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You can toss tortillas, but can you dribble a leather basketball?

Things you might have missed while the local TV stations were running a 12-part series on whether teeth whiteners really work: Someone tried to plot the assassination of Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull.

Why? Please, tell me why.

She's a pathological henna hoarder, but that's not a capital offense. That just makes her the object of ridicule. According to reports, these three geniuses were going to kidnap the governor, force her to sign a paper releasing one of them from jail, kill her and then bury her under a tree.

The plot was foiled by an undercover cop in their midst, who reported that they were also thinking about paying somebody $100,000 to kill Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Fortunately, no harm came to the governor and, at the same time, nobody really gives a crap about Arpaio. Still, if the dastardly plot had been carried out, the criminals wouldn't have gotten far. The aforementioned tree would've turned orange virtually overnight.


Bring back summary executions. A man in a town called Swansen in some unnamed state back East was arrested after running a red light. Apparently, judging by what I witness (and survive) on a daily basis, that makes one more red-light running arrest in that small town than Tucson has had all year.

But the guy wasn't just driving drunk. He only had one arm, was driving a car that hadn't been adapted in any way to his handicap and was using his only hand to talk on a cell phone!


Just be glad the tradition doesn't involve chimichangas. Quick, what's the easiest way to get graduating college students to throw tortillas at the graduation ceremony? That's right, ask them NOT to.

University of Arizona President Peter Likins had to know better than to ask graduates not to throw tortillas in McKale Center. It's a relatively new tradition at the UA, but one that has caught on in a big way. I'm sorry, but it seems both harmless and kinda funny.

However, I don't want to be like one of those people who hears rap music and then says something like, "If I were a black parent, I'd be terribly offended." I am offended, but I'm not a black parent.

So, to find out if tortilla tossing is offensive, I asked my wife, whose saintly mother still makes her own tortillas by hand. Ana says that she isn't offended in the least by the tortilla tossing, but what she does find offensive is that some of those store-bought monstrosities can even be labeled as tortillas.

Likins also appealed to the graduates' concern for others when he said it's wrong to waste food. That's why you should never order coleslaw at KFC. Nobody eats it. If everybody who ends up throwing away the coleslaw would just tell the server not to include it in the order, KFC would be able to get by on about 20 heads of cabbage a year.

Richard Pryor was at a Chinese restaurant once and the waiters kept bringing course after course to the table. Finally, Pryor said, "Man, I'm full! Don't bring me any more of that sh-t."

The waiter snapped back, "Hey, you order sh-t, you eat sh-t! Don't you know there people stah-vin' in Mississippi?!"

But, unless you ascribe to some Super Chaos Theory of Food Distribution, not throwing tortillas in Tucson isn't going to feed somebody in Guadalajara. Besides, if we were to confiscate all of the store-bought "tortillas" and ship them to Mexico for the needy, it would set foreign relations back decades. People would think we're trying to poison them.

Mexican Citizen #1: "Why would the gringos send us these cardboard discs, pre-packaged in groups of 12?"

Mexican Citizen #2: "I don't know. They're in the shape and size of tortillas and they even have a similarly rough texture, but they're certainly not edible. Perhaps their teenagers with complexion problems use them as abrasive facial wipes."

M.C. #1: "No, actually, they're good to throw. I went to my nephew's graduation at the University of Arizona. Those Americans are big on conspicuous consumption. They even sell their Frisbees by the dozen."

Look, President Likins, if you really want to stop the tradition, step up to the podium at next year's graduation, whip out some tortillas of your own and toss them into the crowd. Co-opting is the answer. Your throwing tortillas will be the equivalent of Republicans trying to boogie to soul music at a presidential inauguration party. The tradition will be uncool before the first tortilla lands on a communications major. And THOSE people are everywhere!


Eat MeAT. The PeTA dorks are at it again and this time they found somebody stupid enough to go along with them. PeTA is the group of people who know what's best for you. They nag and whine and buzz around like mosquitoes, but fortunately, since they don't eat real food, they lack the physical strength to force their views upon anyone else.

This time they petitioned the NCAA to stop using leather basketballs and the NCAA agreed. The thing is, nobody uses leather basketballs any more. The leather Wilson Jet used to be the standard for the sport, but it was supplanted about 10 years ago by the synthetic Spalding 1000, which has a much better grip and wears better. Of course, the PeTA people would have no way of knowing this, since a basketball would be much too heavy for any one of them to lift.

I would like to think that the NCAA, knowing that leather was a dead issue, decided to grab a little P.R. by "acceding" to PeTA's wishes. But nobody at the NCAA has the ability to think like that. Of course, the NCAA should have told the PeTA dorks to drop dead, but without any protein in their systems, they'll be doing that soon, anyway.

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