Everything's Okay, I Said
Channel 10 reporter and weekend anchor Troy Hayden is a Bill Close Award winner. The award, named after the curmudgeonly and mercifully retired Channel 10 news fixture, is occasionally bestowed by New Times on newscasters who go below and beside the call of duty.

Hayden claims the first Close Award of 1996 for a story he did March 7, after Arizona State University upset the University of California in men's basketball. His assignment: reaction to the latest travails of coach Bill Frieder vis-a-vis the arrests of three prized hoop recruits on rape and other charges.

Hayden summarized his findings during a live standup inside an empty Activity Center. Despite it all, ASU's fans remain solidly in Frieder's corner, he disclosed.

He then cut away to a silver-haired gent who had been interviewed during the game. You can't blame coach Frieder, the man said, somewhat testily. Whether these kids succeed or don't succeed is up to them. I back Frieder 100 percent.

Or words to that effect.
A subtitle told viewers the interviewee was: "Bill Close, ASU fan."
Close was the only known source used to bolster Hayden's "thesis." Using Close wasn't quite logrolling, and it wasn't quite unethical. It was, however, silly--and worthy of a Close Award.

To Err Is Human
It was good to see Tom Fitzpatrick in print again. His piece in the Perspective section of Sunday's Arizona Republic described an encounter between Sheriff Joe Arpaio and retired Army general Norman Schwarzkopf. The colorful vignette was made even more entertaining by 17 misspellings of Schwarzkopf's name. Note to Fitz and/or theRepublic copy desk: There's no "t."

What's That Say About Shoegazers?
Seen on the featured release rack at the Tower Records Tempe outlet: dozens of copies of the new Gin Blossoms release, Congratulations I'm Sorry, stacked atop a like number of CD jewels for gangsta rapper 2Pac Shakur's double-disc set All Eyez on Me.

Two big sellers from disparate genres for sale side by side--nothing outside the ordinary at first glance. But what's this little sticker affixed to all the 2Pac albums say? "EMPTY"?

What's up with that?
"Rap fans just seem to steal more," explains Tempe Tower store manager Dan Shepherd. "A mind-boggling number of rap albums was walking out of the store. Some people would just run in, grab the album off the front case, and run out."

Shepherd says he decided to defend his store's stock after 15 rap CDs disappeared in three days. "It has nothing to do with race," he says. "It's just a huge problem we have with that particular style of music."

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