Archive for August, 2011

Below is a blog that I wrote when Cactus Jack’s closed down. This January Bumpers re-opened the bowling area and put in lots of  kiddie arcade games in front. The bowling area is already doing well and they are soon to open a minature golf course. It will be down in the lower area just west of the lanes.

They are waiting on their liquor license to open the bar and have no current plans to open the casino. It should be the ultimate place for family parties just as soon as they open the bar so Mom and Dad can slip off from time to time for a quick nerve-settling shot of booze.

One of my very biggest pet peeves is the human propensity to revel in the give and take of hearsay, rumor, gossip, innuendo, or whatever you want to call the passing of some juicy tidbit from one person to another. Like the habit of smoking cigarettes or sending money to Jimmy Swaggert or the making and the watching of the JackAss movies, the inane passage of gossip from someone who is sure they got their juicy details exactly correct to an eager listener who is equally sure they are hearing the gospel truth is one more proof that we are a species capable of complete stupidity.

On the one side you have the dispenser of gossip. It seems to me that we get a  positive charge that flows through our bodies  when we believe we are dispensing a piece of gossip that our listener is hearing for the first time. It is a bit like a hunter bagging a trophy. As we deliver our salacious revelations, our sails fill and billow like a Buddha’s belly as we watch the amazement spread across the face of our audience. We love to shovel crap into the empty caverns of our listeners’ minds as though we are giving them something of great value. In a sense we are because they will be able to go forth and get their own rush when they spread our newsworthy tripe.

Then on the other side you have the receiver of the gossip, the listener. That a person even listens to gossip proves they are foolish and weak. I could not compose a more profound sentence, nor write one less believed. Adults love gossip like kids love a robust fart: they love to pass them and those little stinkers  are  always fun to hear.  Gossip and farts, however, are no more than the stinky vapors of crap. People simply do not understand that humans are poor communicators. They don’t say things clearly, and they don’t hear things clearly. Most would give that premise lip service but when it comes to the gossip, most believe that their friend got their facts right,  and furthermore that they heard them right. We simply want to believe.

I owned a bar for 4 years and nothing that I learned in that time made me ashamed of people more than the free-flowing give and take of crap. I could go on and on because Elaine and I were somehow fair game the entire time we owned the Rock Inn. I think it was mostly because people are petty and stupid and cruel, but that is just a guess.

One night my aunt  came into the Rock Inn and she took Elaine aside and said that she had to come in and  find out if what she had heard was true. With her eyes filled with tears, she asked Elaine if  we were separated and only pretending to still be together for the sake of our bar. She said that her daughter-in-law, my cousin, had told her that. Elaine told her we were still happily together.  But it made  Elaine cry as well  to know that such an ugly rumor would be out their about us, let alone that it would ever pass between people we loved.

Another night a good friend of ours came into the Rock Inn and was surprised to see that I was still working there. She told Elaine that she had heard that I had gotten some young girl pregnant and had moved to Walla Walla. Elaine was dumbfounded and hurt and sad that anyone could be so gullible. This friend had known us for many years and we had never demonstrated anything to her other than we were completely in love. But someone who she knew not as well as she knew us let fly with some flatulence of gossip and she just had to believe in the crap and not in her friends.

Elaine was always having to squelch the rumor that we did cocaine. Though we are no angels, cocaine was something we both feared and always stayed away from and yet for years people told us they knew that we were cokeheads. One customer who was actually a cop got into a heated argument with Elaine because he supposedly knew for a fact that we did coke. He had absolutely no proof other than he had heard we did the stuff.  Another supposed friend believed this rumor so strongly she recreated her own memories to support what she wanted to believe. When she  argued the issue with Elaine she actually told Elaine she remembered doing lines with Elaine in our women’s bathroom. When Elaine blew up and told her she was  a complete liar, the woman stopped and thought about it and admitted she was wrong and realized she never had actually seen either one of us doing the drug.  I doubt, however, that it stopped her from retelling her made-up story.

And so when I heard two moist and pugnent bits of gossip from good and trusted friends this week I said to myself that while I may really like these guys, I hate gossip and do not believe anything that I hear no matter who I hear it from. I may love the bearer of gossip and enjoy the titillating tidbit as much as anyone, but my life has taught me caution in regards believing anything that I hear. And so I reserved judgement until I could find out for myself.

