One Sick Year: It takes more than a pandemic to get people to stop acting like idiots

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WE'RE NEAR THE TOP IN DUST, POTHOLES AND BOOGER SUGAR

A survey by the Online Betting Guide ranked Tucson the 10th wildest city in the U.S. Using factors like nightlife, casinos, strip clubs and alcohol and drug consumption, Las Vegas finished first. Tucson was fourth in casinos and 13th in the percentage who've taken marijuana. But the Old Pueblo roared back when it came to cocaine use, finishing fifth.

CAT FROM HELL

A North Carolina animal shelter waived adoption fees hoping someone would take Perdita, the world's worst cat, off their hands. The foul furball dislikes dogs, children, the Dixie Chicks, Disney movies and Christmas. On its Facebook page, the shelter wrote: "We thought she was sick. Turns out she's just a jerk."

YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT LOBOTOMY?

A hopefully tongue-in-cheek group called Christians Against Dinosaurs said the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex outside the McDonald's at Tanque Verde and Grant should be removed unless they compromise with a plaque "stating that it's a fictional character." The main complainer believes dinosaur displays further "the myth that the Earth is much older the Bible says it is."

I'LL BE ANYBODY YOU WANT ME TO BE

The Arizona Republic reported on the sketchy past of U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, a Peoria Republican and vocal Trump backer on Fox News. In addition to a bankruptcy and lawsuits for unpaid bills, in 1988, under the name Debra Kay Lorenz, she was charged with tampering with government records. Lesko has been known by at least five names over the years. She told the Republic her troubles were caused by an allegedly abusive, con-man ex-husband.

HAIL TO THE RELIEF

Narcissist-in-Chief Donald Trump reportedly suggested to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem that his bust be added to Mount Rushmore. She chuckled when he told the governor it was his dream to be the fifth president on the famous sculpture.

BUT THEY TOOK A BUS TO THE PROTESTS. GET IT?

As a member of a White House effort to reopen the country after coronavirus quarantines, Trump advisor Stephen Moore actually, no-fooling compared protesters demanding a reopening to a genuine Civil Rights hero. "I think there's a boiling point that has been reached and exceeded," said Moore. "I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks—they are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties."

IS THAT A BUMP IN THE ROAD OR ARE YOU GLAD TO SEE ME?

With Tucson's reputation as the pothole capital of the world standing unchallenged, Janet Miller and Elizabeth Garber, residents of Armory Park, did something about it by filling potholes in their neighborhood with patches of fake grass, according to The Arizona Daily Star.

The paper noted that residents of Middlesex, England, had a racier solution to the problem: They spray-painted the pavement around the holes with giant penises.

HIS BALD HEAD SHINES BRIGHTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS

Among the Tucson businesses shuttered by the COVID plague was the Meet Rack, a bar run by two-time mayoral candidate and professional egomaniac Jim Anderson. The 79-year-old who calls himself God has operated six bars in the city since the 1970s and could often be seen jogging through town carrying a staff decorated with a bust of himself.

HE FOUND THE MONEY IN A BOX OUTSIDE HIS DOOR THE NEXT MORNING

A 15-minute January stock surge added $13.2 billion to the fortune of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, according to Bloomberg News. His new net worth was estimated at $128.9 billion, second in the world to Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

LEARJET. ADD TO CART

Next time you go to Costco to pick up a box of wine and a case of Cheetos for that special night alone, throw in a Learjet for $17,500. With fear of flying crowded commercial airlines at an all-time high, Costco is offering one-year memberships to Wheels Up, a charter company that can fly you just about anywhere in a cushy private jet.

THEY DON'T CALL IT THE NAKED PUEBLO FOR NOTHING

After her election to the Tucson City Council, Lane Santa Cruz's campaign website—SantaCruzForTucson.com—was taken over by pornographers.

KNOBS GET POLISHED REGULARLY

To deal with the coronavirus, Nevada brothels changed their operating rules to require customers to undergo temperature checks, use hand sanitizer, and wear masks when walking around the joint and even during sex.

JUDGMENT DAY

After being pulled over in Scottsdale for suspected DUI, Samantha Bracksieck, girlfriend of New York Yankee's superstar Aaron Judge, asked the cop: "Do you know who my boyfriend is?" She reportedly blew a .12 and was cuffed, after which she said, "Do you understand what you're doing right now?"

