News & Opinion » Feature

Men Behaving Badly

Our annual recap of the year gone by finds that 2006 was the Year of Living Obnoxiously

by and

We shared so much love in 2006. State Rep. Russell Pearce's love for the Mexicans. Mel Gibson's love for the Jews. Florida Congressman Mark Foley's love for those young congressional pages. Kramer's love for the blacks.

Call it what you will: The Year of the Id, lousy impulse control, a lack of scruples. The last 12 months come down to a simple zeitgeist: men behaving badly.

Once again, we've scoured the local dailies, the national newspapers, the wire services and the Internet to compile our favorite moments of year. And we're sure, like so many of these folks, we'll owe someone an apology before we're done.

Here's an Idea, Brad: Next Time, Hire Somebody to Throw the Chair

Dr. Bradley Schwartz, convicted of conspiracy in the killing of his former partner Dr. Brian Stidham, was arrested and charged with assault following a brawl at the Pima County Jail. Schwartz threw a chair at his cellmate, breaking the man's arm.

Party Girl!

Former Pima County prosecutor Lourdes Lopez, who failed to tell authorities that on-again, off-again boyfriend Bradley Schwartz was obsessed with killing Dr. Brian David Stidham, was arrested on DUI charges after she ran head-on into another car on River Road near Campbell Avenue.

When You Think About it, it's Really the Perfect Metaphor for Much of the GOP Agenda

A pig being held by state Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, shit all over the lawmaker's shirt during a press conference. Harper was complaining about government spending.

Buzzball has Been Very, Very Good to Me

Federal officials searched Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley's house after he refused to wear a wire to secretly record a conversation with Barry Bonds as part of an investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball. Federal investigators said Grimsley told them that steroid and amphetamine use were rampant in major league clubhouses.

"Grimsley described himself as a former user of amphetamines, which he referred to as 'greenies' and 'beans,'" according to an affidavit filed as part of the investigation. "He stated that 'everybody has greenies. That's like aspirin.' Grimsley stated that until last year, Major League Baseball clubhouses had coffee pots labeled 'leaded' and 'unleaded' for the players, indicating coffee with amphetamines and without."

It's a Little Late for That

Florida Congressman Mark Foley, who resigned in disgrace after the media reported his sexual discussions with male teen pages, checked into Tucson's Sierra Tucson to treat his alcohol problems.

Foley's attorneys asked that his "privacy be respected."

It's Really no Different Than What Jesus did With His Disciples

The Rev. Anthony Mercieca told The Associated Press that he had gone skinny-dipping and massaged a naked Mark Foley when he was 12 or 13 years old, but denied having sex with him.

"It was not what you call intercourse. ... There was no rape or anything. ... Maybe light touches here or there," said Mercieca.

A Little Nooky, Some Vintage Threads--It Makes for a Nice Afternoon

Failed congressional candidate Randy Graf fired campaign manager Steve Aiken after media reports stated that Aiken had been convicted in 1996 of "corrupting the morals" of two teenage girls. One of the girls alleged that Aiken, a former Christian minister who claims he was wrongly convicted, had sex with her at a thrift shop operated by his wife.

Colonel Klink

Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater raised a stink by proposing the construction of a tent city on the border to house captured illegal aliens, and putting them to work constructing a border wall.

This is on Really, Really Deep Background

"Newspaper Questions Man Executed in 1983 Slaying"

--headline, The Associated Press

Brave, Courageous and Bold

Actor Hugh O'Brian, who starred in TV's The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp from 1955 to 1961, got married for the first time at age 81 at Hollywood's Forest Lawn Cemetery. "Well," O'Brien said, "I figured, just in case anything happened during the ceremony, I'd save my friends the trouble of coming out again, gas prices being what they are."

That's the Whole Point

"Gunfire Changes Dispute"

--headline, Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune

Like We Don't Have Enough Already

"Government Orders 12 New Nimrods"

--headline, Daily Mail (London)


The lawyer for William Zachary Wolff, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for throwing a pie at right-wing columnist Ann Coulter, explained in an e-mail why his client did what he did. "He took this 'pie-rect' action," wrote R. Antonio Felix, "knowing there would be consequence, but sometimes the medium is indeed the message."

He had a few Drinks With Dinner

"Possibly Drunk Pelican Hits Windshield"

--headline, The Associated Press

Thou Shalt not Make Democracy Dumber Than it Already is

Arizona voters turned down a ballot initiative to establish a lottery that would've make it possible for voters to win $1 million for going to the polls. Lottery promoter Dr. Mark Osterloh, of Tucson, explained the idea comes from the Bible, which says that if you do the right thing, you'll go to heaven. "If incentives are good enough for God, they're good enough for Arizona," he said.

