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Thursday, January 21, 2021

In Market: Big scoop for reporter: Trash Raccoon

Where’s the story?

It’s in the trash

Politico reporter Helena B. Evich, based in Rosslyn, Virginia, got a big story, the scoop reporters dream about. People were talking about it, social media was ablaze, her email exploded.

Watergate? Another Trump tape? A download of documents from WikiLeaks? A new Monica what’s-her-name? Was there a Deep Throat informant involved?

Nope. She took a picture of a raccoon hitching a ride on the back of a garbage truck and posted it on Twitter. Internet goes nuclear.

Evich observed the trash-loving masked thief of the mammal world clinging for dear life to the ladder of a trash truck as she drove to work on the morning of Feb. 17.

Evich did the right thing, alerting the driver – now an Uber chauffer for a raccoon – and the company to the unexpected passenger, according to The Washington Post. The freeloading rascal ended up travelling seven miles on the garbage truck from Rosslyn to Falls Church, Virginia. The trash truck driver pulled over and the animal ran into a nearby park, according to the Post. A spokeswoman for the waste disposal company said – no doubt responding to the internet fallout – that the company and the city were sure the animal was unharmed.

The reporter’s photo shows the terrified Houdini of the animal kingdom with a “What have I gotten myself into now?” look on his masked face. She then posted said photo to Twitter and madness ensued. Soon #trashraccoon was a thing. One Twitter response: “#trashraccoon is all of us.” At the same time, he could be auditioning for a Geico commercial or for a new version of one of those “Hang in there” inspirational posters. There were soon more than 1,000 re-tweets and trash raccoon became a meme.

On Feb. 25, Evich posted on Twitter, shortly after posting some photos of herself interviewing some political bigwig: “You guys. I think I’ve finally made it 24 hours without an email about the raccoon.”

Well, yeah, until you posted that.

A voice for Fort Worth

I can’t let the week go by without mentioning the passing of Bill Paxton. Fort Worth lost a friend and champion on Feb. 25 when actor Paxton passed away, reportedly from complications of heart surgery. Paxton was a great presence on screen with many, many memorable roles to his credit. His Chet Donnelly in Weird Science was the big brother that struck fear and loathing into little brothers everywhere: “Boys, I detect a slight character flaw: you’re morons!” and “I’m gonna tell mom and dad everthing. I’m even considering making some stuff up!” And recall his cracked voice portrayal of Private Hudson in 1986’s Aliens: “…and they’re gonna come in here AND THEY’RE GONNA GET US!” And they did.

Successful as Paxton was – and he was a prolific actor, producer, writer and director – the Arlington Heights High School graduate never forgot his roots, contributing plenty locally. He helped out at area film festivals, supporting the local and state film community and never failed to mention his hometown when doing publicity tours. Growing up in Fort Worth, an 8-year-old Paxton was in the crowd when Kennedy greeted people outside the then-Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth. Fifty years later, he narrated a well-received documentary, JFK: The Final Hours, on that historic event.

Paxton is quoted as saying: “You have to be a self-starter out here at a certain point. It’s important to take the reins or, otherwise, you can be regaled to obscurity so quickly.” He certainly took the reins and we should thank him for it, usually while we’re laughing at one of his great performances.

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