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Nov-15-2007 05:35printcomments

Things That Make You Go: DUHHHHH!!!

Some local behaviors beg the question, did your mom drop you on the head when you were born?

I am a moron
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(SALEM, Ore.) - Over the past few months, I have been compiling a list of things that people, companies, or organizations in Salem, Oregon, and from around the world, do either in the news, or in life itself that irks the hell out of me. So here we go:

1. People who drive at night without their headlights on!

I was driving to the grocery store Tuesday night on Sunnyside Road in south Salem, and what did my bright blue eyes see, NOT one, NOT, two, BUT THREE idiots driving in the opposite direction without their headlights on. Hello, Kirk to Enterprise, it’s dark earlier now, turn your damn lights on!

Now these people weren’t driving a 1970 Ford Pinto, or AMC Gremlin, so I’m fairly confident that they were not headed to the mechanic to get them fixed. I can just imagine the conversation between the person, the judge, and/or the insurance company after they kill someone in another car, walking or riding their bike, after causing an accident because they didn’t have their lights on.

If you get caught driving without your headlights on at night, and your NOT drunk or high on drugs, you should be required to re-take your drivers test, or have you head and eyes checked BEFORE you get behind the wheel of another vehicle. Things that make you go: DUHHHHH!!

2. How do you post a story on the internet BEFORE the actual time?

This one is really stupid. For over a month now, I have been getting up EARLY in the morning, 3:45 AM because my wife works in Wilsonville. NO I’m not that motivated to get you the latest news at that hour! But like any good reporter does in any newsroom throughout the world, I look at other news Web sites to see what they have compared to what we at have, or might have missed.

Ah, but the good old Statesman Journal on their site has news updates posted before the time it actually is. For example, they have news and blog updates they say were posted at 5:00 AM, when the time on my clock says it’s 4:00 AM. What is that all about? Are they that desperate for ad money, or viewers that they need to make them think that they are up working at that hour??? And this didn’t just happen once, or twice, this has been going on for MONTHS, and we have the screen shots to prove it.

Hey Bill Church, are the lights in your office causing so much glare that you and your reporters can’t see the time on your computer screens?? What, still using a TRS-80, or Apple II?? Think nobody sees or cares?? Think again, GOTCHA! Tell your computer people to stop screwing around and fix the problem.

Gannett needs to take over that newsroom and clean-out the trash, and that means the upper management people, and not the reporters, who continue to allow this to go on. If my company was a Statesman Journal advertiser and I read this, the first call I would make would be to either Church or Victor Panichkul and ask them what the heck is going on at the paper and online. I'd hear their cracking voices on the other end make an endless amount of excuses and pull my advertising. Better yet, go there in person and see them face-to-face. Bet it would be like seeing a deer looking into the headlights of a car. Makes you wonder just how real, or accurate any of their stories are. Things that make you go: DUHHHHH!!

3. People who read while driving.

It’s bad enough most of us use cell phones while we are behind the wheel. But when I was driving on River Road in Keizer, this woman made me really wonder why the state of Oregon issued her a license.

As we were going along, I noticed this woman, driving a high profile SUV, reading what looked to be a romance novel. I had my wife look again out the passenger window, and sure enough, she had the book placed in her left hand while she steered with the right. What, was she late to a book club meeting? Late returning the book to the public library?

Now I’m sure ladies that those romance novels are very good and very hard to put down, but come on, reading behind the wheel, get a grip! Joe and Sara will still be on the beach, or in bed, or breaking up, or killing each other when you get home! Wonder now if she is married to one of those idiots driving without their lights on. Things that make you go: DHHHHH!!

4. Cell phones and the grocery store.

Now this one really chaps my hide. So I’m in the local grocery store over the weekend, getting stuff to make homemade enchiladas, YES people I cook, and NO my family has not gotten sick from eating it, and this man was talking on his cell phone backing up traffic in the aisle I was on.

Now first, this man was as loud as one of those kids you see spinning on the store floor crying and screaming or throwing their arms around because they didn’t get that box of cereal or candy bar, yelling at the person on the other end because apparently he had forgotten the grocery list at home and wasn’t sure what to buy or what brand.

