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Archive for August 2008

Republican Convention schedule dramatically altered…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

The Republican National Convention will convene tomorrow, as planned, but today Rick Davis, Campaign Manager for the John McCain Campaign stated in a press conference a short time ago that only the business aspects of the convention will be conducted tomorrow. Due to Hurricane Gustav, all other convention business, including roll call, have been temporarily suspended.

Davis stated that he could not make “any commitment past 5:30 tomorrow afternoon” due to the unpredictability of the hurricane heading for the Gulf Coast tomorrow. However, he repeated his statement that Republicans will “put on the best possible convention as possible, given the circumstances.”

Davis also noted that delegates to the convention from the Gulf States were already on a chartered plane heading home to be with their families and/or get them out of harm’s way.


Potential Mayhem down South…

Good morning, Netizens…

We always want to keep an eye on potential problems. While an area extending from Texas to Mississippi are evacuating and taking other precautions for Hurricane Gustav, which is making its way through the Gulf, making what appears to be a dead-on shot at the Louisiana coastline, there are other potential problems which may impact our lives, even here in the Inland Northwest.

In this morning’s NOAA satellite photograph we can see the huge Hurricane Gustav, which is presently moving Northwest of Cuba rebuilding itself after crossing over land to what hurricane forecasters suggest may become a Category 5 hurricane shortly before it makes landfall Monday evening. Lagging slightly behind it is Tropic Storm Hanna, which is still in its formative stages. Further out in the Atlantic, numbers one and two respectively, are two more tropical depressions, as of yet unnamed, that have the potential to become hurricanes.

Oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico as well as inland in Mississippi and Louisiana have shut down, which will drive the price of sweet crude oil upward, even as the price of gasoline locally has been showing signs of dropping. Some forecasters are predicting we could see prices dramatically spike upward if Hurricane Gustav turns out to be as intense as some are saying.

Tropical Storm Hanna, on the other hand, is showing signs that it will maintain a course along the East Side of the State of Florida and may strengthen into a Category 3 or 4 hurricane by late tomorrow. However, predicting the paths of hurricanes is an imperfect science, and thus Hanna could veer into the Gulf and follow the path that Gustav is presently predicted to follow.

The stage is set. We have a multitude of potentially-devastating tropical storms queuing up in the South Atlantic, and one huge and potentially-deadly hurricane taking aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast after ravaging parts of Cuba and Haiti.

This bears close observation. We may end up paying at the gas pumps for the unpredictability of Mother Nature, not to mention sheer pandemonium along the Gulf Coast.


Category 4 Gustav tracking toward Miss-Louisiana coast…

Good morning, Netizens…

It’s now official. Hurricane Gustav is a Category 4 hurricane as of an hour ago, and strengthening.

As you can see from the projected track it may follow it appears destined to hit New Orleans nearly dead-on, barring a change of direction. Yesterday they held memorial services in New Orleans for the memory of Hurricane Katrina victims after that storm hit parts of Mississippi and Louisiana 3 years ago yesterday.

If Gustav stays on-course and continues to build, it could hit the same areas of both states that were devastated by Katrina, perhaps as powerful as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.

It should be noted that, as of 1:00 PM PDT this afternoon, there are already preliminary storm walls from the back side of Gustav hitting the Florida Coast as severe thunderstorms and rain squalls.


Climb on board the bus, Sarah. Don’t mind the baggage…

Good morning, Netizens…

In yet another David Horsey’s excellent political cartoons from the Seattle P-I, we have a hilariously-funny picture of Presidential candidate John McCain and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin as they climb aboard the bus heading for St. Paul and the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin, being a lifelong member of the NRA, has her gun (ostensibly loaded for bear), her mukluks on and that pearly smile that McCain hopes will launch him into the White House.

What is particularly rewarding to me, however, is that George Bush and Dick Cheney are where they belong—in the bottom of the bus with the luggage as far as possible from the action that may evolve in the bus while on the way to Minnesota. They will need to remain there, as far as possible from John McCain’s nomination at St. Paul, if McCain is to have even the most-remotely possible chance of being elected President of the United States.

What a wild ride this promises to be!


Quote of the Day August 30, 2008

Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head.

Carole Burnett

Second Harvest in Need…

Good Morning,

Last fall when I first went to Second Harvest to get the first batch of food for our feeding program at Central Methodist Church  ”Shalom Ministry”   the shelves at the main supply depot were modestly full.  It is not unlike a “Big Box” store, and was piled high from floor to ceiling with pallets of various canned goods, rice, beans and staples such as flour and masa.  Yesterday upon making a Second Harvest run, we found no food in the walk in refrigerator and the produce on the front floor that is provided for free was not present.  Today on arrival there were some varied milk products in the walkin and produce and fruit.  We start our feeding program for the year on this coming Monday, and while our shelves at the Church are stocked for a start up, there are deep concerns for the increased number of persons who will likely come to our door to be fed.   We are pretty good at the “Loaves and Fishes” routine, but would appreciate any letters to the editor, or your Church Boards and Congregations to allow us to continue to minister to our “Community of Other”,  the people we are called to serve.    

ChefGus Olsen

John August Olsen
Spokane Wa 99218
509 220 4534

The Great Divide…Is it a thing of the past?

David Horsey’s excellent political cartoons appear daily in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and online.

Good morning, Netizens…

This is the first of several Pictures of the Day, and it in particular begs the viewer to contemplate the parallels between the late Martin Luther King and Barak Obama. A lot of people in the mainstream news media (MNM) have or will made this comparison but I have pondered for several months what the late Dr. King would say to Barak Obama were he still alive today.

The parallels between their lives were extraordinary in my opinion, but one of the places where they differ is that, unlike Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Obama only alluded to ethnicity in his speech last night, never really playing the “race card” of which so much has been written by so many in the MSM. It was if through the eyes of Barak Obama, for a brief window of time in American history and politics, we were all Americans, transcending our racial differences.

Hence this morning, one parallel I see in my vision is that thus Barak Obama, if elected as the next President of the United States, may actually fulfill the dream of which Dr. Martin Luther King spoke so eloquently many years ago. Obama is already on his way to having fulfilled that dream, having become the first person of color to accept the nomination of his political party to the Presidency, which I tend to view as mind-boggling in and of itself, given that I have met and interviewed a number of avowed racists over the years, and thus have always wondered if I would ever see this day. I think it’s here: I think that America is ready to at least admit the racial divide that once separated us and perhaps heal that most ugly and ignominious blotch on the face of American tradition. I believe that Barak Obama is a good first step to this end, and for the first time in American history, we have the opportunity to begin a more equal future than our predecessors.

To borrow from my good friend Marty, for the first time in decades, I have hope that the dream once held by Dr. King will become reality in my lifetime.

Do you see our nation standing at a new beginning?


One Man’s Experience with the VA…

Good morning, Netizens…

Having listened for a long time how badly the Veteran’s Administration is being run, this morning I turned to a long-time friend and one of America’s heroes from Vietnam to read what he might have to offer on the subject.

The horror story Bob Kirkpatrick penned in first person singular represents all the reasons why I should hate the VA for what they have done to him and others. You can read his Blog post, in his own words, here:
Bob Kirkpatrick’s Deludia

The “Ruby Slippers” post is an urgent cry for help.

It is perhaps one of many horror stories being told across this nation of ours, a terribly sad thing because Bob is fighting Multiple Myeloma a form of aggressive and dangerous cancer, I am told.

He is one of our heroes. He deserves better treatment than he describes.


Word of the Day — maquillage

This week’s theme: Why use a simple word?

maquillage (ma-kee-AAZH) noun

   Makeup or cosmetics.

[From French maquillage (makeup), from maquiller (to apply makeup). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mag-/mak- (to knead, to fit)
that is also the source of words make, mason, mass, match, and mingle.]

-Anu Garg (words at

  “Wearing black boots and black Levi’s, chains around his wrist and neck, a striped vest, a goatee, and a Caesar haircut, Kevyn Aucoin, 31, the Michelangelo of maquillage, stares intently at his canvas, brush in hand.
   The canvas is the delicate face of Kate Moss.”
   James Servin; The Face Maker; Harper’s Bazaar (New York); Jan 1994.

Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. -Eli Khamarov

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Potential for Assassination?

Good morning, Netizens…

This AP picture of Barak Obama is not the Picture of the Day, as some might presume. I submit to each of you this picture is what the next President of the United States will look like when or if the voters of the United States vote him into office. Did I say if?