TONS OF FUN

Jeremy Clementson, owner of East of Chicago Pizza in Barberton, Ohio, agreed to remove a billboard at his store that read, "Fat People are Harder to Kidnap." The message was displayed during Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

NOT SO HAPPY MEAL

A man got trampled to the ground by a sprinting deer in a McDonald's parking lot in Locust, North Carolina. Ken Worthy was walking to his car when it happened. "It was absolutely nuts," he said. "It was just a bit of brown, and then I saw his face. I was down on the ground—that quick." The retired police detective noted that despite it all, he "didn't spill my Coke."

NO NOOSE IS GOOD NOOSE

The headline of the year appeared in the Sierra Vista Herald, above a story on one of Tombstone's popular annual events: "Vigilante Days Offers Gunfights, Hangings and Dancing." The hangings are staged, dangit, so the dancers are the only ones who swing.

MONSTER BREW

To cash in on the name of her mass-murdering father, Chapo Guzman, the imprisoned leader of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, Alejandrina Guzman introduced a tasty craft beer cleverly called El Chapo. It is the latest in a line of products, including clothes, being sold by the capo's daughter.

PICKING UP A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR DINNER ON THE WAY HOME

The Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill allowing anyone who encounters a roadkill animal to keep it. Current law says only the individual who hit the animal can keep it, subject to law enforcement approval. The list includes elk, bear and javelina, but also tasty snack treats like tree squirrels.

DON'T DANGLE THAT PARTICIPLE AROUND ME

Using periods to end sentences in social media messages can intimidate teens and young adults who see full stops as a sign of anger, according to a study at State University of New York, Binghamton. They're also seen as abrupt and unfriendly.

Questions: Does comma come too close to coma? Does semi-colon sound like a painful surgical procedure? Doesn't split infinitive sound violent? As for the ever-popular colon, well, never mind.

SPEAKING OF DANGLING PARTICIPLES

Microsoft founder Bill Gates compared people who refuse to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus to nudists who refuse to wear pants in public. "What are these, like, nudists?" he said. "I mean, you know, we ask you to wear pants, and no American says, or very few Americans say, that that's, like, some terrible thing."

NOT ENOUGH COPS, UNDERFUNDED, HIGH CRIME RATES, PATHETIC 911 RESPONSE TIMES? LOOK THE OTHER WAY. WE'LL COVER UP THOSE PROBLEMS WITH MASKS

In his continuing effort to turn the Tucson Police Department into a uniformed healing circle, Chief Chris "the Mahatma" Magnus dispatched officers to populated locations around Tucson to hand out masks and educate people about the coronavirus.

HE DRINKS PRUNE JUICE IN THE MORNING, BUG JUICE AT NIGHT

Newly-hired Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa was charged with DUI following a February incident in Phoenix in which the legendary baseball skipper allegedly crashed his car into a curb, leaving one tire on his SUV smoking.

The 76-year-old reportedly refused breathalyzer and blood tests, argued with police like they were umpires, showed off a World Series ring and said things like, "I'm a Hall of Famer baseball person." The crusty geezer had a previous DUI in Florida in 2007.

THE PRINCE AND THE TOPPER

Our favorite senator, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, showed up on the senate floor wearing a bright green sleeveless dress, a face mask and her hair dyed a shiny purple. She pointed to her whacky top color for a camera before casting her vote. She has the perfect companion alongside newly elected Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, the Bald Prince of Arizona.

OVER AND OUT

Republican Senator Martha "Copy That" McSally, the first American woman to fly in combat, rode her biography as far as she could, losing to Democrat Mark Kelly in the November election. During her campaign, McSally angrily called out a CNN reporter as a "liberal hack," and after her defeat delivered a powerful farewell on the Senate floor, on both occasions showing the kind of emotion her charisma-free campaign sorely lacked.

 

WHEN KILLER DEALS AREN'T ENOUGH

A Tampa, Florida, woman was arrested for allegedly attempting to build a bomb inside a Walmart store. A security guard noticed Emily Stallard, 37, opening unpaid items including flammable materials, projectiles, and matches as she moved through the store, a child with her. She was reportedly about to light the wick when taken into custody.

HE PUT MOLLY IN TRUMP'S CHEERIOS, WHICH EXPLAINS A LOT

Concerned about President Trump's girth and overall health, former White House Dr. Ronny Jackson admitted hiding cauliflower in the Commander-in-Chief's mashed potatoes. He also tried to get the big guy onto an exercise machine, but "the exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted to."

