Shari Griffin was tired of strapping her own two young sons into molten car seats in the summer, in Phoenix. What could she, a stay-at-home Ahwatukee Hills mother of two, do to make those contraptions kinder to her babies' bottoms? She could put ice packs into a cloth cover, and then put her creation in the car seats before putting her children into them, that's what she could do. Voilà! The Cold Seat was born. The car-seat-size ice pack comes in four patterns, and can be rolled up and stored in the freezer between uses. Griffin sells her invention for $49.95 a pop through her Web site and over the phone. Sure, cooling hot seats with ice packs seems obvious in hindsight, but you didn't think of it. Besides, you have to give Griffin a lot of credit for figuring out a way to sell ice for around $25 a pound.
Then we started hanging at Starbucks in the Paradise Village Gateway shopping center, just outside Paradise Valley. In 24 or so months, we spotted Diamondback Luis Gonzalez, former Phoenix Suns power forward and now TNT motormouth Charles Barkley, and the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, new coach of the Coyotes. We've heard word of other sightings, including former D-Back and now New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson. And Suns defector Joe Johnson.
Seems Fushek -- the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to be accused of not just covering up for pedophiles but of untoward activity with young boys himself -- had been Fitzsimmons' pastor at St. Timothy's in the East Valley. Only three weeks after New Times had published an eye-popping article about Fushek's myriad sins, there was Father Dale getting introduced along with the rest of the dignitaries at center court of America West Arena. And why not, Colangelo may have rationalized; Fushek had been the golden boy of the Catholic church for decades. He was in charge of Life Teen, the national church's premier youth program, and everybody knows the NBA's very popular with sports-loving youngsters. (Um, after the article came out, everybody found out that youngsters, sports-loving or not, were very popular with the lecherous friar.)
Suns chairman Colangelo didn't seem to care about any of that stuff, or even that Father Dale had been forced to take administrative leave from the diocese because of his victims' many allegations against him. You can't always believe what you read, right, Jer?
We hear that a major reason JJ wanted to go is that some of the Suns players treated him like a bumpkin. See, he doesn't favor the blang-blang of Suns players like star center/forward Amaré Stoudemire, and it's true that JJ has trouble getting a coherent sentence out of his country-fried mouth during postgame interviews. As for Stoudemire vs. Johnson, there was the much-publicized incident in which a snarling Amaré asked JJ during a playoff game if he planned to play "fucking defense?!"
Seems Joe's shy little feelings were damaged beyond repair. Whatever . . . JJ's reasoning must have been clouded by way too much time in the Arizona sun, because he'd have to be suffering from baked-brain syndrome to prefer playing for the worst team in the NBA last year rather than take a little ribbing from certain members of our title-contending purple-and-orangemen. JJ, where was the love for the city and franchise that made yours a household name? Our hearts are as broken as the Salt River bottom after Old Sol has dried up those monsoon puddles.
Sure enough, our fondest memory of Ike came on the floor of the Wells Fargo Arena, where the Sun Devils play their home games. But it wasn't about him dunking a basketball, blocking a shot, or using that big butt of his to move an opposing player out of the lane. No, we'll remember most that moment last December 21 when the ASU women's team upset powerful Connecticut at the arena. Ike, who was in attendance as a fan, danced onto the floor and joyously jumped up and down with dozens of other ASU students. That was Ike, blessed with athletic skills and an inner grace that elude all but a few of us -- and a hell of a decent guy to boot.
Dressed in an elaborate costume consisting of a full-body skeleton suit, shoulder pads, spiked collar, rubber snake headdress, scepter and fangs, he's been attending more games -- both home and away -- than he's bothered to count, firing up the fans and players of the Valley's Arena Football League franchise for years now.
There was a recent scare among the "Pitizens" -- a.k.a. the fan base of the two-time ArenaBowl champions -- that the Valley's favorite footballers were headed out of town, but new majority owner Bob Hernreich quelled such rumors when he announced back in July that the team would continue to slink around America West Arena for years to come.
Some say it was smart sports management that saved the day, but we'd like to think it was Rattler Man.
The Surprise Complex includes not only the gorgeous main stadium and 14 fields for the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals spring training season, but also 57 acres of parks and fields, a library, a five-acre lake, and the city's administrative offices. It is more than a place to watch and play sports; it's the progressive heart of a new city, a thoughtful common ground for the common good -- one that should be a shining model for the rest of the Valley.