Arizona Animal Welfare League Shelter

Every time you see one of those TV commercials with the hungry kittens and sad, neglected puppies, you want to throw yourself into traffic. Right? Well, don't. Instead, do something to help those unhappy animals by volunteering at the Arizona Animal Welfare League. There, you'll be involved in virtually all aspects of helping four-legged friends to find a home — everything from adoption counseling to dog-walking to keeping up the AAWL grounds. Not much of a cat person? Don't really like dogs? You can work with birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles, instead. AAWL offers various volunteer training programs that will help you help them find homes for strays that might otherwise be put to death. Talk about a worthy cause.

A trio on Craigslist looking for a dog to have sex with found a match earlier this year, with a guy offering up his male golden shepherd mix to complete the foursome. Unfortunately, for the three humans in the deal — Shane Walker, Sarah Walker, and Robert Aucker — the guy offering up the dog was an undercover detective with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The trio's plan, according to the Sheriff's Office, was to use Craigslist to find the dog to "fornicate" with the woman, while her husband and friend watched. The detective eventually was also offered the "opportunity to join in on the act," although it's not clear exactly what his role would have been. At the time, Sheriff Joe Arpaio exclaimed, "People who do this for enjoyment are a different breed, that's for certain." The three humans in the busted foursome all eventually pleaded guilty to bestiality charges.

With themes of self-loathing, loneliness, and longing, the music of Manchester's gloomiest, The Smiths, is already comic (in an absurdist, depressing way), but it took the good folks at SpazDog Press to gather up a slew of indie comics' finest, like Foo!, Sam Laggren, Kayla Cagan, Tara Abbamondi, and New Times' own Brad Dwyer, to put pen to page and illustrate the melodrama for two volumes of Unite and Take Over: Stories Inspired by the Songs of The Smiths. The morose croon of Morrissey inspires everything from psycho-sexual slapstick to violent, vintage Image-style splatter-fests. Recognizing a readily apparent connection between the post-punk mythos of The Smiths and the intimacy of the black-and-white page, Unite speaks to the alt-pop nerds as easily as the comic book guys — turns out, they're the same kids anyway.

Channel 5, KPHO, has a history chasing the mythical creature known as the chupacabra, but there seems to be another animal obsession going on at the TV news station — cats. KPHO's the only news outlet where you can find stories such as "Does cat behavior change with the seasons?" or "Hidden household cat poison." Then there was the time a local man filmed his house cat giving a high-five to a bobcat — and KPHO went on location to tell it like it is. In a story the KPHO anchor said "we just have to share," the TV station's coverage of high-fiving cats is absolutely incredible: three different videos about the high-five on the station's website, on-location reporting, an interview with the homeowner — and the homeowner's re-enactment — and the "backstory." And that's just one of the cat tales from the station's archive. Little does KPHO know, it's the dogs that rule, and the cats that drool.

Michelle Ponce and Damian Jim are local artists who have a long history of collaboration on small works and projects. And when the two connected over the concept of a stapled art zine, they knew they'd started something that could last a while.

This year, they launched Ziindi, a full-color quarterly zine dedicated to showcasing work by contemporary indigenous artists and providing a connection within the community. The first 16-page issue is full of work by local and regional artists, including ARMZ, Averian Chee, Jeff Slim, Shamie Encinas, Damian Jim, Bahe Whitethorne Jr., Jeremy Arviso, and Thomas Greyeyes.

"Plenty of native artists travel back to the rez, and they share their artwork here, but a zine is great way to offer something that will last a little longer to kids on the rez and in the city. We hope it'll be something they can take with them and something that will inspire their own work."

The group of ladies responsible for PoolBoy Magazine — a local hipster porn rag — joined forces as "cuntributors" in 2009 to create "an independent adult lifestyle magazine for badass women," and though they haven't printed an edition in a year or so, they've kept us plenty satisfied through their blog and Twitter feed. Here, in twitpics, dirty puns, and 140 characters, the founders update us on their latest male candidates (including Hump Day Hunks on Wednesdays), their roadtrip promotions, their thoughts on Mommy Porn, and the best penises of the 2012 Olympics. The ladies say they'll be publishing a second issue of PoolBoy sometime this fall, which, if we're lucky, will include a similar glossy collection of good-looking (but also normal) 20- and 30-somethings who meet the "PoolBoy" requirements. And if we know anything about how to keep track of their latest updates, releases, and, yes, pool parties, we'll be glued to their Twitter feed for the release date.

Thanks to the photo-sharing application Instragram, we can see through the lens of Phoenix photographer Alyssa Aragon. The 24-year-old has an endless stream of local images — late-night parties and concerts, street art, architecture, and portraits of this city's well-known creatives — that keeps us busily scrolling through her everyday routine. Aragon started taking photos a few years ago for her friend's custom car shop, Kreepin Kustumz, and started bringing her camera to late-night events she had on her calendar, including weekly DJ nights at downtown's Bar Smith and Tempe's Yucca Tap Room. Her photography venture, New.Era.Gone, provides a fresh look at this town, and through Instagram, we can see them all in real time.

If you happen to be someone who buys into the oft-mentioned crackpot prediction that the end of civilization as we know it is less than three months hence, December 21 will be a dark day indeed. Although most experts have dismissed the notion that the impending end of the Mayans' Long Count calendar means the end of days, you're likely busy hustling your angsty ass off making sure there's enough non-perishable food and ammunition stocked up. As the National Geographic reality show Doomsday Preppers indicates, you're far from the only soul who's hurriedly planning ahead for whatever havoc potential Armageddon might unleash. Local comedian and performance artist Kevin Patterson has been documenting his own preparations via his hilarious WordPress blog "How to Get Ready for the Apocalypse" to provide a satirical chronicle of his preparations for doomsday and beyond. While his entries are written in tonuge-in-cheek fashion, Patterson claims honestly to believe in the prophecy and fills the blog with genuine survival tips mixed in with the jokes. Such knowledge includes instructions for a solar oven, plants and animals that are edible (such as cacti and gophers), where to seek shelter, and which particular songs would be appropriate to listen to as death rains down from the skies, including Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself." We suggest adding some REM to that list, Kevin.

Pretty much every historic neighborhood has some kind of website or newsletter (or both), detailing the history of the 'hood and notifying denizens about upcoming yard sales and kiddy parades. But The Joan D'Arc Crusader is about a west-side street that is neither historic nor likely to play host to any home tours — and yet we can't stop reading it. It's a homespun, genuinely affectionate tribute to a 50-year-old neighborhood, full of neighbors' favorite remembrances of Joan De Arc Avenue, the final street built in 1961 in the Surrey Heights subdivision near 19th Avenue and Thunderbird. Photographs, editorials, and essays about Mad magazine — who could ask for more from a neighborhood newsletter?

Sure, a hefty chunk of our desert population gets by on board shorts and flip-flops. But fashion in Phoenix is much more than that. Case in point: Style Tutor. At the helm of the burgeoning fashion blog are Kristy Roschke and Jennifer Woolsey — teachers by day and a two-person fashion authority by night.

What sets them apart from the rest of the fashion-forward and trend-relevant blogosphere? In spite of getting giddy over luxury labels like Lanvin and Louis Vuitton, these two bloggers are budget-conscious (Woolsey admittedly is devoted to digging through bins at Last Chance) without sacrificing good taste. By keeping tabs on cutting-edge couture in addition to what's hitting the racks at H&M, the duo serves up tips on how to embrace of-the-moment looks without breaking the bank.

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