There are distinct advantages to living fairly close to the Valley.
Trader Joe's and a cornucopia of shopping opportunities come to mind, not to mention baseball and other sporting events.
But the biggest advantage is that the people who live there make it so easy for those of us who know better to sit up here in our pristine wooded community and smugly vent our wrath at their numerous acts of stupidity. Venting, of course, is good for the soul, primarily because the alternative, holding it in until you explode, is counterproductive and often messy.
And venting on perfect strangers is always preferable to venting on those you hold near and dear, such as spouses, children, most co-workers, and people who wear Payson Concrete caps all day and night long and even in the shower and when they're making love, but then that's their business.
I especially appreciate the people who live in the Valley, because they provide plenty of fodder for this column. In fact, of the 257 "Around the Rims" I've written since this publication commenced on April 14, 1999, I would venture that on at least 20 or 30 occasions, I have found it expedient to dwell on their, shall we say, quirks and foibles.
Lest you wonder where this is all headed, let me tell you right up front that they've gone and done it again. That's right, the people of the Valley have out-stupided themselves.
I read about it in a recent edition of The Arizona Republic, the newspaper that contains all the news that's fit to print according to the moral standards of the religious right and the Republican Party. (Rebuttals graciously accepted as long as they are humorous, good-natured and no more than 800 words long.)
Anyway, this article on the front page of the March 18 edition tells of an investment group's plan to create a special taxing district so a 1,000 acre theme park can be built in Williams and (brace yourself here) "a 60-acre amusement park featuring roller coasters and an indoor water park can be erected next to Cricket Pavilion in west Phoenix."
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that down there in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a protracted drought, in the middle of a massive influx of people, one of the very last things -- make that the very last thing -- you would want to build is another water park. I mean, water parks are even dumber than golf courses.
At least with golf courses, the water gets turned off while people play. At a water park, the water never stops flowing.
This $3 billion boondoggle, including the theme park, is the brainchild of Rep. John Nelson, a Phoenix Republican (surprise, surprise). At least he has a sense of humor.
"There is no drain on the state," he told the Republic.
Phoenix City Councilman Claude Mattox, who represents the west side of the Valley where the water park would be located, thinks it's a nifty idea.
"We've always looked at that area being an entertainment district," he said. "So this would fit well."
Excuse us, Claude, but we just have one question. Why do you and the other goofballs who inhabit the Valley always equate entertainment with wasting water?
Make that two questions, Claude. Hopefully, for the future of mankind, you don't have any children of your own, but aren't you the least bit concerned about the kind of world, if any, you'll be leaving behind?
Oh but there is a rationale, according to the article in the Republic: We're spending $3 billion to build these abominations so we can "reclaim Grand Canyon tourism from Nevada."
The argument goes that when people come to visit the Grand Canyon, they go on to Las Vegas instead of staying to see Arizona.
I have a better idea. Let's just build an authentic replica of the Berlin Wall. We erect it on the Arizona-Nevada border, set up checkpoints, and shoot people who don't heed our warning to stay on our side.
It'd be more foolproof than water parks and theme parks, and I'll bet we could do it for less than $3 billion.