Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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December 15, 2014 at 3:57pm

Merry Singles in Tacoma

Doug Fur and Holly Day are looking for love. Photos courtesy of jayray.com

Coming up with a fun, creative and festive Christmas card is not always an easy task. Leave it to the professionals at JayRay, a branding, advertising and strategic communications firm in Tacoma, to develop a website dedicated solely to sending holiday cheer.

Launched Dec. 10, www.merry.singles is a dating website parody and the firm's virtual holiday card.

"It's a JayRay hallmark to send out fun holiday greetings, and this year we decided to focus on engagement," said the firm's co-owner and president, Kathleen Deakins. "Our business, just like in dating, is all about increasing engagement. So we thought it would be fun to use the various marketing tools that we use for our clients. There was a direct mail piece, there's our website and there's social media, to see if we could get some engagement going for our ‘holi-dating' site."

The "dating site" features just four available singles looking for love: Ru Dolph, Candi Cane, Doug Fur and Holly Day. Each has a profile complete with pictures, personality traits and of course, a call to action. Candi Cane, for instance, is listed as an exotic model who likes aged red wine and six packs. Mountain Man Doug Fur - a "tall drink of water with a powerful thirst" - likes fishing and Duck Dynasty. Ru Dolph posts, "those who think they can yank on my reins need not respond. If you're ready to make a dash for love, we'll go down in history (pinky promise)."

It's all in good fun - but it's also for a good cause. Visitors to the website can vote for their favorite merry single on Facebook through Jan. 5. One lucky voter will score a $50 Visa gift card, and JayRay will donate another $50 to the charity of the model who garners the most votes.

Each model has his or her own designated charity: Votes for Ru Dolph will benefit the Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County; Candi Cane voters will help Community Health Care; Doug Fur fans will help support Washington's National Park Fund and Holly Days voters will support Citizens for a Healthy Bay.

"There's a competition going among our models, who are also promoting it among their websites and friends, and we are watching the votes add up," Deakins said. "This has been the most successful project like this we've ever been involved in. We (had nearly) 500 likes, shares and comments in the first 48 hours."

Most people can appreciate the sentiment and the dating-site parody, she added. However, "we have found that some IT systems are blocking it," Deakins said, "which we thought was very funny. If this happens to you, you can reach the site by using the jayray.com website."

While JayRay normally does something "wacky and fun" for the holidays for its friends and clients, this year the firm wanted to spread the cheer a little further.

"The news can be sort of depressing, and it's nice to have an opportunity to do something fun," Deakins said. "We wish everyone a happy holidays."

JayRay has been in Tacoma since 1970. The firm works with a variety of nonprofit, business and government organizations in the South Sound and around the country. For more information, visit www.jayray.com.

Filed under: Business, Tacoma, Benefits,

December 10, 2014 at 7:36am

5 Things To Do Today: Maia Santell Holiday Show, Directors' Lab, Drinks For Lynx ...

Maia Santell and House Blend perform their annual holiday show at Jazzbones tonight. Courtesy photo

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10 2014 >>>

1. Northwest jazz and blues singer Maia Santell and her backing band House Blend perform their annual holiday concert and dance at 7:30 p.m. in Jazzbones. Santell is a descendant of Seattle's Jackson Street era of jazz and swing. House Blend instrumentalists include John Beach on tenor saxophone, Jeff Ziontz on guitar, Mike Slivka on drums and presenting the newest addition to the band, bassist Derick Polk, from Chicago. The band's repertoire includes jazz, blues, swing, Latin, rhythm and blues and holiday favorites such as Charles Brown's "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home For Christmas," Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby," Nancy Wilson's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and Mel Torme's classic, "The Christmas Song," to name a few.

2. Apologize: This happens Friday, Dec. 12: Azarra Salon & Wine hosts its biggest wine tasting of the year - the Holiday Sparkling Wine Tasting at 5:30 p.m. Bring your friends and celebrate the holidays at the salon/wine shop while picking the perfect bubbles for your own celebrations in December.

3. The ParkWay Tavern will host Drinking for Conservation's "Drinks for Lynx" night. Fifty cents of every beer, cider and wine sold between 6 and 10 p.m. at the will go to help Conservation Northwest protect the lynx. DFC donates to organizations with missions the committee believes in - helping animals and the environment.

