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by Inlander Staff & r & Log On and Flame On & r & The plan: To drive across the country (and back!) with her 79-year-old mother to visit relatives in New England. The car: an Olds 98 known as "the Wyoming cowboy car." The timeframe: from now to late September. The personal goals: To be patient with Mom; not to gape at the cousins' kids; to check out funky diners and old-timey gas stations; and to send back photos from the road along with near-daily posts.


That's the plan for one of The Inlander's two new writer blogs, anyway. Ann Colford will be advertising the quirks of her American road trip at & lt;a href= "http://annstravels.blogspot.com " & Ann's Travels & lt;/a & for the next several weeks, while our staff writer Bobo the Theater Ho (that's his actual name; his nom de plume is Michael Bowen) also has going a blog focused on local theater at & lt;a href= "http://stagethrust.blogspot.com " & Stage Thrust & lt;/a & . It'll offer commentary, news, gossip and -- starting this Saturday -- same-night reviews of plays opening in the Spokane area.





Oh, Officer, I've Been Naughty & r & If you're dining at Red Robin this Saturday and your server suddenly whips out handcuffs and secures you to your chair, it's all in a good cause.


Not that -- charity: Those will be local cops slinging burgers your way, and the "tips" you favor them with will not only benefit Special Olympics Washington, they'll get you a bit of extra attention from that wonderful man in blue.





Unhand That Puppet! & r & The Department of Homeland Security, in its never-ceasing quest to keep all Americans not only safe but also bent over double with laughter, has frozen the financial assets of an organization widely suspected of terrorist activities, the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild.


Not that there's much in the marionette men's bank account. Still, there's no telling what weapons might be concealed inside your average Muppet.





Our Attention Has No Span & r & As for the new Amazon Shorts -- downloadable 49 & cent; mini-books available from Seattle's e-commerce behemoth -- you could buy Danielle Steel's "Candy for the Soul" or Terry Brooks' "Why I Write About Elves." Or, for not much more, you could just buy a couple of Snickers bars -- and during the ensuing sugar high, imagine all the little gnomes and dwarves you want.