Here are just a few things readers told me after I said I was thinking of giving cross-country skiing a try for the first time since a halfhearted dalliance with the activity about 40 years ago.
Costs? “A package of boots/poles/skis will probably run you around $300. Rentals will be available at the Mount Spokane Nordic Ski area starting this winter if you just want to try things out.” — Tom Schaaf
if your main motivation is the desire for exercise? “I think beginners get the hardest workout the first few times they ski. After that it gets easier, but it's also easer to make your workout more and more aerobic, if you want to push your limits.” — Art Bookstrom
Attire? “Special togs are not necessary for cross-country skiing.” — Seabury Blair Jr.
Getting started? “I would suggest that a beginner take a lesson for the first time on the trails, it boosts confidence and heads you in the right direction. …I finally took a lesson after 25 years of Nordic skiing and improved my skiing immediately.” — Ann Torigoe-Hawkins
Wildlife? “Learn what to do when the moose is sharing the trail with you.” — Nancy Kiehn
The vibe? “I have never heard anyone up on Mt. Spokane mock anyone else. Everyone is helpful and just does their thing. I think everyone is so happy to be up there enjoying the beauty of the setting while getting exercise that they are happy to share their excitement and enjoyment with you.” — Susan Mulvihill
Preseason training: “Bicycling is an excellent preparation for skiing.” — Jim Kershner
Question I forgot to ask? “How fat can I be before the other skiers on the trail call in the park ranger to force me to buy a second trail pass? This is a question I ponder often.” — Tim D.
I enjoyed corresponding with these and other enthusiasts. They have found a way to embrace winter. I salute them.
Several readers recommended checking out this site.
Check out Saturday's Slice column.
(And no, this is not yet another reference to my own high school's ludicrous sports-teams nickname, the Seahorses.)
What weather conditions would keep you from stepping outside for a cigarette break?
I assume that you recognize this movie character.
What if the SR had a program where, each day, one reader would come in to the newsroom bright and early and field angry calls?
Would you want to sign up? I'll bet it would be entertaining and chances are you would wind up with some fun stories to tell your friends.
“This one guy was totally wigged out about something in the comics!”
This is not to suggest that there aren't plenty of occasions when the newspaper richly deserves criticism. But nothing says the reader/hate eater of the day would have to act as our apologist. No, you could agree with the angry callers if you wished.
Or you could do what one of my colleagues has threatened to do — start saying to virtually everyone, “Shut up, you big baby.”
1. People who regularly meet others for breakfast.
2. People who would prefer not to talk to anyone until about noon.
…get that “Wish that I could be like the cool kids” song stuck in your head?
I'll open the bidding with 59.
Has anyone in history ever fought off denial long enough to admit to actually being the obnoxious relative other family members dread seeing as Thanksgiving approaches?
The were two women sitting behind me on the outbound No. 43.
One of them apparently was looking at the electronic sign facing the passengers.
Someone pulled the cord to request a stop. And the women had this exchange.
“Stop Rejected? What the…”
“Requested. Not Rejected.”
A few years ago, a friend came up with the whimsical concept of Beakbook — a social media network for birds.
I thought of that this morning while out walking in downtown Spokane. What if Beakbook really existed?
I just know downtown's sparrows would be labeled “thugs” and “loiterers” by birds who claim they never come down here.
And area crows would “like” posts about roadkill squirrels.
Chuck Connors, starring in “The Rifle Beardsman.”
OK, maybe not.
But if you see Shawn Vestal, ask him to tell you about being in a rural, roadside café and hearing someone sitting right behind him critique last Saturday's beards-dominated SR front page.
“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
If this is too early for your annual viewing, you can save it.
Is this what came to mind when you saw that director Mike Nichols had died?
…if I had wiped out on my bike this morning because there was a seemingly slippery sheen of de-icer on Grand Boulevard?
If you heard someone say that in a context totally lacking a Larry, would you get the reference?
And just for the record, I am definitely not requesting that you complete the extended quotation.
You know, next year on Nov. 18, 30 years after the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip first appeared.
I have my plan. As it happens, 11/18/15 will be a Food section Wednesday. So I will have to carry out my observance in the column running the day before.
Somewhere in that column, I will imbed the words “Help I'm a bug.”
Most won't get it, I suppose. But I can live with that.