In his typically understated and thoughtful way, President Trump suggested to staffers that illegal border crossers could be shot in the leg to slow them down, according to The New York Times.
TEST YOUR WOKENESS: DOES THIS MAKE YOU WANT TO LAUGH, CRY OR NOD IN AGREEMENT?
In an article about men and abortion, a magazine called MEL ran an editor’s note stating: “For brevity’s sake, we’re using the word ‘women’ to describe people who get pregnant and ‘men’ to describe those who impregnate them. But people of all genders can get pregnant and get people pregnant, and this guide is intended to be a useful resource for them as well.”
TWO HUMPS AND A DUMP
Pima County Sheriff’s Department deputies were called to the area of West Pima Mine Road in Green Valley to help capture two camels that were running loose through the neighborhood. The animals had gotten out of their homes at Camels and Friends in Sahuarita.
I SEE YOU, EMU
After escaping from its backyard, an emu named Nike was spotted wandering the streets of Scottsdale. A neighbor put a horse halter on the giant bird and led it to a nearby yard. Seeing a video of the two together, owner Sumer Aeed said, “They were walking her like a dog. She won’t walk that way for me. Plus, she’s scary if you don’t know about her so that was really courageous.” Phoenix Police Sgt. Ann Justus said, “I’ve gone on animal calls. I’ve been on horse calls. But personally, this was my first emu.”
TUSD’S CURRICULUM SHOULD INCLUDE A COURSE ON GRACE, AND ITS LEADERS SHOULD BE ITS FIRST STUDENTS
Hearing that longtime ideological foe Mark Stegeman was resigning from the TUSD Board, the president of that group, Adelita Grijalva, told the Star: “I’m glad he acknowledges that he just is not the best representative for the district, and his children do not attend our schools. So him acknowledging that and walking away—I’m glad that he chose to do that.”
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
A Maryville, Tennessee man, angered by a lousy tip, was arrested for dipping his testicles into a customer’s cup of to-go salsa. The episode came to light when April Pennington, the customer in question, got hold of a video of the act and posted it to Facebook. “Sticking parts of your genitals in people’s food … is one of those social codes that you just don’t break,” said Pennington.
COACH MILLER ACCEPTS JOB WITH UBER
Peppered with repeated questions at a press conference about a supposed subpoena to testify at a trial of college basketball corruption, UA basketball coach Sean Miller had finally had enough and snarled at a reporter, “You can drive back to Phoenix.”
HOW ABOUT COLORADO RIVER WATER? TOO THICK TO DRINK, TOO THIN TO PLOW
An effort by a Gilbert teenager to have state lawmakers name lemonade the official state drink touched off a debate among lawmakers. Other suggestions include margaritas, sun tea and Jamaican tea. The best idea came from Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, who said tequila would be “in the spirit of the cultural diversity of this state.”
TEA, SYMPATHY AND A TREMENDOUS URGE TO EAT DORITOS
Seeing its tea business sag, the company that makes Arizona Iced Tea has jumped into the booming marijuana trade with plans to produce vape pens, dope gummies, and marijuana-infused drinks such as tea, lemonade, soda and coffee.
IF ONLY I WERE GREEN, I’D BE HAPPY
Rosanna Arquette, a talented and possibly disturbed actress who has had roles in movies such as Pulp Fiction and Crash, said she would like to change the “disgusting” color of her skin. She tweeted: “I’m sorry I was born white and privileged. It disgusts me. And I feel much shame.”
A local columnist reported that two months into her new job as a senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema flew to New Zealand on vacation and to participate in an Ironman triathlon. When challenged, the daffy Democrat dodged to familiar talking points, saying she was working to break down barriers for female athletes and increase their participation in such competitions across the globe.
KNOCK, KNOCK WHO’S THERE? SINALOA SINALOA WHAT? SEND-A-LOAD-A DRUGS
A former Customs and Border Protection agent from Texas was sentenced to nine years in prison for helping Mexican smugglers bring drugs across the border. In exchange for money, Robert Hall and another man gave sensor locations to the smugglers, named uncontrolled roads and even handed over keys to gates on the southern border.
SHE CLAWED HER WAY TO THE TOP
Grumpy Cat, the Internet’s most famous kitty, passed away at age 7. Known for its grouchy face caused by feline dwarfism, the animal lived with its owner in Morristown, Arizona, and had 1.5 million followers on Twitter, 2.4 million on Instagram and 8.5 million on Facebook.
