Spuds and Dud Awards 2006 

SPUD

Boise State Broncos

It's official: We're spoiled. Up north in Moscow, they're signing retread coaches like Dennis Erickson (season record: 4-8; BAL .23 when he got a DUI in 1985), and even he's jumping ship. Meanwhile, down here in the Bronco stable, athletic director Gene Bleymaier calmly replaced fan-fave Dan Hawkins with total first-timer Chris Peterson, and what happened? Oh, nothing much. Just another undefeated season, the second-ever case of a small-conference team crashing the Bowl Championship Series, and an alarming number of national analysts declaring that Boise State--yes, Boise State--should be playing for the national championship on New Year's Day. Even if you don't care about football, the Broncos' bout with the University of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1 is an essential watch--if only to see the bizarre video montages of Boise and Idaho that FOX is sure to concoct.

SPUD

Creeping Secularism

Oh! There it is, right there in front of us. Godless secularism.

Pastor Bryan Fisher of Idaho Values Alliance was bemoaning both the accomplishments of Ada County Democrats and the defeat of the 10 Commandments issue in the November election, when he posted this on the IVA Web site: "The first challenge for pro-family conservatives will be to keep the advance of anti-family values bottled up in Boise before they erode core values in other parts of the state ... The second challenge will be to explore ways to recapture the heart and soul of Idaho's capital city before it is lost completely to the forces of secularism."

Better watch out, Bry! We's coming for ya'! BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA! We's gonna secularize yer ass!

SPUD

The Idaho Quarter

In 1976, a coin designed by Idaho artist John Collias received an honorable mention in the contest to design the national bicentennial quarter. He didn't win, but in some ways, "close, but no cigar" is preferable. The reason being: The winning designs in coin contests--like the Idaho state quarter unveiled earlier this year--are usually held up to scrutiny, ridicule and cries of "I wouldn't use that ugly piece of metal to wash a load of jockstraps. Why didn't we use the 'honorable mention' instead?"

Six months after the Idaho quarter was released, the teeth-gnashing and garment-rending hasn't ceased. Someone has even put a petition online to force the Guv to change the quarter to something more representative of Idaho. (A football cleat? Mining waste? Maybe something related to Erotic City's "Art Night?")

We doubt the recall movement will come to much, but in the meantime, cheer up, little birdy. This sympathy spud's for you.

SPUD

Dave Bieter

Mayor Dave took a lot of gas for joining with 279 other city executives in signing Boise on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, but it's probable most of the scoffers don't even know what that agreement is all about. All he did by adding Boise to the list is promise to try to get our city's emissions levels down (from 1990 levels) by 7 percent by 2012 and to encourage the rest of the state to take similar responsibility. Portland, which was the first to get on this wagon, has already dropped its greenhouse gas output by 13 percent, so it means something, particularly in this season of inversions.

But even if it were nothing but a meaningless gesture, we think it would be even more meaningless had he not signed it, and we're glad he did.

SPUD

Democratic Candidates

You wouldn't know it from the election results, but Idaho's Democratic Party is looking healthier than it has in two decades. Beyond picking up five Ada County seats in the Legislature, they fielded a team of state office-seekers to be proud of. What's more, we can't help but feel that many of the people who voted against them may one day be looking back, wishing wistfully they had.

To Jana Jones, Jackie Twilegar, Robert Wallace, Howard Faux, Larry LaRocco, Larry Grant, Jim Hansen and Jerry Brady, we salute you.

DUD

The Wine Narcs

For years and years, Boiseans have enjoyed First Thursday art openings and shows with a splash of wine, provided cordially by generous galleries to enhance the experience and smooth the way to a greater appreciation, we're sure. Who knew there was a law, going all the way back to 1935, against providing free beer or wine without a license?

Well ... an alert state trooper, for one. And now, galleries must not only buy a permit to disperse complimentary wine, they must hire a licensed caterer to pour it. As though art didn't have a tough enough time as it is.

