Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tim to the Rescue

by Pa Rock
Proud Papa

My youngest, Tim, has always had an uncanny ability to know when I am over-extended, swamped, or in need some moral support. He called tonight just as I was wallowing in self-pity over not having any prospective buyers on my mobile home, and he quickly made me send him a photo and some information for a Craig's List ad.

I know the proper dynamic is for parents to take care of their kids, but damn it feels good when they occasionally step in and give me a hand!

My attitude is getting better. I have just been dealing with this big overseas move for too long, living in an empty house with a crabby cat for too long, and tripping over half-filled suitcases for too long! Soon I will fly away from this madness and things will settle back down.

Beginning a story is much more fun than closing one out!

Tim's ad may be viewed here:

Please share it with any Phoenix friends!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Transfer (4)

by Pa Rock

(Note: The following is the fourth part of a work of fiction that was initiated in this space on December 5, 2007. The second part ran on February 16, 2008, and the third installment appeared on February 23, 2008.)

The sun was just peering over the eastern horizon as Ricky Rios pulled the dark green Cadillac Escalade onto a side street on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico. He had been driving “the war wagon” since Hermosillo and was ready for breakfast and some hot coffee.

“Hey, asshole,” Ricky said as he reached across the front seat and shook his older brother. “We’re here. The international border is coming up.”

Edgar Rios stretched and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “So why did you stop, puta?”

“I’m hungry. Where can we get something to eat in this shithole??”

“There’s a McDonald’s on the other side of the border, little brother. We’ll eat there.”

Ricky shook his head in disgust. “I’ll need more than a breakfast sandwich if I am going to have to deal with Uncle Sal.”

“You’re the golden child. I’m the one that has to face the wrath of the old lion.”

“Really? Screwed the wrong whore?”

“Something worse. I killed the wrong Barraza.” Edgar reached into the backseat and retrieved his leather jacket. “Give me your passport,” he said as he peeled several hundred dollar bills from the roll in his jacket pocket. When Ricky handed him his passport, Edgar counted out ten bills and put them inside of the cover.

“Oh great. If this green boat doesn’t make us look enough like narco-terrorists, a passport full of cash ought to remove any doubt.”

“Shut your hole and just drive. When you get to the border pull into the outside lane.”

Ricky nosed the Escalade back out onto Mex 15 and continued to the international border. He slid the big car into the outside lane as Edgar had instructed, and dutifully handed his passport over to the grateful immigration officer who palmed the cash faster than one of Edgar’s whores could hit the mattress. After pocketing the cash, the officer held the passport up and carefully studied Ricky’s picture. “What is your purpose in visiting the United States, Mr. Rios?”

“Vacation,” Ricky answered matter-of-factly.

“And what is your destination?”

“Sedona, and maybe the Grand Canyon.”

“Excellent choices. Drive on through and enjoy your stay in the United States.”

“Excellent choices!” Edgar laughed as Ricky weaved his way through the barricades and into the Los Estados Unidos. “Enjoy your stay in the United States!”

“Asshole.” Rafe muttered.

“Careful. Uncle Sal wouldn’t like his favorite nephew disparaging one of our employees.”

“You’re the asshole, asshole.”

“McDonald’s is up ahead on the right. Park out back on the hillside.”

Moments later Ricky had located a spot that would accommodate the big vehicle. He parked it, pocketed the keys, and started to get out. “Leave the keys in the ignition and grab your bag,” Edgar said, almost too casually. “We’re trading vehicles.”

“Great,” Ricky said as he pulled the keys back out of his pocket. “Let me guess. I just drove a load of dope across the border.” His calm demeanor was quickly becoming as prickly as a Sonora cactus. “A prison record would be just the ticket for getting into medical school!”

“Hey, puta, what can I say? It’s the family business.” Edgar slipped on his leather jacket and retrieved his own bag as he got out of the car. “You will get into medical school the old fashioned way – with a large cash donation from Uncle Sal.”

“Asshole,” Ricky responded as he followed his brother into the McDonald’s.


After breakfast the young men returned to the spot where they had left the Escalade, a spot that was now occupied by a little red Miata with its key in the ignition. “Now that’s what I’m talking about, little brother!” Edgar exclaimed as he climbed into the driver’s seat. “Let’s hit the road!”

“So now that we have a really cool car, you get to drive?”

“I have the valid Arizona driver’s license, pendejo.” Edgar said. “We’ll be going through at least one border patrol checkpoint on our way to Scottsdale. There is nothing to be gained by taking unnecessary risks.”

“Risks like driving into the United States with a carload of drugs?”

“Cut me some slack, Ricky. I was too tired to be the wheel man.”

“Whoring takes it out of you.” Ricky was referring to a stop that they had made at a favorite watering hole of Edgar’s yesterday evening. Ricky had sat in the car and read a biology textbook that he had brought with him from Buenos Aires, while Edgar spent a couple of hours in the desert whorehouse entertaining the ladies and doing his own biology homework.

“Damned straight it does!” Edgar checked the mirrors and turned the ignition. The slick ride roared to life. “And let’s not be bothering Uncle Sal with unnecessary information, like you being behind the wheel at all. He’s going to be furious at me for letting you get off the plane in Mexico City.”

“That was my idea, remember? I wanted to spend some time with my brother.”

“You’re a fifteen-year-old puta, remember? If Uncle Sal pisses, it’s me that gets wet – not you!”


Salvador and Alberto Rios had been small-time drug runners moving inconspicuous amounts of “product” across the U.S. border twenty-five years ago. As the American appetite for drugs grew, so did the fortunes of Sal and Al. When a major deal gone bad resulted in the murders of Al and his wife, Bette, five years ago, little Ricky had been spirited off to safety with his Aunt Silvia in Buenos Aires where he could be raised away from the shadow of the growing criminal enterprise. Edgar, on the other hand, was already known far and wide as a dangerous and incorrigible seventeen-year-old at the time of his parents’ death, and he moved seamlessly into the family business.

Both young men knew that Salvador Rios was going to be livid that they had played fast and loose with Ricky’s safety by driving halfway across Mexico, but neither got too excited over it. Uncle Sal would calm down when they were safely inside his gated and guarded estate. He would be thrilled to have Ricky close by – Edgar’s reception, however, was likely to be more problematic.


Ricky sat back in a leather armchair in Uncle Sal’s study. He watched the ice float lazily in his scotch, acutely aware that Aunt Silvia would have a big, fat, Argentine cow if she knew he was drinking anything stronger that table wine. But what the hell, he was on vacation! Ricky was on the verge of becoming a man, whether Aunt Silvia was ready to admit that or not, and while he wasn’t into wholesale whore-hopping like his tireless older brother, he had experienced the pleasures of women – a couple right under Silvia’s own roof. Life is constant adjustment.

Edgar was anything but relaxed. Uncle Sal was speaking very quietly to him – always a bad sign – and staring intently into his eyes, alert for any bullshit. “You more than anyone,” Salvador said in calm, modulated tones, “should know the dangers that could befall a member of the family in Mexico. Was it necessary to take Enrique off of the plane in Mexico City and parade him across the country like a moving target in a carnival shooting gallery?”

“It was all cool, uncle. It was Ricky’s idea.”

“That’s right,” Ricky interjected. “My idea.”

“You live in a different world, Enrique. You don’t know the danger you were in.” Salvador turned to face his older nephew. “But Edgar knew.”

Edgar was withering under his uncle’s gaze. Salvador had his large hands on the table clasping his drink, but Edgar knew that any remark on his part that even hinted of disrespect could send one of Uncle Sal’s big hands careening off the side of his head. Edgar was a lieutenant in the family business – he knew firsthand the carnage that Salvador Rios was capable of wreaking.

“I guess that I’m just a tired old man, Edgar, but I am having trouble understanding just why you let your little brother drive a car loaded with half a ton of cocaine across the international border. Didn’t that strike you as somewhat…stupid?” Uncle Sal’s voice rose almost imperceptibly on the word “stupid,” and Edgar leaned backward quickly to what he hoped was just beyond the range of Sal’s deadly hands. Edgar knew that the border agent must have shared that tidbit with one of Sal’s other lieutenants. He would deal with the border agent later – if he could get back to Nogales in one piece.

“It was safe, uncle. We had the route and the crossing nailed down.”

“Mexico is never safe.”

“I had a job to do.”

“Yes, and the jobs you do involve risks. No one knows that better than me, Edgar. Our family has prospered beyond measure because we are not afraid to take risks. But Enrique is not to be brought into the mix.”

“He was safe, Uncle. I was with him the entire way.”

“That is not reassuring.”

“The last time I saw the bambino was more than two years ago. I wanted to spend some time with him. Ricky’s my brother for chrissakes!”

The big right hand launched, striking Edgar on the side of his head and knocking him across the room and onto the floor. Two of Sal’s “personal assistants,” Miguel and Patrick, stepped forward and carted Edgar off like a big bag of yesterday’s garbage.


