Friday, September 12, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Dear Diary

Posted By on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Monday: Just zipped today’s blog over to editor. Done with that. Load off my back. Yipee. Gotta start thinking now what to do for Friday blog. Especially with company coming in tonight. There goes some primo writing time. Phhhht! But it’ll be good to see A_____ again. Knew her back in Ohio. It’s been about 35 years since I’ve seen her. It’ll be interesting to hear what she thinks of Olivia Newton-John movies, Reagan, punk rock, Cheers, personal computers, meth, the first Gulf War, my 24-year-old daughter, Seinfeld, Monica Lewinski, break dancing, the 100 pounds I’ve gained since I saw her last, Iran-Contra, Boy George, the Internet, 9/11, the final episode of M*A*S*H, Cats, the Delorean, that war between Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah, that genocide in Rawanda, Vanilla Ice, the fall of the Soviet Union, Hurricane Katrina, death metal, Star Trek: TNG, when we invaded Grenada, Princess Di getting pregnant with William, China turning into a super power, The English Patient, everything about Robin Williams from Mork on, Bush, the other Bush, Hillary’s health care plan, that genocide in the Bosnia, Twin Peaks, Huey Lewis and the News, AIDS, Leno getting the Tonight Show instead of Letterman, John Updike’s last 19 novels… phew, I hope there’s enough time. She leaves tomorrow morning and doesn’t even get here until tonight. We went out once. Before my wife and I got together. I think she has grown-up kids. Christ, she might even have grandkids. I suppose I should ask her about that, too.

Tuesday: They ended up not coming last night, A_____ and her husband. They got lost somewhere between Mount Shasta and here. They’re coming tonight instead. There goes some more primo writing time. Phhhht! But it’ll be still be good to see A_____ again. I also want to ask her if she’s seen Joyce, Jim, Pat, Caroline, Les, Ron, Sam, Snooky, John, Paul, Henry, Ginny, Larry, that other Larry, Tom, that guy whose name I can never remember, and Patti. I also want to ask her if she remembers where we went that time I took her out. At least I think it was her. Now that I think about it, it might have been Snooky I took out. One thing for sure, I better come up with something for Friday’s blog. Running out of time here and it’ll only get worse with company coming. Also have to mow the damn lawn before they get here.

Wednesday: They finally came last night, A______ and her husband. Nice guy. First thing I did was ask her if she’s seen Joyce, Jim, Pat, Caroline, Les, Ron, Sam, Snooky, John, Paul, Henry, Ginny, that guy whose name I can never remember, and Patti. Only I forgot to ask her if she’d seen Larry and the other Larry. Just as well. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure she ever knew Larry and Larry. I was hoping to take her and her husband over to Boise just to drive around and look at things. Maybe up to Lucky Peak. Maybe even up to Idaho City. That’s where I always take anybody from back east who’ve never seen anything like Idaho City before. She’s been living in Georgia for the past 35 years, so I was pretty sure she’d never seen anything like Idaho City before. But they got here later than we expected, then we started talking. Before we knew it, it was dark. No point in taking anybody to see things in the dark. One good thing about it. They couldn’t see the damn lawn either. Which never got mowed.

Thursday: Forgot to mention yesterday that A_____ and her husband left. Yesterday. Early. They were going to Portland to catch a plane back to Georgia. On their way from Mount Shasta to Portland, they decided to swing over here and see us. Big swing. That’s when they got lost. I guess I’d forgotten A_____ is sort of impulsive. And I don’t think I ever knew 35 years ago she couldn’t tell north from south. Or maybe I knew but forgot. In 35 years, you can forget a lot. We went to breakfast before they left and I told them how to get from Meridian to the freeway. I think I gave pretty good directions, but still, I hope they didn’t get lost. Now I am free to get to work on Friday’s blog. Soon as I mow the damn lawn. Be right back.

Friday: Forgot to mention yesterday that it was 9/11. That’s what I should have written about for today’s blog. 9/11. Letting 9/11 pass without saying something about 9/11 is like letting Dec. 7 pass without saying something about Pearl Harbor, or Nov. 22 pass without saying something about JFK. But I don’t know what to say. I think everything’s already been said. I hate writing stuff everybody already knows, or expressing feelings about something everybody has the same feelings about. It’s like writing, “Know what I’m talking about?” knowing the answer is, “Of course we do. Who doesn’t?” So I think I’ll skip 9/11 this year. Maybe two years from now I’ll say something. You know, when it’s been 15 years. Then again when it’s been 20 years. That’s always the best time to write something about things like Pearl Harbor and 9/11. On anniversaries that end with a “0” or “5.” The 25-year anniversary will be a big one, you can count on that. But I’ll be pushing my luck to get that far. And you know something else? There oughta be a word for things like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor other than “anniversary.” Either that, or they should come up with a new word for the day you got married. When someone says “We got a big anniversary coming up,” you don’t know whether to say “Congratulations!” or “Oh, wasn’t that just terrible?” One good thing about the 9/11 anniversary yesterday. I finally got the lawn mowed. Oh, never did come up with something to write about though, so have decided to call these last few diary entries my Friday blog. Will zip it over to my editor soon as I’m finished. Load off my back. Yipee. Wonder if A_____ and her husband ever found Portland.   
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Need Something To Do Wednesday?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Pinball is a unique game. It requires patience, excellent hand-eye coordination and limber fingers. It isn't the world's most celebrated sport, and more often than not, it is a solo pursuit. But tonight, you can go up against fellow pinball enthusiasts for a shot at glory.

