Yes, you read that correctly.
Like many other Internet phenomena, cat bearding started out after one person out of billions posted a picture that ended up on Reddit. It wasn't just any photo, but one that featured said person's kitty in front of his chin, its head tilted back so the cat and human's noses touched. The angle made the cat and its furry chin and neck look somewhat like a soft, furry beard.
The photo resembled something like this:
In the past week, the cat bearding photo meme has blown up the Interwebs, and has been talked about on the national news and just about every blog there is.
Alas, Internet memes die fast, and the virality of cat bearding is likely to wane and be forgotten just when it seems to have caught on. What's going to knock cat bearding off the charts, you might ask?
Cat boarding. No, it's not water boarding people with cats, and no, it's also not referring to a daycare facility for cats.
This is cat boarding, demonstrated for you by Inlander graphic designer Ali Blackwood Mead's and her husband Seth Mead's darling cat, Mufasa, aka Moof. While Moof doesn't quite have the technique down just yet, he's practicing and hoping to become the next big famous cat of the Internet.
Send a link to your cat boarding video to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll feature it in next week's Cat Friday!
Volume, the Inlander's big ol' music festival is set to take over downtown Spokane tonight beginning at 6 pm. Here is everything you need to know about it.
ALSO, if you don't have tickets, guess what? We have some tickets to give away. Head to the fountain at Riverfront Park at 2 pm and you can play rock-paper-scissors for a two-day pass to the festival.
Now, the news.
The Spokane man charged with mailing ricin to a local judge is now accused of being involved with ricin-laced letters mailed to President Obama and Fairchild Air Force Base. (KXLY)
Cowboy patriot U.S. Rep. Paul Labrador of Idaho is having trouble keeping staffers on staff. (S-R)
In case you didn't know, the Monroe Street bridge will be closed for a while beginning Monday. (KREM)
The president says student loan interest rates are too damn high. (LA Times)
LeBron James went all LeBron on the Pacers last night as the Miami LeBrons took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Championships. (ESPN)
That Arizona lady who Mexican authorities said was a drug smuggler isn't really a drug smuggler and is headed back to the U.S.
And now...more GUY ON A BUFFALO!
The 12th annual Sasquatch! Music Festival took over the Gorge last weekend, bringing with it plenty of people in weird costumes and great music for them to get down to. Photographer Nick Gast documented the radness.
Federal investigators announced this afternoon a Spokane man charged with mailing a poison-laced letter to a federal judge may also be connected to three newly uncovered threatening letters sent to President Obama, the Central Intelligence Agency and Fairchild Air Force Base.
Matthew R. Buquet, 38, of Spokane, already faces one federal charge of mailing threatening communications for allegedly sending a letter containing the poison ricin to U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle earlier this month. The letter was intercepted May 14 along with a second poisoned letter addressed to the downtown Spokane Post Office.
Buquet has pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to the charge.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports today authorities intercepted two additional letters with similar writing and postal markings on May 22. One letter, addressed to Obama, has since tested positive for the poison ricin.
The other letter, uncovered the same day Buquet was arrested in Browne's Addition, had been addressed to Fairchild Air Force Base and continues to undergo analysis.
Authorities have now seized four letters total, with three testing positive for ricin.
"The four envelopes in the possession of law enforcement officials were postmarked in Spokane on May 13, 2013," the FBI reports. "Each addressee was handwritten in red ink."
The FBI warns investigators believe a fifth letter was sent to the CIA, postmarked from Spokane on May 13. That letter has not yet been recovered.
"In the unlikely event a letter fitting this description is encountered by a member of the public," the FBI warns, "the envelope should not be opened or handled and law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately."
Ricin is a deadly poison derived from castor beans, but no injuries have been reported in connection with any of the letters.
The full news release:
A letter containing a suspicious substance and a threat to a Federal District Court Judge in Spokane was intercepted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at the U.S. Post Office on W. Riverside Avenue in Spokane, Washington. Subsequent analysis performed by the Spokane Regional Health District, and later confirmed by the FBI at the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC), indicated the substance in the letter contained active ricin toxin.
On May 22, 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested MATTHEW RYAN BUQUET, 38, for allegedly sending the letter. Earlier that day, he was charged by a one-count grand jury indictment for mailing threatening communications.
A total of five similar letters have been seized or detected:
1. Letter sent to the Federal District Court Judge in Spokane, intercepted on May 14, 2013;
2. Letter sent to the W. Riverside Post Office in Spokane, intercepted on May 14, 2013;
3. Letter sent to the President of the United States in Washington, D.C., intercepted on May 22, 2013;
4. Letter sent to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, located on May 22, 2013; and,
5. Letter sent to the Central Intelligence Agency, detected on May 22, 2013.
Subsequent analysis by the FBI at the NBFAC indicated the substance in the letters sent to the President of the United States, the Federal District Court Judge, and the Spokane Post Office contained active ricin toxin. The contents of the Fairchild letter continue to undergo testing at the NBFAC.
