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Charging Early

There are members of our household who participated in the annual consumer frenzy known as Black Friday, and we're told that shoppers were snatching up portable DVD players, laptops for kids and Magnetix like, well, like they were obsessed with the urge to splurge. Just like good little conspicuous consumers. Stories of cold coffee at 5 am and of having to pursue other shopaholics out into the parking lot just to snag a spare shopping cart -- such tales won't exactly have us rolling out of bed on Nov. 23, 2007.

Holiday Food Prep

Despite the pessimists, people combine their efforts to do good things around here all the time. On the day before Thanksgiving -- for the 50th year -- students from Gonzaga Prep delivered nearly 60 tons of food (canned and non-perishable, along with baked goods, turkeys and some perishable food items) to more than 200 families in the Spokane area.

Angels Bookin'

Why is there a tree bearing hundreds of kids' names at Auntie's? Buy a book (or send a check), and staffers will make sure that a child receives a brand-new book this holiday season as part of the 12th annual Angel Tree Project. Write Auntie's, 402 W. Main Ave., Spokane 99201 or call 838-0206.

Opera Plus Subtraction

Marlo and Mark Faulkner have retired from Opera Plus! -- the Coeur d'Alene-based opera company they founded six years ago. Full productions at NIC's Shuler Auditorium, education programs for both kids and adults, and special events like the Opera Cruise are just part of their legacy. Thanks and best wishes.

Unpremeditated Verse

The Garland District's Blue Door Theatre is known for improvised comedy. But did you know that they also offer impromptu poetry? Spokane poets Tom Davis and Zan Deery will spin out the similes and the Blue Door comedians will add a comedic twist on Friday, Dec. 1, from 8-9 pm. Visit or call 747-7045.

Giraffes and Tigers and Ponies, Oh My!

Now on display through March in downtown Spokane (mostly between Spokane Falls Boulevard and First Avenue, and between Lincoln and Wall) are 26 Fiberglas animals. "Carousel on Parade" is intended as a fund-raiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities; the pretty painted ponies will be raffled off in April. Visit and click on "Events," or call 624-0500.

Tangential Oscar

In Bobby, Anthony Hopkins' longtime doorman character mentions that one of the celebrities he recalls having welcomed to L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel is "Bing." Which is practically like bringing a little bit of Hollywood to the 'Kan.

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