Top Gun Shoots Blanks

Capt. Dale Snodgrass, a veteran pilot on the military air-show circuit, crashed his fighter jet while landing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The plane skidded on the runway and caught fire because Snodgrass, 57, forgot to put down his landing gear.

Be Sure to Wear a Cup

"Wife-Mistress Introduction Can Be Touchy"

--headline, Houston Chronicle

At $150 an Hour

"Lawyers Debate What Letter Comes After K"

--headline, Concord (N.H.) Monitor

Clown Time is Over

After being arrested as one of four suspects believed to have dressed as clowns while robbing check-cashing outlets, Michael Charles Lipscomb denied any involvement in the crimes during a jailhouse interview with the Arizona Daily Star.

"The clowns are still out there!" a sobbing Lipscomb wailed.

Pissed Off

After attending a candidate forum, Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson discovered that vandals had placed a toilet bowl filled with urine on the top of his car.

Up, Up and Away--for a Long Time

After being arrested as a suspect in a series of shootings in Phoenix, Dale Hausner gave a jailhouse press conference in which he blamed the crimes on his roommate, Samuel Dieteman.

"I have no history of violence in my past," Hausner said. "I mean, like I said, I've been with the same job for the last eight years, you know, I don't think I can fly; I'm not insane or anything."

Score Another one for the Dark Side

The Maricopa County town of Glendale is enticing the Chicago White Sox to leave its spring training home in Tucson for a better deal. The move could jeopardize the Pima County's Cactus League season.

What a Boner

Radio host Rush Limbaugh was detained at Palm Beach International Airport when customs officials found in his luggage a bottle of Viagra that didn't have his name on it.

Forget it; He'll Never be Cool

"Barry Manilow to Have Hip Surgery"

--headline, The Associated Press

We Don't Like Your Hairdo, Either, So Off With Your Head!!

A Turkish court acquitted a UA Near Eastern studies professor of "insulting Turkishness" in her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, which deals with the touchy subjects of incest and Turkish genocide against Armenians. Author and former defendant Elif Shafak said an ultra-nationalist group called Unity of Jurists has been actively prosecuting journalists and writers.

If You Stand on the Yellow Brick Road and Look up, all of This Becomes Very Clear

To stop some of the sun's light from reaching the Earth and reduce global warming, UA astronomy professor Roger Angel proposed sending into space a fleet of free-flying spacecraft to create a massive sun block. He said these shades could be launched into orbit using magnetic force.

Isn't it Sort of Green and Leafy?

"Another Supplier Recalls Spinach"

--headline, Los Angeles Times

A Keg for Everyone, and Put it on My Tab!

Robert Thomas Medler, president of the UA's Inter-Fraternity Council, was charged with the theft of more than $18,000 through the unauthorized use of the organization's credit card. In his home, police found fishing, camping and mountaineering gear, including tackle boxes, reels, a tent, cooking equipment and fishing pants, as well as a $1,500 Apple laptop computer.

They all Wear L.L. Bean and Call Their Women 'Muffy'

"Wasps Released in Louisiana to Combat Bugs"

--headline, The Associated Press


Swimmer Gary Hall of Phoenix, a 10-time Olympic medalist, fought for his life against a shark while spear-fishing with sister Bebe in the Florida Keys. He punched and kicked at the shark, but it arched its back, thrashed horribly and kept coming after him. After Bebe injured the beast with a spear gun, she and Hall retreated to their boat. "I'm sure I haven't swam that fast in years," Hall said.

But Was There a Kill Fee?

Fox Network owner Rupert Murdoch canceled plans for a book and TV special in which O.J. Simpson would explain how he would have killed his ex-wife, Nicole, if he had been the real killer.

Are We Surprised? Noooo!!

"Clinton Burglar Specializing in Women's Underwear"

--headline, Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.)

Hollywood Make-Believe

Movie director Robert Altman acknowledged that 11 years ago, he and his family convinced USA Today editors to publish a "correction" to a story in Variety, saying he'd undergone a heart transplant. The story was true, but the Altmans lied, because they thought the news would damage his career.

Are You Out of Your Mind?

After being arrested for drunk driving, Mel Gibson went on an anti-Semitic rant.

"Fucking Jews," Gibson told the arresting officer. "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?"

Like a Hole in the Head

Deborah Frisch, adjunct professor of psychology at UA, resigned her position after inflammatory comments she penned to a conservative blogger caused an Internet storm. She wrote to Jeff Goldstein saying she wouldn't care if his 2-year-old son were killed in the way JonBenet Ramsey was.

Frisch told a reporter that Internet blogs needed more "edgy lefties" like her.