Twice in my life the Secret Service detail responsible for protecting the life of the President of the United States have failed, twice Presidents in my lifetime have been shot, and in the case of the late President John F. Kennedy, I admit I am not 100% certain that the assassination was not carried out by a group of unknown co-conspirators.

So why do I, at the advent of Obama’s acceptance speech tonight, fear for his life? Let me make the argument I perceive for you and perhaps you’ll understand better.

A. Despite the warm heartfelt welcome the Democratic Party gave the Obama family, despite the appearance of Unity in the Democratic Party displayed in how it conducted the business of nominating their candidate unanimously, racial hatred is still alive and well in the United States. There are men and women out there who, at the core of their souls, want Barak and Michelle Obama dead and there is no way to print that aesthetically. In the minds of devout racists, the Obama’s represent miscegenation, that they are a product of mixed racial heritage, and much of the racist hate literature I have read in the past speaks of this openly. While most people of intelligence and moral backbone fully support racial equality, there are still many people in this country for whom the Obama family represents the enemy. It is deplorably sad, but oh so very true.

B. There are a greater number of Americans out-of-work right now than at any time in recent history. More Americans have lost their homes due to the economic crunch. There are more veterans of the Middle East conflict who are returning home to find the promises made to them are false, that the Veterans health care system is a mind-boggling card shuffle and many of the Veterans Hospitals cesspools of mismanagement and inefficiency. Anytime you have that many people alienated against their government due to hardships, you increase the possibility of an assassination attempt.

Then, there is the candidate, Barak Obama, who has led one of the biggest, most-successful Presidential nomination campaigns in recent American history largely based upon accessibility to the American voters. Obama the candidate wades right into crowds to shake hands, to “press the flesh” and listens to their hearts. That is what a candidate must do. As America’s first President of color, the risks of that behavior are tremendous. He will need to learn to accept the recommendations of the Secret Service, something that may cut against his grain. He will need to divorce himself from the public, at some point. His life may depend upon it.

Do you fear for Barak Obama’s life? In your opinion, if elected the next President of the United States will Barak Obama be assassinated before he completes his first term of office?

Granted this is a tough, ugly question to have to ask, but yes, I am worried. Are you?


The future of newspapers revisted…

Good evening, Netizens…

Curious about how the world of newspapers are changing? A world-class sports columnist, Jay Mariotti, abruptly resigned from the Chicago Sun-Times today and wrote these words after returning from the Olympics in China.

“To showcase your work … you need a stellar Web site and if a newspaper doesn’t have that, you can’t be stuck in the 20th century with your old newspaper.”

In the defense of the Chicago Sun Times it should be noted that while Mariotti was regarded by many as the most-popular columnists in Chicago, despite numerous spates of contention with management and other journalists.


Quote of the Day August 27, 2008

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950), Letters

A brief storm, and then placidity…

Good morning, Netizens…

It only lasted a brief moment in time, but early this morning an trivial little thunderstorm cell defied every bit of meteorological finesse by materializing when weather forecasters stated the night was supposed to be clear and cool. I noticed lightning in the northern sky about 2:45 AM this morning when I arose, appearing to be somewhere in the vicinity of Deer Park.

According to its signature on weather radar, it formed somewhere just North of the Spokane and Stevens County line and slightly west of Deer Park, but this industrious little two or three mile-wide storm cell truly hammered the terra firma with repeated cloud-to-ground lightning and a fair amount of rain according to one of my associates who lives near Clayton, Washington. It flickered the lights a few times and in general played havoc with various Wireless Internet towers in the area.

Then, satisfied with its self, as quickly as it formed, it simply dissipated, and by the time it had crossed the Idaho State Line it was once again an unindustrious little rain cloud, leaving just a bare trace of its former existence on the NEXRAD weather radar in Spokane.

By 4:00 AM as I began my self for the day’s business, I heard the pattering of raindrops on the patio roof, like so many cat paws, their claws clicking as they pace across the hardwood floor in the Great Hall in the darkness, and that, too, dissipated as in the East the sky began slowly fading from black to gray.

Somehow this triumph of nature over science is reassuring, in some obscure manner, despite the fact so many of us depend so much upon science to make a living.

As I ramble in the front door of The Virtual Ballroom, I am somewhat surprised to see the Ghost of Max Ehrmann, someone I barely remember, serving a tour of duty as our barrista this morning. In case you do not recognize the name, he wrote Desiderata which went largely ignored until after his death.

“This morning’s custom blend is called ‘Placid Thoughts’” Ehrmann’s Ghost states with a smile. “If there are no lessons in life, no deep meaning in your science, a cup of this will set your heart at ease.”

May your day be placid.


Quote of the Day August 26 2008

God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.

Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)

Michelle Obama’s Speech…

Good evening, Everyone…

Michelle Obama took center stage at the Democratic National Convention tonight and in a slightly over 20 minute emotionally-laden speech demonstrated for even those skeptics in the audience that she is a powerful public speaker. There were tears in the eyes of audience members as she told of growing up in her South Chicago home, of the aspirations of her family and her dreams for the future.

How did you feel about Michelle Obama’s speech?


Quote of the Day August 25, 2008

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot.

Ellen DeGeneres

Incredible Seen and Heard…

“Obamadom is coming. Get your AR now”

Seen on the outdoor readerboard at the Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gunshop corner of Freya and Trent.

Is this free speech or inciting to riot?


Quote of the Day August 24, 2008

He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

Bestselling Author to Speak on Blackwater Sept 30…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

COEUR d’ALENE — Blackwater Worldwide, a private security company, wants to build a regional law enforcement training center in North Idaho.

The North Carolina-based company is negotiating a contract with the Idaho Peace Officer Standards & Training Academy to provide space and instruction to law enforcement personnel.
(Source: Coeur d’Alene Press)

Although plans for this training center are not yet complete, to some degree this appears to be on the fast track.

There are opinions about Blackwater Worldwide on either side of the political spectrum, encompassing the full length and breadth of the United States, not to mention several foreign countries that have been severely impacted by Blackwater’s so-called “Black Ops” in the past.

Jeremy Scahill, one of the best-selling authors has written extensively about Blackwater Worldwide.
Among his considerable literary and journalistic credits Jeremy Scahill has written a powerhouse book about his insider knowledge of what he called the world’s largest terrorist organization.

The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

Not to mention he has written extensively about the use and deployment of Blackwater here in the United States as well as in foreign countries. You can read an extensive resume of articles he has written past and present here:

Jeremy Scahill’s writings

Jeremy Scahill will be making his first public appearance in Spokane at the Met Bing Crosby Theater September 30, at 7:00 PM .

Do you have an opinion about Blackwater Worldwide?


Pacem in Terris…

Good morning, Netizens…

“I’m sorry for how things are in China,
I ‘m sorry things ain’t the way they used to be
But more than anything else
I’m sorry for myself
Because you’re not here with me…”

(The late great John Denver)

As I climb from my honorable Putzmobile in front of The Virtual Ballroom this morning, the neighborhood is truly in a tizzy. Folks across the street are moving, using the combined forces of an entire church population to get the job done, three other neighbors are weed whacking with those ludicrously-loud gas-powered weed whackers and Foghorn, not wanting to put up with any of that, is packing her granddaughter for a trip to Silverwood, which probably makes more noise than all the other pandemonious disharmonies combined.

As I cut through the Virtual Garden, I notice the Garden Gnomes are all hiding beneath the cucumber vines and among the squash plants from the noise, but by then I am in full retreat from the cacophony, my hands over my ears.

To my astonishment, the Ghost of Robert Burns is sitting in this morning as our barrista at the Virtual Espresso Bar, and he slides a cup of something that looks pretty innocuous, even for one of our infamous espresso blends, adding, “It’s called Pacem in Terris” and it is for Saturday mornings when things will simply not quiet down and let nature take over peacefully.”

One sip and I’m ready for the day, indeed. What about you?

Are you still living in discord and disharmony or are you living in Peace? Given the events of this last month, that seems like a pretty good way to start the day.


Humanitarian boats to Gaza in trouble

Gush Shalom calls upon the government to let peace boats reach Gaza Message from the ships mentions electronic jamming hurting vital systems

The Gush Shalom movement calls upon the government to let the two humanitarian boats which sailed yesterday from Cyprus, carrying peace and human rights activists from 17 countries (among them Prof. Jeff Halper of Jerusalem) to sail unmolested, reach the Gaza shores and unload their cargo - hearing aids urgently needed by deaf children in the Strip.

The last message received from the boats, at about 10am this morning (Cyprus time), was that the area they entered was blanketed by heavy electronic jamming, which interferes with vital systems on board, and that they are experiencing rough sea conditions. Afterwards, contact was cut off.

In January, we were ourselves involved in a “break the blockade” action over land. This is a similar non-violent action of international peace and human rights activists and should not be treated with the threat of military force. The state of Israel should let these boats pass to the shore of Gaza, just as in the end it had to let the January convoy pass.

In general, there is no conceivable reason why the state of Israel should maintain a naval blockade of Gaza. This blockade should be removed, and the Palestinians in Gaza should be allowed to build a port, as was stated in the Oslo Agreements, and maintain free contact with the outside world like any other country. The building of the port in itself would provide thousands of jobs and facilitate the reviving of the Gaza economy, and Israel has a vital interest in that” says Gush Shalom.


Quote of the Day August 23, 2008

Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost.

Isak Dineson, ‘Babette’s Feast’

Ships on their way to Gaza!

Forty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza.  Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestinians’ case, for voting the “wrong” way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral.

Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israel’s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the
suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and
the outside world.

Israel claims that since the “disengagement” in 2005 it no longer occupies Gaza . However, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international human rights organizations reject this claim since Israel still exerts effective control over Gaza .  As an Occupying Power, Israel has a responsibility for the well-being of the people of Gaza under the provisions of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israel has abused its control and responsibilities by wrongfully obstructing vital supplies and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

As Israel’s 41-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip defies international consensus, and because Israel has grossly violated its
obligations, we do not recognize Israel’s right to stop us outside its own territorial waters, which we will not be approaching.  To remove any “security” pretense that Israel may raise, we have had our boats inspected and certified by Cypriot authorities that they carry no arms or contraband of any kind.  We have invited Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to join us on our voyage and, in fact, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has itself told us the Israeli
government “assume[s] that your intentions are good.”

We are human rights activists, invited to visit Gaza by our Palestinian partners, and each of us has vowed to do no violence, in either word or deed. If Israel chooses to forcibly stop and search our ships, we will not forcibly resist.  

Such a search will be under duress and with our formal protest.  After such a search, we fully
expect the Israeli navy to stand aside, as we continue peacefully to Gaza.

If we are arrested and brought to Israel , we will protest and prosecute our kidnapping in the appropriate forums.  It is our purpose to show the power that ordinary citizens of the world have when they organize together to stand against injustice.  Let there be no doubt: the policies of repression against the civilian population
of Gaza represent gross violations of human rights, international humanitarian law, and constitute war crimes.  The goal of our voyage
is to break the illegal siege on the people of Gaza, and end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

For More Information, please contact:
JERUSALEM: Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
Tel. +972 547 366 393


Privacy Rights of Your Children – Endangered?

Did you know that there is a federal law initiated in 1976 that allows information about your school-age child to be released to the public without your knowledge or permission??? This includes your child’s name, date of birth, picture, and address.

The Duncan trial going on right now has revealed in horrific detail how predators search, stalk, plan, and go in for the capture and kill of innocent children. In my opinion, this little known law enables the Duncans of the world and provides them with a bounty of prey.


Picture of the Day August 22, 2008

Today’s Picture of the Day features a fast moving thunderstorm dumping rain and hail over Spokane, Wash. on Thursday. The storm left almost an inch of hail in the Spokane Valley, causing a rash of traffic accidents. The photo was taken looking east from the Palisades Park area atop the Sunset Hill.
(August 21, 2008) AP Photo

Where were you when it began booming, or in some cases hailing?


Hailstorm smacks Spokane just before lunch…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

It was the little thunderstorm who thought it could— and did!

A fast-moving thunderstorm just ripped through parts of Spokane in the last half hour. What made the storm of particular interest is that it hailed so much the streets near Montgomery in the Spokane Valley were WHITE, as if it had snowed.

Nothing like strange summer weather, I say.


Police Blotter — 08/21/2008

Good morning, Netizens…

Seen and heard from the Spokane Police records online:

Contact :
Ofc Daddato #729
Date :
Incident #:
Police Pursuit ends in safe effective PIT on I90 FWY
On August 21, 2008 at 00:24 AM, Ofc E. Specht attempted to stop a reckless driver at Altamont/4th. The driver (Solorio) failed to pull over and accelerated to approx 60 MPH southbound. Solorio slowed down as he entered the residential areas of the south hill but still failed to stop for police. The pursuit continued northbound Arthur/3rd. Solorio continued eastbound to Altamont and then went southbound again increasing his speed to approx 60 MPH. Solorio again went through the residential areas of the south hill and again northbound Arthur towards 3rd. Spokane police set spike strips at Arthur/3rd which Solorio struck, flattening the left front and left rear tire.
Solorio continued evading police eastbound 3rd/Arthur. Solorio reached speeds of approx 50 MPH on 3rd and entered the I90 FWY from Altamont entrance. At the first sign of no traffic on the eastbound I90 FWY, Spokane Police initiated a successful and safe PIT. Officers were able to pin Solorio’s vehicle into the cement center divider. Solorio was then taken into custody without incident.
Solorio was the registered owner of the 1992 Buick maroon 4 door. Solorio was arrested for felony eluding and processed for DUI. Solorio was booked into Spokane County Jail for felony eluding. Solorio was identified as Solorio, Brian S DOB: 7/13/72.

What is a PIT referred to above?

Let’s see here… Having “a few too many” cost Solario 2 new tires, some major body work on his car, getting his Buick out of the impound lot, and the services of a bail bondsman if he can afford it. Not to mention if Office Specht had not caught and detained him, he could have Blue-Crossed someone or put them in the funeral home with his driving habits. The cost of his booze: perhaps as high as $4000-$5000 (less attorneys, tow truck and other miscellaneous fees). Saving a human life: priceless


Quote of the Day August 21, 2008

“How long does getting thin take?” Pooh asked anxiously.

A. A. Milne (1882 - 1956)

Afternoon news brief… sans briefs it seems…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Seen and heard from the Spokane Police records online:

Spokane Police Officers responded to the report of an unknown naked male prowling in a backyard in the 2400 block of E Heroy. The complainant called and reported the naked male was knocking on her door and she did not know him.

Just out of idle curiosity, what would you do if someone you knew showed up naked on your front porch knocking on your door?

The report goes on to say:

The male fled on foot as police arrived in the area after stealing a cushion to a lounge chair using it to cover himself. The naked male apparently stripped his clothes off, defecated in the yard, and then left, leaving behind his wallet with identification. Officers located the 22 year old male at the home of a relative in the 2200 block of E Longfellow. It was obvious to officers on scene that the male had consumed some sort of illicit drug and was not quite aware of his actions. He could have faced several charges, but was left in the custody of family to get him medical attention. This is the fourth similar incident to have occurred in Spokane in the last two weeks. Police believe a tainted and very dangerous batch of illegal narcotics is circulating in the city causing mental problems in the users of the drug.

I’m going to reiterate this because it is important. The officers could have arrested the young miscreant on the spot, and given that, since he was under the influence of drugs at the time, probably would have resisted arrest, as he was not in his right mind. Instead of arresting the young man, thus perhaps provoking a violent confrontation, they allowed his family to get him medical attention.

The officers involved should be commended for their compassion. Although the public record does not give us their name(s), it is equally meritorious when they “get it right” as when they do not.


Quote of the Day August 20, 2008

All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

The Infamous Weekly Wild Card 08/19/2008

Good morning, Netizens…

Got something on your mind? Pull up a bar stool to the Virtual Espresso Bar and tell us all about it. It’s time for our weekly wild card.

Gentle Hint: Do not stare at the barrista. He is dead, a Ghost from long ago, and is prone to writing incredibly-beautiful music once.


Picture of the Day August 19, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s Picture of the Day we see what once might have been thought impossible, or at the very least improbable. Zoo visitors watch Arava, a disabled turtle, with a custom skateboard attached to her shell that helps her move, at the Biblical zoo in Jerusalem. Arava the disabled turtle is using her new set of wheels to get around in more ways than one. Officials at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo say the ten-year-old spurred tortoise has begun mating since being fitted with a custom skateboard to overcome paralysis of her hind legs. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) (August 18, 2008)

See? Now we see the ultimate downfall of man. You give all the turtles skateboards and their minds just naturally turn to sex. Isn’t that always the case?

Hmph. I seem to have lost track of the point I was about to make about Biblical zoos. I guess it might be a good thing at that.


Iran Launches Satellite into Space…

Good morning, Netizens…

Oh, REALLY? Here is a picture of the Iranian rocket just before it launched into space.

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday it was ready to help fellow Muslim states launch satellites into orbit after it successfully put a dummy satellite into orbit — a move that may increase Western suspicions over its atomic ambitions. So helpful, those Iranians, always willing to help out their fellow Muslims, eh?

Iran said on Sunday it had put the home-grown dummy satellite into orbit on a domestically made rocket for the first time. The long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into space can also be used for launching weapons.

No! Say it isn’t so!

Now, what do you think?

Given that according to this press wire story, they now have the ability to launch a rocket into space successfully, do you think this development makes either Israeli or US forces feel any more secure than before?

Does Iran’s capability of launching rockets into space cause you concern?

It causes me grave concern. It isn’t that big of a quantum leap from launching “friendly” satellites into space to launching nuclear weapons of some sort. Paint me a conspiracy theorist or paint me as a pragmatist. This is a troublesome development, either way.


Israeli’s recognize humanitarian effort by Free Gaza…

NICOSIA, CYPRUS (18 Aug. 2008) - In a letter
today to the Free Gaza Movement, the Israeli
Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the
group of international human rights activists
attempting to break the siege of Gaza were
“humanitarian,” and stated that the Israeli
government “assume[s] that your intentions are

Greta Berlin, one of the organizers of the Free
Gaza Movement stated that, “Since the Foreign
Minister’s office responded to our invitation to
join us, and said that we have good intentions,
we now fully expect to reach Gaza.”

According to recent reports in the Israeli media
however, the Israeli military is preparing to use
force to stop the nonviolent campaigners from
reaching Gaza. It’s not clear if the letter from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signals a change
of policy, or is simply an attempt to open up an
official dialogue between the state of Israel and
the Free Gaza Movement regarding the current

The Free Gaza Movement is preparing to sail two
ships into Gaza carrying 40 human rights workers
from 17 different countries. They will also
deliver hearing aids for children who have lost
some or all of their hearing due to Israeli sound
bombs and sonic booms.

The ships have been named the SS Free Gaza, and
the SS Liberty - in recognition of the USS
Liberty, a U.S. Navy ship, carrying 340 that was
attacked by Israeli Þghter planes and torpedo
boats on 8 June 1967, assassinating 34 American
sailors and wounding 170.

The Free Gaza Movement hopes to draw attention to
the devastating consequences of the Israeli
blockade by actively demonstrating the power of
non-violent direct action to change inhumane
governmental policies. ###


What to do when it is this HOT!

Good afternoon, Netizens…

According to the official weather station at Felts Field, it is 104 degrees. Although there is a 6 MPH wind stirring, no matter how you paint the picture, it is Hot! Hot! Hot! It really sucks to be out-of-doors with no way to cool off. If you are like me, you run and hide behind the nearest air conditioner, and simply pray for it to end. However, since we’ve already created a really interesting list of our Top Ten songs & music, let’s see what falls out of our combined bags of thought about the Top inventive things to do when it is THIS hot and you do not have air conditioning:

#1 Turn on the cold water tap, fill up the tub and climb into the bath tub, clothed or not. Of course, this hot you may have to share the tub with friends, family, dogs, cats, ferrets, goats and various other life forms who have the same idea. If you run out of room for everyone in the tub, borrow or buy a horse trough.

#2 In case the tub/horse trough gets lukewarm, make a quick dash to the grocery store/mini mart and buy a half-dozen ten pound bags of ice. Put that in the tub.

#3 Failing that, grind up the ice and put it in your swamp cooler set on HIGH and curl up around it.

#4 A sternly-proportioned application of ice water in your BVD’s seems to work. Repeat as needed. At least you won’t notice the heat until after the chill wears off.

#5 Rent a 6 foot long box freezer, preferably with an interior light. Plug in the freezer and, leaving the lid slightly open so you can breathe and so the light will remain on, curl up inside with your favorite book. Friends, pets, other life forms optional.

#6 How about a road trip to one of Montana’s Glaciers where you can spend the day sleeping on a king-sized ice cube?

#7 This actually works! Climb into the shower with a plastic chair and turn on the cold water tap.

Any takers?


Quote of the Day August 17, 2008

The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

C. S. Lewis
English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 - 1963)

The new and improved Microsoft Office…

Good morning, Netizens…

While for some of you this piece of recently-announced information may be unimportant. However, given the number of people whom I know regularly use Microsoft Office in the workplace, many of whom are experiencing portability issues between various versions of Microsoft Office documents, perhaps this might explain why:

Aug 15th, 2008 | GENEVA — The format used by Microsoft Corp.’s Office 2007 programs to save documents will become an international standard after appeals against the move failed to gather sufficient support, the International Organization for Standardization said Friday.
The decision ends months of wrangling over whether Microsoft’s Office Open XML format should be considered an open standard — a requirement for many lucrative government contracts.
Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela had complained that an international ballot held in April was poorly conducted and rushed them into a decision based on incomplete information.
Technical panels at the Geneva-based ISO and its sister organization, the International Electrotechnical Commission, considered the appeals but concluded that they lacked the necessary support of two-thirds of their membership.
The two bodies said it will take several weeks before OOXML officially becomes an international standard. (Portions from The Associated Press Wire)

rough translation:

Once it becomes an international standard, things will get better. Microsoft knows such things.

even better translation:

There are already alternatives available which will translate any version of Microsoft Office documents, and some of them are free to the public. This is opposed to Microsoft’s own Office programs previous to 2007 which require a patch to be interoperable.

Now why would someone want to take an obfuscatious, poorly-documented, somewhat unpopular ISO international software standard and create applications that can easily translate all documents written under this standard free to the public?

If there is sufficient interest in this ongoing development, I will attempt to clarify the difference between the various standards for Microsoft Office documents and explain the alternatives which currently are available.


Picture of the Day — August 16, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

In today’s Picture of the Day, a displaced Georgian woman is helped up on the outskirts of Gori, northwest of the capital Tbilisi, Georgia. Western leaders engaged in intense diplomacy Friday to persuade Russia to pull troops out of Georgia, but regional tensions soared after a top Russian general warned that Poland could face attack over its missile defense deal with the United States. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic) (August 15, 2008)

You might think this piece of revolting history is terrible, but what seems even more sad to me in a more fundamental way are the number of Americans who are uncertain whether their vacation plans to the City of Atlanta, Georgia, USA will be impacted.

I wonder how many Americans have attempted to locate Tbilisi, Georgia on their Triple-A road maps. Anyone have any ideas?


Boats to sail from Cyprus…

Good evening, Netizens…

This is the latest news bulletin from the two ships preparing to sail from Cyprus to Palestine I spoke of earlier last week.

(Friday 15th August) Today I was intending to write about about practical developments, here in the waters around the Greek islands. Of setting sail again, of bumpy seas and equally churning stomachs.However, the subject of today’s bulletin has changed to that of; psychological terrorism. Over the the past 72 hours almost a dozen aggressive messages have been received by members of the groups both on board the ships and in Cyprus. In Nicosia where twenty human rights campaginers including Hedy Epstein await to board the Freegaza and the Liberty, anonymous callers have been making threats to the general well being of all concerned. Some of these texts, calls and answer messages focus on the ships being ‘blown up’ or ‘detroyed killing all on board.’ Unnerving enough. But today I can reveal even more pernicious acts of psychological violence on those both reprorting and supporting this effort to ease the blockade of Gaza by Israel. Since Monday, some Palestinian campaigners, (who I will not name here for obvious reasons), have received phone calls made to their mobiles. In an increasing number of cases these threats are being made to family members of the crew who live in the occupied territories. Imagine for a moment hearing a relative report being told ‘you will see your uncle soon if xxx continues this action’ named uncle having been shot dead by the IDF Now, it is my turn. Yesterday afternoon, on the 14th of August 2008, an anonymnous young man called my home in France as my daughters played hide and seek in the garden . This stranger spoke to my husband, warning him that ‘your wife is in great danger. These ships will be blown up.’ My husband asked how it was this person had obtained our private home number. No response was forthcoming, but the illicit threats carried on. Who is behind these phone calls? Who benefits by upsetting the families of those onboard the Freegaza and the Liberty? Who would wish to unsettle journalists aboard as unarmed ships set sail towards the waters around Gaza and almost certain interception by Israeli forces? You decide.I will carry on reporting from the waters around Greece, Cyprus and who knows some day soon, even Gaza.My husband will carry on recording these malicious calls to my home in France.A special congratulations and best wishes to Hedy who turns 84 today, many happy returns to a fabulous, human being.THOUGHT FOR THE DAYSilence is the bullies best friend. And.Lauren BoothJournalist and BroadcasterMob: 07958 961602

For a complete overview of events please go to the Free Gaza Website


Picture of the August 15, 2008 5:00 AM

Today’s Picture of the Day is a simple reminder that we have reached the close of yet another week in the Community Comment Blog. This week has been marked for being free of contention, dissension or anger, and although each one of those divisive forms have purpose in the exchange of ideas, and thus always would have a place in our dialogs, they have been fortunately absent.

Cindy H. stated it with some emphasis this morning, “Sometimes the only way to endure the awful ugliness of life is to embrace what is still good.”

I cannot help but remember those rare and near-celestial moments of utter peace, and I openly embrace their presence in my life. Of some of my favorite memories, one will always be my grandmother, sitting on the front porch in her rocker during Summer evenings reading her Bible. The sounds of the creaking of the old rocker, the occasional turning of a page, combined with the buzzing of the bees in the honeysuckle vines nearby, had a quality which forbade or at least discouraged conversation. There was nothing that needed to be said to complete the tranquility. You simply sat there as the day came to a close, perhaps marveling, having lived in bigger towns nearby, at the absence of sound in that tiny Midwestern town. Nothing stirred at twilight on a summer’s evening. It was a complete statement in and of itself.

My grandfather once said of those quiet times, “Don’t bother her, now. She’s talking things over with God .”

And so for a moment, as the sun begins its rise in the Eastern sky this morning, I encourage others to seek out and rejoice in the tranquility that abides in each of us, rather than dissension and strife that surround us on all sides. There will be time enough for all that in the day, but for the moment, embrace what is still good, seek out and celebrate those things that make us as beautiful as the fading stars overhead.

For if we are one in purpose in favor of tranquility, who is it that will speak in favor of strife?


Home Foreclosures Sharply Rise…

Good morning, Netizens…

The news wires this morning are all citing a sharp increase in the number of American bank real estate foreclosures this morning, some stating the increase is as high as 55 percent in the month of July. California was first by number of foreclosures with 72,285 in July, up 5 percent from June and 85 percent on a year ago. Foreclosures in Florida rose 14 percent from June and 139 percent from a year earlier to claim the second highest number of properties, at 45,884. Ohio was third with 13,457 filings, up 2 percent from June and 1 percent from July 2007. Texas, Georgia, Nevada, Illinois and New York also were in the top 10 for foreclosure filings.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — rose 8 percent from June and 55 percent from July 2007 to 272,171, according to RealtyTrac, which records property in various stages of foreclosure. (Source: Reuters)

By comparison, Spokane County is ranked fifth, with 159 properties listed as being in foreclosure with King County leading the state with 599 foreclosures, followed by Pierce at 534, Snohomish at 291 and Clark at 260.


Duncan—death or prison for life?

Good evening, Netizens…

I have completed reading the court transcripts of Joseph Duncan’s appearance in court today. Simply reading U.S. Attorney Tom Moss’s description of the heinous crimes that Duncan admits freely to having committed is enough to make a caring person lose their lunch, if for no other reason than the meticulous skill he exhibited in planning and executing the murders of Brenda Matthews Groene; the mother’s fiancé, Mark McKenzie; and Shasta’s 13-year-old brother, Slade Groene. Then we have the most-revulsive crime imaginable, of taking Dylan and Shannon Groene to a remote campsite in Montana with great deliberation and fore planning, where he first raped and murdered Dylan and videotaped the entire event, and then raped Shannon.

Aside from the horrific sequence of events that took place, what makes Duncan’s case stand out so vividly is that he planned these events well in advance with fascinating precision, right down to how he would avoid prosecution and/or detection by law enforcement.

On one hand, through the descriptions of how Duncan planned the attacks well in advance, you sense a truly brilliant psychotic individual. That is not to suggest I admire his actions in any way, rather I am totally revulsed and sickened beyond all words at his crimes against society. However, having met and known a few psychotic individuals in life, there are those who, by the very nature of their ability to plan and “think their crimes through” in advance, often attain what amount to sheer genius level thinking. Of such individuals John Gacy comes to mind. Such sick perverted people are often able to elude law enforcement for considerable periods of time. They know how law enforcement works and how to exploit both law enforcement and other individuals around them.

Had Duncan not brought Shannon to the Denny’s Restaurant in Coeur D’Alene, had he simply killed her and disposed of the body similar to what he did with Dylan, had he disposed of the Jeep stolen in Minnesota and all of its contents, he might have completely avoided detection and prosecution. He might have even gone on to commit other heinous crimes against children. However you view the nature of his crimes, however you consider such totally aberrant psych-sexual terrorism, he made what may prove to be a fatal mistake when he walked into Denny’s with Shannon at his side.

Does he deserve to die for his crimes or should he spend the rest of his natural life behind bars? I’ll let you be the judge of that. Duncan has admitted the crimes; now it is time for a jury to select his punishment.


Picture of the Day — August 13, 2008

The Persids are coming! The phenomenon, known as the Perseid meteor shower, occurs at mid-August and is caused by falling debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)(August 10, 2008)

Tonight and tomorrow night are supposed to be peak meteor-sighting times, so get out from in front of the Tube and go watch the free fireworks.


How do Gender benders line up?

I’ll be happy to share my “girly side” if such a thread comes to surface.. There are indeed “True Males” and “True Females” at the second and third standard deviation out at each end of the Gender Bell Curve…. but most of us are “under the bell, with a little bitta both…

And “Gender” does not seem to have a lot to do with Sexual Preference which is another Bell Curve… for each of the two supposed Gender’s.


Lip Synching from China a Hit!

Good morning, Netizens…

I stumble onto the strangest stuff at the oddest times. On the left in the picture is the picture-perfect girl, Lin Miaoke, 9, from a Beijing primary school, who became an overnight sensation for singing as the Chinese flag entered the stadium at the World Olympics. She gave all kinds of interviews to the news media, including CNN and NBC, taking credit for her singing.

Whoopsie! The girl on the right, Yang Peiyi, is actually the young girl who sang the song “Hymn to the Motherland” on international television while Miaoke lip-synched the song and took all the credit. According to the UK Telegraph, Chinese officials eventually got around to admitting their deception, but one has to ask, will the notoriety of Miaoke enable her to sign a lucrative deal for movie rights, or Peiyi?

The deciding factor that determined who actually appears in the television footage as the Chinese flag entered the arena came about because of a member of the Chinese Politburo who was watching a rehearsal and then made the call. He is quoted as saying that the girl called Yang Peiyi, might have a perfect voice but was unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth.

“This was a last-minute question, a choice we had to make,” the ceremony’s musical designer, Chen Qigang, said. “Our rehearsals had already been vetted several times - they were all very strict. When we had the dress rehearsals, there were spectators from various divisions, including above all a member of the politburo who gave us his verdict: we had to make the swap.”

Yikes! Officials have already admitted that the pictures of giant firework footprints which marched across Beijing towards the stadium on Friday night were prerecorded, digitally enhanced and inserted into footage beamed across the world. Is that why they practiced the firework display so many times before the live broadcast?

The real voice behind the televised image, Yang Peiyi is said to have reacted well to the disappointment. “I am proud to have been chosen to sing at all,” she is reported to have said.

[Portions of this taken from the UK Telegraph]

So what other parts of the television broadcasts from China have been dedacted, altered or changed without our knowledge?

More important, do you care?


Quote of the Day August 12, 2008

Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850), Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845

I am surrounded by stuff!

I have had to unload my desk at work to get ready to move to another, much smaller, cubicle on another floor. So, I came in this weekend and filled eight boxes of “stuff” from my desk. Half of it was work related, so I don’t feel too bad about THAT. However, the other half was all personal – knickknacks, figurines, stuffed animals (so professional, don’t ya think?), collectible tea cups, pictures, a wall full of ribbons that I have saved over the past ten years from every present and flower I have received. Stuff. Bits and pieces of things that have nothing to do with my job as a secretary. My life and personality lives on and in my desk and is now crammed into four banker’s boxes. I have marked them “GO HOME” and am debating whether I should take them to my new cubicle, which is where I will be settled for most of my waking day, thus “home” away from home. Or take them HOME to my house.

The only drawback will be that nobody will know it is ME that sits in that cubicle – no signs of my passions, my possessions, my personality. The advantage will be that if I should {gulp} get a pink slip for whatever dire reason, I can simply pick up my purse and walk out the door. No packing! No having the office manager stand over me while I take four hours to unload my non-work-related “stuff.”

The Demise of News is a Conversation…

Good morning, Netizens…

This morning, perhaps out of habit, I reached for News is a Conversation which is no longer there, and in that moment, knew how important it has been to me and others.

As most of you already know, “News is a Conversation” or NIAC for short is no longer, after Editor Steve Smith recently announced the demise of that Blog. I can honestly say I have not always agreed with Steve’s on a broad base of things, but I always knew he had an incredible insight on newspaper journalism that began with hot type linotypes and continues to reach past the new generation of newspapers on the web today. I also knew where things stood between he and I, for borrowing from an old cowboy saying, “I ride for the brand. What he says goes.”

On several occasions I have made Steve furious with me, mostly over making bad decisions about what I said in print. But I never lost sight of the Editor, whom I’ve never met, who could tell me not only how newspapers once were, but the direction(s) they must move today if they are to succeed in the future. For in his own words, written so eloquently yet simply, Steve Smith is a newspaperman. Having not worked for a newspaperman for quite a few years, still I recognize that brand of individual quite well. Well enough that I admit my shortcomings when it comes to rising to that standard. Moreover, I have had the distinct pleasure in life for working for two newspaperwomen, both of whom had that invisible trace of printer’s ink running through their veins.

I am just a creative writer, sometimes on the mark, and sometimes falling so shy of my own standards of excellence I find myself wondering, “Now, what the heck ever possessed me to write that? Unfortunately, that slack piece of journalism has already been read by everyone. Time was when I worked in a newsroom, such sloppy pieces were placed on a spindle, rejected as unfit for human consumption by someone who knew better. I am not a newspaperman.

Being a full-time journalist is a lot more difficult, more challenging, than anyone writing in a Blog ever recognizes. I submit my being a part-time journalist is even more trying, made more difficult because I never establish a pattern of writing consistent with the standards of a newspaperman. I have a “real day job” that pays the bills, and then, like so many others who Blog each day, I write for the sheer pleasure, for the creativity I possess, for the desire to reach upward for excellence of writing, that driving aspiration to create an image in other minds. I must aspire to that standard, however, because it continues calling me, just as it has done for years.

Picture of the Day —August 11, 2008

Good morning, campers…

Members of a freestyle Motocross group Red Bull perform during a soccer match break in Oberhausen, Germany. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)(August 10, 2008)

Today’s picture might as well be called your Monday Morning Jump Shot. Yes, indeedie, hitch up your garters, sand down the old face or put on the new and hang onto your hats because we are jumping off to a new week. Just don’t lose contact with that seat or you may end up splatted all over a building somewhere, and that might leave a mark.

In the weather department, although we start the week off with inauspicious temperatures in the low 80’s by weeks end we can once more commence cooking burgers on the sidewalks of Spokane as temperatures by next weekend will come close to the century mark. Yes, it’s the lovely hot days of August, and for once the weather promises to stay right where one would expect it to be…HOT and more hot.

So make your best jump today, making certain you can find a convenient tree or air conditioned place to hide by week’s end.


Isaac Hayes dead at 65…

Isaac Hayes, the man with the incredibly huge baritone voice, has died late Sunday in Tennessee. Hayes laid the groundwork for disco and and his original composition “Theme From Shaft” won both Academy and Grammy awards. He was 65.

With his muscular build, shiny head and sunglasses, Hayes cut a striking figure at a time when most of his contemporaries were sporting Afros. His music, which came to be known as urban-contemporary, paved the way for disco as well as romantic crooners like Barry White.

Hayes was born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tenn., about 40 miles north of Memphis. He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother died and his father took off when he was 1½. The family moved to Memphis when he was 6.

His musical career got started when he won a talent contest in ninth grade by singing Nat King Cole’s “Looking Back.”

He held down various low-paying jobs, including shining shoes on the legendary Beale Street in Memphis. He also played gigs in rural Southern juke joints where at times he had to hit the floor because somebody was shooting.

Always a self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Stax Records of Memphis as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for Otis Redding and others. He also played saxophone.
He began writing songs, establishing a songwriting partnership with David Porter, and in the 1960s they wrote such hits for Sam and Dave as “Hold On, I’m Coming” and “Soul Man.”
In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album “Black Moses” and earned a nickname he reluctantly embraced. Hayes composed film scores for “Tough Guys” and “Truck Turner” besides “Shaft.” He also did the song “Two Cool Guys” on the “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America” movie soundtrack in 1996. Additionally, he was the voice of Nickelodeon’s “Nick at Nite” and had radio shows in New York City (1996 to 2002) and then in Memphis.

He was in several movies, including “It Could Happen to You” with Nicolas Cage, “Ninth Street” with Martin Sheen, “Reindeer Games” starring Ben Affleck and the blaxploitation parody “I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka.”

Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

He was a multi-talented individual. In his spoken-word introductions and interludes, Hayes was essentially rapping before there was rap. His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show “South Park.”

But Hayes angrily quit the show in 2006 after an episode mocked his Scientology religion.

“There is a place in this world for satire,” he said. “but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs of others begins.”

Yes, he was a Scientologist. He was also one-of-a-kind, who followed his own road.

Isaac Hayes Website


Evening Reverie, August 10, 2008

Good evening, Netizens…

I never mentioned to anyone that today Garry and Terresa-Monroe Hamilton and myself were going on a marvelous escapade, something over which we had meditated for several days. One of my most favorite games, other than perhaps Scrabble on cold, snowy nights with intimate friends, is the summer road game we call “Let’s Get Lost”. Although we had played this game countless times with members of my own family, we had never invited anyone else to participate.

The rules of Let’s Get Lost are painstakingly simple. In a sturdy vehicle full of fuel, you must drive until you find a road either you have not traveled before, or that appears particularly interesting to you. You drive down it until you reach another junction upon which one or more participants state they want to travel. You continue traveling until there are no more roads to follow, you suddenly realize you are hopelessly lost, you reach a dead-end or everyone agrees it is time to return home. I hadn’t played this eccentric little game, invented back when the prices of gasoline were substantially lower, since earlier this summer, but having Garry and Terresa playing the game made the playing even more delightful having two relatively-inexperienced explorers wandering the hinterlands of Idaho.

The game begins at Pinehurst, where the men’s room of the local Exon station has more condom machines than even the Flying J Truckstop. Thinking perhaps that others might not share my personal fascination with such trivia, upon returning from the bathroom, I immediately ask Garry if he had noticed how many machines were in the men’s room and what particularly-interesting names these machines implied. Incredible. He not only noted every detail of every machine, but the descriptions of each. That’s an auspicious way to start off a good game of Let’s Get Lost, by reading the condom machines in the men’s room, and memorizing every gory detail. Of course, in our defense, they are mounted directly above the toilet at eye level for easy perusal. Women have no such esoteric fare, I am told.

Other signs of the times included the clean spot on the floor of the men’s room, immediately beneath the hand soap dispenser, and a logger filling up a trailer-mounted gasoline tank who paid the clerk $290.09 for a tank of gasoline without comment.

We traveled south of Pinehurst for approximately seven miles, observing that most of the buildings and even the road itself had been under water from the spring flooding the last time we were in the area. We traveled until the road, undoubtedly the worse for wear, until it simply petered out altogether. We simply reversed our course 180 degrees, heading down a back road that, according to the sign, would take us to Kellogg, which ultimately it did.

We stopped briefly so that Garry and Terresa could read the historical markers wherever they were encountered. However, we spent nearly half an hour in somber contemplation at the memorial marker for the Sunshine Mine where 91 deep rock miners perished in 1972.

Eventually we ended up in the tiny enclave of Burke, Idaho, which isn’t, despite all it might appear to be, actually lost at all. We declared our game of “Let’s Get Lost” over when our tires reached the end of the paved road north of Burke, and we could see the snow-covered mountains of Montana directly ahead of us. Garry’s high-tech GPS told us we were on the border, but that was wrong, according to the map. Besides, how can you get lost carrying a GPS attached to a PC laptop?

We had lunch at The Jameson on Sixth Street in Wallace. It was the best salad I’ve had in several years, as fresh and crisp as you could ask for. The ambiance of the 1800’s was alive and well, incomparable, and the staff more than well-informed, even allowing for the fact they were all recently from California.