As proof that I am right  consider this:  on Saturday I ran into a great friend who owns a distributing company  . He told me that the Rock on Trent had traded hands again. My friend is in the loop on such goings on because his company is a distributer to the Rock and all the other bars and restaurants and yet when I went there myself two days later, I found  that what I heard from my insider friend was wrong. He might have said that the old owner was getting two new partners but I would have sworn he said that the Rock had switched hands for the umpteenth time. What I heard him say was the old owner had sold out, the truth is that the old owner took on two new partners and they are having a big celebration Saturday with the grand opening of a new volleyball court connected  to the old patio.

As further proof to my premise that people are full of farts if not plain old crap, today a Valley bar owner told me that Players and Spectators just closed. So I was surprised when I called the place and a voice answered the phone. I said I heard from a reliable source that they had closed. No, he said, they had not  closed though they had changed the name to Cactus Jack’s a few weeks before and the casino portion of the business did shut just this very day.

While  I guess there was some truth to those two rumors, they were pretty inaccurate considering how fresh and relatively direct they  were. Had they had the chance to circulate from cellphone  to cellphone and bar stool to bar stool a few days or weeks, who knows how far off they would have been. People don’t seem to understand that when it comes to talking about others that accuracy matters not to mention fairness. Close is not good enough and a lie believed in is still a lie.

My experience with rumors has been so ugly and hurtful that I will always be ashamed of anyone who tries to bring me one that might shed a harmful light on its subject. The truth is that whatever crap someone wants to spread about another person is not as ugly to me as their desire to spread crap. And that is something all will nod in agreement with as they carry on their way stimulating themselves with the irresistible urge to share shit.

Update: It turns out that the inaccurate rumor that I heard about Player’s on Monday became accurate the following Sunday. I drove by the place shortly after hearing the news to see for myself. There was a lone white pickup with a long trailer in the parking lot and so I pulled up to find Cactus Jack himself, cowboy hat and all, getting ready to pull out. He told me that he had had enough of the local government taking 12% from the gambling right off the top.

Through the years I have heard a lot of different things about the guy but never took anything to heart nor formed any conclusions having never even met the man myself until Sunday. All I knew from that meeting as he spoke with dissapointment in his eyes and bitterness in his voice was that this was another sad story of high hopes and big dreams slowly shattered apart by a myriad of unforeseen factors and  greedy state and local governments. Having gone through my own version at the Rock Inn, I found myself feeling very sad and reminicent as I watched him slowly drive away from his shuttered business and the huge investment of time and money it represents.

Ironically the date was Sept. 4, exactly one year after this story appeared in the paper.

The above Scoopon (poop on Groupon) may seem a bit meager and not worth the effort to those unfamiliar with Deanna Reckord’s daily lunch special which she makes one at a time with as much love as your gramma put into anything she ever cooked just for you. The photos below depict a few of the reasons why my eyes well up with tears of sadness and joy each time Deanna sets my midday meal before me. Sadness because I’m reminded of both of my dear grandmothers who have long ago moved up to that big kitchen in the sky, and joy because I know I’m about to eat something that they would have been proud to feed me.

This is what I’m talking about. Elaine and I always have to split her sandwiches. There is too much ooey-gooey, cheesy-weezy, yummy-nummy goodness stuffed into each one. Forgive that I took a bite or two before snapping this picture with my Droid. I started to take the picture first but as soon as I got this juicy thing into focus, my left hand reached into the picture and snatched up the sandwhich to my mouth as my stomach over-ruled my brain. It was a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing.

This is the same kind of sandwich, I think she calls it her turkey-bacon melt (her specials could be called “uniques” because they aren’t on the menu). This day it was like super special because it came with French Onion soup. Forgive that this picture is out of focus. I was crying so hard that this was as close as I could get.

I’m not even sure what kind of wrap this was besides fantastic. I had to go without Elaine on this particular day (you do what you got to do) and so I could only wade through half of it. The other half served as dinner since Elaine was still at work.

This is what a “grilled ham and cheese” looks like at the Sullivan Scoreboard when Gramma Deanna is cooking it up as her lunch special. This was so good that I had this pic enlarged to about 36×42 and professionally framed. It now hangs above the fireplace.

And this is the grandmotherly gourmet who sees to it that none go away hungry. By now these pictures have given you a pretty good picture of how special things are around lunchtime at the Sullivan Scoreboard. That  is why our “one dollar off” Scoopon is a better deal than any of those screaming Groupon deals that the masses flock to. Truth is, anyone who reads this should be sending me ten bucks for giving them the scoop on this remarkable repast that deserves to be remarkably reknown.