DEAL OF A LIFETIME
The UA spent three months investigating allegations of sexual harassment against former head football Coach Rich Rodriguez, found no substantiating evidence and told him to go away anyway. The school wasted nearly $137,000 on the probe, then paid Rodriguez nearly $6 million to buy him out of his contract.
DOES HE DRUG HIS AUDIENCE FIRST?
On Father’s Day, Bill Cosby sent out a fantastically inappropriate tweet, saying: “Hey, hey, hey … It’s America’s Dad… I know it’s late, but to all the dads … It’s an honor to be called a Father, so let’s make today a renewed oath to fulfilling our purpose—strengthening our families and communities.” While incarcerated, Cosby has been delivering lectures to groups of a hundred or more prisoners on parenting, drug use, and how to be a good example to their kids. The actor is serving a lengthy sentence for aggravated indecent assault—for drugging a woman and having sex with her.
THE THIN BLUE LINE MEETS THE GREEN MERMAID
When a clearly unstable customer complained about not feeling safe in the presence of law enforcement officers, a barista at a Tempe Starbucks requested that six cops move out of the customer’s line of sight or leave the coffee house altogether. The incident occurred on July 4. The company later apologized.
THE TOURISTS JUST GLOWED
A safety manager at the Grand Canyon said that over a two-decade period beginning in 2000, thousands of people may have been exposed to dangerous radiation from uranium specimens kept in a park building. But an expert at Clemson University called baloney, saying the specimens presented no threat because alpha particles emitted by uranium ore are the least dangerous variety and cannot be absorbed through a person’s skin.
THE PERILS OF EVOLUTION
A woman trying to take a selfie climbed over a barrier at Arizona’s Wildlife World Zoo and got too close to a jaguar, which reached a claw through its enclosure and hooked her arm. Someone nearby shoved a water bottle through the cage to distract the large cat and the victim was pulled to safety with non-life-threatening injuries.
HERE I SIT, CAN’T GET STARTED, DOCTOR SAYS I’M BROKEN HEARTED
Scientists in England have invented a gadget, equipped with sensors and attached to a normal toilet seat, that they claim can measure blood pressure, oxygen levels and heart rate, thus detecting early signs of heart failure. The inventors claim it could save millions of lives.
OJ STANDS FOR ORANGE JUMPSUIT
Former football star and America’s dumbest man O.J. Simpson launched a Twitter account with a video post saying that he had a “little getting even to do.” After skating on the 1994 murder of his wife, Nicole, and Ronald Goldman, Simpson was later sent to prison for robbery and kidnapping for trying to steal back his sports memorabilia from some men in a Las Vegas hotel room. Evidently preparing for his inevitable next prison stint, Simpson said of his Twitter account: “I’ve got some things to straighten out.”
THAT’S NOT COCAINE, HE WENT TO SUPERCUTS
The Spanish National Police, working out of Josep Tarradellas Airport in Barcelona, became suspicious when they spotted a man with unusually high hair. On inspection, officers found a pound of cocaine underneath his toupee.
THE BEST, MOST UNBELIEVABLE AND FANTASTIC QUOTES OF THE YEAR FROM TV HOST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR BILL MAHER:
“(Attorney General) Bill Barr is so far up Trump’s ass he bumped into Hannity.”
FROM ARIZONA SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY
When far-right Alabaman Roy Moore, a Republican accused multiple times of sexual misbehavior with teenaged girls, announced a second bid for the U.S. Senate, she said, “Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men.”
FROM OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL COACH MIKE GUNDY
Asked about his son, Gunnar, potentially playing for him, he said, “If you are the best player, you’ll play. If not, you won’t play—even though I’m sleeping with your mom.”
FROM ZAIRA LIVIER, LEADER OF TUCSON’S PROP 205 SANCTUARY CITY EFFORT
On the death of libertarian financier David Koch, she said, “I’m getting a little tired of these criminal billionaires dying before we get the chance to publicly execute them.”
FROM GREGORY ALLEN HOWARD, WRITER OF THE MOVIE “HARRIET
"In discussions about making the picture about former slave and American hero Harriet Tubman, a Hollywood executive suggested that white actress Julia Roberts play Tubman, saying: “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”