Skippy the rabid squirrel is coming to a town near you

Skippy the Rabid Squirrel's last known location.

Skippy the Rabid Squirrel’s last known whereabouts.

Everyone needs to get away sometimes. Even rabid squirrels. For those who noticed The Box was missing from last week’s line-up, there’s a good explanation for that — and you may or may not like it, depending on your proximity to a blogger named Kerbey at I Don’t Get It. That’s where Skippy was headed last Tuesday when, following my weekly cry of “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” he skittered out the newsroom door and hopped aboard a casino shuttle headed to the Eugene Airport.

As many of you know, Skippy is a crucial part of helping me make a weekly random selection from The Box, which contains dozens of submitted photos that have remained unclaimed and unidentified in our newsroom since the 1980s. To ensure impartiality, I wait until my fellow reporters are deep in thought (deleting all traces of inappropriate Google searches) before spreading the photos on our newsroom floor and releasing Skippy. The photo closest to the first person to scream is selected as our mystery photo. Continue reading

Photo suggests Lee Harvey Oswald meant he was a Patsy, not “patsy”

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

That’s right! It’s time once again to RELEASE THE SQUIRREL! And I’m not talking about whatever it is those male ballet dancers have wedged under their tights. No, this is a real live squirrel who, in addition to being named Skippy, also might have rabies.

Why are we releasing him you ask? Fine, so no one actually asked. But if you did, I would explain that it’s part of a complicated selection process that happens here every Tuesday, when we randomly select a photo from a box of dozens that have remained unclaimed and unidentified in our newsroom since the 1980s. To ensure impartiality, I wait until my fellow reporters are deep in thought (on Facebook) before spreading the photos on the floor of our newsroom in a snow-angel fashion. I then release Skippy into the newsroom. The photo closest to the first person who screams is chosen, at which point I put my investigate journalism skills to the test in identifying the photo.

Right after I clean up the urine stains around Bill’s desk. Coincidentally, Bill is almost always the first to scream. Continue reading

Photo from ‘The Box’ reveals evidence of possible Liberace séance

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

There are certain iconic phrases woven into the fabric of our collective experience. They are phrases which, upon hearing or seeing them, create an anticipation that has been engrained in us since childhood…

Once upon a time…

It was a dark and stormy night…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!

Only that last example, however, means it’s Tuesday and time for this week’s edition of The Box in our newsroom! For those who might be unfamiliar with this weekly feature, possibly because your parents never read you the fairytale about a magical newsroom that lives in the shadow of a rabid squirrel named “Skippy,” I should probably take a moment to explain so this all makes sense.

Each Tuesday, with the help of Skippy the Rabid Squirrel, I utilize my investigative journalism skills to uncover the mystery behind a photo selected from The Box: a collection of unidentified photos which — much like Dolph Lundgren movies — have remained unclaimed since the 1980s. Continue reading

While you were sleeping… I was dragging a dead cow

image Tuesday is normally when I post my riveting investigative journalism feature — at least compared to watching TV static — called The Box. Then again, normally I haven’t spent the early hours of the morning on the scene of a car accident involving a cow. Such was the case this morning at 2 a.m., when my pager went off next to the bed and, five minutes later, I was behind the wheel of a wailing fire engine with a crew of five wondering, Did I hear that call correctly?

Moments later, medics were on scene reporting over the radio that the driver was out of the car with only minor injuries. Though not audible, there was a collective sigh of relief by everyone in the engine. That’s because, in most cases, getting tapped out in the middle of the night for a car accident usually means rolling up on something pretty awful. Particularly in a relatively small town where there’s always chance you’ll be extricating — or placing a tarp over — someone you know. As an emergency responder, you build up coping mechanisms for dealing with the anxiety and adrenaline that occurs when you approach a scene, work the scene and leave the scene. Keeping that in mind, when you find out there’s no loss of human life, the result is like the release of controlled pressure in a steam kettle; it’s immediate and takes a while to simmer down. That’s when a different kind of coping mechanism comes into play: Gallows humor. Continue reading

Photo from ‘The Box’ re-opens case of missing hillbillies

image Some of you may have noticed the last few postings of The Box have been missing on Tuesdays. That’s because, as regular readers of this feature, you have developed an investigative journalist’s eye for detail. For those who may not have noticed because of reading with irregularity, you may want to add Triscuits to your diet. Regardless, the reason The Box has been on hiatus is simple: journalism is a dangerous job.

Especially when “Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel is unaccounted for.

