December 14, 2008 in City

My jet lagged, but Spokane news didn’t

By The Spokesman-Review

I have returned from my travels with Charlie (Schmidt, that is) and, boy, does it feel good to be back on Spokana Firma.

Our plane touched down shortly before midnight Thursday – a full day later than planned. This was due to the mysterious cancellation of our Wednesday flight from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam.

We got on the next flight to Amsterdam, and spent a night in a hotel on the airline’s euro. Don’t get any ideas. By the time we got to Holland’s infamous Sin City, we were too cold and exhausted to even consider being debauched.

I shouldn’t complain. It’s not like I’m the first person who ever had difficulty trying to flee Europe.

But air travel is such torture. The inadequate leg room. The complete and utter lack of privacy. Being surrounded by weirdos and screaming brats …

And that’s just the airport waiting area. The misery increases dramatically once you get off the ground.

On the long flight from Amsterdam to the USA, for example, we had the microbial misfortune to sit in the spewing path of a man I nicknamed Mr. Mucus.

Every few minutes this horrific wet and uncovered coughing noise would erupt from him. Imagine the sound a brontosaurus makes when it is in the throes of a feeding frenzy.


Based on standard incubation rates for germs, Charlie and I should be on our deathbeds just in time to ruin Christmas.

So here I am, trying to shake the mental cobwebs of jet lag and catch up on some of the news that occurred while I was abroad. News such as …

•I see Spokane is selling off its old mechanical parking meters.

As a longtime victim of our all-too-efficient Meter Mafia, I am offended. Talk about bad taste. This is like Henry VIII peddling used chopping blocks to his fiancées. If the city is this desperate to make a buck, then let the street department sell shovels from its pothole repair division.

At least then consumers would be buying items in mint condition.

•I see the Seattle Seahawks dropped yet another game.

The team’s wretchedness prompted a reader to send me the following recycled joke.

Q. What’s the difference between the Seahawks and a dollar bill?

A. You can get four quarters out of a dollar bill.

The last time I heard that old chestnut was …

Oh, yeah. About a month ago when the Cougars were stinking up the gridiron.

•I see poor Larry “The Toe-Tapper” Craig lost his appeal.

A court ruled that like the floors on a gas station restroom, the Idaho Senator’s sex-solicitation bust will stick.

I’m not surprised. Craig’s “wide-stance” explanation of what he was up to in that Minneapolis airport toilet never had a ring of veracity.

•I see some 14-year-old kid caused a panic by bringing a fake grenade to West Valley High School.

Back in my day, kids didn’t bring fake grenades to high school. Boys brought plastic vomit and rubber doggy doo.

Girls had falsies.

•I see Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan has issued a no-tolerance policy on anyone daring to utter a “personal attack” during a hearing.

Shogan unleashed this edict just three days after a citizen called him a “mediocre attorney.”

The nerve. I can certainly understand why Shogan would want to stuff a dirty sweat sock into the pie hole of public discourse.

Listen up, people. When addressing a law-degree toting politician, you need to lose the cheap insults and stick to the facts. The appropriate phrase would be “esteemed and honorable shyster.”

•I see the American economy is continuing to plummet.

You know we’re in a recession when the only thing going up is the needle on Oprah’s bathroom scale.


Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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