Late that afternoon after Ricky had taken a long nap and soaked away his road weariness in a warm bath, he found a comfortable chair in a quiet corner of Sal’s shaded patio. He composed a quick text message to Aunt Silvia letting her know that he had arrived safely at her brother’s house, and assuring her that Uncle Sal and Edgar sent their love. He mentioned that Edgar had met him in Mexico City and they had decided to drive to Scottsdale together in order to catch up. Aunt Silvia might not be happy with that decision, but he was her only child and she easily forgave his bad choices – of which there had been very few in all of the years that he had lived with her in Buenos Aires. Ricky did not let his aunt know about Edgar’s stop at the whorehouse or the carload of cocaine that he had inadvertently driven into the United States.

Ricky was in the middle of a text to Rafael, his best friend in Buenos Aires, when Uncle Sal sauntered in and placed a couple of Negra Modelos on the small patio table. “How was your nap, Enrique?”

“Fine, uncle. I dreamed that I was at Grandfather’s house in Ensenada. I’ve haven’t been there since I was four, but the dream was so vivid. I looked in every room, and everywhere I went I could smell food cooking and the flowers – all of those fantastic flowers!”

“The flowers are still there. We have gardeners and landscapers keep the grounds up, but the house is empty. There hasn’t been any food cooked there since your grandfather died.”

“I remember the funeral. That’s probably the last time that I was in Ensenada.”

Salvador Rios sighed as the memories of quieter times in Mexico began to seep into his consciousness. “ I was there for a weekend last year, but Mexico is becoming very dangerous.”

“I know that you think Edgar put me at risk by letting me get off the plane in Mexico City, but our drive up was really tame. I even managed to get in some studying while he was on a recreation break.”

“Your brother is a fool, Enrique. His foolishness, in fact, is the reason that I have brought you here.”

Ricky took a long pull from the Negra Modelo before responding. “I wondered about that. I am in the middle of a semester of study. Four more weeks would have freed my mind to enjoy more of Phoenix.

“This couldn’t wait.” Sal turned and signaled to the muscle leaning against the patio wall. “Patrick, please get Edgar.” Having his nephew brought to him by the anglo, Patrick, would add just the right touch of humiliation to the scene. Salvador understood the theatrical aspects associated with respect, and Edgar did too.

“The last time I was here we ate at a really great place over in Tempe.” Ricky didn’t believe in the need to be subtle in the presence of family, and his directness was one of the traits that Salvador Rios appreciated most in his youngest nephew.

But Salvador was also direct. “We are eating here this evening, and after the excellent meal that Rosita is preparing, you will be leaving.”


It was at that moment that Patrick marched Edgar onto the patio and up to the table. He stood at attention as Edgar seated himself, and then backed off into the shadows of the wall. Edgar’s demeanor radiated contempt, but he displayed the good sense to remain silent. Salvador leaned back in his chair and gave an almost imperceptible hand sign to Miguel who stepped forward and handed him a small black cigar and a box of table matches.

“Gracias, Miguel.” Salvador glared at Edgar as he lit the cigar. Miguel took the box of matches and faded back to the wall.
Edgar knew without looking that Uncle Sal’s bodyguards were also focused on him. Patrick had summarily relieved him of his piece before bringing him to the patio. Patrick was a dead man.

“Edgar,” Salvador calmly began, “I have just informed Ricky that he is leaving here this evening. Would you care to tell him why?”

“Thank you for allowing me to speak, uncle.” Edgar was also calm - calm but angry. He words were measured, leaving his mouth in short quiet bursts, like so much well controlled spit. “You see, Little Brother, I delivered a message to the Barraza family. It was a bold move, one that should have inspired at least a small amount of appreciation from Uncle Sal.”

“You were drunk – and stupid.” Salvador kept his voice level. “There are cur dogs living on the streets of Phoenix with more sense.”

“Your respect for cur dogs is well known, uncle.” Edgar raised his gaze to meet the eyes of Patrick who stood his post in the shadows. “But the reputation of the Rios family was not built by mongrels whose main duty is to stick their noses up their master’s butt.”

“You are stepping on very thin ice, nephew. Those ‘mongrels’ of whom you speak so contemptuously, are ferocious in their fealty to me and our family. They are smart men – men who follow orders.”

“We all follow orders, uncle.”

“Do we?” Salvador mused. “I wonder.” The family patriarch took a long drag off of his cigar, flicked the ash, and then blew across the cigar’s red tip. “Place your right hand on the table, Edgar. Palm up.”

“You want to burn me? I intend no disrespect, uncle, but this family depends on my hands. I will not be made the fool in front of my little brother and those two slabs of stupid meat standing by the wall.”

“Very well.” Salvador blew the new ash off of the cigar. “Patrick.”

The young bodyguard stepped forward without hesitation and placed his right hand on the table, palm up. Salvador Rios slowly put his cigar out on the center of Patrick’s hand. The smell of burning flesh mingled with the aroma of the cigar – and killing Ricky’s appetite. Patrick never flinched or made a sound.

Ricky, who was beginning to feel like the line judge at an especially grueling tennis match, interrupted at this point. “What is going on, Uncle Sal?”

“I’m showing Edgar what ‘following orders’ looks like.” Salvador took his penetrating gaze off of Edgar and focused on his mistreated bodyguard. “Thank you, Patrick.”

“No problem, sir.” The young bodyguard gave Edgar the briefest glare of superiority as he turned smartly and returned to his post by the wall.

“Now, Edgar, place your right hand on the table, palm up, and leave it there or by God I will personally sever it from your arm – with a very dull knife.” Salvador was becoming insanely calm. Ricky recognized the dynamic between his uncle and his brother for what it was – a pissing contest – and Edgar was getting hosed.

This time there was no hesitation. Edgar angrily slammed his right hand down on the patio table. He reached into his pants pocket with his left hand and produced a slim pocket knife, a weapon that undoubtedly been christened in blood. Edgar slammed the knife down next to his extended hand. “Be my guest, sir!”

Ricky suddenly stood up and backed away from the table. “Will somebody please tell me what the fuck is going on?”

Salvador picked up Edgar’s knife and opened the blade. “Your brother fired a hand-held rocket launcher into the Barraza family’s summer home.”

“You?” Ricky stammered.

“Me.” Edgar said smugly. “Edgar Rios with the big cajones!”

Salvador slowly shaved the black hair from his thumb with Edgar’s very sharp blade. “Leon Barraza plans to stuff those cajones down your throat and watch you choke to death on your exaggerated machismo.”

“You killed Benito!” Ricky was yelling. “Benny was my friend. We went to school together. He wasn’t some shit-for-brains drug dealer!”

“He wasn’t supposed to be there,” Edgar said. "The word was out that Leon and Jose were holed up there for the weekend with a couple of whores. ”

“And you were too drunk and stupid to pass up an opportunity like that?” Salvador was now peeling the hair from his other thumb.

“I’m a young man, uncle. I drink when I want, but I am not stupid! And I am not some sniveling coward who lets the world walk all over him.” That shot was aimed at Patrick, whose only response was a brief smile.

“You killed Benito!”

“Yes, I killed Benny – and his whore - and the next time I will kill Leon and put his head on a stake in Uncle Sal’s front yard!”

“Her name was Gloria, asshole, and she wasn’t a whore – she was his girlfriend!”

“Did you know that Enrique and Benito had remained friends all these years?” Salvador asked.

Ricky was shocked. “How did you know that, uncle?”

“I know what I have to know to protect this family.” Salvador put the knife down and focused on Ricky. Leon Barraza and I dealt you and Benito out of the conflict after your parents were killed. We had a gentlemen’s agreement, one that all of our lieutenants, including Edgar, was well aware of.”

“I didn’t know Benny was in that house.”

“You didn’t know he wasn’t.”

Ricky was beginning to sense why he had been pulled from school in Buenos Aires and hustled off to Phoenix. He leaned over the table and placed his hand on Uncle Sal’s, a display of emotion that was unusual among the men of the Rios family. “Is Leon Barraza going to have me killed?”

“An eye for an eye, Enrique,” Salvador sadly responded. “Edgar killed their youngest, and now Leon feels that he is duty bound to kill ours.”

“So I’m to die.” Thoughts of medical school, marriage, and raising a good family - a proper family - in South America were evaporating before his eyes, like the morning mists on the Rio de la Plata.

“Hopefully not. Leon is a reasonable man, and he knows that you are no more to blame than Benito was. But he has to play the game in a very serious manner.”

“It’s a game?” Rage was not an emotion that came naturally to Ricky, but suddenly it was coursing through his body seeking an outlet for an explosion.

“Leon called me Sunday and said that he is placing a contract on you for one million dollars. It begins at midnight tonight and will be in effect for one year. Just to make certain that I understood your peril, he read me your address from one of the letters that you had sent to Benito.”

So it’s like hide-and-seek,” Ricky said looking at his watch, “and I’ve got eight hours to hide.”

“It’s been taken care of.” Salvador pushed himself back from the table and started to get up. “A truck will pulling into a truck stop on I-10 at 7:30. When he leaves, you will be on board – along with young people from several prominent families.”

“A truck? I’m to get in some stinking truck and go where?”

“To a very exclusive school. That’s all the information that I can share, that, and you will be safe.”

“And if I’m not.”

“If any harm comes to you, Enrique, much blood will be shed. That is a promise, a vow to God. You will officially disappear tonight, and when you are returned in a year our family issues with the Barrazas will be resolved.”

