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The real reason behind Tucson’s high food prices

Bananas skin our wallets at 59 cents per pound. A single red pepper pops bank account, often weighing in at more than $1.50. Give us a break.

Sure, it’s rather costly to have fresh fruits and veggies hauled to the middle of the desert from those faraway, lush places in which they thrive. But that’s not the real reason behind Tucson’s high food prices.

The culprit is the stolen shopping cart.

These four-wheeled creatures show up in some of the strangest places. Shopping cart spottings of late have included the wash, the river walk, random street corners, several bus stops and behind a post office on Speedway Boulevard where two carts were converging on a mailbox. They appeared to be accosting the poor defenseless mail container who could not even be saved by the threat of federal prosecution.

Carts accosting a mailbox/Ryn Gargulinski
Carts accosting a mailbox/Ryn Gargulinski

Supermarkets across the city have not issued any reports that pinpoint exactly how much money is lost due to stolen shopping carts, but we can surmise stores make up the loss by over-pricing peppers.

Cart at a bus stop/Ryn Gargulinski
Cart at a bus stop/Ryn Gargulinski

Stolen shopping carts are so common and costly that some stores employ brake shoe locks that stop the cart from rambling beyond the store’s parking lot. Others imprint the kiddie seats with a warning that it’s not nice to steal.

Best Buy cart on river walk, miles from any Best Buy/Ryn Gargulinski
Best Buy cart on river walk, miles from any Best Buy/Ryn Gargulinski

Still others may caution a security camera is watching the potential thief from a tower somewhere where a guard is equipped with the same weaponry found at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Pelican Bay guard tower/Ryn Gargulinski
Pelican Bay guard tower/Ryn Gargulinski

To make matters even costlier, Arizona Revised Statute 44-1799.33 explains how the shopping cart’s original owners may have to reimburse the city if the cart has become impounded after laying around in the wash, river walk, random street corner, bus stop or converging on a mailbox on Speedway.

How unfair. Fines should be issued instead to those caught stealing the carts or using them as playthings in the sand.

Tucson, fight back. Bring those wayward shopping carts back home. Shopping carts found out and about can be returned to their store of origin by simply attaching them with bungee cords to your car roof.

Roll the cart directly to the store manager and tell him where you found it and how you went to great lengths to bring it back. Then ask for a discount on bananas and peppers.

You never know. It may just work. And it will also save that poor Speedway mailbox from further harassment.

Anyone not sure what is meant by “shopping cart,” can check out the definition at ARS 44-0179.31

Where’s the strangest place you’ve seen a wayward shopping cart?

Have you ever stolen a shopping cart? If yes, shame on you.

Have you ever returned one to its rightful owner? If yes, you deserve a free banana.

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Yogi, mystic and spiritual leader Sadhuguru coming to Tucson

Fix your soul and call me in the morning.

That’s what doctors should be recommending rather than a couple of aspirin or an apple a day. Anyone who agrees can check out a notable yogi, mystic and spiritual leader who will be in town this weekend.

Sadhguru/Submitted photo
Sadhguru/Submitted photo

Who: Sadhuguru J. Vasudev
When: Sunday, June 21
Where: Noetic Sciences Conference “Toward a Global Shift” at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort

What: He’s going to tell the audience about his theory and method of “Inner Engineering: Realize the Ultimate Power Within,” or tinkering with our insides to become the best we can be on the outside (no, it does not involve surgical procedures)

Why: Why not? The way the world is crumbling, rotting and warring around us, we might as well try something different

Since the conference is held at the Marriott and runs three days, it’s probably costly. If you would rather just check out more on Sadhuguru, visit his website or the site for his Isha Foundation.

I’ve not seen Shadhuguru, but I have been to two yoga retreats in Tulum, Mexico, that left me feeling serene, sublime and as if I could rule the world. Of course, the effect lasted about three days before I was back screaming and swearing at fellow motorists.

We need to make these practices a part of our daily life, not just a week-long get-away. The world would be a much better place if we didn’t scream and swear at fellow motorists.