SPUD

Radio With Claws

We've got to give it up for an inventive burn when we see one. And this is downright cold-blooded. Two local talk radio stations, 1350 KTIK AM and 670 KBOI AM, have been pushing a device that changes the time delay so that listeners can align radio broadcasts of Boise State football games with KTVB Channel 7's televised broadcasts. That way, the reasoning goes, you can mute the telly and have Paul J. Schneider and Jeff Caves as your guide to the gridiron rather than David Augusto. Snap!

The only problem: The device, called "DelayPlay," costs a cool $149. Considering that most tailgaters drink that much in beer and Jack 'n' Cokes by the end of the first half, their brains should be able to sufficiently delay any offending messages.

DUD

The McClatchy Company

Last spring, the McClatchy newspaper chain joined our happy community with its purchase of The Idaho Statesman, and immediately set out to prove how dedicated to local interests they are by sending national and international coverage packing back to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, leaving the front page free for the latest Bronco updates. To further de-emphasize news from abroad, they cut it down to fewer pages than it takes to make a papier-maché ping-pong ball.

Bad, bad news. We here at BW can't help but feel that Idaho needs all the input from beyond its borders we can get.

DUD

Idaho Values Alliance

Well, they finally did it. Thanks to the Idaho Values Alliance and 282,386 Idaho voters, we are now, or will be soon, constitutionally sanctioned to keep gays and lesbians off the wedding registry. Anxious heteros, your marriages are now safe for all eternity. At least, until the restraining orders are served.

But now that that's done, we wonder what private matters the IVA will be sticking their noses into next. Really, a club must have a reason to exist, right? Let's see, what can they do to continue justifying themselves? Hmmmm, what could it be ... ?

DUD

The Idaho Statesman

Dave Barry, America's favorite humorist, stopped writing new columns over two years ago, taking time off to pursue other goals. Last December, he announced he was not coming back. Which is fine. It's good to know a talent such as his is still seeking out new horizons to joke about. But our local daily can't seem to let go. They're still running old columns, prefacing each one with a note about it being a "classic" from Barry's 23-year body of work. Which is also fine. If it was funny in 1988, it can still be funny in 2007.

But as long as the Statesman is so committed to vintage humor, why restrict it to just Barry? Robert Benchley wrote some awfully witty stuff 80 years ago, and doesn't he deserve to be reprinted as much as Dave? How about some classic Thurber? In fact, they could go all the way back to Mark Twain. Now there was some pithy punditry ... although, it's probably not quite tame enough for local tastes.

DUD

Butch Otter

For considering it acceptable even for one day ... one hour ... one split second ... to sell off public lands to raise money for any reason whatsoever, Otter oughtt a prostrate himself before all Americans and beg for mercy.

He denied he did it during the campaign ("I'm not going to sell Idaho's lands, and Jerry Brady knows it!") but his commitment to keeping public lands in the hands of the public came about only after he was spanked like a prodigal son for originally going along with the scheme to pawn the nation's heritage to pay for the rebuilding of New Orleans.

In our opinion, acting all outraged about it later doesn't quite make up for being part of the original outrage. We've got our eye on you, Butch. And we'll be checking your luggage when you leave the Governor's Office, count on it.

SPUD

The Idaho Humane Society

Once again, the Humane Society, heading a coalition that included statewide law enforcement organizations and prosecutorial associations, tried to up the penalty on organized dog fighting, asking the Legislature to add Idaho to the list of 48 states that have made it a felony. (Currently, dog fights are a mere misdemeanor in Idaho.) Unfortunately, the bill they sponsored didn't even make it out of the committee that considered it.

The dogs can't thank them, so we'll do it on their behalf: "Thanks for trying, Humane Society. Too bad we have a legislature that's barely beyond walking on all fours themselves and can't relate to the welfare of any animal beyond eating it, stuffing it or making cowboy boots out of it. But at least you gave it a shot."