“No, sir. I’m going back to Argentina. I have friends there who will help me out. Does Aunt Silvia know what you are doing to me?”

“Si, my sister knows – and she is pissed. Bus she also knows that the Barraza family will not rest until they even the score. If we can make you disappear for a year, Leon Barraza will save some face and our issues will have been resolved through other measures.”

“Listen to Uncle Sal, pendejo. By the time you complete your year at the special school, the Barraza family will be in tatters. That I promise you.”

Ricky grabbed the pocket knife off of the table and held it above Edgar’s outstretched hand. “You are the stupidest asshole on the planet!”

“Easy, puta. You can’t frighten me.” Edgar smiled at Ricky and Uncle Sal. He kept his hand spread wide beneath the blade. “I’m the killer in this family.”

The rage found its outlet. Ricky screamed and brought the knife down with a swift vengeance. Edgar jerked his hand out of the way, just avoiding the blade. He was in the process of yelling “Mother of God!” when Salvador’s huge right hand caught him on the side of the head and sent him sprawling across the floor for the second time that day.

Patrick laughed out loud.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday's Poetry: "The John Birch Society"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by candy magnate Robert W. Welch to fight communism and enhance personal freedoms. Mr. Welch named his group after a baptist missionary who was killed in China by rotten Chinese commies. During the 1960's as the American anti-communist fervor of the previous two decades began to decline, the John Birch Society slowly but steadily became an object of ridicule. American conservative icon, William F. Buckley, eventually castrated the organization by officially driving it from the Republican Party.

Now, predictably, with the reemergence of the right-wing crazies in the teabagger movement and associated lunacies, the John Birch Society is once again rearing its ugly head. This year, in fact, the JBS was a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Convention - a gathering that hosted John Ashcroft, New Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and a platoon of other people of that ilk.

The two pieces that follow were written and performed during the time that the John Birch Society was active but rapidly falling into political and social disrepute. The first, The John Birch Society, was written by Michael Brown and quickly became an anthem of sorts that ridiculed the group. It was sung with gusto by the Chad Mitchell Trio and other entertainers. Many of the Birchers themselves, creatures who lacked the ability to differentiate between praise and satire, reportedly liked the song and took pride in it. It follows. You be the judge as to its intent.

The John Birch Society
by Michael Brown

Oh we're meeting at the courthouse at eight o'clock tonight
You just come in the door and take the first turn to the right
Be careful when you get there, we'd hate to be bereft
But we're taking down the names of everybody turning left

'Cause we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save this country from a communistic plot
We're the John Birch Society, help us swell the ranks
To get this movement started, we need lots of tools and cranks

Now there's no one that's certain that the Kremlin doesn't touch
We think that Westbrook Pegler doth protest a bit too much
We only hail the hero from whom we got our name
We're not sure what he did, but he's our hero all the same

Join the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Socialism is the ism dismalist of all
Join the John Birch Society, there's so much to do
Have you heard they're serving vodka at the W.C.T.U.

Well you've heard about the agents that we've already named
Well M.C.A. has agents that are flatly unashamed
We're after Rosie Clooney, we've gotten Pinky Lee
And the day we get Red Skelton won't that be a victory

For we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Norman Vincent Peale may think he's kidding us along
But the John Birch Society knows he spilled the beans
He keeps on preaching brotherhood, but we know what he means

We'll teach you how to spot 'em in the city or the sticks
'Cause even Jasper Junction is just full of Bolsheviks
The CIA's subversive and so's the FCC
There's no one left but thee and we, and we're not sure of thee

Oh we're the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Here to save our country from a Communistic plot
Join the John Birch Society, holding off the Reds
We'll use our hands and hearts, and if we must, we'll use our heads

(O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain)

Friends, do you want Justice Warren to be your Commissar?
Do you want Mrs. Khrushchev in there with the DAR?
You cannot trust your neighbors, or even next-of-kin
If mommy is a Commie then you gotta turn her in

To the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society
Fighting for the right to fight the right fight for the right
Join the John Birch Society, as we're marching on
We'll all be glad to see you when we're meeting in the John
In the John, In the John Birch Society.

This second piece, by the great folksinger and songwriter Bob Dylan, lacks the subtlety of the first - to the degree that even Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, or Rand Paul would know they were being ridiculed.


Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues
by Bob Dylan

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!

Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria

Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . .

I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .

Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones

Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betsy Ross . . .

Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be burned away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me

Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus

Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Boys Will be Boys...Some Longer than Others"

by Pa Rock
Film Critic

My primary reason for going to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Grown Ups, today was to get out of the hot, unrelenting Arizona sun - that, and the fact that I had a free pass.

The simple plot revolves around five boyhood friends and basketball teammates who reunite thirty years after their championship season to attend the funeral of their coach and scatter his ashes on an island in the lake that was one of their boyhood haunts. The funeral occurs on the Fourth of July weekend.

There are some touching moments in this film as the reuniting adults struggle to recapture the feel of their youth and to show their wives and children how life was lived and enjoyed before cell phones and computer games denatured it. There is also humor, albeit somewhat twisted, as the grown up gang plays "arrow roulette," a game from their youth where one person shoots an arrow straight up into the air, and the last of the five to not run off wins. There is also more honest adolescent humor as the sons of the grown ups deal with their hormonal urges.

Adam Sandler was a co-writer of this movie, and it is basically a vehicle to show his abilities on the screen. He is substantially outshone, however, by the beautiful Salma Hayek who portrays his wife, and the irrepressible Steve Buscemi - the film's goat who suffers most of the injuries - more adolescent humor.

As a summer-fun-by-the-lake film (in the tradition of 1979's Meatballs and 1993's Indian Summer), Grown Ups, unlike "arrow roulette," misses the mark. It's a fun idea, one that appeals to the adolescent hiding in each of us, but it falls short of where it could have taken us - back to our youth, whether it was as we remember it or not.

Grown Ups was enjoyable, but nothing more, and the price was right.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cat on the Lam

by Pa Rock
Cat Tolerator

Stuff has been leaving my house trailer all week, going out the door with various large men who put it into their big trucks and then drive it away. Scroungy Bastard is smart, and he knew something was up. He has been nervous and watchful all week.

So this morning when I stuffed Scroungy Bastard into a kitty carrier, he probably assumed his end was near. My objective, unknown to the rangy orange cat, was to get him to the vet for shots. He cried most of the way to Pet Smart, but once we got there he was unexpectedly calm - resigned to his fate.

Here is what I learned from the vet. Scroungy is a neutered male, closer to five-years-old than he is to two-years-old. He has some tartar on his teeth, but apparently it isn't too bad because we didn't get a referral to a kitty dentist. Also, he does not have feline leukemia.

When Scroungy walked into my life, he didn't possess a shot record, so today we had to begin with the assumption that he had never had shots before. He ended up getting three shots and a dose of wormer - and an appointment to come back in three weeks for a couple of booster shots. The vet assured me he would be good to go for around three years after all of this vaccine. (I wanted his new humans, whoever they might prove to be, to not be burdened with any medical bills.)

Scroungy was sort of lethargic on the ride back to the Wheezin' Geezer, but he instinctively knew when we turned into the trailer park, and began crying. Once we were safely back to our place, I put the carrier on the ground and opened the door. Scroungy Bastard exited cautiously, and then slowly walked across the street - but I didn't worry because it's his neighborhood. That was eleven hours ago - and he hasn't been back since. He didn't even show for supper.

I hope that he is just out hiding under someone's porch, sleeping off the effects of his shots, and teaching me a well-deserved lesson.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Of Tar Balls and Scum Balls

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

My Dad believed in the sanctity of capitalism, the evilness of unions, and the inherent dishonesty of politicians. He learned about the importance of being able to take care of himself and his family during the Great Depression, and his world view was shaped by participation in the Second World War.

He didn't travel much - and his only international trips were to England and France during the war, and a couple of trips to the dog races in Tijuana while visiting his brother in San Diego in the 1950's. As a family we went to San Diego twice (1956 and 1958), and a big drive-through of the southeast United States in 1957.

In my Dad's later years he got hooked on making short trips of eight or ten days to the Gulf Coast. He would stay at the Sea Witch Motel in Panama City Beach year after year. He went there with my mom, and after she died he visited the pristine white sands of Panama City Beach with at least two girlfriends.

Given the facts that my Dad was a supporter of big business - owning stock in many international corporations including BP, and he loved the white sands of the Florida Gulf Coast, I feel relatively certain that he would be sickened beyond measure to know the hell that big business has wrought on his old vacation spot.

The oil started washing up on the white beaches of northern Florida three days ago. Big oil corporations and their wholly owned political animals like Joe Barton, Bobby Jindal, and Sarah Palin, have conspired through deed and greed and stupidity to kill the shrimp, the fish, the birds, the sea mammals, and Gulf Coast tourism. Some of it is gone already, most of it will be gone in a few more months, and it won't come back during our lifetime.

And now the oil companies and their political co-conspirators are railing against the Obama plan to place a six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. The shrimping and fishing economies are ruined, fishing excursions for tourists are history, and who the hell wants to lay out and sun on the black, gooey beaches of Panama City Beach and vicinity? The greedy creatures bawl about the inhumanity of stopping drilling because of all of the jobs that will be lost. Will they ever come to terms with what their greed has already cost them - and the rest of us?

The Federal Courts have begun screwing with the President's moratorium on drilling. The big oil corporations have apparently learned that buying legislators isn't enough in this complex world - so now they are buying judges as well. Adversity has always been a great teacher.

Today it was raining oil in Louisiana - literally. That used to be a good thing - figuratively. But now its just more filth falling on fouled land and water. It's time to stop the underwater gusher - if that is even possible, clean the Gulf and Gulf Coast - a task that will take decades, and end off-shore drilling completely and forever.

The death of the Gulf of Mexico is a big fucking deal.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diplomacy with a Side of Fries

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Ray's Hell Burger of Arlington, Virginia, is back in the news. It was just a little over a year ago that the small, independently owned burger joint made it into the national news when Barack Obama and Joe Biden showed up there for lunch.

Well, he's back!

Today President Obama took another guest to lunch at Ray's. The President and his friend, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, showed up unannounced and chowed down on a couple of cheddar cheese burgers. The two heads-of-state rolled up their shirt sleeves and enjoyed an all-American meal.

Obama reportedly garnished his burger with onions, lettuce, tomato, and bread-and-butter pickles, and washed that masterpiece down with a bottled iced tea. Medvedev had his with onions, jalepenos, and mushrooms. The Russian President drank a coke with his burger.

But the best thing about this meal was that the two world leaders shared an order of fries. Now that, my friends, is detente in its purest form!

(Republicans and Fox news (sic) talkers are reportedly incensed that the President took time out for lunch before stopping the Gulf oil leak or ridding the country of anyone suspected of having Hispanic heritage!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Third Day with Movers

by Pa Rock
Poor, Tired Bastard

It has been a long, damned day, but my place is finally empty! Today's movers came to collect and pack everything that didn't go to Okinawa. Three workers could have knocked it out in half a day, but only two came on this assignment. I thought they would never get done!

I sat on the porch most of the day and talked to two different people who stopped and asked about the house. One just came back with her mother to look at it. I am hopeful!

I began making inquiries yesterday about overseas phone service. Verizon could fix me up for just $1.90 a minute! I definitely won't be going with their plan! I understand that Vonage or Magic Jack may be the way to go, and I would like to hear from anyone with expertise in those areas.

The insurance company also told me yesterday that they are going to total my little car - and they made a surprisingly agreeable offer. Now if I can just get this trailer house sold!

Things are starting to come together.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

General Stanley McChrystal: Overdue for Being Fired!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Keith Olbermann had one of his famous special comments tonight on the fate of General Stanley McChrystal, the inept US commander in Afghanistan who has been in the news all day regarding comments that he and members of his staff made about our President, Vice President, and several top civilian officials. Olbermann is concerned that if Obama takes the easy way out and fires this clown, the idiot conservative squawkers - people like Palin, Limbaugh, Bachmann, and O'Reilly - will turn the general into a martyr.

I understand Olbermann's argument. He fears that President Obama will be vilified as someone that does not support the military, and that McChrystal will suddenly become this generation's MacArthur. Bull manure, Keith, bull manure! Most American's don't know who McChrystal is, have no idea where Afghanistan is or why we are there, and are tired of hearing about America's longest war.

But there is one other component of the Stanley McChrystal drama - one that will engage the public. The general is toting some mighty smelly baggage: the friendly-fire death or murder of Pat Tillman.

In her book, Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman, Pat's mother, Mary Tillman, makes it exceedingly clear that she believes her son was murdered by his own government or his fellow soldiers because of his growing disillusionment with the war in Afghanistan. He was gotten out of the way - permanently - so he couldn't be a pesky detractor to the U.S. war effort.

And while Mrs. Tillman does not point any fingers, she radiates contempt for General McChrystal who showed up at Pat's memorial service. She believes that he knew the death was not an act of war at the time of the memorial service, yet he did not share that information with the family. Instead McChrystal rushed through the paperwork so that Pat Tillman could be awarded a posthumous Silver Star for his "heroic" death - and not coincidentally serve as a poster boy for the war effort - a permanently quiet poster boy.

I highly recommend Mary Tillman's book. She has a right to be very, very angry.

It's well past time for General McChrystal to be fired - clearly, loudly, decisively. And as for those crazy conservatives, let them piss and moan and yell. They will anyway - regardless of the topic de jour.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Money Laundering at Best Buy

by Pa Rock
Victimized Philanthropist

I stopped by the Goodyear, AZ, Best Buy yesterday to inquire about giving them my old Sony Computer and assorted peripherals. The lady at the Geek Squad desk told me that they would be happy to accept my old computer for recycling, but that I would have to remove the computer's hard drive myself or pay them $19.99 to do it for me.

You know the old saying - if it looks like a scam and walks like a scam, it's probably a scam. But, nevertheless, I needed to get rid of the old computer in preparation for my move overseas, and I knew that if I just threw the damned thing away, the park manager would write a minimum of six more rules for the poor and downtrodden residents of the Wheezin' Geezer Trailer Park.

So today I bundled up the computer, keyboard, and monitor and drove back to Goodyear to pay the Geek Squad to accept my gift. The nice young man working the door at Best Buy put "recycle" stickers on my stuff, and then gave me a friendly lecture about how I should save the twenty bucks and remove the hard drive myself. He assured me that even I could do it in "about a minute," to which I replied that if that was true, then the trained technicians of the Geek Squad could do the same job in mere seconds. Twenty bucks for twenty seconds - hell, some congressmen don't even make that kind of money!

One member of the Geek Squad then took the computer into the back room so that he could remove the hard drive unobserved, while another told me that I would need to pay a ten dollar fee (in addition to the $20) for making the donation. But, she added, Best Buy would then refund my $10 in the form of a gift card.

"I don't know why they do it that way," she giggled.

Well, honey, I do. They sell you a gift card so that you will purchase something else while you are in the store - hopefully something more expensive than the offending ten dollars!

And, if that wasn't confusing enough, they then let me use my purchased ten dollar gift card to pay half of the fee for popping the hard drive!

So when the dust settled, I was still out twenty dollars - I think - and I left the store with the hard drive from my computer. I went into Best Buy for the sole purpose of getting rid of my old computer, got caught up in a weird money laundering scheme, and still left with the hard drive. For twenty bucks, couldn't they at least have had the courtesy to throw that away for me?

Being an environmentally correct philanthropist can really be a bitch - especially if you try to do it at Best Buy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day, 2010

by Pa Rock
Mover and Sorter

It's always wonderful to hear from my children, and Father's Day is one of two or three occasions each year when they are almost guaranteed to phone in. My birthday also garners calls from each, as well as Christmas - sometimes.

And those calls were the best part of what has been a very busy day. Tim is helping me make some decisions regarding phone service on Okinawa, and will also see that I get the best deal possible on a rental car after I take my truck to Molly and Scott. Molly let me listen to Judah fuss, and talked about his feeding issues. I plan to be out there on or about Sebastian's third birthday - July 5th. That trip will include a quick stop in San Diego to tell my Aunt Mary good-bye, and maybe a side trip to Oakland to see Millie and Shiva.

God, I love a good road trip!

Nick and Boone told me about their outing to Branson earlier this week to see a Beatles tribute show. George Harrison's older sister was there and took questions from the audience. Boone, a big Jim Morrison fan, also appreciates the Fab Four! What a cool kid!

I did manage to get to the gym today, perhaps my most normal activity of the day. The evil treadmill held me to 3.79 miles in one hard, sweaty hour. That was followed by 30 light pull-ups and twenty-five minutes in the big, swirling hot tub. I am renewed! (When I get to Kadena I plan to use one of the base gyms - a savings of forty dollars a month!)

The rest of the day was dedicated to getting ready for tomorrow's movers. I have been shuffling stuff from room to room all afternoon as I made last minute decisions about what will head to Okinawa and what will remain here in storage. I am certain that I will get over there and wish that I had sorted differently, but right now my big goal is just to get the damned stuff out the door!

The local PBS station has finally finished its beg-a-thon which means that Masterpiece Mystery will return later this evening. Alas, something normal - and not a moment too soon!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Still Moving After All These Years

by Pa Rock
World Traveler

The movers will be back for Round 2 on Monday morning. Friday they picked up a small load that should arrive on Okinawa about the same time I do. It included dishes, towels, some cooking utensils, clothing, and bedding. Monday's load will be everything else bound for that little island in the Pacific. What doesn't leave on Monday will be picked up Wednesday for stateside storage.

Today I packed my professional library at the office and brought it all home for the Monday shipment. I also went to Costco and bought a new computer table, along with a couple of end tables. A very nice fellow helped me get the heavy boxes into my cart. It turns out he was there manning a display of six types of beer made in Bend, Oregon. I can't remember the last time that I bought beer of any description, but I purchased a case of his designer beer as my way of thanking him for the help.

The beer may come in handy because I'm thinking about throwing a little street party to say "sayonara" to my neighbors - and to watch the park manager explode!

So many people have told me the following story, claiming to know it for a fact, that I am certain it has to be an urban legend:

A family was moving overseas. When it came time to get their cat ready for the flight, kitty was nowhere to be found. It turns out, of course, that the curious cat had climbed into one of the boxes for a snooze as the packers were doing their work. The family smelled the poor cat at their new home before they got the box open!