Investigators have determined that the fifth letter, addressed in a manner consistent with the first four envelopes, was sent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This letter was addressed to a location that does not receive mail deliveries. As of May 30, 2013, this letter has not been located.
The four envelopes in the possession of law enforcement officials were postmarked in Spokane on May 13, 2013. Each addressee was handwritten in red ink. The fifth letter, with a handwritten address of “Central Intelligence Agency” in McLean, Virginia, was probably also postmarked on May 13, 2013 and penned in red ink.
In the unlikely event a letter fitting this description is encountered by a member of the public, the envelope should not be opened or handled and law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately.
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Ricin poisoning can occur when the substance enters the body through ingestion, inhalation, or injection.
To date, the FBI is not aware of any illness as a result of exposure to these letters. Public health questions should be directed to public health officials. In the State of Washington, the Department of Health may be contacted at 800-525-0127.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is fully engaged in this matter, and has made no comment on whether additional charges may be sought in connection with the continuing FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigation.
To start off, this week’s Entree newsletter has details about a few just-opened and opening-soon spots in the Inland Northwest: Sweet Moments Bakery in Coeur d’Alene, SAVORx in the Spokane Public Market and Pho City on Howard Street. (Subscribe to the email newsletter here.)Park Bench Cafe in Manito Park is open for the season — just Fridays and weekends until June 17, when full hours go into effect. They’ve also got this summer’s live music schedule posted.
Food on the move: Fans of the Bistro Box, a beloved food truck in the Renton area, are sad to hear their favorite roving lunch spot is leaving the area. But their loss is Spokane’s gain — the truck plans to reopen here in Spokane with its signature Kobe beef sliders, hand-cut fries and other sandwiches and salads.
It’s a big birthday weekend for local breweries — Iron Goat is turning 1 and blowing out the candles at a party this Saturday, with live music and barrel-aged beers. In Pullman, Paradise Creek is turning 3 and releasing a new Hop Hammer Rye IPA.
Spo-Can, the craft canned beer festival at the Elk Public House, also returns this weekend. This week we wrote about why some folks say beer in a can just tastes better.
Pets gotta eat, too: The Spokane Humane Society’s pet food bank is in desperate need of donations. They’re taking pet food donations tomorrow morning at Boots Bakery from 8-9 am, among other ways. They’ll even take the opened bag of food your picky pet rejected.
North Central High School is among 10 schools nationwide being recognized by the Grammy Foundation this year for their excellence in music education. Each year the foundation recognizes public high schools for their commitment to music instruction throughout the school year. North Central has also been handed "Enterprise" status along with their designation as a Grammy Signature School, which is a nod to their exceptional efforts in spite of lesser funding.
Today and tomorrow, students have the opportunity to interact with people in the music industry, including executives from the Grammy Foundation, Ford Motor Company and distinguished members of the Pacific Northwest music community.
The award presentation is this evening at 6:30 pm in North Central’s auditorium. The evening also includes interviews and a concert from North Central’s band. The custom award will be presented at 7:15 pm along with a $5,500 check to benefit the music program.
Because Spokane wants so desperately to get back to good ol' 1987, Bon Jovi is coming to town in October. The Spokane Arena has temporarily changed its name to the Bon Jovi Arena in honor of landing this classic rock act. That was not a joke.
or Alive: Spokane residents are lining up on both sides of the "is-it-OK-to-shoot-a-guy-driving-away-from-you-in-your-car-and-then-have-him-crash-said-car-into-a-house" debate.
Livin' on a Prayer: A Bonner's Ferry man was hit in his car by a train — and barely even got hurt.
Bad Medicine: Wack-a-doodles keep sending the president and other politicians ricin-laced letters.
You Give Love a Bad Name: After a sex scandal knocked him out of the top CIA job, David Petraeus lands a sweet Wall Street gig.
Born to Me Baby: Amanda Bynes is getting really crazy. Like, crazier than whoever decided it was a good idea to name your city's biggest venue after a has been rock star.
In case you were wondering, this is what all the fuss is about:And again, we are not joking.
If you’re headed to ArtFest in this weekend and haven’t been by Coeur d’Alene Park in a while, you’re going to notice something different about the gazebo. First of all, you won’t be able to look to closely — the structure at the center of the Browne’s Addition park is enclosed in a chain-link fence as it undergoes a major renovation.
The copper-domed structure, also known as the pavilion, has been closed to the public since the beginning of May for a $200,000 restoration project that is replacing its wooden parts with more durable materials — concrete and steel. The foundation and dome will remain the same.