SPUD

Jim Tibbs

Congratulations, Mr. Tibbs, on your appointment as Idaho's drug czar. Dang, police chief, city councilman, drug czar ... what can't this guy do?

We'll have to keep a close eye on what the Republican scheme machine pulls next to pump him up, considering he is widely viewed as the Great White Hope in next year's Boise mayoral race.

Of course, the new proposal to pee-test all state employees may lose him a few thousand votes, considering many of us still consider that a grievous invasion of privacy.

DUD

Ada County Highway District

This is a difficult Dud to hand out because we understand how frustrating it must be to try to make sense out of an insane situation. But surely, there are more ways to address the traffic dilemma here in Ada County than to turn every east-west corridor into a five-lane mess! If it continues at this rate, there won't be a neighborhood from Beacon Light to Mora-Kuna left that hasn't had a stop-and-go nightmare expanded through it.

What if, instead of turning Ustick and Overland and Victory and every other suburban byway into a five-laner, you simply turned Fairview, Chinden and Highway 44 into twenty-laners? Or better yet, why don't you simply tell people to quit moving here. That we're full up. Can't take no more. NO VACANCY!

Really, motels do it all the time. So why not counties?

DUD

Everyone associated in any way with last year's MPC Bowl Banquet

This would include Mayor Bieter, for the unforgivable sin of saying "Go Broncos" at an ostensibly neutral setting; Mike Adkins, the CEO of MPC, who botched Mathias Kiwanuka's name and joked about it; Kiwanuka, Boston College defensive end, for not knowing a boorish knothead when he sees one; Boston College fans, for being big babies over what some rubes out in Idaho say; and Boise State fans, for carrying on a monthlong hissy-fit in the local letters-to-the-editor. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. You made it look like college football has degenerated into an over-hyped, childish obsession.

(We imagine this incident is something Boise State fans would rather forget, seeing as how it might revive memories of what happened to their team the last time they played in a bowl game. Also, it technically belongs in the 2005 Spuds & Duds. But since it took place so late in the year, there was no way to include it in last year's issue. Besides, the bitching that followed ran well into 2006, so we cannot let it pass un-Dudded.)

and

SPUD AND DUD

All Hospitals

We're ambivalent about this one. On the one hand, it's very nice that local hospital managers have figured out a way to provide medical care to the poor and the un-insured. Helping the needy is about as Spuddy as it gets.

On the other, we're sort of disgusted that the way they do it is to shift the costs to patients with insurance, thereby driving the costs up by as much as 25 percent. Robbing Peter to defibrillate Paul: very Duddy.

DUD

Idaho Gasoline Prices

Doesn't it just fry your frijoles that in the weeks leading up to November 7, the rest of the country watched gas prices drop by 70, 80 and 90 cents per gallon, in that blatant attempt by Big Oil to influence the election?

And isn't it a pisser that Idaho's gas prices managed to stay well above the national average because they knew our Republicans would vote Republican no matter how screwed up things were?

And now that the election is over and fuel prices are shooting up again, doesn't it boil your butt that Idaho missed out on the whole thing?

DUD

The $50 Energy Rebate

You probably don't remember it because you didn't receive it in the first place. And had you gotten it, you would have spent it so long ago that whatever you bought with it is probably already eaten, burned up or worn out.

But remember it or not, last winter, once-upon-a-time-Governor Kempthorne wanted to send each and every one of us a $50 check because gasoline and heating oil were getting so spendy. The legislature told him, "No doin', Dirk."

DUD

Dirk Kempthorne

The king's castle evidently wasn't enough for Mister "Soon As Gayle Norton Resigns, I'm Blowin' This Pop Stand" Kempthorne. He wanted the king's grounds, too.

Here J.R. Simplot was kind enough (or influence-peddling enough ... depends on who you talk to) to hand over his big house on the hill to serve as a governors' digs esto perpetua. But Kempthorne, in his last year as someone Idahoans have to listen to, hit the Legislature up for $2 million so's he could buy the hill, too. The Legislature turned him down. We're guessing they believe the state of Idaho owns enough hills.

