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Originally published Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 5:30 AM

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Tacoma’s angst: A clear case of Needle envy

The Wrap by Ron Judd

Seattle Times staff columnist

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It was dripping from the fast-typing fingers of some journos Tuesday night in Tacoma, when the show everyone’s mom watches, “PBS NewsHour,” sought State of the Union speech reaction from Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. She was seated in front of one of those fake backdrops showing the city skyline — of Seattle.

“The Space Needle? Where was the Tacoma Dome? The Narrows Bridge? Mount Rainier? Bob’s Java Jive?” quipped The News Tribune’s Peter Callaghan. “The only reason America could figure out she isn’t actually the mayor of Seattle is because everyone knows Seattle doesn’t elect women mayors.”

Touché — although perhaps a bit glass house-ish coming from a publication that banished the word “Tacoma” from its own title years ago.

At its core, this is little more than obvious tall-structure envy. Seattle was, after all, where Strickland was located for the satellite broadcast.

And besides: Our sources at PBS say earlier plans to put the mayor in front of Tacoma’s trademark tall structure were scrapped when producers learned the Asarco smokestack had been blown up in 1993.

More righteous indignation:

HYPE HYPE HYPE (cont.): Big doin’s Sunday in the Big Apple. Whether you’re a football fan or not, think of it as a once-in-a-lifetime extra holiday. Which is code for saying: Go ahead and enjoy a handful of those delicious Lit’l Smokies.

Fly Me to the Moon: Buoyed by the stunning PR success of flying a new, Seahawks-logo-bearing 747-8 in a flight pattern forming the number “12” over Eastern Washington, the corporate brain trust at Boeing now plans to honor its own, benefits-reduced workforce by having a new 777 take flight to outline a giant, extended middle finger over the Puget Sound basin.

By the Way: If the painting of that plane was, as the company said, “a unique way to show our love and pride in our hometown team,” shouldn’t the company, as loyal reader Dave P. points out, have rolled out a plane bearing the orange-and-black livery of the Chicago Bears?

Slow Down There, Pardner: The state Department of Transportation’s earth-boring machine advanced 2 feet the other day, then took the rest of the week off. The project is back on schedule for its unofficial completion date of April 14, 3063.

Speaking of Which: Maybe the public will start taking the Department of Transportation seriously when its top officials stop referring to the massive, complex tunnel-boring apparatus as “she.” Likely protestations from U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers notwithstanding, the average age of the U.S. general public is not 4.

And Speaking of Whom: Did anyone else watching that heartwarming McMorris Rodgers fireside chat have trouble dialing up the special SAP channel with audio containing actual policy details of the GOP plan for America?

This Just in: An Italian high court announced that it has uncovered “compelling evidence” that Seattle’s Amanda Knox fired the shot that launched World War I. A 12-year string of fake trials will begin later this spring.

And Finally: A wee bit of Neanderthal genetic material lingers in all of us, according to researchers at the University of Washington and Harvard, who set to work trying to untangle the mystery of why percentages are strikingly higher in Texas.

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

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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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