Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another day in Arizona is another day in paradise

Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ) - Saturday, January 26, 2008
Author: RICHARD KELLEHER , The Republic

One of my favorite ads runs on television only during the winter holidays. The ad opens with a small island inlet with palm trees. Suddenly a lone palm tree has Christmas lights erupt. The idea is that you can transpose yourself to paradise while sipping its beer.

One of my favorite songs is by David Lee Roth, Just like Paradise. Love to turn it up and realize I don't need a desert isle. I am in paradise.

My concepts for being in paradise are palm trees and great weather. Got them both. How many people know Phoenix is the only place in the world where major-league baseball is played 10 months of the year? That is paradise.

The reason northeast Phoenix is so much like paradise is we have two of the finest resorts in the world, Kierland and Desert Ridge. These names are also synonymous with two of the nation's best shopping malls. When they are in your neighborhood, why do you need to go looking for exotic locations?

Matter of fact, northeast Phoenix was known as Paradise Village or Valley before Paradise Valley became a town. That's why Paradise Valley Mall is where it is!

During this time of year, there have been football bowl games galore. Arizona is home to two NASCAR events. We have a premier auto show and a running event sponsored by P.F. Chang's with lots of great musical acts. Then there is a golf tournament. This year we even have the biggest football event in the nation, plus a Hannah Montana concert about a week before. There's enough to do in January to put severe strain on any wallet or budget. My wish is that we get the Super Bowl in 2012 for Arizona's Centennial. Glad we didn't get it in 2011.

In February, we have spring training. Each spring training game puts money into the state's economy.

For years we were known as a redneck state. Having grown up in New Mexico, I was exposed to a great art culture. Arizona is headed that way. Cheryl Cooper, wife of rock star Alice, is building a national reputation with her dance studio. Photographer Michel Sarda is leading an art renaissance in Arizona.

We have music stars galore. There's Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave, Don Dokken, so many it would take a column to include all in this. We have actress Gena Lee Nowlin, announcer Paul Harvey and authors such as Harvey Mackay. We even had Dick Van Dyke for a while; and comedian David Spade. I've often wondered why no one has put together a map of the stars for the Phoenix area.

We also have some great politicians. John McCain has a shot at being president. He won't admit it, but Phil Gordon is a true politician. Northeast Phoenix is represented by the consummate politician, state Sen. Jim Waring. I'm hoping to see these two squaring off in the next governor's race.

There is only one problem with living in paradise. Where do you go on vacation? Over to see my daughter and son-in-law in the other paradise, San Diego!