AMERICAN APPAREL ADSAfter students and educators walk by the life-size prints at American Apparel's University Boulevard store, many of them come to the same conclusion: American Apparel's models look underage, underweight and possibly strung out on heroin.
Then there are the poor, fuzzy animals that often appear in the background of print ads, looking really helpless. Even real animals, like the models, look sedated. In an AA online photo collection titled "Human Dog," a poor pooch has been tucked into bed. (See the American Apparel Web site.)
Their Web site states: "American Apparel is known for comfortable clothing as well as provocative photography." Well, how comfortable is it to pose upside down to make sure your pants fit? (Check out the photo album titled Valeria, "Sofia Shoots Valeria in Montréal.")
AA's ads need to get out of town. They lack serious political, artistic, literary or scientific value. Simply put, they're just not cool.
'ARIZONA DAILY STAR' AND 'TUCSON CITIZEN' THANKSGIVING PRICE INCREASESTry to bear with me, because this isn't going to make any damn sense.
Daily newspapers like the Star and the Citizen make major bank on Thanksgiving, as all sorts of businesses pay to have their advertising circulars inserted into the paper. This is just fine, an example of capitalism in action. Good for the Star and Citizen!
And this year, Tucson's two dailies (as well as some other newspapers across the country) celebrated their big advertising windfall by ... raising the sales price of the Thanksgiving-day edition.
Yes, that's correct. Their rationalization? I'll quote from a Citizen news story explaining the price bump: "The one-day price change from 35 cents, which does not affect subscribers, reflects the value of the giant-sized advertising load that day's newspaper will carry."
So, in other words, after making a lot of money on advertising, the newspapers choose to gouge readers as a result.
Considering insane, greedy behavior like this, is it any wonder fewer people are reading daily newspapers?
One more tidbit worth noting: Doesn't this send the message that it's the advertising, not the editorial content, that people pick up dailies for these days?
It's sad. Very, very sad.
BAD PET OWNERSThere is no reason why any pet owner should ever have an animal that is not spayed or neutered.
Pima County doesn't need any more unwanted pets. Spay and Neuter Solutions is a local nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to provide financial assistance the cost of spaying and neutering. According to the Humane Society, two uncontrolled dogs or cats and their offspring who haven't been spayed or neutered can produce up to 12,680 offspring in five years. Why contribute to the problem? Instead, be part of the solution.
Whatever you do, don't buy puppies from pet stores, especially with so many already unwanted pets available. Puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, which are disgusting places where massive numbers of dogs are bred in substandard conditions.
With pet ownership comes responsibilities; pets are not disposable. Do not take your aggressive dog to a dog park to be socialized--wrong time, wrong place. Socialize at an obedience class and then ease into the dog-park environment. Lastly, scoop your poop. You know why; just do it.
CPS SYSTEM AND AMY GILEChild Protective Services (CPS) finally made policy changes to address how Amy Gile was able to find love in a child-abusing boyfriend as she worked as a CPS caseworker for his three children. CPS continues to defend itself, however, while critics wonder why an agency that is supposed to protect abused children often seems to support abuse, because of a lack of self-scrutiny and transparency.
Gile first met her boyfriend in 2000, but it wasn't until May 2007 that the public learned of the relationship--and the fact that her boyfriend continued to abuse his children under Gile's nose. The story of the CPS worker gone bad went public, and that's the only reason CPS made a change, with Gile leaving the agency in June.
By the way, between 2000 and 2007, Gile went from caseworker to a supervisor handling child-abuse cases. Think of the cases under Gile's supervision, as well as the abuse suffered by her boyfriend's three children.
Then think of other children under CPS care: 4-year-old Ariana, who was found dead in a storage locker, with her brother, 5-year-old Tyler Payne, still missing; and Brandon Williams, a 5-year-old with autism, who died on March 22 of blunt force trauma to the head.
In 2003, Gov. Janet Napolitano called for statewide CPS reform after the death of children in CPS care. CPS funding doubled, but more than 200 open positions to handle caseloads remained unfilled. The legislators are at it again, talking reform and considering CPS funding cuts.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Enough. Arizona kids really do deserve something better, while CPS deserves a swift kick in the ass out of town.
CRUELTY TO ANIMALSThere's a popular notion, bandied by plumbers of the criminal mind, that freaks who harm animals quickly graduate to hurting people. Apparently, even deviants have goals.
But we'll posit that hurting animals is bad enough on its own, and emblematic of a world where life is undervalued, cruelty is pervasive and good shrinks are obviously in short supply.
