By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Who needs Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey when Maricopa County's got its own version of the Insane Clown Posse on call, 24/7? Yep, these clowns wear brown instead of round red noses and greasepaint, and they've even got shiny badges instead of water-spittin' daisies on their shirts! Just like Ringling's jugglin' jesters, these local-yokel yuksters graduate from clown college, too, although they matriculate through clown king Sheriff Joe's Deputy Training Academy. So rest assured that whenever our beloved Krusty the Clown-like lawman meets his maker (which in Joe's case is probably Mattel Toys, Inc.), the bumblefucks who are his underlings will continue the proud tradition begun long ago by the Boss Buffoon.
Why, these wanna-be Ronald McDonalds staged a dress rehearsal last week in Sun City when Joe's provincial Pagliacci responded to a call for backup from the Town of Surprise po-po. (The Bird pictures 30 of these clowns showing up, all packed into a tiny, daisy-decaled Volkswagen Beetle. Apparently, though, they arrived in pairs and in separate patrol cars.) Seems officers needed help in apprehending a 60-year-old woman who, after a low-speed chase that began in Surprise, had barricaded herself inside her Sun City home and was threatening suicide.
One of the Bozos who turned up was a K-9 deputy, so he had a specially trained canine with him. (The Bird can't help but wonder if the tail-wagger in question was wearing a ruffled paper collar and had been taught to balance a ball on its nose.) When the woman suddenly bolted from her home, Deputy Dawg leapt from his vehicle with the engine still running. But, as Lieutenant Paul Chagolla, the Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman, told Channel 12 News later that night, the deputy "didn't quite get the vehicle into 'park'" before exiting the car, which was headed straight for the suicidal woman and the police officer she was tussling with. Insert wild calliope music here! You know, the kind that must've been playing when Sheriff Slapstick totaled his cop clownmobile outside that Fountain Hills Osco last year ("Enemies List," April 28, 2005), or when his not-so-swift SWAT team wrecked a car with a runaway tank and burned a defenseless dog alive in a raid on an Ahwatukee traffic-ticket scofflaw the year before ("Dog Day Afternoon," August 5, 2004).
When one of Joe's Big Top boys saw the cop car headed for the crazy crone, he tried to stop it by shoving his foot under the wheel. Curses! The clown's big, floppy shoe wasn't enough to stop the vehicle, which struck the woman and the cop who was trying to subdue her. Bang! Splat! And the imaginary crowd roars!
But wait -- there's more! Chagolla told TV cameras that when another sheriff's deputy hopped into the patrol car in an attempt to stop it from hitting anyone else, he was bitten by the K-9 pooch.
The official story seems to be that nobody -- not the deputy who was bitten, nor the cop and geezer gal hit by the patrol car -- was seriously injured. But The Bird's funny bone is still sore after considering this Three Stooges routine from Sheriff Joe's Insane Clown Posse. The Bird seriously hopes that one of these carnival comics remembered to switch on his dashboard surveillance camera, so that we can watch this whole mess played out in perpetual cable reruns on Cops or maybe even America's Funniest Home Videos. On the other hand, no one who hasn't previously experienced our local law enforcement would believe that this clip wasn't staged by a retired circus troupe. So, uh, never mind.
It's not quite time for New Times' annual "Best of Phoenix" supplement, but The Bird has to give early props to this year's sure winner of the Most Bizarre Political Sign award to former Phoenix mayor/would-be Arizona Secretary of State Skip Rimsza.
If you haven't seen the sign, well, you've missed a few laughs. It features a huge photo of ex-mayor Skip (looking really quite un-chic in Nancy Reagan red) and a simple exhortation to the reader: "Want experience? Google Skip Rimsza."
In fact, The Bird does want experience. Not that it's got a problem with Jan Brewer or anything. (Brewer, who's been lambasted in these pages by New Times' own John Dougherty, is the pol Rimsza hopes to take out in the GOP primary this September.) But pretend pigeons generally have trouble resisting temptation, and this one's no exception. So "Skip Rimsza" -- with quotation marks as indicated by the sign, because this friendly fowl is nothing if not conscientious -- was Googled.
And, as it turns out, The Bird did find experience. Unfortunately for Skip, it wasn't all positive.
Among Skippy's top Google hits were these gems:
From Skip's tenure as mayor: "I, therefore, Skip Rimsza, Mayor of the City of Phoenix, Arizona, do hereby proclaim the week of September 1-7, 2001, as STOP ON RED WEEK."
From the site of blogger Espresso Pundit, who calls Rimsza's "Google" sign the worst he's ever seen: "What is Skip Rimsza thinking? Is it a joke? Did he lose a bet?"
From the Toxic Universe online forums: "I tried Googling Skip Rimsza and didn't see anything that stands out . . ."