I will be monitoring Scroungy Bastard's movements closely on Monday and Wednesday!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Harry Reid Is One Lucky Bastard!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I am not a fan of Harry Reid, the senator from Nevada who is currently the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. My gripe with him is that he is a leader who has difficulty leading - often, I suspect, by design. Reid was so wishy-washy on the health care bill as to seriously imperil its passage - and his lackadaisical stewardship of that bill seemed to ensure that it would be a mediocre piece of legislation at best. I figured that if the Democrats lost Senate seats this year, one of those would likely be Reid's.

But that was before the loonies and teabaggers seized control of the Republican party in Nevada. For a while it looked as though the Nevada baggers might nominate Sue Lowden to run against him, but her campaign suffered a fatal, self-inflicted blow when she proposed bartering for medical services. Specifically Ms. Lowden suggested that people might pay their doctors with chickens. (I'll wager that she didn't garner too much support from the medical community after that!)

Sue Lowden painted herself into such a goofy position that she managed to blow her lead in the Republican primary and lose to someone even nuttier - a former state legislator by the name of Sharron Angle. Ms. Angle has a couple of decades worth of stupid statements that are coming back to haunt her, including a call for privatizing social security and abolishing the EPA, and some nonsense about restoring the people's rights through a "Second Amendment remedy."

Rachel Maddow featured a very funny clip on her show tonight of a young Nevada reporter confronting Angle at a campaign event and then chasing her across a parking lot asking about her position on eliminating the EPA during the worst ecological crisis in modern times - and imploring her to explain what she meant by a "Second Amendment remedy." No comment, of course, from the once verbose Ms. Angle who is now trying to comport herself as someone with at least a modicum of common sense.

Sharron Angle has seemingly taken a page from the George W. Bush political playbook - control access to the candidate and give interviews only to friendly sources. The first objective is to get elected - then, and only then, can she drop the mask of sensibility and show the good folks of Nevada and the rest of us exactly who she really is.

Good plan, Sharron, but you're a day late and a dollar short. Everyone already knows exactly who you are - a less intellectual version of Michelle Bachmann! You're about to crap out - and Harry Reid has just successfully drawn to an inside straight. He is one lucky bastard!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Joe Barton is So Sorry!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was a literal "jaw-dropping" moment in Congress today when Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, apologized to BP's chairman, Tony Hayward, for President Obama's "shakedown" of that corporation yesterday.

Shakedown! President Obama cleverly got BP, the corporation formerly known as British Petroleum, to agree to put $20 billion dollars in an escrow account in order to ensure that they will indeed pay for the ecological catastrophe that they caused in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Smokey" Joe Barton was incensed - not at the criminal actions and eye-popping negligence of BP, but at the audacity of our commander-in-chief (a colored boy who may or may not be a natural born citizen of the US - and who is probably secretly plotting to take away our God-given guns) for expecting BP to reimburse the people, businesses, and government entities that have been severely harmed by the company. It wasn't just compensation - it was a "shakedown!"

The apology:

"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown."

Barton is a political hack of the "first proportion" who always has his hand out for contributions from the coal and oil industries. In fact, NPR says he is the number one recipient of coal and oil money in Congress! He is a dependable politician who, once bought, usually stays bought! The people in the 6th Congressional District of Texas must be so very proud of ol' Joe with his bulging pockets! What a "representative" of the people he is!

In fairness to Joe Barton, he did eventually come out and apologize for his apology - after some of his Republican peers threatened to strip him from his seniority on the Energy and Commerce Committee for being so danged honest. Joe could not risk losing that cash cow!

BP has suffered a shakedown of the "first proportion" - a continuing fleecing by United States Congressmen - basically Republicans like Joe Barton - who peddle their souls, and asses, and votes for cash - and for that shakedown, BP, I sincerely apologize. It's the way our system works, and it is pure crap - which explains why we have so many turds in Congress!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writing by the Pound!

by Pa Rock
Talented Typist

This is Wednesday, the 16th of June in the year 2010. I am once again sitting at the keyboard banging out a blog post while my faithful orange cat, Scroungy Bastard, snoozes on my writing table next to the computer. We seem to offer each other some strange type of comfort, and I am more than a little conflicted about leaving him here in a couple of weeks when I fly off to Okinawa to begin the next phase of my life. I think that we will miss each other.

But I won't miss Arizona.

The movers will be here in three trips - this coming Friday, Monday, and Wednesday - for my paltry amount of stuff. It is then that Scroungy will know for sure that something is up. He and I will live in a fairly empty trailer until I pack up and leave in the early morning darkness of July 21st.

If you know anyone in Hellizona, please call them - preferably crying - and encourage them to give my kitty a nice home.

My poor crunched car is still sitting under the carport gathering desert dust. That is especially bad because I am trying to sell the trailer, and the wrecked car sitting by my domicile just strengthens the "trailer trash" stereotype.

The fellow that hit me was given three tickets - he was totally at fault - and his insurance company - Farmers Insurance - is stalling on doing anything. Yesterday after a particularly maddening call from their adjuster, I gave up and turned the matter over to my insurance company - State Farm. It's been over three weeks since the wreck happened, and Farmers Insurance still has not even ordered the police report - a report that totally exonerates me. The lady who called yesterday said that she is still working on her decision in the matter. "Her" decision! Why the hell do we have police if their observations and reports carry no weight?

Farmers Insurance sucks - it really, really sucks! Please tell all of your friends and neighbors that Pa Rock said so!

As if the cake needed more frosting, today has been one of the craziest days of my lengthening social work career. The bat shit was coming down in torrents!

All of that and quite a bit more is what's happening in my life.

And then there is this:

This is my 1,000th post in Pa Rock's Ramble. This blog began on November 4th, 2007, with a small commentary on why I was supporting Barack Obama for President. One year later, to the day, he was elected. Therefore, I am taking credit for his election to the highest office in the land!

Since that post I have written on a variety of topics (mostly rants), posted some fiction and really bad poetry, did some biographies of old friends, dusted off some old college writings, and posted a few letters to my oldest grandson. My postings have taken place from shipboard on the high seas, several islands, San Antonio, New York City, Ft. Liqurodale, and every state between Arizona and Missouri. It's been an eclectic and hard-fought effort, and, like the cat, strangely comforting.

Although I have only been on Twitter for the past several months, tonight will also mark the posting of my 1,000th tweet.

History can be cruel. If poor Shakespeare would have had a laptop and known how to type - he could have been as prolific as me!

And I keep on typing - I'm not proud, or tired...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

God Has Spoken!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Up until yesterday there was a hideous piece of "art" sitting beside Interstate 75 near Monroe, Ohio. The locally famous "Touchdown Jesus" was a sixty-two-foot high steel and plastic sculpture of the upper torso of Jesus Christ with his arms raised high in the air. It was apparently constructed by the Solid Rock Church (evangelical) in 2004. It is unclear, at least to me, whether the monstrosity art work was created to pay respect to Christ through some misguided bigger-is-better philosophy - or just to scare the piss out of unsuspecting motorists.

But the motive behind this public eyesore is a moot point now, because last night God took action and hit Touchdown Jesus with a lightning bolt. It burned to the ground. No word yet on whether there was a voice from heaven thundering about graven images when the lightening hit.

God has spoken - yes she has!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pa Rock's Reality Show for Totally Shameless Parents

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Do your remember Falcon Heene, the six-year-old from Colorado who was dubbed "balloon boy" by the press. His parents called the police (and the media) all in a tither because little Falcon had apparently gotten aboard a large helium balloon designed by his father and flown off. The balloon came down hours later near the Denver International Airport - which had to be shut down due to the proximity of the event. However, when authorities descended on the balloon, little Falcon was not on board. He was later found hiding in the family home after the nationwide scramble came to an end.

And then Falcon inadvertently blurted out on national television that it had all been a stunt to help his parents get their own reality show. Since that big hoax occurred in October of 2009, the parents have both had to serve jail time, and they also had to pay restitution of over $30,000 for expenses incurred during the desperate pursuit of the balloon.

This week, of course, another pair of moronic parents have been outed for exploiting their children in an attempt to secure their own reality show. Laurence and Marianne Sunderland have risked the lives of not one, but two of their children in a sadistic effort to to stir interest in a show focusing on the parenting daredevil children. The Sunderland's son, Zac, became the youngest person to sail around the world alone at the age of seventeen. A few days ago his sixteen-year-old sister, Abby, failed in a similar attempt when her boat ran into storms and thirty-foot waves in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Abby's rescue cost thousands of dollars, money that her mother was quick to point out the family does not have. (Oh, if only they could hit it big with a reality show!) But not to worry, Abby, who is not home yet, has reportedly already started penning a book on board one of the rescue vessels!

These stories are awful beyond measure! How could parents put the life of their child at risk - or say they had as in the case of Balloon Boy? How could television production companies be a party to such degeneracy? And what type of boob would sit in front of the television and be "entertained" by such overt child abuse?

