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Originally published Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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The Wrap | Ron Judd

Let's paws and consider another driving distraction

You can't help but notice. More and more people in these parts, due to some inexplicable psychosis, are driving around with little lap-top...

Seattle Times staff columnist

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You can't help but notice.

More and more people in these parts, due to some inexplicable psychosis, are driving around with little lap-top yapper dogs, front and center, between their arms.

Maybe it's separation anxiety — on the human's part. But it's also clearly nuts, and clearly dangerous. Just last week, a loose dog in a Seattle car jumped into the lap of the driver and caused her to veer into an off-duty Seattle cop directing traffic, sending him to the hospital.

She hasn't been charged. And no one else likely will be, either.

Just to clarify: In Washington state, talking on a cellphone while driving is an illegal distraction. But having a live, unpredictable animal perched atop your loins? Not a problem.

More uncommon sense:

HypoCritical Mass: A group of Seattle cyclists in a share-the-road event wound up tangling with a driver who either inadvertently or intentionally hit two cyclists with his car — and in return received slashed tires, smashed windows, and a wound to the head from one cyclist's hardened-steel bike lock. It's part of a creative new cycle-community strategy to foster peaceful coexistence with drivers by rendering them unconscious.

Amazingly: Organizers still called the cycling event a success, noting that they now have established once and for all that peace on Capitol Hill can't be achieved by applying the Bush Administration's inventive Middle East policies.

The Thing Is, You'll Buy it Anyway: Listen to the hushed-tone disclaimers in current TV ads for a popular sleep drug Ambien CR: "Sleepwalking and eating or driving while not fully awake, with amnesia for the event, have been reported."

Price Points: Seattle residents might face hefty increases in garbage and water rates next year. It's a shame. Just when it was getting comfortable to live here again on a working-class salary of $3.5 million a year.

Meanwhile, In The Lesser Washington: Congress, going out of its way to ensure fairness in the bidding war for a lucrative Air Force tanker contract, has made another reasonable tweak to the rules: The winning company now must be an aircraft manufacturer whose test pilot once barrel-rolled a 707 prototype over Lake Washington.

Addition By Via-Duction: The state already has spent or committed to spending more than $1 billion on projects related to replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, with no decision on how or when to do it and little else to show for it. The project manager reportedly is being wooed by FEMA.

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The Week's Stickler: A bouncer in Olympia turned Gov. Christine Gregoire, 61, away from a bar because she had no identification. On her way out, the Guv retorted that if she's old enough to drive a car, fight in a war and pad the salaries of state employees, she's darn well old enough to order a drink.

Mortgaging The Future: A White House spokesman said a housing bill signed by President Bush is "intended to keep more deserving American families in their homes." Undeserving Americans, in the short term, will continue to live in the White House and vice presidential estate.

The Week's Genius Award: Seattle officials called off a criminal investigation into the discovery of sharp spikes in the bottom of Green Lake after discovering that the city had long ago hired someone to put them there as part of a milfoil-control project.

Next Week's Genius Award: Mayor Greg Nickels, D-Tote Bag, calls for an investigation into why Seattleites are paying multiple increments of 20 cents more at the checkout stand than shoppers in nearby communities.

And Finally: Maybe it's just presidential-election fatigue, but is anyone else already sick to death of the Washington state governor's race? Tip to campaign engineers on both sides: All those brain-dead TV ads are doing is making voters yearn for a candidate with more to run on than an opponent's painfully obvious flaws.

Ron Judd's columns appear in Sunday's

A section and Thursday's Northwest Weekend section. Email: rjudd@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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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