It is cold out here in Spokane. Yeah, we've seen some chilly temperatures in these parts, but the wind the last couple of days have probably been enough for Gonzaga fans to wish they were still back in Maui.
In the McCarthey Athletic Center, though, things should be nice and toasty as the now 19th ranked (or 15th if you go by the other poll) Bulldogs and their faithful student section get things rocking tonight against New Mexico State. You're thinking, oh New Mexico, they've been a powerhouse in the last five years. Stop right there. State. This is New Mexico State. The Aggies, they call them, and they are no slouches, either. They've made the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
NMSU comes into the game with 7-3 record, all three of those losses being relatively close ones, the last of which was in the form of a 79-70 defeat to the aforementioned New Mexico. Keep an eye out for a potential Canadian-on-Canadian as NMSU's lead scorer Daniel Mullings might come up against his rival Ontarian (is that what you call someone from Ontario?) Kevin Pangos.
We're hoping the Kennel Club isn't camping out for this one. That would be brutal out there. You can watch on ESPNU at 8 pm in the warmth of your favorite bar or armchair.
The Zags don't get much of a break after NMSU, making their only East Coast trip of the regular season on Tuesday night to play West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 6-3 with quality losses against 10th ranked Wisconsin, Missouri and an early season close one to Virginia Tech. Expect the three-pointers to be flying in that one. Gonzaga and West Virginia are second and 10th, respectively, in three-point percentage. And in terms of pure volume, WVU has made a staggering 84 total threes in their first nine games. More on that...
Going into tonight's game, the Zags are shooting 48 percent from three-point range, the second-best average in the country. That is a better percentage than 60 other Division I teams are shooting period. What's even more remarkable is that they've shot like that with more than a few guys firing away. Bell, Pangos, Barham, Coleman and even Dower can all light it up from long distance.
BEST SHOOTING TEAM?
There's no question that Gonzaga has fielded stronger, faster, more athletic, more dunktastic, and as I've mentioned, better hairstyled in previous seasons, but the way this group of Zags can shoot the ball has been impressive. The team leads all of Division I in shooting percentage at a smoking hot 55.8 percent. Gonzaga finished third in the nation last season at just over 50 percent.
RUN IT UP
Keeping with the theme here, it's no surprise that the Zags are scoring the ball a hell of a lot this year. They are averaging 91.8 points per game in the early going, good for fourth in the nation. That fourth place total would be more than ten more than the leading team last year. You can blame some of that on this hot shooting, but scoring is up in college hoops across the board — mostly thanks to the new rules in the game making defensive fouls a hell of a lot easier to call.
Enough with the number nerdery — enjoy the game. And stay warm, fer God's sake.
Last night, millions of people turned on NBC to watch The Sound of Music Live! on NBC. In Spokane, people were watching in particular to see local star Sophia Caruso as one of the von Trapp children.
If you missed it on TV, you can now watch the whole thing online at whatever time fits your schedule. Here’s a clip:
The show starred pop singer Carrie Underwood as Maria, and was considered a gamble for NBC since live Broadway-style musicals on TV are expensive and kind of old-fashioned. But viewers were eager to watch, with NBC’s highest rating since the 2009 series finale of ER.
Critics, though, were not all that impressed. The general consensus was that Underwood, while plucky and perfectly capable of carrying the tunes, didn’t really do so well with the acting. And didn’t have any chemistry with Stephen Moyer, who played Captain von Trapp. And looked not much older than the children, except for the frumpy dresses she constantly had to wear. (The actual Von Trapp family revealed they would have preferred Anne Hathaway.) In contrast, reviewers pointed to the amazing Audra McDonald singing “Climb Every Mountain,” and the skillful acting and stylish outfits of Laura Benanti as Baroness Elsa Schraeder. (The kids didn't get much mention from critics.)
This smart analysis about the science of anticipation helps explain why the show had such an uphill battle — people really just wanted to watch Julie Andrews in beloved Sound of Music movie they’ve watched over and over:
“On the plus side, you could tell Carrie Underwood and her costars were giving it their all; on the negative, the furniture on the grand veranda of Captain Von Trapp’s villa looked like a cheap patio set from Walmart, which was a major advertiser during the broadcast.
