I could sense her level of excitement downshift and I almost felt a little sorry I corrected her. But the record needed to be kept straight as it circled the globe.

I'm talking about the interview I did back in February with the friendly anchor for Radio New Zealand. It was not quite a week since the evacuation and they'd wanted to know the latest.

Why me? Because a young guy from NZ graduated from the University of Oregon and had half a year or so left on his visa and worked for me at a newspaper up there as a copy editor and page designer. He was a good one. Then he traveled back home and got a job as a producer for Radio New Zealand. He saw a post or two from me on Facebook about the crisis and messaged me about being on their news show.

What the heck, I thought.

At the appointed time, I asked my wife not to yell at me and asked the dog not to bark at me and answered the call from the RNZ people and waited for a few minutes until it was my turn. I heard them interviewing some other guy before me … he was talking about politics here in the U.S. … it wasn't exactly an upbeat story. Anyway, it was my turn and suddenly the anchorwoman was talking to me, and she asked for an update on the situation at Lake Oroville where there was worry that the tallest earthen dam in the country could collapse at any moment.

Well, actually, I told her, there wasn't any fear that the dam would collapse, just that the emergency spillway might give way. There was barely a pause, but there was just enough of a pause in the brisk interview … the risk of a spillway falling down just wasn't as exciting as a dam falling down. Then, in a blink, we were done.

I had thought to make an outline of answers I might need. I had about 700 words typed out. I think I used about 40 in the interview. I got my check yesterday for my work as an RNZ correspondent. The statement from RNZ said they were paying me $70. The Bank of New York Mellon, which issued me the check, said I was getting paid $40 …

Nice parallel, there, I thought.


Time and relativity:

For decades I wore a wristwatch. I couldn't leave home without it. Most everyone did. Not anymore. In place of timepieces we have gadgets that retrieve data, send messages, take calls, give us directions, rate restaurants, display the local newspaper, and tell the time.

Still I stuck to wearing my wristwatch. Until it wore out. I'd had it for decades.

Used to be, I would have wasted no time in getting a new timepiece. But now my phone wakes me in the morning, my computer at work keeps me on track. Yet, once in a while, out of habit, I'd raise by left wrist to check the time, forgetting I had no watch.

Well my spouse bought me a nice new watch. It's handsome. It's handy… and I regularly raise my left wrist to check the time, finding that I've forgotten to wear the watch.


It dawned on me while I was having lunch at the Peach Tree Restaurant in Linda on Thursday. It was the Marysville Kiwanis meeting.

When it came time to order, I said that I'd have what George was having.

"The crispy chicken chef's salad?" Yup.

Pretty soon the waitress brought the delicious salad and it featured, of course, pieces of crispy chicken. And, like most chef's salad, it featured a hard-boiled egg.

What a cruel world for chickens …

(I'm not sure that I didn't read this same quip by someone else somewhere else or heard someone talking about it … I don't really remember … refer to the piece on time and relativity, please.)


Ugghh: A guy from back East walks into a Marysville bar.

"I notice you have an interesting accent," comments the friendly bartender. "Where are you from?"

"I'm from a place where we're taught never to end a sentence with a preposition," says the visitor.

"Oh, excuse me," says the bartender. "I should have said, 'where are you from … jackass?'"

(From our friend John.)

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