I swear I’m not an ungrateful jerk…

image I’d like to preface this post by saying, on the surface at least, I would appear to be an awards-receiving schmuck in the eyes of my fellow bloggers — so many of whom I admire and am inspired by on a daily basis. Yet in spite of this, I have successfully been unresponsive to six awards since March, which began when newly-christened grandmother Marcia at Bookin’ It presented me with the lovely “Shine On” award. A week later, National Harold-Gazette included me on its list of “15 Very Inspiring Bloggers” which, I suspect, came as a result of my repeated failed attempts to add a Facebook link to my account without crashing the entire WordPress platform.

As I sat at my desk the next day feeling both appreciative and humbled by the nods from fellow bloggers, Reflections of a Single Girl, who has educated me about modern single life with a mix of whimsy, wit and WTF, graciously awarded me my second Liebster. At that point, I was already teetering on the brink of feeling overwhelmed by the need to respond with something brilliant to no fewer than three bloggers and 35 personal questions. At most, there are four interesting things about myself, three of which took place before I was conceived. Continue reading

Before leaving the newsroom, four out of five journalists recommend using… The Door

The Door in all it's glory.

The Door in all it’s glory.

The above statement is more than just a flashy headline meant to hook you into reading this post. It’s a proven fact, based on a highly coordinated, in-depth poll taken over the course of three minutes here at the Siuslaw News.

I know what you’re asking yourself: Why not five out of five?

That’s because we actually only have four reporters in our newsroom. The fifth person in this poll isn’t “technically” a reporter because, technically speaking, he was already on the other side of The Door, jamming a plumbing snake down the commode. So, as a show of my journalistic integrity — and also because someone at the corporate office may read this and add more projects because of our “new five-person staff” — I couldn’t in good conscience claim 5-out-of-5 in my headline. Continue reading

I repeat: Your children have not been invaded by aliens — it’s just Father’s Day

(For the second week in a row, I am utilizing the power of Flashback Sunday to stay ahead of the space-time continuum and avoid actually being late on my post by convincing you, the reader, that Stephen Hawking says my columns are like a black hole, devoid of the confines of time, space and, as he put it, “Any actual content.” So journey with me now back to 2004, back when I thought Freshly Pressed was prison jargon for a white collar criminal who is added to the general population…

And in all sincerity to you Dads out there: Happy Father’s Day.)

image As any father will tell you, today is a very special day. That’s because it allows you to see what it would be like if your children came from another planet. On Father’s Day, children are required (And I’m pretty sure this is an actual law) to do things they would otherwise only do if there was some serious chocolate involved.

It is essentially a day similar to how you envisioned each day would be, back before you actually HAD children; back before reality set in, and you came to realize that, although insanity didn’t previously run in your family, there was a good chance it would be starting with you.

For example, on Fathers’ Day, there’s always enough hot water for my shower. That means plenty of time to wash-up, shave, and even get the mirror foggy so that, by squinting really hard, I sort of look like George Clooney in the shower, squinting really hard.

That’s on Fathers’ Day.

On normal days, the hot water lasts just long enough for me to realize that, in the time it takes for me to squint, I’m ALREADY OUT OF HOT WATER. Continue reading

Best gumbo west of the south was almost good enough for first place

image So when the chef’s aprons finally hit the floor at the end of yesterday’s firefighter cook-off, and I realized why I’d been feeling a draft all day, our team finished second with our chicken and sausage gumbo. The host team from Newport, with it’s briquet chili, took the top prize. I didn’t get a chance taste it, but it must’ve been amazing in order to beat out the Best Gumbo West of the South.

Our chicken and sausage gumbo, with dirty rice. How dirty? It wouldn't get a "G" rating, let's put it that way.

Our chicken and sausage gumbo, with dirty rice. How dirty? It wouldn’t get a “G” rating, let’s put it that way.

Rumor has it the reason the judging ran late was because they were trying to decide between our gumbo and Newport’s chili.

I think it’s also possible that, after eating both dishes, they went out for beers to counteract the spiciness.

Our team, Greg and Arda Stober, along with my wife and I. Our clear display boxes had small strobe lights covered in red and yellow tissue paper to look like flames. That's just how cool we are.

Our team, Greg and Arda Stober, along with my wife and I. Our clear display boxes had small strobe lights covered in red and yellow tissue paper to look like flames. That’s just how cool we are.

Either way, I couldn’t be more proud of our team, which included my lovely wife, and fellow firefighters Greg and Arda Stober. We also had support from Janet and Annette, who made the trip from our Florence fire station to show their support by attempting to sabotage Newport’s chili with pieces of chopped up fire boot insoles.

