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Many of the inmates are awaiting trial, which means they haven't been convicted of anything. But that's way too high-concept for Alzheimer's to grasp.

Weirdly, the animal-huggers on hand welcomed the sheriff's endorsement, even if they weren't happy with his policies toward prisoners. Volunteer Dan Sweeney seemed to sum up their sentiments.

"That's where I disagree with him, the way he runs his prisons," said Sweeney. "But I think it's awesome Sheriff Joe's here for the pigs and the calves who can't speak for themselves."

Just pray you never end up in one of his jails, Dan. 'Cause then you'll be wishin' you were a preggers Snowflake porker in a two-by-seven-foot stall.

Choo-Choo Charade

Must be terrifying to be the spokes-chick for Metro Rail, what with all the ethics probes and bankrupt business owners and rabid, construction-crazed commuters out there.

Heck, The Bird's ready to tar-and-feather the first light-rail official it can lay its wings on, it's so fed up with the multi-billion-tax-dollar boondoggle messing up its morning commute.

No wonder, then, that Metro Communications manager Marty McNeil figures the only way to ensure her safety is by using a phony moniker.

"It gives me a little privacy and protection," the so-called McNeil whined to this unforgiving fowl, when questioned. "This is a very visible job. There are people who are mentally ill."

All the same, this callous cockatiel will reveal all: McNeil used her real name, Marty Macurak, at her previous job as assistant director of the state Game & Fish Department.

McNeil/Macurak, formerly a radio and television personality, said it's common in the broadcast world to assume a fake name. And truly, Marty McNeil flows more trippingly from the beak than Macurak, which is reminiscent of the sound that comes from The Bird's throat after a long night guzzling fermented fruit.

But what the eff, this ain't the local weather report, and you ain't no Royal Norman, hon. Get a grip, you're a frickin' public servant! If you didn't want the job as the flack to P-town's biggest pain in the patootie, you shouldn't have taken it.

"I hope you're not planning to write something about this," pleaded the PR gal. Duh, Marty, how could you think that?

McNeil/Macurak's boss, Metro Light Rail CEO Rick Simonetta, has no problem with Marty's name change. For Simonetta, it's all about how she does her job.

"I thought it was her decision," Simonetta shrugged. "I don't have a problem with it."

Wake up and smell the asphalt, Ricky! Phoenicians hate light-rail construction so much that, with an attitude like that, you may soon be asked to approve expense reports for identity-concealing plastic surgery makeovers for employees.

After this item's printed, The Bird just hopes McNeil/Macurak doesn't try to enter the federal Witness Protection Program.

Dive into The PHX, Phoenix New Times' leap into the blogosphere, including Stephen Lemons' Feathered Bastard.

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