DUD

Remodeling the Guv's Mansion

Three million bucks. That's one heck of a makeover. Yes, it's private money, so on the surface it appears taxpayers aren't out a dime.

But, you tell us: what governor--past, present or future--needs a 12,000-square-foot palace to live in, especially when the place already stands at 7,400-square-feet? And it's not like governors will ever be paying their own heating bills, is it?

Plus, the plans include a dining area that will accommodate 150. We say, if Idaho has that many visiting dignitaries show up at once, take 'em to the Golden Corral. This whole thing sounds like Saddam-level self-aggrandizement, if you ask us. But we guess that's what you get when you allow politicians to think their schtick don't stink.

DUD

Virtual Education

WE'LL GIVE A CHEEEEEER FOR MERIIID-EEYUN! CHEER HER ALONG HER WAAAAAAAY! Oh, excuse us. We were just singing our old school fight song. Those were the days, eh?

It all makes us feel sorry for the 4,000 Idaho students who have chosen--or had it chosen for them--to get their learnin' on-line. We suppose readin', writin' and 'rithmetic look pretty much the same whether it's coming from Miss Crabapple or from MSN.com. And from what we've seen of school lunch programs, they're not missing anything on that front.

But we have to wonder ... is there a site to go to for virtual school spirit? And where do the virtually educated go for their virtual class reunions? Are virtual buddies as good as the real thing?

DUD

Club For Growth

This New York-based bunch of meddling Nellies dumped almost a million bucks into the state to get Bill Sali elected to Congress.

What is this? There weren't any New Yorkers for sale?

DUD

Mike Rogers

Not that you'd know it from the local news, but just weeks before the election in November, the blog-o-blab was buzzing with the story that Mike Rogers, a gay activist from Washington, D.C., had "outed" Sen. Larry Craig. Mr. Rogers is best known for having contributed to the exposure of Mark Foley. That's what Rogers does: un-closet what he considers gay hypocrisy. Craig promptly denied he's homosexual, as he has been doing for more years than he's been married.

Our bitch with Mr. Rogers is, if you're going to make accusations like that, you had better be prepared to back it up with something tangible. In talks with BW, he would not divulge any of the proof he supposedly has, preferring to honor the anonymity of his sources. That's understandable, but don't expect to get a lot of traction with your big scoop. "Trust me," he said. Sorry, we can't.

DUD

The Debate Duckers

Over the last few election cycles, it's been an increasingly common irritant that Republicans running for Idaho state office decide they can pick and choose which debates they will participate in. This year, Butch Otter pretended he had too much Congressing work to do to attend the state-wide IPTV debate--in spite of the fact we all know this 109th Congress didn't do spit. Jimmy Risch wouldn't go because he was afraid that ol' meanie Larry LaRocco was gonna pick on him. And Donna Jones declined because, well, we're not really sure why, unless it was because she didn't want Idahoans to know she doesn't know beans about bookkeeping.

Let us hope this recognition will remind all future office-seekers they don't get to pick which job interviews they'll show up for, and which ones they'll blow off.

DUD

Ma and Pa Risch

Some say Governor Risch accomplished more in a few months than the man he filled in for did in seven years, which is probably true. But that's not the same as saying what he accomplished was anything to be proud of. Let us review:

DUD

The Old Property Tax/Sales Tax Switcheroo

Knowing he would soon be, once again, just the guy in the Legislature's high chair come January, Risch called his own, one-day legislative session to cram a tax shift up Idaho's revenue plan. Now that we're all paying another penny on every dollar we spend in return for a puny break in our property taxes, ain't we happy?

DUD

Blanket Insult to the People of New Orleans

There is the aforementioned debate skip, of course, but before that came Risch's comments about the Katrina tragedy. "Here in Idaho, we couldn't understand how people could sit around on the curbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something."

