We could scarcely believe the news: Esquire magazine announced earlier this year that it was canceling the legendary Dubious Achievement awards.
For the last decade, we here at the Weekly have done our own homage to the dubies, which was undoubtedly the funniest year-end wrap in the publishing world. Frankly, given Esquire's rather sorry decline, it had become the only issue worth picking up.
But there's a new editor at Esquire who evidently doesn't care much for that kind of tomfoolery--or perhaps there just wasn't room because the issue was already filled with nearly naked women, fashion spreads and cologne advertisements.
Whatever. We here at TW are soldiering on, bringing you a wrap-up of the weird, the wacky and the way-out, mostly here in Arizona but also throughout the nation.
Because if we don't, then the terrorists win.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Former Tucson priest Robert Trupia, who still faces a civil lawsuit in Tucson, was freed from his handcuffs and allowed to leave a Yuma courtroom without having to account for seven felony child molestation allegations dating to the 1970s. Prosecutors were unable to continue when it was determined the statute of limitations had expired.
A Massachusetts funeral home director nearly joined his clientele in the beyond when he heard a gurgling noise coming from a recently delivered body bag. The 39-year-old woman inside was found slumped over in her bathtub not breathing, when EMT workers pronounced her dead.
"It scared me half to death," said funeral director John Matarese. "The girl was alive!"
Phoenix Suns guard Jason Kidd was taken into custody on suspicion of slugging his wife, Joumana, leaving her with a swollen lip and a cut inside her mouth. "This is minor compared to what I usually go through," Joumana told the 911 operator.
Responding to the news that former presidential assistant Sidney Blumenthal would receive a $650,000 advance for his memoir of the Clinton years, fellow author Christopher Hitchens said: "As everyone now knows--too late--the Clinton presidency was a racket and a shakedown operation. I don't begrudge Sidney his small share of it. It's the price of his soul. Worse people have gotten better advances."
WHAT A COINCIDENCE. THE FACTORY'S MOTTO IS "BEAR DOWN," TOO
A Mexican clothing factory that makes merchandise for the UA was accused of using child labor, feeding rotten food to workers and harassing them, according to a report by the Workers Rights Consortium. The Korean-owned Kukdong factory, in the state of Puebla, produces UA sweatshirts.
ACTUALLY, LINDA IS A MASS OF GELATENOUS PLANETARY MATTER
A study found that 12 percent of popular science textbooks at middle schools are riddled with errors. Researchers found mistakes ranging from maps depicting the equator passing through the southern U.S., to a photo of singer Linda Ronstadt labeled as a silicon crystal.
THIS WAY YOU CAN WATCH TV WITH TWO REMOTE CONTROLS AND NEVER HAVE TO GET OFF THE COUCH, EVER, EVEN FOR YOU-KNOW-WHAT!
North Carolina surgeon Stuart Meloy has patented a machine that produces orgasms in women. He connects stimulating waves to a signal generator, smaller than a cigarette pack, which is implanted beneath one of a woman's buttocks. The device is triggered by a hand-held remote control.
SEE, THE GUYS WERE ALL WOUND UP FROM A NIGHT OF INTENSE STUDYING, SO THEY DECIDED TO HAVE SOME MILK AND COOKIES AND ENGAGE IN A RELAXING GAME OF TWISTER THAT GOT OUT OF HAND
UA football players Erik Garcia and Andrae Thurman got into a brawl in the apartment they shared, sending Thurman to the hospital with injuries.
IN TUCSON, THIS GUY WOULD BE NAMED TOM DANEHY
Twice-divorced Mitch Hallon, 42, of Melbourne, Australia, decided to give up on women and marry his Sony widescreen TV instead. The ceremony was presided over by a priest who made Hallen promise to "love, honor and obey his gogglebox."
AND HE'S A CANCER AND SUPER CRABBY ABOUT IT
Twice is three weeks, the Arizona Daily Star misidentified UA astronomer Mark Sykes as an astrologer.
