Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Looming Apocalypse

Those who have driven the lonely border region between Montana and Idaho on Interstate 90 know that the 10,000 Silver $ roadhouse has long been an oasis for bad food, crummy souvenirs and stingy video poker machines. In other words, it is a holy place.
Imagine my shock last week when I was driving towards Missoula and started seeing billboards for something called the 50,000 Silver $. Shock turned to horror as I approached the roadhouse and saw that it's familiar sign had indeed gone up 40,000 additional silver dollars.
I went inside to demand an explanation.
I stopped first in the bar, where I emptied some quarters I had coincidentally brought along into a poker machine and commenced to lose them. A young Asian woman was playing the machine next to me, and kept asking for help in deciphering the graphics to determine which cards to hold and which to discard. While she was having some trouble reading English, she was having no trouble with poker strategy and kept piling up points.
When I was out of money, I walked over to the bartender and learned that the name change reflected that many more people had donated silver dollars, which were mounted and displayed up the walls of the high-ceilinged bar. She told me the place originally started as the 2,000 Silver $, and the 10,000 name had remained for decades despite being inaccurate.
Now you know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daily Grind

Some people think covering college sports is a bunch of fun. But as these photos show, it is more akin to working in a mine. Here are pictures of me pounding away on deadline at recent Gonzaga games. One photo also shows my trusty sidekick Carey, who is keeping an eye on the action so we don't miss a key play. If the game is boring, he's mostly on the lookout for MILFs. After each game Carey goes down and talks to the losing team and I talk with the Zags.
The other photo shows me reading through my copy while Gonzaga alum John Stockton keeps people from approaching me. Stockton blew most of his NBA salary and now works as a security guard at Gonzaga games. He also makes coffee runs for us. (I hope people realize I am just kidding. Stockton is waiting to go to his seat).
Anyway, the deadline pressure is huge and the opportunities to screw up are many. But I am up to the challenge, and someday Carey will be also.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nailing Nickfest

It looks like Nickfest will be the afternoon of March 14, with a Jimmy Buffett theme! More details will be sent soon. I invite faithful readers of this blog, both of you, to also visit my facebook page as that is where the most timely information is getting posted these days. There is only so much time in the day that I can spend talking about myself, and facebook seems to be getting most of it.

The photo shows an actual Parrot Head from Jimmy's concert in Las Vegas last October, and is suggested Nickfest apparel for the ladies.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nickfest Update

Nickfest is rapidly approaching. I turn 50 on March 9, and the extended carnival that will accompany this historic event is in the process of taking shape.
Sadly, the worldwide economic woes will no doubt take a chunk out of Nickfest.
There are unlikely to be helicopters, roulette tables or a personal appearance by Jimmy Buffett.
But the party must go on!
In the spirit of our austere times, it may end up being beer, a homemade cake and cigars. But dancing is free!
There are some potential downers on the horizon. The Cougs are floundering, and may not make the NCAA tournament. My sore back is endangering the upcoming USTA team tennis season. And I have to cover an execution in Walla Walla on March 13 (a Friday!). Nothing gives you an appreciation of life quite like watching the state end someone else's.
To my friends I say, keep the 9th open. details will follow.