4. Apologize: This happens Friday, Dec. 12: Something about this time of year - it makes plaid cool. It makes bagpipes cool. Pale, hairy, muscular men in skirts with no underwear? Too far? Because tonight is the annual Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide Concert, reuniting the Boulding and Raney families' three generations of musicians and dancers. Hear (and see) the pipes, drums and whistles; see (and hear) the dancing of the Tara Academy Irish Dancers, not to mention the incredible voices these two families have honed over the years. It goes down at 7:30 p.m. inside the Urban Grace Church.

5. University of Puget Sound Theater Department matches scenes from six plays with student directors and actors in its Directors' Lab series at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton Clapp Theatre in Jones Hall. Six scenes run the gamut from dramatic to absurd. There is classic mythology involving dangerous street kids, a slice-of-life set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century, a man worries his wife is becoming a bag lady, an exploration of unknowability of love and the mysteries of science, a husband brings his wife to meet the family for the first time, and a moral play that takes an honest look at the issues of commitment and fidelity in today's world. It's a festival of scenes.

LINK: Wednesday, Dec. 10 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

December 6, 2014 at 9:33am

5 Things To Do Today: Shotgun Kitchen on Ice, crime writers, big band Christmas, The Valley hard opening ...

Shotgun Kitchen perform at the Polar Plaza Ice Rink in downtown Tacoma from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. Watch for free, ice skate for $4-$8. Courtesy photo

SATURDAY, DEC. 6 2014

1. An almost too obvious entry point for the kind of satirical Americana of Shotgun Kitchen would be their spiritual forefather, John Prine. Expect stories about white-trash-living and country-road-dying performed with appealingly outlaw country-ish instrumentation and vocals while ice skating to the band's live performance at the Polar Plaza ice rink in downtown Tacoma from 7-9 p.m. The music is free; it's $4-$8 to ice skate.

2. Five acclaimed Puget Sound regional writers of mysteries, thrillers and chillers will sneak in the downtown Tacoma Main Library's back door at 1 p.m. to discuss about their books, the art of crime writing and their favorite authors. The authors include William Dietrich, Elizabeth George, Bharti Kirchner, Mike Lawson and Bernadette Pajer. The five authors are all members of the Seattle 7 Writers - a nonprofit collective of Pacific Northwest authors whose mission is to foster and support a passion for the written word. 

3. There's no doubt that the annual Beautiful Angle Holiday Party and Poster Sale is an event Tacoma has come to know and love. Going down at 7 p.m. in the Diane Hansen Studio (747 Fawcett Street, Suite B), the event will be a, well, beautiful exposition of everything Tacoma's underground-legend guerilla arts project is all about. If you're not on the Beautiful Angle train yet, see what you've been missing. Sporty Lee will be providing the music. Expect Grit City Beer. And you'll have the opportunity to buy a poster or two while meeting BA artists Lance Kagey and Tom Llewellyn. All the proceeds of this year’s poster sale go to "Tacoma Warhol" to help get the Andy Warhol flower on the Tacoma Dome. It's a win-win.

4. We've given Rich Wetzel a lot of love over the years, not only because he's a groovy guy, but because he's always playing a gig worth mentioning. Tonight is no exception as Wetzel and his Groovin' Higher Jazz Orchestra bring their annual jazzy holiday to Tacoma Community College at 7:30 p.m. Trumpeter Wetzel sets up chairs for what seems like 59 musicians for a night of swinging renditions of Christmas classics, featuring singers Steve Stefanowicz and Sunny Jo Loudin.

5. True, blue Tacomans likely already have the date circled on their calendar, or programmed into their smart phone, or scrawled on the back of their hand in sharpie. The Valley Pub celebrates its "hard opening" Saturday with CFA, Sun Giants, Stereo Creep and Infinite Flux. Cody Foster, bassist and singer with the high octane CFA, put the show together, welcoming new and improved Valley Pub to the Tacoma Dome neighborhood, and offering a chance for CFA guitarist Dave Takata to show off his new fashion. Foster says this will be the last CFA show of the year as the band needs to hammer down on the new album, although a new song will blast into tonight's show, as well as a cover of Fear's sentimental Christmas song. The free celebratory show is certain to scare the Dickens of out those waiting to board an Amtrak train down the street.

LINK: Saturday, Dec. 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

November 26, 2014 at 11:41am

Words & Photos: Operation: Turkey Drop at JBLM and Camp Murray

Participants of Operation: Turkey Drop unload a dozen birds in front of the 446th Airlift Wing on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 25. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Operation: Turkey Drop program, now in its eighth year, helps check off meals from servicemembers' holiday checklists.

