Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

There was supposed to be no snowfall today. Ha! It’s Monday and the stuff has been coming down since yesterday morning. Maybe eight inches have come to rest so far. Up at Harts Pass there’s 111 inches on the ground, and the water content stands at 98 percent of average. The total fall a mile west of the Mazama Store is over 80 inches.

We have gotten clarification that the triathlon race scheduled for Feb. 28 has been cancelled for this year due to low registration, but is on the books for February 2015.

There are a couple of Brushes with Stardom to report this week. Bob Cram, longtime Seattle TV weatherman, has been covered many times herein, being a part-time resident of Mazama (almost next door to where the 80 inches fell). But for this observation, he shared the spotlight with television star Guy Fieri, who hosts the show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on The Food Network.

Fieri made a stop at Voula’s Offshore Cafe in Seattle, which is a breakfast hangout for a bunch of Seattle fellas. Much like SLIME is here, but more attendees and more years under their belts. Cram is a regular at this convocation and was there when Fieri showed up, and this inspired Bob to serenade him with a takeoff on the Yale University theme song, which goes on (interminably in some cases) “boola-boola, boola-boola,” and so forth.

I don’t think there are any other lyrics. So there is Cram in a more-than-cameo performance singing “Voula-Voula, Voula-Voula,” etc., being conducted by the person whom we assume was Voula.

This was featured on Voulas’s own website, and possibly on Fieri’s, if you want to see both these guys in performance.


This sick cougar came calling at the Nielsens’ Stehekin home. Photo courtesy of Tammy Nielsen

The next introduction will be noted as a Brush with Claw-dom. This manifested itself at Stehekin, at the way-out hamlet where Tammy and Bob Nielsen live. It merits mention in this column because, aside from our worldwide audience, Tammy is a temporary Methow Valley resident who works part-time at the Mazama Store. Their son is of high school age and there is no high school in Stehekin. In fact, says Tammy, there are only seven kids in the school this year. They prefer the Methow to Chelan as a place to reside.

Last week her husband, Bob, had stepped out on the deck of their Stehekin home with his dog Maya around midnight. After a few steps, he heard a thump behind him. He turned and there was a cougar attacking the mostly glass front door. He scared it partially away and he and the dog ran into the house, the big cat in pursuit, bounding against the glass.

Bob had enough presence of mind to grab not only a shotgun (loaded with blanks to scare deer) but also a camera, and took several pictures of the lion snarling outside the door.

Nielsen, referring to himself as an “average naked homeowner” when the confrontation took place, said the animal was “snarling, growling and pawing at the door.” He shot the blanks in the cat’s direction but those seemed to have no effect.

Next morning Bob went to his shop, the door having been left open to release fumes, “and I was met by Miss Snarly Puss who was hunkered down under a cabinet. She did her best to eat through a tool bucket, destroying my knee pads, eating the rubber grip off a cordless tool and generally not getting any satisfaction,” said Bob. He slammed the door on his hasty way out.

Two of Nielsen’s friends, one a tracker, went to the shop, saw the cat, and it was dispatched. It was a very sick animal with many open sores and broken teeth, and weighed less than 70 pounds. “It was a bag of bones,” the friends told Bob.