BESIDES, THOSE DARN ROTAR-BLADES MESSED UP OUR HAIRDOS
KOLD-TV grounded its much-balloyed news chopper to cut costs. The helicopter lease cost several hundred thousand a year, but "Tucson did not have enough breaking news to give enough return" on the investment, said station GM Jim Arnold.
GOD, WE LOVE THIS CHICK
Asked what she got on her college SATs, pop sensation Jennifer Lopez responded, "Nail polish."
TOO MANY LAWYER NEGATIVES IN ONE SENTENCE, USUALLY MEANS HIS GUY IS UP TO SOMETHING
Tucson cop Jeffrey Wheeler, one of four officers who fired 16 shots at the driver of a Chevy Suburban that rammed a patrol car, failed to report firing his weapon to superiors because he didn't realize he'd done so, according to his lawyer.
"If you don't know you discharged your weapon, it's not inappropriate not to report it," said defense lawyer Mike Piccarreta.
OOPS! THE CULTURE SINKS EVEN LOWER
British publisher Boxtree paid $724,200 for the rights to a novel by Britney Spears and her mom, Lynne. The book was also snapped up by U.S. giant Random House, which paid an additional $1 million for that book, and a second novel by the red-hot singer.
ELICIT? COME ON, DID HE REALLY SAY ELICIT?
Boxer Mike Tyson, who spent three years in prison on a rape conviction, said of women: "I don't think they like me, because I'm real with them and I elicit everything that they hide from the world."
Phoenix resident Kaye Grant was named the first Arizona correspondent for Naked News, a clothes-free webcast. "Kaye's Cactus Reports" cover events across the state, such as sports, resorts and fringe news, sans clothing.
DEATH MOST FOWL
Lon Resnick, 31, was killed in a head-on collision with a flying duck while testing a personal watercraft vehicle on a Florida lake at 55 mph. At the speed he was traveling, dealership owner David Bamdas said the 10- to 15-pound duck "might as well have been a cinderblock."
THE BEAN TREES MUST'VE FALLEN ON HER HEAD
In response to a wave of patriotism following September 11, wacky Tucson writer Barbara Kingsolver said the "American flag stands for intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry, sexism, homophobia and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder."
A FAREWELL TO HEELS
Gregory Hemingway, the youngest son of novelist Earnest Hemingway, was found dead in his cell at a women's jail in Miami where he was taken after being arrested for indecent exposure and wearing women's clothing. The 69-year-old had recently undergone a sex change operation.
A REAL STEAL
The Arizona House of Representatives spent about $400,000 on new chairs, leather sofas, credenzas and end tables from a ritzy shop in Scottsdale, despite a looming budget deficit of $1.6 billion. Republican Representative Robert Blendu said, "For once we're not buying junk. I don't see the waste."
COLLEGE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT SEX. BUT AT LEAST IN THE OLD DAYS IT HAPPENED OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
ASU offers a course on the study of such X-rated films as Dirty Debutantes and Deep Throat. Humanities Professor Peter Lehman said his students actually critique the movies, saying, "You cannot study media without looking carefully at whatever media object you're talking about."
DOES ANYBODY ELSE SEE A CONNECTION HERE?
About the time he had his prostate removed, former governor Fife Symington opted not to re-enter politics, deciding instead to stay in his job as a part-time pastry chef in Scottsdale.
OH, NO, MY BALLS ARE FALLING!
Arizona comic-book mogul Todd McFarlane paid more than $3 million for slugger Mark McGwire's record-breaking 70th home run ball, only to see its value plummet as San Francisco Giant star Barry Bonds broke the record.
The plunging value of the McGwire ball made McFarlane a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs. "Everybody wants to talk to the idiot," says McFarlane.
MAKES US HUNGRY FOR A BIG MAC
Animal rights activists claimed responsibility for an arson fire that destroyed the McDonald's at Campbell and Fort Lowell. The same criminals, suspected of being affiliated with either the Animal Liberation Front or the Earth Liberation Front, might've defaced the fiberglass clown statue in front of the Ronald McDonald House on Speedway with swastikas and vulgarities.
