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Hip-hop holograms haunting Pima

Hip-hop holograms haunting Pima

By SHANA ROSE

The creators who brought Tupac “2Pac” Shakur back from the grave at Coachella 2012, San Diego-based business AV Concepts, will soon be bringing their “Dead Hip-Hop Tour” to Pima Community College.
The tour is sponsored by Andre “Dr. Dre” Romelle Young and is scheduled to make stops at universities and colleges that are adding hip-hop classes to their curriculums.

The hip-hop and rap legends will be making a stop at Pima on April 1 at the Proscenium Theatre, West Campus at 7 p.m.

The Tupac hologram will be joined by other deceased stars including the Jason “Jam Master Jay” William Mizell, Russell “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Tyrone Jones, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace and Aaliyah Dana Haughton holograms.

“After re-establishing myself at Coachella, I knew had to keep it going,” the Shakur hologram said.

“I can’t believe what the music game has come to after I left. ‘Bitches love Sosa’ this, ‘Wonton Soup’ that. We’re coming back to save hip-hop and rap,” he said with a glow.

PCC will be adding HIP 101 and 102 in Fall 2014. Classes will be taught via Skype by some of hip-hop’s influential artists, all personally picked by Dr. Dre.

HIP 101 will be taught by Clive “DJ Kool Herc” Campbell. The class will be covering basic knowledge of the four elements of hip-hop: rap or “MCing,” turntablism or “DJing,” break-dancing and graffiti art.

HIP 102 will be taught by Joseph “Grandmaster Flash” Saddler and this class will go more in-depth with DJing and MCing.

“I’m shocked that Pima would even offer classes like this,” sophomore Kevin Johns said.

“This has nothing to do with my physics major, but I don’t care. I think our generation needs to be reintroduced to this genre.”

Angelica Pickles, an intern publicist for Dr. Dre, agrees.

“Dr. Dre wanted to reinfluence the young generation of hip-hop heads,” Pickles said.

“What these kids are listening to now is garbage. We are hoping that students aspiring to be artists in the music industry will take what they can from these classes,” she said.

Dr._Dre_at_Coachella_2012_cropped

Dr. Dre is bringing his “Dead Hip-Hop” Tour to PCC on April 1.

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Pima growers go international

Pima growers go international

By MICHAEL ANDERSON

After scoring a historic upset at the National Indoor Championships, The Pima Community College Hydroponics Club is headed to the 2014 International Cannabis Cup in Holland.

The club took home the gold medal after defeating more celebrated teams from Oaksterdam University, the University of Colorado, and Harvard Medical School.

The Nationals were held in Denver on March 15, and were won by PCC’s entry “Pima Paralysis,” a hybrid of “El Chronquistador #2” and “Tombstone Tombstone.” The silver medal went to Harvard Med School’s “Medicinal Madness” and the bronze to Oaksterdam’s “Oakland Haze.”

PCC’s team was a longshot, but it appears that a combination of increased Border Patrol activity and competition from medical marijuana dispensaries has started a hydroponics renaissance in southern Arizona.

Buzz Yeager, PCC hydroponics club president, agrees.

“I’ve got to give props to the local growers, they’ve really stepped their game up recently. ‘Tombstone Tombstone’ is out of control, and blended really well with ‘El Chron,’” Yeager said.

The captain of the defending Oaksterdam team, Mylo Jorgensen, was surprised by the results but had no complaints about the judging.

“We thought we were going back to Holland, but we got complacent. We’re going to have to go back home and develop a new hybrid if we want to compete with Pima and Harvard in the future,” Jorgensen said between coughs.

Head contest judge William Jefferson seemed pleased with the unexpected showings by the upstarts.

“It’s good to see some new blood winning the contest. We really enjoyed the body high that you get from “Oakland Haze,” but “Medicinal Madness” and “Pima Paralysis” really were the stickiest of the icky,” Jefferson said.

“Pima in particular blew our minds and we wish them all the best in Holland,” he added, flashing a thumbs-up and a toothy smile.

