The Range

Giddy-Up, Giddy-Up, Giddy-Up, Let's Go!

Just hear those registers jingle-ling, ka-ching-tingle-ing too! Holiday-happy shoppers awoke before the sunrise on the day following Thanksgiving for the traditional six-hour sensational sale-o'-bration, filling their sleds with all manner of wretched crap, if the half-ton of ads that spilled forth from our morning daily in recent days is any indication. The Range was too sleepy to take advantage of the big, big bargains, but later in the weekend, we did our part to boost the economy by purchasing a second-hand copy of sci-fi legend Alfred Bester's Starburst at Bookman's Used Books, as well as a nifty Swiss Army Knife at Popular and wrapping paper--three for the price of one!--at Walgreens.

By the end of the weekend, the mainstream media elite were reporting that the shopping season had gotten off to a so-so start, with Wal-Mart sales below expectations. Fewer people shopping at Wal-Mart? Could it be that The Range's Christmas wish is coming true early? Thanks, Santa!

Tucson police warn us to be careful out there. Never shop alone or carry large amounts of cash. Always use the buddy system. Put your packages in your trunk so thieves won't see them. Don't leave your keys in the ignition while shopping. Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom, and cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Another tip: Keep an eye on the cash register as your goods are being rung up, especially if you're buying auto parts. Arizona Bureau of Weights and Measures chief Art Macias delivered his department's annual report, which revealed that of the 1,661 inspections conducted between Nov. 1, 2003, and Oct. 31, 2004, scanners rang up the wrong price 1,250 times. The worst offenders: AutoZone, which paid $4,700 in fines; Ace Hardware, which was fined $3,200; and Kohl's, which wrote a $3,500 check to the state.

Speaking of cash registers, Arizonans continue to spend more than state budget experts expected. Four months into the fiscal year, the state is $140.3 million ahead of projections, according to the hard-working elves with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Sales taxes account for $33.6 million; income taxes are $47.6 million ahead of forecast; and corporate taxes are coming $38.8 million higher than anticipated.

Could This Guy See the Future, or What?

The first tale in the aforementioned book of short stories by Alfred Bester is "Disappearing Acts," written in 1953, which begins:

This one wasn't the last war or a war to end war. They called it the War for the American Dream. General Carpenter struck that note and sounded it constantly.

There are fighting generals (vital to an army), political generals (vital to an administration), and public relations generals (vital to a war). General Carpenter was a master of public relations. Forthright and Four-Square, he had ideals as high and as understandable as the mottoes on money. In the mind of America he was the army, the administration, the nation's shield and sword and stout right arm. His ideal was the American Dream.

"We are not fighting for money, for power, or for world domination," General Carpenter announced at the Press Association Dinner.

"We are fighting solely for the American dream," he said to the 162nd Congress.

"Our aim is not aggression or the reduction of nations to slavery," he said at the West Point Annual Officer's Dinner.

"We are fighting for the Meaning of civilization," he told the San Francisco Pioneers' Club.

"We are struggling for the Ideal of civilization; for Culture, for Poetry, for the Only Things Worth Preserving," he said at the Chicago Wheat Pit Festival.

"This is a war for survival," he said. "We are not fighting for ourselves, but for our Dreams; for the Better Things in Life which must not disappear from the face of the earth."

America fought. General Carpenter asked for 100 million men. The army was given 100 million men. General Carpenter asked for 10,000 U-Bombs. Ten thousand U-Bombs were delivered and dropped. The enemy also dropped 10,000 U-Bombs and destroyed most of America's cities ...

Win Some, Lose Some

Go Cats! Everybody's a UA football fan now following the underdog team's Thanksgiving weekend win over the ASU Sun Devils. With the help of ASU's four fumbles, the Cats reclaimed the Territorial Cup with a 34-27 victory. The UA ended the season 3-8 overall and 2-6 in conference play, tying for eighth place in the Pac-10.

Coach Mike Stoops noted that the win was "a good way to go into the off-season."

The UA appeared to be on a roll later that afternoon when the men's basketball team held a eight-point halftime lead over No. 1 Wake Forest in the Preseason National Invitational Tournament. But the Cats were unable to maintain Lute Olson's perfect record at Madison Square Garden as the Demon Deacons outplayed them in the second half and Mustafa Shakur's last-second shot went awry. Cats lose, 63-60.

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