Servicemembers from a variety of active and National Guard units began receiving turkeys from the program Nov. 25 across Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray, offering relief from the financial burdens of holiday expenses.

"Last year, one brigade had the recipient families' onsite to collect their turkeys," said Carlene Joseph, president of the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter for the Association of the United States Army. "It was very heartwarming to meet these families and to see how appreciative they were."

These types of heartwarming memories will only continue to grow.

"This year, we plan to distribute about 745 turkeys, compared to last year's 400," Joseph said. "Due to our fundraising efforts, for the first time, we'll be able to expand our outreach to the Air Force and National Guard in Eastern Washington.

"It's very rewarding to show JBLM and Camp Murray just how appreciative our community is of their work," she added. "Operation: Turkey Drop gives some of our local businesses the opportunity to visit and spread good cheer during the holiday season." 

>>> Once again, the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse truck was the command center for Operation: Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray Nov. 25. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Operation: Turkey Drop delivered more than 700 turkeys to servicemembers this year compared to the 400 that were dropped last year. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Operation: Turkey Drop sponsors pose with 446th Airlift Wing staff on JBLM Nov. 25. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Master Sgt. Todd Wivell smiles as he fends of the rain and waits for the 62nd Airlift Wing commander, Col David Kumashiro, to arrive and assist with collecting turkeys for their unit. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> The 62nd Airlift Wing Commander Col. David Kumashiro and Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake show off their birds, after receiving more than a dozen holiday meal turkeys for the 62nd AW. Photo credit: Gary Lott

This program continues to grow with the help of its many sponsors. For example, DaVita has sponsored the program for several years now, and this year it more than doubled its contribution. Also, Northwest Harley-Davidson and Brothers in Arms have hosted a Freedom Ride for five consecutive years.  The amount raised from this year's event was twice what was raised in previous years. Lastly, the Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse has purchased 100 turkeys each year of the program and has provided a "now infamous" box truck that can be seen transporting and delivering the turkeys across JBLM and Camp Murray to various units.  

"The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse recently won a statewide community service award, and one of the deciding factors included their role in Operation: Turkey Drop," Joseph said.

>>> The staff of the Joint Services Support Directorate of the Washington National Guard prepared accompanying holiday meals for the turkeys that were provided by Operation: Turkey Drop. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Deborah Discolo, Washington National Guard's Family Assistance Center coordinator, gives candy to the daughter of Sgt. Phillips during Operation: Turkey Drop on Camp Murray, Nov. 25. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Along with the listed sponsors and dozens more listed below, the various business partners of the Pierce Military and Business Alliance have been incredibly generous by purchasing turkeys for the Washington National Guard and their families.  

This year, Operation: Turkey Drop will also deliver more than 250 turkeys to Fairchild Air Force Base outside of Spokane for the first time in the program's history.

"The AUSA Minuteman subchapter will be coordinating those efforts and will be working with the Washington National Guard's Family Programs Directorate to identify the families," Joseph said. 

Joseph, who volunteers for the program, also works for Harborstone Credit Union, which has been a strong supporter of Operation: Turkey Drop since day one. It also strongly supports both the Air Force Association and the Association of the United States Army.

"Harborstone Credit Union has been with us since day one and has allowed me to coordinate the program since its inception," said Joseph. "Again, with all of these generous supporters, we were able to nearly double our turkey purchases compared to last year."

The program's success has relied upon recurring sponsors, but continues to evolve.

"We have been fortunate enough to have recurring sponsors who seek us out before we can begin the planning process," Joseph said.

If you miss out on the Thanksgiving campaign, the program also conducts Operation: Ham Grenade for the Christmastime season. That holiday meal program is scheduled for Dec. 18.

"It truly is an honor to have you all here doing such a wonderful thing for our service members," said 62nd Airlift Wing Commander Col. David Kumashiro. "This is a good thing, and we are lucky to have all your support throughout the year, and especially during the holidays."

