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Raging wildfire causing concern

Raging wildfires are one of the many dry-weather joys of living in Tucson. They usually kick around for awhile, displacing rabbits and field mice, then peter out or become contained.

The Elk Horn Fire, in the Baboquivari Peak Wilderness Area about 50 miles southwest of Tucson, has been causing quite a stir since it began June 11.

The fire is “human caused, ” according to the Arizona State Forestry Division.

As of Tuesday, the Elk Horn has consumed 14,500 acres and is only 18 percent contained and expected to burn for several more days. The terrain is rough and ragged, making access tough for fire crews. Two helicopters, six engines, four water tenders, four hand crews, three hotshot crews and a grand total of 215 personnel have been fighting this blaze.

Elk Horn Fire/AZ State Forestry
Elk Horn Fire/AZ State Forestry

This particular fire is noxious enough to have prompted the American Lung Association of Arizona and Pima County Department of Environmental Quality to issue a smoke advisory.

The advisory warns people, especially those with respiratory problems, to take caution. It also advises:

• Not to jog, jump rope or exert yourself in smoky areas
• Close your doors and windows
• Use air conditioning rather than evaporative coolers, since the latter will just suck smoke into your home

Other helpful tips should include:

• Don’t stand directly beneath a big billow of smoke and take in an expansive, gulping breath
• Don’t venture southwest of town into the burning brush to see what all the hubbub is about
• Don’t try to emulate the Elk Horn, or any other wildfire, in your barbecue grill.

Barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Unattended barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski
Unattended barbecue/Ryn Gargulinski

Still worried? Check out air pollution levels at the PDEQ website or call the PDEQ hotline at
(520) 882-4AIR. This way you know if you should go north for the summer.

Have you ever gotten up and close and personal with a raging wildfire?

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Movie review: Glorious gore fest

Not many movies gross me out enough to leave the theater or, in the case of home rentals, close my eyes on the faux-fur-covered couch. Two movies I rented this weekend were horrifically gory enough to do so, and then some.

Gore/Ryn Gargulinski
Gore/Ryn Gargulinski

Above all else, both movies left me in shock. Not necessarily because of their content, but because I picked two awesome movies in a row.

Anyone who has rented movies with me knows I have an incredible knack for picking out pure duds (think My Left Foot).

But Eden Lake and Martyrs were anything but duds. They were good enough for me to pass along to add to your gore list. Warning: these are sick flicks.

Eden Lake – A couple gets stranded at a remote lake where they are stalked, terrorized and tortured by a band of bawdy 12-year-olds. Movie comes complete with burning bodies and realistic stab wounds that gush black blood.
Proves my theory that even a gang of 5-year-olds could kill you.
Lowlight: A dog dies.
Rating (1-10): 8.25
Would have scored higher if the ending were not so predictable although the movie went out of the way to make it seem unpredictable.

Martyrs – A woman who was abused as a child seeks revenge 15 years after the fact. Rather than that being the end of the story, it is only the beginning of a new and horrifying chapter for the woman’s best friend, who ends up worse off than child-abuse victim ever was.
Highlight: Gives you an easy recipe on how to drive someone insane.
Lowlight: It’s a French film dubbed in English that also features English subtitles. This means the actors’ mouths not only don’t match the dubbing, but the dubbing doesn’t match the subtitles. Only after you stop comparing the dubbed words with the subtitles to see which is better English (while wondering if you would understand any of it if it had been left in French) can you begin to enjoy the flick.
Rating (1-10): 11
Sick. Twisted. Grotesque. Shocking surprise ending. Yet it still leaves you with hope. See it and you’ll know what I mean.

See any good, bad or ugly movies this past weekend?
What are your picks for the best gore?

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Shots fired at parks and wildlife crew on the border

Men and women in uniform may look official, snappy and, depending on the uniform, sometimes even sexy, but they are also easy targets for gun-toting Mexicans along the border.

It doesn’t matter if the uniform denotes Border Patrol, cops or even a wildlife or parks worker.

Game and Fish officer, 2 other agency employees fired upon near Mexico border, AZ Game and Fish Dept. news release:

PHOENIX – Three government agency employees, including an officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, another Game and Fish employee, and an employee with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, were fired upon the afternoon of June 11 by a group of men they encountered while scouting the area for a land access project in southern Arizona.

None of the agency employees were injured.

The three were riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on a road through a small canyon area about four miles east of Arivaca Lake when they encountered a group described as at least four Hispanic males dressed in camouflage.

According to Leonard Ordway, supervisor for Game and Fish’s Tucson region, two of the individuals in camouflage immediately fled a short distance up a hill and dropped down in the grass upon the encounter, while the agency employees backed out of the immediate vicinity and regrouped.

After a few minutes, the Game and Fish officer crept up a small rise a short distance from the road to look over the scene with binoculars. He observed two other males in camouflage in the area, but in a different direction from the first two. He then started back down the hill to return to the ATVs.

