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Pepper Spray Nation

A not-intended-to-be-factual look back at 2011

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Arizona, it seems, is the gift that keeps on giving for Comedy Central. We haven't run the numbers, but we're sure that if we did, the residents of the Grand Canyon State would have produced more than 90 percent of the stories featured on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. (That comment, incidentally, was not intended to be a factual statement.) At any rate, whether it's the hot sun or the Central Arizona Project water, Arizona produces nutjobs, numbnuts and nincompoops at an astonishing rate. Once again, we've trawled through the newspapers, the blogs and the World Wide Web to collect the stories some people would rather forget, whether they happened here in good ol' Arizona, or way off in an exotic locale, such as Paris, France, or perhaps Lawrenceville, Ga. So occupy a comfy seat, and sink into our annual review of the year gone by ...

BAM! KICK IT UP A NOTCH!

In a conversation with Bill O'Reilly, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly downplayed concerns about University of California at Davis protestors being splattered with pepper spray. "It's a food product, essentially," Kelly said.

ONE WAY TO GET THE BEST DEALS

A Black Friday bargain hunter in Los Angeles hit fellow shoppers with pepper spray during an early-morning shopping spree.

Elizabeth Macias, 32, later turned herself in to police. Her attorney, Michael Champ, told Los Angeles TV station KCBS that she let loose with the pepper spray because her two teenage sons were under attack by other shoppers, and that she was considering suing Walmart for failing to provide enough security.

WHAT'S YOUR POINT?

UA microbiology professor Charles Gerba found that 72 percent of grocery-store shopping carts tested positive for fecal matter, and another 50 percent had E. coli.

HE WALKED LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Man Arrested for Hiding Crack in His Buttocks

The Sentinel-News (Shelbyville, Ky.)

A CROCK FROM KRUK

ESPN's John Kruk said baseball's Colorado Rockies got off to slow starts in the last four seasons because they held spring training in Tucson. The analyst said the long bus trips from Phoenix weakened the players' legs, and the lack of quality pitching in Tucson left them unprepared to hit. Kruk neglected to mention that the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001, and the Chicago White Sox in 2005—and both trained in Tucson.

THE GOOD HUMOR MAN

Nicolas Cage Awakened by Naked Man With Fudgesicle

—Reuters

YOU MEAN WE CAN GET RID OF ALL THOSE ANNOYING FAMILY MEMBERS AND FEEL BETTER JUST BY DROPPING F-BOMBS?

A UA psychology student discovered that swearing helps relieve physical pain, possibly acting in the same way as an analgesic. But doctoral candidate Megan Robbins also said cussing might drive away the family and friends needed for emotional support.

HEY, THIS IS A NEWS SHOW, NOT 'THE VIEW'

Republican pundit Ann Coulter was bleeped during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe show for calling Sen. John McCain a "douchebag."

OUI, OUI, OUI ALL THE WAY HOME

Rather than wait to use the restroom, as instructed by the cabin crew on an Air France-KLM plane, French actor Gerard Depardieu let it fly, peeing in the aisle by his seat.

IT'S MY PARTY, AND I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO

Amid a huge uproar, Pima County GOP Chairman Brian Miller lost his job in part due to a comment made after a Pima County Sheriff's Department SWAT raid left a former Marine and suspected drug-dealer dead, shot 22 times in his home. "We are all Jose Guerena," Miller said.

HERE I SIT, BROKENHEARTED

Truck Carrying Laxatives Causes Backup on Interstate

—WAFF-TV (Huntsville, Ala.)

A LITTLE UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT OF GUN SAFETY

Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein pointed a loaded pistol at an Arizona Republic reporter's chest while demonstrating how the laser sight worked.

MAYBE HE KNEW ABOUT HER PINK PISTOL

As GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain fended off charges of sexual harassment and a consensual sexual affair, Arizona state Sen. Lori Klein told CBS News that she had known Cain for 12 years, and the troubled candidate had "never been anything but a gentleman—and I am not an unattractive woman."

Klein added that in politics, "We want a virgin to do a hooker's job."

