Friday, December 12, 2014

CAT FRIDAY: The best gifts of 2014 for the cats in your life

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Whether you are the master servant of one cat or many, the holidays are all about them, too. (Duh.) But like many cat lovers, the buying of special goodies and treats is something that you frequently cave to year-round. There's nothing cuter or more rewarding than watching your little fur babies go nuts over a fresh, new catnip kicker, right? But when they eventually lose interest, and you tuck the old, forgotten toys away in some dusty basket in a corner, the realization hits of just how stupidly spoiled your cats actually are. The problem arises for me every year: What to get the cat who has everything, and doesn't need a damn thing? Here's my recommendations for cats at all levels of spoiled.

KitNip Box Subscription

Subscription-based "loot" boxes are huge for all interests right now, from pets to video gamers to beauty-product hoarders. Though I've never personally tried this specific service, my all-cats Instagram feed seems to always showcase cats' positive reactions to the product selection that comes each month in their kitties' KitNipBox. Two subscription packages are offered at $19 and $29/month, with the higher cost catering more to multiple-cat households. Boxes include goodies like treats, toys, grooming products and more. It's a great way to stock up on tasty kitty treats, and introduce newness and excitement to your cats' life each month. • $19-$29 •

SlimCat Interactive Feeder

Though some think fat cats are just the cutest, cuddliest little creatures ever, pet obesity is a big deal, with nearly half the cat population estimated to be over a healthy weight. If you have a chubby furry friend, an interactive feeder can help them trim down by making meal time more like a mind puzzle and a game that gets them active rather than a scarfing speed race at the food bowl. Put part of your cats' recommended, daily food allowance in here, or a couple of treats, and make them do a little more work for it. • $6.29 •

Feliway products can be a miracle solution to many stress-related behaviors cats exhibit — fear of new places, going to the vet, riding in the car or leaving the house in general, and meeting a new fur-sibling (or a human sibling, for that matter). It might not seem like a "fun" gift, but your cat will appreciate it next time there's a trip to the groomers or boarder. The odorless product uses a replicated pheromone that cats naturally produce and mark their environment with when they're happy. Every time your kitty is rubbing his/her face on you, or something in your home, he/she is depositing these pheromones, undetectable by humans. Find the Feliway line at most pet stores and vet clinics. It comes in a plug-in diffuser, spray and wipe form. • $49.99/diffuser kit •

Energy Pyramid Cat House

Give your kitty a funky, stylish place to recharge and find solitude in the form of this quirky kitty pyramid. May he/she have sweet dreams of being worshiped as a cats once were during the ancient Egyptians' rule, when cats were considered holy beings for protecting grain storage from rodent pests. This pyramid is lined with a scratch-friendly surface, and would be even cozier if stuffed with a soft bed or blanket. • $32 •

Cat Canoe Bed

Finding the perfect cat bed for your kitty can be seriously challenging. Really. Some cats love covered beds, other cats won't touch them, preferring to lay on every other human-designated surface in the house. This particular model seems to offer the same cozy feel that many hooded or covered kitty beds offer, but in a more claustrophobia-friendly design. The tapered sides create a warm, nest-like embrace around a snoozing cat's body, while also giving an open view to see and hear all that's going on as they snuggle. • $29.95 •

The Furminator
While also more of a necessity than a "fun" Christmas gift for your cat, it's a purchase you'll thank yourself for making come spring when that thick winter coat starts loosening and covering your house in cat fur. I personally swear by this tool. The brush teeth are designed to hit where all that loose fur is coming from, underneath your cats' shiny, silky top coat. After a good five minutes of brushing, you'll wonder how it was even possible your cat had that much fur to begin with. • $42.99 •

Meow-y Christmas!
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Spokane police ombud Burns to retire from oversight position

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Spokane Police Ombudsman Tim Burns confirmed today he plans to retire from his police oversight position with the city just weeks after the newly seated ombudsman commission voted to extend his contract. Burns says his last day will be Jan. 2, but he hopes to provide continued advice or insight as the commission selects a replacement.

“Hopefully with my departure there won’t be too many loose ends,” Burns says, noting the new commission will have several large issues to take on in the coming months.

Police ombudsman Tim Burns today confirmed he plans to retire Jan. 2. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Police ombudsman Tim Burns today confirmed he plans to retire Jan. 2.

Burns, a former police officer and community developer, has served as the city’s first police ombudsman for more than five years. He has provided civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department through a tumultuous period of community distrust and reform.

When the city seated the Office of Police Ombudsman Commission, the five members moved to quickly consider extending Burns’ contract. The commission cited his experience and community rapport in its 4-1 decision to extend his contract an additional three years.

During the time of the commission’s deliberation, Burns says, he applied to several other jobs and has now accepted a position that takes him back to community development in California. He says taking the new positions allows him more time to spend with his family.

