Refusing to live in, on or even near the Internet, I still get all of my real news from traditional sources—newspapers, magazines, TV and occasionally radio. (It's kind of a fudge, but if a newspaper appears online, it counts as a newspaper. That allows me to do those really hard math problems in The New York Times on Mondays with a clear conscience.)
Another thing that hasn't changed is that I still have, several times a week, visceral responses to things that I read or see.
• There was a segment on KOLD Channel 13 news last week about a bunch of guys who strap on guns and go out looking for local restaurants that won't throw their sorry, paranoid butts out into the street. They call themselves (get this!) Gunburger. Ever since the scrotum-less clowns in the state Legislature basically removed all restrictions on gun-totin' in these here parts, gun guys can be seen all over town—in fast-food places, in stores, in (God help us!) bars—with pistols (but never women) at their sides.
Gun guys are flying high these days, and with good reason. They had been waiting 70 years (since the Miller decision that linked gun ownership to militia membership) to get a Supreme Court they could count on to see things their way. And even then, it was a 5-4 margin, and self-proclaimed "strict constructionist" Antonin Scalia had to make stuff up just to get the majority decision to work.
And then the Arizona Legislature decided to take things about 107 steps beyond reasonableness.
Several Gunburger guys were interviewed, and they all had their trusty firearms handy. Now, if you want to walk around with a gun strapped to your waist, knock yourself out. You've got the law on your side (for now). But, to me, it will always be a bit like the scantily clad hoochie who swears that she dresses like that for herself. You guys know that you get a little tingle when people do a double-take at your appearance.
Apparently, some guys really need a gun to feel manly and safe. Me, I feel manly and safe because I'm manly. It's so much easier that way. I mentioned that to a gun-toting friend of mine, and he asked me how stupid I would feel on the way out if I died from a gunshot wound. I suppose that would be funny, but at least I wouldn't have gone through my whole life scared.
During the interview, one of the gun guys said that he had been at a restaurant where a woman was staring at the guns, and then she finally said, "This must be the safest restaurant in town."
No, it's not. It's just a guess, but it seems more likely that someone would get shot at a restaurant where people are armed than at one where nobody has a gun. Raise your hand if you've ever been eating at a restaurant and had your meal interrupted by armed intruders. That's what I thought. I'm sorry, but it's simply reasonable that if something has never happened to me in my life, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time and energy worrying that it might.
During the segment, they had this one gun guy who was particularly annoying. He sneered into the camera at people who don't want to sit down to a nice meal next to somebody who is armed, saying, "It's ridiculous. (This gun) is a metal tube. It's inert. It's just a tool."
No, you're a tool.
• I find it very interesting that many of the same people who voted against the half-cent sales-tax increase for the city of Tucson are now screaming about cuts in fire and police service. It's understandable that city residents, having been burned too many times to count, would be reluctant to take the City Council at its word—but just about everybody in city government warned that cuts would follow if the tax increase wasn't passed.
While it does involve a very unfortunate risk to public safety, it's almost refreshing to see the City Council actually follow through on something it promised (or threatened).
• Did you happen to read the item in John Schuster's Media Watch column last week about the UA sports announcer who was fired because he sucked as a salesman?
David Kelly was a top-notch announcer who hosted pregame and postgame shows on Arizona Wildcats radio broadcasts. But for some unknown reason, sales responsibilities were grafted onto his announcing duties. What genius decided to put those two jobs together? I do a decent job of talking, and I'm good with numbers, but if I had to sell something for a living, I'd be skinnier than a top model who gave up everything except hoodia for Lent.
Obviously, some overpaid suit thought it was a really neat idea to combine two jobs, like accountant/janitor or teacher/sheriff. Has nobody heard of the Peter Principle? Colleges have a long history of turning out graduates who are long on book-learning but short on common sense. It makes you want to take a flamethrower to a business school.