We have to wonder what sort of Idahoans Jimmy hangs out with to make him think he can speak for the state in such a mean-spirited, self-important, vacantly macho manner. (When his bluster made national news, Risch blamed the reporter for quoting him too accurately.)

DUD

Atlanta Gold Mine

We suspect we would consider something called a "cyanide heap leach mine" objectionable wherever it might turn up. But the one that will likely turn up in Atlanta (a mere 70 or 80 miles northeast of Boise, as the stream flows) we find particularly troublesome. The heart of Boise is in its namesake river--not to mention 20 percent of the capital city's drinking water--yet, a Canadian company (Atlanta Gold Corporation) wants to create two open pits within easy drainage of the Middle Fork and drench the rubble in a substance even Lucretia Borgia knew was unhealthy for humans and other living things. If anything were to go wrong ... and you know the old saying about things going wrong ... inner-tubers may one day find themselves floating in a soup of diesel fuel, mercury, arsenic and lead, as well as the aforementioned cyanide. They plan to start the big dig next fall and the only thing standing in their way is an impending Environmental Impact Statement, to be issued soon by one of those agencies the Bush Administration appointed the head of, no doubt. Brita, anyone?

SPUD

Marriage as Campaign Tactic

We must congratulate Butch and Lori Otter (née Easley) for taking the plunge after many years of mere girlfriend/boyfriend-ness. And we're entirely satisfied that the impending election played no part in the blissful nuptial decision.

DUD

Contagious Gunfire

Who knew (until the tragic shooting in New York City last month of a groom out for one last fling before marriage) that police are subject to a syndrome most of us will never be in a position to catch? "Contagious gunfire," it's called (sometimes, "mass reflexive response") and it explains a great deal about why miscreants (and the occasional innocent) are so often not just shot, they are perforated like a screen door.

For instance, the perforating of one Tyler Lowrey in that Fred Meyers parking lot in early November was obviously an outbreak of "contagious gunfire," rather than an overreaction with lethal force, as some suspect. What else could explain why six officers would unload up to 30 shots (according to witnesses) on one man? And the fact that they hit him only eight times does not diminish the seriousness of the affliction.

Now, we here at BW support our local police as much as the next concerned citizen. And yes, if we get into trouble, we'd much rather have a cop show up than a hippie. But that does not mean we don't feel something must be done to cure this "contagious gunfire" disease before it becomes pandemic. Or worse ... acceptable.

DUD

The Marilyn Howard Pile-On

So what! Marilyn Howard decided to show her staff some appreciation on her way out. So what! It was $120,000--chump change for guys who like to live in 12,000-square-foot houses and build billion-dollar roads to Tamarack. So what! She thinks professionals ought to be rewarded now and then. So what!

If you don't like it that she gave out those bonuses, think of it this way: Without a little extra financial incentive now and then, all the qualified people might say "Screw it!" and head for the private sector, which could well leave your kid's education in the hands of un-qualified, Canyon County ideologue bumpkins.

DUD

Boise's BAL

This Dud was going to be about all of those so-called vulture industries: The DUI lawyers, the court-mandated class organizers and all those other people who profit off the 98 percent conviction rate that Boise City is racking up on drunk driving arrests. (Seriously ... 98 percent! How is that possible?)

However, since Boise's buzzed don't seem to be able to learn their lesson, the Dud's all theirs. We're talking 2,087 arrests in the first 11 months of 2006--a new city record by a long shot. Maybe those vulture industries aren't vultures after all, they're just eagle-eyed investors.

SPUD

Idaho Potato Commission

A tight little Spud for the Idaho Potato Commission, whose new TV campaign attempts to peddle Idaho taters as--get this--health food. The two ads feature America's self-described "favorite fitness expert" Denise Austin, a smug little number with Suzanne Somers' hair, Kathleen Turner's voice and Larry King's ego. She identifies herself by name alone in the commercials, expecting her audience, made up of a bunch of yokels like us sucking down undercooked tater tots, to fill in the gaps.

