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Odd Pueblo: Hunky Egyptian left at the altar

Just as he was packing his tomb to move to his new home, the hunky Egyptian guy who has been seeking a cozy refuge was left in the lurch.

Magic Carpet Golf’s remaining statue, the giant sphinx, still remains.

“I just got word from the party that had committed to the sphinx and they are now backing out,” said Tucson artist Charlie Spillar, whose efforts to find homes for the gads of giant golf course statues earned him honors from the Tucson Mayor and City Council.

“Oh well, I knew it was an expensive venture. Now I have to start my search again. They had their contractors look at it and determined it was just too expensive to move and they could probably build a new one cheaper.”

Building a new one may be cheaper, but it wouldn’t have the value as a chunk of kooky Tucson history. The statues at Magic Carpet Golf, 6125 E. Speedway Blvd., were created by Lee Koplin some 30 years ago and have amused kids and adults alike for decades.

Spillar said the sphinx seemed to be taking it well, or at least the big guy kept a stony face through the emotional upheaval.

Do you want the sphinx? E-mail Spillar at

Photo by John Meyer
Photo by John Meyer

Read Spillar’s update on the giant tiki head statue.

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What's with all the rollovers?

OK, Mitch. This one is for you.

Avid reader and commenter Mitch posed a question through my e-mail:

I’m from Santa Cruz – You know, Highway 1, Big Sur, 1,000 foot cliffs straight down to the waters edge.

My question is: How come we never have any “rollovers” in our news?

Yet, I’ve been (in Tucson) five years and every day there is a rollover.

He also noted many of the rollovers happen on Interstate 10:

There’s one road, its wide, paved AND a straight shot from here to Phoenix, How do Tucsonans do it?

The thing was constructed so a 747 could land on it for Pete’s sake. (Who IS Pete by the way)?

To answer Mitch’s inquiries:

1. Why aren’t there rollovers in Big Sur?

There are few, if any, rollovers in places that have highways abutting sheer cliffs that drop to the sea, such as your former Highway 1 in Big Sur and my former Highway 101 in southern Oregon, for a simple reason.

The vehicles don’t have time to roll over when they lose control. They simply smash, crash and then dash through the guardrail right down with a splash into the water.

No room to roll/Photo by Ryn Gargulinski
No room to roll/Photo by Ryn Gargulinski

2. Who is Pete?

The “Pete” from the term “for Pete’s sake” goes back to the Bible, according to, which offers this explanation:

“For Pete’s Sake” – The phrase is simply a polite version of a common and profane expression involving the name of Christ. We’d surmise that the original ‘Pete’ was St. Peter.” From “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris.

The explanation is kind of boring, as I was hoping Pete was a tad more mysterious. But it also falls into line with a phrase I used to think I heard as a kid in church. When congregation members said en masse, “Thanks Be To God,” I actually thought they were saying “Thanks Peter God.” I thought it cute God had such an earthy name like Peter.

Any other rollover theories out there?

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Unemployment and death are such ugly words

Every other day another traditional term gets rewritten into something politically correct. Not only is it silly, but it takes the reality out of situations by masking them with flowery language.

People are no longer unemployed, as pointed out by former TC staffer Renee Schafer Horton in the previous post, they are “dislocated workers.”

Folks don’t die, they “pass away,” “proceed to eternal rest,” or “go sit in the palm of Jesus’s hand with angels singing in their ears and flowers strewn beneath their feet.”

No one is short, chunky or ugly, they are “height challenged,” “blessed with ampleness,” or “uniquely featured.” I’m convinced Sears played a big part in the PC movement by calling its jeans for fat kids “husky.”

Black is African American, American Indians are Native Americans, white folk are Caucasian or, as found in some of the most recent questionnaires that include ethnicity, “none of the above.” It makes me laugh every time I have to pick “none of the above.”

Even the term manic depression, which gave rise to a kick-butt Jimi Hendrix tune, has been toned down to be known as “bipolar.”

Some of the terms are wimpy, others are downright annoying.

Or should we say some are “soft-spoken in strength” and “perky with peskiness.”

What PC term makes you cringe when you see it and why?
Has political correctness gone overboard?

"Resting eternally"/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
"Resting eternally"/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

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Help wanted: get new skills for a new job

Tucson’s thousands of unemployed have a chance to nab summer training for their dream job.

Every little girl and boy longs to don a tutu while perching atop an elephant. Well, maybe the boys would rather not wear the tutu. In either case, the dream can come true with circus training right here in town.

Tucson Circus Arts
is offering classes for the masses, which may just fill the void for some of the thousands who are unemployed. This training was brought to my attention, in fact, by former TC staffer and amazing journalist Renee Schafer Horton.

Join the Circus, Renee Schafer Horton
Any registration for a class that includes the question “Will you be renting stilts?” has my vote for coolest summer class anywhere.

I just finished an Employability Skills Workshop offered for “dislocated workers” (the PC term for the unemployed) and during it, we were asked to think about our “skills.” My main skills – curiosity, risk-taking, tenacity, pretty high lie-radar – qualify me to be a good reporter (the job I just got laid off from) or …. a spy.

Circus work offers many benefits over the humdrum 9 to 5:

• Your desk is a circus tent

• Free nationwide travel

• A steady diet of corn dogs and cotton candy

• If you’re trained properly in acrobatics, trapeezery or ringmaster-dom you won’t get stuck with the dirty work, like sweeping up elephant dung

• You can probably wear what you want, as long as it involves sequins

Did you ever want to join the circus? A cult? The army?

Tucson act Dance of Illusion would thrive in a circus setting/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Tucson act Dance of Illusion would thrive in a circus setting/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
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Facebook for monks

If the usual social networking sites are leaving you spiritually lacking, all you need to do is pay a visit to one set up by monks at DunceBook.god, according to a post at by George Held at

No, the name does not refer to people forced to sit in the corner with pointy hats, but rather Duns Scotus, a prominent theologian of the Middle Ages.

Monks Offer New Site for Social Networking,

Lexington, KY (INS), June 6. Trappist monks at their Kentucky monastery have announced DunceBook, a new alternative to Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Living under the Rule of St. Benedict, Trappists must earn their keep and some monasteries make bread, jam, or beer.

As the Reverend Albinus Cassock, abbot of Golgotha Monastery, explained, “In the current digital age, our brothers have turned to high tech for our living: We offer an ecumenical site for all dunces who need another place to tell likeminded folk about their daily ablutions, passing of wind, and eliminations.” A modest fee will help to keep the site on the Internet and offer users a link to the Divine through social networking, “a sort of online miracle,” as the abbot put it.

(For the record, I tried to visit the DunceBook and it shuttled me into MySpace where I didn’t have to pursue it further at the moment.)

DunceBook adds to the number of theme or niche-oriented social networking sites, and we could always use more. We already have several for Tucson networking for dates or for business, but are sorely lacking in some specific groups, like networking sites for kite makers, ambulance drivers and serial killers.

What niche social networking site would you love to see?