The International competition will be held in Amsterdam on April 20. In order to raise funds for the trip, PCC’s team will be holding a joint bake sale with the Recreational Chemistry Club on April 1, on each of Pima’s campuses.

The Recreational Chemistry Club is raising funds for their annual trip to Disneyland. They seem to have been inspired by the Hydroponics Club’s victory.

“All we usually do is explore the Magic Kingdom in altered states of consciousness, but now we’re thinking about entering some contests to see how our creations stack up with other clubs around the country,” said chemistry club Beth Gonzalez.

The 2014 National Psychedelics Competition will be held in San Francisco on July 30, with the International Competition to follow in Zurich, Switzerland on Nov. 1.

Both teams are proud to represent Pima and hope you will help them reach their destinations. More information about the bake sale is available at 555-3784.

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STOMPING GROUNDS: Circle K is king of convenience

STOMPING GROUNDS: Circle K is king of convenience

By ANDREW PAXTON

Its 3 a.m., you are hungry, thirsty, and tired. Your car also needs a quart of oil, your cat needs food and there is a new movie on DVD you really want to see.

Why isn’t there a store on every corner of Tucson that can solve all those problems while only slightly overcharging in the process?

Well, there is. Circle K, located about a half mile or less from where you are currently reading, has everything the average consumer needs with only a modest markup. But how can you put a price on convenience?

By enabling consumers to purchase 144 oz. sodas and lukewarm hotdogs while pumping 40 gallons of fuel into their SUVs, Circle K is an embodiment of the America lifestyle we all know and love.

Dante Hicks, who has worked in convenience stores for more than two decades, explained the exciting life of a Circle K clerk.

“I have been robbed at gunpoint twice this year so far, and I get to eat all the nachos I can handle,” Hicks said.

“Hey, did you pay for that candy bar?” he yelled as a 13-year-old kid ran out the door. “Man, I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

Randy Lyon, who has been standing in front of a Circle K asking people for spare change since 2008, said he wouldn’t panhandle anywhere else.

“People that come into the store almost never spit or curse at me, unless it’s a hot day, which it usually is,” Lyon said. “But the Reptilians haven’t found me here yet, so Space Jesus must be happy with me.”

“I answered your questions, now where’s that 50 cents for beer you promised me?” he added.

So the next time you need some late-night munchies and are too impaired to drive to a fast-food restaurant, stumble on down to your local Circle K.

Buy some Slim Jims, the biggest ICEE they have, and tell the clerk a random life story as you pay with quarters.

You will fit right in.

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Circle K stands as a beacon to weary travelers seeking a port in the storm. (Andrew Paxton/Aztec Press)

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Creed resurrects music

Creed resurrects music

By JAMIE VERWYS

Where were you when critically acclaimed rock geniuses Creed unleashed their monumental single, “With Arms Wide Open”? Ask any true music aficionado this question, and not only can they tell you the exact spot, they can tell you how many times they listened to it on repeat.

“I remember I was flipping through the telly,” the legendary Paul McCartney said. “When he rose up his arms and unleashed that powerful voice, I knew. This was the bloody future of rock and roll.”

“The Beatles never could have reached those heights. It was a humbling moment of self-realization,” he added, tears running down his cheeks.

A global cry of joy will shake the music world like a thick guitar riff on April 1 when Creed releases their new masterpiece album and allows their fans to bask in its glory.

“Creed the Redeemer,” a 50 track tour de force, is like some beautiful migraine slowly beginning to tingle in your frontal lobe until it’s a full blown, pounding ache throughout your soul.

Take the impeccable energy of The Rolling Stones, extraordinary vocal range of Christina Aguilera, Kanye West’s irresistible flow and imagine that in the flawless body of Beyoncé.

That almost comes close to describing “Redeemer,” but there are no words or descriptions grandiose enough to sum up the impressive, awe-inducing volume of work.

“Open Your Arms Wide Now,” the first single, is the power ballad of the future. It is clear the band has mastered every genre of music.

Elements of folk, surf rock, pop, jazz, punk, hip-hop, and metal all build into a maddening chorus.

From the brilliantly crafted chaos, Stapp’s voice bounces through like a plump and smiling cherub.