Not Again

"The Dead Sea Is Dying"

--headline, Agence France-Presse

But He Packs His Own Lightsaber and Darth Vader Mask

The Smoking Gun Web site posted the demands that Vice President Dick Cheney makes on hotel staff when traveling. These include keeping his suite at a comfy 68 degrees, plenty of decaf coffee, four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite and all TVs pre-set to the Fox News Channel.

They're Spying on the Groundskeepers and Kitchen Staff

About 100 members of a Maryland National Guard unit sent to Arizona to guard the Arizona-Mexico border near Sells spent their tour of duty billeted at Tucson's exclusive Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.


"Experts Make Flatulence-Free Bean"

--headline, BBC Web site

Animal Husbandry

Mesa Fire Department assistant chief Leroy Donald Johnson was arrested after he allegedly tried to screw a neighbor's sheep.

Johnson was caught in the neighbor's barn with his pants unzipped while holding a sheep down, according to a police report, which notes that he told the neighbor: "You caught me. ... I tried to (expletive) your sheep."

Johnson later told police he had been at his neighbor's home to discuss annexation.

To Make it Ultra-Realistic, They Poop in Your Backyard

Mexican entrepreneurs operate a tourist attraction that allows ordinary citizens to spend the night pretending they're illegal aliens trying to cross the Rio Grande. For $15, tourists hike through remote areas, complete with a coyote guide and sirens as fake Border Patrol agents chase them.

Part of the funding for the Eco Alberto nature park, in the central state of Hidalgo, came from the Mexican government.

Imperialism Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be

"First Indian Skis to North Pole, Says It's Freezing"

--headline, Agence France-Presse

A-ha! Don't Ask for Whom the Cock Crows, Lenny Boyit Crows for Thee

Losing gubernatorial candidate and abstinence proponent Len Munsil acknowledged that he and wife, Tracy, conceived their first child a month before they were married.

As Long as They Have Pencils

"Half a Million Taught in Schools Without a Head"

--headline, Independent (London)

Does This Mean We Can Cut Premiums in Half?

UnitedHealthcare, one of Arizona's largest insurers, started a new program under which members were urged to split certain pills in half to save money. Only 2 percent of United's 800,000 members had signed up.

He Waited Outside Dinky Donuts all Night

New York newspapers reported that in the mid-1990s, actor Tom Cruise stalked baseball legend Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, showing up uninvited at baseball shows and even waiting outside a restaurant for three hours, possibly to convince DiMaggio to cooperate in a movie project.

The former Yankee great referred to Cruise as "a short little guy" who scared him. "This guy is following me around everywhere I go," DiMaggio said. "Next time, I'm going to call the cops."

Ah, Er, Duh ... Well ... Would You Repeat That?

"Arizona Ranked Dumbest in U.S."

--headline, The Arizona Republic

We Didn't Know She Was From Arizona

When police arrived at the home of Hollywood porn baron Joe Francis to investigate a burglary, they asked hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton what she knew about the episode. She said she didn't remember, because she forgets stuff all the time. "I'm not that smart," Hilton said.

Nothing Builds Character Like Skimming off the Top

State Treasurer David Petersen resigned as part of a plea deal with state prosecutors who were investigating financial shenanigans related to payments from a character-building organization.

It'll Cut Down on Truancy

"Stalker to Lead Ankeny Schools as Interim Chief"

--headline, Des Moines Register

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Taxpayers Grabbed Their Ankles

Pima County Superior Court Clerk Patricia Noland ended her practice of allowing employees to take a half-day off at Christmas while filling out their time sheets as if they'd worked all day. The so-called Christmas gift cost taxpayers about $14,600 a year. Under her predecessor, former Mayor Jim Corbett, who served 20 years as clerk, workers got the whole day off.

Some Like it Hot, Dude

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe's uniform pants caught fire while he stood next to a dugout space heater during a late-September game in Denver. When teammate Matt Kemp saw Lowe's pants leg burning, he cried out, "Dude, you're on fire!"

Were the Goats Disguised as Taxpayers?

In an audit of spending by public officials, the Arizona Daily Star found that City Councilman Steve Leal and City Manager Mike Hein hosted five Chinese officials and 23 other people at a local restaurant, spending $1,100 of public money. The bash included toasts of $100-a-bottle tequila and $176 to slaughter and cook two goats.

Like, Where's My Lexus, Man?

Among the country's 100 largest campuses, the UA had the highest auto-theft rate, according to the FBI.

He Did One of Those Cool, Roll-Over Landings

"Europe High-Speed Train Sees Passenger Jump"



The father of actor Heath Ledger said his son left his native Australia because the paparazzi there hurt his feelings by ambushing him with water pistols before the premiere of Brokeback Mountain. The incident left Ledger in tears.