Honestly, we kid because we love ... eating undercooked tater tots. Just don't count on getting BW's secret fry sauce recipe.

DUD

The Village of Greenleaf

Speaking of contagious gun nuttery, Greenleaf--sometimes called "Little Quakertown" by street toughs and mob elements--passed an ordinance encouraging every citizen without a religious objection to pack heat, or at least keep a gun in the house. The idea was proposed by city councilman Steven Jett, who is fearful that Greenleaf (pop. 862) could some day be invaded by hordes of law-flouting hoodlum refugees, should the surrounding areas meet with a Katrina-ish disaster. We here at Spuds and Duds HQ feel strongly that Greenleafians ought to get out more.

DUD

Steve Guerber

Coming out of his state purchasing card scandal smelling like a rose is going to be darned difficult for Guerber, the former director of the Idaho State Historical Society. Despite swearing that he has been vindicated and the facts will bear out the truth of his innocence, Guerber just isn't looking good here. Consider that the two possible explanations for overbilling the state more than $5,000 on car rentals, cheap dinners and football tickets include either (a) he misused the money intentionally, or (b) he was inept at keeping basic records straight. Guerber has demanded apologies from the media. So, Guerber: we're sorry. You may not end up in a criminal case (although Ada County prosecutors are investigating), but history isn't about to smile on you.

SPUD

The Rolling Stones at the Idaho Center

Whether you're seven or 70, you've probably heard of the Rolling Stones. Granted, telling your friends you saw the Stones at Altamont in '69 definitely has a major coolness factor, but just being able to say you've seen them at all ranks high on the list of stories to tell your grandkids. Unlike the Beatles, it's still possible to see the Rolling Stones perform live. The only problem is, seeing the Stones means some kind of serious travel time. However, on November 14, 2006 if people in the Valley spent a couple of hours in the car to see the aging (but still ass-kicking) foursome it was only because they were stuck in traffic at the Idaho Center exit off I-84. Oh, yes, the Stones came to Idaho. The Stones' Nov. 14 stop at the Idaho Center was the opportunity of a lifetime for some. Now more Idahoans get to cross "see the Rolling Stones" off their life to-do list.

DUD

Blue October opening for the Rolling Stones at the Idaho Center

We have nothing against Blue October. They're a fine band. But name one song they do. You can't, can you? Maybe there isn't an obvious choice for an opening band for the Rolling Stones, but wasn't there at least a more obvious one? Good for Blue October that they get to add "opened for the Stones" to their resume, but it puts kind of a damper on an otherwise great story when you're telling your friends, "I saw the Rolling Stones at the Idaho Center!"

"Really?" said friends may ask. "Who opened for them?"

"Blue October," you'll sigh.

"Who?"

"Blue October."

"Who?"

Exactly.

SPUD

Werner Hoeger

Let's have a big hurrah for all of the sort-of old guys who live in Boise and still compete in the Winter Olympics. HURRAH!

Actually, there's only one member on that team and he teaches kinesiology at Boise State. Werner Hoeger, at the ripe age of 48, was the oldest male participant in last winter's Turin Olympics. He came in 36th in the luge event, that scary thing where the lugers slide downhill at about mach speed with nothing between them and the mountain but something that looks like a turkey platter.

A native Venezuelan, Hoeger was competing for his home country. But really, this was a victory for AARP. At the rate Werner's going, he might still be luging well into the 2010 Olympiad and beyond.

DUD

Laird Maxwell

Nice try. And we do mean that sincerely: Maxwell and his big-bucks pals from the East Coast (Howie Rich ... such a well-named nemesis) did their darndest to render Idaho land-use laws pointless with Proposition 2, an initiative that was bought and paid for from the first signature on. The measure, written in daunting legalese, was a well-constructed Trojan Horse that Idahoans quickly saw through, from Governor-elect Butch Otter on down to numerous local officials. The icing on the cake: a grumpy Maxwell has since moved to Arizona, declaring on his way out that Idaho had "gone liberal," displaying once again his fundamentally misunderstanding of the Gem State.