HIS HITS INCLUDE "WHO STOLE THE KISKA," "I'M TOO FAT TO POLKA" AND "HEY, AIN'T THAT MY SAUSAGE"
A Massachusetts judge sentenced 19-year-old Alan Law to listen to four hours of polka king Frankie Yankovic's greatest hits for driving with his windows rolled down and his truck stereo blaring. Judge John Nicholson chose Yankovic's music because he thought Law wouldn't be a fan of the Cleveland Polka legend, who died in 1998.
THE WILDCATS PLAYS BETTER ON GRASS
Former UA football player Brandon Sanders was charged with having 100 pounds of marijuana in his Continental Ranch home. It was not Sanders' first brush with trouble. He was involved, but not charged, in a nightclub shooting in 1995, and later cited by police after a brawl involving an airman at Davis-Monthan.
After leaving UA, Sanders played for a number of professional teams, including the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL.
$156,000 CLAMS AND STILL NOTHING TO READ
When Arizona Daily Star columnist Bonnie Henry learned that news-side contemporary Ernesto Portillo was making in the neighborhood of $78,000 a year, she confronted top editors about her much-lower salary, and demanded equal pay. She got it.
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! WE'RE BEING ATTACKED BY BREAKFAST FOOD!
A New Jersey couple sued the Kellogs company for $100,000 over a house fire they say was caused by a flaming cherry pop tart. "She had put it in the toaster and apparently forgot about it," said Mauro Casci, lawyer for the plaintiff. "I never thought a pop tart could turn into a blow torch."
YOU SPEND ALL THAT TIME COOPED UP BEHIND BARBED WIRE WITH SGT. SCHULTZ AND SEE IF YOU DON'T GO A LITTLE HA-HA
A son of 1960s TV star Bob Crane, who was murdered in Scottsdale in 1978, is selling a coffee table book of explicit photos showing his father having sex with various women he picked up on the dinner theater circuit. "He wouldn't be ashamed of this book at all," said Scotty Crane, 30, a Seattle disc jockey. "He'd be very proud of it."
Bob Crane starred in the popular sitcom Hogan's Heroes, about American soldiers in a German POW camp during World War II.
WANT TO KNOW THE SCARIEST PART? THE BRAND DEPICTS ANDERSON'S LIKENESS
A 33-year-old woman claimed that employees of the Meet Rack, a Tucson saloon, held her down on the bar while former mayoral candidate and bar owner Jim Anderson marked her with a red-hot brand bearing his likeness. As a promotion, Anderson says anyone who pays $5 dollars and gets branded receives 50 cents off drinks for life.
The bald-headed entrepreneur ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1979 and 1983.
A 75-year-old Marana man whose cat was eaten by coyotes tried to get Arizona Game and Fish to reimburse him $328 for veterinary and cremation costs, arguing he was new to Tucson and didn't know that coyotes ate housecats.
In pleading his case before the state Game and Fish Commission, Wallace Burford held up a small box containing the ashes of his cat, Jake, and said, "He was so torn up he had to be cremated. I'm not here for me, I'm here for Jake."
WHAT A KICK
When Glenda Stevens, of Park Hills, Mo., found her little dog, Sweetie, dead on the street, she assumed her beloved pet had been hit by a truck and buried her. Hours later, she was shocked to see Sweetie's hind legs sticking out of the ground, as the not-so-dead pooch dug itself out of its own grave. She took Sweetie to a vet and the animal survived.
THEY USED THEIR OWN WEENIES TO FEND OFF THE ATTACKERS
Hot dog vendors Doreen and Joe Martinez hid with their two teenage sons and 7-month-old daughter in the closet of a Fourth Avenue bar as rioting UA basketball fans looted and set ablaze their Winnebago and Honda Civic. The rowdies were responding to the UA's loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament's final game.
"I had my family locked in a closet with this mad drunken mob out there," said Joe Martinez. "They were out of their minds."
WHEW! THAT'S GOOD TO KNOW. WE'RE SURE GLAD NOTHING WENT WRONG OUT THERE
Following the brutal Fourth Avenue basketball riot, in which dozens were injured, much property destroyed and numerous media members shot by police rubber bullets, Assistant TPD Chief Roberto Villasenor said, "We followed our training and we followed our plan."