Here is my modest proposal to deal with this disgusting situation: The Pa Rock Reality Show for Totally Shameless Parents. It would involve strapping the Heenes, the Sunderlands, and any other parents who place their own vanity and greed above the welfare of their children, into homemade balloons and setting them adrift over the Indian Ocean - preferably during the month of June when the waves are the highest. Survivors would automatically be winners and would qualify for the "balloon across the Antarctic challenge." The children of those who did not survive would receive college scholarships and guaranteed adoption into families who were motivated by love and not greed.

Let Abby write her book. I'm sure she has lots to say, and the act of writing should be therapeutic. Maybe the last chapter could be about the emotions she endures while visiting her parents in prison!

Kids visiting their parents in prison - yup, that might make one helluva reality show. Get my agent on the phone!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Johnny Spade Finds His Way Back to Family

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Years ago my father had a small appliance store in the Ozarks' community of Noel, Missouri. In order to sell his wares, it was necessary to occasionally allow customers to buy "on time." Someone who needed a television, for instance, might be able to scrape up forty or fifty dollars for a down payment, and then come to the store every week after they got paid and put five or ten dollars on the account until it was paid off.

Occasionally somebody might bring in something of value to help settle their account. Johnny Spade, a local Native American, owed Dad money on something that he had purchased at his store. I remember Johnny, but I have no idea what he was paying on. One day Johnny brought in an oil painting of some wild stallions circling an abandoned vehicle. It was something that he had painted (signed "Johnny Spade '65"), and he wanted to apply it to his account. My Dad really liked that painting and accepted it as payment on the account.

Dad had another friend make a nice pine frame for the painting of the horses, and when it was suitably framed, he took it home where it hung on the wall for the next forty years. Last winter, after my Dad passed away, I laid claim to that painting - because I knew where it needed to hang next.

Josh and Ed Shields were youngsters who went to the Noel School when I was principal there. They were friends of my kids. Their mother, Vickie Shields, died when the boys were still in junior high. I was at her funeral service and remember being impressed with how the boys held up with all of the people coming forward to shake their hands and hug them. When I read Vickie Shields' obituary, I learned something surprising - she was Johnny Spade's daughter.

I learned through my daughter, Molly, that Josh Shields now lives in the Phoenix area. I called him a few days ago and arranged to meet. I let Josh know that I had something that belonged to his family, and I wanted to get it to him. I was fairly cryptic, declining to tell him what it was. This morning we met in Tempe and I was able to finally get Johnny Spade's painting back to his family. Josh, now a thirty-six-year-old insurance salesman, was surprised, and he told me that he had recently mentioned to his wife that he didn't have anything of Grampa Spade's. Well, now he does.

I think that Josh liked the painting of the horses, because he shook my hand three times while we visited! I know that I was happy to see that heirloom make its way back to family, and I suspect that somewhere Johnny Spade was smiling also.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Governor Scorned!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Kudos to Florida Governor Charlie Crist for vetoing his state's mean-spirited abortion ultra-sound bill - one more lame attempt to deny women their constitutionally protected right to end a pregnancy. Crist, who is every bit the political whore that Landrieu and Vitter from Louisiana are - has a history of being all over the abortion map, depending on which way the political breezes are blowing.

Needless to say, Florida conservatives are red-in-the-face pissed over the Crist veto of one of their pet bills. But hey, the fools brought that veto on themselves.

Charlie Crist crawled in bed with those clowns when he ran for governor a couple of years ago. He won that election and tried to use his freshly minted right-wing bonafides to become John McCain's running mate, even going to the extreme of giving up his lifetime of bachelorhood to quash those pesky rumors that inevitably spring up regarding single men of a certain age. McCain, alas, chose to bypass Charlie in favor of a certifiable lunatic.

But Mr. Crist still wanted to get out of the old folks home that is Florida and move to bright lights and big city of Washington, DC. After being rejected by cranky old John McCain, he chose to run for the U.S. Senate from Florida as his new path to the nation's capital. Crawling into bed with the knuckle-draggers had worked before in the governor's race, so he got out the lube and tried it again. But this time those fickle conservatives kicked him out of bed in favor of a younger and more dynamic state senator by the name of Marco Rubio.

And then they still had the gall to expect good-time Charlie to sign their abortion bill! Well, screw that!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hey Big Oil, Wanna Party?

by Pa rock
Citizen Journalist

Political whores Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, the current United States senators from the state of Louisiana, are so conflicted over oil policy that they have lost the ability to pander for votes and corporate cash in a coherent manner. Yes, they are mad as hell at the Obama administration and anyone else they can blame for the oil that is slowly destroying the entire coastline of their state. And, yes, they want the mess cleaned up and all of their constituents compensated for their losses. But no, they do not favor any moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil is killing their state - but please don't stop drilling because their state needs the jobs! If ever a state suffered from bi-polar disorder, it is certainly Louisiana!

Yesterday I stepped out of the air-conditioned building in which I work - and I stepped onto the asphalt parking lot. The temperature was around 105 degrees, and felt considerably hotter as the heat bounced back off of the asphalt. It was absolute energy - a huge and essentially untapped source of clean energy.

The deserts of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Mexico could quite easily become North America's most significant power source of the twenty-first century. Why aren't we putting solar panels out among the Saguaro instead of drilling wells one and two miles under the surface of the water? If a solar collector breaks, we remove and replace it - in a matter of hours. If a deep-water oil well goes berserk, we stand by impotently as our seas and shorelines are fouled, wildlife die, and whole communities become stagnant cesspools of unemployment. One could be fixed by two guys in a van, the other can't be remedied by all the kings horses and all the kings men - even with unlimited government help.

Any fourth grader would see the folly of propping up the oil industry while basically neglecting solar power. And then there's wind...

Have you ever visited the Dakotas? The wind never stops blowing - ever! North and South Dakota would be a perfect location for endless fields of commercial windmills. The land supporting windmills could also be used by ranchers for cattle grazing as the windmills continue to turn. It's a win-win. Again, a malfunctioning windmill is just a broken piece of equipment that can be fixed with minimal effort - it is not an ecological disaster.

The money that American taxpayers are going to fork over to stop and fix the mess in the Gulf of Mexico could fund thousands upon thousands of windmills - and enough solar collectors to cover the entire American west.

Yet Landrieu and Vitter are begging the federal government to not stop oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The brazen stupidity of that plea would almost make one wonder if they had some vested interest in protecting the oil companies - perhaps something more pecuniary in nature than the votes of a few oil rig workers and their relatives.

The motives of those two southern politicians are as obvious as those of the working girls (and guys) in the French Quarter. Hey Big Oil, wanna party?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Raul Grijalva, Arizona Hero

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There was a Congressional hearing in Washington DC this afternoon that focused on Arizona's most notorious lawman, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. Several locals made the trip to the nation's capital to testify about Joe's legendary abuses of power, including one little girl who witnessed the sheriff's men arrest both of her parents at the car wash where they worked. The deputies carted them off to tent city, leaving the child to live with relatives for the months in which her parents were incarcerated.

Little Catherine Figueroa is quite the charmer - and quite the opposite of our bloated, septuagenarian sheriff. I didn't get to see the Congressional hearing because C-Span never covered the affair, but I have seen Catherine on local newscasts, and I'll bet a night on the town in Phoenix that she tugs the heartstrings of of those fortunate enough to hear her testimony.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva set the hearing in motion. He seems to think that shining a national spotlight on a world-class narcissist will help make the nation more aware of the type of things that we have to deal with here in Arizona. In point of fact, Sheriff Joe will take immense pride in the fact that he is being talked about, honoring the old adage that all publicity is good.

Raul Grijalva is also the person who started the national boycott of Arizona as a result of the passage of our infamous and racist Senate Bill 1070.

Sheriff Joe is such an easy target, and I'm talking about more than his considerable heft. He enjoys attention, perhaps more than any other politician in America - and Joe is, first and foremost, a politician. He is always on the lookout for outrageous things to say or bizarre stunts to pull, and his people seem to be as concerned with serving his public relations needs as they are in fighting crime. In fact, crime takes a backseat to terrorizing undocumented workers and pretending to be some sort of glorified border patrol operation.

There is so much to talk about regarding Sheriff Joe that a one-day Congressional hearing can do little but scratch the surface of the topic. But, a one-day hearing is a start, and Representative Grijalva is to be commended for trying to tilt the stodgy old windmill that is Joe Arpaio.

Nothing will change as long as good people sit back in silence while the Arizona nut jobs swagger around waving their guns and spewing racist hatred. Somebody has to take a stand and say "no mas!" America is a better place than that, and Arizona could be, too!

Raul Grijalva, you are a hero to good people everywhere! Keep the light shining on all of this shameful Arizona hate and make us strive to become the people that we should be.

No mas, Arizona, no mas!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Friends and Neighbors

by Pa Rock
Desert Rat

Being old, and cranky, and single has led me to have an odd assortment of friends. I don't like to clean house or cook, and I am not a mechanic, so I rely on others to assist with those tasks. This group of helpers - along with my co-workers - form a cadre of my "friends" in Arizona. Here are a few:

I have written about Ramon before. He owns a local auto parts store and garage next to Luke Air Force Base. He was recommended to me by friends soon after I moved here as someone who would work on my car, get the problem fixed, and charge reasonable rates. In the nearly three years that I have been here he has been the only one to service my vehicles, and he has solved numerous mechanical mysteries. Whenever I step into his shop, I am always greeted with a "Hi, Rocky. How are you doing today?" Ramon's good work and reasonable prices have led to many of my co-worker's taking their car to his nondescript little garage.