Each Tuesday, with Skippy’s help, I utilize my investigative journalism skills to determine the circumstances within a photo selected from The Box: a collection of unidentified photos that has remained unclaimed in our newsroom since the 1980s. Sort of like those 1984 graduation party photos your kids found and that you deny being in. Continue reading

Photo suggests existence of car-stealing Leprechaun

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

There are a handful of battle cries that have become so deeply woven into the fabric of our culture that they are iconic and timeless:

“REMEMBER THE ALAMO!”
“WE FREE MEN!”
“BANZAI!”
“RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!”

Okay, so that last one may only be iconic on this blog. Nonetheless, it’s a battle cry that goes out every Tuesday, moments before I let “Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel loose in our newsroom. At first glance, this doesn’t seem to make any sense. But, just like one of those 3D paintings, keep looking at it and things become clear. If you continue staring, though, there’s a good chance Skippy will bite you. So to save time — and possibly a series of rabies vaccine injections — I’ll take a moment to explain what’s going on here.

Each Tuesday, I utilize my investigative journalism skills to determine the circumstances within a photo selected from The Box: a collection of unidentified photos that have remained unclaimed in our newsroom since the 1980s. Think of it as an early form of Snap-Chat, except without all the nude selfies. Continue reading

Evidence found in our newsroom suggests ‘Rose’ looked nothing like Kate Winslet

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!!

Wait! Before you start rifling through your official Winter Olympics program in search of an event that neither you nor the Olympic Committee knew existed because it’s on at 3 a.m., I should clarify that this battle cry has nothing to do with an Alabama-style Biathlon with live squirrels.

What it means is that it’s time once again for The Box, an exciting Tuesday feature that combines the drama of investigative journalism with the thrill of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. Think of Keith Morrison teaming up with John Quinones, except that Keith Morrison has rabies and might bite John Quinones.

Each week, I put my 15 years of journalistic experience to the test by identifying a randomly chosen photograph that has remained unclaimed in our newsroom since as far back as the 1980s. What makes this weekly feature unique is the photo selection process, which involves:

1) Me dumping The Box of photos directly onto the floor, and;

2) Yelling “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” before turning “Skippy” loose in our newsroom.

The photo nearest the first person who screams is selected! Continue reading

That time I found Stephen King hiding in our newsroom

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

I know it’s been a while since any of us have seen The Master of Horror© Stephen King, so I’d like to start this week’s edition of The Box by clarifying that IS NOT Stephen King to the left. That’s because…

HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU! AAAAAH!

Haha! Just kidding! That’s just “Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel. WAIT! Not behind you — I mean to the left! Oh man! As you can see, even just talking about the The Master of Horror© Stephen King can put people on edge. So you can imagine my shock finding him among the hundreds of unclaimed and unidentified photos that have been piled into The Box in our newsroom since the 1980s. Regular readers of this weekly feature know I normally dump the contents of The Box onto the floor of our newsroom and randomly choose a photo. This is achieved through a technical four-step selection process:

Step 1) Wait until my fellow reporters are deep in thought (asleep) thinking about important news stories
Step 2) Suddenly and without warning yell “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” and let “Skippy” loose in the newsroom.
Step 3) Select the photo closest to the first person who screams.
Step 4) Get yelled at by my editor Continue reading

The Walking Dead may trip over this week’s edition of The Box

image Welcome to The Box, an exciting Tuesday feature that combines the drama of investigative journalism with the thrill of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. Think of it as “BJ and the Bear,” but with the potential of “Bear” biting “BJ” and giving him rabies.

Each week, I put my 15 years of journalistic experience to the test by identifying a randomly chosen photograph that has remained unclaimed in our newsroom since as far back as the 1980s. What makes this feature especially riveting, aside from its well-timed use of exclamation points! (see?!), is the selection process, which involves:

1) Me dumping The Box of photos directly onto the floor, and
2) Yelling “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” before turning “Skippy” loose in the newsroom.

The photo nearest the first person who screams is selected!

Make sense? Of course not! But that’s just the rabies talking. Continue reading

The Box offers more proof the elderly can’t be trusted

Each week, "Skippy" helps us select a photo from The Box. At least, as long as we have health coverage.

Each week, “Skippy” helps us select a photo from The Box. At least, as long as we have health coverage.

It’s Tuesday! That means I have dumped the contents of The Box onto the floor of our newsroom and, in a few moments, I will RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!

However, as I mentioned last week, I have begun to lose the element of surprise now that my fellow reporters are familiar with this weekly ritual. So, to switch things up, I am going to cut the lights seconds before announcing the release of “Skippy,” our wild, blindfolded and slightly rabid squirrel.

Given that our newsroom has no windows, it will be pitch black once I flip the switch.

Here it goes…. Continue reading