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A Close Encounter w/Grumpy Old Man

I was walking my dog down the street, when a red-faced 60-something man pulled over and shouted, “Hey!” I stopped and turned. “Keep your dog off of my lawn!” he shouted. Two important facts to note: (1) We were not on his lawn. (2) We had not been on anybody’s lawn. We were walking in the street. What I had just witnessed was a variation on the classic, “You kids get off my lawn!” syndrome, so typical of 60-something Grumpy Old Men. I immediately recognized him as the stereotypical member of my own age group: The Guy Who is Irritated by Everything. As we continued walking down the pavement, I made a silent resolution to myself: I will never allow myself to become a Grumpy Old Man/Jim Kershner, SR. More here.

Question: How can you tell whether or not you're a grouch?

Cleaning Jim Kershner’s Desk

I moved in the newsroom this week to the desk formerly occupied by Jim Kershner, our own walking historian, now retired from the newspaper but writing history, still, for us and others. He had cleaned out his desk pretty well but left behind about 12 files. I'm pretty sure he didn't forget or need them, because we talked about what items he would be coming to collect over the weekend and he didn't collect these. I looked through each file before pitching them all. One contained photos from an Elvis impersonator. Another had ideas for his column, dated 1992. One of his ideas: “Cars that are smarter than you.” Cleaning out his files made me miss him even more and it also helped me pitch many of my own files because I realize I won't need them/Rebecca Nappi, End Notes. More here.

Question (from Becky): Anyone have tips re: how to pitch files?

Cleaning Kershner’s desk

I moved in the newsroom this week to the desk formerly occupied by Jim Kershner, our own walking historian, now retired from the newspaper but writing history, still, for us and others.

He had cleaned out his desk pretty well but left behind about 12 files. I'm pretty sure he didn't forget or need them, because we talked about what items he would be coming to collect over the weekend and he didn't collect these.

I looked through each file before pitching them all. One contained photos from an Elvis impersonator. Another had ideas for his column, dated 1992. One of his ideas: "Cars that are smarter than you."

Cleaning out his files made me miss him even more and it also helped me pitch many of my own files because I realize I won't need them. I flashed ahead to the time when we're all older people and then when we have passed on and our children and grandchildren will be charged with giving away our things. Or throwing them away.

We leave. Our belongings remain. And then they leave, too. Reused or ditched. This is life. And death.

My conclusion: Best to clean stuff out as you move along in life. Easier said than done. Anyone have tips on how to pitch files?

Kershner: Culinary Odyssey To Hell

‘Hey, they have a Hot Wings Challenge,” said my friend Ralph Walter, as we perused the Rex’s Burger and Brews menu. “I’d be up for that.” “Yeah,” I replied. “You should do it.” “No,” said Ralph. “I’m up for watching you do it.” One thing about Ralph, he believes in getting outside of one’s “comfort zone,” especially when it’s my comfort zone. So this is how I found myself back at Rex’s Burger and Brews on Thursday night, ordering the $14.95 Hot Wings Challenge. The rules go like this: You have 20 minutes to eat eight hot wings covered in Rex’s super-secret hot sauce. You may not have anything to drink during those 20 minutes. Once finished, you must wait an additional 10 minutes before you can have anything to drink. If you succeed, your hot wings are free and your picture goes up in the Hall of Fame/Jim Kershner, Twin Falls Times News. More here. (SR file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: My father enjoyed the hottest of hot peppers and his food spicy. Moi? Mild sauce at Taco Bell is my limit. How about you? Can you handle hot, spicy food? Or are you more of a spice wimp like me?

High Noon: Reading Long Books

On his Facebook wall, SR colleague Jim Kershner writes: "I just finished my summer reading project: "Les Miserables," all 1,463 pages of it. Yes, it was well worth it. I was actually sorry for it to end. But next time I'll tackle something easier, like reading the encyclopedia backwards." I've also read "Les Miserables." It's probably the longest book I've ever read. How about you?

Question: Which book is the longest you ever read?

Does salmonfly signal Spokane River’s revival?

FLY FISHING — Okay, so I made a little fun in my column last week of a colleague's excitement over finding a single salmonfly in downtown Spokane.

The discovery pales to the days when clouds of salmonflies fed a Spokane River teeming with trout.

But here's an encouragng response from Mike LaScuola of the Spokane Regional Health District's
Environmental Resources Program:

I had to respond to your column today about Jim Kershner finding a salmon fly. I just thought I would let you know that on the roof of the Health District building I routinely check an air monitor and I have found two salmon flies on recent occasions…
 
Maybe the river is cleaning up a bit.
 
So there you go, anglers. Soon we'll be tying on a big one.

