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Hallowe’en on Harrison


As WC has reported here before, Hallowe’en is a pretty big deal on Harrison Boulevard here in the North End of Boise. Thousands of young extortionists trick or treaters arrive from all over Ada County. The homeowners on Harrison Boulevard – in addition to laying in thousands of candies for the hordes – do their…

Doonesbury, April 21, 1973

Guilt! Gulty! Guilty! Post-Post-Irony


Back in 1973, as Watergate was just starting to break, Garry Trudeau, in his three-year old comic strip Doonesbury, weighed in: In those early times, the strip was pretty controversial, and a number of newspapers, including the Washington Post, refused to run the comic.1 Never mind that Trudeau was mocking the left for pre-judging Mitchell.2 Mitchell was…

Sidewalk, Installed 1912, Boise

North End Sidewalks: A Photo Essay


WC grew up without sidewalks. Except for a few years Outside in Eugene, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois, attending school, WC hasn’t been around sidewalks very much. Which may explain WC’s fascination with them here in the North End of Boise. The North End of Boise was platted in the late 1880s, a few years before…

Fats Domino at piano. Credit: Getty Images

Guest Post: Fats Domino, 1928-2017


This is a guest blog post from WC’s buddy David James, who says it better than WC could. Another great one gone, but his professional career began seventy years ago this past summer, he waxed his first record sixty-eight years ago, and he was still performing not too many years ago. So we got to…

One Year of President Trump

Scariest Hallowe’en Ever!


WC wore a Dick Nixon mask to a Hallowe’en costume party at Roger Brunner and Niesje Steinkruger’s house.1 Nixon was history; the nightmare of President Nixon and Watergate was behind us. We knew how the nightmare ended. We could laugh about it, mock it. We don’t know how the much more frightening Trump nightmare is…

Wray speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Balsamo)

Smartphones and the FBI’s Whinge


The new FBI Director, Christopher Wray, announced recently that the FBI had been “unable to retrieve data” from as many as 6,900 iPhones in the last eleven months. Wray told the International Association of Chiefs of Police: To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem. It impacts investigations across the board — narcotics,…

The Quiet Knight entrance on Belmont, photographer unknown

A Few Notes on The Quiet Knight


WC lived in Chicago, Illinois for three years in the early 1970s, attending law school. Whatever Chicago’s charms may be, they generally aren’t available to impoverished college students. It was the waning days of the Richard J. Daley administration, a mix of egregious political corruption, sharp racial tension and serious street crime. And the traffic…

Karla Bonoff, Cinder Winery, Boise

Karla Bonoff at the Cinder Winery


WC last saw Karla Bonoff at The Quiet Knight in Chicago. No cover, two drink minimum. In WC’s memory, the late Steve Goodman joined her on stage for a couple of songs. But that was a long time ago, and memory is a funny thing. But Bonoff has written a number of excellent tunes, so…

Sword-billed Hummingbird, Yanacocha, Ecuador

Still More Bills


Some years ago now, excellent birder and bird photographer Richard Ditch and WC co-authored a couple of articles on bird identification for bird photographers. Richard did most of the work, and made an excellent point: a bird’s bill is a good starting point for identifying the bird’s species and figuring out how the bird makes…

Great Blue Heron, Idaho

More Bills


Some years ago now, excellent birder and bird photographer Richard Ditch and WC co-authored a couple of articles on bird identification for bird photographers. Richard did most of the work, and made an excellent point: a bird’s bill is a good starting point for identifying the bird’s species and figuring out how the bird makes…

Black-collared Hawk, Pantanal, Brazil

Bills


Some years ago now, excellent birder and bird photographer Richard Ditch and WC co-authored a couple of articles on bird identification for bird photographers. Richard did most of the work, and made an excellent point: a bird’s bill is a good starting point for identifying the bird’s species and figuring out how the bird makes…

Roy Moore campaigning for the U.S. Senate

Smells Like Corruption: Roy Moore


Roy Moore is a defrocked Alabama supreme court justice,1 a virulent racist and a Christianist. Oh, and the likely new U.S. Senator from Alabama, replacing Jeff Sessions. Moore is also a liar, and a tax cheat. He’s a liar, because he claimed he did not take a “regular salary” from the Foundation for Moral Law, a small…

Great Horned Owl, Interior Alaska

Bird Break! Great Horned Owls


Great Horned Owls are an exceptionally widely distributed, highly variable species of owl, and one of the largest owls in the Western Hemisphere. Currently, ornithology thinks there are some 15 subspecies, and countless color morphs. This handsome lady (judging by size; females are noticeably larger) has very little brown coloration. She’s mostly grey and white,…

Tales from Wasilla: Railroaded


One of Alaska’s boondoggles is back in the news: the Mat Su Borough’s hugely expensive, still incomplete railroad to Port MacKenzie. So far, Alaska has invested more than $180 million on a railroad spur from the existing main line of the Alaska Railroad to Port MacKenzie. The money has run out with at least $125…

William Magear Tweed, c. 1870, via WikiCommons

Boss Tweed Comes to Interior


William Magear Tweed (1823 to1878) – Boss Tweed – was a New York politician and arguably the most corrupt man in the history of American politics, Through his control of the New York state Tammany Hall political machine, he exerted iron-fisted control over political patronage in New York City through Tammany, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters…

Originalism (Re)Considered


The late Justice Antonin Scalia famously supported the legal doctrine of “originalism” as a justice of the United States Supreme Court. WC has criticized both Justice Scalia and originalism in earlier posts, but the recent attempts by the new Justice Neil Gorsuch to insert originalism into oral argument on the gerrymandering case brings the issue…

James MacArthur (1968), in the role of Lt. Danny "Danno" Williams

Book ‘Em, Danno


As Shannyn Moore has noted, the stupid is strong out there. The fact that we say “President Trump” is pretty strong proof that Moore is right. Where Moore and WC diverge is she thinks education can cure stupid. Another acquaintance of WC’s used to say, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t…

Jie Shun, photo by Andy Ru, MarineTraffic.com

Feathers or Lead: Our Egyptian Ally


Once again, a purported United States ally, Egypt, has been caught acting intentionally against U.S. interests. An entire cargo ship crammed full of North Korean-manufactured war materials was intercepted en route from Haeju, North Korea, on July 23, 2016. Hidden under a layer of iron ore were 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades, sold in violation of arms treaties…

Software Patent Troll (Not to Scale)

American Indians and Apple: Patent Trolls Sink Lower


A consortium of American Indian tribes is suing Apple for patent infringement. That’s different. It’s unusual to see Amerinds in any kind of intellectual property case, let along a claim on technology patent. What’s going on? It’s patent trolls again. The damn things are harder to kill than an infestation of termites. Readers may recall…