Off The Press — Welcome to a world with free speech, North Korea

February 24, 2015

My arrival was massively late, but last week I finally got around to seeing “The Interview,” the highly controversial film that landed Sony Pictures Entertainment in hot water with the North Korean government.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

In case you missed it — and chances are you have, since the movie was distributed to only a small handful of theaters nationwide — “The Interview” stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as farcical journalists who visit North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Their stated purpose is an exclusive, televised interview, but the CIA has sent them in for an assassination attempt.

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Off The Press — How many shades of grey lead to success?

February 17, 2015

The inevitable success of the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” (box office returns were not available at the time we went to press) got me thinking.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

The movie is based on a trilogy of books which themselves originated as a fan fiction ode to the characters of “Twilght” vampire novels. Author E.L. James became affectionately nicknamed “mommy porn,” as they provided soccer moms with a fantasical outlet for unrequited desires.

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Off The Press — Go all the way or don’t go at all

February 10, 2015

According to Random House Dictionary, the word fan is a noun meaning “an enthusiastic devotee, follower or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.”

Kathleen Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen Merrill
Press managing editor

Its synonyms are supporter, enthusiast, partisan, booster, addict.

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Off The Press — Decompression tips for distraught 12s

February 3, 2015

After the James Cameron movie “Titanic” became a big box office smash, one of the popular memes that soon followed was a slogan T-shirt that said “The boat sank. Get over it!”

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Today, as Monday gets underway here at the office the day after the Super Bowl and coworkers endlessly debate the pass play at the end, I want to climb on a desk and announce, “It’s just a football game. Get over it!”

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Off The Press — The trees will speak of Alan Haywood

January 27, 2015

Have you ever tried to listen to the trees?

Sometimes while swinging in my backyard hammock under the maple I try to hear the poetry of the leaves shining in the breeze. Sometimes on a Tiger Mountain hike, in a grove of firs towering above the ferns on the forest floor, I meditate on the hymns they sing. Coming across a gnarled old giant like the Ruth Kees tree at Lake Tradition, I imagine being able to hear lessons from its centuries of wisdom.

Yet my affection for them pales in comparison to the love Alan Haywood has shown the trees and plants of Issaquah for the last 30 years as the city’s professional arborist. He will no longer be employed by the city after the end of March, and I’m going to miss him as a friend and as a walking, talking botany encyclopedia.

Alan is the only person I have ever met who seems to know off the top of his head the Latin name of every single plant and tree in his care! Not only that, he knows each one’s favorite soil, growing season, optimum requirements for sunlight, shade and irrigation, and best pruning practice. Read more

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Off The Press — What would Dr. King think of today’s society

January 20, 2015

As I write this, it’s the morning of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, and with schools, banks, post offices and some businesses taking the day off, many people are home with their families.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

The question that’s running through my head is, “What are we doing today to honor Dr. King’s life?”

Hopefully, everyone took a few moments to remember the meaning of the holiday. Maybe it meant saying a prayer for a man who led one of the most significant social changes in our country’s history. Maybe it meant talking to your children about Dr. King’s accomplishments. Maybe it meant watching a movie about the Civil Rights Movement, like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Remember the Titans.” Read more

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Off The Press — A little pepper is heating up the culinary world

January 13, 2015

God bless the bhut jolokia pepper.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

Otherwise known as the ghost chili pepper.

It’s for those times when the jalapeno is for wimps and the habanero is for the JV squad. I’ve been spotting more and more products utilizing this ingredient that will make you cry for your momma.

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Off The Press — Big goals can be achieved in small steps

January 6, 2015

It’s good to set big goals. Yes, if you set one that is too large you might not get there. But think about how much further you’ll get if you go for broke.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen R. Merrill
Press managing editor

With that in mind, we set this year’s goal for the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund at $100,000. That money helps your neighbors and friends, and also people you may never meet. But one day you might be in need yourself. Isn’t it nice to know there is a fund that helps everyone it possibly can, all year long?

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Off The Press — Santa needs help making wishes come true

December 23, 2014

Santa Claus and I see an Eastside seldom noticed by most — the economically challenged families holding their children on our laps and listening to their Christmas wishes.

Sherry Grindeland SnoValley Star editor

Sherry Grindeland
SnoValley Star editor

I am Mrs. Claus at Bellevue’s Crossroads Community Center annual holiday party.

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Off The Press — Editorial space and the spirit of the season

December 16, 2014

So let’s see….

Tom Corrigan Press reporter

Tom Corrigan
Press reporter

Due to circumstances beyond my control — and really anybody else’s, for that matter — I was out of the news business for about three years, having been laid off from two papers in less than a year.

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