Thank you. You may scooch your cheeks back into your chairs.
I am happier than Ryan Seacrest with a new hand mirror to be able to once again deliver the State of the Column address.
Especially since I’m able to upstage the president, who later today will perform his own annual magic-show attempt to misdirect voters away from the royal mess he’s made.
Aw, don’t get on Barack Obama’s case.
Sure, the economy’s more strained than Steven Tyler singing the national anthem.
And true, you must now sell a kidney to buy the same gallon of gas that sold for a buck-something when the O-Man took office.
But be fair. The prez promised change and change he has delivered.
This is not the venue for solving the nation’s problems, of course.
Focusing on the foibles that make the Ingrown Empire so special has always been the mission of The Column.
The good news is that local foolishness continues to be the area’s main growth industry.
We’ve barely made a dent in 2012, for example, and we’ve already had the former Spokane mayor make a shameless grab for the $140,000 in back pay that she forfeited as a magnanimous mayoral re-election gesture.
But the hypocritical shenanigans of politicians alone haven’t given The Column job security for the last 28 years.
The area is also blessed (knock on wood) with a criminal element of a low and ludicrous nature.
Andrew Allen Kramer, say.
The 22-year-old was arrested in Ephrata the other day for attempting to sell grass on the courthouse lawn.
While this entrepreneurial spirit is admirable, courthouses are for dispensing justice, not marijuana, medicinal or otherwise.
Kramer, say police, bore the distinct aroma of cannabis at the time of his arrest, giving new twist to that old phrase, “Odor in the court!”
Then there’s Aaron D. Lyons, arrested recently for supposedly swerving a stolen ’92 Honda Civic into a police cruiser before crashing into some shrubbery.
Spokane doesn’t make the top of many lists very often.
We’re not the most industrious city. We’ll never be the metropolis with the best ocean view.
But when it comes to stealing cars, we are as adept as Tim Tebow in a Holy Ghost tent meeting.
Spokane: the state’s No. 1 car-thieving burg.
Fourth in the entire U S of A!
Yet studies continue to show 20-year-old Hondas as the pilferer’s cars of choice, which leads to the question:
Can’t our thieves show a little more class?
Is it too much to ask them to jack a new Jaguar every now and then?
Old heaps are easier to boost. I get it.
But we live in the Information Age.
Get on the Internet. Show a little initiative.
On the Web you can find everything from nuns in leather to bikers into Barbie. There must be websites showing you, step by step, how to circumvent the very latest in modern auto security.
Get with it, felons! Our pride is on the line here.
There’s a reason why the TV series “Cops” considers Spokane such fertile ground.
Just recently the show featured footage of a Spokane officer responding to a report of people having sex on some North Sider’s front lawn.
No Republican candidates were involved in the coupling. That was the real shocker.
And so we close today’s annual address with a few emailed words of encouragement from actual readers …
• “Hang in there. There are those of us that think you are funny, and can’t do without you.”
• “I enjoy your columns enormously. I am sorry for those who don’t. They must be very unhappy.”
• “You really take the cake for smug, self-righteous, chauvinistic and small-minded.”
Whoa! How did that get in?
Oh, well. The Column will abide.