Coeur d’Alene Park was Spokane’s first public park, built on land donated by A.M. Cannon and the eponymous J.J. Browne. The gazebo was built as a replica of the original bandstand (at a cost of $90,000) and opened to the public in 1990. Only a few years later, vandalism and weather had already taken a toll.
Advocates pointed out its deterioration — the concrete foundation crumbling at the corners, the wood splintering and warping, blue and yellow paint flaking from the beams. After months of discussion and planning, the renovation is a joint effort from the Browne's Addition Neighborhood Steering Committee, the City of Spokane parks department and the Spokane Parks Foundation, with the money coming from various sources.
Earlier this month the dome appeared to float, supported only by a latticework of scaffolding after the painted wooden beams were removed. Now its new supports are taking shape, day by day, but the project won’t be finished until mid-summer.
VOLUME COUNTDOWN: LESS THAN 55 HOURS!
It's go time, people.
Today and tomorrow are your last days to get passes to the festival on the cheap. Wristbands for both Friday and Saturday are $17 and single-day wristbands are $10. But starting Friday, two-day wristbands won't be available and single day passes will be $15, plus you won't be able to buy online. It just makes sense to snag a pass now. You can do so here or in person at Inlander HQ (9 S. Washington St., 4th floor). If you've purchased a wristband or you buy one today or tomorrow, we won't have them available for pickup until Friday. You must get your wristband(s) Friday or Saturday between 4 and 8 pm in the lobby of the Hutton Building (9 S. Washington). We wouldn't want you to drive over here and plug a meter today or tomorrow just to leave our office empty handed.
And when you shell out that cash for your wristbands, know that you're not only getting access to 76 acts at eight awesome venues over two nights. You're also helping Habitat for Humanity-Spokane, which will receive a portion of the festival's proceeds. Since 1987, Habitat for Humanity-Spokane has served more than 630 families through new construction, empowerment and other housing solutions. The organization is an ecumenical Christian ministry that brings the community together to build safe, healthy affordable housing for people in need. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity-Spokane or to donate to the cause, find them online here.
In a deadly shooting that has split Spokane over the rights of homeowners to protect their property, officials said today that 56-year-old Gail Gerlach will face a first-degree manslaughter charge for the death of a man killed while stealing his SUV.
The Spokane County Prosecutor's Office confirmed its long-awaited decision today, charging Gerlach with recklessly causing the death of 25-year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham on March 25.
County Prosecutor Steven Tucker says he made his charging decision after consulting with Major Crimes detectives at the Spokane Police Department for about an hour and a half Tuesday morning.
"We discussed the alternatives and the evidence and the facts," Tucker says. "We all felt, by the time that we left, that first-degree manslaughter was the right choice for the charge."
After reviewing the case, Tucker explains state law includes several limitations on an individual's justifications for self-defense and the rights to protect personal property.
"You can use necessary force to protect your property," he says, "but to use deadly force you have to have a fear of substantial bodily injury and it has to be imminent."
Investigators reported in court records that Gerlach, a self-employed plumber, had left his SUV idling in the driveway of his Lee Street home in Northeast Spokane shortly before 8 am when he emerged to find a stranger, Kaluza-Graham, behind the wheel.
Gerlach followed on foot as the vehicle pulled out of the driveway and started down Lee Street, records state. Gerlach told investigators he saw Kaluza-Graham turn around and raise his arm with what appeared to be a weapon.
"Gerlach reported to [investigators] that he thought the person was going to shoot," records state. "[Gerlach] took out his gun and shot one time into the vehicle."
Court records say the 9mm bullet went through the tinted back window, the driver's seat headrest and struck Kaluza-Graham in the back of the head. Gerlach argued he fired in self-defense.
(We reported last month on the complex nuances of Washington state self-defense law.)
Court records state Kaluza-Graham remained behind the wheel as the vehicle continued two blocks down the street and crashed into a garage. He later died from his injury.
Spokane Police Department detectives searched Kaluza-Graham and the vehicle. A search warrant states investigators found shaved keys and theft tools, but did not find any weapon.
Detectives reportedly completed their investigation earlier this month without recommending any specific charge, leaving it toTucker to determine any potential wrongdoing.
The Prosecutor's Office reports an arraignment in Gerlach's case has been set for June 12. Tucker says Gerlach would not be immediately arrested and a judge would later determine whether he is taken into custody.
"He's probably not going to be put in jail unless the judge decides that he's a flight risk or a danger to the community," Tucker says.
The shooting has stirred emotions on both sides with Gerlach's supporters championing his right to defend himself while others have criticized the shooting as overzealous vigilantism.
Kaluza-Graham's family members told the media he should not have been killed over stealing a car. Meanwhile, a "Support Gail Gerlach" page on Facebook now has more than 1,300 supporters.
Updated at 1:22 pm with comments from Prosecutor Steven Tucker.
Updated at 2:42 pm with date of arraignment hearing.