In the meantime, Burns says he plans to spend the next couple of weeks helping the OPO Commission prioritize the issues before it, including the search for a new ombudsman. He plans to brief the commission on what he has learned and what skills he believes would be valuable.

“I want to be a resource for them,” he says. “Just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean I won’t make myself available.”

The OPO Commission will have its next meeting at 5:30 pm Wednesday in the City Council Briefing Room. Burns says he expects his departure to be discussed during that session.

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Flogging Molly and Ugly Sweater Christmas

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM



If you make it to only one gathering of brutally tacky outerwear this season, make it the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at the Big Dipper on Friday night at 7:30 pm. The stellar lineup includes local rock acts Bard (whose lead singer is named Patrick Stewart, and features an awesome saxophonist), Bullets Or Balloons (who hail from Spokane and Olympia), Blackwater Prophet (one of this year’s Inlander Bands to Watch) and the Smokes (who aptly have a hip, smoky sound). Show up wearing the loudest holiday sweater you can find; it will pair well with the music. Cost is $10.

One singer-songwriter performing on stage can be quite inspiring. But why not add two more musicians, a spoken word poet and a visual artist to that performance stage? The Round, a new-to-Spokane collaborative art series, does just that. Already, Rounds have taken place in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Anacortes. Thanks to the Bartlett, the series is in Spokane too. For Round No. 3, which begins at 8 pm, performers include musical acts the Rustics, Ian and Austen Case and Scott Ryan along with poet Isaac Grambo and artist Nory. Cost is $8.

Irish-influenced rock just hit Spokane hard in October with the Dropkick Murphys. The Young Dubliners will come through in February. But this Saturday’s helping of Irish-American punk comes from L.A.-based Flogging Molly. On stage, Dublin-born lead singer Dave King leads his seven-piece band through some of the most wild, boot-stompin’ music out there. The instrumental combination of fiddle, tin whistle and accordion with drums and fuzzy guitars is undeniably perfect for writing drunken lullabies (also the title of the band’s biggest hit) — King’s croaky. Irish accent-tinged voice doesn’t hurt, either. With this show you don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to feel Irish. The all-ages show starts at 8 pm and is $33.

Jones Radiator brings in the Woolen Men and Normal Babies Saturday night. Hailing from Portland, the Woolen Men play fuzzed-out rock. Their music is a perfect accompaniment to Spokane’s own Normal Babies (who were named a 2014 Inlander Band to Watch).

Tuesday at the Hop!, Elektro Grave presents Krampusnacht. Read more about the small but mighty Elektro Grave goth EDM scene here.

Thursday, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas and local rockers Heavy Seventeen (listen to their new music here) hit the Bartlett. Read our story on the Detroit-based songstress here.

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Weekly report: Mountain day, winter fishing and problem predators

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Do you have a favorite international mountain? Mine is Mount Rundle near Banff, Alberta. Look at that thing. - JACOB JONES
  • Jacob Jones
  • Do you have a favorite international mountain? Mine is Mount Rundle near Banff, Alberta. Look at that thing.

OUTLANDER serves as a weekly round up of Inland Northwest outdoor recreation and natural resources news. This feature will highlight a wide variety of issues and events, ranging from camping tips to national environmental disputes. We’ll also try to include some scenic photos. Feel free to pass along suggestions or curiosities celebrating the Great Outdoors.

Yesterday was International Mountain Day, so I hope you took a moment to consider the majesty of the world’s great peaks large and small. Here’s a start. (MNN)

Wildlife officials are investigating what may be first livestock animal killed by wolves in Whitman County (KXLY)

Kayak anglers find success at Rock Lake southwest of Spokane. (Seattle Times)

Recycle Man hits the ice to promote ecological responsibility. (Inlander)

Winter fly fishing tips on the Spokane River and other area waterways. (Silver Bow)

Spokane native’s Surviving the Tribe TV show looks at first season and future goals (S-R).

Idaho may resort to cloud seeding. (Idaho Falls)

Salmon restoration along the Columbia River (HCN)

As the movie Wild brings new attention to the Pacific Crest Trail, hear from an expert. (WTA)

The most popular Instagram outdoor photos from the Department of the Interior (Time)

Another slideshow, this time with crazy animal photos. (Time)

Also, an impressive photo of a deer getting heli-netted in Wyoming. (Wyodeer)

A sniper hunts foxes in the streets of London. (NYT)

Discovery Channel’s Eaten Alive disappoints. (WaPost)

Cross a metrosexual with a grizzly bear and you get the new “lumbersexual,” most commonly observed in beard, flannel and work boots. (The Atlantic)

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CdA ArtWalk, Christmas lights and lesbian romance novels

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

So many event listings and Staff Picks on the Inlander website, and so little time to check them out. We know how it goes. We're here to help. 

