The Range

Smoked Out

Snuff out those butts! There's no more smoking in bars, bowling alleys or even nursing homes, thanks to a new ban passed by voters last November. Some smokers and bar owners are squawking, but The Range will enjoy being able to go out on a Friday night without secondhand smoking half a pack. Y'know, if we ever go out on a Friday again. And really--how tough is it to step outside to have a smoke in Tucson?

Elsewhere in that's-just-so-gross news: Four UA students got busted cooking up a foul soup in the back of a U-Haul truck. Seems that in between cramming for the end of the semester, the boys mixed unhealthy helpings of fish, cow and pig parts into a soup of water and horse manure in 10 borrowed garbage containers, with a plan to dump it onto an unfortunate target's lawn. What pranksters!

When they first arrived on the scene, police evacuated homes in the neighborhood, near Country Club Road and Pima Street, and called out both the hazardous-materials team and the bomb squad. The students, who turned up to check on their strange brew while police were investigating, weren't taken into custody, but may yet face charges, including disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and stealing trash buckets.

Holy Crap!

Marcia Luhman of Oro Valley was the lucky winner of the Pimped out John, a super-toilet that includes a 20-inch flat-panel TV, a laptop computer, an Xbox 360 game console, a DVD player, a TiVo DVR, an iPod and even a refrigerator with a beer tap. Luhman, whose name was picked out of 318,000 entrants, says she'll be dismantling most of the system and handing out pieces to family members.

The sweepstakes, sponsored by Roto-Rooter, was a way of celebrating National Plumbers' Day.

"Roto-Rooter created the one-of-a-kind 'Pimped out John' as a exercise in hedonism because the average person spends one year, four months and five days on the toilet in a lifetime," the company press-released. "Management at the plumbing and drain-cleaning company felt that time spent on the john should be more productive, or at least entertaining."

Pentagon Lies

The cover-up in the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman was back in the news last week, with Army Spc. Bryan O'Neal testifying that he had been ordered by his battalion commander to not tell Tillman's brother, Kevin Tillman, that Pat had been killed by friendly fire, according to an Associated Press report. Army officials originally claimed Tillman, who gave up a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after Sept. 11, was killed while charging enemy troops about three years ago, when, in fact, he was shot dead by his own troops.

Kevin Tillman had this to say: "Revealing that Pat's death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster during a month already swollen with disasters. The facts needed to be suppressed. An alternative narrative had to be constructed, crucial evidence destroyed."

At the same hearing, Jessica Lynch, the former Army private who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital after she had been shot during an ambush on her convoy in the early days of the Iraq war, said that Army officials had confabulated a tale of her heroism as well.

"The bottom line is, the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes, and they don't need to be told elaborate lies," Lynch told the congressional panel.

Fair Game

Ever staple anything to another human being? The Range used a staple gun to attach dollar bills to the chest of George "The Giant" MacArthur at the Pima County Fair's freak show in the Club Corona tent. We were a little reluctant at first, but George the Giant--who stands more than 7 feet tall--barked at us: "C'mon, pull the trigger!" So we did. He didn't even flinch.

A few minutes earlier, we'd watched George stretch out on a bed of nails with a flaming cinder block on his belly, while his colleague, John Shaw, used a sledgehammer to shatter the brick. That's not a career for us.

We also rode the Tucson Weekly's Grand Wheel, watched tiny goats head-butt one another and marveled at a collection of marching-band memorabilia. We missed our chance to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl when it broke down right when we were at the front of the line, but that may have been for the best. Or at least better than it breaking down while we were riding it, sending our capsule hurtling across the midway.

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