Everything’s Coming Up Mushrooms

We went morel mushroom hunting three times this week. Yeah, it’s been grueling. Had to walk out the back door, take a couple steps to the garden, load up with morels and walk all the way back into the house. We can hardly believe our luck. We’ve been having a bodacious morel harvest right in our own city yard. Dinner has been pretty easy around our house. A couple of days ago, we had morels sautéed in butter. Yesterday we had morel-asparagus-cream sauce with rigatoni. Today? I don’t know. A nice bowl of morel risotto sounds nice. And we owe it all to beauty bark/Jim Kershner, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Rich Landers)

Question: Do you eat mushrooms that you find out in the wild?

SR Full Review: ‘Wicked’

The first thing a newcomer to the “Wicked” phenomenon will notice is that this production has a great “eye” — a rich visual style, all gears, cogs, clock-faces and Emerald City glow. And then, as the story unfolds, you’ll find that “Wicked” also possesses — unlike certain Oz denizens — a heart and brains. Brains, because this “Wizard of Oz” spin-off has a funny, first-rate script by Winnie Holzman (“My So-Called Life”) that brilliantly distills Gregory Maguire’s novel into its essence. It’s the story of the fraught love-hate relationship between Elphaba and Glinda (the Wicked One and the Good One, respectively). They’re more than just Oz witches; they’re universal archetypes, familiar to everyone over age 8/Jim Kershner, SR Spotlight. More here. (AP file photo of original "Wizard of Oz" wicked witch)

Question: "Wicked" may be one of the exceptions to the rule that the book is always better than the movie and/or theatrical production. I love Oz books. But I had to force my way through Gregory Maguire's dark portrayal of Oz and its characters. Anyone else read the book? What did you think of it?

Kershner: Would I Be Ransomed?

I recently read a fact about Somali pirates that I can’t seem to shake from my mind: Many of the captives have been held until their friends have raised $1 million in ransom. One million dollars? As we learned a few weeks ago, the Somali pirate problem raises far sadder and more tragic issues than this. Innocent people have been killed. The violence is ratcheting up. Yet there is something about this ransom number that forces me to ask this question: Would my friends pony up $1 million to save my hide? Would yours?/Jim Kershner, SR. More here.

Question: Jim goes on to say that his friends might pony up $743.10 to ransom him from pirates. How much would you friends and family collect to ransom you?

I Will Follow You


I loved Jim Kershner’s article (Distinguished Woman Left Us A Legacy) about Frances Scott in Saturday’s Spokesman Review.  (Click here to read article.)

Frances Scott lived most of her influencial life here in Spokane.  Mrs. Scott was the forerunner in equal rights for African-Americans.  She passed away October 12 at the age of 88. 

Frances Scott was a living legend, breaking down various barriers of discrimination.  Now, as our ancestor and predecessor, she has forged the pathway for minorities and women of all nationality and culture.  Besides being someone exemplary to follow – she broke glass ceilings in more than one building.  She taught high school for decades, being one of the first black teachers, and went on to become a president of the Spokane Education Association.  At the age of 57 she embarked on a second career – as an attorney.  She mainly did civil rights cases and pro bono work; and she continued her job of teaching.  

Although I am not black, I feel she is calling me.  Her footsteps are before me, guiding me, directing me.   I will follow in her path because it is the best thing I can do to exemplify Frances Scott and women everywhere.

It is interesting to note that our Voter’s Guide this year is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the day that women were allowed to vote.   That was 1910.  We’ve come a long way, baby.

~Jeanie~

Kershner: I Really, Really Do Like Canada

We were talking with a nice couple from Calgary last weekend when the husband asked, “Do you really like Canada or are you just saying that to be polite?” Awww. That’s so Canadian. We don’t say things to be polite. We’re Americans. So for me, at least, the answer is yes, I really do like Canada. And I am particularly enamored of that entire country right now, having just returned from a trip to Cranbrook, Fernie and Waterton Lakes National Park (the park that sits atop Glacier National Park like a tuque)/Jim Kershner, SR. More here.

Question: Do you really like Canada — and Canadians — or are you just being polite?

Jim: Libraries Matter More Than Ever

All right, I’ve finally figured out how the city’s budget works. The city gets in trouble, looks around for an easy target, spies the Spokane Public Library and hacks it to death. Really? This is the best way to dig out of a budget hole? Maybe I’ll go to the library and study this some more. So here I am at the library, and the place is buzzing. It’s jammed with people reading, working on school projects, writing notes on index cards, checking out romance novels, applying for jobs on computers and just generally coming in out of the rain/Jim Kershner, SR. More here. (SR Photo)

Question: Are you using your local library more/less/the same as you used to do?