“As he started back down to the quads, a gunshot coming from the direction where the first two individuals had fled impacted the ground about 10 feet behind him,” said Ordway.

The three agency employees immediately departed the area and notified Game and Fish Radio Dispatch, which in turn notified the Border Patrol, Pima County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

About 30-40 law enforcement personnel, aided by three helicopters, were on site within 45 minutes to search the area and investigate the scene. They were not able to find the suspects but did recover several fresh 9mm casings from the area where the initial shot came from, indicating subsequent shots may have been fired as the agency employees were leaving the area.

“We’re thankful no one was hurt,” said Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles. “Our law enforcement officers and other field personnel often work in remote areas, and (this) incident serves as a reminder of the potential dangers that they—and personnel from other agencies—face in areas near the border.”

Voyles added that Game and Fish is reviewing its operating procedures for employees working in borderland areas.

Maybe parks, wildlife and natural resources employees along the border can change their uniforms to something less official-looking, like cut-offs and tank tops. But was it the uniforms that helped prompt the shooting or would the men have shot at anything that moved?

What do you think?

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Artist’s Sketchbook: Weekend haul (photo post)

Anyone who spent their weekend lazing on a hammock, I envy you. Mine was largely spent bent over shards of metal fashioning them into freaky pieces. If I didn’t love creating art, I’d be really cranky right about now. And yes, I know I still owe someone some evil windchimes – next weekend, promise!

Much of the haul from the past two weeks is going to the creative folks for review at Bohemia: An Artisans Emporium. Hopefully they’ll find them dashing and include them in their stock. If not, my yard will be even more like Candyland.

Would also enjoy any reader comments, if you have any. Here’s some options to get the juices flowing:

a. These are so cool I want to fall over.

b. These are so ugly I want to fall over.

c. My bird needs three of the “Beware of Bird” signs because he tries to poke out people’s eyeballs.

d. My gerbil bit me and it made me accidentally kill him.

e. My cat pukes all the time and I always step in it in the middle of the night.

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Ryn: Sex sells


Sex sells.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Or at least the millions who spend billions to plaster it all over thousands of billboards, magazine ads and TV spots hope it sells.

Sex is actually one of the top marketing ploys you’re expected to memorize in media classes. It’s right up there with celebrities, animals, humor and catchy music.

Not many can forget the “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is” of Alka Seltzer or the series of sung “meows” that helped sell the yellow-boxed Meow Mix cat food.

At least the singing cats weren’t having sex.

Tucson is pretty mild when it comes to sex ads, at least on billboards. The closest I recall was a beer ad that depicted a moonlit beach reflecting off naked legs that promised a wild night if you got drunk on their stuff.

They failed to mention, however, any quickie hookup would most likely lead to an even quicker breakup when both parties sobered up.

Another ad, which I thankfully have not glimpsed in some time, used sex to encourage women to go get breast exams. At least I think that’s what the ad was for.

The bus stop posters showed a topless woman holding two roundish things in front of her chest. The things ranged from oranges to baseballs and even included a halved avocado, with the pits still in so they looked like deformed nipples.

Since the ad was geared towards women, it seemed counterproductive to use a gimmick that would appeal more to men, even if the bountiful items were only avocado.

In addition to beer and breast exams, sex is also used to sell, well, sex.

I don’t watch TV, but my friend fills me in on how every other 30-second spot is selling the latest, greatest miracle drug, device or doohickey that will enhance your sex life.

The ads depict formerly sad couples in bed who are now happy since they found this magical miracle.

One local paper has a whole section devoted to sex ads every week.

Readers are promised everything from phone fantasies to erotic escorts. They are also reminded of club specials like “bikini Thursday” and featured acts with names like “Prinzzess Pet.”

Give me a break.

Ladies night is just another sex ploy used by bars to get more men into the joint. Men will come if women are there.

Colleges, too, may be jumping into the game.

Women are finally outnumbering men on a number of campuses nationwide.

As the gap widens, one Skidmore College professor was quoted in USA Today as saying, “We should be taking about whether it’s reasonable to give preferences to men.”

That means lowering the standards for guys so more can get in.

Colleges may think they are selling this premise under “gender equality,” but it all boils back to sex as a marketing ploy. Women will come if men are there.

After all, who would go to college for silly things like learning. Rather, it’s a place to get drunk and have sex.

Give me another break.

Unless we live in a cloistered cell, we can’t really avoid all the sex ploys, ads, toys and the dozens of sex e-mails that clog our junk folders every day.

But we can choose not to fall prey to their incessant and demanding messages or their blatantly false promises.

Getting a beer, breast exam, college degree or many other products or services will not insure you have sex.

Besides, it would be tough to get passionate or intimate with an avocado in the way, anyway.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist and Ryngmaster who wrote this column while wearing a bikini. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her Rynski’s Shattered Reality webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail