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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Modern Nostradamus? Tom Clancy’s 1996 novel “Executive Orders” weirdly predicted 2014

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 9:33 AM

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Military thriller author Tom Clancy’s novel Debt of Honor made headlines back in 2001 because it ended with a commercial airliner used as a weapon in a massive terrorist attack on Washington D.C. The novel had been published 7 years earlier.

The day of the September 11 attack, I remember running to the North Central High School library, checking out the book, and pointing out to my friends the passage describing the terrorist attacks.

More recently, events have called to mind Clancy’s 1996 doorstopper follow-up, Executive Orders, in which Clancy hero Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine) finds himself thrust into the role of the president of the United States, where he must handle a slew of threats, foreign and domestic.

Read this plot summary and tell me you don’t spot a few odd parallels with common events. Off the top of my head:

- Extremists from neighboring countries take advantage of a power vacuum in Iraq, invading the country to form an Islamic state. The United States has to put together a coalition of Arab countries to repel them.

- An armed attacker penetrates deep into the White House, exposing some embarrassing vulnerabilities on the part of the Secret Service.

- The president celebrates the use of guided missiles as a crucial tool to assassinate Islamic extremists.

- An ally of Iran helps “accidentally” shoot down a commercial airplane, killing hundreds.

- A political rival files a lawsuit against the president, questioning the constitutionality of unilateral actions.

- And of course, an Ebola outbreak hits America.

Most of this, of course, is confirmation bias. There are plenty of differences between Clancy’s novel and current events, starting with the fact that his President Jack Ryan is portrayed as much more conservative than Barack Obama, and with the fact Obama has not declared martial law or threatened the use of tactical nuclear weapons against his enemies.

A couple of freak coincidental guesses doesn’t mean anything else in Clancy’s novels will come true. In his follow-up novel The Bear and the Dragon, for example, Clancy depicted large crowds of students in China taking advantage of the Internet to get past censorship and catalyze massive protests. And that’s just outlandish.


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Monday, September 29, 2014

CAPTION CONTEST: Can you do better?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM

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A local artist named Dave Rowles submitted a series of cartoons, many of them riffing on Spokane and the Inlander. In debuting this first one, we want to invite our readers to write captions of their own, using the space for comments below.

Later this week, we'll share the caption Dave had on his cartoon, as well as our favorite submission from our reader, right back here at Bloglander. 


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Friday, September 26, 2014

CAT FRIDAY: Local pet adoption and fundraiser events this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

It's going to be another busy weekend for local animal shelters, so if you've been thinking about adding a new furry member to your family, read up and make time in your schedule to check out these events.

click image Star, a sweet, calm 12-1/2-year-old female, has been at the Spokane Humane Society since March. She's considered "less adoptable" because of her age.
  • Star, a sweet, calm 12-1/2-year-old female, has been at the Spokane Humane Society since March. She's considered "less adoptable" because of her age.

Tomorrow, the Spokane Humane Society, along with some other local animal rescue groups, is setting up a mobile adoption center at the North Spokane PetSmart (9950 N. Newport Hwy.), for PetSmart's Super Adoption Day. Along with animals looking for homes at the adoption center inside the pet supply chain (a new, expanded adoption center opened there about a year ago, housing homeless pets cared for by SHS), the Humane Society is showcasing adoptable pets at a parking lot booth. The event runs tomorrow, Sept. 27, from 1-5 pm. 

Spokane Humane Society volunteer and outreach coordinator Jenna Carroll says the shelter hopes to adopt as many as 50 pets during the four-hour event. Adoption specials are being offered on many animals as part of the shelter's recognition of "Less Adoptable Pet Week." The shelter has been promoting its senior, special needs and other long-term residents throughout the week. 

If you're not in the market for a pet, but still want to give back to local animal sheltering and rescue efforts, SCRAPS is also hosting its Walk in the Park dog walk, to raise money to treat injured or ill animals the regional shelter takes in. The event is set for tomorrow morning, Sept. 27, from 10 am-2 pm, at Prairie View Park on Spokane's South Hill, near the intersection of Freya and 61st Ave.

Participants are asked to gather donations but there is no registration cost to participate. The community is encouraged to "walk with or without a dog, with your 'pack,' in memory of a beloved pet, as a virtual walker, or even in honor of your cat." Registration is open before the walk, and pledges can be turned in after the walk through Monday for teams or individuals to still be eligible to win prizes for their efforts.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bring it on, Detroit! Spokane up for USA Today's "Best American Riverfront"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Riverfront Park on July 4, 2014. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Riverfront Park on July 4, 2014.

Love the famed river walk of San Antonio or walking along the Willamette in Portland, yet still feel Spokane is the best riverfront city in the country? Here's your chance to let the rest of the country know. 

Well, at least the rest of the country that reads USA Today's travel section and its "10Best Readers' Choice" awards that previously have tackled competitions for "best hotels for fall leaf-peeping" and "best beer town." In the paper's latest poll, 20 cities are vying for "Best American Riverfront" and Spokane is right there alongside Savannah, Hood River and Nashville. The "panel of experts" that picked the 20 finalist cities must have been privy to Spokane Falls and Riverfront Park's history of drawing big crowds downtown. 

This being a newspaper poll, folks are free to vote every day between now and Oct. 20, and you can vote in the Best American Riverfront poll right here. The top 10 will be revealed Oct. 22. 

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

New STCU video showcasing West Central features Inlander Peirone Prize winners

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Spokane Teachers Credit Union released a new promotional video today showcasing six of its members who are also residents, business owners and mentors helping change the perception of Spokane's West Central neighborhood for the better. Two of the community leaders profiled in the video are Inlander Peirone Prize winners — Kate Burke is one of this year's three winners, and Keith Kelley was named a winner last year. 

We've also written about the work of the other locals in the video. Also featured are neighborhood business owners Mika Maloney, who last week opened the storefront for Batch Bakeshop in a historic neighborhood building; Central Food's chef-owner David Blaine; and Indaba Coffee owner and roaster Bobby Enslow. Rick Harris, the recreation program coordinator for the West Central Community Center is also featured in the video. 

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BEHIND THE COVER: Fall Arts Preview

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM

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For this year's Fall Arts Preview issue we enlisted local model Brynne Gadbury as our cover model. We wanted to make this a dynamic, vibrant cover, so we thought of splashing our model with color powder — the same stuff they use at color runs. Amazingly, she didn't mind it. Thank you so much to all of the people who make this arts scene such a vibrant one.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

CAT FRIDAY: SCRAPS waives cat adoption fees this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 4:38 PM

UPDATE: This Thursday, Sept. 18, SCRAPS announced it's continuing to offer cat adoption specials again this weekend, Sept. 19-21. The county-wide shelter reports on its Facebook page that more than 350 cats have come through its doors in the past two weeks. To help with overcrowding, SCRAPS is continuing to offer cat and kitten adoptions at no cost. Adopters who reside in Spokane city or county limits are only required to pay for a $15 pet license.


The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) is overrun with cats! While I'd personally love nothing more than to go there right meow and snuggle them all (it's been a rough week), these kitties all need homes. Throughout this summer — the height of kitten season — SCRAPS has taken in hundreds of cats, but all of its partner rescue groups are full. 

Izzy, a shy young female who came to the shelter after being trapped. Pet ID No. 6715. - SCRAPS
  • SCRAPS
  • Izzy, a shy young female who came to the shelter after being trapped. Pet ID No. 6715.

Because SCRAPS is the contracted animal control agency for the City of Spokane and all of Spokane County, the organization takes in nearly all stray animals, in addition to owner-surrendered pets. While SCRAPS works hard to place animals with other shelters and rescues in the region, pet overpopulation makes saving every single life nearly impossible. What I'm trying to say here is that perfectly adoptable pets are euthanized in Spokane because there is simply no room for them. It's a hard truth to swallow.

To find homes for its overflowing kitty residents, this weekend SCRAPS is offering waived adoption fees for all cats — including kittens. Adoptees just have to pay for the $15 county animal license for their new friend, which comes home spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.

The special runs today, Sept. 12 (the shelter closes at 5:30) and Saturday, Sept. 13, and the shelter is open from 10 am-5 pm. SCRAPS is located at 6815 E. Trent, and its phone number is 477-2532.

Look at all these cute little cats just waiting for you to take them home! (The thumbnail image for this post is of Domino, a very friendly adult male. Pet ID N. 6956)

Buddha is a spayed adult female who's very calm and relaxed. Pet ID No. 6624. - SCRAPS
  • SCRAPS
  • Buddha is a spayed adult female who's very calm and relaxed. Pet ID No. 6624.


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The Onion in Spokane: 'Don't write 'revenge' in blood in the conference room'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM

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Spokane is once again The Onion's dateline choice — this time for a morbid news brief about a company reminding disgruntled employees they should not, in fact, scrawl "revenge" in blood in the conference room everyone has to share. (We trust you to know this already, but we have to say it: The Onion is satire.)

From the story:

“Most of you are already familiar with this rule, but just as a refresher, it’s directly against company policy for an employee to use blood to write ‘revenge’ on the conference room walls, door, or table,” wrote Shumaker, emphasizing that it did not matter if the word was rendered in human or animal blood. “Remember that we all use this room, and it’s inconsiderate to force your colleagues to delay their meeting to scrub ‘revenge’ off the whiteboard or windows.” Shumaker added that any employee who wanted revenge should simply carve the word into the forehead of his or her supervisor.

Happy Friday, fellow office dwellers!


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BEHIND THE COVER: Kiss of a Black Widow?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM

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It's a tricky subject. This week's cover story by Nathan Brand is about a woman who's suspected of killing her husband. There are many visuals and angles we brainstormed, but like my editor says, we have to get all the bad ideas out first. Pills on a nightstand? Woman in the shadows? We also have something around the office called the "across the room test." If you can't tell what the story is about from across the room, chances are you might not pick up that issue. In other words — simplify; boil it down. In the end we decided to go with the imagery of a black widow spider on a woman's lips. Since female black widows kill their mates, it seemed fitting. A little sexy and deadly at the same time. 

I started with a source photo of red lips, then isolated the red lips and desaturated the color to draw the eye to the focal point. Then I added a spider and put in the finishing touches of shadows on her lips. The final piece uses a font that harkens back to a vintage era, fitting since this story took place 30 years ago. In the end, we ended up with a kiss worth dying for. Keep it weird.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Behind the Cover: Sasquatch!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 10:47 AM

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I will start this by stating I don't believe in Bigfoot, I just think there would be more proof than blurry pictures. But the Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot walking is so iconic, I wanted to pay homage to that with this hand-drawn cover for this week's feature story.

If he does exist, I hope he has big googly eyes like this. Anyway, keep it weird!

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