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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Huckleberries: Recalling Hayden childhood

I’d never heard of the Web site The Oatmeal until former SR buddy Ken Paulson sent a link to a post by blogger Matthew Inman. Who is now getting as many as five million page-views per month. Seems the digital story-teller was reared in North Idaho. Which may be fortunate or unfortunate, depending on your view of the region’s reputation as a racist haven. In the post, Inman tells of his formative years riding a bus with “little Hitlers.” Seems his bus route ran past the old Aryan Nations compound on the Rimrock above Hayden Lake. Surprisingly, The Oatmeal writes in his post (which includes photos of the old compound and cartoon illustrations), that he didn’t mind riding with the baby Nazis. They left him alone. And he slightly befriended one of them who let Inman play with his Gameboy. Posts The Oatmeal: “I was willing to let the whole Axis powers thing slide in exchange for some Gameboy time.” The détente ended when a group of skinheads kicked his brother in the head with their steel-toed shoes, sending him to the hospital. The Oatmeal observes, “Playing Gameboy with a 10-year-old Der Führer after that just wasn’t the same.” The Oatmeal compares life aboard the school bus with the “little Nazis” and many other characters as a “Lord of the Flies” experience. You should take time to get acquainted with this offbeat Hayden emigrant.

Snow piling up

No matter how bad things were in North Idaho from Thanksgiving on, weather-wise, we North Idahoans were thankful we weren’t living along the snow-packed streets of Spokane. At least most of us were … Some residents were miffed that they’d struggled to clean off their sidewalks and driveways, only to have snowplows plow a berm across the driveways. In fact, a Rathdrum woman (as reported on my blog Scanner Traffic recently) went from house to house trying to block snowplows from burying entrance to driveways … Meanwhile, a Honeysuckle Avenue man was miffed that he’d received a complaint from the city for tossing snow from his driveway into the road – so much so that he was threatening to sue the city for plowing in his driveway … Then, there was the snowplow driver who chatted briefly to a buddy on the scanner after a long shift: “People should think we’re doing a good job out here, after watching the news about Spokane last night. We are doing a good job.” Bingo.


Nazi the Snowman had quite a run on the Internet – you know, the KKK Snowman erected by a Hayden supremacist earlier this month. At one point, the story, originally reported by Tania Dall/KXLY, received 1,400 comments on the Huffington Post Web site … Elsewhere, the story and photo were posted on The Drudge Report. And the photo was one of the most e-mailed ones on Yahoo! (And you were wondering why North Idaho can’t shake its racist reputation?) … Poet’s Corner: “Nazi the snowman was a nasty hateful soul,/With a corn-cobbed (butt) and an evil ’stache/And two eyes made out of coal./Nazi the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,/He was made of hate but the losers/Know how he came to strife one day” – Mr. Bloggy (“Nazi the Snowman”) … By a narrow margin, 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, my blog readers say that North Idaho doesn’t deserve a reputation as a haven for white supremacism … Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Trojan Condoms ranks sexual health at the University of Idaho last among 141 schools? WSU was 43rd, Boise State 62nd.

Parting shot

In the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” Dept., Coeur d’Alene Tribe spokesman Marc Stewart tells of his wife taking son Aiden to a store for eye drops. The boy had been diagnosed with a mild case of pink eye. Unfortunately, Marc’s wife and son were blocked from the medicine by a Seasoned Citizen in a motorized cart. So, Marc’s wife told Aiden to wait his turn, prompting the boy to yell: “Hey, lady … I got pink eye. Move it!” Sighs Marc: “I am praying the old lady was too deaf to hear that shameful display.”

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