Perhaps intentionally, perhaps by clever accident, the producers dodged the biggest calamity, which would have been to somehow ruin the original by coming too close and yet not close enough. After all, it would have taken more effort than the Von Trapps climbing over the Alps to outdo the Julie Andrews classic.”
The Inlander's annual Gift Guide issue hits stands next Thursday, Dec. 12, giving readers just enough time (two weeks) to get out there and shop for all of our writers' creative and thoughtful suggestions.
However, to avoid being repetitive with my suggestions last year for "Gifts for Cats and their People," this year's issue includes a different mix — both serious and hilarious — of giftee "types." But hey, lucky me and lucky you — Cat Friday comes to the rescue to present some incredibly purr-fect gifts for the cool cat people, and actual felines, on your list. This week features a mix of gifts for humans; check back next week for my kitty gift suggestions.
KEYBOARD CAT TOY
If you didn't already know the original Keyboard Cat is an Inland Northwest original, stop reading this blog right meow. Just kidding — don't stop reading, let us enlighten you. The Internet sensation that many cat video authorities credit with starting it all really was from the Lilac City. Give your craziest cat friend a piece of local history with the animatronic Keyboard Cat plushie, an officially licensed KC collectible. With the press of a button they'll have their very own miniature of this Internet Cat icon. $34.99 at thinkgeek.com (as of today it's on sale for $13.99)
GRUMPY CAT PLUSHIE
Getting a stuffed animal designed in one's likeness seems to be the critical sign you've made it big on the Interwebs. Another famous feline who's had several variations of her frown-y mug recreated in polyester is indeed, Grumpy Cat. There are a couple different designs out there, but my personal favorite is the Gund brand version, which looks just as soft and cuddly as Grumpy — despite what her sour expression may indicate — would be in real life. $22 at nordstrom.com
KITTY MEASURING CUPS
For the cat lady or dude in your life who loves to cook and bake, and is ever-so-careful to make sure not a strand of fur ever gets into his or her delicious dishes, giving this adorable measuring cup set is sure to earn you some friend brownie points and maybe even some real homemade brownies. I've admired these cute cups since I first saw them, and for a cat lady who likes to cook, it's a gift that can't go wrong. $34.99 at modcloth.com
*Cat Lady Pro Tip: A basic search of the word "cat" on ModCloth's site, a chic indie designer store, brings up five whole pages of fantastic and gift worthy cat-themed goods.
LIL BUB'S LIL BOOK
My fellow cat friends and friends of cat lovers, I urge you to spend the weeks following Christmas and into the new year studying up on all things BUB, in preparation for the momentous occasion when our very own city is graced by her squonking, wide-eyed, tongue-lolling presence at the Spokane stop of the touring Internet Cat Video Film Festival. There's no better way to start than with the tiny, outer space-hailing feline's first published book, pictured here. If you can't wait until Christmas and want to gift yourself right meow, go to Auntie's Bookstore (402 W. Main Ave), where I was beyond excited to see it in store a few days ago. Otherwise, it's available online anywhere books are sold, including BUB's store, which, I must add, has lots of other gift ideas for the ultimate BUB fan.
CHOCOLATE & STEEL CAT JEWELRY
Since receiving it as a birthday gift almost a year ago, I rarely take off my sterling silver ring stamped with a tiny cat face, and neither will any other cat lady who receives a piece of handmade kitty jewelry by LA-based Chocolate and Steel. The earth-friendly pieces, made from reclaimed and recycled metals, come in many forms including stud earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces, and also feature more than just kitty faces (most of the designs are by whimsical artist Gemma Correll). These particular earrings match the ring I mentioned, but come in several other feline and non-feline designs, too. (Faithful readers out there may realize why this ring is so special to me, based the name of its design!) $26 and up, Chocolate and Steel Etsy shop.
