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February 28  |  
First they took our basketball team. Now they take our elephants. The Woodland Park Zoo announced Friday that it will send its two Asian elephants, Bamboo and Chai, to the Oklahoma City Zoo so they can be part of a larger social herd.

Let's get one thing straight. There is absolutely no truth whatsoever to tweeted rumors that former NBA Commissioner David Stern brokered the deal. Because if he had, we'd be sending the stuffed and mounted remains of Bobo...

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February 27  |  
The McMansion is back: Forget all the talk about not-so-big houses and walkable urban communities. The median square footage of homes built in 2014 was nearly 1,000 square feet larger than in 1992, and they're being built in ever-sprawling suburbs (Page A9).

America's houses are getting so big and far-flung that before you know it, cars will be needed not only for all errands outside the home, but inside it, too.

Who cooks for you...

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February 26  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
We're going to need a bigger boat: State wildlife officials believe a great white shark following a warm current may have come close to shore near Ocean Shores, after a harbor seal was found bitten in half.

The other clue was the ominous soundtrack that follows the shark: Dun. Dun. ... Dun. Dun. ... Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun.

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February 25  |  

Watch out for stretch Hummers: Alaska on Tuesday became the third state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, but unlike Colorado and Washington, the Last Frontier celebrated in low-key fashion.

Backers of legal weed wanted to avoid raucous parties that might have sent a negative message about marijuana — especially after they were crashed by the Palin family.

Watch your wig: General Motors is recalling...

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February 24  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Lies good like Big Tobacco would: America's largest tobacco companies are asking a court to set aside its requirement that they run ads that admit they lied about the dangers of smoking. They told the court they don't want to pay for ads that brand them as liars.

The court compromised and said they could use the following slogans instead: "I'd walk a mile for a chemo...

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February 23  |  
Rolling alongMore likely, not: Snohomish County residents spend more time in our cars than anybody else in the state, according to a recent state survey (Street Smarts, Page A3).In fact, celebrity traffic on the red carpet before Sunday’s Academy Awards (Page A2) moved a lot faster than typical weekday rush-hour traffic on northbound I-5 through Everett.

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February 21  |  
There's a fly in my soup: Chefs and food scientists at Le Cordon Bleu simmered, sauted and grilled insects in a research program called "Edible Insects in a Gastronomic Context."

The bug cookery could open a new gastronomic frontier. It also might prove especially handy and economical for those restaurants that can source their product from the kitchen floor.

Short subject: Can't wait until Sunday evening's Academy Awards telecast? A show called...

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February 20  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Better get that looked at: A new book, "The Bigfoot Contagion," launches what's supposed to be the latest teen trilogy. Like the "Twilight" trilogy of books and movies, "Contagion" features plucky teens in Forks, this time trying to figure out why people are turning into Sasquatches.

In the end, the Sasquatches turn out to be thick-bearded hipsters...

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February 19  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Oliver's hardy in his show: HBO has picked up two more seasons of John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight," ending any thoughts that he might return to Comedy Central following Jon Stewart's announcement that he will leave "The Daily Show" this year.

Which means that if disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams is still interested in doing a "fake news" show,...

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February 18  |  
It's not easy to be green dept.: Parents, if you trade in your children's car seats at retailers, chances are the seats will wind up in a landfill.

And that's a shame for the planet, since most of the crumbs, snack residue and miscellaneous gack that fill the seats' nooks and crannies are totally biodegradeable.

Enshrined: The museum that houses the National Toy Hall of Fame is creating the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

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February 17  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Take two dogs and call an ambulance: An Oregon man who suffered a heart attack credits his dogs, a German shepherd and a lab, with saving his life because they licked his face until paramedics arrived and kept him alert.

So, if you feel a heart attack coming on, along with taking an aspirin, doctors also advise that you find two dogs and cover your face with peanut butter.

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February 16  |  
Remedial driver's education: How roundabouts work are explained for something like the 148th time in Street Smarts history, but The Buzz can spell things out in a single sentence: Approaching vehicles always yield to traffic on the left already in the circle.

And now, a single sentence on a somewhat related matter: If you're doing 70 in the left lane on I-5 north of Smokey Point, move the #!%# over.

Surfing the vast cultural wasteland: Season 14 of "The...

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February 14  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Batteries not included: The Valentine's Day debut of "Fifty Shades of Grey" is expected to drive up orders for sex toys. "People are really demanding the official branded ‘Fifty Shades' items," said one retailer.

Among the more popular items is the "Fifty Shades" big floppy hat and trench coat with wide flip-up lapels that allow movie-goers to...

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February 13  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Don't turn your back on a Roomba: The world's biggest robot makers say they have improved the safety features for their robots, such as those that weld vehicle frames in automobile factories. Using better sensors, the robots can tell when a human is near and can avoid harming workers.

Of course, that's what the robots want you to think.

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February 12  |  
One-armed bandits to get makeover: Vegas hopes to lure young adults to Sin City by turning the casinos' traditional cash cows, Grandma's slot machine, into edgy video games that appeal to millennials while remaining, of course, cash cows (Page A10).

And they'll surely succeed, since there's absolutely no evidence that the famous dictum, "There's a sucker born every minute," was somehow null and void during the 1980s.


