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by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & In This Corner & r & & r & MAC staffers, asked what the most unusual object in their collection is, responded with an artwork viewable right now in a show called "The Voices of Things": Ed Kienholz's The Jesus Corner, derived literally from a slice of an old Spokane hotel. The show is up through the end of January, so go check it out before The Jesus Corner is put back into storage.

A Holiday Blessing

ESPN's Dick Vitale recently received appropriate medical treatment: vocal cord surgery. During college basketball broadcasts, his expansive forehead won't burst through the front of your TV screen until March.

Twilight of the Books

Caleb Crain's piece in the Dec. 24 New Yorker includes plenty of statistics telling us what we already know -- fewer people reading books and newspapers, too much time spent watching TV -- but his conclusion suggests why it matters: "It can be amusing to read a magazine whose principles you despise," he writes, "but it is almost unbearable to watch such a television show." It's easy to chuckle over the knuckleheads at The National Review -- but Sean Hannity's fleshy smirk makes us wants to hurl things at our TV. Consider: The whole point of a democracy is to grasp and evaluate competing points of view. Readers do that; watchers don't. Soon we'll be a nation of self-righteous blowhards. Maybe we already are. So make a New Year's resolution: Take aside someone whose political ideas you find objectionable. And then do something radical: Listen to him. (Unless his name is Dick Vitale. He wouldn't be able to answer until March anyway.)

A Key Invention

You know the frustration of fumbling with your keychain, or worse yet, having all those dangling keys scratch up the chrome on your favorite motorcycle. Well, Josh Downes (son of Spokane resident John Downes) felt your pain, so he designed the Keyport, a device about the size of a lighter that holds up to six keys. Right now, you can get the limited edition, individually machined from aircraft grade aluminum, for a cool $300. But soon he'll have a molded plastic model available for about $50. Check out the Website:

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