Ten Random Thoughts as the Oughts (2000-2009) Fade Away

The following are 10 random things that, at the start of this weird decade, we never would have believed:

1. That the historically pathetic Arizona Cardinals would move out to bumfuck Egypt (a.k.a. Glendale, a.k.a. sweet deal), and then would (at the end of the decade) find themselves exactly one play from winning the damned Super Bowl.

2. That Rick Romley, the conservative and often-maligned (by New Times, anyway) Maricopa County Attorney for 16 years would look like a saint (metaphorically, i.e. that's Romley in the photo) in comparison to his successor, the zealot Andrew Peyton Thomas.

3. That Bobby Khan, a semi-wild and crazy guy we met when he was working as a grunt firefighter at Station 21, in south Phoenix, would become the chief -- and a good one -- of the nation's fifth-largest city.

4. That an insignificant minor-league bully named Russell Pearce would finagle his way into such a powerful position in the Arizona Legislature.

5. That light rail actually would happen, and be pretty flippin' cool.

6. That the traditionally so-so Arizona State University basketball program would move up a big notch, just as the football program (under Coach Dennis Erickson) redefined mediocity.

7. That Phoenix street cop Jason Schechterle would become a symbol of courage and grace to the entire Valley -- beyond and during his remarkable (and very public) recovery from unthinkable burns and injuries sustained after a guy rammed into his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car.

8. That Eddie Haramina, the legendary "Hot Dog Guy" from Argentina, would still be right where he was at the start of the decade, serving up his delicious dogs in front of the county court complex in downtown Phoenix, friendly as ever to all passersby, rich and poor.

9. That so many scribes would be put out of a jobs, as the media landscape morphed like mad and papers such as the Tucson Citizen shut down (with the East Valley Tribune likely to soon follow).

10. That two Irish-American fellows named Lacey and Larkin (with a penchant for running alternative weeklies around the nation, including this one) would get arrested for no good reason by gun-toting goons representing the malevolent interests of their boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and his pal, County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Even our pal Elmore Leonard couldn't have conjured up that one





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