Consider the knuckle-dragger who tapped his dog for target practice at Redington Pass. Or the mouth-breathers who decided a labrador deserved nothing better than to be red meat for their fighting dogs. Or the poodle that died from internal bleeding after being sodomized with a stick. Or the jerk who beat his dog like a dervish--and then abandoned it at a city park so he wouldn't have to bankroll repairs.
Then there's the sadistic neighbor who anoints himself cat executioner, because his locale is teeming with strays. In twisted stealth, this breed of creep works best in the shadows, often at night, bent on his pathological mission to rid the world of a "nuisance," rather than seeking responsible solutions to a perennial problem.
So that's why we say that everyone who mistreats animals should first get a good therapist. And then they should get the hell out of town--right after they've been spayed and neutered.
DOWNTOWN CONSTRUCTIONTucson's no New York City, Los Angeles or Tokyo. Hell, Tucson's no Phoenix. But that's why we live here, isn't it?
Our "skyline" isn't exactly impressive. We only have a few good shopping malls, and not that many Starbucks locations--only 22 (not including the ones in grocery stores, of course). And our "downtown" is tiny, dirty and--yes--pretty crappy looking.
But if this whole Rio Nuevo thing turns out not to be a joke, who knows what'll happen? We might get a real downtown--you know, the kind you'd expect for a city of a million people. And before you get happy about that, consider the implications of condos, yuppie restaurants and national chain stores crowding out weird antique shops, café co-ops and our own Wig-O-Rama. My God, think of the new clientele that will swarm through the heart of our city! Where will the artists go? Where will the bums go?
OK, maybe I'm a little bitter about this because I live close by--not too far from the downtown construction. It's hard to welcome change when you wake up every morning at 7 a.m. to the repetitive beeping of bulldozers backing up, and when it takes you, like, 10 extra minutes and an extra half-mile to drive home every night because of detours. And that's after rush hour. Oh, and the 15 mph speed limit for the entire Broadway underpass? Are they kidding?
Construction may be necessary for urban revitalization, but what if we don't want to be revitalized? At least don't schedule it to take place at the same time as the Interstate 10 construction. City planners, were you drunk? If only you'd get out of downtown.
DOWNTOWN POLLYANNASThe term "world class" has recently been creeping into discussions about the future of downtown Tucson. Phrases like "world class" UA science center, "world class" convention hotel and general "world class" developments are being thrown around with abandonment.
The well-intentioned folks spewing this drivel are the same ones who promised us massive amounts of new condominium housing downtown. That hasn't happened and almost assuredly won't.
Years ago, some of these same downtown boosters declared that the private sector would be major players in the area's revitalization. But just follow where the taxpayers' money is being spent now: It is going to subsidize government projects, including a new arena and convention facilities, as well as to pay for government-operated museums.
After eight years of broken Rio Nuevo promises, our local leaders need to stop repeatedly saying the corner is about to be turned. Instead, they should either get moving on down the road, or take the rose-colored glasses off and access the situation realistically.
The chances of Tucson having a future downtown that is any better than the funky artist and entertainment enclave we have today is extremely remote. But you can say one thing about the current downtown: At least it has some "class."
GENERAL MALAISEThese years of never-ending war, fear, secrets and lies have affected us all in different ways--some of us have been touched too close; some have protested in the streets, and others have hidden away and waited for the inevitable fall of America.
It's all getting really old, though, and it could even get worse if we don't start rubbing the sleep out of our eyes soon.
A sort of general malaise, to use Jimmy Carter's famous term, has descended over the Old Pueblo and the rest of the country, a vague but debilitating feeling of depression and unease about where our nation is headed. This malaise needs to get up and go, because while we were sleeping, the pirates in power have not-so-quietly made the executive branch stronger than it has been in generations, and the office will still be too powerful, no matter who succeeds the neo-cons. War is good for the Powers That Be, no matter who those powers be--read Orwell if you don't agree.
Will it really matter which party ascends in 2008? Not unless the people start paying attention and stop watching the tube all night with their eyes half-closed--especially in once-progressive places like Tucson, where long traditions of fighting the power can be called upon to help bring back to life the great American counter-stream and make it relevant again. If we don't come back alive, if we keep feeling hopeless, beaten and controlled, this never-ending war might actually never end.
IN-N-OUT BURGER DRIVE-THRU IDIOTSOne would've thought it was the Second Coming when In-N-Out Burger opened at the El Con Mall. With much hoopla and long waits both inside the store and in the drive-thru lane, Tucsonans finally had their very own In-N-Out restaurant. (A second site recently opened in Marana. On the day of the grand opening, the town had to have extra cops on duty to direct traffic: Your tax dollars at work, all for a friggin' hamburger.)