Many of today’s most prolific music critics and entertainers were so moved by Creed’s opus they retired after one listen.

Rapper T.I. tweeted, “I just wish this track was longer. Twenty minutes wasn’t enough.”

U2 singer Bono said, “I haven’t cried that hard since the last time I looked into the face of a starving child. I am a failure.” He then ran off screaming into the void.

Creed has accomplished what would seem an impossible feat with their new album; somehow they have topped their own greatness.

In a recent reader poll by Rolling Stone Magazine, Creed was unanimously named, “The Band that Will Save the World,” and named front man Scott Stapp, “The Ultimate Boy Next Door,” crushing Harry Styles from One Direction by a three-to-one margin.

Scott Stapp has redeemed the unwashed masses and given us all a reason to dream again. We have been reborn through Creed.

Prepare yourself for the album of your life; prepare to cry tears of joy; prepare yourself, if you can, for the monumental artwork called “Creed the Redeemer.”

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Local rapper brings heart back to beat

Local rapper brings heart back to beat

By SEBASTAIN BARAJAS

Local hip-hop artist and fashion enthusiast Preez Magnificent, 23, tailors his music to fans but stays true to his tune.

From his humble border-town beginnings in Bisbee to the lyrical crusade he undertook to promote love, and protest SB 1062, this rapper knows words can be double-edged.

“Yo, words can be used to create or destroy. Sometimes I feel like politicians play us with words that have no meaning like ‘debt ceiling,’ isn’t debt negative?” Magnificent said. “It’s an oxymoron, like downstairs ladder.”

Fed up with the tempestuous drama that engulfed Arizona after representatives presented the “religious freedom” senate bill and over-priced lattes, Preez sprang into action.

The artist says that the amount of inequality and turmoil in this world inspired him to write a new album titled “Local Love and Protest.”

Magnificent blends his border-town beats with calm Jamaican reggae and Cali hip-hop. His goal is to break down musical and social borders while constructing the greatest album to come out of Arizona.

Producer J. Wildcard, 23, is Magnificent’s counterbalance and brings to the table an eclectic range of superfluous style of sounds. Wildcard is a man of many hats, but tries to avoid hat hair while in the studio.

“I was a thespian in high school myself, and after coming out to my parents I knew I wanted to do musicals. That evolved into creating music,” Wildcard said.

“Sometimes I have to remind my partner-in-rhyme that we’ve got to make it about the people.”

One of the tracks on the album, “Come Out Da Closet,” tells the heart-wrenching story of what it’s like to live in fear of coming out from the shadows. Preez hopes to inspire those who live in fear to step out of the darkness.

“I say just come out to the light, except for my albino homies,” Magnificent said. “I advise they probably avoid it.”

Empathy is one of the many tools Preez uses to spit fire into the mic. The cascade of his lyrical flow is enough to dazzle listeners into pondering life’s quandaries, but according to Wildcard, music is not Magnificent’s only endeavor.

“Preez has his heart in the right place, but he fancies himself a fashion designer lately,” Wildcard said.”
Magnificent is an amateur designer but hopes to go pro with a line of fashion and accessories for all.

He is heavily influenced by sports driven fashion and is currently developing the world’s first line of sports maternity wear.

“Yo, just because your lady is pregnant doesn’t mean she can’t look sexy in a Suns jersey, and I can make that happen,” Manificent said.

“Local Love and Protest” will drop worldwide on April 1.

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Preez Magnificant displays his love for equality in Downtown Tucson. (Sebastian Barajas/Aztec Press)

 

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Arizona governor changes tune

Arizona governor changes tune

By DAVID J. DEL GRANDE

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has decided to resign from her position, effective immediately.

Brewer was sworn into her governorship January 2009 after Janet Napolitano resigned in order to become the Secretary of Homeland Security. Brewer has apparently mimicked her predecessor but in a contrasting pursuit of a music career.

“I’m so over politics or dealing with discrimination guised as laws and drawn-out, stab-me-with-a -spoon legislative meetings,” Brewer said. “Right now, music fuels an uncontrollable fire in my creative loins.”