WHERE IS STEPHEN KING WHEN YOU NEED HIM

In what sounds like a plot from a horror flick, dead minks infected with a mutant form of COVID-19 are rising from the dead in Denmark, scaring the hell out of people. It seems that gasses form in the dead critters cause them to push up out of their shallow graves.

To solve the problem, officials plan to bury the infected minks deeper, although some say that isn't enough. Two Danish mayors, noting the proximity of the minks' graves to rivers, fear the risen beasts will migrate zombie-like into the water supply and cause contamination. They advocate cremating the carcasses and hiding under the bed for the rest of the year.

 

CABBAGE FOR DINNER EVERYONE

A nephew of infamous Columbian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, once the seventh-richest person in the world, found $18 million in a plastic bag in the wall of one of the capo's houses in Medellin. Nicolas Escobar said a "vision" told him where to look for the money, some of which was rotting. "The smell [inside] was astonishing," he told Columbian TV. "A smell one hundred times worse than something that had died." Pablo Escobar was killed in a shootout in 1993.

IT HAD CABLE TV AND PIZZA DELIVERY, TOO

ICE agents found a cross-border drug smuggling tunnel between San Luis, Sonora, and Yuma, Arizona, that measured 3 feet wide and 4 feet high, was equipped with a ventilation system, water lines, electrical wiring, a rail system and extensive reinforcement. It was reportedly one of the most sophisticated narco tunnels ever found.

THEY PLAY SPIRITED GAMES OF TWISTER IN THEIR ROOMS

Former UA basketball player Gilbert Arenas wondered how NBA players, accustomed to living a party lifestyle, which translates to lots of sex, could possibly handle living in the league-mandated, coronavirus-free bubble without access to women. "We're talking about grown men, 85 percent of them single, and you have them locked up at Disney World?" he said.

THE BAD PUDDY TAT AWARDS

In recognition of the growing number of prominent Americans who don't understand the simple wording of the First Amendment or the broader concept of free speech, we present the Bad Puddy Tat Awards, named in honor of Charlotte's Web author E. B. White.

In 1947, the New York Herald Tribune published an editorial defending the right of Hollywood producers to fire writers who wouldn't cooperate with the Communist-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee.

White wrote to the paper, saying: "I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat."

The winners:

DEVILS GETTING TOO MUCH SUN

Sonya Duhé incoming dean of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, learned of the school's nonexistent commitment to free speech when, during violent summer riots, she tweeted, with a photo of black and white hands intertwined: "For the family of George Floyd, the good police officers who keep us safe, my students, faculty and staff. Praying for peace on this #BlackOutTuesday."

Cronkite faculty responded to that innocuous remark with a letter alleging "poor judgment and a lack of understanding of what it means to be the dean of the Cronkite School." Hysterical students called the tweet racist for using "police" and "Floyd" in the same sentence and citing numerous "microaggressions" Duhé had allegedly committed in the past. ASU's leaders withdrew their deanship offer, promising the cancel monsters they'd be more "inclusive."

Also, following vandalism and looting at Fashion Square in Scottsdale in May, Cronkite News withdrew a poll it had co-published after students screamed that it was too friendly toward cops. The brave souls at Cronkite News apologized for causing "divisiveness."

NORMS AND VALUES, MARX AND LENIN, MAO AND XI – LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF AND STICK TO FREEDOM

An Atlantic magazine article by two law professors, including the UA's Andrew Keane Woods, called for censorship of the internet. Lap-dogging along with many academics nationally, who increasingly see free speech as a nuisance, the authors said "China has been largely right and the United States largely wrong" in the debate over freedom versus control of the internet when it comes to information about the coronavirus.

"... Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing Internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the Internet is compatible with society's norms and values."

The authors didn't say whose norms and values they favor, but we assume theirs.

BULLSEYE

After two critical tweets, retail giant Target removed author Abigail Shrier's book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, from its sales list, then reversed its decision after blowback. Shrier, who believes mature adults should be free to transition, likens the spike in transgender identification among teen girls to a contagion. She says between 2016-2017, the number of females seeking gender surgery quadrupled in the U.S. She argues this is happening too quickly with little oversight and the potential for long-term harm.

