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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Weirdness moves to yet a higher level

Dave Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

I have a weird sense of humor. Think “Far Side.” But North Idaho College types took weirdness to a new level in their weekly newsletter last Monday when they printed “Fun facts about this year’s college freshmen.” The first fun fact? “They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.” I learned about the Challenger explosion while leaving the Third Street parking lot in Coeur d’Alene after a Chamber of Commerce Upbeat Breakfast meeting on Jan. 28, 1986. It wasn’t that much fun. In fact, I was stunned when I heard all seven astronauts had been killed, including Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first school teacher in space. Second fun fact? “Their lifetime has always included AIDS.” ‘Nuff said. But this isn’t the worst of it. After I printed these “fun facts” on my online version of Huckleberries (, youngish blogger Kristin Hoppe/Not So Fast stirred us oldsters further, with devilish delight, by asking: “Has anyone alive seen a live Walter Cronkite broadcast? Wasn’t he from World War II or something?” And that’s the way it is.

Roasting Hillyard

In the Red Cross fund-raising roast for columnist Doug Clark, poor Hillyard took as much of a beating as the roastee and beleaguered Mayor Jim West. Spokane comedian Chris Warren: “They just got a Dollar Store in Hillyard. It’s the only (Dollar Store) in the country that takes layaway.” And: “The mafia in Hillyard shakes you down for tin cans.” As a North Idahoan, I didn’t get it. After all, I enjoy rooting around in antique stores and thrift shops. And Hillyard has some of those. So, I asked my blogosphere about Hillyard’s stigma. Think Athol, said one. Doug Burr, a Hillyard native who works at North Idaho College, said: “I loved it, I hated it, but I learned much that serves me to this day. It was a poor, rough-and-tumble neighborhood with much of what we would refer to today as ‘abnormal sociology.’ I have fond memories of Hillyard, but no great urge to go back.” Sounds like my hometown.

Hillyard redux

“Shows you how much class I have. … I love Hillyard (to visit). It is a very eclectic little neighborhood with tons of antique and secondhand shops. If you want to meet “real” people, with no airs, Hillyard’s the place. In fact, I spent a few hours of this past Saturday’s (Oct. 8) beautiful afternoon exploring there before taking in the (Spokane) Chiefs game. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that Hillyard will become a transition neighborhood in the near future, with many younger, hip people moving in and fixing up the older homes and apartments over the businesses” – Doug Fredericks/Hayden.

President preference

As part of her candidate interviews for the Coeur d’Alene City Council, staff writer Erica Curless asked each wannabe to name his/her favorite U.S. prez: Results: Mayor Sandi Bloem, “I haven’t decided yet”; Joe Kunka, Deanna Goodlander and Steven Foxx, all Ronald Reagan; Mike Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson; Mary Souza, Teddy Roosevelt; Suzie Snedaker, Abraham Lincoln; Dan Yake, John Adams – and Woody McEvers? How about a drum roll? Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (of TV’s “The West Wing” fame). To which commenter Dang responded: “Whoever said Woody isn’t spaced out?” … For those keeping score at home, I asked Foxx about that extra X in his last name and discovered that he’s a shirt-tail relative of the great pre-WWII baseball slugger Jimmy Foxx (his grandfather’s cousin) … Yake’s avocation? Acting. He and his family performed in the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre production of “Miracle on 34th Street.” Dan was the New York City prosecutor who was trying to prove Kris Kringle was nuts. Not good credentials for anyone as Christmas draws near.


Poet’s Corner: “To save myself/from being stricken/I never ever/kiss a chicken” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“How I Avoid Bird Flu”) … Bumpersnicker (spotted on a red pickup on Highway 2 by Jon Livingston/Spokane): “I have a perfect body. But it’s in the trunk. And it’s beginning to smell” … Among the guiding rules for Joanne Stibitz/Bonner County: “Invest at least one dollar a week on the Powerball. Even Lady Luck costs money” … Forgot which page (50-something?) in the Oct. 10 National Enquirer lists Idaho’s Larry Craig as a U.S. senator from – Ohio … In the Run That By Me Again Dept., Joe Doellefeld blamed his loss to newcomer Joe Bodman several years ago on the fact that he was gone on a family vacation during the campaign. Doellefeld plans to actively campaign for his old Post Falls City Council seat again in the week before Election Day, after he returns from a European vacation.

Parting shot

Hillyard and Athol aren’t the only places around here that get dissed. So does viewtiful Coeur d’Alene. Don’t believe me? Try buying an airline ticket or vitamins online by spelling out Coeur d’Alene in the address boxes, with the apostrophe and all. John Rook/Coeur d’Alene did. The Internet didn’t accept it until he dropped the small “d” and apostrophe and substituted a big “D Alene.” I’ve had the same experience. Rants Big John: “The spelling of our community is being changed without our approval.” Well, at least the www isn’t forcing us to type in Coeurduhlene, as some have suggested.

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