SHOCKED AND APPALLED

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain promised to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border that would "be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side saying, 'It will kill you—Warning.'"

In a later campaign stop in Phoenix, Cain said he was only joking about building an electrified fence, before adding: "I don't apologize for using a combination of a fence. And it might be electrified—I'm not walking away from that."

AND THEN YOU CARVE YOUR OWN FACE ON MOUNT RUSHMORE

Herman Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I call it a journey, not just a campaign, because it doesn't stop. We're in the primary. Then you run for president. You win the presidency, serve four years. (Then you) might have to serve eight at the insistence of the people. Then after that, launch a Cain library."

VERMIN FOUND IN THE ARIZONA STATE CAPITOL! MICE AND RATS, TOO!

Politicians complained about an infestation of rodents boldly scurrying underfoot and across desks at the state House of Representatives, in the Senate, and in the executive tower where the governor works. Some speculate construction outside of the Phoenix buildings sent the critters scurrying inside—where they evidently felt right at home.

MOTHER NATURE, YOU GLORIOUS BASTARD

A summer monsoon destroyed a 40-foot section of the border fence at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument southwest of Tucson. The 15-foot mesh fence was equipped with liftable gates to allow rainwater to flow through desert washes, but the gates were down. Some of the water surged into the town of Lukeville, damaging property there.

AFTER MAKING HIS ANNOUNCEMENT, ASTA DROVE HOME, KNOCKING DOWN THREE MAILBOXES, LAPPING SIX PIZZA DELIVERY GUYS AND SCARING THE NEIGHBORHOOD CATS, ALL WHILE READING HIS KINDLE

Republican Ron Asta was kicked out of the Tucson mayor's race after failing to get enough signatures to get his name on the ballot. He admitted to being a lousy driver, which might've played a role in his inability to garner support. Asta was dogged by his involvement in a fatal accident in 1994.

OUR SLOGAN IS: AVOID NUTCASES

Marshall Home, who declared himself a billionaire when he launched a quixotic campaign for mayor of Tucson, sued Democratic nominee Jonathan Rothschild, saying Rothschild was ineligible to run for mayor because he was a lawyer and, therefore, "an agent of the Queen of England."

"I don't want to see lawyers anywhere in our government," Home said. "I don't even want to see them in the judiciary. ... My slogan is: Avoid skunks and lawyers."

He was convinced to withdraw from the mayoral race when his city residency was challenged. Home was later arrested by the FBI for allegedly filing fraudulent property claims.

A RUTHLESS, COLD-EYED BUSINESSMAN WHO COACHES ON THE SIDE

With coaching jobs at North Carolina State and the University of Maryland open, UA basketball coach Sean Miller maneuvered brilliantly to squeeze athletic director Greg Byrne and the Board of Regents for an annual raise of $100,000.

The move brought his salary to a reported $1.7 million from the UA, plus $400,000 from Nike and the media company IMG, plus performance bonuses and academic incentives. His salary will increase by $100,000 each year through the 2015-2016 season.

AND HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF KYL'S STATEMENTS?

After Sen. Jon Kyl claimed on the Senate floor that more than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's services involved abortions (when the real number is closer to 3 percent), Kyl spokesman Ryan Patmintra said that the senator's remark "was not intended to be a factual statement."

After a week of solid ridicule, Patmintra said that he'd come up with the "not intended to be a factual statement" remark without consulting Kyl, and that it was "a comment that, in retrospect, made no sense."

FREUD WOULD HAVE A FIELD DAY WITH THIS ONE

Chandler resident Joshua Seto shot himself in the dick after tucking his girlfriend's pink pistol into the waistband of his pants on his way into a Fry's grocery store.

IT'S GETTING HARDER AND HARDER TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

During a story about Sarah Palin, Fox News used a photo of Tina Fey impersonating the former Alaska governor.

AS OPPOSED TO HER HUMBLE MOM

In her memoir Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, Bristol Palin complained that when she first met Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, she "looked like a queen" and held "herself like royalty."