For some unexplainable reason, the frenzy has not subsided. On any given day, at any given hour, you'll still find a long line of cars circling In-N-Out in the drive-thru lane. I have no idea how long the wait is, but if the pace inside is any indication, the wait time is too long.
I'll admit the burger is pretty good, but why anyone would want to sit in a line of cars, breathing toxic fumes, for a friggin' hamburger, is beyond me. Think of the pollution that is created. I'm not a scientist, but it surely has to be a whole bunch.
Of course, that's probably better than waiting in line for hot doughnuts like people did when Krispy Kreme doughnuts opened awhile back.
LEFT-TURN HONKERSSo, you're waiting at a stoplight in a left-turn lane. The light turns green, so you inch out into the intersection. A truck is in the left-turn lane going in the opposite direction, directly in front of you. All's well and good ... except that the truck's blocking your view of oncoming traffic. You can't be sure that a vehicle or three isn't coming, so you--not wanting to get T-boned--decide to wait for either the truck to turn, or for the left-turn light to turn green.
Then the cretin in the car behind you starts honking. Apparently, he, she or it is in a hurry, and doesn't care about your hesitance at blindly meandering into oncoming traffic.
These impatient, uncaring, ignorant idiots are the lowest of the low. And if they're male, they almost certainly have small penises.
These people need to get out of town. There's not enough room in Tucson for these assholes.
LITTER BUGSA visiting friend once commented that Tucson was "a dirty town." I took umbrage in the remark. Then I took a closer look.
My friend was right! Gross, disgusting garbage was everywhere. I'm not talking about the occasional piece of cardboard or the errant plastic bag floating around; I'm talking about real garbage: food, food wrappers, black plastic bags with god knows what in the turn lane on Broadway Boulevard, cigarette butts from a car ashtray emptied in a strip-mall lot, a single shoe, dead Christmas trees in May, a chewed-up sofa left on the curb for weeks at a time, a blue bowl, broken folding chairs, a dirty diaper in the parking lot at work!
The saddest part is that in many cases, there were trash cans just a few feet away from where these slobs had dumped their detritus.
Didn't these people learn not to litter in kindergarten? Don't they have any pride in their city? In themselves? In America? Apparently, it's just easier to let someone else do clean up. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.
Something must be done! Round up these scofflaws! Make them atone by cleaning up after others. They'd have to wear those ugly, orange jumpsuits and have a really mean boss. Their pictures would be published in newspapers and appear on TV. They'd have to register as trash offenders.
Or, maybe we could just kick them out of town!
MICHAEL GOODMANDeveloper Michael Goodman did a smart thing in his younger days: He bought a lot of homes around the University of Arizona. But now Goodman is in the process of knocking down those homes so he can stretch zoning regs to the limit and build mini-dorms that are dreaded by the other homeowners in the neighborhood.
We can understand why the residents aren't very happy with the mini-dorms. They don't match the existing architecture and fill up with students who make a lot of noise, fill up all the parking spaces on the street and generally overwhelm the neighborhood and make life miserable for people who have invested in the area.
When the Tucson City Council took the tiny step of slowing down the process to get a demolition permit, Goodman completely flipped out and filed an absurd $12 million claim. Then he started running newspaper ads to recruit people for a class-action lawsuit that featured lots of BOLD-FACED, ALL-CAPS rhetoric, which is a sure sign of a loony argument. In this case, he was going off on government officials who were "ANGRY, ENVIOUS OBSTRUCTIONISTS who, because they haven't the foggiest idea of how to, or the ability to, do anything productive, can only JUSTIFY THEIR EXISTENCE through SOCIAL ENGINEERING AND THE REDISTRIBUTION OF THE PROPERTY AND PRODUCTION OF OTHERS."
That's a bulletin straight outta Crazytown.
We're not saying that the UA area doesn't need more housing for students, or that areas around the UA couldn't use a little revitalization. We're saying that Goodman is building lousy housing and ignoring concerns of the people who will have to live with the consequences of his actions.
GET OUT OF TOWN, Michael Goodman--and take your CRAPPY MINI-DORMS WITH YOU!
OVERLY CASUAL CO-EDSIt's true, and good, that Tucson is, on the whole, a more casual, laid-back place than, say, the black-clad, fast-walking city of New York--but those are your jammies, sister.