ORIGINAL CATHOUSE APPAREL
Much to the dismay of lifelong cat fanatics, cat images in fashion are all the rage now, from cheap duds at stores like Forever21, to even the most high-end designers. Scroll through trendy apparel retailer websites, like H&M or Urban Outfitters, and cat fashion is everywhere. As cute as these brands' designs may be, don't fall for them, or at least have caution. Now that cat-themed fashion is a "trend," when you wear that cutesy F21 kitty tee you'll be lumped in with less-arduous cat people, aka the masses who probably don't love cats as much as you. Go for something more original and less mass-produced, like this cozy, kitschy "Members Only" kitten sweatshirt from the Portland-based apparel shop The Original Cat House, which rocks the tagline: "Fine purr-veyors of feline centric goods." $28, unisex sizes S-XL, Original Cat House Etsy shop
What's underneath the Masonic Temple? Why does the Hutton Building have a walk-in safe on every floor? And what's behind the door behind the garbage goat? Is it garbage?
This new series by videographer Nathan Brand explores the history of Spokane with questions like those. In Episode 1, we find out: What's with those weird bear murals underneath the former Dutch's music shop at 415 W. Main Ave.?
If you know of weird tunnels or other histories mysteries you'd like cleared up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve been watching the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree for the past month as it was cut from the Colville National Forest, stopped in Spokane and then continued across the country for its place of honor outside the Capitol building.
So it was exciting to see it today, all decked out with handmade ornaments and ready for its lighting ceremony. The bipartisan festivities began at 5 pm eastern time in Washington D.C., and the full video is now posted on C-SPAN. The lucky little guy who got to help flip the switch is Colville first-grader Giovanni Gayner.
But if you don’t feel like watching the full program, here’s the before-and-after. So pretty.
Over the weekend, a few complaints started trickling in to First Night Spokane, the giant family-friendly New Year's bash, about their ads running with the Rush Limbaugh Show on KQNT, a local talk radio station that’s also host to Sean Hannity and and Glenn Beck. Limbaugh is notorious for his sexist, racist and homophobic diatribes, even in the less-than-polite world of talk radio.
First Night Spokane acted immediately, posting this in response to complaints on Facebook:
“First Night Spokane takes pride in being a family friendly, diverse, non-discriminatory New Year’s Eve event in downtown Spokane and in no way condones or supports the comments made by Rush Limbaugh or others associated with the Rush Limbaugh talk show, therefore we are pulling any programming of promotional information regarding our event from this station.”
Executive Director Lona Barnum says it was a swift decision for the board. The organization doesn’t take political stances, she says, but they do care a lot about listening to the community and representing local families.
“We pay a lot of attention to our constituents,” she says.
Nationwide, dozens of other companies and organizations have received similar complaints about their ads running with Limbaugh’s show. It’s part of a liberal grassroots effort, led by Stop Rush and Flush Rush, that took hold in 2012 after Limbaugh called Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after Republican congressmen refused to let her testify on birth control coverage.
On its site, Stop Rush keeps a constantly updated list of advertisers and their contact information. Companies and organizations that have pulled their ads after pressure from consumers include Disney On Ice, Citibank, CVS, Papa John's, H&R Block and CNN. The activists’ goal is to eventually push Limbaugh off the air for lack of willing sponsors.
Many of the advertisers say they were unaware their ads would run during the show, and that’s what happened to First Night Spokane. Like most ad buys, it was part of a package deal, and Barnum says they’ve learned it’s important to have a discussion up front about what’s acceptable for your organization.
“I think you have to be really clear about who you want to align yourself with,” she says.
As 2014 approaches, you’ll continue to hear radio ads for First Night Spokane on other stations — but no longer with Rush.
The finger pointing and accusations we reported on last week seem to be put to bed with the controversial Dawn of the Donut artwork. The flood of angry responses on DOTD Facebook site seems to have actually paid off. DOTD took down all of their previous logo and have replaced it with placeholder donut pictures.
Today, DOTD posted this on their Facebook:
"We are thrilled to be working with John Sumrow to create a joint project of zombies for our shop and promote his art. Keep checking for updates!"
Likewise, on artist John Sumrow's Facebook page he also posted what appears to be an agreement:
"Just got off the phone with @dawnofthedonutzombie in Spokane WA. We are in talks to resolve the stolen artwork issue. Thanks to all my friends & fans for the support! You guys \m/"
We reached out to Sumrow and he informs us that nothing really has been set in stone yet, but "most likely I am going to remake the artwork for them." Sumrow also notes that DOTD reached out to him and were very humble and apologetic, and that he is going to retain licensing rights.
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Love the Grumpy Cat plushie!
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