Well this is suspicious. A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying almost 240 passengers has disappeared, and a 12-mile-long oil slick spotted in the Gulf of Thailand is probably no coincidence. The most-bizarre part of the tragedy: Two passengers on the flight had names identical to citizens—one from Italy, the other from Austria—who'd reported their passports stolen during trips to Asia in the last couple of years. Neither of those men were on the flight, so exactly what's going on?

Hey, look! The NYT dropped by Lake Oswego to interview Monica Wehby, the child-brain-surgery-performing, Glock-firing, million-dollar-a-year-making Republican inveighing against US Sen. Jeff Merkley (along with her primary opponents) by flogging Obamacare. Welcome back, NYT. You know, a lot of people ride bikes around here. Maybe there's a national interest story there?

Here are some questions, prefaced by a few qualifying statements. Look, I'm no fan of serious crimes. If a person is sufficiently criminal—if they're unremittingly violent or heinous—I say the state has the right to lock that person away for a time. Do it, if you've got the proof, state. But how do I reconcile that with the faint sadness I feel each time I read of a foiled prison break? Am I a hypocrite, or too easily charmed by long odds and a desperate dash for freedom? Or are prisoners who attempt escape the only true dreamers this beleaguered race can claim, anymore? Either way, a lady tried to escape from the state's lady's prison.

Did you see that the Columbia River Crossing is off the table again? There's no political will to go forward with an Oregon-led proposal right now, but the Oregon Department of Transportation won't completely forestall its work until late May. You haven't heard the last of the CRC. But you knew that.

I'm having trouble understanding why the Oregonian would go to all the trouble of publishing a well-reported, nicely written, and beautifully presented series on Portland hip-hop on its site yesterday, then make it impossible to find that series on its home page. Here's a link, because the O's not gonna help you find it.

One story your daily newspaper wants to make sure you see—it's currently being touted in two separate headlines on Oregonlive.com—is that of a Happy Valley woman whose rape fantasy liaison with a stranger was interrupted by her husband.

The Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA are at each other's throats, and the Department of Justice is investigating them both. So things are humming along efficiently in DC.

More posturing and indignation all around, as citizens of the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula prepare for a March 16 vote on whether to secede from Ukraine, and rejoin the warm, furry folds of the Great Bear.

A man was stabbed under the Burnside Bridge last night. He's clinging to life, currently, and police aren't offering many specifics.

I don't want to hear a single one of you whine about losing an hour tomorrow. Daylight saving time is a providential gift, and an hour of your time is a more-than-fair sacrifice to Helios.


Holy shit, everybody. I was at the Trail Blazers game on Wednesday, and it was... pretty boring. With the EXCEPTION, that is, of the halftime show, wherein many small children took the court with jump ropes. First I was steeling myself for cute mediocrity, but then the most-amazing jump-rope tricks I'd ever seen were giving way to still-more-amazing jump-rope tricks. I watched as a tiny girl got into a full crouch and crouch-hopped through the legs of a larger girl as they both jumped the same rope? I watched as a boy jumped his own rope AND double-dutch ropes at the same time? Does that make sense? So many perplexing permutations unfolded on that court, and I can't pretend I understood the physics or timing of probably 85 percent of them. And the best part? These kids weren't sweating it. Sure, every now and then they'd mess up—they're kids—but they didn't skip a beat or evince the slightest embarrassment. Just kept obsessively jumping rope. You know what it reminded me of? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when all those child slaves are forced to drink blood out of a skull, rendering them violent husks capable only of wielding pickaxes and disemboweling one another. Except for these kids on Wednesday drank skull-blood and just wanted to jump rope. I tried discussing all this with Mercury Trail Blazers correspondent Rob Simonsen after the fact, but apparently basketball writers go and get stale popcorn at half-time. He had no clue what I was talking about. He's a talented roundball writer, but just know Simonsen isn't giving you the full hue and texture of the game.

Anyway, I forgot to find out what that jump-rope team was called. I tried to find a video of them online, but the best I came up with was this German, gymnastics-based pablum. Not as good.