DAHHH! BECAUSE THE BIRD WAS, LIKE, DIRTY!?
Gerard Daigle, 80, of Quebec City, Canada, lost a pint of blood and required stitches after his cat, Touti, launched a frenzied attack on him. Daigle was giving his pet parrot a shower when he inadvertently sprayed Touti with water and the cat went berserk.
Daigle, along with his 81-year-old wife, managed to chase the insane cat into the bedroom and slam the door. Official response included four carloads of police, who could not immediately determine why Daigle was giving his parrot a shower.
In a version of the film sent to Japan, producers of the Hollywood film Pearl Harbor cut a closing speech by actress Kate Beckinsale telling how the U.S. bounced back to win the war following a Japanese raid at Pearl Harbor. The sequence was eliminated out of fears the Japanese would be offended.
"They're a huge market and amounted to 20 percent of the profit for Titanic," said a source.
OF COURSE, THE DRESS HAD TO COME FROM THE GAP ... IT COULD BE FREAKIN' BLOOMINGDALES ... IT HAD TO BE THE GAP ... AHEM?
Responding to reports that presidential canoodler Monica Lewinsky wanted her infamous blue Gap dress back from prosecutors, Robert Schagrin, co-owner of Gotta Have It collectibles in Manhattan, said the dress could sell on the open market for "mid-six figures, maybe even seven."
WE WISH SOMEONE WOULD ENDANGER THE BUREAUCRATS
Arizona's game and Fish Commission spent $4 million of state lottery proceeds to buy two ranches on the Little Colorado River as wildlife habitats for a fish and a bird that have never lived there. The agency said the purchase would benefit the little colorado spikedace fish and the brown and white mountain Plover bird.
But the land doesn't include running water for the fish to live in, and the auditor general's office could find no evidence that a mountain Plover bird ever nested there.
SHE LICKED HIM, AND IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HONEYMOON
A newly married Florida bride allegedly hit her husband with the wedding cake and kicked him when he was on the floor during an argument after their St. Patrick's Day wedding. Kathryn Marie Patrick was charged with battery on Brett Patrick, who had scratches, bruises and icing on his body.
MOUTH FROM THE SOUTH
At a meeting with CNN staffers, Ted Turner noticed a number of employees with ashes on their foreheads and said, "What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You should be working for Fox."
Responding, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said, "He's as dumb as John Rocker. They might want to take a page from professional baseball and ship Turner off to some sensitivity training."
On seeing the nearly $200,000 in donated china, furniture and gifts the Clintons hauled out of the White House at their departure, the Washington Post commented: "The list demonstrates again the Clintons' defining characteristic: They have no capacity for embarrassment. Words like shabby and tawdry come to mind. They don't begin to do it justice."
Following a minor fender-bender in San Jose, Calif., 27-year-old truck driver Andrew Burnett allegedly approached Sara McBurnett's car, reached inside and grabbed her dog and tossed the animal into oncoming traffic. The dog, a small, white Bichon Frise, was killed.
BUT THE STUFF MADE HIM BARK LIKE A DOG
UA alternative medicine guru Dr. Andrew Weil told 60 Minutes that he'd cured his allergy to cats by taking LSD.
Dick Tomey departed as the UA's head football coach amid an unseemly flurry of evasions and double-talk by school president Peter Likins and athletic director Jim Livingood, neither of whom would give a straight answer on whether the coach had been fired or quit. For his part, Tomey returned to his home in Hawaii with a $600,000 settlement.
IT'S LIKE A FULL MONTY WITHOUT THOSE HIDEOUS MEN ATTACHED
To call attention to domestic violence, the Boulder Public Library displayed a piece of art featuring 21 fake penises hanging from a clothesline inside the library.
Officials in Sun City West, where the median age is 73, reported busting a dozen couples for public sex in such places as swimming pools, spas and public parking lots. Attempts to thwart the activity, including installing lights near where the naked fraternizing was taking place, failed when the lights were vandalized.