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A Myth is as Good as a Mile

It was a lie that caused Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to “discover” Arizona in 1540.

Someone else surely would have gotten around to exploring the place–maybe Del Webb, or Jerry Colangelo. But the Spanish were in the New World, i.e. Mexico, and they kept hearing a tale of riches. Without riches, why go to all the trouble of conquering?

Our latest book, The Arizona Liar’s Almanac, explains that somewhere north of wherever the Spanish were, there were seven cities of gold–the seven cities of Cibola. Their golden doors were studded with turquoise.

Coronado led a legion of explorers …

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Banning Bears in School and Other Weird Laws

We asked a friend in Cottonwood to check the city ordinances and the law is still on the books there: It’s illegal to take a bear to school.

That ordinance will probably pop up in one of the collections of “dumb laws” that are compiled in websites, magazines and books. But I think a law against taking a bear to school makes perfect sense.

We were just ignorant kids then, and we had no idea how much damage a little old 150-pound black bear could do in a grade school cafeteria. Upon reflection, it seemed to me that the Cottonwood …

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Our Mercurial Past

We called it “quicksilver,” but it was deadly mercury. Some kid would bring a tiny pool of mercury to school and pass it around so his friends could play with it.

Quicksilver looked and acted like molten solder, but it was cool in every sense of the word. It ran wild in the palm of your hand, and tried to escape from your desktop.

If kids took mercury to school today, the school would be closed and the hazmat team called out. News helicopters would hover over the school. Someone would complain that if prayer was still allowed in public …

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