Brewer became governor when Arizona was facing the second largest budget deficit in the U.S., which was partly caused by Napolitano’s ill-fated campaign promise to lower temperatures in the desert state.

Through fiscal conservancy, such as not letting state employees take showers and limiting their restroom breaks, Brewer slashed Arizona’s $1.6 billion projected budget gap down to an estimated $303,497 shortfall in five years.

One of Brewer’s latest victories in championing the people of Arizona came on Feb. 26, when she decided to veto SB 1062.

As her last legislative action, Brewer courageously enacted SB 1200, which mandates that all state employees learn a basic DJ skill-set by the close of this year.

“After those long special sessions Jan and I would talk about the results, but also about our hopes for the future,” said Andrew Wilder, Napolitano’s DJ-turned-communications director. “Naturally, I would play some music that is really speaking to me, but I certainly had no idea my tunes would affect Jan the way they obviously have.”

Brewer said now that she has been introduced to electronic dance music, there is no turning back to a high-pressure desk-job. Dubstep has apparently taken complete control over Brewer’s soul and she plans on running things next year in Miami.

“I have come to a point in my life where the only thing I want to veto is some muppet DJ’s track selection,” Brewer said. “By this time next year, I will not be rolling out legislation, I’m gonna be rolling out massive dubplates at the Winter Music Conference.”

Although Arizona’s former leading lady is about to get dirty, Brewer said her greatest literary inspiration, Mark Twain, will ground her in an honorable class.

“The first day I actually heard Dubstep, my soul pulsed with a blistering new frequency,” Brewer said. “But that twisted sound conversely brought me back to Twain’s most poignant words, ‘The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.’”

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APRIL FOOLS’ BY THE NUMBERS

APRIL FOOLS’ BY THE NUMBERS

Compiled by Shana Rose

1392*
Year of first April Fools’ Day

800**
Number of deaths caused annually by pranks gone wrong

112*
Fake body parts purchased annually for pranks

$7,000*
Annual amount spent for elaborate pranks

30**
Percentage of people who quit their jobs as a prank

12**
Percentage of women who use pregnancy as a prank

22*
Percentage of the population that has never pranked anyone on April Fools’ Day

69*
Percentage of fake advertisements on display

6*
Number of celebrities who faked their own deaths in 2013

2***
Average number of pranks pulled every hour

Sources:
*The Internet
**Your mom
***Who cares?

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HOROSCOPE

HOROSCOPE

By BRENDA PACHECO

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sept.22)

The Sun and Mercury will shine on you this month, bringing good career opportunities and more money your way. Don’t expect a date with a special someone anytime soon because you’re going to be booked.

Libra (Sept. 23- Oct. 22)

Your social life will be much more exciting for a while, which will put you in a good mood throughout the month. You’re going to need that good mood to get through a test in the near future.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 21)

You had a good summer. Now it’s time to face reality. Work will get a lot more time-consuming, so you won’t have time for a social life. No parties for you anytime soon.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22- Dec. 21)

A wakeup call is coming your way. This will be a good time to get support from your friends. The silver lining is that you will start a new relationship with someone special.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 19)

You’ve been in a grumpy mood for a while and now it’s time to lighten up before you lose some close friends. On a lighter note, you may soon receive a pay raise.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 18)

You’ve been a good sport through these last couple of months. Now good things are coming your way. Embrace new advantages in your career to get ahead of the race.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

It’s time for you get out of this rut and do something adventurous. You’ve been so caught up in everyone else’s problems that you haven’t had time to focus on your own happiness.

Aries (March 21- April 19)

You have become a risktaker lately and not everyone is happy about the new you. It’s time for you to slow it down. Stop getting into so much trouble before you end up in the doghouse.

Taurus (April 20- May 20)

Your calendar is starting to fill up but you don’t have time to do everything you planned. Sort things out and figure out which plans are worth keeping.

Gemini (May 21- June 21)

You’re starting to take on new responsibilities and everyone is seeing you in a new light. The new you is drawing in lots of new people. Embrace the change and make new friends.

Cancer (June 22- July 22)

You have been having lots of bad luck lately but that is about to change. You will meet your good-luck charm and see many changes in your life. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge.