Scotty's Sullivan Scoreboard on Urbanspoon

One of the best things about Spokane is Seattle. If Spokane were somewhere in the middle of Montana I could never live there. I love Spokane but living here requires the occassional escape to more beautiful and cultural and entertaining and diverse and tastier surroundings. At just 4.5 hours away, Seattle has been that place for me and my family since the days when me and my family meant us kids and the folks.
My very earliest memory in life is the 1962 Worlds Fair when I was only four years old. The rest of my youth was seasoned with occassional Seattle sojourns that led to an adult life requiring more of the same. In the early years before the arrival of my own kids it was always a trip filled with romance for Elaine and myself. Later, during the child-rearing years it was a trip of adventure for the whole family.
Finding good and affordable accommodations was easier for my dad back in the 60’s and 70’s. When I was a kid we always stayed at a hotel called the Cosmopolitan. It was right downtown and clean and inexpensive. The last time I stayed there was in 2001 on a trip I took with my two young boys, Jesse and Eli, and their cousin Trevor to see a ballgame which turned out to be a part of one of the most historical nights in all of baseball.
The game was a make-up for a game between the Mariners and Rangers that had been scheduled for Sept. 15th. Because of 9/11 our tickets were made good on Oct.5, the day that the Mariners would win their 116th game of the year, tying the 1906 Cubs for the most wins in a season. The game was perfect with Jamie Moyer on the mound and John Ohlerud and Brett Boone hitting homers. The record and the homers would have been enough but the night was made even more magical because the Giants-Angels game was broadcast on all the big screens each time Barry Bonds came to bat because he had recently tied Mark McGuire”s record of 70 home runs in a season.
Every pitch he took was a chance to see history and sure enough he hit his 71st that night and then upped the record by hitting his 72nd later in the game. As we left the stadium, the game was still going on in San Fran. After we finally made our way through the throngs and rode the bus downtown and then walked to the Cosmopolitan, I turned on the T.V. and the game was still on. It never went into extra innings but at 4 hours and 23 minutes it set the National League record for the longest 9-inning game. That made 4 records tied or broken in one night.
It was a historical night on a personal level because that was the last time I ever slept at the Cosmopolitan. It had gone to seed and was no longer fit for a family.I had pretty well given up on it a few years before when I took Elaine and she gave it her permanent seal of disapproval. But I gave it one more try for old time sake because it was just us guys. After that I was done with the old Cosmo after a lifetime of memories.
Through the years we have stayed at many great hotels throughout Seattle including the Roosevelt, the Mayflower, Silver Cloud, Red Lion, Embassy Suites, the Sorrento and others I can’t recall. The Westin, however, is one that no one could forget. The kids were little and so we were able to fit all six of us into one room which was 41 glorious stories up. It had a view and a location that only lots of money could buy, but back then it was worth it to give the kids something they will always remember.
Those flush days are long gone but the desire to create a few more memories before Crystal , our third child, goes off to college is as strong as ever. When she asked if she and Jacque, our youngest, and their cousin Natalie, Trevor’s little sister, could go on a road trip to Seattle by themselves I said no way. Then it dawned on me that they deserved a trip to Seattle with dear old dad. After all, The Mariners and all of Seattle had just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the year the team won 116 games, why shouldn’t I by going on a trip with the younger sisters of the three boys who shared history with me?
So they hit the internet and searched Expedia and Travelocity and Hotwire, trying to find a room we could afford in these tough times. They could find nothing under $180 and that was really hard to swallow and so I nosed around a bit. I had to check up on the Cosmo, now called Kings Inn, in the faint hope that it might have been updated. No such luck. One patron’s review said he had to clean the soles of his shoes after staying there because the carpet was so dirty. And that was the most favorable of the reviews. I knew that would not do for the girls.
Then I remembered a hotel that I had never stayed in but had always seen right there a block away from the old Cosmo and just to the east of the Westin. Given the gift of Google, I quickly discovered that it was called the 6th Avenue Inn. The worst customer review on it was that it had slow internet and was a bit old. But most gushed about the great location and great price which turned out to be just $131 with a AAA discount.
There it was waiting for me to find after all these years. It was just the ticket for me and the girls on this last trip. Our room didn’t have the view of the Westin but at $250 cheaper it was a steal considering it had just as good of a location. I’ll be back next year and that is where we will stay, be it a quick romantic getaway or an adventure with what is left of the family. I now know that I have to go because all of this reminiscing has reminded me that Seattle and I have another benchmark year to celebrate together in 2012. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair and the first of a lifetime of memorable getaways to the Emerald city for me.