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We all must be racist because…

A shocking accusation was recently shoved down my throat – I was branded a racist. Since this is news to me, I had to examine the reasoning behind such a statement.

One attack came about because of a joke I made about the Arroyo Chico bike path and then, just to add to the horror, I may have mentioned one of my ongoing beliefs of how nice it would be if Americans were required to speak English.

To top off my alleged bigotry fest two weeks later, I then posted a photograph of two New York City tourists and pointed out a menacing man in the background. Since the menacing man happened to be black, I was again branded as an Archie-Bunker-wanna-be. Edith, get me a beer.

Which way do we go/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Some folks may be so hell-bent on finding discrimination at every turn that they will create things that are not there.

Since it didn’t even occur to me that pointing out a menacing figure in a photograph, regardless of the menacing person’s ethnicity, could be construed as racism, we have to wonder why some folks came to that conclusion.

Perhaps they are suffering from their own racist beliefs. Or they could be so hell-bent on finding discrimination at every turn that they will create things that are not there.

Using this type of illogical thinking, we can find other instances of prejudice that we never knew existed.

I must be anti-Catholic because I haven’t been to church in about four years. I must be anti-white people because, alas, I always opt for wheat bread, sometimes with nuts.

I’m surely anti-Polish as the only words I know in my ancestors’ native language translate to “butt,” “poop,” and “pee pee.”

I drive an American car, which can only mean I am anti-Japanese.

I must be anti-cat because I own two dogs, anti-mouse because I own two rats and anti-life since I am learning to shoot a gun.

I undoubtedly hate trees because I still use paper, hate the Earth because I drink from plastic water bottles and hate wildlife because I have screens on my windows to keep out bugs.

Give me a break.

Politically correct tip-toeing has gone too far when we have to fear everything we do will be construed as bigotry, hatred or some type of anti-everything crusade.

As the attack proved, if some people are looking for something hard enough, they are going to find it. And some people do look that hard for someone or something to hate.

It also proved that sometimes those who cry the loudest for tolerance are themselves the most intolerant of other points of view. There’s a word that sums it up nicely: hypocrite.

One more lesson gleaned from the rabid attack is that some people really need to lighten up.

No wonder folks are frequently dropping dead from stress – if they become so wound up over something as innocuous as an Arroyo Chico bike path sign, we can only imagine what happens when real problems arise.

They may simply run for the hills – provided they could find the hills with those narrow blinders on.

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Beware of jerks
Beware of jerks

What do you think?

Have you run into such situations?

Has political correctness gone haywire?

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Ryn: Useless items you must have but never need

Three types of people can see suckers coming a mile away: con artists, used shoe salesmen and folks who create totally useless items.

We all know these useless items – as seen on TV! – they can chop, chip, slice, dice, clean, steam or make you svelte and foxy in the blink of an eye.

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The Nana Saver is a waste of dough/Ryn Gargulinski

I’m one of those suckers for these gadgets, with closets, garage corners and drawers stuffed with such miracle stuff that promises to make life easier, breezier and much more fun.

Like the automatic banana slicer. While it sounds like a gem, this hunk of junk is basically a hard piece of plastic with slats you press on top of the banana so slices emerge. The slices end up more like little lumps and cleaning the thing takes triple the time it would have taken if you just sliced the damn banana with a knife.

Bananas seem to have a host of miracle items associated with them, such as the worthless but quite attractive banana holder, which is supposed to keep the fruit from rotting by suspending it a half-inch above the countertop on a tree-like pole, and the miraculous “Nana Saver.”

This small, plastic sleeve fits snugly with a spring latch over the cut end of a banana so it doesn’t turn mushy and brown. In theory.

I tried it once and found the cut banana rotten as usual and the Nana Saver two shelves down in the fridge where it had fallen after the pinched spring came unpinched.

Never trust a Nana Saver.

You should never trust anything that says you will instantly look younger, become firmer or lose weight.

The real deal to losing weight is a simple formula: burn off more calories than you consume.

The life-saving Knit Lite/Ryn Gargulinski
The life-saving Knit Lite/Ryn Gargulinski

Since that’s kind of boring and might actually take some effort, folks prefer to spend thousands of bucks on contraptions that promise flatter abs, a firmer fanny or biceps that rival Schwarzenegger’s, all of which can be achieved while they are watching TV.

Thankfully I have never fallen prey to miracle weight loss products – not even the Neck Slimmer, which looks like a fun, pump-action way to deplete the double chin – although I was once tempted, briefly, to invest in a Thigh Master.

The flashlight, too, pops up on all types of strange gadgets, like the item I recently spotted in the clearance aisle of the neighborhood Michaels arts and craft store.

For only $3.99, marked down from $7.99, you could own a set of light-up knitting needles. The Knit Lite, as the product was called, insures you’d never miss a knit-one-pearl-two beat all those times you are stuck in a dark cave or under a rock and have the rabid urge to knit.

Other ridiculous flashlight items include light-up pens, which are cool in theory but never sufficiently light anything enough to produce more than an illegible scribble, and light-up jester hats. Why anyone would need a jester hat of any sort is another issue altogether.

I must give a hand, however, to those little light-up trinkets you attach to dog collars to insure you can find your pooch in the dark.

True, it did make my dog Sawyer freak out to the point where he just stood there, unable to move, so he would have been easy to find anyway. But at least I could more easily keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t take off with my freshly and automatically sliced banana.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who has a lot of banana-related plastic items for sale. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.Party934.com. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

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Are you a sucker for impulse buys and creative infomercials?