BRING MARSHMELLOWS AND A PITCHFORK

A transgender professor at the UC Berkeley called for burning Shrier's Irreversible Damage. Deciding that others shouldn't hear ideas she dislikes, Professor Grace Lavery tweeted, "I do NOT advocate defacing library books. I DO encourage followers to steal Abigail Shrier's book and burn it on a pyre." Lavery recommended having a fire extinguisher handy. "Be safe, when you are burning books."

CHIEF SPOUTING BULL

In her best imitation of George Orwell, Massachusetts Democrat and former-presidential candidate Sen Elizabeth Warren outlined how she would crack down on political speech that she deemed dangerous disinformation, all in the name of furthering democracy.

She said, "I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote."

IT'S THE FIRST ONE, FOR PETE'S SAKE!

President Trump's campaign went into familiar bully mode by threatening to revoke the licenses of TV stations in five battleground states unless they stopped airing critical ads by Priorities USA, which supported Joe Biden. Washington lawyer Jack Goodman said the FCC didn't have grounds to act against the stations, and more importantly, the ad was "core political speech" protected by the First Amendment.

THE MINISTER OF FACTS WILL SEE YOU NOW

In a BBC interview, former President Barack Obama called for the regulation of political speech. The one-time constitutional law professor, apparently confused by the First Amendment, said:

"There are millions of people who subscribed to the notion that Joe Biden is a socialist, who subscribed to the notion that Hillary Clinton was part of an evil cabal that was involved in pedophile rings. I think at some point it's going to require a combination of regulation and standards within industries to get us back to the point where we at least recognize a common set of facts before we start arguing about what we should do about those facts."

WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING VERITAS

Students at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences circulated a petition calling for the school to ban any Trump Administration officials from attending, speaking at or working at the school. Blowback caused petitioners to reword it to say Trump officials should be held "accountable" before setting foot on campus.

Alarmed by the effort, former law professor Alan Dershowitz offered to represent any banned Trump official. "I will not kowtow to this new McCarthyism," he said.

YOU CAN KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BUT NOT AN IDEA

Citing supposedly racist content, the Burbank Unified School District in California has forbidden middle and high school teachers from including several classic novels in their curriculum. The books include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; and To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

In response, the Los Angeles Times published the critical responses of educators, including former Burbank teacher Brian Crosby. He taught Mockingbird and Mice and Men for 31 years, saying they were favorites of his students. He called the district's stance "anti-education, adding that the books teach "anti-racism, decency and empathy."

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS

In an effort by HBO Max and Warner Brothers to bring Looney Tunes characters into our censorious age, Elmer Fudd, known for his epic clashes with Bugs Bunny, will no longer use a rifle. Executive Producer Peter Browngardt said, "We're not doing guns. But we can do cartoony violence -- TNT, the Acme stuff."

Got it? Trying to dynamite Bugs to smithereens is okay, but shooting him, no. In one episode, Fudd wildly swings a scythe as he chases his longtime opponent. If successful, he'd leave dear old Bugs in bloody pieces, evidently an acceptable outcome.

IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE! NO, IT'S A GREAT WHITE SHARK!

Rep. Mitzi Epstein, a Tempe Democrat, proposed legislation making it illegal to release balloons into the atmosphere for any reason. She said balloons are "the most lethal kind of pollution for birds and for every other kind of wildlife out there." Doris Pederson of Liberty Wildlife agreed, saying waterfowl mistake what's left of shiny mylar balloons for jellyfish.

Waterfowl have also been known to mistake the Big Dipper for Jacque Cousteau.

WILE E. COYOTE MEETS DANIEL BOONE

A 37-year-old New Hampshire man hiking with his wife and small kids found himself in a life-and-death fight with a rabid coyote. After the animal pulled his 2-year-old to the ground, Ian O'Reilly kicked Cujo in the jaw, pinned it with his knees, wrapped his arm around its throat and strangled it to death. The coyote took eight minutes to die.

"How is this thing still breathing?" O'Reilly recalled thinking.

LATER GATOR

A crazy Internet video shows a man jumping into a pond to rescue his Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppy, Gunner, from a hungry alligator. "It came out of the water like a missile," said 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks. "I never thought an alligator could be that fast."

The video shows Wilbanks going underwater, emerging with the alligator and wrestling with it to pry his puppy loose from its jaws. Gunner suffered a puncture wound and Wilbanks' hands were "chewed up." The best part of the video is that Wilbanks' stogie stayed stuck in his mouth the whole time, even as he plunged his face under water.

