Getting to the bottom of another random moment from The Box

After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I've decided it's just easier to leave it on.
After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I’ve decided it’s just easier to leave it on.
That’s right! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s not only a deadline day here in our newsroom, but also the day I quietly dump the contents of The Box — a collection of unclaimed photos dating back to the 1980s — onto the floor and randomly pick an image with the help of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. The photo closest to the person in the room who screams or gets bitten (quite possibly both) first is chosen! Given that last week was our first edition of this exciting new feature, I still maintained the element of surprise this morning, thanks to my stealthiness and what a fellow journalist called my, “gall to pull the same stunt that sent an intern screaming all the way to her guidance councilor.”

“HEY!” I offered in my defense, then drew a blank.

Which brings us to this week’s randomly selected photo from The Box

This week’s photo called upon me to utilize my extensive journalistic sleuthing skills like never before, not counting last week. As with all photos in The Box, this one contained no information as to the identity of the individual or the circumstances surrounding it. My only clue was that it was inside an small envelope with the word “suspicious” written on it.


Naturally, the first step in my investigation was to determine a time frame. For obvious reasons, this was easy. Once I identified the type of artificial plants that are in the photo, then tracked down the manufacturer, it was simply a matter of narrowing down the year in which that particular style of plastic plant was made, which I did by driving to Hoboken, N.J. and sifting through hundreds of order catalogues. I eventually determined the photo was taken in 1999. This was confirmed by the date in the top left corner of the sign she is holding, which I noticed shortly after my return from Hoboken.

Armed with the year of our photo, I entered our newspaper’s “morgue.” This is where, as I mentioned last week, we keep issues of Siuslaw News dating back to 1870 which, to answer one follower’s question, was actually several years before I started working here.

In search of 1999, or that peanut butter sandwich I stashed the same year.
In search of 1999, or that peanut butter sandwich I stashed the same year.

It wasn’t long before an ugly truth began to surface about our quiet little town, and a cover-up involving what I believe was a short-lived senior citizen prostitution ring.

As Geraldo Rivera would say, "I think the evidence speaks for itself."
As Geraldo Rivera would say, “I think the evidence speaks for itself.”

While I could find no direct evidence supporting my theory, I find it oddly coincidental that our local Senior Center held dozens of “bingo nights” followed by “pancake breakfasts” the same year it re-modeled the badminton court and bought all new shuttlecocks.

As expected, when I called the center I was told “no one from 1999 was available for comment” because they were “no longer with us.”

How convenient. Rest assured I will find out where they went…

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

32 thoughts on “Getting to the bottom of another random moment from The Box”

  1. Where can I find a wild, blindfolded squirrel? Do I have to blindfold it myself? Or do they come that way, via some freak form of natural selection? I want one. I have people to sneak up on. I can hear the screams now. (No, really. I can. I have terrible tinnitus).

    As always, your sleuthing skills amaze and astound me. I’ve been amazed often. Astounded, as well. But seldom both at the same time. This ability of yours makes you a double threat in my book. A man to be reckoned with. And I have a feeling a day of reckoning is in your future somewhere. 😉

    Now about that squirrel……..

    1. Hahahaha! I reckon you’re right, Marcia 😉

      As for the squirrel, look for the Christmas gift from Oregon that chatters and hisses a lot. Once you open it, don’t take the blindfold off. Ever.

      And I’m talking about the squirrel…

      1. Tis true. Tis true. A little bit goes a long way. No need to garner an entire shuttle of cocky. It’s too much to manage, really, and, yes, leads to getting caught.

      1. Oh Ned. I liked last weeks photo. I was trying to have some fun with you!!

        Now I am like “is it Tuesday yet??”
        And ….if you DARE pull out an Anderson Cooper pix and not ping me back? We are done. (Not really but I say that to make you think).

        1. Haha! I know that 😉

          I promise if I find any evidence of Anderson Cooper having been here, or in the form of a photo, I will post it.

          I’ll start looking in the closets… 😉

  2. Your sleuthing skills astound me….I truly hope you enjoyed your trip to Hoboken as much as I enjoyed laughing at your scrutiny of the artificial plant while my sip of water trickled down my chin. (I’ve learned my lesson, finally. Frozen raspberries and Ned’s Blog DO NOT MIX!)

    1. I suppose I should have some kind of disclaimer, or maybe a sponsor like Clorox Bleach. But I wouldn’t want to sound presumptuous because, as I’m sure you’ve realized, I’m not the kind of person who makes groundless assumptions…

  3. i believe that ‘she’ is actually a male,using his sign to show how large the bowsprit of his ship actually is, while letting others know what his philosophy to life is using the clever signage. but that’s just me.

No one is watching, I swear...

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