Do you believe in the power of positive thinking and healing the inner core before being able to successfully deal with the outer world?

Or do you think this kind of stuff is a bunch of flimflam, like when yelling preachers get crippled people to walk on stage?

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Stop ignoring the homeless

Sick of the homeless folks lurking about the wash, river walk and park?

Then do something about it.

No, you don’t have to open your bedroom to total strangers, but you can help by attending a fundraising benefit concert and art auction at the Center for Creative Chaos.

The event runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 29 at the Z Mansion, 288 N. Church Ave.

It’s $5 to get in, but you get a lot for that five bucks, like a performance by the coolest man standing, Black Man Clay, who is one of four musical acts scheduled for the event.

Black Man Clay is a riot/File photo Francisco Medina
Black Man Clay is a riot/File photo Francisco Medina

You can also join a raffle to win New Mexico artist Sarah Smith’s Day of the Dead art or bid on other art that is part of the silent auction that starts June 26 through 29.

A news release from the Center adds more info:

The Center for Creative Chaos educates the public on the reality of the conditions of homelessness and poverty through video and advocacy activities. You can help support their mission by attending this summer event filled with music, art, refreshments and conversation. Recent video projects provide an intimate glimpse at homeless people that most of us never encounter.

Even if you can’t make the June 29 event, you can help the homeless through the Center in other ways. Every other Saturday at noon the Center conducts a Feed The Homeless Project at Santa Rita Park, Third Avenue and 22nd Street. The release notes:

You can participate by donating sandwiches, prepared lunches, pizza, hamburgers, soda, water, juices, clothing, blankets, toiletries or anything that you figure that people that don’t have anything can use. Or you can help enliven their lives by listening to their stories and communicating with them.

The Center for Creative Chaos is at:
739 N. Fourth Ave. (next to the Epic Cafe), 623-9061
Regular gallery hours are 1 to 8 p.m., Mon. through Wed.
Website: http://companies.to/thecenterforcreativechaos/

The Center for Creative Chaos is under the fiscal sponsorship of Pan Left Productions http://panleft.org/. Tax free donations can be made through Pan Left by indicating the Center for Creative Chaos.

Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Do you help the homeless?
Have you ever been homeless?
Have you ever been helped?

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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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The Roswell experience – Companion piece to Report from Area 51

Aliens blasting down to take over the planet has always been a scintillating thought.

Sure, we may end up getting our brains bisected, but at least we would no longer have to worry about mundane things, like emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry.

Since our Logical Lizard Geoffrey Notkin posted about his and Caroline’s experience near Nevada’s Area 51, I thought it only fair to chime in with my own alien excursion.

Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico

Roswell street lamp/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell street lamp/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell soda machine/Ryn Gargulinski
Roswell soda machine/Ryn Gargulinski

If nothing else, Roswell is cashing in on the aliens that began landing there in the 1940s by hooking up the town with alien-themed everything.

Despite its jovial outward appearance, some Roswellians seemed pretty cranky. One man who ran one of those kitschy alien novelty shops was downright rude. When I asked if there was a bathroom I could use, he pointed at the wastebasket.

What we should do to the rude man/Ryn Gargulinski
What we should do to the rude man/Ryn Gargulinski

Maybe he was mad because if you took photos in the alien museum, which was dark but became illuminated by the flash, you could tell some of the alien beings were held to the wall with duct tape.

Duct taped alien/Ryn Gargulinski
Duct taped alien/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien behind a shower curtain/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien behind a shower curtain/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien near a metal thing/Ryn Gargulinski
Alien near a metal thing/Ryn Gargulinski

While it was evident the duct-taped aliens were not real, I do like to believe in the other incidents. Like one of my friends said about the spacecraft and debris found by a New Mexico man in the 1940s: “Why would a farmer lie, Ryn, why would a farmer lie?”

Besides, any alien is sure to be nicer than that grouchy old pee-in-the-wastebasket man.

Our friend the alien/File photo
Our friend the alien/File photo
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