6 A SIUSLAW NEWS ❚ WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2015 Hey, snoring is the sign of a seasoned journalist... or four hours with no real Ned memory of what I’ve been Hickson writing. I assure my editor Every journalist has a rou- tine. For example, I always write my column early in the morning. The earlier the bet- ter. That’s because, generally speaking, I’m not awake yet. Sure, I may be drinking coffee and typing, but if you were to monitor my brain activity, it would register somewhere between an earth- worm and the average American watching “The Bachelorette” (and yes, I’m an average American). Admittedly, my brain does- n't open for business until about 10 a.m. By then, I’ve been at the keyboard for three this unique quirk is the sign of a seasoned professional. And he assures me the rea- son we need to keep replacing my keyboard is because, at least once a month, he finds me facedown drooling on the return key. That may be true, but I tend to do my best work under pressure. And there’s nothing like the pressure of trying to finish a column before saliva short-circuits your keyboard. In addition to a lack of cognizance, I also prefer writ- ing early in the morning because there aren’t any dis- tractions, like... oh, I don’t know... say, being blinded by a crazed fly? The truth is, this column was going to be a stunning piece of social commentary. I had planned to utilize all the tools I’ve acquired as a columnist (namely, spell- check and the “delete” button, assuming it hasn’t been drooled on) to discuss a little- known but steadily growing segment of the voting popula- tion: Chihuahuas who have mis- takenly been issued voter reg- istration cards in Florida. Anyone who has written Pulitzer Prize-winning materi- al will tell you it takes an incredible amount of concen- tration and skill to produce work of such significance. I know. As a recipient of the Putziler Prize for “Most Consistent Use of Spelling Errors” in 1999, I was, quite literally, only a few scram- bled letters away from a Pulitzer myself. In keeping with that standard, I should’ve been able to finish my Chihuahua column in spite of being the unwitting target of a psychopathic fly. I have no excuse other than to say, before this experience, I would’ve never considered sealing up my cubicle and installing an air-lock door complete with retinal scanner and emergency fly swatter. It actually started out like any other annoying man-Vs- fly situation. Fly lands on hand. Hand shoos fly away. Then, and without warning: Fly attacks eyeball. Things immediately moved into the realm of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, complete with — I must admit — screaming that would’ve frightened Janet Leigh. In all fairness, I now had only ONE good eye, which limited my peripheral vision and put me at a distinct disad- vantage to the fly which, as we all know, has enough eyes to see in all directions at once — including behind — which is the direction I happened to be running from. Yes, I probably should’ve stood my ground. And if he hadn't blinded my other eye, I probably would have. However, as I stood there swinging blindly at the fly with a rolled up magazine, I realized two important things precisely in this order: 1) I looked like a Star Wars fanatic pretending to be in Jedi training. 2) Someone could walk through the door at any minute. Because of this, the Pulitzer Prize committee will have to wait. In the mean- time, I still have a chance at another Putziler, depending on how I spelled “Chihuahua.” Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His book, “Humor at the Speed of Life,” is available online at Port Hole Publications, Amazon Books and Barnes & Noble. Write to him at email@example.com Local ham radio operators to have ‘Field Day’ Florence ham radio opera- tors will join thousands of ama- teur radio operators across the U.S. and Canada to demon- strate their effectiveness and proficiency in providing criti- cal communications after a cat- astrophic event such as an earthquake or tsunami. On the weekend of June 27- 28, members of the Central Oregon Coast Amateur Radio Club (COCARC) will establish four amateur radio stations capable of communicating all over the world at Sutton Campground in group area A. Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, local hams will operate these stations con- tinuously for 24 hours until Sunday, June 28, at 11 a.m. During that time they will communicate with other sta- tions in Canada, the United States and Oceania to test abil- ities, equipment and practices. One station will be dedicated to public education and infor- mation, where members of the public are invited to “get on the air.” This year the club will be assisting members of Troop 777 of the Boy Scouts of America to obtain their radio merit badges. This will be an exciting edu- cational experience for the members, and for fire and police department staff, city staff and the community at large. Field Day is the largest ama- teur radio event in the world. Last year, more than 2,700 different groups and more than 40,000 licensed operators all across the US and Canada par- ticipated in this event. This year, ham operators will construct emergency radio stations at fire stations, parks, shopping malls, schools and back yards all around the coun- try. The Amateur Radio slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words. Hams will again demon- strate their ability to send mes- sages in many forms without the use of phone systems, inter- net or any other infrastructure that may be compromised in a crisis. Over the past several years, the news of catastrophic events around the world and here at home have summoned ham operators to volunteer their skill and equipment to aid in saving lives and protecting property. There are more than 700,000 FCC licensed Amateur Radio operators in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million around the world. Hams voluntarily, and at no charge, provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies. COCARC maintains and operates emergency communi- cations stations at the Florence Justice Center and the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue hall, as well as adjunct equipment in other community facilities in town and a powerful 2-meter repeater on Herman Peak. 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