As a reporter assigned to cover the human-rights movement in Kootenai County back in the day, I dealt with racists, too. One gave me a swastika tiepin. Another crashed his junker into my parked car in the S-R Coeur d’Alene office lot. An erstwhile Aryan Nations security chief claimed I had incited a lethal attack against a German shepherd belonging to the late racist leader Richard Butler. Vincent Bertollini emailed. So did Edgar Steele, the ex-Aryan Nations lawyer convicted Thursday of trying to hire hits on his wife and mother-in-law. I dusted off a gem that Steele sent April 1, 1999. Addressed to “Oliveria-rhymes-with- diarrhea,” it reads in part: “You have done your best, bully that you are, to shut me up and silence others that feel as I do. You, of course, have a forum that we are denied. Don’t you ever wonder how you might do in a fair fight? … Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to be deserving of the title, ‘journalist’?” Not only does Steele lack in marital fidelity but he also can’t pronounce my Portuguese surname. The second “i” is silent. As he will be for the next 20 to 30 years.
Brushing while driving
So Staci Lehman and Jennifer Wash of the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization were counting vehicles for a “travel demand model” when a guy stopped at the traffic lights at Highway 41 and Seltice Way in Post Falls. It was about 6 a.m. Thursday, and the guy was working his teeth and gums “in depth” with a toothbrush, according to Staci. Staci and Jennifer waited 30 seconds to see where the guy would spit. But he was still brushing when the light changed. Which caused Staci to wonder: “How do you rinse your toothbrush off afterwards?” But Toothbrush Man isn’t the strangest driver Staci’s seen. That honor goes to the woman driver she witnessed blowing up balloons and shoving them into the back seat. Be careful out there.
Poet’s Corner: He lived by the sword and/earned what he got –/Osama Bin Laden/bin very much shot – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Bin A Long Wait”) … Patrick Jacobs, a bartender in downtown Coeur d’Alene, offers this knee-slapper in wake of bin Laden’s overdue demise: “Hey, bartender, serve me an OBL.” “What’s that?” “Two shots and a splash of water.” … SOS from Coeur d’Alene bicyclist Christa Hazel on Wednesday: “Beware of a cracked frost heave on Bennett Bay Hill on the Centennial Trail (east of Coeur d’Alene at about milepost 18). Coming down the hill, the exposed edge could pop a tire or worse, cause an accident. Hopefully, they will patch it up soon!” … Sign of the Times: On a secretary’s desk at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene Friday morning: “Jesus is coming … so look busy.”