Official Statement: I’ve Moved To @Tumblr

SPOKANE, WA – I’ve tired of WordPress. I’ve developed a strange habit of desiring to post long form blog entries on there, but I never have the motivation to write them. Instead, there’s Tumblr, this cute, short-form system that makes me want to write all sorts of crazy shenanigans.

If you follow me over to Tumblr, you’ll find my blurbs of journalistic whatever documented throughout the Inland Northwest. To sum it up, I want to post more, but want to keep it short and simple. Tumblr kind of forces you to do just that.

Plus, Mike bought me a fancy domain name. How could I resist? The actual blog is called News Blag. It’s a horrible mispronunciation of News Blog. 10 points to whoever guesses the reference.

Add to your new bookmarks. Add the RSS feed to your… feeds.



#Spokane in Film: Recent Dialogue Mentioning the Lilac City

The Monroe Street Bridge seen from the Post Street Bridge.

We’ve had movies filmed in Spokane, but this is not what this blog entry is about. Last week I brought you recent publications that mention the City of Spokane. Here’s a list of films that mention Spokane. I had to use Subzin for my quote search because IMDB only had three selections defined as the most popular. Subzin apparently searches movie subtitles.

Common Themes: Travel. Again.

Blue State (2007)
Director: Marshall Lewy
Starring: Breckin Meyer & Anna Paquin

“No, the hair, the whole thing was just for this trip and I was never a gym teacher. That’s what my dad does. Just drive me back to Spokane, and I’ll take the bus home or something. This was a stupid idea, anyway.”

Knockaround Guys (2001)
Directors: Brian Koppelman & David Levien
Starring: Barry Pepper & Andy Davoli

“Listen, I got us an opportunity, Marbles. You need to fIy to Spokane. FeIts FieId. There’ll be a guy there named Georgie Yarkus. He’ll hand you a bat. Don’t look in the bag.”

Little Nikita (1988)
Director: Richard Benjamin
Starring: Sidney Poitier & River Phoenix

“Richard and Elizabeth Grant entered this country through Canada. Took their lDs off headstones in the Spokane Cemetery. Three years later you were born. Wanna see your birth certificate?”

Shoot to Kill (1988)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Sidney Poitier & Tom Berenger

“Book me on the next flight to Spokane. And while I’m in the air, figure out a way to get me to Bishop’s Falls.”

Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)
Director: Steve Boyum
Starring: Stephen Baldwin & Jessica Steen

“(woman) Something tragic happened today at the celebrity auction in Spokane.”

The Changeling (1980)
Director: Peter Medak
Starring: George C. Scott & Trish Van Devere

“I want you to radio back to police headquarters… Captain DeWitt. Ask him to call me in Spokane – this number.”

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Director: Ron Shelton
Starring: Wesley Snipes & Woody Harrelson

“This is Jeopardy! Entering the studio are our contestants: an English teacher from Spokane, Washington, Dr. Leonard Allen.”

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Director: Joe Johnston
Starring: Chris Evans & Hayley Atwell

“Carry the flag shore to shore for America, from Hoboken to Spokane, the Star Spangled Man with a Plan!”

This mention is featured in the USO song, “The Star Spangled Man with a Plan”.

Fast Company (1979)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: William Smith & Claudia Jennings

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m on the road somewhere, on my way to Spokane.”

Network (1976)
Director: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Faye Dunaway & William Holden

“I’ve got a guru from Spokane and two more hell fires who see visions of the Virgin Mary.”

Did anyone ever stop to think what kind of guru she was talking about?

Flashback (1990)
Director: Franco Amurri
Starring: Dennis Hopper & Kiefer Sutherland

“You want to know why, Mr. Walker? Because from here to Spokane, you and I are joined at the hip. You do what I say when I say it. You don’t even take a piss without me watching. If you try to escape, I’m authorized to stop you any way I see fit. Do I make myself clear?”

Smoke Signals (1998)
Director: Chris Eyre
Starring: Adam Beach & Evan Adams

“I had this dream, you know? And this dream told me to go to Spokane to stand by the falls. You know those ones by the Y.M.C.A. So I walked there.”

Don’t tell these guys that the YMCA is no longer next to the falls.

“We Are Not Amused”


This is an altered version of the original photo I took of a bicycle stranded in the Spokane River.

On Friday morning I was walking with Frank Zafiro, a Spokane author, about the locations that inspired moments in his books. We arrived at the Post Street Bridge to talk about its use in Beneath a Weeping Sky. I looked over the edge, down toward the Spokane river and that’s when I saw a bike sticking out of the water.

