Flashes 05-04-2000

Out of the Woods

Aside from Amy Silverman's richly earned triumph as the state's Journalist of the Year, the clear highlight of Saturday's Arizona Press Club banquet was emcee Grant Woods' riffing.

The Flash -- who attended the Burton Barr Central Library function disguised as a shelf of classic fiction -- was impressed by the sharp, informed patter dispensed by the attorney general-cum-talk show savant. Highlights:

• Announcing a winning story from Prescott titled "[Sam] Steiger: the man, the myth, the mayor," Woods tacked on ". . . the piece of shit."

• Conveying a judge's comments on a winning article about some guy named Steve Wilson, Woods quipped, "It's nice that Steve Wilson got mentioned here tonight" -- a dig at the Arizona Republic columnist of the same name who didn't otherwise merit a mention.

• A sports story about the dénouement of Suns coach Danny Ainge was headlined, "Head coach opts to resign for wife, 6 kids." Woods remarked, "This story was also nominated in the fiction category."

• Woods joked that Tribune reporter and noted Fife Symington apologist Mark Flatten was suffering from a broken nose. "It seems Fife stopped suddenly while he was walking into court," Woods needled.

The Humble Snow-White Rat

The Flash has always referred to U.S. Senator John McCain as "Humble John" or the "Snowy Haired Senator." It seems Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has his own moniker for Arizona's senior senator. Washingtonian magazine reports that when McCain "returned to the Senate after his attempt to win the GOP presidential nomination, he was greeted with a standing ovation by fellow Republican senators at a luncheon hosted by majority leader Trent Lott, who said, 'Senator McCain is one of our brothers.'

"But on Super Tuesday, when Lott called up McCain's long-fought-for airport-authorization bill that called for more long-distance slots at Reagan National Airport, Lott told a group of Republican senators, 'We're going to take this legislation up today while the white rat isn't in town so he can't take credit for it.'"

Stand By for Clues

It was the kind of news tidbit that radio fossil Paul Harvey should have loved: the well-known head of a chain of health-food stores stung by a $1.1 million verdict in a sexual harassment case for making really stupid comments about how inferior women are. The tale of the lawsuit, filed by one of Hi-Health's former female managers against the chain and founder Sy Chalpin, was first reported in New Times on April 13. The jury's verdict made the front page of last Friday's Arizona Republic. And that morning, KTAR listeners -- Harvey's Phoenix radio outlet -- heard the story during the regular news at 8:30 a.m.

Then Valley resident Harvey came on and chatted about the stories from that morning he found newsworthy. Those, however, did not include the large verdict against Hi-Health. This may be because the company is a main sponsor of Harvey's radio show and Chalpin is often touted as some sort of genius and not the primordial boor the jury found him to be. Harvey did laud the virtues of some of Hi-Health's products, though, during a commercial break.

Meanwhile, the one who's in the pink of health these days is Jill Lansdale, the plaintiff in the case. She'll get a big check from Hi-Health if Chalpin loses an appeal his lawyers say they'll file. "I am feeling great, I am feeling very good," she told the Flash last week after the verdict was returned. The trial lasted eight days, but jurors deliberated less than five hours before sticking it to Chalpin.

And now you know the rest of the story.

J.D.'s Really, Really Big Tent

The biggest story in the national media over the past few weeks has been the saga of Elian Gonzalez. For the benefit of anyone who's been hibernating, Elian is the 6-year-old Cuban boy whose mother died while a group of refugees was floating to the United States. He was rescued by fishermen and given to relatives in Miami, who have been resisting any attempt to return the kid to his father in Cuba.

The debate over whether to send him home or keep him here has been raging, and one trenchant commentator has been Arizona's very own J.D. Hayworth.

The Haystack, one of our more photogenic politicians, has a seat in Congress. A very BIG seat. But we shouldn't expect him to waste his time representing Arizona there when he could be fighting godless communism instead. When federal agents forcibly took the boy from his U.S. relatives and handed him back to his old man, J.D. had a thing or two to say. And he said it on KTAR.

The day after the federal agents' raid, The Haystack declared that Elian should remain here. Why? Because the quality of life is better in this here U.S. of A. than it is in that there Cuba under those Commies, that's why. J.D. pointed out that Elian will end up working in the fields, by God.

The Flash was eager to hear more, but J.D. didn't return calls. Probably too busy waging war against pinkos who want their children back. But since he apparently believes that the U.S. should welcome all furriners who'd have an inferior standard of living back home, the Flash is passing his number along to Chicanos por la Causa, which will doubtless appreciate his views on immigration.

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