Patsy is one of my neighbors. She is also a very young grandmother who stays involved in the lives of her grandchildren. Patsy cleans houses for a living, and she comes to my place once every couple of weeks to give it a deep cleaning and get things back in order. She is good at her job, and trustworthy beyond measure.

Salvador works at the local McDonald's - also next to the air base. He quit for a few months to work somewhere else. When he came back to Mickey D's drive-up window, he not only remembered me, but my regular breakfast order as well. Sal always has a cheerful comment for his morning customers.

Jose also works the drive-up window at the local McDonald's. He began his career there working weekends, which is when I met him. I began calling him "Weekend," and that name has stuck. Weekend, like Sal, is always happy and makes the customers feel welcome.

Norma is the lady at McDonald's who actually hands me my breakfast most mornings. She never fails to tell me "good morning" and "have a nice day." She is as cheerful as the little cactus wrens who chirp around my car when I get to work.

Jesse is a clerk at the Circle K next to Luke Air Force Base. Circle K's are the ubiquitous convenience stores in Arizona, and there are two within an easy walk of Luke. Jesse is very professional and very personable. He is quick, courteous, and always has a pleasant comment to share.

Jaime is the weekend drive-thru worker at the Jack-in-the-Box just off of the air base. I usually visit him for breakfast on the weekends. He is a polite and inquisitive young man who wants to know how I am doing and seems to be genuinely interested in what I have to say.

Pancho works in the trailer park where I live. He is twenty-two-years-old and more responsible than most people twice his age. He is my go-to guy whenever I have a maintenance issue, and when I am gone on long trips he takes care of my watering. Pancho works long, hard hours and always has a smile and a big wave whenever he sees me.

Ramon, Patsy, Sal, Weekend, Norma, Jesse, Jaime, and Pancho all have three things in common. They work hard, they are very caring and courteous, and they are all Hispanic. I have no idea whether they are documented or not, nor do I care. They are all good people and good neighbors - and I am a better person for knowing each of them.

I heard on the news this morning that our Hispanic friends and neighbors have begun a mass exodus out of Arizona after the passage of SB 1070. They are leaving, and its not just the undocumented who are packing and going. Those Hispanics who are in Arizona legally are fleeing the racial prejudice that has been loosed by this ugly piece of legislation. Our good friends and neighbors are heading to destinations that are saner and safer, while the loony loudmouth miscreants remain and are kicking back with cold beers, celebrating their success at racial cleansing.

Arizona will be much poorer for driving off our good neighbors. The exodus will leave us with less sales tax, less income tax, less diversification, less intelligence, and fewer happy faces to see us through the day. Arizona will be whiter, dumber, and much, much poorer.

Support the boycott of Arizona - help to save us from ourselves!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday's Hate Group: FAIR

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) sounds like a fairly mainstream organization devoted to sorting out the difficult issue of immigration. They even have a classy website that would lead the casual observer to conclude that this is a group of average citizens striving to clarify an issue and educate the general citizenry and legislative bodies. They sound like a swell bunch of fellas.

Problem is there is not much "fair" about it, especially if you happen to be looking at the organization from the vantage point of being an immigrant to America - documented or otherwise. FAIR seems to be composed primarily of a swell bunch of white fellas, seemingly dedicated to making the world a better place for like-minded (and close-minded, and simple-minded) white fellas.

The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix described the organization this way:

"Founded in 1979, FAIR is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a racist, anti-Catholic, pro-eugenics hate group. It has employed White supremacists and promoted conspiracy theories about Mexico's plot to take over the southwestern United States. It's founder, John Talton, openly hopes for a race war. One of FAIR's chief lawyers, Kris Kobach, is the 'brains' behind SB 1070, having crafted the terms behind that legislation."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, referenced above, is the pre-eminent organization in the United States dedicated to tracking the activities of hate groups. The SPLC got even more specific regarding FAIR:

"FAIR is not the voice of the mainstream, it's the voice of individuals who have helped fuel the 40% increase in the number of hate groups in the US. These aren't citizen advocacy groups, or simply groups of concerned folk - they are hate groups plain and tall."

The SPLC also alleges that Fair has accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, "a hate group that funds controversial studies on race and intelligence."

Somehow using the terms "hate group" and "intelligence" in the same sentence seems a bit oxymoronic - sort of like the subtle implication that FAIR is fair!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday's Poetry: "Death of an Unpopular Poet"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Songwriter and singer Jimmy Buffett has had a rough week. He was due to open his latest Margaritaville along the white sands near Panama City Beach, Florida, this week. Unfortunately, the opening just happened to coincide with the arrival of BP's tar balls on that same beautiful beach.

The following, Death of an Unpopular Poet, is light verse that was penned by Mr. Buffett. The message is clear: keep writing, write to please yourself, and if you eventually develop a following, so much the better.

Jimmy Buffett is the undisputed King of the Florida Keys. May he live long and rain political fire down on BP for the rest of his days or until the Gulf of Mexico is once more fit for habitation by the creatures of the air, land, and water.

Death of an Unpopular Poet
by Jimmy Buffett

I once knew a poet
Who lived before his time
He and his dog spooner
Would listen while he'd rhyme
Words to make ya happy
Words to make you cry
Then one day the poet suddenly did die

But he left behind a closet
Filled with verse and rhyme
And through some strange transaction
One was printed in the times
And everybody's searchin'
For the king of underground
Well they found him down in Florida
With a tombstone for a crown

Everybody knows a line
From his book that cost four ninety-nine
I wonder if he knows he's doin'
Quite this fine

'cause his books are all best sellers
And his poems were turned to song
Had his brother on a talk show
Though they never got along
And now he's called immortal
Yes he's even taught in school
They say he used his talents
A most proficient tool

But he left all of his royalties
To spooner his ol' hound
Growin' old on steak and bacon
In a doghouse ten feet 'round
And everybody wonders
Did he really lose his mind
No he was just a poet who lived before his time
He was just a poet who lived before his time

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Racist Slime of Prescott, Arizona

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There are politicians in this state who would have us believe that the infamous racial profiling law, SB 1070, is basically harmless. (Jan Brewer, I'm looking at you!) That bigoted piece of legislation is far from harmless. Not only does it focus exclusively on one racial group, it also empowers the racist dregs of our state into thinking that their opinion matters. These slime balls have oozed out from under their rocks and become active practitioners of the basic tenet of Arizona democracy: idiotic shouting.

There is a story out of Prescott, AZ, that is so sickening and so Arizona that it needs to be heard far and wide.

A local elementary school in Prescott decided that it would be cool to have a mural promoting the concept of "green transportation" painted on the side of the school building by local artists. And to make the project even cooler, they asked the artists to populate the painting with illustrations of actual students who attend the school. Not much controversy there, right? Most communities would be proud as punch to have their children featured in a mural on the side of the school house.

Most communities, but not Prescott.

You see, the elementary school in Prescott, Arizona, is a multicultural institution, and the artists incorporated a diversity of students, many of whom were black and brown, into the mural. Enter the racist slime as they oozed out from under their rocks.

Steve Blair, a city councilman and talk show host on the local Fox-owned radio station, began railing against the project on his radio show. Some of the more vocal (and more ignorant) residents of the area started driving by the school shouting such terms of endearment as "spic" and "nigger." It was not Prescott's finest hour.

School administrators inexplicably caved and asked the artists to lighten the skin tones of the children depicted in the painting. Really. Instead of telling the mentally deranged residents who yelled at children to STFU, the school leaders sided with the loud-mouthed slime and asked that the painting be corrected to conform with local standards of bigotry. (Nice message, by the way: "The community hates us, and now it looks like our school does too.")

That was where it stood until last week when this story made the national news. After the bright light of public scrutiny washed over the controversy, school officials reversed their asinine decision and asked the artists to re-darken the skin tones of the students in the mural. The cake was frosted, so to speak, when Councilman Blair was fired from his job at the radio station.

See kiddies, what goes around can sometimes come around. Eat your veggies, and always be proud of who you are. Also, stay in school. You don't want to grow up to be ignorant like those people who were shouting at you and your school!

Revenge of the Machines!

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The fact that Arizona has at least double its share of stupid people is beyond argument - facts are facts - they're here - read the papers - come count them! Just walk down any street wearing a good tan or eating a taco and see how long it takes for some drunken, armed gringo with an IQ of 12 to demand a look-see at your papers. This state thrives on stupidity - and is damned proud of it!

I used to think all of the racist craziness around here was just the result of a worn-out gene pool, and that is undoubtedly some of the cause. But now I am coming to the conclusion that the unrelenting heat also fries brain cells faster than Joe Arpaio can form a posse or assemble a press conference! (That theory could explain why people who wear sombreros are smarter than most of the locals!)

Today I have sadly arrived at the conclusion that the heat also impacts our machinery. I was at the gym this morning trying to do my standard hour on the evil treadmill. The infernal walking machine shut down seven times in twenty-minutes, finally sending me to the showers.