>>> Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Barnes, former CSM for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, smiles in front of 700-plus turkeys. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> This little soldier, dressed like his dad, picked up their complimentary holiday turkey as part of the ongoing program, Operation: Turkey Drop. Photo credit: Gary Lott

SPONSORS FOR OPERATION: TURKEY DROP & OPERATION: HAM GRENADE

DaVita; Northwest Harley-Davidson; Harborstone Credit Union; Brothers in Arms; Caliber Home Loans (formerly known as Cobalt Mortgage); AUSA-Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter; SGT Audie Murphy Club; Navy Federal Credit Union; Auburn Volkswagen; Fixit Auto Body of Gig Harbor; Support America's Armed Forces; and the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club. 

PIERCE MILITARY AND BUSINESS ALLIANCE DONORS

Harborstone Credit Union; The Boeing Company C-17 Program; Support America's Armed Forces; GEICO Local Office; Tactical Tailor; American Lake Credit Union; Cargill and Associates; Lakewood Chamber of Commerce; Pet Brigade; Northwest Airlifter/The Ranger; Lemay-Pierce County Refuse; Patriot's Landing; Cannon Construction Inc.; Saint Martin's University; Northwest Harley-Davidson; Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel; Caliber Home Loans (formerly known as Cobalt Mortgage); RE/MAX; Auburn Volkswagen; Little Caesar's Pizza; American Red Cross-Mount Rainier Chapter; US Family Health Plan; Sumner RV; The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse; Olympic Eagle Distributing; Best Western Premier Plaza Hotel & Conference Center.

November 21, 2014 at 2:10pm

Washington National Guard 2014 Turkey Trot results, bearded woman spotted

Washington National Guard held a "Hunting Gear" themed Turkey Trot at Camp Murray Nov. 21. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Financial stress comes almost as easily as the joy and happiness holidays bring to families. Reducing financial stress was the primary reason dozens of members of the Washington National Guard and Washington Military Department came together this morning at Camp Murray to get some exercise and help provide meals to accompany the turkeys arriving at Murray next week. Operation Turkey Drop provides complimentary holiday turkeys to servicemembers during the Thanksgiving week. The Washington National Guard's Family Programs has been a major recipient for this program and, for the third year in a row, has once again added in all the "fixings" - with the help from their guardsmen. The annual Turkey Trot 5K run for the Washington National Guard encourages all participants to bring a non-perishable food item to the run.

After this morning's run, the Family Programs staff staged bags with the donated food items as "sides" to accompany the forthcoming Operation Turkey Drop turkeys.

"The event is a great way to start Friday off on the right foot and it truly is amazing to see all of the canned goods piling up," said the Turkey Trot's NCOIC and Washington National Guard Suicide Prevention Program manager, Staff Sgt. Adam Zangenberg. "I know the soldiers really enjoyed dressing up in their hunting gear as well."

"Wear Your Favorite Hunting Gear" was this morning's theme - and there were plenty of outfits that weren't hard to miss, even if they did blend in to the scenery. These ongoing themed-runs are a low-pressure way to encourage physical fitness and assist in building the morale of the Washington National Guard.

"There were plenty of smiles from the sergeant majors down to the specialists," said Zangenberg. "I even had one civilian, who retired a while ago, tell me he hasn't ran this long in years."

With plenty of hunting outfits and even a break in the morning rain during the run, the Camp Murray Turkey Trot provided the perfect venue to conduct physical fitness in a fun setting, all for a meaningful cause.

"Military families will get to benefit from all the food collected and even just one can of food makes the run worthwhile," Zangenberg said. "We support our service members throughout the year and this was a great way of saying thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday season."

2014 CAMP MURRAY TURKEY TROT RESULTS

5K around the perimeter of Camp Murray

MALES:

1st: Sgt. 1st Class Sappington - 18:34

2nd: Sgt. 1st Class Rushing - 18:35

3rd: Capt. Goertzen - 20:35

FEMALES:

1st: Sgt. Waponoski

2nd: Sgt, 1st Class Schlueb

3rd: Master Sgt. Bluff

November 21, 2014 at 7:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Jeff Bridges, Adult Swim, Hip-Hop History Jam, Feels ...

Jeff Bridges & the Abiders perform at the Pantages Theater tonight.

