Hard-boiled in military culture, Republican state Sen. Frank Antenori isn't known for being a verbal wallflower.
So you almost knew he wasn't going to offer much in the way of political niceties when he dished about "don't ask, don't tell" with a reporter for the Yellow Sheet, a publication of the Arizona Capitol Times.
Formerly with the Army Special Forces, Antenori said he "can't remember" when he last agreed with U.S. Sen. John McCain, but he's down with the senator's resistance to allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.
"I can't even tell you how many times I was spooning with some other guy on the side of a mountain under a poncho in fricking Pakistan in the middle of fricking winter freezing my a** off. I would not want to say, 'Is that your pistol that's sticking me in my back?' " Antenori told the reporter. Then he went on to draw an analogy with "me demanding the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders let me shower with them, and I promise, 'I'll be good, I swear.' "
"The primary role of the military isn't social experimentation," he added. "It's killing people and breaking things."
Reached Thursday, it turns out Antenori was not referring to any recent incursions into Pakistan, but training his unit did with the Pakistani Army in the mid-1990s.
Then he elaborated. "If they're men and they're homosexual, then they are attracted to men, so I would consider them part of the opposite sex, and a lot of units don't allow that," Antenori said.
He said he can't wait for the call from the cheerleaders. Why wouldn't they? he queried. "Because I'll get a little excited maybe. So what's the difference if you've got a homosexual man near half a dozen barrel-chested freedom-fighters in good shape? It's the same thing, if you look at it from that perspective."
While Notebook can think of some double-entendres, given our family-friendly mandate we'll just defer to Mae West, who coined, "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
As she noted, "It's hard to be funny when you have to be clean."
Walkup does sinking ship
Mayor Bob Walkup spent Friday at the Titanic artifact exhibition downtown at the Rialto.
He followed by dining at Maynards with a look-alike Captain Smith for a meal based on the 1912 first-class menu aboard the Titanic, before heading to the Fox Theatre's screening of the 1997 film about the ill-fated ship.
The night clearly helped highlight a touring exhibit and some downtown spots.
But. Rio Nuevo. Downtown hotel. With the mayor's race looming next year, we're not sure Walkup wants to draw too many "Titanic" references.
Sigh. No more bad puns
The new Republican-led U.S. House hasn't even been sworn in yet, but it's already claimed a victim.
For five years, Congressman Jeff Flake has highlighted an "egregious earmark" of the week.
But since the House will adhere to an earmark ban, he'll be out of new material, even as he takes a seat on the House Appropriations committee and pushes for a new subcommittee dedicated to identifying potential cuts.
The appointment in itself is indicative of the new bent the GOP Congress will have. The committee is a favorite for those who use it as leverage to steer money back to their districts. Those who railed against so-called "pork" projects were never much in the running.
Since their time is limited, here's a final taste of his weekly feature. This week he singled out $500,000 for the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail in Maryland.
Said Flake, "O say can you see the need for earmark reform?"
Well, if nothing else, we can see the end of bad puns.
Recalling Edwards' visit
With the passing of Elizabeth Edwards this week, it's worth a trip down political memory lane to recall her visit here in 2004 focusing on female voters.
The Friday before her visit, the Kerry-Edwards campaign made a request of the Star's female music critic to interview Edwards. The campaign suggested a female feature reporter might write a "softer story" than a political reporter.
Managing Editor Teri Hayt put the kibosh on the request, saying the campaign doesn't get to pick the reporter it wants.
Then-political reporter C.J. Karamargin, now a spokesman for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, covered the event.
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243.