What a truly satisfying way to spend the day. Have you ever played a game similar to “Let’s Get Lost” before? Did you ever take along a GPS? That’s cheating.

An afterthought I forgot to mention that Terresa was ecstatic over sighting her first moose, a yearling sighted near Smelterville on a country road. With typical bad eyesight, poor lady moose ignored us entirely, wandered right past our van and loped casually off into the woods. Pictures will be forthcoming.


A Proportionate Response in Georgia…

Good morning, Netizens…

In today’s Picture of the Day, a wounded Georgian woman lies in front of an apartment building damaged by a Russian airstrike in the northern Georgian town of Gori. Neighbors later came to her aid and helped evacuate her to a safe area. Russia sent hundreds of tanks and troops into the separatist province of South Ossetia and bombed Georgian towns Saturday in a major escalation of the conflict that has left scores of civilians dead and wounded. (AP Photo/George Abdaladze) (August 09, 2008)

Only the more optimistic Western journalists still are avoiding the term War to describe the cataclysmic events unfolding in parts of Georgia and South Ossetia. It is presumed, however, that Bush and Putin who reportedly spoke to one another at the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, did not concur with the news media’s take on matters.

President George Bush is quoted as appealing to Russia to halt what the White House called “dangerous and disproportionate” attacks on Georgia, a staunch U.S. Ally.

The situation on the ground in South Ossetia appears highly confused. Russia said it had seized South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, but Georgia denied this. Russia, which sent in tanks to back the South Ossetians, said its forces had “liberated” the enclave’s capital, but Georgia responded that Tskhinvali was under its “complete control”.
A Russian journalist said Tskhinvali had been badly damaged. “The town is destroyed. There are many casualties, many wounded,” Zaid Tsarnayev told Reuters. Russian jets carried out up to five raids on mostly military targets around the Georgian town of Gori, close to the conflict zone in South Ossetia. But some missiles went astray, killing at least a dozen people. A woman knelt in the street and screamed over the body of a dead man, as a bombed apartment block burned nearby.
What I want to know is when is the death of innocent civilians a proportionate response?

In fact, the war in Georgia barely made front-page headlines in the United States, based upon a few front pages I read.


Quote of the Day August 9, 2008

When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.

Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

War in Georgia heats up…

Good morning, everyone…

So… wondering this morning what any/all of you make of the facts of Russian Tanks rolling into Georgia?? Some not clear reference to us having just taken out U.S. troops that were there “training” the Georgians.. Where did I miss that interesting “intervention’s” beginning??


Picture of the day… August 8, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s Picture of the Day Tibetan exiles participate in a protest against the Beijing Olympic Games in New Delhi, India. Thousands of Tibetan exiles demonstrated in Nepal and India on Thursday, demanding religious rights and saying China should not be allowed to host the games while its harsh rule over their homeland continues. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi) (August 07, 2008)

You cannot see anything (except the incredible air pollution) at the Beijing Olympic Games.

You cannot speak your mind openly, especially about Tibet.

Human rights? What human rights?

I cannot fathom, for the life of me, why the Olympic Committee allowed China to host the Olympics on that basis. I cannot see why the Olympic Games in Beijing are being allowed to proceed.

Can you?


Picture of the day… August 7, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

Our Picture of the Day today is a simple, expressive photograph of a solitary tree in the Palouse. It has been one of my favorite images since it first appeared in the Seattle P-I. (October 15, 2007) Mike Kane/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

There are places in my memory where I often go to simply sit and contemplate the essentials of life, and this is one of those places. If you drive south of Colfax, you can see this tree on the left side of the road. If you are not in a hurry there is a pull-out just up the road where you can park your car and walk back and sit beneath the isolated tree on the hillside.

Sit down in the shade and simply let everything in your mind wander away. Have you ever done anything like that before? If not, why not?


Quote of the Day August 7, 2008

Too bad the only people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair.

George Burns (1896 - 1996)

Kick-start Reverie—Hump Day…

Good morning, Netizens…

Having written yet another piece about Spokane, and having had a chance to catch my breath, I head immediately for The Virtual Ballroom and Espresso Bar simply for no other reason than, contrary to what it might seem to some, it is home in inner and blog-space not only to myself but others. When the business of the day is prepared, the stage set for another hectic day on the tarmac, my last stop before I begin the real business of the day is the Virtual Espresso Bar and a brief visit with the Ghosts of the Virtual Ballroom.

Why do we have Ghosts in Community Comment? Why, because this Blog is half-fantasy half reality, just as most of the national news is most days. You have to watch our lips. If we are moving our lips as if we are talking to someone you cannot see, we are probably talking to one or more of our Ghosts. Either that or we are muttering deprecations; you choose which reality you want. The comments about our bleeping Speedos? There isn’t a single person present in Community Comment who would not, given a chance, become as svelte, beautiful and genuinely gorgeous as those whom we accord our adulation. So, perhaps out of vanity, and our innate ability to enjoy humor at our own expenses, we create a virtual world where each of us can be whatever our hearts desire.

The Virtual Espresso, however, is an entirely different matter. If money were no object, and time of no concern, I would willingly foot the bill to buy each person who participates in our little community a cup of their favorite potion and spend an hour or two with each person. Why? That is my nature, pure and simple. Where I come from you try to love one another. Since my finances are limited and my disposable time gets squeezed pretty tightly as it is, I have to “make do” with what I’ve got. In my fantasy world, which is what Community Comment has been since day one, there will always be a candy-apple red Virtual Espresso Bar with chrome hand rails where anyone can sit, reflectively sipping the Espresso Blend of the Day, and discussing whatever pleases or ails thee.

Having said that, here comes our barrista of the day, a Ghost known well to many named Virgil. Smiling deeply, he slides a cup of the virtual blend of the day across the weathered bar in front of me and intones, “It is called “Corollaries” because there are always corollaries between the past, present and future and because of this, awareness of the three brings wisdom.”

Taking my first sip of the day after several days spent making tough decisions, I see where although somewhat elusive, wisdom should always be my goal and watchword. I take another deep sip and I see where I am, after all, still just a human being, and thus subject to frailty. Not the best way to start Hump Day, by any means, but matters could be much worse.

Here is hoping your day is filled with joy and wisdom. The Virtual Espresso of the Day is on me.


Picture of the day August 6, 2008

In today’s Picture of the Day a three-month-old Amur tiger cub lounges in a chair at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Tuesday. Amur tigers, more commonly know as Siberian tigers, are a critically endangered species due to habitat destruction and illegal fur trade. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (August 05, 2008)

If this Siberian tiger cub could talk it probably would say something like, “Hey, you know I am cute, so pet me already.”

Can you say puncture wound? One good swipe of an immature paw armed with claws or gnawing on your arm and you could be Blue-Crossed at the nearest hospital. How’s that for cuteness?


Spokane City News August 5, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

Isn’t it wonderful to live in the City of Spokane where our heartfelt messages of disdain and contempt can be heard by members of the City Council? During last night’s City Council meeting, had Mayor Mary Verner had her way, we could have been headed for a vote in November which could have put Spokane citizens in the red another 16 million dollars. Granted, our city infrastructure certainly needs a new police evidence room, shooting range and an animal shelter, but in our fair city, the only people who actually seem to have disposable income in these tough times are city employees, most of whom appear to have better income and benefit packages than the rest of us that struggle to make ends meet.

Fortunately the members of the City Council, Councilman Steve Corker joined council members Mike Allen, Bob Apple, Al French and Nancy McLaughlin rejected Verner’s proposal.

What seemed particularly illuminating, after reading the news of the vote, is that Cip Paulsen, who attended last night’s meeting, said he came to testify regarding the former Costco store on Third Avenue for possible consideration. It appears his father owns that building, and that the City offered to pay $4.75 million for the building and parking lot earlier this year. After the council vote, Paulsen said he was angered that Shogan did not open the debate to public testimony.

Of course, I am utterly delighted to see such civic-minded, Gawd-fearing citizens such as Cip Paulsen III showing up wanting to testify at the City Council meetings. Given allegations of his past involvement in drug sales, prostitution and other nefarious dealings, including a long run of “interesting” encounters with the Spokane Police Department Special Investigations Unit at the former Sam’s Barbecue Pit, 528 E. Second,
once operated by Caask Thomas, I am delighted beyond words to see that Paulsen has the interests and hopes of the City of Spokane at heart.