FRIDAY, NOV. 21 2014 >>>

1. Sure, you know actor Jeff Bridges from his performances in The Big Lebowski, Starman, the outstanding 2010 remake of True Grit, and so many other unforgettable films. You may also know he won an Oscar for playing country singer Otis "Bad" Blake in 2009's Crazy Heart. It may have slipped your attention, however, that Bridges had already released a solo album under his own name in 2000. He jammed with Kris Kristofferson between takes on Heaven's Gate (1980), an experience that informed his work on Crazy Heart, and sang in the star-studded choir for "We Are the World" a few years later. Crazy Heart included a song called "The Weary Kind," co-written by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett, that also won an Academy Award. Now Burnett has helped Bridges perfect some of his own tunes, plus some from the Crazy Heart score, and take them out on the road, including at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater. As an additional treat for musical locavores, PK Dwyer, esteemed member of The Jitters, opens for Bridges. There are still tickets available!

2. The Copper Door hosts a Movember fundraiser beginning at 6 p.m. For every pint sold, a dollar will be earmarked for The Movember Foundation to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. Expect a raffle with Movember schwag.

3. Close your eyes and imagine a world where children are encouraged to learn about science, instead of being chastised for participating in it. Now imagine you in the same environment with a cocktail in your hand. Hands On Children's Museum presents its last Adult Swim of the year. Find a sitter and head to the museum to explore and play through luminescent, glow-in-the-dark and light-up art and science activities from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Experiment with chemiluminescence, analyze bioluminescence and get your body painted with phosphorescence. Warning: Sometimes cocktails produce interesting chemistry between adults.

4. The 25Z60 (Tacoma/Olympia/Lacey & beyond) chapter of The Universal Zulu Nation is hosting a free party in celebration of Hip-Hop History Month for any and everyone who respects and loves hip-hop. There will be MCs, DJs, B-Boy/Girls and visual arts/graffiti cyphers  at the Hip-Hop History Jam at 8 p.m. in New World VIP Lounge in Lakewood. The Zulu Nation and Temple of Hip-Hop ask all to bring canned food, non-perishables and clothing to redistribute to those in need within our communities.

5. Feels perform upbeat psych-punk befitting their inclusion on Lolipop Records, one of LA's prominent hubs for psychedelia and garage rock. Though there's no official Feels album to date, they are readying the release of a live cassette, which is designed to resemble a bootleg. Nothing could be more fitting than a bootleg for a band meant to be spread around and talked about. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Feels in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with MILK and Wild Berries at 8 p.m. in The New Frontier Lounge.

LINK: Friday, Nov. 21 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

November 20, 2014 at 12:26pm

AUSA and PLU to host JBLM soldiers for Thanksgiving dinner

PLU will host 120 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord for a Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 26. Photo credit: John Froschauer/PLU

The traditions of military Thanksgiving dinners were borne out of necessity. In earlier times when travel options were limited and the continuation of training took precedent over time off, most servicemembers remained on duty during the holidays.
With times of war and overseas duty as exceptions, most military members today are afforded the opportunity to travel home for the holiday and gladly oblige. Still, some are required to work, and some choose to remain at installations for various reasons. Those who do are the objects of a longstanding and rich military tradition.

The Association of the United States Army and Pacific Lutheran University would like to honor and thank those troops celebrating Thanksgiving in the South Sound. The university based in Tacoma's Parkland neighborhood will host 120 Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers for Thanksgiving dinner at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26. AUSA will pay for the meals.

Here's what PLU has to say in regards to the special dinner. ...

Read more...

November 12, 2014 at 12:57pm

Yelm Food Cooperative holds Gift of Gobble campaign, solicits military families in need

Thanksgiving can be a difficult time for families struggling financially. The Yelm Food Cooperative is seeking to ease that burden for up to 125 local families during its annual "Feed a Family - Give the Gift of Gobble" campaign, which runs through the end of the month.

In its fifth year, the campaign raises money through donations, then purchases ingredients for a home-cooked turkey dinner for six, including a naturally grown turkey, organic vegetables and potatoes, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, pie fixings and more.

"There's everything they need, even the onions and butter," said Andrea Levanti, outreach coordinator for the Yelm Food Cooperative.

The Thanksgiving dinner ingredients are delivered to nominated families by members of the cooperative, and the families prepare and enjoy the meals in their own homes and on their own schedule.

Last year, the co-op provided meals to 106 families, 20 of which were military. The organization is raising the bar this year and hopes to feed at least 125 families, including 25 military families.

To do this, the organization needs to raise at least $8,000. A contribution of just $65 provides ingredients for a hearty Thanksgiving meal for a family of six - with leftovers. All contributions - from individuals as well as area businesses - are welcome and appreciated.

In addition to raising funds, the co-op is looking for families who could benefit from the program this Thanksgiving. 

