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No Wonder Years 

After a long hiatus, The Answer Dude returns.

We'd like to welcome back from a long hiatus The Answer Dude. He's been on suspension since late '99 after one of his answers received only partial credit. He took his suspension all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was upheld in a decision written by Antonin Scalia. And like virtually everything written by Scalia, the decision had absolutely no legal foundation, but it did dovetail nicely with the prevailing political winds of the moment.

But anyway, he's back, so ask away.

Dear Answer Dude: It was a rough weekend. Anthony Quinn, Imogene Coca, Arlene Francis and "Dennis The Menace" creator Hank Ketcham all died. Any other significant deaths?

Answer Dude: Yeah, the Myth of the Liberal Media Bias was officially laid to rest after the Bush daughter(s) got popped for illegal drinking for the 87th time in the past couple months and it got buried in the back pages. I'm not saying that it should have been front-page news. Hell, that one daughter has been in and out of bars so many times, they put in a revolving door just for her.

What I am saying is that if it had been Chelsea Clinton, we'd know what she drank, who served it to her, and the angle of trajectory of the vomit when she ralphed on her friend. Instead, all Chelsea ever did was graduate from Stanford, help with her mom's senatorial campaign and travel the world trying to help people. But she wasn't a raving beauty, so they dogged her. It sucks.

I also hate the "It's no big deal" attitude in the media. Teenage drinking is against the law. It ruins, and sometimes even ends, lives. And since (as we are often told) we live in a nation of laws, if the First Family is consistently going to break the law, how can we expect Joe Cell Phone to even slow down when he's coming up on a red light?

Dear Dude: What prospect fills you with even more dread than a prostate examination conducted by a guy named Lefty?

Dude: Well, that would be the thought of having to root for Allen Iverson in hopes that his Philadelphia 76ers can keep the Lakers from becoming the first team in history ever to go through the playoffs undefeated. I hate this Laker team and the thought of its doing something no one else has ever done is sickening. I thought the Western Conference champ would have a tough time making it to the finals, but the Lakers have cruised because the Trail Blazers self-destructed, the Sacramento Kings failed to show up and the San Antonio Spurs wet themselves. Now the (yuck!) 76ers are our only hope.

Even if the Lakers do run the table, basketball purists will never consider them the best. Any championship team on which Rick Fox and Robert Horry play significant roles is blessed to be competing in an Era of Mediocrity.

Dear Dude: When are they finally going to open that leg of River Road between La Cholla and Thornydale?

Dude: They probably could have opened it up months ago, but they can't find anyplace to relocate the drag racers who are using it on weekends and late at night. And if we were to, like, make them stop racing because it's illegal and stuff, then we'd hear all these outcries about how there's nothing for young people to do in Tucson.

Dear Dude: Is it true that the Tucson Sidewinders are in first place? And what is the significance of the numbers 28-30?

Dude: Yes, at press time, they were in first place despite their having a losing record. Thank God that the Pacific Coast League is broken into divisions and that the Sidewinders are in a particularly crappy one.

As for 28-30, that's not only the 'Winders' record, it's also the number of people who are willing to drive down to the godforsaken location where the Pima Supes dumped Tucson Electric Park. What a boondoggle!

Dear Dude: The other night on The Simpsons, Homer said, "The Internet? Is that thing still around?" Is there any good news about the World Wide Web?

Dude: As a matter of fact, there is. America Online just raised its monthly fee by 10 percent and they're going to use the extra money to buy new pictures of Christina Aguilera to use as teasers when my son logs on. He has expressed his preference for Britney Spears in numerous online polls, but AOL's data insists that 14-year-old boys prefer skinny, fake blonde and fake Hispanic to slutty, fake blonde and fake chest.

On the downside, I've heard literally dozens of complaints from people who tried to use the Net to enter themselves or others in the upcoming Olympic Torch Relay and were unable to do so. The City of Tucson touted in print ads that it was a very simple procedure, but it turned out to be anything but.

I tried it several times and finally got frustrated and submitted my entries by snail mail. First I would log onto the City of Tucson site, but it would send me to Coca-Cola. Then Coke would send me to the Salt Lake City Olympics page, which tried to send me to Chevrolet. When I finally got to the final location, I got the dreaded "This page cannot be displayed" over and over and over again. I probably tried 50 times over a six-week period, days, nights and weekends, and never got through.

Now I'm wondering if anybody, anywhere ever made contact. Is some poor slob going to have to carry that torch 30 or 40 miles because the selection committee didn't have enough applicants? Or were there so many applicants that the whole mess collapsed? All I know is, if my two kids missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch because of a computer glitch, I'm launching a jihad against the Soulless Beast.

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