Second, he's in the middle of the isle, and there were probably three people ahead of my cart who couldn’t get by, because they weren’t sure of his next move, and there were people backed up in the opposite direction looking and shaking their heads at him.

Finally a 6’4, 300 pound man came around the corner, gave the man what I would call a look of, 'if you don’t move now I’m going to plant you there,' and he moved over to one side, so we all could get by him. We waited for the other side to go first so big boy could get by. I wanted to shake his hand and thank him, but he also had the look of I hate to go shopping so get the heck out of my way.

I ran into this idiot two more times, and this has happened to me more than once at the local Wal-Mart. These people are like a bad headache, annoying and a pain in my ass. Now I understand that there are emergencies where a call needs to be placed from the store, like when the wife and teenage daughter sends you to the store to embarrass you because she forgot tampons when she was at the store just an hour earlier. Guys you know what I’m talking about!

Or if you child calls with an emergency, those calls are just fine. They are usually quick and to the point. But being on the phone the whole time you're in the store, or holding people up because you aren’t bright enough to push a cart and talk on the phone, or you haven’t mastered the art of talking in an indoor voice, is ridiculous! Things that make you go: DUHHHHH!

5. The Salem Airport.

Someone please explain to me the rationale behind the Salem City Council and Mayor Janet Taylor voting on Tuesday to apply for a $4.75 million ODOT Connect Oregon II grant to improve and expand the airport’s terminal and runways.

Let’s all be realistic, Delta WILL leave Salem, the only question is when. Flights are WAY over priced for the AVERAGE Salem resident.

Example: Roundtrip flight for two adults on Delta from Salem to Phoenix, Arizona leaving December 20th and returning on December 27th: $1,186.18.

Now let’s compare that to Portland:

Southwest Airlines: $941.40 United: $871.20 Alaska: $840.40

Now parking in Salem is free, but still if you paid for the Alaska flight, drove to PDX and used their new VALET parking service for the seven days you would save $95.78. Use their economy lot and save $297.78. Take the Hut Shuttle and save $205.78, pay a friend or relative to take you to and from the airport for say $100 for gas, save yourself $245.78. This is all information the city and the Chamber of Commerce doesn't want you the public to know or research before you fly because then it's hasta la vista Delta.

Now I’m sure even someone with a 6th grade education can see that flying out of Salem is a RIP-OFF, and won’t last, unless the city keeps buying up seats on the planes and wasting taxpayer dollars. Second, nobody wants to travel to or through Salt Lake City. The Chamber of Commerce survey before Delta even announced they were coming to town found that more citizens and business owners would pay to go to Las Vegas, Seattle, or San Francisco then Salt Lake City, which I believe didn’t even make the top 15.

So the city has spent some $1 million dollars renovating the old terminal, and now wants more money to expand it, money allocated for the runways for safety I understand. As a taxpayer, if the state gives Salem a dime for airport terminal expansion on the assumption that another airline will come, then I want those idiots at ODOT replaced.

And what about the new ads on Comcast that have a motivational speaker trying to tell you to Fly Salem?? If you need that type of advertising, doesn’t that tell you something? Plus the fact she is not that motivated in the ad, acts fake, and looks like she just slammed into the back of an Avon/Mary Kay truck.

Look, Salem has one of the best airports in the state for private and corporate aircraft, but commercial service, NO WAY!! Even Eugene is a better bet. If Salem gets the money and spends it, then Delta pulls out, and we have an empty terminal, the Mayor and City Council along with Salem Airport Administrator Alan Alexander should be forced to wear Delta barf bags over their heads during city council meetings for misleading the public and wasting taxpayer dollars. Don’t we NEED to find grant money for more cops, better city streets, and money to grow the downtown core area?? Things that make you go: DUHHHHH!!

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Tim King December 9, 2007 4:46 pm (Pacific time)

You know Aaron, you only represent a small part of the pie here, most Salem residents will never use the service. Kevin did not grossly misstate any facts but he was berated recently by city and airport employees on the telephone for this article which raises MANY significant points. One person at the airport blocked a phone call from Kevin when he was trying to reach the airport director, so that opens things way up when the source of a story takes that attitude, it implies among other things that they may have something to hide. It seems the local paper is ignoring the obvious. You can follow a simple trail on that one.