Leo (July 23- Aug. 22)

Work has been booming and money is just rolling in. Don’t spend more than you need to, because an unplanned expense is heading your way. Hold off on buying that new iPhone.

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Top 10 ways to pass the (other) bar exam

Top 10 ways to pass the (other) bar exam

By ARLO COSTALES

Want to avoid being kicked out of a bar? Here are my top 10 suggestions for actions to stay away from:

1. Breaking bottles.

If you break your beverage’s container, your bartender can be nice and give you a new drink or you may be shit-out-of-luck and must buy a new one. Continuous and/or intentional glass breaking will lead to your dismissal.

2. Fighting.

This should go without saying but so does most of this list. Be civil. Gents, leave that unoriginal macho energy at home. Ladies, that girl across the bar is not giving your man the sexy eyes.

3. No cash.

The days of having a running tab at a bar are long gone. Bring cash and prepare to spend it.

4. Too drunk.

I suppose it’s for your own safety, but most bartenders won’t let you get completely black out drunk. Put your head down at a bar and you’re done.

5. Rough housing.

This is typically more for the fellas. After one too many shots, arm wrestling and toasting seems like a good idea. It’s not. It is unbecoming, disturbs the general peace of the bar and is a quick way to get ejected.    

6. Restrooms.

There are usually both male and female bathrooms available. A good way to get the boot from your local watering hole is to use the opposite sex’s toilet. An even easier way to be exiled is by avoiding lines and designating your own private urinal in a bush.

7. Drugs.

If you’re planning to be approached by a random stranger soliciting drugs, a bar is your best bet. No that person does not work for the bar, and drugs are bad. And just because pot is somewhat legal these days, it doesn’t make it a good idea to light one up on the patio.

8. Sex.

It is not uncommon to meet the love of your life at your favorite dive but show some class and keep your pants on. At least wait for the cab ride home.

9. Taking drinks.

Just because someone orders a beer and leaves the bar with the glass half full, doesn’t mean it’s kosher to prevent the beverage from going to waste. Your good deed is thievery.

10. Not tipping.

Although you don’t legally have to tip, it is a good idea. Most bartenders will stop looking your way or in some cases disconnect your service. Cough up the loot, cheapskate.

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THINGS I DON’T GIVE A S&*! ABOUT: I can’t go to hell, because it doesn’t exist

By MYLO ERICKSON

Something that really gets to me is religion, and the organization of it. Religion has some good ideas, but it gets out of hand once groups of people get involved.

They start going after each other because the other group doesn’t believe in their “true God” or because someone just doesn’t believe.

Those people always forget to turn the other cheek. Obviously they only have one, and it’s not meant to be turned.

Now I’m not saying that religion is a bad idea. Like most ideas of the human race, there is underlying good behind it. But we manage to take our eyes off the ball.

I’m not a religious man, by any means. I personally don’t believe any almighty being exists, good or bad.

People tell me that I’m going to hell, like it’s a threat. I’m not shaking in my boots about a place that I don’t believe exists.

Just because I don’t believe in God, however, doesn’t mean I think other people shouldn’t either. If you believe in him, good for you. I’m glad he helps you to believe in something.

I’m not the type of person who goes around saying that God doesn’t exist because there is no proof that he does. Nor, I might add, is there any proof that he doesn’t exist.

What I do believe is that people shouldn’t tell each other that they’re wrong. People should do what makes them happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

I realize this runs a bit counter to my previous article that criticized fashion, but, hey, that’s just my opinion. You guys can say to hell with this ugly fat guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. (And truthfully, I probably don’t.)

In all honesty, people believe in different religions because they are afraid of death as an end and they hope for something more to come.

I believe in and put my complete trust into my family and friends, because they are there for my day-to-day highs and lows.

 People have told me that God is working through my friends and family. I’m sorry, but that is just not the way I see it at all. People are responsible for their own choices in life.

Everyone should have the freedom to believe in what they want. Just don’t tell someone else how to live their life.

Finally, if there is a real God, I think he would probably judge people based on their true character and not the atrocities and good they have committed in his name.

