Monkey Love

The blarney-lovin' buzzard's craw is full o' scuttlebutt from Covance's monkeyshines, trigger-happy Tasers, and Jello Biafra's Stinkweeds wig-out

Protesters carried signs reading "Covance Blood Money for Chandler," "Honk If You Say 'No Covance,'" and The Bird's fave, "Imagine Your Body Being Used for Science While You're Still In It." Save for one or two moon-howlers, these were not the wackos you might expect. Some opposed all animal testing, but they were all united in their hatred of Covance.

"If they didn't have the violations they did, it might be more acceptable," asserted Ken Edwards, a well-spoken thirtysomething who regularly fires off anti-Covance e-grams from his home in north Phoenix. "It's just an unethical company. It would be like inviting Enron here, or Halliburton."

Fellow CACer Amy Green of Queen Creek concurred. "Chandler's such a nice place that I don't think anyone would want this type of facility there," opined the tall, brown-haired gal.

Covance's new property purchase'll likely make the activities of anti-Covancers like Edwards and Green moot, unless the company does itself in with the help of its rep and its less-than-stellar PR flack. So what The Bird's saying is, the CACers still have hope of playing David to Covance's dumb-ass Goliath. Covance is its own worst enemy.

Tasered Talons

This clumsy cormorant's scratching Tasers off its Xmas list after hearing that the infernal contraptions might go off on their own and impale this toucan's dainty talons.

That's right, the "electronic control device" made by Scottsdale company Taser International and used by the po-po to pacify violent yahoos has a quirk few know about: A small burst of static electricity can make it blast like an undercover NY cop at a Queens strip club.

The problem? The hair-trigger needle cartridges that attach to the front of the device like a silencer on a gun barrel. The cartridges are found on the X-26 model, the most current Taser product sold.

Normally, someone has to pull the Taser's trigger to make the two steel, barbed needles inside the cartridge fly out, propelled by compressed nitrogen. When the needles hit the target, the attached wires deliver 50,000 volts to the Tasee and prompt the "Holy-shit-I-think-I'm-dying" response desired by Five-O.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officers began noticing the glitch after spare cartridges kept going off in their pockets. (Taser admits in a training bulletin that static shock from a fingertip can also trigger the device.) That's a little too close to the naughty bits, if you ask this pain-averse parakeet.

This spring, DPS Detective Charles Galarneau learned the hard way about this shocking flaw, impaling his digits by picking up a cartridge while he was teaching a class on Tasers.

Galarneau says he forgot the cardinal rule of guns, Tasers and Taser cartridges — never point them at anything you're not willing to put holes in. Fortunately, the needles didn't go in very far, and they weren't charged with electricity, not being attached to the gun.

"I was looking at my fingers going . . . 'That's pretty cool,'" Galarneau told this feathered beast. He hoped The Bird would not use his comments about the incident.

"I got enough ribbing over it," he said.

Touchy, are we, Detective? Betcha weren't giving anyone the finger after that misfire. Of course, you got to point out the problem to your superiors. You're always the type to lend a hand, when the department needs you, Detective. Even if the accident killed your appetite for finger food.

After the incident, DPS put a warning about Tasers and static electricity in its agency newsletter. Officer Jason Yeager, DPS's Use of Force Coordinator, thinks it's possible the barbs could be discharged even while the cartridge is attached to the Taser unit, and that officers should be careful.

Good call, Yeager. With those powers of analysis, you may make detective like Galarneau one day. Just learn from his error, and don't let your fingers do the walkin', okay?

Jello Baby Man

There's nothing this rumor-mongering mallard relishes more than a bit of grapevine prattle, so it flapped on downtown to the most recent First Friday to scout the latest scuttlebutt with the assorted loose-lipped artist types on hand.

One such gossipy gabber was Kimber Lanning, the pintsize alt-culcha queen who owns boho gallery/performance space Modified Arts and indie record outlet Stinkweeds. Lanning told this rancorous rooster about a recent kafuffle she had with former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra when the legendary punk provocateur stopped by Stinkweeds last month for a meet-and-greet session.

Lanning bellyached that Biafra — who was in town for a spoken-word gig at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on November 14 — acted like a punker prima donna during the Stinkweeds event earlier that same day, doling out bitchy tongue-lashings about how the shop sold used records.

When one female fan approached Biafra to autograph a sealed used copy of the Dead Kennedys' Plastic Surgery Disasters LP she purchased at Stinkweeds, Lanning claims the spoken-word artist got his punk panties in a twist.

"He started to freak out about how he'd never buy a sealed copy of a used record, and said there was probably a warped Anne Murray record inside," kvetched Lanning. "He said he'd never buy a used record from me. I was floored; I couldn't believe this was happening."

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