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Great White North

The Range, accompanied by loyal newshound Cricket, headed north to the Flagstaff bureau last week, where our in-depth investigation revealed that it can still get pretty damn cold up there this time of the year. Our trip to Mormon Lake was cut short when we discovered that the trail we planned to hike was closed, but we didn't feel so bad after a subsequent stop at a Coconino National Forest ranger station, where we learned that the drought had shrunk Lake Mormon--which is sometimes the largest lake in Arizona--to about one-fourth of its full size. Lake Mary is pretty much a puddle these days, too, so those of you who plan to indulge in water sports this spring will have to find someplace else to play.

The dry conditions meant that Cricket had to settle for a stroll up the trail that runs parallel to Schultz Pass Road, during which we were treated with a light snowfall as we struck out through the pines.

Other highlights of our trip: A pint of Railhead Red Ale and a three-sausage pizza at the Beaver Street Brewery and Whistle Stop Café; a half-rack of succulent barbecue ribs, beans and mashed sweet potatoes at Bigfoot BBQ, in the basement marketplace of downtown's Old Town Shops; a stack of pancakes at the Little America, which has the most retro gift shop in Coconino County; and multiple visits to the Flagstaff branch of Bookmans, which featured a free wireless connection and perhaps the most oddball staff of any business in Flagstaff.


Lawyers, Guns and Money

In national news: A bugfuck crazy Virginia Tech student went on the worst school-shooting rampage in U.S. history, gunning down 32 of his classmates before blowing his own brains out. Cho Seung-Hui had the foresight to mail his raving multimedia manifesto to NBC News, paving the way for future psychotic fuckwits to get the attention that they crave, albeit posthumously.

Meanwhile, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared to have the memory of a 96-year-old Alzheimer's victim. Gonzales told senators dozens of times that he had no recollection of the details of how eight U.S. attorneys came to be fired from the department, although he was sure there was nothing improper, even if the staff did drag the fired attorneys' reputations into the gutter. Oh, and he might have known a little more than he originally admitted about the planned firings.

Our questions: Why wouldn't the attorney general be engaged in decisions to fire eight U.S. attorneys? What kind of idiot out-of-control operation are they running in the Bush administration? And does anyone really believe that Gonzo should be running the Justice Department?

Yes, there is one man: President George W. Bush, who told the press earlier this week: "This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence."


Bon Appétit!

Tucson reached a culinary breakthrough this week with the opening of an In-n-Out Burger at El Con Mall. The legendary fast-food establishment, found only in California, Nevada and Arizona, features a simple menu of burgers, fries, shakes and drinks--none of that salad or chicken or fishwich crap. We did once know a vegetarian who would have them hold the burger--made of 100 percent pure American beef, by the way--and just get a gooey grilled cheese sandwich from the mysterious "secret menu."


Rejected!

After 18 years at the UA, Jim Rosborough, associate head coach with the UA men's basketball team, called it quits last week, choosing retirement over an office job off the court. Rosborough's UA bio, which hadn't yet been redacted earlier this week, notes that he "has proven himself to be one of the top game strategists around--a role he has developed in 27 seasons working alongside Lute Olson. His expertise and familiarity of the Olson system is one of the driving forces that sustains the Arizona program as one of the finest in the country, both on and off the court."

Or, at least it was a driving force, before he got thrown under the bus after the Cats' struggles last season.

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