Bright Lights, Big Cacti

Arizona through the Eyes of a Native

Category: Government

Birthday Dental Appointments are a Bad Idea

My grandmother turned 86 yesterday. She also scheduled a dental appointment that made her mouth hurt.

“Why did you schedule a dental appointment on your birthday?” I asked when I finished singing to her (I always call and sing to her on her birthday — you’d think she’d stop answering my calls on June 25th).

“I forgot.”

Really? Does that happen? I mean, I frequently forget how old I am (I’m either 41 or 42…I think), but I always remember when the actual birthday is because of, well, the presents. It’s not that I’m greedy, but I do love to get presents. There are exactly three days during the year that I expect presents: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and my birthday. Therefore, it seems incredibly unlikely that I will ever forget my birthday.

In any case, Dan and I will be taking her a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza tomorrow night. Mom and Dad are bringing a rum cake. That’s right — we’re party animals.


I think it’s only right to acknowledge this historic moment. Anyone who has read my books has probably figured out that I support the gay-marriage movement. I believe everyone should have the right to promise to spend forever with their partner — in any combination of genders that works for them. Apparently, the Supreme Court agrees. When will we as humans learn that it’s never a good idea to step on someone else’s rights in an effort to enforce a (insert religion here) agenda? We don’t live in a theocracy. No matter what the Founding Fathers had in mind, the United States of the 21st Century is a multi-cultural democracy with no “official” religion. I thank God for that — and, if you live in the U.S., you can thank the same deity or any other one you might prefer.

Love is in bloom.


Sore Losers

A political group called Respect Arizona has filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to launch a campaign to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

I’m sure it’s clear from some of my other pieces (here and here) that I’m not really a fan of the Maricopa County sheriff. In fact, I pretty much think he’s a blowhard who should have retired at least two terms ago.

However, the idea of recalling him is as ill-advised as Arpaio’s own campaign against our president. Like it or not, Arpaio was reelected. Yes, the race was close. Yes, Arpaio threw tons of money into the campaign, which likely swayed some of the voters. But, like it or not, Arpaio won. Whining about how much he spent to accomplish his goal is pointless.

Let’s talk about the next election instead. Arpaio earned just 50.7% of the vote, which means 49.3% did not vote for him. This was his slimmest victory yet. We have four more years to slice off one percent of his support and find a single candidate with both the experience and presence to relegate Arpaio to the halls of Arizona political history, along with some of our other poor choices. Anyone else remember governors Mecham and Symington?

Respect Arizona, as much as it saddens me to say it, the people have spoken. Sheriff Joe gets four more years to waste taxpayer money and generally show his lack of class to the rest of the country.

Whatever Arizona’s reputation may be, we have certainly earned it.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio - Armed and Dangerous

Sheriff Joe Arpaio – Armed and Dangerous (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

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Dan Has a Better Sense of Humor Than I Do

Okay…even though election season has passed, I felt the need to share this little gem that my husband dashed off a while back. I had forgotten about it until he forwarded it to me earlier this week. I think it’s hilarious. If he had read something like this to me at the beginning of our first date, I would have known immediately that he was a good catch.

Bim Bam the Clown’s gubernatorial candidacy under fire

SURPRISE , AZ, USA(AP)–Early today, the Maricopa County Recorder and Election office had the dubious honor of informing one of Arizona’s latest political newcomers that his campaign for governor has abruptly come to a halt.

Archie Huzenga, a spokesman for the Recorder’s office, relayed that “Mr. Bam’s candidacy has been temporarily rescinded as we investigate complaints about the veracity of certain information on his candidate packet.”

The complaint stems from an anonymous note about candidate Bam’s past, which was taped to the election office door. “It brought to light several issues that will require investigation,” said Mr. Huzenga. Though the elections office would not comment publicly about an ongoing investigation, a source within the office leaked to the media that the subject of the investigation was Candidate Bam’s declared education level and his military service.

Candidate Bam’s website clearly states that he served in the Confederate army under Colonel Nathan Forrest with distinction. He enlisted in 1861 and served the duration of the war.

It is also indicates that he earned his doctorate degree in circus engineering from Klown Kollege in 1913. His dissertation was considered groundbreaking and definitively proved that 40 clowns can successfully and consistently be crammed into small spaces.

Dr. Bam was contacted for a comment on this story but as he is a strict Marxian (Harpo), he was only able to communicate by tooting his horn once for “yes” and twice for “no.” When asked directly whether he believed the Tea Party was responsible for instigating the investigation against him, he answered by emphatically squeezing his horn bulb once.

English: Smilie The Clown

This is Smilie The Clown. As far as I know, he is in no way related to Bim Bam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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US Citizen? Vote!

I cast my first vote for the United States president in 1992. I was twenty and still idealistic. I bet you know who I voted for.

I have voted in every presidential election since then – and at least some of the off-year elections. I didn’t always vote for one party or the other, and I have never voted a straight red or blue ticket. Even though I live in a state that traditionally goes red, I have never thought that my vote didn’t mean something – even if it only meant something to me. I look at the candidates and I try to determine which ones align best with my vision of America’s future. I know that my vision isn’t shared by every American, but that’s the beauty of our system: we all get a voice, even if it gets drowned out by the majority.

This election has been extremely divisive. In fact, I’ve never, in my lifetime, seen the lines drawn so distinctly between the parties. I’ve never seen Americans so rabidly red or blue. It’s a little disturbing to me, and yet I know that I myself have been guilty of similar rabidity.

Here’s what I know for sure: on Wednesday morning, none of the rhetoric will matter anymore. We will have elected a man to lead our nation for the next four years. Half the country will be celebrating, and the other half will have a political hangover.

And anyone who had the right to vote and didn’t should be ashamed of themselves, no matter who their candidate would have been.

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As American as Prickly Pear Jelly

English: A photo of an a prickly pear cactus, ...

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Fourth of July. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m less patriotic than most Americans. I love hamburgers, jello salads, and fireworks as much as most of our populace. Picnics? They are wonderful events…anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day. And no, I didn’t get that backwards.

The problem with Independence Day is that it occurs at the height of summer: a time that is traditionally better, at least inPhoenix, for frying an egg on the sidewalk than roasting a hotdog on a grill. In addition, the valley is usually pretty dry right around now, adding the potential danger of fireworks displays igniting a firestorm that could take out the entire metropolitan area. “Hey, kids, let’s go cook over a hot grill, get sunstroke, and then tempt fate by sending incendiary devices into the sky over our scorched desert home!” Um…no, thanks.

A year or two ago, the state legislature decided to allow the sale and use of fireworks by the general population. Now, there are restrictions, but I’m not going to bore you with those. What is significant to remember is that either our legislature is largely made up of non-native Arizonans or people with more faith in the intelligence of humanity than humanity deserves. Thankfully, our cities are a little more self-aware: most of them have banned the use of fireworks on private property, in roads, or in public parks. Of course, that won’t stop people from using them anyway, especially since the fireworks are now readily available for purchase, thanks to the legislature.

On the plus side, Phoenix will likely not become a charred hull of itself this Fourth. The skies have opened up and poured down a lovely, soaking rain today that will keep us safe tonight. As for Dan and me, after enjoying a delicious, indoor Rib Fest next door, we will settle down to enjoy A Capitol Fourth on PBS – with no danger whatsoever of sunstroke.

Happy Independence Day!

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