"We try to reach all parts of the community through Gift of Gobble, including people facing financial hardship, or people dealing with a serious illness or a death in the family," Levanti said. "We also support organizations that are dedicated every day to helping others, like churches, at a time of year when there's so much need that they can readily identify."

If you know of a family in need, nominate them by sending an email to yelmfoodcoop@gmail.com. The deadline to nominate families is Nov. 17.

The Yelm Food Cooperative is a nonprofit, 501 c(3) that includes the Yelm Food Cooperative, the Yelm Farmers Market and the Community Food Education and Community Gardens Programs. It works to create a "vibrant state of health for everyone by providing ways to obtain clean, wholesome and natural foods," Levanti said. Members strive to support a network of local, community and regional environmentally responsible farmers and small-scale sustainable food sources through farmer's markets, community gardens and more.

For more information about nominating a family or contributing to this year's Gift of Gobble, send an email to yelmfoodcoop@gmail.com or stop by the Yelm Food Co-op at 308 Yelm Ave. E., inside Gordon's Garden Center, in Yelm.

Military families needed!

Do you know a military family struggling financially this Thanksgiving? Is your battalion or unit looking for ways to help its soldiers? The Yelm Food Co-op would like to help.

"It's a priority for us to include many military families," Levanti said, "to show in some small way how much we appreciate what they do for all of us."

To nominate a servicemember or for more information about partnering with the Yelm Food Co-op to help soldiers in your unit, email yelmfoodcoop@gmail.com. Hurry! The deadline for nominations is Nov. 17.

Filed under: Benefits, Military, Holidays, Community,

November 4, 2014 at 2:05pm

#HairsForHe: South Sound Mo Bros unite!

Before you shave off this month's accomplishments - remember that it started as a good cause, not just an excuse. Photo courtesy of Movember Foundayion

I'm a hairy guy; there's just no getting around it. Thanks, ample testosterone! With one infuriating exception - my scalp - I can grow hair pretty much anywhere, seemingly just by flexing for a few seconds. My face sprouts a beard at the speed of a Play-Doh "spaghetti" extruder. Thus, autumn's a special time for me, when I'm free from theatrical obligations and can allow my cheeks a break from the razor. I'm happy when others join me in my yearly "No Shave November" ritual, a phrase our culture has since portmanteau'd to "Noshember." Like many, I tend to conflate Noshember and Movember, but did you know the latter has a very specific purpose? It was conceived by Aussie blokes in 1999 as a way of publicizing men's health issues, especially prostate cancer and depression, and applies only to the growing of mustaches. All those other facial hairs are just you and me being lazy. Hey, no shaving, no shame!

The Movember Foundation, which refers to participating dudes as "Mo Bros," says the purpose of those autumn mustaches is to "change the face of men's health." And while the phrase "Mo Bros" or the practice itself may seem silly, they have laudable goals. As you read this, I'm recovering (I hope!) from surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. Inguinal (pronounced ING-gw'n'l) is a fancy medical term for "groin stuff," so, as you can imagine, men's health is very much on my mind these days. My father's a survivor of prostate cancer, and it's highly probable I'll deal with similar issues down the road. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 men each year are diagnosed with the disease, and it kills over a tenth of those men. Next to non-melanoma skin cancer, it's the most prevalent form of cancer in American men, especially among men of Hispanic extraction. Depression's a bit different: men are only half as likely as women to experience it, and more women than men attempt suicide. So why, then, do at least three times more men than women die from suicide each year? One hates to say men are more "successful" at killing themselves than women, but those are the facts. In some years, the male-to-female ratio of suicide deaths is closer to 10:1.

Obviously, it's more fun to read (and write) about wacky fall mustaches than "the true meaning" of Movember. But as you're trimming and styling your fancy soup strainer this month, try to remember we're all in this together. This has been a pivotal year with respect to men coming to grips with issues faced by #YesAllWomen, and that's terrific. In fact, it's long overdue. But it's also a good time for all of us, male and female, to consider men's particular mental and physical health risks. So the next time you see a dude walking down the Ave with a still-growing mustache, remember to shoot him a friendly thumbs-up. He may be a survivor of something far more embarrassing and intense than bad facial hair.

To read about or contribute to the Movember Foundation, check out US.Movember.com.