Nice try, girls. Continue reading

Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on… Gumbo?

image I know what you’re thinking. But we can’t talk about that without changing the rating on this blog. So instead, we’ll talk about what I’m thinking, which is how I failed you this morning. For those loyal readers who checked for this week’s edition of Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, I’d like to apologize to the both of you. The good news, however, is that you won’t have to cough up a nickel this week; the bad news is that I will not be dispensing any sagely advice, although I did use a pinch of sage while spending the day in the firehouse kitchen making gumbo, dirty rice and chocolate lava cake for the annual firehouse cook-off tomorrow.

The other bad news is that if you literally have been coughing up a nickel each week, stop immediately and go see your physician.

In order to take today day off from the newspaper, I had to work approximately 42 hours, seven minutes and 13 seconds yesterday to finish what I would normally achieve in eight hours. Stephen Hawking, if you’re out there, please explain the science behind this phenomenon. Especially when you consider that seven of those hours are spent getting/drinking coffee, using the restroom and getting/drinking more coffee. As a result, I didn’t have time to write this week’s NWOW. Continue reading

This Just In!

image Journalism is about concrete facts. For example, did you know the first all-weather shoe was actually made of cement and worn by the Glug-Glug tribe of the West Indies, which disappeared 300 years ago while crossing a frozen lake? Blogger ddupre315 at Random Thoughts of Existance called me out on this rule after realizing my previous This Just In post failed to explain what kind of air freshener “The Voice” used to freshen up the bathroom after “Joe.”

As ddupre315 expressed, “How could you leave out an important detail in such an enthralling story? Disappointed…”

Tat-tat-tat-Tat-tat-tat-tat-Tat-Tat-tat-tat-Tat Continue reading

This just in!

image Today, we begin a new feature here at Ned’s Blog called “This Just In!” which offers breaking news on strangely irrelevant moments in our newsroom. Think of it as a companion piece to The Door, except instead of looking to the past for “Shame, Blame and Brilliance,” you can experience up-to-the-minute coverage as it happens right now!


Do you hear that? It’s an outdated tele-type machine!

TAT-tat-TAT-tat-tat-TAT-tat-tat-tat-TAT-tat-tat-tat… Continue reading

Did I miss a meeting?

Today, while conducting maintenance and inventory at our fire station, we discovered that the old “sleepers” quarters above the engine bay had been left unlocked. The room is always padlocked, so it has remained something of a mystery to our crew — until now.

Along with emergency supplies, water bottles, a dozen empty 55 gallon drums, dried food and bags of vegetable seeds, we found this:


It’s from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and labeled:

Oregon Emergency Management Services: Zombie Pandemic Preparedness

Um… did I miss a meeting?

Want to be a better father? Get a bigger grill

image Sunday morning I will awaken to the sizzle of bacon and eggs, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the shuffle of approaching feet as I lay in bed quietly thinking to myself:

My God, my wife is leaving me.

Then I’ll remember:

Wait — It’s Father’s Day!

It’s the day when we fathers are revered for our wisdom, patience and, in a few rare instances, our neckwear. For one whole day I’ll be the perfect father since my wife will be handling everything for me. She does this to help me relax and enjoy my special day. The problem is, it’s hard to relax when, by handling everything herself, my wife makes it clear I could be replaced by a dishwasher and a few extra power cords. Continue reading

A glimpse of the zombie apocalypse on… The Door

The Door, in all its journalistic glory, as long as no one is flushing on the other side.

The Door, in all its journalistic glory, as long as no one is flushing on the other side.

Because we’re a smaller paper, many people don’t realize the Siuslaw News was the first to break the story on an impending zombie apocalypse, as this week’s edition of The Door (of Shame, Blame and Brilliance) will prove.

For those of you who are joining us for the first time, quite possibly because you have been preparing for the zombie hoard after seeing the people who shop at Wal-Mart after 10 p.m., The Door is an actual door in our newsroom where journalists at the Siuslaw News have been taping, tacking and, in some cases, using unidentified adhesives, to glorify the best and worst newspaper items since the 1970s. The Door is a journalist’s Mecca of sorts, to which we face each Tuesday and reverently ask The Great Editor:

How could yet let this happen?!?

Before we look upon The Door, we must follow a sacred ritual passed from generation to generation, beginning with this one, in which we join hands and repeat the following phrase in a monotoned voice similar to actors in a church youth group DVD about the virtues of abstinence:

The Door is a beacon, drawing us into the jagged rocks of journalism.

Continue reading