Show the world you're a true pinball wizard tonight at the Treasure Valley Pinball Tournament hosted by Grinkers arcade. If you can survive double elimination, you may come home wearing a crown. 

7 p.m. FREE for spectators, $20 buy-in for participants. Grinkers Grand Palace Arcade, 228 E. Plaza Dr., Suite H, Eagle, 208-939-9534, grinkers.com.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

British Viking Group Predicts End of The World (BTW, It's Tomorrow)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

A group of British Viking enthusiasts is predicting that the Viking apocalypse, Ragnarok, will take place tomorrow—Saturday, Feb. 22—the Daily Mail reports.

The Jorvik Viking Centre, which will celebrate the feast of Jolablot through tomorrow, has speculated that Ragnarok will take place at the end of the feast. According to the Prose and Poetic eddas, Ragnarok is a war between monsters that have escaped from the realm of Hel, and a coalition of Norse gods and the dead heroes who inhabit Valhalla. 

Richard Wagner wrote an opera on the subject called Gotterdammerung—"Twilight of the Gods"—and if the event takes place, inhabitants of the world can expect epic spectral and temporal battles, massive human strife and the ultimate destruction of the world by fire and water. Two wolves will eat the sun and the moon. When the waters recede, all that will remain will be the heroes and gods from the great war and two humans, Lif and Lifthrasir.

If it doesn't take place, participants in the Jorvik Viking Festival will still be the clear winners, drinking mead and staging mock Viking battles in the British city of York at a Renaissance fair to (possibly) end all Renaissance fairs.
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Are You Smarter Than a Rural Kentucky Eighth-Grader, Circa 1912?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 1, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Are you smarter than an eighth-grader? What about a rural Kentucky eighth-grader circa 1912?

While modern eighth-graders struggle to distinguish between the artistic and culinary applications of crayons, their counterparts from 100 years ago performed sophisticated mathematical computations, could tell you what bodies of water a British steamer had to pass through on the way to Manilla, Philippines. 

Was it the 10-mile march through snow uphill both ways to and from school? Was it hunger and disease that made these kids so mentally plastic? In many cases, these were schoolchildren living their lives free of XBoxes, televisions or even electricity and running water; their teachers commanded their attention, participation and academic success through such modern tactics as intimidation, threats and violence. 

Whatever the reason, these kids took the Eighth Grade Examination for Bullitt County Schools, dated November 1912. The 57-question test, along with attendant reading, writing and spelling segments, would just as well test the mental powers of modern university graduates. 

Try your luck on the test here. If you're stumped or want to check your answers, try here

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Armchair Travel: British Museum

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:04 AM


They stretched their beloved lord in his boat,
laid out by the mast, amidships,
the great ring-giver. Far-fetched treasures
were piled upon him, and precious gear.

So reads the legend of Beowulf. Some thousand or so years after it was written, archeologists in the UK uncovered the largest and most complete Anglo-Saxon Burial Ship ever found, matching almost perfectly with the one described in the epic poem. Today, eager history buffs can see the recovered and restored helmets, weapons, and other treasures, in a special exhibit in London's British Museum.

Of course, not everyone in Idaho can just hop across the pond at a moment's notice, but thanks to Google's Cultural Institute, you can now click your way through the history and highlights without even needing to get up from your chair. Audio, video, high-res images and text let you discover the finds up close, without worrying about opening hours, queues and dealing with London taxis.

The exhibits range from recovered items of warfare—such the Sutton Hoo helmet, now an intrinsic icon of Anglo-Saxon history—to more peaceful objects like drinking horns, currency and musical instruments, giving a glimpse into how the average Saxon unwound after a hard day's looting and pillaging—at least until the Normans came along and messed it up for everyone.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Americans Don't Know Or Like Whatever Hipsters Are

Posted By on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 2:47 PM


Derived from the word "hepcat," the term "hipster" was coined in the 1940s as a reference to jazz aficionados. It later came to be associated with the Beats, and as a larger reference to a rotating variety of Bohemian subcultures.

In sociological terms, hipsterism's current iteration refers primarily to the mash-up generation: the culture-cannibals that form their traditions and symbols with a pastiche of retro trends.

However the term "hipster" is generally used as either a catch-all for any youth subculture outside of high school jockdom—similar to the way cranky old people used to call everyone "hippies"—or as a pejorative that means either arrogant or effeminate.

