By Andrea Brown
Mark Sargent recently returned from a speaking engagement in New Zealand.
To him it’s not a land “down under.”
“Geographically, it is on the outer rim,” he said.
Sargent is a popular Flat Earther.
When not globetrotting, the 50-year-old bachelor lives with his retired schoolteacher mom near Freeland. Her Whidbey Island golf course condo is where the former tech geek does his “Flat Earth Clues” YouTube show with tens of thousands of subscribers.
Well, that didn’t happen.
Instead, Netflix picked it up.
So now millions of viewers watch him explain: “The South Pole is a 200-foot wall of ice, straight-up ‘Game of Thrones’ style and the sun and moon are just lights in the sky.”
This is not your weird uncle’s conspiracy theory flick. It has sprinkles of comedy and there’s even some sexual sparks between Sargent and a Flat Earth YouTube diva in Texas, Patricia Steere.
It turns out former Daily Herald photographer Mark Mulligan, now with the Houston Chronicle, took a photo last year of him appearing on her show, “The Flat Earth and Other Hot Potatoes.”
Small world, huh?
“When I was flying on Air New Zealand, one of the attendants handing out bread said, ‘They’re flat and round,’ and he winks at me,” Sargent said.
“At the hotel, the front desk guy stared at me and goes, ‘I’ve seen you somewhere… Netflix.”
Sweden is next on his conference circuit. Not sure where that is on the disk.
Soon, another face from the Herald archives will be coming to a supermarket near you.
Lake Stevens woodchopper Shane McDaniel will be on bags of Lay’s potato chips as part of its smile campaign. He’ll also be in a chainsaw calendar.
McDaniel is the buff dad who first made global headlines in November for chopping 80 truckloads of firewood with his hunky twin sons to give to people in need.
Hollywood also wanted a piece of McDaniel, an eligible father of six who was more focused on logs than love. In January, he was featured on Steve Harvey’s show in a segment called “Date the Woodchopping Dad!”
The show’s producer lined up three women, two from California and one from Washington.
He chose Carly Norwood, a Lake Stevens yoga instructor. The couple, who live a mile apart but had never met, have been inseparable since.
They went back on the show in late April for an update.
“We’re madly in love,” Norwood said. That’s apparent in the Facebook posts of the yoga poses they do together.
Lest you are starting to think this sounds like a gossip column …
How about a drum roll for Challenger Elementary School?
“I want to play in front of the school,” fifth-grader Milson Lain said in a What’s Up about the school’s percussion club that started in January.
Milson got his wish.
The club with about 10 students recently performed at a school assembly. They’ll take the stage again at a graduation show in June.
Most in the drum club are new to the limelight. Students don’t audition. They are chosen by their teachers to build confidence and teamwork.
The club was started by Challenger gym teacher Pat Jameson, who as a kid turned to drumming to channel his fidgety energy.
“I started playing on cardboard boxes. My snare drum was my hamster cage inside of the box because that rattled,” Jameson said.
A Kamiak band teacher donated 10 drums to the club. No hamster cages needed.
After the story ran, Herald reader Mary Peterson Clark of Monroe called to say how much she admired the kids and Jameson.
Clark shared her account about the power of drumming.
Her son Michael Peterson got started in the late 1970s when he was 12.
“He made his own drum set of coffee cans on a plywood board and he filled the cans with a certain amount of water to get the different sounds,” she said. “That kid played those coffee cans filled with water for a long time.”
At Sultan High School, Michael started playing real drums.
“He was in seventh heaven,” she said.
Michael, now 52, studied music at Edmonds Community College and has had a career in drums. He plays in bands and teaches.
He always tells his students how much the drums will bless their lives and take them places they never thought they’d go.
It led to some cool gigs for Michael.
“Chuck Berry came to town and was performing at the Gorge and needed a drummer and Michael was asked to do the job,” she said.
Michael was recruited to play drums when chef Bobby Flay came to Seattle. He was in the band at a Teatro ZinZanni show.
“He went on a USO tour to Europe performing at different Air Forces bases,” Clark said. “I’m so proud of him.”
She has more than fond memories of him banging on coffee cans.
“I’m 83 and still have my hearing,” she said.