Cartoonist Max Cannon is a native Tucsonan and the originator of the comic strip Red Meat, now in national syndication. His first collection, RED MEAT: From The Secret Files Of Max Cannon, has gone into its second printing and is due this fall from St. Martin's Press.
Best Thing About Living In Tucson
Most people would say "the weather," and I'm sure they'll enjoy Hell when they get there. What really grabs me about living in Tucson is the color beige. Nothing but beige as far as the eye can see, with occasional small patches of pink, ecru and tan. Also, Tucson is a fine place to be if you like to speak loudly to yourself in public, which is a good thing for me.
Best 24-Hour Escape Pod From Normalcy
OK, so the Grill is a weird place. I've heard it's listed in the Roadside America Travel Guide as one of the seven verified "mystery spot" vortexes in the United States. You can pour water on a crooked Formica tabletop there and it will flow uphill. At any given time, two or three haunted-looking diner dwellers are scribbling god-knows-what in their tattered sketchbooks. Once, during a late night vigil, I caught myself wondering aloud why the world's ugliest drag queens all have southern accents. Most diners don't give you the opportunity to think about things like that. For my money, it's a heart warming alien cornucopia of vintage weirdness on all levels--the kind of joint where Slim Whitman would've hung out if he'd dropped acid. They serve pretty good food, too. Their shiitake mushroom gravy should be served as an entree. It's that good.
Best Place To Get In Touch With Your Inner Geek
Most cities only wish they had a comic store as good as Captain Spiffy's (944 E. University Blvd.). It's like a 15-year-old boy's dream clubhouse. Spiffy's has pinball, bizarre Italian superhero movies in the coffee lounge, the exotic "Black Lace Remnant Room," an art gallery, comic-art classes, a subscription service, a cool staff that can answer even the most arcane comic-related questions.... It's a great place to while away the afternoon leafing through great comics and books. I've been asked to leave other local comic shops for daring to touch their precious cargo. My advice: No second chances for establishments that treat you like a chimp. Spiffy's is a rare gem, and Tucson is lucky to have it.
Best Golf Course
Magic Carpet Golf on East Speedway, definitely. Do the words "giant concrete tiki head" mean anything to you? Well, they do to me, mister. I love this place for three reasons: First, it's fun for the drunk and the sober alike; second, they don't waste gargantuan amounts of water on the greens; and third, nobody there but me and the guy working the counter wears ugly plaid polyester pants.
Best Public Art That Time Forgot
The Giant Lumberjack, corner of Stone and Glenn: Many people believe he's guided by the spectral voice of Wally Sevitz--guarding what's left of the crumbling remains of the kitschy roadside boomtown soul of Tucson. We should all chip in a few bucks and buy that guy a giant fiberglass mug of A&W root beer for his many years of unwavering vigilance.