WE RECOMMEND NICK AT NITE

Two writers trying to figure out why they were always tired had what they called an epiphany and concluded it was due to "hundreds of years of sleep deprivation" caused by slavery and systemic racism. Writing in Teen Vogue magazine, Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa called for sleep reparations, including more breaks and time off work.

THE OLD SOFT SHOE

When ultra-marathon runner Trevor Murphy found himself amid a huge and raging desert wildfire outside Phoenix, he tried to extinguish it by kicking dirt on it. His effort had no impact, but the soles of his shoes melted. After airing video of the episode, Ian Schwartz, a CBS 5 weatherman, said, "Firefighters use a tool, not Adidas, to try to do a fire line.... Don't ever do this, people, if you're jogging."

HE WAS WEARING A GOLF SHIRT, PLAID PANTS AND FIT RIGHT IN

Ali Yousif A-Nouri, a suspected al-Qaeda leader wanted for the alleged murder of two Iraqi cops in 2006, was arrested in Phoenix. He'd been admitted to the U.S. in 2008 as a refugee, and incredibly, became an American citizen.

Connections between al-Qaeda and Arizona, particularly Tucson, have been well established. The Washington Post reported that 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour studied English at UA in 1991, and Osama bin Laden's personal secretary Wadih El-Hage worked as a janitor at the Tucson Convention Center while living here from 1987 to 1992.

BUM DEAL

Madison Bumgarner, the Arizona Diamondbacks newly signed $85-million-man, risked injury and hurting his team by secretly competing in professional rodeos under the alias, Mason Saunders. The sneaky hurler signed the contract weeks after being photographed at a roping competition in Wickenburg. Bumgarner pulled the same stunt in 2017 when he was forced to sit out months of the season after injuring himself in a dirt biking accident.

When confronted by the Athletic about his deception, Bumgarner said he did it to "keep people from recognizing me," and resorted to the time-honored tactic of blaming the media, saying, "... but you're going to ruin that for me."

DUDE

Colorado State University at Pueblo is offering students a degree in cannabis. David Lehmpuhl, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, said the program would be rigorous, focusing on cannabis science and analytical chemistry. Coming soon, the school promised a minor in how to choose the best munchies to go with your fatty.

JERRY FINDS HIS BOOGALOO

Jerry Falwell Jr. stepped down as head of Liberty University, one of the world's largest Christian universities, after a photo surfaced of him with his arm around a woman whose pants were unzipped, as were the formerly cement britches of the longtime evangelical leader.

SOME BLOW WITH YOUR JOE

Smugglers in Medellin, Colombia, shipped a load of cocaine-stuffed coffee beans to a tobacco shop in Florence, Italy. Cops became suspicious when they noticed the package was addressed to Santino D'Antonio, a fictional Mafia villain in the John Wick movie franchise.

WHAT, NO KISS GOOD NIGHT?

On a first date with Christopher Castillo, whom she met on a dating app, a Massachusetts woman was forced to become his getaway driver when the hopeless romantic told her to pull over while he ran into a bank with a pistol and allegedly stole $1,000 from a teller. The woman had driven from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to pick up Castillo at his parents' home.

HE HAD BUD LIGHT AND POTATO SALAD IN A COOLER

An Idaho Falls man was fined $1,200 for attempting to cook chickens in the hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. The man hiked to the site carrying two whole birds in a burlap sack. Water in the hot springs can reach 143 degrees, enough to cause fatal burns. But the chickens come out yummy.

QUOTES OF THE YEAR

CLUCK THIS

"China had the worst food of any place I ever played. You'd order eggs for breakfast and there would be feathers in them."

-Former Arizona Wildcat basketball player Bennett Davison, who played 14 seasons of pro basketball overseas.

WHOEVER YOU ARE, CAN YOU BRING ME SOME WINGS AND A BEER

"Day two without sports. Found a lady sitting on my coach. Apparently she's my wife. She seems nice."

-Tweet by Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach, on what it's like around his house during the corona shutdown.

BUT NOT FOR LONG

"No, I'm good."

-Convicted double murderer Lezmond Mitchell, when asked if he had any last words prior to receiving a lethal injection at an Indiana prison.

DITKA FOR PRESIDENT

"These women are pretty and good-looking and want to knock the crap out of each other. We'll see how it works."

-Chicago Bears and NFL football legend Mike Ditka, chairman of the X League, a women's tackle football league.

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