Speaking of that dive, perhaps the City of Spokane in its unquestionable intellect could find a suitable use for the former Sam’s Barbecue Pit, a husk of a building that still squats beside East Second, empty and an unattractive eyesore in the community since its closure in 1993. Don’t you think the building could serve quite nicely as a headquarters for the Regional Drug Task Force? That would serve both justice and my warped sense of humor with equal authority. Of course, I seriously doubt if Cip Paulsen would show up to testify in favor of that proposal if it ever made it to the City Council, as it remains to be seen whether or not he still has an interest in that property or its future.

[Portions of the historical record were obtained from Police Files the Spokane Experience 1853-1995
 By M. Kienholz, The Spokesman-Review and The Used Kharma Lot news archives 1993-95]

Dave Laird

Spokane morning news—Monday August 4, 2008

Good morning, Netizens…

Things are heating up in the banking industry again.

Friday the FDIC closed a small Florida bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said First Priority Bank had $259 million in assets and $227 million in deposits and its failure will cost the federal fund that insures deposits an estimated $72 million. SunTrust Banks Inc (NYSE:STI - News) has agreed to assume the insured deposits of First Priority, whose six branches will reopen Monday as branches of SunTrust Bank.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation revealed on Friday that it had issued warnings to four small US banks that lacked sufficient reserves to cover potential loan losses.
The cease-and-desist orders issued in June said the four banks needed to raise more capital, expand their loss allowances and better oversee and diversify their loan portfolios. A fifth bank was cited for violating consumer protection laws.
The banks receiving cease-and-desist orders in June were MetroPacific Bank in Irvine, California; Bank Haven in Haven, Kansas; Clarkston State Bank in Clarkston, Michigan; and Hastings State Bank in Hastings, Nebraska.

Of course if you like things really hot stick around Spokane this week, as temperatures by the middle of the week will hit the mid-90’s or above. Once more discerning people throughout our Fair City will be able to save on natural gas and electricity by doing some of Robin Williams’ infamous crotchpot cooking. Yes, bring your crotchpots down to the front of the U.S. Bank Building downtown and set up housekeeping once the temperatures begin to rise above 90 degrees. Of course, if you want deep-dish baking, we can arrange for one or more of the Internet Service Providers on the Fifth Floor of the Bank Building to turn up their networks to a red-hot pitch thus creating a high-tech microwave oven for all you discerning Netizens. It will not only bake your bread or chicken cacciatore but can, under certain circumstances, render you sterile. Just remember, just stand back 20 feet when baking with our Internet technology!

According to everything I have seen this morning, there is no breaking news in Spokane, although according to Hank the Retired Longshoreman on West Second Avenue, that is because nobody has looked into room 301 in a certain downtown hotel. It seems a recently-wedded couple in their early sixties managed to break their bed in two last night, creating quite a stir among the other old folks still living in the hotel for retirees. There were lots of gawkers at 1:42 AM this morning, and folks are still talking about it in various coffee shops along West Spokane’s Armpit on the World. Talk about a blushing bride!

Well, that’s the news that’s fit to print and some that isn’t. If you didn’t like the news this morning, go make some of your own while the day is still young.


Picture of the Day August 4, 2008

In this morning’s Picture of the Day, Maj. Terry Davis kisses his five-week-old son, Trevor Ethan Davis, before being deployed to Iraq at the Humboldt, Tenn. National Guard Armory on Sunday. Davis left with the 30th Combat Sustainment Support Battallion for a year of service. (AP Photo/The Jackson Sun, Devin Wagner) (August 03, 2008)

Lest we forget in the midst of our personal opinions of the War in Iraq, there are young men and women, some with sons and daughters who are just more innocent victims left behind as their parents march off to war.

Major Terry Davis, I pray you come back home safely. You have a lovely son waiting for a chance someday to play ball with you in the back yard on a summer’s eve when the honeysuckles are in bloom and our land is perhaps at Peace.


Picture of the Day August 3, 2008

Good morning Netizens…

In today’s Picture of the Day Ray Schnittker drives Deweycheatumnhowe, to a win, in the Hambletonian horse race on Saturday at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.
(August 02, 2008)Associated Press. Pretty hard to “mess” with such a picture, isn’t it?

The driver is leaning over, one presumes, because of the speed with which the horse has navigated the turn. However, the alternative view is that the horse had too much sorghum molasses in his mash before the race, resulting a case of profound flatulence. The poor driver had to keep his head averted in order to be able to breathe coming around the last turn.


Quote of the Day August 3, 2008

To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship.

Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)

Answering criticism…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Green Libertarian wrote, quoting Bob writes:

Might this fill a better niche if it focused more on Spokane related issues, similar to what DFO does for North Idaho on Huckleberries Online, and steer clear of geopolitics?
Just a suggestion.
Posted by Bob | 2 Aug 7:55 AM

Then GL answered him:
Sage advice, bobness.

Dave summons up the Ghost of Ommadepadmehum, the great all-seeing Swami of The Great Blog Everlasting until Perdition Comes for a free consultation. Granted Ommadepadmehum is much in demand lately, as he has been kept rather busy trying to decipher what a Blog is supposed to be, not to mention to solve all the great mysteries of the Universal All.

However, in exchange for a free place to hang his turban when he is desperate for a free cup of Virtual Espresso and perhaps a dance with some of the Ghostly ladies in the Virtual Ballroom, I reiterated Bob’s pointed question above to Ommadepadmehum during a brief séance held in the Virtual Garden among the fresh strawberries, which are just now coming on strong.

Here are the comments of the Ghost of the Great All-Illuminating Swami of The Great Blog Everlasting until Perdition Comes:

When you dressed this morning (you did, didn’t you?) did you forget your history?

RANDOM COMMENTS (taken from various sources)
Community Comment will be gone in 30 days or less. It will never last.
Why aren’t you more like Huckleberries?
When do we get a Wild Card like over at Huckleberries Online?
You obviously don’t know how to blog yet.
Your posts are too damned long. I’m going somewhere else.
(Those were some of the more-polite comments)

This is a 100% volunteer organization.
My name is NOT Dave Oliveria and this is not Huckleberries Online.
In six months of operation Community Comment remains within the top ten Blogs.
Several times Community Comment has even been in the Top Five. (GO GHOSTS!)
We talk about almost anything including Spokane.


Anniversary day we’d rather forget…

Good morning, everyone…

This was a “small” bomb by today’s standards of modern warfare.

Yes, David Brookbank, the United States has been the only country ever to use an atomic weapons in a time of war, and on this date, allowing for the International Dateline, we dropped the Fat Boy A-bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Let us hope and pray that our saber-rattling and aggression in the Middle East do not lead us to the virtual stage in Nagasaki where they still are counting the dead. Let us hope and sincerely pray no one ever uses nuclear weapons again.

Just remember, we elected George Bush President, and thus we as citizens bear an equal responsibility for the unjust, inhumane and simply evil acts that have been performed in his term of office. That, like remembering the anniversary of the bombing of Japan with nuclear weapons, is well worth remembering.
Picture courtesy of Dave Laird’s personal archives and the original author may be the Department of the Defense.


Quote of the Day August 2, 2008

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

The Dalai Lama (1935 - )

You’re the Jury…How do you vote?

(Rev. Herman Lewis in better days)

Good morning, Netizens…

A former Spokane pastor was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Herman Lewis was found guilty last month of first- and second-degree assault and attempted rape for trying to rape a woman who worked as a cook at Shari’s Restaurant in North Spokane on April 20, 2007. Lewis also was ordered to pay $7,385 in restitution for ramming a police car in a chase related to the incident. Prosecutors had asked for an 18-year sentence, while Lewis’ defense lawyers requested three years.
Lewis addressed his victims during the sentencing, saying he’s on anti-psychotic medicine and still doesn’t remember what happened. According to Sacred Heart Medical Center Lewis had attempted to sign himself into the psychiatric ward the day before the incident in question.

Until his arrest last year, Lewis was the senior pastor at Morning Star Baptist Church in Northwest Spokane.

When Lewis is released from prison, he’ll have to register as a sex offender under state laws governing sex crimes. Excerpts from the Spokesman-Review Online.

My spin on this story is that if Lewis could have obtained Kevin Coe’s legal counsel, he might have gotten the kind of psychiatric care he apparently needed instead of a long jail sentence. You’re in the jury box. How would you have voted?


Quote of the Day August 1, 2008

Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

Margaret Fuller (1810 - 1850), Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845

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