Inside scoop on the great outdoors

Mann Overboard


—To get outside, my wife and I have been taking daily drives every day on this peninsula. But no matter where we go, it’s hard to escape one dreary sight: storage lockers. In town, out of town, and, alas, as you come into town. They are dismayingly ubiquitous. They remind me of a New Yorker cartoon in which an old man on his deathbed and surrounded by friends and family, sits up and announces: “I wish I’d bought more crap.”

—But mostly, this old cat’s staying close to home. So is our old cat Rascal, a rare, 24-year-old, who, it now appears, is not the oldest cat in town. Reader Dee Weber says her kitty, whom she calls Marble The Wonder Cat, turned 26 last month. She needed a mouser, and it was Marble, who she got at the shelter down in Berkeley, CA “She’s a great mouser, and has been a good friend for 20 years,” says Weber.

Our feline centenarian Rascal, in the true spirit of the quarantine, rarely goes outdoors anymore and hasn’t chased a mouse in years. That’s sooo 2002.

—Speaking of going out, which we humans, anyway, are starting to do, author, humorist and former GOP political operative Rick Wilson, posted this quarantine notice on Twitter: “Stay at Home — Like You are Trump Hiding from the Vietnam War.”

—If you can afford it, consider doing what we did with our stimulus check: Give some of it to ECCHO, an invaluable local charity that provides free canes, wheelchairs and rides to seniors and the disabled. Those things ain’t cheap.

—Just returned from our first trip to Costco in Sequim (caveat: masks are mandatory there starting this week), and that big-box store now has seniors-only hours. Really? In Sequim? That would be the most crowded time to shop.

—Prediction: When COVID finally is controlled, the housing market here will be en fuego— fueled by fearful folks from crowded Seattle wanting to leave the big city for a relatively safe rural place like PT. It can’t hurt that we also share Seattle’s politics and love of good restaurants.

—News outlets report the hottest grocery item during this quarantine is — ready? Kraft Mac and Cheese. (Trivia note: KM and C was the single biggest-selling food item up in Canada even before COVID.) I like Canadians’ use of the term “physical distancing” more than our vaguely off-putting “social distancing.” And in North Korea, the required term is “socialist distancing.” Rim shot!

—Facebook’s been getting heavy use. It was never my favorite soc media outlet, and has anyone else noticed a lot more Facebook postings of “People you may know?” As often as I check the box to stop sending them, they inevitably reappear every day. Facebook, Stephen Colbert has observed, “is where you hear from people you haven’t heard from in years —and, 10 minutes later, never want to hear from again.”

—Looking for good viewing? There’s not a whole lot of it, says this newspaper TV critic of 25 years. For dramas, you could always try one of these superb series my fellow TV columnists acclaim as “The Holy Trinity”: “The Wire,” “The Sopranos” and “Breaking Bad.” (I’d add “Deadwood.”) Speaking of quality, a brilliant, funny movie I neglected to mention last time: “State and Main,” which you can rent from Amazon. Virtually every line of dialogue crackles with writer/director and acclaimed playwright David Mamet’s biting wit. The movie stars Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy  and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It’s about filming in a small town. Hollywood meets Hooterville.

—Et tu, shopper? KIRO Radio’s Gee Scott over in Seattle admits that every time he passes someone in the grocery store who’s not wearing a mask, he holds his breath. So do I.

—Anyone else visualize beer containers flying around when they hear the Growlers will be in local skies today?

—Even if you’re not big on podcasts, check out Al Franken’s. The former senator has plenty of congressional insights and doesn’t hesitate to flatly call the President “crazy.”

—“You think it’s bad now,” asks a clever P.T. reader I call Edgar Rice Chex. “In 20 years, this country will be run by people home-schooled by day-drinkers.”

(PT humorist Bill Mann has been a columnist for four major metro dailies — and one great local paper. Send funny items to )


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Practical info, served up with true wit. I read it without a face mask, which makes it easier to laugh.

Sunday, May 17