Tucson Bucks The Trend

The city of Tucson has 95 workers on its payroll earning more than $100,000 a year, far more than similar-sized cities such as Albuquerque, N.M., and El Paso, Texas. Mary Schuh of the Pima Association of Taxpayers said the high salaries will break the city's back some day. "They've created an elitist bureaucrat class of people," she said.

He's got Mel Gibson's Vote

State Rep. Russell Pearce forwarded an e-mail that claimed that Jews controlled the media and turned public opinion against white men. The e-mail included a link to the Web site of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist group.

"And who are these all-powerful masters of the media?" asked the e-mail. "As we shall see, to a very large extent they are Jews. ... Despite a few prominent exceptions, the preponderance of Jews in the media is so overwhelming that we are obliged to assume that it is due to more than mere happenstance."

Pearce apologized in a subsequent e-mail, saying he hadn't read the message before forwarding it.

"Finally, me heartfelt apologies for not being more careful and for not Reading the attachment in its entirety," Pearce wrote.

What's the Big Deal? Don't 62-Year-Old Men Climb Trees Every Day?

Rolling Stone Keith Richards, 62, underwent brain surgery after falling out of a palm tree at a luxury resort in Fiji. Richards and bandmate Ronnie Wood had climbed the tree to retrieve coconuts.

Sometimes They Hide it in Bear Suits, too

"U.S. Man Seeks $1.6 million in Dead Dog Suit"

--headline, Reuters

Hobby No Juel ... Hibby Jo Huel ... Jobby Mo Gruel ... Oh, Crap, You Know Who We Mean

Arizona Daily Star reader advocate Debbie Kornmiller noted that the paper in 2005 misspelled a whopping 73 names, including that of Bobbie Jo Buel, the paper's own executive editor.

Tastes Like Chicken

The name of a new Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale caused mayor Mary Manross to recoil in embarrassment, saying that its reference to the female anatomy "offends more than half the population." The restaurant is called the Pink Taco.

The Earrings are Already in Stores

"Sex Offender Watch Coming"

--headline, Los Angeles Times

She's Got That Jiggly Thing Going On

"French Broad Is Focus of Race"

--headline, Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times

How Do You Like Your Bacon, Gentlemen?

At the same time they sought new rules curbing earmarks, or the practice of funneling federal money to home districts, Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl sought $10 million to establish at the UA a constitutional-law center named for the late William Rehnquist.

A McCain spokesman explained that the bill isn't really an earmark, because it is freestanding legislation, rather than a last-minute addition to a larger spending measure.

But Isn't He Sober When He Drives to the Basket?

After showing up an hour late for his trial, former UA basketball player Hassan Adams was acquitted of drunk driving stemming from his arrest in March in Tucson.

As a General Rule, You Need to Shut the Hell Up

Al Garza, executive director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, told a reporter, "What I don't like about the (Latino) culture itself is as a general rule, Latinos are liars."

Ok, Nobody Gets to Play Horsey Anymore

Mayor Bob Walkup and his wife, Beth, required hospital treatment for injuries suffered when runaway horses crashed into the rear of the wagon in which they were riding during the Tucson Rodeo Parade. Attorney General Terry Goddard escaped injury in a second accident when his wagon ran into a fence at the rodeo grounds.

What was the Problem?

"Florida Woman Says Solution Caused Eye Loss"

--headline, The Associated Press

We'll Just Go in the Bushes, If It's All the Same to You

The UA's ever-vigilant commissars of political correctness issued a statement saying that it's now OK for individuals to use campus restrooms that match their idea of what gender they are, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth. In other words, it's OK for a gal who thinks she's a guy to do her business in the little boy's room.

In an unintentional and hilarious tribute to George Orwell, the UA defines gender identity "as an individual's actual or perceived gender, including an individual's self-image, appearance, expression or behavior, whether or not that self-image, appearance, expression or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the individual's sex at birth as being either male or female."

George and Leo, Sitting in a Tree

"I want to spend every single night for three months going out with a different famous actress. You know, Halle Berry one night, Salma Hayek the next, and then walk on the beach holding hands with Leonardo DiCaprio."

--actor George Clooney in Vanity Fair about his plans to confuse the paparazzi

And Audiences Stay Away From Movies With Annoying Actresses

"You have to be careful not to be upstaged by your breasts. I'm at least a C, sometimes a D, depending on the bra. And I've gotten curvier as I've gotten older. Directors cast the men they want to be and the women they want to have."

--Susan Sarandon in More magazine

Add a comment