So, since people are choosing to behave this way, unprofessionally, then we'll take our gloves off too.

My opening experience with the Salem airport was trying in vain to get simple information about a B-17 that was visiting for a news story. Every attempt, every message I left on an airport person's phone, went unanswered, unreturned. That has been a few years ago, but the memory remains. I don't know how things are today, but it seems the place needs far more transparency. They need to send out media releases to all but their chosen few. For that matter, city hall could do the same thing, it would be fitting for a professional city.

Kevin has EVERY right to have written this story and the fact that he illustrates so clearly how vast the cost difference can be really bugs the select few who support the city's politics. That is fine, but don't think we'll be cowed by bullish comments left on stories, or employees paid by our tax dollars who refuse to put phone calls through, some people may have to learn the hard way that when you have reporters calling, you have to deal with it, or suffer the consequences of being totally unrepresented in a story. Much to the disappointment of Aaron I'm sure, we will publish any story we see fit that is critical of our government, that is our job.

As far as a price comparison; here is one that I located and evaluated today.

We're comparing Delta's Salem service to Salt Lake City to flights in Portland, an hour's drive away. These are for the EXACT same dates, 12-23-07 to 12-30-07 for all airlines mentioned.

Delta states "From $469.00 round trip" for an adult flying and returning on those dates.

Southwest charges $206 for Business Select and $191 for business.

United Airlines states on their site: Roundtrip price per adult: USD 465.60, then below that it states "Price found as low as USD 359.60"

Alaska/Horizon Air charges "$418.20 total"

The Southwest rate obviously would save a person a great deal over the Salem flight, while the others are closer in price. But this still shows a savings in excess of $250 and that is a lot of money for most people. There are good and bad things going on in Salem's city government, but flights for the rich and mediocre call center facilities, along with as much WalMart as possible, has left this capitol city more unsure of its own identity than ever before.

Aaron December 9, 2007 3:54 pm (Pacific time)

Kevin, your perspective on the viability of Salem's air service is not only very short-sighted, but incorrect and misleading. Interesting how you picked the 7 most expensive days of the year for your PDX vs SLE fare comparison.. I fly this route all the time as a business traveler and can tell you you're wrong- I only pay $50-$100 more to use Salem to connect thru SLC; and my time and frustration (versus using PDX) are worth far more than that. Your inference that the service won't last is not based on fact, as the planes are nearly full or 100% full every flight. In addition to the possible expansion by Delta, another airline is also considering adding service next year..

Henry Ruark November 17, 2007 8:39 am (Pacific time)

To all: Forgot to put on record here that my wife, BCR, now deceased, was employed at the S-J in various capacities during some of the years so well covered in CHAIN GANG.

isuggest November 16, 2007 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

I AM NOT ANGRY - DAMMIT (now that's humor)

Henry Ruark November 16, 2007 6:12 am (Pacific time)

Truth, presented as humor or "straight" always brings anger back from some --clearly well demonstrated here. Hang in there, Kevin ! The ability to be angry AND then write rationally about why is one component of all serious journalism. Major content here going to heart of truth is distortions of news-handling at S-J, very common where monopoly has been manipulated from strong family ownership down to one-paper "take or leave" situation for business' most essential need: Advertising demanded for consumer contact. For Gannett's Salem record and following national history "see also": THE CHAIN GANG: One Newspaper verus the Gannett Empire"; by Richard McCord.(1996: still widely used in jrnlsm course-work.) ISBN 0-8262-1375-8. His book details what "dirty tricks" happened to "Community Press" and how it was done, with damages to community, all business advertisers, general consumers, and state, setting pattern for further actions in other states, documented in the book. STILL highly pertinent while this monopoly-source for that business blood-component -- advertising to consumer-- still prevails here regardless of the record.