My inner photographer screamed out to take a photo, so I did. I brought it back to the station where I wrote a light-hearted “moment” about how, why and when it got there. I even contemplated its future. At the end of the 5 p.m. newscast, to keep the conversation going, I posted it on Facebook.

And oh, the conversation continue.

Apparently, there are some people in this world that do not enjoy a casual moment on Facebook. There were some who appreciated the humor and savored the story for what it was, just a light-hearted piece. Others thought it was not newsworthy. They’re right. It was not. Does that mean we can’t post locally relevant photo driven stories? What about all those sunsets and sunrises that viewers and readers go nuts over? I’d think those go in the same category.

One person hated it so much they recommended we make up the news because the “meth heads won’t know the difference”.

Other readers were quick to present the opposite opinion. One reader said it reminded her of home in Amsterdam, the bike-in-the-canal capital of the world.

Some wondered if it was their own bike. Some said that an effort should be made to rescue it. Some said it was better than hearing about war and death.

This begs the question, what do viewers and readers really want to hear? They’re quick to offer comment about a story they don’t like, but when there is real good happening they ignore it. They’d rather be aghast then proud.

It’s the nature of the beast.

#Spokane in Text: Recent Publications Mentioning the Lilac City

Spokane seen from the rooftop of the Bank of American Financial Center

I’m procrastinating going to the gym so of course I’m searching for references of “Spokane” in recent publications on Google Books. It’s more than you think. I searched for 21st Century publications with the keyword of Spokane and I’ve found 66,700 results. It’s 2:05 p.m. and I figure I can delay another hour by picking out the more interesting selections and curating them here.

Common themes you’ll find. Traveling. Typically traveling from or through Spokane.  Mike says, “Sweetie, Spokane is not a destination.”

The Little Shadows
Marina Endicott

“East had tried to find Mayhew when they hit Spokane, but apparently he had no stayed in the city more than a month before he’d lit out for parts south with a dancer called Estella, or Elvira, and even in the small pond of vaudeville, nobody had heard of him since.”

Who doesn’t want to leave Spokane with a vaudeville dancer?

Border Junkies: Addiction and Survival on the Streets of Juárez and El Paso
Scott Comar, Howard Campbell

“…Joe told me that he had a road trip planned and that he intended to bring me along. He also mentioned taking an old road hand named Ronnie. The trip involved an airline flight to Spokane, Washington, where we would pick up a tractor-trailer, drive it to Montana, load it full of household goods, and drive it to Texas.”

When they say household goods, I’m pretty sure that means residential burglary.

Lean on Pete: A Novel
Willy Vlautin

“I’m not sure why he wanted to leave Spokane. I told him I didn’t want to go, I begged him that I didn’t want to go, but he said he’d rather go to prison and get the shit kicked out of him every day than spend any more time in a dump like Spokane.”

If only I had a nickel every time I heard that said about Spokane.

FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944
David M. Jordan

“When he met the press in Spokane, Dewey’s major theme was that Roosevelt and the New Deal had neglected the West. He said he was pledged to its “limitless development” and promised to appoint a cabinet member from the West.”

I wonder what news outlet he said that to.

I’ll Get By: The Best of Harry Marlin, Volume 1
Harry Marlin

“I have never lived in Spokane, but I assume that the temperature was not a problem. I have been told that it is possible to leave a quart of Blue Bell ice cream on the coffee table for days there, and it never melts. It may get wet, but it doesn’t melt.”

Not this season.

Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities
Larry Millett

“Nettleton moved in 1883 to Spokane, Washington (where he fell to his death from a railroad bridge under rather mysterious circumstances in 1905)…”

Keyword: Mysterious Circumstances

Driving Home: An American Journey
Jonathan Raban

Spokane, on the hinge between the plain and the Rocky Mountains, was a dense five-minute metropolis, and it was already gone before I made up my mind to stop for it.”

I repeat: If only I had a nickel every time I heard that said about Spokane.

A Montana Homecoming
Allison Leigh

“He’d been there, wearing his jeans and that ridiculous Experience Spokane! t-shirt she’d found in the gift shop for him. Except, the shirt hadn’t looked at all ridiculous with the way it clung to his broad shoulders.”

No joke. This is a romance novel about a choir.

Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s
Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

“I used to sit in the barn and milk the cows and look out through the barn doors and see the aura of the lights above Spokane, which was some forty miles distant, and know that people were not milking cows in Spokane.”

But they’re raising chickens!

Il gusto segreto del cioccolato amaro
Kevin A. Milne

“Il parente piu vicino di Tim e la madre, una donna di nome Lucy McDonald. Vive dall’altra parte dello Stato, vicino al confine con l’Idaho, in un sobborgo di Spokane che si chiama Millwood. Qui c’e l’indirizzo.”