But hey, I’m just some dumb, ugly fat guy.

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TOP 10 Movies that need to be remade

By THOMAS F. JOHNSON

Remakes. We’re all sick of how they mangle the message of the movies they copy, such as turning Klaatu from “The Day The Earth Stood Still” from Space Jesus into a space asshole.
Here are 10 films that deserve a second chance.

10. “Demoni”

The original “Demoni” was an OK zombie film with zombies possessed by demons. The premise and setup is excellent, but I’d love to see a remake with more diverse and creative creature designs.

9. “The Thief and the Cobbler”

This labor of love for animator Roger Williams was sadly snatched from his arms at the last second by the Weinsteins and recut into a sub-par Aladdin ripoff. Just hire a new crew to re-finish this, and you’ve got a classic on your hands for very little money.

8. “Damnation Alley”

This movie was a cheesy road trip/post-apocalypse movie. Though it flopped, it was based on a far more interesting and ambitious book. Since CGI has advanced well beyond the point needed to deliver the book’s garbage-filled winds and enormous mutated monsters, why not give it a second chance?

7. “Felix The Cat: The Movie”

This early ‘90s film was a confusing representation of one of animation’s first iconic heroes. He deserves another shot at film stardom.

6. “Neon Maniacs”

A movie with 12 unique slashers in one? Cool! This movie using that premise? Not so much. This concept deserves to be made with a better budget, a script that uses the premise well and a coherent explanation as to what the hell those monsters were.

5. “Shock Treatment”

This little-known, little-liked sequel to “Rocky Horror Picture Show” was severely compromised due to budget issues. Why not remake the film right, using the original script? Better yet, make a true Rocky Horror sequel, “Rocky Horror Shows His Heels.”

4. “Cool World”

What was going to be a dark, disturbing animated horror/live-action hybrid film by Ralph Bakshi instead turned into a watered-down, smutty Roger Rabbit clone. We rarely see animated horror films, and this one could be profitable. Why not a remake in accordance with Bakshi’s original vision?

3. “Last Action Hero”

This movie couldn’t decide whether it was a parody or a deconstruction of its own subject matter. That is a real shame, as the idea of a film set in the world of film is a great idea, enough so to warrant a new and improved remake

2. “Howard The Duck”

While this movie is indeed awful, it has little to nothing to do with the excellent source material. The comic written by the late Steve Gerber was a lot more satirical, smart and funny. The Marvel cinematic universe could use a comedy.

1. “Super Mario Bros.”

A shoe-in for the top spot, the original film was decent on its own merits but a horrible adaptation of videogaming’s greatest hero. It could become a big franchise in the hands of somebody like Spielberg or DelToro. Nintendo should give it a second shot. We need at least one good videogame move.

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Top 10 birthday plans in December

Top 10 birthday plans in December

By RYAN TSARSIS

 

If you’re like me and have a birthday near the holiday season, your birthday may seem like an ordinary day to pass the time away as you wait for New Years.

 

Some of you may relish receiving double the gifts as your peers and family members, while others may feel snubbed as their gifts and plans focus around the holiday season rather than the birthday itself.

 

Here are 10 plans to make your day a special day:

 

1. Go to Las Vegas. Everyone likes a getaway, especially around the time of your birthday. Take this time to invite some close friends and go wild, “Hangover” style.

 

2. Throw a party. Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned party for themselves? This is a good idea for those of you who have a little extra money to spend, and friends to fill the guest list.

 

3. Grab a steak dinner. Ah steak. There’s nothing like a nice, filling steak to make me feel special on my birthday. For those of you who are vegetarians, feast out on your favorite non-meat dish.

 

4. Cruise Fourth Avenue. “The strip” is a great spot for you and some friends to venture. Tell every bartender it’s your birthday. Free drinks are inevitable and the bar scene loves someone who chooses their bar for your birthday.

 

5.  Have a dinner date. Dinner dates are extra memorable for those sharing their day with a special someone. Put on that birthday dress or suit to impress, and go out to a fancy restaurant to have a classy evening.

