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Kentucky-Fried Joe

You know it's bad when Nickel Bag Joe doesn't sell out in Sun City West. Yep, The Bird made the trek to the mythical land of geezers on golf carts to attend the Joe Arpaio Roast put on by local Republicans, and was surprised to see only about 400 or so alter kockers show for the much-hyped event at the Maricopa County Events Center.

Considering Sun City's a pro-Joe stronghold, the turnout must've been a disappointment for the bulbous-nosed lawman, who frowned through most of the faux Friars Club hoo-ha, which featured such non-luminaries as Minuteman Chris Simcox, wing-nut radio host from L.A. Terry Anderson, State House Speaker Jim Weiers, and Don "The Apple Fell Faaaar From the Tree" Goldwater. Mushmouth Goldwater came dressed as a walking parody of General George Patton. Ironic, considering Doofus Don is himself the parody of a real politician.

This feathered fiend was planning to tiptoe into the wingding for fear of getting escorted back out by the Selective Enforcement Unit if spotted, when this tweeter made eye contact with Sheriff Joe. He was sitting on a bench outside the hall, about to be interviewed by New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes, in town to cover the smoldering situation between nativists and day laborers at M.D. Pruitt's Home Furnishings store in Phoenix.

"These guys blast me all the time," grumbled Joe about this grackle's employer, after introducing The Bird to Downes. "This guy put my address right on the cover of the New Times!" (A reference to my Christmas card last year, "Joe Strikes Back," December 21.)

"If you're worried about your address being out there, Joe, why don't you move?" queried this quacker.

"Are you trying to drive me out of the county?!" exclaimed the unlovable lawman. Joe then tried to argue that The Bird's bloggin' bud, Feathered Bastard, misinterpreted a recent Cronkite-Eight poll that showed Arpaio's approval ratings at about 61 percent of likely voters, down from the 80-plus percent Arpaio's gotten in the past.

"That poll was mostly Democrats," he grumbled. "You better check your numbers."

The wacky warbler did just that, and guess what? The Cronkite-Eight poll states that its sample "was 43 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat, and 27 percent Independents." Of the entire group, "61 percent had a very positive (32 percent) or generally positive (29 percent) opinion of Sheriff Arpaio."

Suck on that, Joe. That's a freakin' 20 percent dip, compared with your 80 percent highs of yesteryear. Maybe that's why you couldn't get more PoliGrip users out on a Saturday afternoon.

Standing next to us was Joe's wife, Ava Arpaio, who picked up the discussion as her hubby began his interview with the Big Apple Times dood.

"I didn't like that," she complained of the beak-bearer's Xmas card. "I'm there all the time at the house."

"The reason John Dougherty had your address in his column to begin with," explained this egret, "was that he was not able to get information on the up to $1 million in cash you guys plowed into local real estate."

"I can't imagine he couldn't get that," she replied coyly.

"Well, he couldn't," peeped this pecker. "Anyway, your home address is listed on the Web sites of the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Maricopa County elections department."

"But no one looks at those," protested Ava.

"How did you get so much money to invest in real estate?" wondered The Bird.

"We've been very lucky over the years," she muttered mysteriously.

The roast itself soon got under way, and as you might expect, it was pretty lame, mainly because several roasters were more intent on kissing Joe's rump than blistering it.

Brown-nosed Minuteman Simcox smooched the most top-cop heinie, dispensing with the jokes, and opining sans punch line that "the Sheriff makes a good case for cloning." Yeah, Chris, but only if we're discussing a remake of The Boys from Brazil.

Simcox's love affair with Arpaio's backside is understandable, considering Joe's Selective Enforcement Unit spent $500,000 investigating claims that immigrants-rights activist Elias Bermudez and the Minutemen plotted to have Joe whacked. As with all known Joe assassination plots, this one was bogus, but why take chances? "The Little Prince," as they call Simcox in his movement, is way too pretty for prison.

Terry Anderson also Frenched Joe's patootie, for the most part. Though he did get one good one off.

"One lady, when I was renting a car, asked, 'Why're you here in Phoenix?'" he stated. "I said, 'I'm here to roast Sheriff Joe.' She handed me a box of matches and some lighter fluid."

State House Speaker Jim Weiers lobbed a couple of grenades before leaving early for the ASU-Arizona football game.

"Do we have any reporters here?" asked the pudgy pol. "Well, the waiters won't be serving chicken, they'll be serving subpoenas."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons