We love the new Pei Wei/Starbucks compound at Seventh Avenue and McDowell. There. We said it.
Now let us explain. For months, we avoided the corner. We knew the beloved Emerald Lounge (really, more of a light green shack, if a shack can be made of slump block) was gone, with a couple of nasty chains erected in its place, and frankly, we just didn't want to have to look. But then we met up for dinner with a dear friend who lives a stone's throw away, and we had to sit in the parking lot for a few minutes, first, to compose ourselves. It was shock and awe, but not the bad kind. We were thrilled. Finally, a sign of urban civilization, a corner in Phoenix holding something other than a Circle K. (Don't worry, the one across the street is still there.)
We never expected a Pei Wei could look so hip, so, well, San Francisco (okay, you have to squint, but relatively speaking, you've got to admit that we're right). But with all the corrugated steel and urban-y architecture and then the exposed brick, painted cement floors, and airy spaces inside we have to tell you we were darn impressed. We figure somewhere at Pei Wei HQ there's a big notebook filled with prototypical Pei Weis you know, the strip mall Pei Wei, the stand-alone urban Pei Wei. That means there are plans to put Pei Weis on urban corners all over North America.
Maybe we've lost perspective, maybe we're desperate, but we don't care. Give us our brown rice, chicken with broccoli, and a bottomless Diet Coke, and let us hang out a little longer, acting all urban and shit. We just hope Pei Wei plunks one of these suckers on a corner at 12th Street and Jefferson. But not the southeast corner, 'kay?
Don't hate them; they're a way of life. We must love them, coddle them, and appreciate strip malls for all the glorious things they can offer.
Too much effort for you? That may change with the help of Sloane McFarland, who has decided to spend $12 million to rip one of those drab suckers apart and build something fabulous. He's revamping the strip mall on 16th Street and Buckeye, and unveiled his plans in style this past May by opening the decrepit structure for curious guests to explore.
The redevelopment will be called Yourtown, and in each space, McFarland worked with colleagues to create art installations to express what his future plans will bring. Various abandoned retail shops were filled with conceptual evidence of planning that we are anxious to see come to fruition. In the space that used to be a flower shop, piles of ground coffee were dumped on the floor, emitting the pungent odor of what will soon surely be the hottest coffee shop in the area. (Or any part of this town, we dare say.) We look forward to what this local pioneer has to offer, and after his work is done, we may see our strip malls in a whole new light. At the very least, we'll have a cool new hangout.
As if it weren't enough that these freaks believe 9/11 was an inside job by our own government, Knudson embarrassed the unembarrassable by roping in Holocaust-denier Eric Williams to help organize Chandler's 9/11 Accountability Conference.
Once the news of Williams' participation hit, speakers started dropping out left and right. Knudson compounded the problem by assuring folks that Shoah-shirker Williams was out of the conference, even though he showed up to tend his booth, sell merch, and at one point, was invited up on the podium.
Many of Knudson's fellow kooks were disgusted, and the last we've heard, 9/11 Truth AZ was having financial probs. Gee, wonder why?
Maybe Ready figured his days as a legitimate candidate for anything were over. How else to explain his embrace of white nationalist rhetoric, his visit to the neo-Nazi National Vanguard's Winterfest event, and his profile on NewSaxon.com, "an online community for whites by whites"? The guy even refers to his "headquarters" as "the Eagle's Nest," after the famous Adolf Hitler retreat. Rumor is J.T.'s got a Bertchesgarden in Mesa, too. No word on whether or not it's a double-wide.
McDaniel, being a male of the species under the influence of this spacy little minx, allowed her to do so, after which Sutton stabbed him repeatedly with a knife and chased him with a pickax because she wanted to suck on an artery. Fortunately, a friend of McDaniel's happened to stop by the shack where these two lovebirds were playing Operation, saw his pal nearly unconscious from the loss of blood, and decided to phone the po-po.
Once the coppers got there, it was revealed that Sutton had gotten McDaniel to sign the back of a detective novel called The Eighth Circle with this statement, "You, Robert McDaniel, swear no wrong will come to me, Tiffany Lachelle Sutton, due to tonight's events." Now, because of the media coverage, Sutton has male fans worldwide who want her to pop a straw into their veins, including some fella who calls himself "Angelic Scar," who's set up this Web site www.tiffanysutton.com, where he fantasizes about partying with that "crazy hot bitch who drinks blood."
Problem is, according to media reports at the time, Parker bought himself a few too many consolatory drinks, and then he decided to drive himself and his drinking buddies home from the exclusive "Birds Nest" revelries at the FBR Open.
About 11:30 p.m., Scottsdale Police sergeant Mark Clark spotted Parker's speeding, swerving BMW and pulled him over. The police report tells the rest: "I observed/detected the following: bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, odor of alcohol on the driver's breath. Speech was: slurred," Clark wrote.
When the New York Stock Exchange closed that day, U.S. Airways stock (LCC) was selling for about $56 per share. Since Parker's DUI, the company's stock has plunged to about $30 per share.
You do the math.
Oh, okay, we'll do it.
Multiply U.S. Airways' 91.5 million outstanding shares by a loss of $26 per share, and crude math calculates the company has lost about $3 billion in market value. Granted, there are more factors at play than Parker's one-too-many. Still, we award Doug Parker a "Best of" for both the most expensive beer and for single-handedly manipulating a publicly traded stock.