Political Pies

I feel obligated to report this information, even if it’s trivial to some. There were free pies at Monday night’s city council meeting. It was National Pie Day and that’s how they celebrated. It was like a runway of pies. One right after another, lighting the way to a pyramid of forks.

There were so many pies to go around that at the end of the meeting, by order of the council president, pretty much everyone had to leave with one.

On the agenda this evening was a resolution to approve the city’s revised mission statement. Mayor David Condon came downstairs to introduce the statement, but before he strolled into the council chambers, he stopped for some pie.

This was an irresistible opportunity to strike up harmless conversation about pie favsies.

“What’s your favorite kind of pie?” I asked.

He responded with a chuckle, “Ooh, I don’t know. Are you going to blog this? Like you did with the cookies?”

At this point I’m just tickled that he remembered that one time at a neighborhood council meeting where I noticed what kind of cookie he selected.

It was Councilman Jon Snyder who recommended the  Dutch Apple Pie and after a quick taste test, Condon decided that flavor was his favorite.

“Once in a while, we need to celebrate these great things [National Pie Day],” Condon said to the council explaining that there was free pie for the taking.

Regarding Vehicle Pursuits and Fairy Tales

For the second week in a row, I’ve found myself exiting the warmth of my home to explore possible breaking news on Spokane’s South Hill. This time I was about to start the next episode of Once Upon a Time*, when I heard sirens about to race by the SpoCats household. I don’t usually look to see what it is because it’s typically an ambulances. This time, I looked and it was a speeding patrol vehicle – lights on.

Let’s just say I got super excited. I turned on my 5-0 Police Scanner App and started hearing chatter about a pursued truck, spike strips along 29th and a foot pursuit. I ran around my house trying to collect my thoughts. It’s so close! How could I not go?

Well, I went. You can say it: I’m a nerd. Turns out some guy in the county decided not to pull over when Sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him for a broken tail light. Mike later remarked, “It’s ALWAYS a broken tail light.”  The man led deputies on a pursuit to Latawah and 29th where they caught him as he tried to flee on foot.

Read: Broken tail light sends Sheriff’s deputies into cross-jurisdiction pursuit

Last week when I covered “breaking news” on the South Hill, I mentioned I was doing KXLY’s Fit Club and I recently obtained a Fit Bit to track how much I walk, what I eat, etc. Here’s an update. Since I started, I’ve lost three pounds. Please hold your applause until the end.

* Regarding Once Upon a Time. – I hate the show, but I can’t stop watching it. Every single time “Madam Mayor” enters the screen, I can’t help but say, “She’s too hot to be a mayor.” I have no problem with the fairy tale part of the show. It’s the “reality” that kills me. In what world can a city mayor have any power over a sheriff or its deputies? Excuse me: STORYBROOK IS A FANTASY CITY SYSTEM. IN WHAT WORLD DOES A MAYOR ATTEMPT TO APPOINT A JOURNALIST AS A SHERIFF. IN WHAT WORLD CAN GUSTAVO “GUS” FRING PLAY A REALLY HARMLESS NEWSIE WHO SMILES. WAAAH!

How Does #Spokane Feel About Snow Plows?

Just before Maple closed on Thursday night, there was this.

I’m on a Storify kick lately. Rumor has it – it could save journalism.

I noticed that people have been talking about snow plows lately. Maybe it’s because it snowed recently.


As of 11:00 a.m. on Friday, the National Weather Service reported 7″ of snow. That snow was not enough to close Eastern Washington University, but it was enough to make some students displeased. They voiced their concerns on Facebook and even Twitter.

Other Spokane area residents had something to say about snow plows. It was either bad – or pretty much horribly awful. Okay, there were a few yays in there.

Using the following search terms with a 10k radius around Spokane, I found tweets through Storify that mentioned: “plow”, “plows”, “plowed, “plowing”, “plowed”, “snowplow”, “fakespokaneplow”, “berm”, “berms”, “burm” and “burms”. I found 61 tweets for Friday, January 20th.

Storify: Tell Us How You Really Feel About Plows Part 2

After completing this task, I learned that there is a neat Twitter account called @GonzagaProblems that documents problems only students at that school have. It’s very similar to the popular hashtag: #firstworldproblems.

The following Twitter accounts spelled “berm” wrong: @rock945 and @spokanepd.

When I added the search term, “plowed” to my Storify, the majority of tweets were from businesses saying their parking lot had been plowed.


In case you missed out on Part 1, it documents tweets from Thursday.

Storify: Tell Us How You Really Feel About Plows Part 1

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