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Here in Occupied America, sights have been set considerably lower, and we’re all getting used to progress in minuscule doses.

In that spirit, please join us in celebrating the fact that Bertha, the state’s tunnel-boring machine, by midweek had advanced a stunning 250 feet through the mystery dirt that is the Seattle waterfront.

That averages out to about 5.5 feet per day that the machine has actually been digging.

Or, to use a real-world analogy: It’s roughly the same rate at which one might progress on Interstate 405 through Bellevue on any given afternoon that the Evergreen Point floating bridge opens its drawspan to make way for the afternoon excursion of the Thurston Howell family of Hunts Point.

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More inching toward oblivion:

You Can See Why She Was Confused: Talk-radio gasbags were all foamed up over a Port Angeles schoolteacher given a $125 ticket for parking in a National Park Service trailhead lot clearly marked as closed during the government shutdown. Mr. Wrap agrees the fine might be egregious, but must ask: What part of “closed” did she fail to understand?

On the Other Hand: Anybody could have made the same mistake. How was this poor woman supposed to know that line of orange cones wasn’t set out for a dog slalom or something?

Speaking of Not Getting It: Microsoft has released Windows version 8.1 — a monument to its amazing, ongoing failure to grasp the obvious fact that people who work on desktop computers — the vast majority of the world — don’t like to see their PC screen permanently occupied by a bad rendering of a side panel of the Partridge Family Bus.

D’oh! Rising: Corrections bureaucrats in Florida (where else?) were scratching their heads about the unbelievable release, via forged documents from a prosecutor’s office, of two convicted killers. We wonder how much time and money they’ll spend analyzing systemic changes to their system when the problem could be solved with a simple confirmation telephone call.

Credit Where ’Tis Due: It took her a while (until it looked like a deal was getting done), but at least one member of Washington’s congressional delegation, Jaimie Herrera Beutler, of Camas, had the stones to finally publicly disavow the zombie apocalypse government shutdown. It was a sharp contrast to the spectacularly weasel-worded “stance” on the matter from her GOP colleague, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Someone Please Primary Me.

BREAKING: The Seattle Mariners reportedly have approached disgraced limp noodle of a man and (pending) former House Speaker John Boehner to discuss the team’s open managerial position.

Speaking of Boehner: To commemorate his performance in the past two weeks, Boehner’s office has announced that the speaker will go ahead and change his skin tone from orange to yellow.

Playing a Few Bars: A violin that allegedly played while the Titanic sank in 1912 has gone up for auction. Somebody really should get it as a going-away gift for the speaker.

And Finally: Not a single Oregonian has been signed up for Obamacare because the state’s website is malfunctioning. Really not surprising from people who can’t pump their own gas.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280.

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