Only sissies don't like Ozzy, and The Flash ain't no sissy. He's a hard-rockin', sun-soakin', beer-swillin' American heavy-metal fan, dammit, and the sweaty, besotted, meth-ridden throngs who took over Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion for OZZfest '97 last Thursday were beautiful people.

Overcome with nostalgia as he reeled past a bonfire in the lawn section, The Flash sucked in a lung full of air tainted with cheap Mexican pot smoke and bellowed that butt-rock battle cry of old--"Ozzzzz-eeeeee!"--watched his faded Bark at the Moon Tour '83 tee shirt slowly deflate, then went for more brew.

The lines at the concession stand were curiously short and--what's this? A hand-lettered sign above the beer taps read, "Alcohol sales will stop at 7:45." The Flash looked at his watch. 7:53. Sacrilege! For the love of rock, why would anyone cut off the beer at an Ozzy show?

The Flash surveyed the crowd. Oh--that's why. Everyone was drunk. Sloppy shoving matches were commonplace, and passed-out rockers were splayed out across the "Never, Never Land" vending pavilion; it looked like a scene from Platoon. It was ugly, but good for Ozzy. No one seemed to care that he acted like his back and feet hurt, that he couldn't hit the high, medium or low notes anymore, or that he tried to bite the head off a hummingbird but his dentures fell out. Actually, that last one was made up.

Just before Ozzy's set, one young rocker collapsed near the lemonade stand. Some of his fellows stepped or tripped over him, but a couple dozen formed a circle and stared down. "Hey," said one. "Hey, dude." Getting no response, the guy laughed. "I want whatever he's on, only half."

Healthy Respect
The murky circumstances of Jack Dillenberg's recent resignation as director of the state Department of Health Services remain shrouded in mystery: Was he or was he not forced to resign by the man who'd appointed him, Governor J. Fife Symington III?

The Flash will strive to answer that question at a later date.
On Thursday, June 26, in the rarefied atmosphere of the Phoenix Country Club, a few hundred people paid tribute to the bearded little man, a dentist by training.

"Arizona has lost another great one," an invitation for the shindig read. "And, as always, the people are the ultimate losers when political mischief is at work. But this time we're not going to take it lying down. . . ."

What exactly did that mean? At the party, the ebullient Dillenberg claimed he didn't have a clue. But he said it in such a way that indicated otherwise.

Dillenberg was unusual for a Fifester appointee. He was likable, engaging, bordering on progressive. Some of his ideas were innovative and consumer-oriented, and provided rare bright spots in Arizona's government-is-bad milieu; his highly publicized and controversial antitobacco program comes to mind.

Dillenberg also was a tireless self-promoter, who probably spent too little time cozying up to Symington's henchpeople. The Flash took note of this at Dillenberg's love fest: Several "noncovered" DHS employees--who conceivably could lose their jobs at the whim of bunker-mentality Symingtonites who still hold sway--were conspicuous by their absence at the fete.

"Jack was a pretty popular guy among the troops," a man who agreed only to be described as "a state employee" told The Flash, "but most of us figure that Symington sent over spies to see who was here. Things are really goofy these days."

Judge Injury
The Memo of the Week was penned by Judge Ron Reinstein, who presides over Maricopa County Superior Courts' criminal division. You should know that Reinstein is not antimedia. In fact, he's one of the state's most approachable jurists. Reinstein has been known to actually own up to it when something goes wrong at his shop. That's what's unusual about his June 23 e-mail to the county's judges, commissioners and others regarding the Tribune's recent opus about the "system's" alleged leniency in handling child-molestation cases. To wit:

Some of you were contacted previously by the reporter, Kirk Mitchell, and had serious questions as to his lack of understanding of what you were saying. You were right. The report is filled with inaccuracies and incomplete examinations of cases. He couldn't even get simple things straight.

For example, he quotes me as referring to a law that says judges can only carry 71 cases and that all criminal judges carry 85, in violation of this supposed law. That will come as a big surprise to all the criminal judges who carry over 300 cases! That particular quote was supposed to have to do with the fact we have 71 judges and are well below the constitutional provision of one judge for every 30,000 residents, which would warrant about 85 judges. . . .