Here are some highlights for Friday, Dec. 12: 

COMMUNITY | It's opening night for the Gaiser Conservatory Holiday Lights extravaganza. But it's only open til 7:30 pm, so don't delay after school and work. 

VISUAL ARTS | Friday night is the monthly Coeur d'Alene ArtWalk, so you can combine browsing through some fine contemporary art with all the town's Christmas festivities. 

COMMUNITY | Friday is also opening night for the Riverside State Park Winter Wonderland, the third year you've had the chance to cross the swinging bridge and stroll through the woods. Also, hay rides! Hey now!

WORDS | Auntie's hosts author Kate McLachlin, reading from her new lesbian-romance novel Christmas Crush

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MB: Power, smoke, and the mighty "Cromnibus"

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 9:47 AM


Avista upgrades the energy efficiency of its building
, what with energy prices so high these days. (SR)

Tribes can sell marijuana on Indian reservations, according to a new Department of Justice ruling. (SR)

Watch out for porch-package swipers this season. (KXLY)

A Spokane nurse saves a life at the airport. (KREM)


Thousands of sea turtles have washed ashore on Cape Cod Bay. (NYT)

The controversial $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill, named the Cromnibus, has passed the House, barely. Here's why Raul Labrador says he voted against it. (Washington Post)

Dick Cheney: A liar? It's not as crazy as it sounds. (The Atlantic)


Former Whitman prof Anne Helen Petersen writes about the ethical dilemma of reporting on the hacked Sony files. (Buzzfeed)
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inside the Kennel Club: Beating WSU edition

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM


Inlander contributors and Gonzaga seniors Franny Wright and Jenna Mulligan will be taking you inside the Kennel Club, the Zags' renowned student section, in this occasional series to give you some insight as to what makes these kids amongst the rowdiest in all of college hoops.

At 6:15 pm, almost two hours before Gonzaga and Washington State tipped off, a line of GU students had already formed in a snaking curve around the backside of the Spokane Arena. On this Wednesday before finals week, the Zags put down their books and flocked — on foot and in shuttles — to fill the student section for this rivalry game that had been moved to the much bigger Spokane Arena. Different court; same urgency.

The student section filled hurriedly in an arena that was otherwise empty. To the students, it’s never just about being present — it’s about being as close to the court as possible. They peeled off jackets, revealing a sea of red and a hodgepodge of costumes, and then settled in to wait for the buzzer to sound. The moment the Zombie Nation began to play over the loud speaker, those individual faces would become one cohesive voice in the energy of the Kennel Club, leading Gonzaga on to a 81-66 win over WSU on a night when the team captain, Kevin Pangos, didn't even score, but three other players all went for 20 or more points.

Here's what some students had to say.

Kacie Waagbo, freshman

I got here 72 minutes before the game, and we sprinted in because we knew we’d have to rush to get a good seat. I wanted to go to a school where basketball was big, and, well, ninth in the nation is good enough for me.
Hayden Nelson, sophomore
It’s been pretty live here in the arena tonight. WSU is always a really huge game, so it’s just cool to be here, feel the energy, and make it crazy. I dressed up because it’s Christmas, everyone likes power rangers, and … well it’s America so you kind of do what you want.
Sean Dorsey, freshman
I’m the Pope. I’m just trying to bring out my personal Jesuit as a Gonzaga student. Why not embrace it? I may wear it again, but the Pope likes to pick and choose where he’s seen. Being in the Kennel and having this experience is a huge part of Gonzaga. It really just makes you feel like a part of the school and community.
Marie Marshall, senior
I’m a ghost, because BOO WAZZU! I make a different costume every year. I was a cow once with a sign that said “Waz-Moo-Who?”
Brandon Pitzer, senior
This place is huge ... I’ve got 900 of my best friends here, cheering for the same thing. That’s why I love this.

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More big shows announced: Neutral Milk Hotel, Sheryl Crow and Widespread Panic

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Huge news for the concert-inclined in the Inland Northwest: Neutral Milk Hotel, Sheryl Crow and Widespread Panic are booked to play the area in 2015. Earlier this week, we reported on upcoming Lucinda Williams and comedian Doug Benson shows. 

Yesterday, the alt-rock act Neutral Milk Hotel announced its upcoming tour would be its final one. Prior to getting back together in 2013, the group had practically been in hiding for nearly a decade, leaving fans to wallow in their sorrows listening to the only two albums the band ever made on repeat. But this summer, Spokane rock lovers can rejoice, the group performs at the Knitting Factory on June 5. Tickets are $32.

Sheryl Crow “Makes You Happy” by hitting up Beasley Coliseum for Washington State University’s Mom’s Weekend on April 11. The nine-time Grammy winner hasn’t performed at the Coliseum since 1996 so it’s high time she comes through again, singing her brand of Americana pop. Tickets are priced at $60.50 for the public and $55.50 for WSU staff, faculty and students and go on sale January 16. Just a friendly reminder: Crow used to date Lance Armstrong.