Can we at least make a distinction between what we wear in public and what we wear to bed? Prudery and stuffiness have no place in the desert, and certainly the relative skimpiness of contemporary fashions, such as they are, is not the issue here. This is more about not making the entire town an extension of your dorm room.
One would love to see a little unique fashion, something interesting and surprising, an aesthetic statement beyond, "I couldn't be bothered to put on pants and shoes."
We know you're busy with all those tests and book reports. All you really have to do is take a few seconds to put on some clothes--call them your "street clothes" if you must--before going out for coffee, or Indian food, or to buy your margarita mix. It's just that easy. If you can't even do that, then why don't you pack up your laptop and your blender, and get on out of town?
PARENTS WHO BUY HOUSES FOR THEIR COLLEGE KIDSLately, a swarm of college kids have invaded my formerly tranquil midtown neighborhood. They're not there on their own steam, though. Mom and Dad have bought them their very own houses. And let's just say that the kids don't make good neighbors.
The worst house is two doors up. The first crop of students crammed the front yard with their SUVs and immediately began staging massive weekend parties, in the house, in the yard, in the street. One night, the police intervened and left behind a bunch of ominous yellow crime tape. We never did find out what happened, but the disgusted parents sold the house at the end of the school year--to a set of fellow parents. Like the first mob, the new gaggle kept four giant SUVs in the front yard, but they ramped up the party schedule. Their specialty was every-night-of-the-week drinking. By 10:30 p.m., each evening, the drunken scholars would burst out the front door and start screaming--the dying 95-year-old next door be damned.
The cops finally slapped the gang with a Red Tag, a dreaded punishment that exacts a fine and bans parties. Now the house is up for sale again.
This is creepy, this business of parents buying a house for their kiddies, each fully loaded with vehicles. The parents hope to make a killing when the students graduate, but they don't seem to care that they'll make that profit by wrecking somebody else's neighborhood. So get out of town, home-buying parents, far, far out of town--and take your noisy students with you. Or better yet, put them in the house next door to your own.
PEDESTRIANS ON A POWER TRIPOver the years, the Weekly has kicked out of town the idiot drivers and bikers who make your daily drive a living hell. Alas, idiots breed, thus, a new, gutsier generation of idiots has spawned in Tucson: the purposeful jaywalker.
These aren't your run-of-the-mill jaywalkers. No, the idiocy has risen to a new level: Oncoming traffic is a mere afterthought, if anything, as they make their move--usually a casual stroll across three lanes of traffic full of cars which had been sailing at a steady 45 mph before drivers had to slam on their brakes for the slow-moving, non-crosswalk-abiding pedestrian.
Now, if these pedestrians were simply morons, it could be forgivable. We could blow it off, figuring said déclassé were having a momentary lapse of regard for the giant steel machines coming straight toward them at high speeds. But what really grinds my gears is that these mutant jaywalkers often do it on purpose. They relish in it--it's a power trip. The rush one gets from a perfectly calculated jaywalk--giving just enough time for drivers to see and avoid you while also ensuring maximum driver frustration--must be quite intense, because it's happening more and more often ... and these pedestrians are moving more and more and slowly every day.
To all you walkers: Kudos for taking the bus, and Lord knows we wouldn't rather have you driving, but seriously, move your happy asses across the street in a timely fashion, or keep on jaywalking outta town!
PIMA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENTGoing into this year's mayoral election, there were only 63,000 or so registered Republicans in the city of Tucson, compared to 108,000 registered Democrats (plus almost 79,000 independents and several thousand Greens and Libertarians).
Can someone explain to me why none of these 108,000 Democratic souls stepped up to run for mayor on the general-election ballot?
Sure, Bob Walkup, Tucson's ever-smilin' Republican mayor, is a nice guy. And it's not like he hasn't gotten anything done. As Jim Nintzel wrote in the Nov. 15 Skinny: "A lot of folks like to complain that Mayor Bob Walkup is an empty suit, a glad-hander who has done nothing in the last eight years. They're not paying attention." After all, he's helped in the formation of the Regional Transportation Agency; he was a driving force behind the institution of the trash fee; and he helped get the state to send more Rio Nuevo tax dollars Tucson's way.
That's just fine. But it doesn't excuse the fact that the local Democratic establishment failed to find a candidate to run against Bob Walkup.
Given the Dems' voter-registration advantage, and the fact that Walkup was and is the only Republican on the City Council, it boggles the mind that local Dems couldn't get anyone to face Walkup. And as a result, the voters lost, getting only pie-in-the-sky Green Dave Crouteau as an alternative to Walkup.
Due to your disservice to the voters, local Dems, it's time for you to get out of town!