Perhaps that's why recent polling data found that Americans really don't care for whatever it is they think "hipsters" are.

From a report by Public Policy Polling:

Just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, a new PPP poll on the much-discussed subculture shows. 42% have an unfavorable opinion of hipsters, and 43% aren’t sure. Democrats (18% favorable, 34% unfav) are twice as likely as Republicans (9% fav, 48% unfav) to have a favorable opinion. Voters age 18-29 have a favorable opinion of them (43% fav-29% unfav), but very few voters over age 65 do (6% fav -37% unfav).

Just 10% of voters say they consider themselves to be hipsters—and almost all of those are younger voters. Half of all voters aged 18-29 consider themselves hipsters; every other age group is 5% or less.

Nearly half of the respondents also felt that hipsters "soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement," rather than making positive cultural contributions to society.

What public policies these questions could possibly have to do with seems a bit mysterious. But there is this nugget hidden further in the report:

27% of voters said they thought hipsters should be subjected to a special tax for being so annoying, while 73% did not think so.

The full report can be read here. But you should be warned, Public Policy Polling are clearly a bunch of hipsters.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

WTF 208: Strange Videos From the Gem State

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM


If you ever want a window into the bizarreness of the human condition, set up a Google news alert on something. Anything.

Then just wait for the results to roll in and see what that particular search term means to different people worldwide.

At Boise Weekly, we have auto-feeds set up for terms like "Boise" and "Idaho," which brings no shortage of strange videos on YouTube to our attention.

For example, the two below that magically appeared in our inbox.

The first features footage of a combine rally in Nez Perce that is sort of like if the infamous game of tractor-chicken from Footloose were shot with a camera phone. The best part? The off-camera dialog.

"I can't believe how fast he's going," the first voice says. "They don't usually go that fast, do they?"

"No," the second voice says, as the giant combine tears around a corner. "But that's Giles. He's probably eight Pendletons [whiskey] in."

And then there's the second video, yet another in a stream of bizarre anti-vaccine conspiracies from Idaho's paranoia-handle.

This one warns against "medical martial law," to prevent an outbreak of bird flu. "Is this bio-fascism?" it asks with no irony whatsoever.

But it isn't the slippery connection with reality that makes the video so fascinating, it's the smooth jazz soundtrack.

We tagged it "viral video."

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Idahoans Are Happy Tweeters

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 9:52 AM


If you're happy and you know it—you most likely live in the West. That's according to a new report issued by the Vermont Complex Systems Center, which ranked the happiest places to live based on the frequency of either positive or negative words used in tweets sent from around the country.

As outlined in The Atlantic, the group scoured more than 10 million tweets to come up with the results, which showed people seem to be happiest (or at least tweet the happiest) in the West, as well as in Maine. Idaho landed in the No. 3 happiest state slot, following No. 1 Hawaii and No. 2 Utah. The top five were rounded out with Maine and Washington.

Living firmly in bummer land are folks in the South and the Rust Belt, with the most unhappy people (or at least Twitter users) living in Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland, Michigan and Delaware.

Among cities, the study found that the happiest people live in Napa, Calif., while the most miserable live in Beaumont, Texas.

While we wouldn't bet the farm on the infallibility of the methodology, it's at least something to tweet about.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

'Jesus' Defeated by Hilarious Hitchhiker Carrying a Hatchet

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 3:37 PM


People say, "Don't pick up hitchhikers." Especially if they're weirdos carrying hatchets. But ignoring that advice is how the hilarious story below starts. But everything turns out OK because the hitchhiker who later cleaved the driver's head in with his hatchet is the good guy. Really.

How so?

Because the driver announced that he was a child-rapist, that he was Jesus, and then started running people over. The hitchhiker, "Kai, straight out of Dogtown," then went after him with the hatchet, saving several people from "Jesus."

How was the experience?

"That was like the biggest wave I ever rode in my life," Kai told Fresno TV news in the most hilarious, bizarre and expletive-filled post-murder interview ever.

And if the original story isn't bizarre enough, check out the auto-tuned description of Kai "smashing" him in the head with the hatchet here.

Check it out below.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lego Customer Service Rocks

Posted By on Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM


At some point, contacting customer service became comparable to being waterboarded. But once in awhile, a customer service representative not only manages to help you out, but goes above and beyond, giving you some faith that at least a few people still care.

Such is the case with an incident reported in the Huffington Post. When 7-year-old English boy Luka Apps endured the heartbreak that came with losing his favorite Lego figure—the one he had saved all his Christmas money to buy—he wrote a letter to the Lego company.

The company not only responded with what may be one of the best official corporate responses ever, but did right by young Apps—replacing his lost Lego figure, as well as pimping it out with all sorts of accessories and even giving him a bad guy to wage battles with. You can check out both letters online.

Now, if we could just get the credit card people to be so responsive.

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