Sticking By His Guns
The following messages were left in rapid succession for the editor of this rag. The caller complains about columnist Barry Graham's August 21 piece "Assailing," about the shooting of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, and Graham's September 4 piece "Absence of Palace," about Princess Di's death. The Flash is not making any of this up.
Message 1: Hello, my name is (deleted) and I'm just one of thousands of people who have read New Times for many, many years, and I was offended by your writer Graham's article on Mary Rose Wilcox and I was offended by what he said about Princess Diana this time. . . . So allow me to let off a little steam, please. The guy is a misogynist, he's a fucking punk, just a preening narcissist, a fucking punk. My suggestion to you is that you print his picture along with his column once, because I'd like to see what he looks like, I really would. And FUCK YOU ALL!
Message 2: Yes, I'd like to add to that last message please, and I hope all of your editors listen to this goddamn thing. Here you've got a man who's writing about violence done to two women--in one case a woman who was shot here locally and another one just a lovely person who was killed. I mean, he's writing about these things with great relish and apparently, you know, a fair amount of joy. Wow, what a guy. I think you all have lost your way, I really do. There's just no reason to pick up the fucking thing anymore . . . except occasionally when you write about little people who are picked on by the bureaucracy. You do that well. . . . You folks have lost it, you've absolutely lost it. It's just--New Times has become very self-congratulatory, and in that sense very dull and very predictable and almost expendable, but not quite. And again, FUCK YOU ALL!
Message 3 (in a much subdued voice): Oh, hello. This is (deleted), and I left a couple kind of overheated messages about your writer Graham's column. And I actually read the entirety of one of the columns that I was so angry about, and it's actually quite good. So I take it all back, okay? Not that this is terribly important. I just felt kind of silly after I'd actually read the piece. Well, thank you very much, and try to do a good job, okay?
Sons of McVeigh?
Last Saturday, in a check-out line at Homeowners' Hell, the local super-hardware chain, the Flash witnessed the following transaction:
Two little boys with buzz cuts, who couldn't have been more than 8 years old, piled a a couple dozen packets of screws and gewgaws and whatchamacallits on the counter. They dug fists full of change out of their shorts pockets, laid it on the counter as well and fretted as the sales clerk counted out $3.02 worth. Then they debated whether they had enough money left to buy some wire.
When the money was safely in the till and the little boys out the door, the clerk apologized for how long the deal had taken, and thanked the Flash for waiting so patiently.
The Flash responded that it was no problem, and in fact that it was a rare treat to see kids entertaining themselves with a project they apparently had thought up by themselves and were willing to spend their own money on.
"Yeah, but do you know what they're doing?" the clerk asked.
"They're building a pipe bomb."
The little punks probably listen to talk radio.
Far be it from the Flash to claim New Times has never misspelled anything--but nothing to the extent of what we read in the Tribune last week. In last Thursday's story about the failed Phoenix and Scottsdale transit elections, more names were misspelled than not.
The strangest part is the way many of the names were misspelled: Transit tax opponent Becky Fenger was Becky Finger; bureaucrat Ken Driggs was Ken Drags; and transit-tax proponent Bob Grossfeld was Bob Grovelled.
A correction the following day explained the snafu as "an editing error involving spell-checking software."
A couple of years ago, the same software identified Arizona Republic publisher John Oppedahl as John Hypogeal.
Lots of people make lots of money conducting opinion polls. Because these people are likely to become real estate agents if the opinion trade lags, the Flash will do his part to see that these people remain employed:
* On the local front, a recent poll by Behavior Research Center reports that 69 percent of Maricopa County residents view radio talk-show hosts as "entertainers who should not be taken seriously." Seventeen percent characterize them as "serious journalists," while 58 percent believe the hate mongers frequently or sometimes "cross the line of responsible journalism in their criticisms of political figures by verbally attacking the person and not the issues."
Expect heads to roll at KFYI.
* Rasmussen Research in Waxhaw, North Carolina, reports that 58 percent of the American public believes "the federal government is a special-interest group that looks out for itself." Only 20 percent see it as an impartial organization that helps all Americans. Sixty-five percent of private-sector employees see the feds as an interest group, while 48 percent of government employees hold this view.
Interestingly, 100 percent of the people who see the federal government as a special-interest group "receive talk-radio transmissions through their dental fillings."
* The research wizards at Valvoline tell us that only 16 percent of auto mechanics now believe that airbags are the best safety features in modern automobiles. Last year, 23 percent rated airbags as the top safety feature. Seat belts are rated tops by 57 percent of gearheads, while antilock brakes moved up to second place with 23 percent.
Incredibly, Valvoline found that 41 percent of mechanics believe that oil changes are the single most important maintenance task that motorists regularly fail to perform.
For those of you who've been agonizing over what grease monkeys might think of themselves, 43 percent say they make "quick and accurate diagnosis like a doctor" and 35 percent consider themselves "honest and trustworthy like a Boy Scout."
And, oh, yeah, 34 percent said they'd offer Sandra Bullock a free oil change, while only 12 percent would give Jenny McCarthy a freebie lube job. The Flash is not making this up.
Notes From the After Fife
Clerks at the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control who huddled around a small color TV set to watch live coverage of the J. Fife Symington III criminal verdict immediately began to argue among themselves whether they should immediately take down the color portrait of the Fifester that hangs in their office.
One woman--who reacted to the first "Guilty" verdict with arms upraised and an emphatic "Yes!"--suggested it come down immediately.
Another--who protested, "He may have done wrong, but he was the only governor who came to one of our staff meetings"--demanded the portrait stay up indefinitely.
Eventually, a consensus was reached. The photo would remain in place until someone told them to take it down.
And: Former Arizona Republic reporter Sam Stanton flew in from California just in time to hear the Symington verdict.
Back in 1987, when the Republic still knew how to run a crooked politician out of office, Stanton broke many of the stories that led to the demise of former governor Evan Mecham.
Stanton's now a reporter for the Sacramento Bee.
Feed The Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, firstname.lastname@example.org