RESERVED SPORTS PARKING ON THE UA CAMPUSIt's not uncommon on any given night for a student to have to circle around the UA campus to find parking. Luckily, there is street parking that is easily accessible, free after 5 p.m., and a five-minute walk from the library. It's sort of a secret.
But on one recent Monday evening, the secret street was blocked off. No! There was someone--presumably a student--dressed up in a glowing orange vest, pointing at a sign, reading, "Basketball Permits Only." Other areas allowed anyone to park--for the mere price of $10 or $20. All the parking within a mile, it seemed, had similar prohibitions.
Basketball is fun. But stealing all the parking spots for a game? Not so much.
The UA needs to revert back to a first-come, first-serve parking system, so everyone can have a chance at a good spot. The blocked-off parking spaces during basketball and football games need to get out of town. And if the UA decides such reserved parking needs to continue ... let's hope they'll consider reserving a couple of spots for students who pay good tuition money and need access to campus.
SLEEP AMERICA COMMERCIALSYes, we do want a better night's sleep. No, Sleep America, you're not the company to give it to us.
In fact, to some degree, you've diminished our quality of sleep--and it has nothing to do with your mattresses. It's that commercial, with that awful, ebullient jingle: "Sleep Ameeerica ... where America goes to sleep!" That song has actually invaded our dreams, turning nice nighttime fantasies into upsetting nightmares.
But that's nothing compared to the daylight hours your company has robbed us of, Sleep America. That jingle seems to follow us everywhere, seeping through our car radios, entering our houses uninvited through our TVs, and even attacking our eardrums directly through our headphones as we ride our bikes or jog, making us want to head into oncoming traffic. And your commercials always seem to come on in the morning, when we're already tired and all we're wishing for is a little more sleep. Please, stop taunting us with the idea.
Of course, the commercial itself only lasts a few seconds ... but the jingle is so damn catchy. That means once we hear it, it stays with us throughout the day, polluting our brains and psyches, reducing our ability to concentrate and limiting our potential as productive Tucson citizens. What's more, we can't help but act as jingle-transmitting vectors, unconsciously humming it under our breaths when in company or even singing it out loud in the vain hope of purging it from our beings.
Sleep America, you're not even a national company. We looked it up. We guess "Sleep Tucson/Northern Arizona/Phoenix Metro Area" wouldn't fit into a very good jingle.
STARNET TROLLSThanks to the Internet, news stories are no longer constrained by the amount of space available in the paper. Reporters can add all sorts of supporting documents and link to other sites that help provide context for stories. And readers can add their opinions and perspectives with just a few clacks of the keyboard and a few clicks of the mouse.
Which is why it's so disappointing that efforts by both the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen to give readers a forum to discuss the news have been hijacked by mini-brains who somehow manage to blame everything bad in this world on illegal immigration.
We enjoy a heated debate, but these assclowns somehow punch beneath the lowest common denominator and hit new gutbucket lows every day. We've given up even reading the comments, because they're a total waste of our time. We know it's just going to be "invasion this" and "marrow-sucking welfare parasites" that. As if the vast majority of people entering this country want anything more than a chance at a decent job and a better tomorrow. Guess that simple minds need a simple solution to the world's problems--and who better to blame than someone with a browner shade of skin?
We'd name a few names of these cretins, but most of them aren't posting under their real names anyway--and frankly, we don't think they deserve even that much recognition. Get out of town, you losers!
VOTE-CONCERN-IGNORING PIMA COUNTY SUPERIVISORS AND ADMINISTRATORSImagine that each night, a bank teller takes home the day's cash receipts, explaining that he simply wants to protect the money in case of fire. Then contemplate the bank's board of directors and CEO not knowing anything about the practice for years, but after finally finding out about it, exclaiming: "What, We Worry?"
That is basically what the Pima County Board of Supervisors and county administrator Chuck Huckelberry have done regarding internal security in the Elections Division. But instead of cash, the employee allegedly has been taking home computer backup disks containing early-voting results during the election season.
We might not be technological wizards, but the prospects for shenanigans under that scenario are enormous. Who knows what happened to those disks and the information on them?
Huckelberry considers the employee trustworthy, but this practice is ridiculously suspect. As Ronald Reagan remarked: "Trust, but verify."
Someone outside of government needs to immediately investigate to see if this was just a stupid but innocent routine, or if vote totals were actually manipulated.
In the meantime, the Board of Supervisors and Huckelberry need to restore some semblance of real trustworthiness to the Elections Division, or they should all get booted out of town. Having questions hanging over vote counting is unacceptable.