Neal Feldman November 15, 2007 11:47 pm (Pacific time)

Much of this is correct and all quite funny, but I disagree with some and like to add omissions - On the airport it is not a ripoff. It is much easier to fly in and out of salem plus if we want convntion business we need to have the attendees able to come right here. The diff in price is much preferrable to the annoyance and aggravation of having to drive up to pdx and all the rest of the assorted bs... even the hut hits traffic, little or none in the air. Some fares will be better some worse so cavet emptor. In the store the duhhh items - folks who hold up the line arguing that the person in front of them has 21 items in the 15 item line because they have one bag of ten apples and the apples should, to this nitwit, each count as a separate item. Pure genius. Or the folks who step on a loaf of bread or drop a peach and then pick it up and put it back with the rest. Or the folks to keep their brat in the seat quiet take a bunch of graopes and give it to the kid to happily munch on... who pays for those? Or the instructions on the box of frozen pizza saying cook before serving (no duh huh?) or even better telling you that when removed from the oven the thing may be hot. MAY be hot? If the oven is working it damn well better BE hot or there is something wrong with ther oven. Humans are a stupid breed sometimes. You just have to laugh. I would like to see upon entering a srtpre an area with ball gags and straitjackets for kids who cannot behave. Leave them there and pick up like you coat when you leave. Yje shopping experience will be much improved. Or here is an idea... pay the $6 and get a sitter and leave the little darlings HOME! Sheesh! Ah well.

isuggest November 15, 2007 7:34 pm (Pacific time)

Matt - you are just plain wrong - I care very much about traffic safety. The reason why it is important for penalties to not be excessive is that, when they are, the result is less safe roads because enforcement and other safety related resources are being misused - and those resources are limited. It is unclear from your post whether you were saying that you thought that I was angry, but if that is the case, then you are wrong about that too. I hope you don't turn the tables after reading the following comment because I am not a writer and I am not perfect and I know that grammer and syntax are not high priorities on the forum, but you might want to consider how "I suggest to isuggest being just a little nicer, as your own anger obviously rises to the top easily,and is thinly veiled here. Is that somewhat hypocritical, don't you think?" would read better as; "I suggest to isuggest that he could be a little nicer, as his own anger obviously rises to the top easily. Don't you think that is somewhat hypocritical?"

Matt Johnson November 15, 2007 7:02 pm (Pacific time)

Kevin, I know your skin is thick and insults come every time a piece like this is published, but I think you make many good points and they are not lost on the readers, in spite of the reaction of some. I think "isuggest" is probably one of those people who doesn't see driving as a life and death matter. Unlike you, he probably hasn't had to cover countless fatal crashes, so I agree that taking it with a grain of salt is the best way to go. I suggest to isuggest being just a little nicer, as your own anger obviously rises to the top easily, and is thinly veiled here. Is that somewhat hypocritical, don't you think? Just thoughts from another reporter, a thing called empathy.

isuggest November 15, 2007 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

Must you all make things so personal. Can you not stick to the issues without resorting to childish name calling and inuendo? I do not personally know Kevin so I have to take what he says at face value. There was nothing at all humorous about his suggestions - if that was his attempt at humor, he should stick to serious writing - Dave Barry he is not. As far as my relationship with the SJ, you can review previous posts under "isuggest". My criticisms of Dick Hughes and the editorial board have been not only well thought out and clearly expressed, but also quite scathing. You know, when you criticize others while being unable to accept criticism yourselves, then you become just as dogmatic and reactionary as those whom you criticize.

Where are the Delta Supporters??? November 15, 2007 5:02 pm (Pacific time)

Hey where are all the supporters of Delta in Salem???? What is Kevin's stuff so true that they are wondering if the public will read this and when Delta leaves and the money has been wasted we taxpayers will make them wear the barf-bags??

Dale Corvallis November 15, 2007 4:58 pm (Pacific time)

isuggest - you don't seem to care about the lady he and his wife saw reading while driving. Should she have to re-take the test. And what about the stateman?? Do you find those stories have some truth to them?? My god I know this reporter and I know for sure that he is not serious just making a good point.

isuggest 2 November 15, 2007 4:54 pm (Pacific time)

isuggest you get back to work at the statesman.

isuggest November 15, 2007 4:44 pm (Pacific time)

Yes - I really think he does want that. And that is just plain dumb. I attended a state commission safety meeting recently and some of the ideas submitted for legislative consideration were also extreme. This mind set of taking extreme countermeasures for minor offenses ultimately creates special problems in and of themselves. An example is the 20 MPH school zone law which was reversed this year.