"I'd never seen people with so much Louis Vuitton luggage, so many cell phones, and so many constant helpers to do hair and makeup," Palin wrote.

Palin didn't have kind words for McCain's daughter, Meghan, either.

"Every time we saw Meghan, she seemed to be constantly checking us out, comparing my family to hers and complaining," she writes. "Oh the complaining."

TOUGH BUT FAIR

In an interview with Donald Trump, budding journalist Meghan McCain asked: "This morning, the front page of the Drudge Report had Obama at 49 percent and you're at 34 percent, and you haven't even announced. Why do you think you've made such an impact already? Why do you think you're catching on in a way that Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty really aren't? ... What's interesting about you and your candidacy, I think that some people think it's some sort of joke or publicity stunt. But even at dinner last night, I was sitting with my friends, and it's like the more people talk about it, the more interested they are, and the more convinced they are that you could be a nominee for the Republican Party. What I'm looking for is someone who's not going to take bullshit, not going to let the media run them around, and who is going to give it back to Obama."

SPOKEN BY A MAN LIVING IN THE MOST-SECURE HOUSE IN THE LAND

During a speech on border security in El Paso, Texas, in May, President Obama said his critics will never be satisfied, adding, "Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat."

HOW DID THOSE CITY ELECTIONS TURN OUT, FELLAS?

Just months after the shootings that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Pima County Republican Party caused an international stir by raffling off a Glock handgun to raise money. Alleged shooter Jared Loughner also used a Glock, though a different model, in his spree. Republican City Councilman Steve Kozachik called the raffle "incredibly stupid," given upcoming city elections.

WE'RE SCREWED! BEGIN THE RECALL IMMEDIATELY!!

Days after winning election as Tucson's mayor, Democrat Jonathan Rothschild admitted to having published, in 2008, a book of poetry that the Arizona Daily Star described as "a rather intimate exploration of family and friendship and love."

WAS IT A FORD PROBE?

Deer Hit by Car Gives Birth to Twins

The State (Columbia, S.C.)

EVEN THE BIG GUY WANTS TO SAVE MONEY

Couple Says Image of Jesus Appears in Walmart Receipt

—KDVR-TV (Denver)

THAT WAS CLOSE! WE WERE JUST ABOUT TO TYPE IN OUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER

Canada Warns Not to Buy "Fresh" Semen Online

—Agence France-Presse

SPEAKING OF PEOPLE WHO SHOULD LOSE THEIR JOBS ...

State Sen. Al Melvin dismissed ideas that the state should extend unemployment benefits, even though the federal government was willing to pick up the tab. Asked what he would say to people whose benefits were running out, Melvin replied: "How long have they been on that already?"

THOSE TUCSON FREELOADERS NEED TO GET JOBS

State Sen. Frank Antenori told Inside Tucson Business (a sister publication of the Tucson Weekly) that Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik didn't share some of his beliefs, because the "majority of the people I represent pay taxes, (and) probably the majority of people he represents don't—or receive some government subsidy."

Despite his critical words, Antenori said he wouldn't publicly fight with Kozachik, because "the media would love that. All the lefties love it when a Republican picks on another Republican."

RUN, KEVIN, RUN

UA basketball player Kevin Parrom was shot in the leg and hand during a visit to New York in September. A woman answered the door at the Bronx apartment of Parrom's father, after which the talented UA forward sprinted into a bedroom, pursued by two assailants. The men broke open the bedroom door and shot him.

IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

Tucson restaurant Boca Tacos and Tequila canceled plans to sell African-lion tacos after receiving multiple threats. The tacos were scheduled to go on sale for one day only, but owner Bryan Mazon chose not to risk "the safety of our restaurant, our families, our customers and our vendors." The restaurant previously offered frog-leg, alligator and rattlesnake tacos.

FOWL REVENGE

A man was killed by a chicken at a cockfight in California after he was stabbed by a bird with a blade attached to its beak. The blade apparently severed an artery in his calf. The man, Jose Luis Ochoa, was fined $370 last year for owning and training an animal for fighting.

LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE 2011 BOYFRIEND OF THE YEAR

State Sen. Scott Bundgaard got into a fight with his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, on the side of a Maricopa County freeway after a local Dancing With the Stars-style charity fundraiser in which Bundgaard took the floor as a celebrity. Ballard was hauled off to spend the night in jail, while Bundgaard claimed legislative immunity to arrest.

Ballard broke up with Bundgaard following the incident, and Bundgaard is now facing ethics charges in the Legislature.

UNHEALTHY PROPOSAL

State Sen. Andy Biggs sponsored a bill to end Arizona's entire Medicaid program that provides health insurance to residents below the poverty line, calling it "socialized medicine."

The bill failed after his fellow lawmakers noted that dumping the program would cost the state an estimated $7.5 billion in federal matching funds, and cripple Arizona hospitals.

BARON VON GOUDINOFF AND HIS COUNTESS DO THE BORDER

Former state legislator and UA professor Peter Goudinoff was escorted home by two F-16 fighter jets from Davis-Monthan when the plane he was piloting veered into Mexican airspace south of Sierra Vista. Goudinoff, who built the experimental plane he was flying, said he was trying to show a female friend the damage caused by the Monument Fire.

SHOE SIZE: 36 TRIPLE-D

History Made as Nipple Is Found on Foot

The Sun (London)

BARRY'S MELON WAS SO BIG THE BIKERS BEHIND HIM COULDN'T SEE TO PASS

A witness in Barry Bonds' perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial testified that the slugger wore a 7 1/4 size hat when he joined the San Francisco Giants in 1993. But by 2002, his dome size had expanded to 7 3/8, possibly the result of steroid use. Longtime equipment manager Mike Murphy said the heads of other Giants, including Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, also grew, but only after they'd retired from baseball.

Bonds rode in this year's El Tour de Tucson bike race.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT

Cops finally busted the man who allegedly inserted 37 seconds of porn into the local Comcast broadcast of the 2009 Super Bowl, causing a national uproar. Former Cox Communications employee Frank Tanori Gonzalez, of Marana, was arrested on suspicion of inserting the clip, which showed a woman undoing a man's pants and doing what requires no description.

YOUR TOILET PAPER AND TOOTHPASTE COME TO $7.18, GENERAL, SIR

Tucsonan Jeffrey Lee Bennett allegedly posed as a two-star Air Force general to get onto Fort Huachuca to shop for good deals at the post commissary and exchange. The accusation against Bennett claims he donned a fake uniform and used a fake Department of Defense sticker on his Volkswagen to enter the base.

THE EASTER SEASON

Lady Gaga Fan Recovering After Dying at Nashville Concert

Knoxville.com

BE ON TIME; AND BRING YOUR RÉSUMÉ AND PLENTY OF BLUSH

Transvestite Purse-Snatcher Sought

Gwinnett Daily Post (Lawrenceville, Ga.)

SO THAT WHOLE CIVILITY THING, WE'RE CALLING THAT OFF, RIGHT?

When Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he would not run for re-election, Pima County Democratic Party chairman Jeff Rogers posted a note on Facebook saying he was thrilled that "one of Az's major jerks will retire."

AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A HOUND DOG

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suggested changing the name of his political party to "Go Pussy!" At the time he made the helpful suggestion, the 75-year-old was a defendant in two corruption trials, as well as a third trial for allegedly paying for sex with a 17-year-old nightclub dancer.

MR. JOHNSON LOVES HIS TUNES

"Singing Penis" Sets Noise Record for Water Insect

—BBC website

SNOT NORMAL

Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas has earned enough extra money by eating strange things to pay off two mortgages and contribute to his kids' college funds, according to The Wall Street Journal. With teammates offering as much as $400, the 40-year-old has eaten live moths, used chewing gum, and even a concoction of tobacco spit and 3-day-old chili. "Tooz will eat anything except poop, urine and vomit," said Diamondbacks reliever Sam Demel. "No, wait—I'm sorry. He will eat vomit."

WRITTEN ON THE WIND

Longtime Democratic politico John Kromko pleaded guilty to forging 29 signatures in his effort to get on the ballot for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2008. The fuzzy-haired hack is barred from running for public office for at least five years.

