Panhandlers Paradise 

How can you tell that the Olympics are over? Because those nice people you meet on the sidewalk downtown don’t want to trade pins, they just want your spare change. Someone ought to propose panhandling as an Olympic Demonstration Sport. Or perhaps Mayor Rocky Anderson could come up with a pin-trading scheme that would allow panhandlers to trade tokens for hot buttered rum. And what about berets for transient alcoholics? It might dress the place up a bit.

Back then, former Mayor Deedee Corradini had truckloads of business cards printed up that she gave to people who worked and frequented downtown. When a panhandler would ask for money, citizens were advised to hand them a card that provided the address of St. Vincent DePaul’s soup kitchen and the homeless shelter. Just say no to panhandlers—or something catchy like that—was the slogan that accompanied the program. But it didn’t seem to work too well. After all, that nice man asking you for 50 cents for a phone call really wants a pint of Popov vodka. And thanks to your four bits, he’s only three bucks shy of his high.

Maybe Mitt Romney could do something.

n Speaking of Mitt Romney, now that the Olympics are getting glowing reviews, the Mittster’s name is being put out there for such things as governor of Massachusetts, governor of New Hampshire and even president of Enron. Who knew that the Olympics could be such a political springboard?

The new phenomenon reportedly has Hillary Clinton and Al Sharpton positioning themselves to push a New York City bid for the Summer Games. Al Gore is rumored to be considering a Winter Olympics for Tennessee, too. Of course, it doesn’t snow much in Nashville, but so what? If the Jamaicans can have a bobsled team, why can’t Al?

n Our Olympic spirit, however, didn’t rub off on citizens of the small Southern Utah hamlet of La Verkin. Although the newly elected City Council threw out a previous ban on the United Nations, a number of La Verkers have signed a petition to get the matter on the ballot so the town can again be a “United Nations-free Zone.” The move seeks to keep those blue-helmeted peace keepers from invading La Verkin from Bosnia. As everyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh knows, the U.N. is an evil force known for fighting war, hunger and disease around the world.

n Former U of U theater student Christina Axson-Flynn is back in the news. She unsuccessfully sued the school after her professors refused to let her substitute words like “golly gee” for “God” and “fuck” in theater dialogue. She’s appealing the case to the federal 10th Circuit Court based on freedom-of-speech issues. The Actors Equity Association retracted its support for the student.

n And finally, this: Club Blue, an establishment that caters to gay patorns, has had its liquor license suspended for 60 days for alleged lewd behavior during “underwear night” when members are invited to take off everything but their Hanes. Nicholas Hales, the chairman of the Utah Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, was incredulous: “I still question why you believe it is good management to have an underwear night ...”

Get a clue, Nick.

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