Later I decided to take in a movie - Take Him to the Greek - which seemed to be a really funny sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll flick. I say "seemed to be" because the projector shut itself down twice during the first half-hour of the movie. Management finally threw in the towel and gave everyone a pass to come back and see any movie at a later date. On the way out of the theatre I watched a popcorn machine overheat and begin spewing smoke!

I stopped for gas after the show, and standing in the awful hotness filing the tank on my truck could have been partially avoided if the gas nozzle would have allowed itself to be set on automatic - but that was not about to happen on the hottest day of the year! Instead of going inside and getting a soda while the machine pumped the gas, I had to stand there, hand-clasped-to-nozzle, in the blazing sun watching the cost of my purchase slowly climb into the stratosphere!

And once I got home, my computer wouldn't cooperate with my most basic desires! Google? Google! We ain't got no stinking Google! WTF!

I am doubtful that free will even exists in this wretched desert. Life here is nothing more than an instinctual reaction to the brutal heat - even for the machines!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

John Boehner Misoverestimates His Own Importance

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Last week Sir Paul McCartney, one of the two surviving Beatles, was honored at the White House where he received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from President Obama. McCartney, in return, paid respect to his hosts, the Obamas, as well as to the rest of the nation with a tribute concert at that event.

Sir Paul reportedly remarked that it was especially meaningful to him to be honored at the White House when it was occupied by that particular president - Barack Obama. Sometime during the evening he apparently also said that he was grateful that America once again has a president "who knows what a library is," a none-too-subtle jab at George Bush.

McCartney's spot-on appraisal of the intellectual improvement in American leadership, however, did not sit well with the city's resident trolls. House Minority Leader John Boehner, a dipstick political hack from Ohio, was particularly offended by the Beatle's comment. Boehner said that he had always thought of McCartney as a "classy guy," but was "surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House." The prematurely orange congressman added, "I hope he'll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House, and President Obama."

News flash, John Boy: Paul McCartney did not demean President Obama. True, he may have poked a little fun at our last President, a clown who constantly demeaned his own august office, but he showed nothing but respect for our current leader. Sir Paul, arguably one of the finest songwriters of the twentieth century, has a penchant for telling it like it is - whether through song or in commentary. He did not make George Bush into a fool, he simply alluded to the fact that he was one.

Might I suggest, John, that you crawl back in your tanning bed and let this one pass. Paul McCartney is way out of your league, and the day that someone like him feels compelled to respond to a squeaky hinge like you, the music truly will have died!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jan Brewer and The Big Lie

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

"The Big Lie" is a propaganda technique that was put forth by Adolf Hitler in chapter ten of his famous diatribe, Mein Kampf. In that book, Hitler described the "big lie" as a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

Jan Brewer, our governor out here in sand land, is a simple soul who can't quite seem to fathom why people disagree with her fascist views on immigration and basic human rights, but I do suspect that she possesses the rudimentary ability to discern truth from a lie. She also lives in Phoenix and drives (or is driven) through its streets every day. Phoenix is a surprisingly safe city, especially considering its size, but simple Jan still has the impudence to say things like: "The kidnap capital of the world is Phoenix because of the drop-houses, the drug cartels...We can't tolerate it!"

Jan is parroting the racist crap that passes as intelligent dialogue in Arizona. She says it, the other racist boneheads say it - over and over. Problem is, it isn't true. It is a classic case of "the big lie."

I have been hearing this twaddle about Phoenix being the kidnap capital of the world ever since arriving here three years ago. I read the local papers and often listen to the local television news - and I listen to the local National Public Radio Station daily. Care to guess how many actual kidnapping reports I have seen or heard during my time here? None. Absolutely zero!

Today I made a point of asking several co-workers (some of a conservative bent) if any of them had actually heard of a specific kidnapping in the Phoenix area. None had. Absolutely zero!

I often drive the streets of this city at night, cruising along in the evenings with my top down - an easy target for the gangs and drug cartels. I especially enjoy driving downtown to the several live theatre venues. The productions get over around eleven p.m., and then I drive home - across the downtown, over the side streets, in areas that would be classified by reasonable people as poor.

During my nights out cruising the streets in my little convertible, I have never come upon a shooting, never come across gang activity or even gang graffiti, never felt threatened, and never been kidnapped!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently issued a report on violent crime that revealed an astounding fact. According to the FBI, the top four big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are all in border states. Those low-crime cities are: San Diego, El Paso, Austin, and...Phoenix!

Jan, not only are your crime facts regarding Phoenix pure horse shit, the exact opposite is actually true. Phoenix is a safe city - whether that fits your political agenda or not. You are race-baiting and fear-mongering for political profit - spewing hate for votes. By practicing the big lie, you demean yourself and your state.

Jan, it's time that you began acting like a responsible leader and gave up trying to sound like some barstool blowhard. Maybe you don't have the skills or charisma to be a dynamic governor, but surely you could muster the stuff to be a truthful one! Arizona deserves better than to be unfairly maligned by its own chief executive!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hotter and Shorter

by Pa Rock

Arizona is getting hotter and hotter, and my sentence here grows shorter and shorter!

It was triple digits today in this desert that masquerades as a state of total intolerance. One hundred degrees Fahrenheit - and it is only early (very early) June! It is supposed to be 110 degrees on Sunday. Elvis help us all when August gets here!

Well, actually the help can be directed to everybody else because I will be out of here before daylight on the morning of July 21st - heading toward a lengthy stay on the small and beautiful island of Okinawa.

Oh, it gets hot on Okinawa, but not crazy hot. And, if memory serves, there are few spots on the tiny island that are more than mere minutes from the ocean. If you are there looking for me on a warm day, I will be the old dude sitting in a lawn chair on the beach - and soaking up the ocean spray!

I have my plane tickets, next week I will go to a class to learn how to prepare for the movers that the government will send to pack my stuff, and in two more weeks I will know my new mailing address. The days are growing longer in Arizona, yet my time here gets shorter!

As you may have surmised, I am very anxious to start this new chapter in my life!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mrs. Brewer Goes to Washington

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Our mystified governor, Jan Brewer, has flown this sandy, flea-ridden coop and is this evening kicked back in some expensive hotel in Washington, DC, (on the Arizona taxpayers' dime) awaiting a personal meeting tomorrow with President Obama. At that meeting she will request (some local reporters use the word "demand") more federal assistance in guarding our border with Mexico. Governor Brewer is righteously livid that so many undocumented housekeepers and gardeners are brazenly walking across the Sonoran Desert to take jobs that should rightfully go to lazy, white Arizonans.

One would hope that Jan stays in her room tonight polishing the remarks that she will make to the President tomorrow. It is true that we only get one chance to make a good first impression, and the last time Mr. Obama was in Arizona a group of our local boneheads showed up armed outside of his rally. Those goobers made a fine impression, you betcha they did!

One would also hope that the President is cordial to our governor. She is, after all, a confused old woman who can't even remember how or when her own father died. She recently said that her dad died fighting Nazis in World War II. Turns out he died in the mid 1950's - a decade after the war ended - of natural causes.

If President Obama decides to throw the full force of our military behind a national emergency, that emergency needs to be the mess that BP, Transocean, and Halliburton is making in the Gulf of Mexico. That is a real crisis - not the Chicken Little crap that Jan and Joe and Russell and John want to foist on America as the be-all and end-all of western civilization.

Enjoy your day in the spotlight, Jan, and then get your shabby old carcass back to Arizona and begin doing some real work on important stuff - like passing a tough tax package and getting our teachers and state employees back to work.

If somebody needs to be laid off for budgetary reasons, might I suggest that we begin with the state legislature?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dream Walkers Confront Arpaio in the Twilight Zone

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Downtown Phoenix has played host to some world class street theatre since the passage of the racist SB 1070 a few weeks ago. There was a performance this afternoon, however, on the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo Building that was undoubtedly more surreal than anything to ever emerge from the mind of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.

The action took place at Sheriff Arpaio's plush headquarters. Four very clean-cut and polite college students presented themselves to the sheriff as exactly what they were: illegal aliens. And tough old Joe's response? He hugged them and chatted amiably while a flotilla of press looked on. Ooh-wee-ooh!

The four - Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, Juan Rodriguez, and Felipe Matos - are students at Miami-Dade County Community College in Florida. Each of the four was brought to the United States illegally when they were too young to have any say in the matter. As an example, Felipe Matos is a native of Brazil. He said that he has achieved honors in college, but he cannot get a driver's license or work legally in this country because of his non-legal status.

They are now walking across the nation in an effort called "The Trail of Dreams" to support the American Dream Act - proposed federal legislation that would provide conditional resident status to students "of good moral character." To qualify for that proposed program, students would have to have arrived in the United States before the age of sixteen, graduated from high school or earned a GED, and have lived in this country a minimum of five consecutive years.

Our esteemed sheriff, who is equipped with a good sense of public relations - when he chooses to exercise it, passed on the opportunity to arrest these foreign desperadoes, something that will be mandated by law when the destructive force of SB 1070 is loosed on the state next month. Instead of an indeterminate stay in the hell that is tent city followed by a bus ride to the border, it was hugs all around!

A little humanity suits you, Joe. Wear it proudly.