Carla Körbes

Farewell Air Körbes

Carla Körbes (photo by Patrick Fraser) A sportswriter’s appreciation of a Jordan-like ballerina quietly retiring at the top of her game.   The first time I saw Carla Körbes dance reminded me of the first time I saw Michael Jordan play basketball. Jordan was a rookie for the Chicago Bulls and I’d watched him for about 30 seconds. He hadn’t taken a shot, and maybe hadn’t even dribbled the ball, but his looming stardom was abundantly clear. It was the way he moved, gliding over the Kingdome floor like a hovercraft. He had a presence, an “It Factor.” From then on, grace of movement and the It Factor were the two main criteria that I used, as a sportswriter and later an evaluator, to identify greatness in athletes. The day Sonic Coach Bernie Bickerstaff excitedly dragged me to view the teenager his team had just drafted, I watched Shawn Kemp for a few minutes and thought, “Yup.” When I was editor-in-chief at Scout.com, I saw Kevin Durant play in an AAU tournament, and immediately asked my basketball editor why we had him ranked second, behind Greg Oden, among prospects for … [Read More...]

Long-Eared Owls rarely range west of the Cascades.

Cuckoo Over Owls

It once roosted in a thicket the size of a two-car garage, amidst wetlands and diked agricultural fields near Stanwood. The brush was so thick, the Long-Eared Owl must have felt unassailable. Long-barreled photographic devices proliferated and trained at it like arms in a cold war. The birders and the avian paparazzi jostled and bickered and shoved like football fans queued for playoff tickets. With Mount Baker gleaming in the background, hunters boomed rifles, dogs sniffed and barked and, just across a flooded field, a battalion of construction workers jack-hammered and backed loudly beeping trucks. Yet, all the while, the object of everyone’s desire might crack open one of its impossibly large eyes but otherwise appear to not give … a hoot. The people did, for sure. The nocturnal birds of prey with the long, distinctive ear tufts prefer shrub-steppe habitat in Eastern Washington, making their presence on the other side of the mountains a “thing,” the way a new iPhone is a “thing.” The resultant mobbing of the Long-Eared Owls at one point regressed into panic that one … [Read More...]

799px-Los_Angeles_Clippers_logo

Less than Sterling

Gifted with an opportunity to seize and shape a defining moment in their sport’s history, they pondered and met and schemed. They geared up and took aim. And on Sunday night in Oakland, the players of the Los Angeles Clippers shot a figurative air ball. Wading amid the cultural rip tide created by their owner, Donald Sterling, his most prized employees assembled on the court before their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, and deposited their warmup jackets in a pile to reveal practice shirts turned inside out, hiding the team logo. But, when push came to shove, they reported dutifully for the opening tip, played and lost a game, and not even for a second did the NBA cash machine cease dispensing dollars. So, for an extremely critical news cycle, the toxic, racist comments attributed to Sterling provoked no repercussions of substance. There was outrage, of course. The vast One-Nameness – Magic (Johnson), Michael (Jordan) and Lebron (James) – stepped forward. But such is the mathematics of our times: Outrage minus a hit to the pocketbook equals meaningless … [Read More...]

Long-Eared Owls rarely range west of the Cascades.

Cuckoo Over Owls

It once roosted in a thicket the size of a two-car garage, amidst wetlands and diked agricultural fields near Stanwood. The brush was so thick, the Long-Eared Owl must have felt unassailable. Long-barreled photographic devices proliferated and trained at it like arms in a cold war. The birders and the avian paparazzi jostled and bickered and shoved like football fans queued for playoff tickets. With Mount Baker gleaming in the background, hunters boomed rifles, dogs sniffed and barked and, just across a flooded field, a battalion of construction workers jack-hammered and backed loudly beeping trucks. Yet, all the while, the object of everyone’s desire might crack open one of its impossibly large eyes but otherwise appear to not give … a hoot. The people did, for sure. The nocturnal birds of prey with the long, distinctive ear tufts prefer shrub-steppe habitat in Eastern Washington, making their presence on the other side of the mountains a “thing,” the way a new iPhone is a “thing.” The resultant mobbing of the Long-Eared Owls at one point regressed into panic that one … [Read More...]

Photography Buzz

Twilight at Second Beach.

Twilight at Second Beach

First Beach, also in Olympic National Park (Wash.), and not Second Beach, is one of the settings in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight book series. People still hop off tour buses up the road, at Three Rivers Resort, to pose for pictures with cutouts of Bella and Edward. I stop … [Read More...]

More Photographic Buzz

More Buzz

Salmon Cascades in Sol Duc Valley, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Splash

If you’ve ever been photographically challenged by the likes of the indifferent dog, recalcitrant relative or churlish child, try Mother Nature on for size. She can be as fickle as any subject, requiring planning, alternatives and flexibility. To wit, I recently visited my “home” national park, Olympic (Wash.), with the goal of shooting Sol Duc … [Read More...]

Sunrise at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Gambling on Sunrise

Outdoor photography is probably not for the financially meek. In addition to all the gear and travel, it’s also going to cost a good 10 of your usual 40 winks. That’s because purveyors of the heavy lidded lifestyle swear by the so-called “Golden Hour” – the first half hour after the sun rises and the last half hour before it sets. Give or take. … [Read More...]

Jordan Pond under the stars, serenaded by loons and coyotes.

Loon-y Jordan Pond

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine – Much of what I read about the East’s first national park referred to Cadillac Mountain as its crown jewel. If that’s true, Jordan Pond is at least Acadia’s centerpiece. With its crystal clear glacial water and the two Bubble Mountains sitting like camel humps beyond its northern shores, Jordan Pond is the park’s … [Read More...]

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