South Sound Movember

The Handlebar Cycling Studio is challenging men to grow the best 'stache during November to help raise awareness of men's health issues. Snap a photo of your 'stache at the Handlebar, send it to them or post it on Facebook and tag The Handlebar and be entered in a drawing for free gear and rides. Ladies, snap a photo with a fella and his mustache at The Handlebar, post it on Facebook and you'll be eligible for the same awesome prizes. 715 Commerce St., Tacoma

Red Wind Casino is promoting Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in November with Movember Moustache. If you wear a real or fake mustache to the casino Monday-Friday, you'll qualify for the 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. drawings for $125. Red Wind will donate another $25 to the Movember Foundation for each winner. For those without a moustache, fake moustaches will be available at Club Red inside the casino. 12819 Yelm Hwy. SE, Olympia

The staff at Fisher Jones Family Dentistry grows out its ‘staches to raise awareness for men's health. If you would like to join the Fisher Jones staff's annual cultivation of upper lip caterpillars, you may join its Olympia Moustache Militia.  For more details, call 360.943.4644. 2415 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia

Do you know of a South Sound Movember event? Give it a shout out in our comments section.

November 1, 2014 at 8:11am

5 Things To Do Today: Movember, Arts of the Fur Trade, 1111 Fest, Pig Snout/Hell's Belles ...

O'Malley's Irish Pub kicks off Movember with a party tonight.

SATURDAY, NOV. 1 2014 >>>

1. You've had the mustache for a year now, and have been contemplating jumping from amateur to pro. Grab some friends, bearded or not, and head to O'Malley's Irish Pub at 7 p.m. in Tacoma for a 'stache-ogling Movember Kick Off Party in honor of whiskers. On the other hand, if you're competitive, there are prizes for "Best 'Stache" for male and female. Expect a raffle. Expect prizes for the Guess The Famous 'Stache trivia game. And expect to drop donations into a jar. After all, Aussie blokes conceived Movember in 1999 as a way of publicizing men's health issues, especially prostate cancer and depression. The Movember Foundation, which refers to participating dudes as "Mo Bros," says the purpose of those autumn mustaches is to "change the face of men's health."

2. They'll be there with their buckskins, their powderhorns and their tinware. Folks in period dress with monikers such as Chauncey, Jededian, Booshway, Eleanor, Bear Legs, Prudence and Huck will demonstrate blacksmithing, cooking, spinning, basket weaving and woodworking, along with a variety of music. All but Huck are re-enactor artisans assuming 19th century pioneer names as they share their talents and creations, such as intricate needlework and forged metalwork at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum during Arts of the Fur Trade from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Huck will try to score pelts to make a vest for his high school post-punk revival band, James Buchanan Side Shave.

3. Tacoma Brewing Co. celebrates its second anniversary from 2-9 p.m. Founder Morgan Alexander will have several anniversary stouts on the "Specials" board: sour stout, bourbon barrel-aged stout, licorice stout, vanilla stout and a coffee stout. On the IPA side, expect Fresh Mosaic Hop IPA, Fresh Citra Hop Broken Window IPA and Penalty Kick Triple IPA. "I will also have a fresh batch of Dr. Alexander's Hard Ginger Ale," says Alexander. "This will be the first batch that will be sold in local stores starting this week." The party will include hourly giveaways, and Finnwick's Food Truck will be parked outside from 4-8 p.m.

4. Sandwiched between Hilltop Loans and Pho Bac Cafe sits the quintessential neighborhood bar, Eleven Eleven. The Hilltop Tacoma sandwich and booze parlor carries a lovely selection of brewskis on tap. Tonight kicks off the 1111 Fest, featuring events, specials and giveaways every night through Nov. 11. Tonight, DJ Marcus will spin during the 1111 Fest Kickoff Party featuring Silver City Brewery and limited edition Heaven Eeven Cask Brew. A different brewery will be in the house every night until 11-11.

5. Formed by longtime Tacoma music fixture Justin Tamminga and his two children, Dahlia and Lucien, Pig Snout is a testament to the joy and universality of rock 'n' roll. If it can be believed, Dahlia and Lucien are 6 and 9, respectively, and they just started learning their instruments in earnest earlier this year. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Pig Snout in the Music & Culture section, then catch the band with Hell's Belles and Clear Chaos for a 5 p.m. all-ages show at Jazzbones. Hell's Belles plays a 21+ version at 9 p.m.

LINK: Saturday, Nov. 1 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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