SHALL WE DANCE ANYWAY?

San Francisco Only the Nation's 11th Gayest City?

San Francisco Chronicle website

HOWDY-DO IN THERE!

The ashes of Tucsonans George and Eleanor Challenger, who died within four years of one another in the 1990s, were found at the Forget-Me-Not Charity Thrift Shop in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The remains were stored together in a cardboard box that a granddaughter had donated to the thrift store, unaware of its contents. The incident was ironic, said son, Jim, because the granddaughter "had always wanted to meet her grandparents."

WHO WANTS TO KNOW? ... I DO, FOOL!!

Can Schizophrenia Enable People to Tickle Themselves?

The Arizona Republic website

ALL THE LITTLE PIGGIES WENT THAT-A-WAY

Florida resident Karl Lambert sued a St. Lucie County paramedic for stealing his severed foot from a crash scene. Cynthia Economou, who wanted the foot to train her body-recovery dog, said the part was so badly damaged that it was unrecognizable. "If I thought it was somehow reattachable, I would have gone to my commander," she said.

WE'RE GOING WITH THE FIRST CHOICE

Arizona prison escapee Tracy Province planned to go to Yellowstone National Park, shoot up a gram of heroin to end the panic he experienced on the lam, and then lie down—and let bears eat him. The convicted murderer had second thoughts as he was preparing the drug, deciding that instead of becoming "bear food," he'd hitchhike to Indiana to visit his family. Soon thereafter, he was captured in Wyoming.

THE BIG BANG

Sex Bomb: Jilted Lover Arrested for Making Exploding Sex Toy to Send to Ex-Lover for Christmas

Daily Mail (London)

AT FIRST WE THOUGHT THE NAKED GUY WAS ... COULD IT BE? ... STOOPS HIMSELF!

At the first home football game after the sacking of head coach Mike Stoops, 22-year-old UA student Jace Lankow streaked onto the field dressed as an official. After blowing a whistle and trying to snatch the ball, Lankow stripped down to a Speedo and ran around until a cop tackled him. It was the best tackle UA fans saw all year.

GILBERT SAYS HE'S REALLY, REALLY SORE

Naked Man Rescued From Sewer Pipe in Gilbert

—KTVK-TV (Phoenix)

GET A LOAD OF THOSE BIG HABOOBS!

Dust storms measuring 100 miles wide and 4,000 feet high moved through the Phoenix area in July. Known in Arabic as haboobs, the storms caused freeway accidents, knocked out power and raised the risk of valley fever from infectious spores carried on the wind.

LET'S CARRY OUT THOSE SENTENCES ON THE CHEAP: A CHAIR, AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET AND A PRIEST. $348.50.

The three defendants convicted in the 2009 murders of an Arivaca man and his 9-year-old daughter were represented by lawyers paid for by taxpayers—to the tune of almost $1 million. It was one of the most-expensive cases in local history and resulted in two of the defendants—Shawna Forde and Jason Bush—getting death sentences.

HIS SCISSORS ARE, LIKE, HUGE!

Former Giant Barber to Return to NFL

—The Wall Street Journal

A DIRTY HIGHWAY? WHAT A CAD!

The Arizona Department of Transportation threatened to cancel former Nogales Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel's participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program unless he got busy cleaning up litter along Interstate 19 near Tubac. Garcia-Von Borstel is serving time in a Kingman prison for taking bribes while in office.

MULES GO LONG

To thwart the new border fence at Nogales, smugglers are heaving marijuana packages over the 23-to-30-feet-high barrier like footballs. "There are quarterbacks in Mexico and receivers in the U.S.," said Lt. Gerardo Castillo of the Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force. "We try to intercept, obviously."

I PEE FOR THEE, MON DIEU

Biologists Unlock Chemical Clues to Courtship in Swordtail Fish Urine

—Texas A&M University press release

RUMP RANGERS

British Girl Who Had Illegal Bottom Injection Was Being Watched by U.S. Drugs Agents

Daily Mail (London)

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