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February 11  |  
Dinner and a showWait, Wait, Don’t Eat Me: A new theater game, “Trapped in a Room With a Zombie,” puts people in a room with an actor portraying a member of the living dead, chained to the wall. Participants have to solve a series of puzzles as the zombie slowly comes closer. Don’t complete the puzzles and the zombie eats (Page D6).

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February 10  |  
What will Fidel binge-watch? Thanks to the recent thaw in diplomatic relations with the U.S., Netflix is now available in Cuba to anybody who has broadband Internet access and can afford the $8 monthly fee (Page A7).

In this case, "anybody" means the Castro family, the Castro family's close friends, national baseball team members who haven't yet defected, and Canadian embassy staff.

Channel-surfing the vast cultural wasteland: Tuesday's episode of...

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February 9  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Why do you think they call it a "belt"? Online ticket seller Fandango says advance sales for Friday's release of "Fifty Shades of Grey," the feature film based on the popular novel about a sadomasochistic relationship, have been surprisingly strong in several of the Bible Belt states.

And no, we're not buying the excuse that they all thought "Fifty Shades...

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February 7  |  
Chopper ride to career oblivion? NBC will launch a formal investigation into false statements made by Brian Williams about his reporting in Iraq in 2003. The mess has become a career-threatening scandal for the star anchorman, whose only previous black mark was his actress daughter's performance as "Peter Pan."

In Williams' defense, the most trusted name in TV news these days is a guy who does fake news: Jon Stewart of "The Daily...

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February 6  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Making a mountain out of a molehill: Both of Alaska's Republican U.S. senators are proposing to change Mount McKinley's name to Denali, honoring its traditional native Athabascan name, "the Great One," instead of for the slain 25th U.S. president.

That nonchalant whistling you just heard was coming from the grave of naval officer Peter Rainier Jr., who fought for the...

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February 5  |  
Painful memories: Everyone's still talking about the goal line interception, but Herald Writer John Boyle points out a half-dozen other plays that cost the Seahawks dearly at Super Bowl XLIX.

Caution, rabid Hawk fans: Side effects of reading Boyle's piece may include postgame stress disorder, salt in open sores syndrome and uncontrollable weeping every time you catch sight of a "12" flag on a passing car.

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February 4  |  
Free-market solutions: A U.S. senator from North Carolina says the government should not order restaurants to make their employees wash their hands after using the toilet. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-Don't Shake His Hand, does think restaurants whose workers don't wash their hands should "post a sign" to alert their customers.

And here's what that sign should say: Pardon our E.coli; it's the germ of freedom.


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February 3  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Game over: Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll defended the decision to call a goal-line pass play in the final seconds of the Super Bowl, a pass that was intercepted by New England and foiled a nearly certain Seahawk win.

"It worked flawlessly every time we tried it playing ‘Madden NFL 15' on the Xbox the night before," Carroll said.

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January 31  |  
Fantasy football 7, Productivity 0: The Washington Legislature is poised to decide whether fantasy football is a game of chance — and therefore gambling — or a game of skill.

Of course it's a game of skill. One needs excellent peripheral vision to see the boss walking your way, followed by a deft hand on the mouse to quickly switch from your fantasy football site to a spreadsheet titled "1st Quarter Sales by Category."

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January 30  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Everybody reboot: A magnitude 2.8 quake rattled Redmond, the home of Microsoft. One man at a winery told a TV station that it felt like a big truck rumbling by.

The man knew it was an earthquake, and not a truck, because the biggest vehicle in Redmond is a Toyota Prius V. With a bike rack.

Channel-surfing the vast cultural...

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January 29  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Don't forget to order the undercoating: The U.S. Air Force has announced the replacement for the current aircraft used as Air Force One: Boeing's 747-8. Delivery could happen as early as 2018.

Hopefuls have already contacted Boeing with their preferences. Jeb Bush wants a big "45" painted on the side of the plane, next to a smaller "41" and a "43" for...

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January 28  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Deflect and deflate: Famously a man of very few words, at least with the media, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch complied with an NFL order to participate in Tuesday's Super Bowl Media Day. Lynch answered every reporter's question with the same response: "I'm just here so I won't get fined."

The NFL ought to just take what it can get from Lynch. At least he didn't...

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January 27  |  
Putin calls for steal-y resolve: The Standard & Poor’s rating agency has downgraded Russia’s credit grade to junk status, amid a slide in the country’s currency and weakening revenue from oil exports.

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January 26  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Don't quit your day jobs: Al Pacino and Bob Dylan are looking back a bit wistfully, ruminating over what they might have done with their lives if they hadn't been the legends in acting and music, respectively, that they are. Pacino said he would have made a good short order cook. Dylan would have been a history teacher.

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January 24  |  
Hey, wait a minute — they drink wine in North Carolina? More than $300,000 of elite wine stolen from the famed French Laundry restaurant in California's Napa Valley has been found in a private wine cellar in North Carolina.

The cache of prized vintages migh never have been located had the alleged thieves remembered to camouflage it with a protective layer of Two-Buck Chuck and Yellow Tail Shiraz.

Happy motoring: For the...

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