What’s the most useless item you ever purchased?


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97 illegal immigrants found chilling in a frigid tractor trailer

What started as a routine traffic stop for a refrigerated commercial tractor trailer ended up as a hefty illegal immigrant bust on July 29, according to a press release from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer stopped the trailer for an equipment violation after getting a tip, perhaps ironically, from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol.

Packed in the back with chilled out cargo/Ryn Gargulinski
Packed in the back with chilled out cargo/DPS photo

The DPS officer pulled over the truck on Interstate 19 at kilometer 24, north of Nogales, to take the driver into custody on a misdemeanor warrant.

He then peeked in the back of the truck.

In addition to a load of produce chilling out in the 34-degree temperature, he found 97 illegal immigrants. They included adults and children, the latter ranging in age from 9 to 12.

The produce type was not specified but photos of the empty truck show chewed up watermelon rinds along with water jugs and bottles, a mere 2 degrees above freezing.

The aliens, who were found to be from both Mexico and Guatemala, were taken to the Nogales Border Patrol station where they will be processed and returned to their native countries.

Smile for the camera/DPS photo
Smile for the camera/DPS photo

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are coordinating the investigation into the smuggling scheme.

“This is yet another frightening example of the callous disregard human smugglers have for those who entrust their lives to them,” said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona.

“These people were treated like cargo. They were crammed inside this truck and subjected to near freezing temperatures. Fortunately, due to the swift action of the law enforcement agencies involved in this case, none of these people came to any harm.”

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What do you think?

Are you appalled at the precarious situations people put themselves in just to cross the border?

Would you rather be smuggled across the blazing desert or in a freezing tractor trailer?

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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, fake and real bilingual signs, caused quite a stir.

The latest snappy or crappy promises to be much more appetizing: playing with food.

No one can resist happy bread/submitted photo
No one can resist happy bread/submitted photo

The very happy bread photo was submitted by reader Tami.

“It’s my quirky thing I do for my kids when I make them a sandwich,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Mustard smiley faces on bread are wholly snappy, adding a fun touch to what may normally be a mundane sandwich, especially if the sandwich is packed something boring like iceberg lettuce.

Other snappy ways to play with food include drawing on the disposable rinds of oranges and grapefruit, arranging waffles and sausage into an imitation Dali and creating apple head old people dolls out of rotten and dried-out apples.

Other folks, however, go into overkill when playing with food – like using a military issue combat K-Bar knife to cut a sandwich. While this weapon is specifically designed for marines, a person who shall remain anonymous used it to slice bread and pickles.

Need any pickles sliced?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Need any pickles sliced?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Even though using a colossal knife to slice a sandwich may be akin to using a chain saw to carve a turkey, it’s still snappy because the food is still edible.

Folks who play with food and end up wasting the food are engaging in crappiness.

What’s your take on playing with food? Please respond:
a. Snappy as long as the food is still edible.
b. Crappy. How dare someone mess with my meal.
c. I remember how mom used to draw syrup faces on my pancakes – snappy!
d. Where can I buy one of those knives?

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Thanks, Tami, for the fun bread pic. You’re other Snappy or crappy submission will be up soon.

Got a Snappy or crappy spotting around town? E-mail photo and comments to rynski@tucsoncitizen.com

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Pregnant robots give birth at UMC

Two robots of pregnant women, who give birth to robot infants, recently checked in to University Medical Center.

While it would make even bigger headlines if the two robots were part of an alien invasion, they are instead teaching tools purchased with a $40,000 grant.

UA medical student Garrett Pacheco delivers robot Noelle's robot Baby Hal/submitted photo
UA medical student Garrett Pacheco delivers robot Noelle's robot Baby Hal/submitted photo

The mom robots are named “Noelle” and they give birth to “Baby Hal.” Unfortunately, it seems the two blond robots are identical, which will hopefully not lead to any baby mix-ups, but they can be programmed to do different things.

Here’s more from the UMC news release:

Noelle can be programmed to simulate a long or short labor. A motor pushes a lifelike plastic baby out of the birth canal and even expels an ersatz placenta. She can simulate a variety of childbirth complications, from a breech delivery to hemorrhage to the baby being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck.

Noelle’s pulse and respiration rises and falls, she urinates and bleeds, and students can practice inserting an IV, intubating her airway, resuscitating her though CPR or delivering her baby with forceps or a vacuum.

Noelle even talks. “It’s really hurting now!” and “The baby is coming!” are among dozens of her pre-programmed vocalizations. Rynnote: It doesn’t say if she screams, swears or bites through metal objects in pain.

The lifelike newborn robot can be programmed to change colors from a healthy pink to the dusky blue of oxygen deficiency, and to simulate seizures, allowing doctors and nurses to practice their resuscitation skills.

The automaton recently made her debut to a group of third-year students from the UA College of Medicine in UMC’s Labor and Delivery Unit

Wow. Kind of creepy but very snappy.

Keeping this robot concept in mind, we should get extra Baby Hals to pass out to pregnant mothers so they learn to not shake, slap or forget about infants in their cribs for 18-hour stretches.

We should also add some robot dogs, cats, hamsters and birds so folks can learn how to properly take care of pets.

And where’s that Rosie Robot who is supposed to come clean my house?

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What do you think?

Is this an awesome concept or a waste of money?

Would a robot help you learn things you need to know?

Will robots really take over the world, as we’ve all been promised?

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