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Odd Pueblo: Snappy or Crappy?

This fun Odd Pueblo feature asks the audience to rate a trend, topic or sighting of something around town: is it snappy or crappy?

The last snappy or crappy, a happy mustard face on bread, generally got an all-around snappy. It also elicited fond memories of triangular pancakes and other foodstuff we make into funny faces or shapes.

The latest snappy or crappy is also smiling – but with a toothier grin. Meet the giant T-Rex (as if a T-Rex could be anything but giant).

Snappy or crappy?/Ryn Gargulinski
Snappy or crappy?/Ryn Gargulinski

This dude stands on the corner of East Tanque Verde and North Kolb roads in front of a McDonald’s.

Even though he’s not as funky as some other Tucson art, he is handsome and fun. He gets a snappy from me.

What do you think? Please respond:
a. Snappy. Dinosaurs bring back fond memories of visiting natural history museums.
b. Snappy. Dinosaurs bring back fond memories of being mauled by large-toothed dogs and other creatures.
c. Crappy. Just another hunk of junk marring our gorgeous landscape.
d. Crappy. Although I like the dinosaur, I don’t like that my kids insist on going to McDonald’s every time we pass it.


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What happens when you don’t call your mom (or dad)

Klaus Lauterbach is already 20 years old but, like a small child done wrong, he may deserve a spanking – at least figuratively.

This German fellow is in the midst of a trek across North America and had spoken to his dad, back in Germany we presume, on Aug. 8.

Dad was left with the impression his boy would be visiting the Grand Canyon on Aug. 9, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

The Grand Canyon/Ryn Gargulinski
The Grand Canyon/Ryn Gargulinski

Then young Lauterbach disappeared. His dad had heard nothing since Aug. 8, and finally took action on Aug. 14.

Dad contacted the police to report his son missing, prompting a search by Grand Canyon National Park rangers and the Flagstaff Police Department.

Investigators learned Lauterbach was last seen getting off a shuttle bus near the Maswik Lodge on Aug. 9, but then his trail went cold.

Maswick Lodge is one-quarter mile from the canyon’s edge, the lodge’s website said.

Recent tragedies may have fueled the worries. A body believed to be missing Grand Canyon hiker Bryce Gillies, 20, was found July 25. Ghoerghe Chiriac, 57, was found dead near a car he drove over the edge of the Grand Canyon on July 13.

These are not positive signs.

Nine days after the Aug. 8 phone call, however, Lauterbach decided to call his dad, telling him he was merrily on his way to British Columbia, Canada.

Shame on you, Klaus.

You got your family and many others in a tizzy.

“The National Park Service would like to thank local and national media, as well as local communities, for their assistance in reaching out to the public for information about Mr. Lauterbach’s whereabouts,” the most recent National Park Service press release said.

Even I know to check in with my folks at least once a week to tell them I’m not dead (and I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t!).


Worries/Ryn Gargulinski
Worries/Ryn Gargulinski

What do you think?

Was Klaus being irresponsible? Was his dad over-reacting?

Do you check in with your parents or expect your kids to check in with your regularly?

What would you do if your parents or children were visiting a foreign country and the same thing happened?

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Tucson’s restaurants tops if you steer clear of undercooked burgers

An easy recipe for feeling like crap by Sunday night is to stay up too late all weekend, refrain from adequate napping and eat too much restaurant food.

Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski

The food itself may not be to blame, as many Tucson eateries are simply delightful, but switching to fab fare from a usual diet of cereal and plain turkey sandwiches might have had something to do with it.

And I will lay some blame on the undercooked burger with its grease-sponge bun. I won’t name the place from whence it came but I will warn it tastes even worse cold. The place is not listed below.

When taken in moderation, some Tucson eateries can be tops.

Best pizza: Roccos Little Chicago, 2707 E Broadway Blvd
The pizza debate rages in households across the country: deep dish versus thin crust. Roccos Pizza offers both, with the deep dish and cheese so thick you a single slice serves as a seven-course meal, especially if you get six toppings.

Best Indian food: Sher-E-Punjab, 853 E. Grant Road
Curry everything and spicy everything else. Only caveat is sometimes it’s so crowded getting your delish dish can take some time. Also don’t go for lunch around 2 p.m. as they take a break and close prior to the dinner rush.

Best Thai: Char’s Thai, 5039 E. Fifth St

Lot’s of interesting stuff in this place, from the exotic food combinations to the snazzy table collages featuring pictures of elephants and Princess Diana. Warning: Do NOT order extra spicy or you will actually break out into a sweat so thick it can blind you.

Best ambiance: Bum Steer, 1910 N. Stone Ave
I’ve only tried two sandwiches at this crazy looking place and both were delish. Besides, I was so enamored with the funky décor that I didn’t really care what I was eating. From rifles to deer heads, street signs to suspended old-time wagons, the place is outfitted with some of the zaniest and most fun stuff I’ve seen since I last looked in my backyard.


Cheers!/Ryn Gargulinski
Cheers!/Ryn Gargulinski

What’s your favorite Tucson restaurant?

Did any of them ever make you sick?

Which has the best food? The best ambiance?

Where do you take visitors from out of town?

Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski

Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
Bum Steer decor/Ryn Gargulinski
KoreyK's elephant hanging from the rafters/Ryn Gargulinski
KoreyK's elephant hanging from the rafters/Ryn Gargulinski
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Happy Birthday: Smokey the Bear turns 65

One dude who just turned 65 is still so hot, he’s smoking. Too bad he’s just a cartoon.

Smokey rocks/Ryn Gargulinski
Smokey rocks/Ryn Gargulinski

But he’s a cartoon with a big campaign, bigger shoulders and the very big message that “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Well, you and Mother Nature.

In any event, Smokey the Bear celebrates his birthday this week, perhaps with a cake sporting battery-operated candles, and he doesn’t appear ready to retire anytime soon.

Forest fires, or in the case of southern Arizona, dry brush desert area fires, have already eaten up more than 4.18 million acres of America this year alone, thanks to careless campers, severe storms and that stuff called lightning.

This week alone, more than 30 large wildfires were raging across the nation, according to Smokey’s online Real Time Wildfire Map, with four and one-half of them in Arizona. The one-half was partly in New Mexico. One of the most visible has been blazing in the Grand Canyon.

Perhaps our area’s mot notable was the Aspen fire that wiped out most of Summerhaven in June 2003.

Smokey must have had the day off.

But his efforts have earned him the distinction of being part of the longest running public service announcement in U.S. history and one of the most recognizable icons of our time.

A whopping 97 percent of adults recognize Smokey’s image at the drop of a ranger hat, according to an Ad Council survey, and three out of four folks can recite his sizzling wildfire mantra without looking at a cue card.

Because Smokey is one of the hottest spokespersons to hit the market, we have to ask why he has been so successful.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Few other cartoon spokespeople have achieved such heights, although we do have the pleasure of McGruff the Crime Dog and his little sidekick Scruff, neither of whom can hold a candle to Smokey.

Smokey has staying power for a number of reasons. One is his sob story of origin. The icon had a real live counterpart when folks found a baby bear cub cowering in a charred tree after a New Mexico wildfire.

The cub was rescued, tended to, healed up and dubbed “Little Smokey.” His new home became Washington D.C.’s National Zoo.

You can’t help but love any icon with a beginning that sweet.

Another reason Smokey is effective is because of his delivery. He doesn’t hit folks on the head with a shovel to instill his message. He uses the age-old method proven to work almost every time on almost everybody: guilt.

One of Smokey’s 1940s-era posters features a disappointed-looking bear sadly pouring a bucket of water on an unattended campfire.

Another depicts dear Smokey actually kneeling down in prayer with the words, “And please make people careful, amen.”

A 1950s poster shows Smokey cradling the near dead body of a doe while a fire rages in the background with the words, “Our Most Shameful Waste.”

OK, OK, I promise to put out my campfire.

Smokey’s final claim to fame is the fact that he’s so dang personable. He may be big, burly and potentially deadly, but he caters to our compassionate side.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

He got his start because of the massive news coverage following the discovery of the charred-up New Mexico bear and has been in the limelight since.

Smokey has been featured in Ladies Home Journal, the star of entire comic books and is a regular on countless posters, radio and TV, not to mention the thousands of schools and other venues he’s visited over the years.

That’s quite a campaign. But then, he’s quite a bear.

Happy birthday, Smokey.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who never started a fire or killed a gerbil on purpose.  Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail


Do you care about Smokey the Bear or are you more into Woodsy Owl?

Do cartoon icons deter you from acting stupid?

In addition to Smokey, Woodsy and McGruff, what other icons do we need?

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Don’t buy guns for felons or ask a cop to kill someone for you

A clueless man and a new gun campaign got me thinking about all the things we should never do for others.

David Santy/TPD photo
David Santy/TPD photo

David L. Santy Jr., 41, was busted for alleged murder for hire, according to a Tucson police news release.

He was reportedly looking for someone to kill a 38-year-old woman and her 11-year-old daughter because they are witnesses in a child molestation case against him.

Santy was allegedly willing to pay $2,000 for the hit. And he asked an undercover cop.

The new campaign, aimed at Tucson residents and visitors and developed by National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), comes complete with a billboard I spied on my recent drive through town.

It warns people they could get 10 years in prison for buying a firearm for someone who is prohibited from owning one.

That, too, seems like a no-brainer, just like we shouldn’t carry terrorists’ suitcases through the airport.

But then again, we would think it was obvious not to ask a cop to carry out a murder for hire plot.

Cute little campaign logo/US Attny
Cute little campaign logo/US Attny

Other things we should never do for (or unto) others:

*Buy minors cigarettes or alcohol
*Cut people’s hair while they’re sleeping
*Squash hopes, dreams and fantasies
*Be mean for the sake of being mean
*Bully folks into things they obviously don’t want to do

On a more serious note, kudos to the police for busting the accused child molester so he did not get away with killing off the witnesses. Do you think this will bolster the case against him?

Murder for hire is an especially cowardly crime, as the person is too chicken to even carryout the plan himself. It also puts life at one of the cheapest levels, as if a mother and daughter are only “worth” $2,000. Human life is priceless, even though it’s sometimes annoying.


What do you think?

Are there things you would never do for others?

What are they?