Today in downtown Tucson there will be a celebration of the imminent landing of NASA's Mars rover. The city's streetcar construction crews have joined the festivities at the Rialto building by converting the streets into an eerie replica of the surface of Mars - complete with craters and spectacular ravines - and by sucking all of the atmosphere out of downtown.
• This just in from the Rocky Point Chamber of Commerce: "Go beyond the headlines to find the heart and soul of Mexico. Walk along our beaches and collect seashells, and other shells, like shell casings. Watch the fisherman and the traffickers harvesting the bounty of the sea: shrimp, groupers and night drops. Marvel at the pelican silhouetted against the setting sun as you fumble with your deadbolt. These days our village is more than fishermen and drunk college students. It's Mogadishu with margaritas.
"Thrill to the sight of drug lords more coked up than Charlie Sheen on New Year's and carrying more firepower than Stark Industries. Take home a suntan and the finest narcotics this side of Timothy Leary's urn. Mexico's tourism industry offers a travel experience that makes 'Scarface' look like a Pixar comedy."
• This week's storms washed away local roads and the sins of mankind. Floods broke apart asphalt, foul abominations spewed forth and demons fought with angels over the Tucson Mountains. There were scattered reports of crypts opening up at Holy Hope. A seven-headed beast wearing seven crowns was spotted on Oracle Road and moderate wrath was reported. Crews worked to repair the roads and theologians worked with the National Weather Service to prophesy the next storm. Brimstone and light rain is predicted this week.
• Many new state laws went into effect this week. Here are my favorites: Children smaller than Hobbits will have to ride in booster seats equipped with Confederate flags and gun racks, the minimum wage shall not exceed the income of indentured servants of the Colonial period and all black helicopter sightings must be reported within 24 hours. Plus, possession of a United Nations flag or the performance of mariachi music will be construed as treason and "yee haw, boy, yeah" is now the state motto.
• Children are weeping. Teachers are stockpiling Red Bull. Why? Because school is starting and parents are beginning to believe it's morning in America again. Shopping for backpacks with my sons is a delightful task. They look at me like I'm Pilate fitting them with a cross to drag to Golgatha elementary. I run my summer home like North Korea, rationing their intake of digital and video entertainment like rice kernels during a drought. The electrified barbed wire around the gaming console was my idea. This summer I asked them if they wanted to take a road trip. They said, "Yes!" So I had them walk to the library. Next week they'll run to their teachers like East Berliners running to the West.
• Tea-party martians running for office should clearly state on their street-corner campaign signs that they are from the Tea Party Planet.
• What would happen if every eligible Mexican-American registered and voted? Red states would become swing states and many would go as blue as a Smurf. Mitt Romney would have to change his legal name to Willardo. The campaign slogan for 2012 would become "Es la economía, estúpido" and George Lopez would be president. On the downside, Jose Biden would show up at more events.
• Upcoming events:
Aug. 7. Patriots of SaddleBrooke will be hosting a meet-the-patriots event at 4 p.m., patriotic mountain time, for patriots running for office. Hosted by patriot Bruce Ash, Republican national committeeman, the topic is "Who is more patriotic?" Additional topics include listing the names of retirees who do not love America sufficiently. Spiked tea will be served.
Aug. 11. League of Women Voters of Lesser Tucson hosts a workshop on how to moderate a candidate debate when your candidates are barely capable of finding the forum. Topics include "what to do when a candidate is stumped and begins to cry."
Aug 11. East-side Democratic club hosts a Congressional District 2 candidate forum with state Reps. Matt Heinz and Steve Farley, who is standing in for U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, who is having his beard trimmed. The Mount Lemmon to San Manuel streetcar will be discussed. Farley is known for his fantastic Ron Barber impression and Heinz will demonstrate CPR on a javelina while juggling clipboards.
Email Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: firstname.lastname@example.org