Goodbye, Phoenix

In-depth though the stories were, I never actually found out what Rods were all about. But so what? How many of you can make pate de foie gras? That doesn't stop you from eating it, does it? I rest my case.

But the troubling case of the Chandler rock bombardments will not rest quite so easily. No doubt, heads are still being scratched over the story of the seemingly upstanding neighborhood dad who, according to police, was responsible for throwing river rocks at homes (including his own) on a cul-de-sac in the town where Buck Owens was baptized.

The whole thing had mystified locals for weeks, yet the police and their state-of-the-art methods of deduction proved too much for the stone-tosser.

As one officer who had personally gathered many of the stones told me, "I kept some of the rocks in my car the first couple days 'cause I wanted to ask people, 'Do you believe this thing fell out of the sky over a telephone pole? My ass!'"

Pushing the envelope of believability even further was no problem for David and Debbie Barnes, a couple I wrote about who claimed to be in possession of a Picasso original that packed quite a message.

"I locked myself in my bedroom, and I started studying the thing," David admitted to me as I sat in his west-side living room, rapt. "I saw demons come out of it." That's not all--Picasso himself started communicating with Barnes from beyond the grave; it was revealed that Jesus would return to Earth in "a spaceship"; Barnes found a map to hidden Nazi treasure encoded in the painting; and it allowed him to have visions of things like who shot down TWA Flight 800. Barnes promised me a portion of the enormous amount of money he would get after selling the alleged Picasso, simply for letting him tell his story.

So I have that going for me.

As we sit here and reminisce, it's hard not to hearken back to some of the celebrities that have graced this page. Remember Louis Armstrong? Well, it wasn't actually Satchmo himself, but we did go on a no-holds-barred journalistic trip into the history of his favorite laxative, Swiss Kriss. Wasn't that a good one? I know, I liked it too.

How about Mr. Vic Caesar, king of the lounge singers? Vic had stories about every celebrity that has walked the face of the Earth since talkies were introduced. I'll refresh your memory: Vic played piano for Marilyn Monroe. Vic said he smoked dope with Bobby Kennedy and Sammy Davis Jr. Vic lived at the Playboy Mansion. Vic hugged Dick Nixon. Vic! My man! Phoenix doesn't deserve you, baby!

And who could forget Candy Cantaloupes, the stunning "entertainer" with a "115 ZZZ-cup" bra loaded with talent? We spent time with Candy on her last night in the business, as she gave up an international career and frequent appearances in publications like Bra Busters and Gent--Home of the D-Cups (she was clearly overqualified for that one).

Candy spoke of her appearances on Howard Stern's show, and of the new life she was about to embark on. I sat and listened. She was getting her breasts reduced, she was heading for New York to live with her new boyfriend--"he loves and accepts me"--and enroll in college. Wherever you are, Candy, I hope your dreams came true. I still have the Polaroid we took that night, embracing, you smiling and topless, your chest smashing against my leather jacket, me with the shocked expression of Lee Harvey Oswald as he took a bullet to the stomach. I consider it priceless.

But, like the photo of me and Candy and her monstrous breasts, I consider all of my memories of this town and the people I have come to know and write about to be priceless. And for that I want to say thank you, Phoenix.

Thank you, Phoenix.

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