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Originally published Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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Seattle-San Fran rivalry just skimming the surface

The Wrap by Ron Judd

Seattle Times staff columnist

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Amazing, those 72-foot catamarans that just wrapped up a month’s worth of America’s Cup racing down in San Francisco.

It’s not every day you see a craft that can sail 30 knots upwind in a 17-knot breeze — and still remain afloat when the massive ego of syndicate head and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison steps onto the port side.

An oft-forgotten fact is that Ellison was drawn to the Cup game a decade ago when he (wrongly, at least at first) believed that his arch nemeses — Bill Gates and/or Paul Allen, were doing the same.

And now that Ellison has defended the Cup with a boat class so expensive to build and operate that few others in the world can afford to challenge for it, one thing becomes clear:

It’s time for Seattle’s big money to finally give Big Larry the Microsoft challenge he’s always wanted in AC 35. C’mon, Uncle Paul Allen. You know you want to.

More velocity made good:

Now Trending on Social Media: The recent crowning of Katie Brown, of Bellingham’s Shuksan Middle School, as Washington State Teacher of the Year prompts an idea: How about, just to make the point, we award all 10 finalists for that award a 10-year contract with pay that equals the average salary of other vital state education employees — U-Dub assistant football coaches?

We Can Hardly Wait to Vote Yes: Don’t forget to vote hell yeah on Initiative 517, the Tim Eyman/Eddie Agazarm Professional Initiative Huckster Retirement-Fund-Enhancement Act. The initiative responds to the overwhelming demand to loosen onerous rules (including prior determination of constitutionality) for getting an initiative on the ballot. Because that’s proven just soooo difficult around here.

Speaking of Which: It’s not exactly true that, if it passes, you could be thrown in the hoosegow for casting a mean glare at those already annoying paid signature gatherers swarming around you like yellow jackets at QFC. But it’s pretty darn close, making illegal any “yelling, tumultuous conduct or maintaining an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of any clipboard Ninja.

Meanwhile: We’re still waiting for the professional initiative profiteers pushing the measure to explain how it is that, in a system so dangerously rigged against getting questions of great import on the ballot, they managed to get this particular question of zero import on the ballot. The measure argues against itself.

Noodle This: Lots of people are boycotting Barilla pasta after the owner, Guido Barilla (possibly not his real name) said he would not use a gay family to promote his product. Wait: Does this mean Barilla is only making straight noodles now? What about fusilli?

Hey, Consumer-Advocate Monsanto: Your anti-GMO labeling shtick has already worn out its welcome on Washington airways. Shouldn’t you be spending that money on maintaining your ownership of Congress instead?

This Just In: Turns out NSA employees have already used their omnipotent power to spy on anyone, anywhere, for nefarious purposes, such as stalking lovers. You couldn’t have seen that coming.

And Finally: The FAA is poised to relax restrictions on electronic devices on airplanes. Great; it’s only a matter of time before a stray electronic signal causes an in-air disaster, such as interference with the snooze alarm on a pilot’s iPad.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280. Twitter: @roncjudd.

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About The Wrap / Ron Judd

"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.


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