SPUD

Idaho, for kicking out Sempra

We here at BW love a good populist uprising. And we like it even better when that uprising catches the rheumy eye of the Idaho Legislature. It seemed as though no sooner than Idaho had the threat of a coal-fired power plant in its backyard than the citizens of the Magic Valley created such a stir that they couldn't be ignored. Sempra Energy Resources, Inc. was no slouch at this game: They had money, they had property, and they had (have?) uber-lobbyist Roy Eiguren working on their behalf.

But it was all for naught when folks decided that, no, they didn't want a big, smelly coal-fired power plant in their backyard.

SPUD

Jim Hansen

Democrat Jim Hansen had the guts to say that the American campaign system, and the politicians operating within it, are flawed, and then do something about it. By refusing donations over $100 and pursuing a shoe-leather campaign of door-knocking and meet-and-greets all over Idaho, Hansen may have lost on Election Day, but not before he shone some light on the cynicism that surrounds modern politics.

DUD

Lucky 13

What's so lucky about that? Because a landlord and a tenant have a spat, every pizza-lovin', dog-pattin', patio-sittin' North Ender worth their weight in spandex has to find another place to get a frosty one after a mountain bike ride in the Foothills. Good luck out there with the drones in Harris Ranch, Lucky 13. The name will be the same, but the vibe won't be.

DUD

The Idaho Statesman editorial board

If the Idaho Statesman editorial board were a batting lineup, we'd recommend they ride some pine. We note their recent string of at-bats. In favor of Jerry Brady for governor: swing and a miss. Recommending Larry LaRocco for lieutenant governor: whiff. For Rep. Bill Deal as House speaker: yer outta there! The only candidate they've endorsed that actually won is Mr. Weights and Measures himself, Tom Luna. It's not that we think they're misguided, but we fear some curse may be at work here. Maybe we can harness this power for good: We hereby recommend that the Statesman editorialize in favor of a loss at the Fiesta Bowl.

DUD

The Boise Hole

Oh, and we were so close! Yes, we know that development plans are once again underway to turn the hole into a high tower. It will be tall! More than 30 stories! It will be beautiful! Architect drawings galore! In color! And it will be just a drawing on somebody's napkin, and a sugarplum dancing in our dreams, until we see the darn thing take shape. We're starting to believe city historian Todd Shallat, who believes the corner of 8th and Main is "cursed."

Not that it's over yet, of course. We admire the ideas, vision and shiny cufflinks of Gary Rogers, the latest Quixote to tilt at Boise's favorite windmill, but we worry. When The Idaho Business Review revealed that Rogers had filed for bankruptcy several times, we started gnawing on our knuckles. Gary: we're counting on you. Make this a spud for next year.

SPUD

The Marvelous Zamboni Twins

It may send a bad message to reward such bizarrely poor decision-making with a Spud rather than a Dud, but you've got to admire their ambition. When two part-time Boise Parks and Rec employees recently drove a pair of ice-smoothing Zambonis from city-owned Idaho Iceworld across the parking lot to the Burger King drive-thru, they were fired. That was no surprise. Neither was the ensuing international media icestorm that probably motivated the prank in the first place. Then again, no one should feel bad about laughing about this one. Considering that no damage was done to the rigs, even city officials probably cracked a grin. Think of it this way: At least it got Idaho on the national media stage for something other than football, Brandi Swindell or somebody getting scalped in a hot spring.

SPUD

BoDo

We admit, the place reminds us a bit of a mall without the roof, but we cannot ignore its success. Mark Rivers' motives may be a bit transparent, but we admire a go-getter who did what nobody said he could do: turn a near-dead part of downtown into a thriving hub.

DUD

BoDo

Okay, so you did a good job of it. But, for crying out loud, BoDo? BoDo? Denver has its LoDo (and they wince about it there) and the Shire has its Frodo. But do we have to have BoDo?

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