Calling all Dead Heads and other jam band enthusiasts! The 1980s neo-hippie Southern rock band Widespread Panic comes to the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox March 15. Oh yes, the band that as of last year holds the record for most sold-out shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater runs its famous live show (which notably never has the same setlist twice) through Spokane. Tickets are $45 and go on sale next month. 

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Bold predictions for silly awards: Today's Golden Globe nominees considered

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM


In case you missed it, the nominees for the 2015 Golden Globes awards were announced today, and we're not going to let the opportunity go by to comment on the generally meaningless, highly questionable "honors." The only guarantee for people tuning in to the awards on Jan. 11 is that co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be awesome once again. That, and that the voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will serve up enough booze to make for some memorable award speeches.

Some film fans consider the Golden Globes a decent predictor of the Oscars, but the same film has won Best Picture honors only four of the past 10 years. Granted, the past three years have aligned nicely, but this year's race seems wide open. While some with weaker constitutions will wait to make their Golden Globe predictions in the days leading up to the telecast, we here at the Inlander are made of sterner stuff. We're not only going to make predications based on our first look at the nominees — we're going to make them having seen few of the films. We're working without a net here, people!

We'll check back in January to see how we did — feel free to play along. Let's do it. 

The nominees: Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything
Prediction: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves to remind Americans of our racist history, so Selma is the pick over Steve Carell's fake nose, Stephen Hawking's love story, Boyhood's near-three-hour running time, and the man I'll simply refer to as Cumberbatch! 

The nominees: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
Prediction: The Globes love glamorous stars who get a little grungy for a role. I don't know how much they liked Friends. Let's go with Witherspoon for her makeup-free job in Wild

The nominees: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Cumberbatch! (The Imitation Game), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), David Oyelowo (Selma), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
Prediction: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves to remind Americans of our homophobic past, so it could be Cumberbatch! But the members also love stories of people overcoming addiction and/or physical challenges. Hello, Stephen Hawking! I'm going with Redmayne. 
Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking
  • Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking

The nominees: Birdman, Into the Woods, The Grand Budapest Hotel, St. Vincent, Pride
Prediction: Globe voters might recognize Wes Anderson's Budapest since they know the Oscars never will, but Birdman seems like the sound choice. 

The nominees: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars), Emily Blunt (Into the Woods), Helen Mirren (The Hundred Foot Journey), Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie)
Prediction: Helen Mirren is English and gives a great awards speech. Emily Blunt is English and is in a movie with Meryl Streep. Tough call. Going with Mirren. 

The nominees: Michael Keaton (Birdman), Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice), Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Prediction: Whoa, talk about a powerhouse slate of nominees, damn! It could be a lifetime achievement award thing for Keaton, but I'm betting the Golden Globes would love to have Bill Murray give a speech on live TV. 
Bill Murray in St. Vincent
  • Bill Murray in St. Vincent

The nominees: The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Boxtrolls, The Book of Life
Prediction: Do Legos transcend the global toy market? I have no idea, but I'm predicting The Lego Movie will win. 

The nominees: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Prediction: An African-American woman making a movie about America's racist history? Make way for Ava DuVernay's walk to the podium! Especially because it would take Linklater hours to get there if he wins. 
Selma director Ava DuVernay - INDIEWIRE
  • Indiewire
  • Selma director Ava DuVernay

The nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game
Prediction: The Globes will find some way to reward Linklater for the remarkable task of filming a flick over a dozen years. He'll take this one.  

Let us know what you think of today's nominations. Who got the shaft? Who got an undeserved nod? Why should we have predicted the TV Golden Globes nominations? Stay tuned for either our victory lap or crow-eating session come Jan. 12. 
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Sedaris' Santaland Diaries, math-rock and an Xmas extravaganza

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM

So you're still amped up from the Gonzaga/WSU game Wednesday night and you're looking to get out and about? Good news! We have ample event listings and carefully considered Staff Picks for your perusal. 

No time? No problem. Here are some highlights from our listings for Thursday, Dec. 11:

THEATER | It's opening night of the annual Traditions of Christmas extravaganza in Coeur d'Alene, featuring singing, dancing, drama — basically everything needed to hit on what you love about the holidays, all in one show. 

LIVE BANDS | I'm not claiming to know a single thing about this band's sound, but I'm enamored enough with the name Flannel Math Animal to think I need to hear the instrumental crew, perhaps tonight at The  Viking.  

THEATER | If you're down on the Palouse, consider a trip to The Kenworthy in Moscow to see a production of The Santaland Diaries, the hilarious David Sedaris play opening a three-day production by Moscow Theatre (Too). 

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