 

6. Go camping. For you outdoorsy types, make your day invigorating by strapping on the camping gear and adventuring the great outdoors to a precious spot underneath the stars.

 

7.  Have a favorite movie marathon. This is more for the couch potatoes out there. A day dedicated to a movie marathon can make a memorable birthday.

 

8. Have a barbecue. Barbecues are great for those who enjoy food, family, friends and fun. Pig out with your favorite grilled food while enjoying the focus of your birthday.

 

9. Go on a hike. Hiking can be fun, especially if the hike is dedicated to you and is on your favorite trail.

 

10. Have a family dinner. There’s nothing like some much-needed family time, especially around the holidays.

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CRACKING WISE: Don’t ‘Occupy’ my backyard

CRACKING WISE: Don’t ‘Occupy’ my backyard

By DAVID MENDEZ

As I write this, I realize that one of the following may have occurred by the time the newspaper hits newsstands:

1.) Occupy Wall Street and its brethren will have made an indelible impact on society and everyone will have returned to their homes as heroes of a new generation;

2.) Occupiers will still be camped, hoping their choice to take up residence in parks for a few weeks can still make a difference;

3.) Everyone will have left the parks disenchanted, except for the homeless people who were being mistaken for sage veterans of the protesting world.

The entire “Occupy” movement has fascinated me since I first heard about it in early September.

A grass-roots movement made up mostly of unhappy 20-somethings, aching to vent their rage at any and all perceived enemies? I was all in, if only to laugh as it dissolved two days in because people missed being able to charge their Macbooks.

I was shocked to learn it survived its first week, especially considering that not one single ideology had been agreed upon other than “blame the rich.” (In these times, that isn’t exactly a bad political stance to take.)

Numbers grew, people fell in love with the idea of camping less than a mile from home and the idea spread beyond the northeast. Tucson’s occupation began on Oct. 15 in Armory Park, in solidarity with Occupy Phoenix and, globally, Occupy Everywhere.

By choosing Armory, Tucson-based protests have allowed the media’s light to focus on a wonderfully pleasant park (during the day) that happens to be less than 50 yards from my back gate.

And I hate that.

Not because I dislike hipster kids latching onto any movement that allows them to feel important, or because I’d like to walk around my neighborhood at night without worrying about getting cited.

It’s not even because they take all of the valuable street parking that I need after the five available spots at my complex get snapped up.

It’s because Occupy Tucson, in being good neighbors, screwed itself.

The Tucson Meet Yourself festival also happened to fall on the weekend of Oct. 15. It sprawled over a good portion of the downtown area, attracting thousands to the city center to bask in the glory of good art and great food.

Occupy Tucson moved its setting from Pancho Villa Park, directly in the center of the festival’s madness, to Armory Park, presumably so organizers of TMY wouldn’t withhold valuable fry bread from occupying protesters.

Though they may have been criticized for taking advantage of a beloved public festival, there’s nothing like adding the eyes of a few thousand passersby to your cause. That’s particularly true if the Internet isn’t another appendage to the visitors, like it is for most of this generation.

I support the general message. I support the right to peacefully assemble as citizens of a free democracy, even in affront to law in an effort to do so.

I even support the fact that not everyone seems to know that solidarity is everyone’s best shot for success. It’s funny to see the five people of feminist-led splinter group Occupy Tucson for Everyone at the corner of University and Park.

But it’s hard for me to support a populist-based movement seeking change when they’re so unfailingly polite. They’re willing to point the starting pistol at themselves just as the race is about to start.

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CRACKING WISE: In our rude times, try being kind

CRACKING WISE: In our rude times, try being kind

By DAVID MENDEZ

I’m tired. Sick and tired.

I’m tired of hearing it, seeing it, reading it. I’m just plain done with it.

This national obsession with rude, insulting, angry language has to stop.

I realize that makes me sound old-fashioned. In reality, I realize that society evolves, pushes boundaries and displaces previously-held social norms.

I grew up watching George Carlin specials when my parents weren’t paying attention. I’m familiar with the concept of pushing social norms.

Unfortunately, I’m also familiar with the way people treat one another these days.