Dale Corvallis November 15, 2007 4:35 pm (Pacific time)

isuggest - come on do you really think he wants that. Learn how to read something with a grain of salt. I think his point is to make sure you lights are on at night before you start driving.

isuggest November 15, 2007 4:15 pm (Pacific time)

If we want this online platform to have meaning and impact, we should limit our discussions to legitimate complaints and make rational suggestions for improvements, when warranted. Kevin states that he would like to see people caught without headlights on be forced to re-take driver's tests. Come on - does anyone really think that is a good idea - should every minor traffic offense results in compulsory re-testing? I love this forum, but the articles, of late, have become less thoughtful. I suggest that, when writing while angry, the authors set aside their comments for later self editing before submission.

Pat November 15, 2007 4:12 pm (Pacific time)

I have a suggestion on the headlights. I always turn mine on automatically, day or night. The weather here is so unpredictable. Even when it's sunny, if it is sunrise or sunset in your eyes, it is hard to see a car coming at you without it's lights on. I'd rather be seen! And while we're talking about driving and lights, I'd like to mention a pet peeve of mine, one that should also be automatic: Using your signals when you change lanes or turn a corner!! You shouldn't have to think about using them or not using them - it should be an automatic reaction when you think about turning! Isn't that why we had to practice driving before getting a license, so that we could establish good habits? Oh, by the way, great article, had a good chuckle!

Mary South Salem November 15, 2007 1:23 pm (Pacific time)

isuggest - Have you ever driven on Sunnyside Road out south at night??? It's NOT well lit at all. And you must be a moron because how can you forget to turn your lights on?? What can't tell from your dashboard of you car?? And who says this reporter is angry?? This is pretty funny and good information. Get a life.

isuggest November 15, 2007 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

Something that makes me go Duhh is the hiring of reporters that are petty and angry and not very thoughtful - who are sometimes unfair and careless - and who lose perspective and understanding - I forgot to turn my lights on the other night (the roadway lights were so bright that I could not tell right away) - it was a minor mistake that only the most self-righteous narcissist could get truly upset about.

Kevin Hays November 15, 2007 10:52 am (Pacific time)

Sorry Amy about shopping at Wal-Mart just trying to be an Honest reporter.

deedeedee November 15, 2007 10:42 am (Pacific time)

So hard to do "teasing" in an email, isn't it? I for one am glad you watchdog. I want to clarify that the most important part of my posting (to me anyway) was the "Loved the story".

Amy Lodholz November 15, 2007 10:29 am (Pacific time)

I agree with most of these things that annoy you; I only wanted to point out that there is NOTHING local about Walmart. Shame on you for shopping there: DUHHHHHH

deedeedee November 15, 2007 10:24 am (Pacific time)

When giving another news source a hard time, when giving readers a hard time, etc.;one might make sure they've proofed their copy. *wink* From the front page: Hundreds were evacuated from West Salem High School tonight just before 7:00 AM,

And a question about your article: is an isle in a grocery store different than an aisle?

Loved the story btw. :-)

Editor: Any mistakes were my fault, not Kevin's. Please bear in mind that Kevin and I only have a couple of people helping us with the news, it is really a small team, so we apologize for the errors and appreciate your understanding. It is a serious case of David and Goliath revisited, and we are far less than perfect ourselves. Still, I think it is important to mention these things and if nobody watchdogs the SJ here, then I fear nobody will at all. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Dalia November 15, 2007 9:25 am (Pacific time)

Salem needs to hear this... as hard as it may be. I have to admit it is entertaining

Dale Corvallis November 15, 2007 6:43 am (Pacific time)

Maybe Bill Church should be forced by Gannett to hold that sign you have as punishment for months of fake news postings

Angie from Keizer November 15, 2007 6:34 am (Pacific time)

Thank god a reporter can tell the truth and tell it like it is. I was on Lancaster Drive last night at around 6 p-m and I saw a sheriff's deputy driving with his lights off. And Delta straight and too the point, and i'm calling an cancelling my s-j subscription today. If they can't get it right on the net, then it's more than likely wrong in the paper. I hope this column continues.

Mike Portland November 15, 2007 6:15 am (Pacific time)

This is so right on and laugh out loud funny. Brought a smile to my face on this gloomy and rainy day.

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