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Creative Cowpokes — Hey, there, li'l cowgirls and their fellers, time to rustle up some mighty fine prose for the Sparkling Spur.

That's the annual writing contest sponsored by the Western Writers of America, and students (grades 4-12) who have a short story or two up their sleeves — sleeves with leather fringes, preferably, since the stories should have an American West theme — should submit their work by Feb. 11. Publication, certificates, references and, yes, even gen-u-ine Uncle Sam cash can be yours. Visit www.westernwriters.org or call (208) 773-4675.

This Was the First Night of the Rest of Our Year — For a family-friendly, non-alcohol event, we probably shouldn't claim that the martinis (and desserts!) at JoeCo Brazils were the highlight of our First Night experience. No, because while those late-night treats were fine, so fine, there were other delights as well. ComedySportz and Blue Door Theater were big hits, but next year shorter shows might be nice to allow more people to see these events. (Both were packed, and revelers were turned away at Interplayers, where ComedySportz performed.)

We can report that the Northwest Hula Company has some lovely, undulating, synchronized arms, and that the various crafts and paintings at the Post Street Gallery were also pleasant to look at.

But the loveliest venue-decision of all, visually and aurally, involved putting the Spokane Symphony into the serene goldenrod and white interior of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. Ravel never sounded so worshipful.

This Little Piggy Hit and Ran All the Way Home — Maybe you don't like the occupants of the Bin. Maybe you even hate us. That's fine — or it was fine, until one of you started taking out your reader aggression on us. Such was the case when one Binster walked out of a downtown building last weekend, only to see her immaculate-bodied vehicle donning a large black streak — leading to a very large dent. Shards of a broken headlight lay in the gray slush below. The ordeal made us think about hit-and-run incidents. Perhaps it's not the best idea to commit such an error, drive off without leaving a note, then run the risk of your idiocy being published in a newspaper that circulates in two states and more than 650 locations. So, all you loyal Buzz Bin readers — keep an eye out for a black car with a broken headlight and some streaks of white paint. If you find one, there's a little interview we'd like to conduct. (You'll see your name in the newspaper!)

Publication date: 01/06/04

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