I’ve complained before about children who scream racial and sexist epithets during online gaming sessions. I’ve dealt with the issue time in and time out because, unfortunately, Penny Arcade’s “Greater Internet F–kwad Theory” holds true.

GIFT states that a normal person, when granted anonymity and an audience, becomes a complete jackass.

I’m not sure where this particular behavior began. It’s probably as old as time.

But society has made angry speech our most common form of communication. It’s in our books, our movies, our games, our television.

I can’t say that I’ve not taken part in the phenomenon myself, of course. I’m liable to yell at people who violate “my” space in traffic, or troll people on the Internet myself.

But my car windows are rolled up, containing the rage to my own space.

On the Internet, I level my snark-filled comments at those who have been uncouth.

That’s not a great defense, but it’s the only thing I can think of to justify my well-formulated and well-thought-out insults. In any case, my insults inevitably get ignored or cause me to be called a “liberal idiot suckling at Obummer’s teat.”

What concerns me most is that children will grow up in this society, forged and tempered by angry speech. (The fact that sarcasm is often listed as a second language on Facebook profiles makes my head spin.)

When in doubt, one should turn to one of America’s greatest writers, Kurt Vonnegut. He’s been a source for many of my favorite quotations, including one I tend to repeat to myself during times of despair.

That quote comes from “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” in a speech planned for the twins of the main character’s neighbors. He’s welcoming the children to the world and sharing advice with them:

“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

In these times of economic turmoil, attempts at social uprising and plain old jerkishness, that’s one rule we all need to live by.

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CRACKING WISE: What a drag it is getting old

By DAVID MENDEZ

I’ve found that the worst thing (so far) about getting old isn’t aging. Apparently, so long as I keep my face cleanly shaved, I’ll get carded anywhere I go.

What’s awful about aging is knowing that some of the smaller skills I developed growing up are now completely useless.

A few weeks ago, I happened to stumble upon a website called “obsoleteskills.com,” though not with the help of StumbleUpon.

It’s a fascinating site, particularly for those who have too much time on their hands and are putting off something important.

You’ll find a listing of more than 300 skills that will likely only become important again if the western world is sent back into the technological dark ages. (Note: That skill number is approximate — I stopped counting as a lingering feeling of “old” started creeping in on me.)

A number of these skills are related to technological developments better suited to the 1800s than modern living.

I understand why “churning butter” and “harnessing a team of oxen” are on the list, but those probably don’t need to be explained unless you’re heading to rural Pennsylvania for a few weeks.

I’m more concerned with the things that I can actually remember doing. Like rewinding video cassettes before returning them to a store or having to clean out the trackball of a mouse so it worked better.

I can remember having to tear apart pages from a dot-matrix printer and adjusting the rabbit ear antennae for a TV. I remember memorizing and singing the tone our dial-up Internet made, and blowing on video game cartridges so I could play Super Mario Kart.

Of course, some of the listings are tongue-in-cheek or purely gripes about society: Entries for “manners” and “general conversation” come to mind, as do those for “handwriting” and “paying with cash.”

And some are just jokes, such as “operating an HD-DVD player.” The “caulking your wagon to ford the river” entry is on the list because every Web page referencing old technology apparently must legally reference the Oregon Trail game somewhere on it.

I did have to laugh at the “porn not from the Internet” entry though, as I guess even perverts get nostalgic.

It’s weird though: things I still regularly do are becoming obsolete. Commonplace things, like using a watch, driving a manual transmission or sending a typewritten letter through the mail. (OK, so that last one isn’t commonplace but my Internet has been spotty lately.)

I guess it comes down to the fact that it’s weird getting old. I mean, there are people I hang out with now who couldn’t have watched Jurassic Park when it was in theaters. They have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention “Rita Repulsa” in conversation.

But weirder still is realizing that things that seem untouchable now will be as extinct as dinosaurs within a few years: personal desktop computers, video game systems with physical controllers, even (hopefully) certain diseases.

At least I can take solace in the fact that physical media like books and CDs will never go out of style, right?

Or is it already time again for me to roll around, clutching my magazines and newspaper clippings, pretending that I’ll still be relevant in 20 years?

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