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The Slice

Archive for November 2012

How does your office party compare?

The partners at Spokane's Magner Sanborn consulting group are taking their whole crew to Las Vegas for 16 hours of pre-Christmas celebrating.

Let's hope this results in some frolic and antics that, as they say, have to “stay in Las Vegas.”  

Saying “I want Cheryl Tiegs for Xmas”

Showed that you really didn't understand how the Sears catalog worked.

“Walking around like he’s 50 years old”

That's how GU basketball coach Mark Few described one of his banged-up players in a story by Jim Meehan this morning.

I hadn't realized that 50 was the point at which a person's gait begins to resemble that of Grandpa on “The Real McCoys.”

Guess I'm overdue to begin showing signs of having a hitch in my git-along. Or whatever.

So anyway, if you are 50 or older and thought you walked normally, you might want to check again.

Few makes a lot of money, so I guess we have to assume he knows what he is talking about.

Maybe 50 is the new 80.

You've heard of “walk like a man” and “walk like an Egyptian.”

Well maybe, in Spokane, “walk like a 50-year-old” can be a thing. 

“This is dry as a bone”

Was watering the tree ever your job as a kid?

It was tempting to believe that if you took that responsibility seriously you could keep the tree “alive” forever.

Annual zone-out on schedule again

In case you wondered, the answer is “Yes.”

According to its online program schedule, the Syfy channel will once again serve up a “Twilight Zone” marathon on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

If you do not like TZ, you are not required to watch. But for some of us, having these episodes on in the background isn't just a connection to the past. It's like visits from old friends.

And remember. “To Serve Man”…it's…it's a cookbook!

If your name is Joel

How many times has someone — quoting a line from 1983's “Risky Business” — said to you, “Princeton can use a guy like Joel”?

Re: “If We Make It Through December”

The answer to the lyrics question in today's Slice column…

He got laid off down at the factory.

The firewood code of honor

You know how it is.

If you leave something of any value outside and don't have it bolted down, someone will steal it.

Sometimes even bolting it down isn't enough.

But I can think of one exception.

A Spokane store I visit several times a week displays its bundles of firewood outside. To the best of my knowledge, the store managers don't do anything to secure the wood overnight.

And yet it doesn't all just disapper in the back of someone's truck at 3 a.m. Maybe a bundle or two get ripped off now and then. But if it was a problem that really cut into profitability, I suspect the firewood would soon find a home inside the grocery's lockable doors.

So what's the deal?

All I can think is that the population of people who burn firewood skews honest and honorable.

Can't prove that, of course.

But I have yet to come up with another explanation.

Spokane vs. North Idaho definition

Maybe I'm wrong. That's happened.

But years of hearing people on both sides of the state line use the expression has left me with the opinion that Spokane residents have a different definition of “mom jeans” than people in North Idaho.

I'll be happy to pinpoint the difference. But first I want to see if anyone else has noticed this.

Spokane neighborhoods/station wagons

Five neighborhoods whose names could have doubled as old station wagon models.

5. Balboa. 4. Manito. 3. Comstock. 2. Grandview. 1. Minnehaha.

Plaid flannel shirts are making comeback

You say you were not aware that they had ever really gone out of fashion?

Well, that's a good point.

But you have to understand. The key to trend-spotting is a willingness to simply make declarations and then wait.

A Margaret Atwood novel comes to mind. The lead character was a writer who covered fashion for magazines. Tired of her job, she got lazy and started making things up.

One of the “trends” she reported had to do with women wearing vintage bathtub-stopper chains as necklaces. And sure enough, after her story appeared in a magazine, the writer started seeing that exact look on women she passed on the sidewalk.

OK, that's not exactly the same as the plaid shirts thing, because you actually do see those in real life. But if enough people declare that they are making a comeback, I'd bet we would see even more.

If you have adolescent boys at home

You might ask them whatever became of the Nordstrom lingerie catalog that arrived in the mail this week.

I realize the Internet offers many options when it comes to admiring the feminine form. But perhaps some lads are traditionalists and still hold print in high regard.

Agree or disagree

The Slice has addressed this several times over the years.

But something I overheard this morning reminded me of the subject. It is one of my 1,000 favorite topics.

When you are at an airport in another city, can you find the gate for the Spokane-bound flight just from looking at the people seated there?

No Marmot Lodge meeting in December

Just in case you were wondering.

That will make it six years in a row without a meeting.

On to 2013.

E Pluribus Marmot.

Does The Incredible Hulk have genitals?

A friend of mine had that conversation with his young son this week. Though in their exchange, I believe the term of the moment was “ding-dong.”

I'm not sure what they finally decided. But the question raises additional issues.

Is the Hulk's junk green?

Does everything, uh, change when the Hulk becomes the Hulk?

If the answer to the question in the headline is “No,” does that partly explain why the Hulk often seems so angry?

Is the Hulk's whole deal simply a matter of compensating?

Rush in Spokane — Nov. 8, 1978

According to, this was the 14th song the band played at the Spokane Coliseum that night.

“Vision Quest” sing-along

Seeing that there is going to be another “Sound of Music” sing-along here in late December made we wonder if any of the movies filmed in Spokane could be given the sing-along treatment.

Probably not.

I mean, how many people actually know the words to Journey's “Only the Young”?


Another night in any town

You can hear the thunder of their cry

Ahead of their time

They wonder why


In the shadows of a golden age

A generation waits for dawn

Brave carry on

Bold and the strong


Only the young can say

They're free to fly away

Sharing the same desires

Burnin' like wildfire

Remember this one?

I can't say that I do. From what I read, its message is don't drink and drive.

This date in Slice history (1996)

Let's try to keep this straight: The play is called “Our Town,” not “Oldtown.”

Oldtown is in Idaho.

When newspaper publishers run wild

I know someone who was going to be in a certain city in the Midwest this week.

I requested that she pick up a copy of that city's daily newspaper and bring it back to Spokane. I  thought it would be nice to pass it along to one of my colleagues who grew up there.

Deciding to get credit in advance, I told the SR reporter about my plan. He thanked me and mentioned that the family-owned Midwest paper in question — which enjoys a decent reputation for its journalism — features a quirk that must embarrass the hell out of the newsroom staff.

Apparently the publisher there likes seeing pictures of himself and his significantly younger wife in the paper. So, according to my colleague's mother, that happens with alarming regularity. (It has to be at the publisher's behest…no other explanation makes sense — not even off-the-chart brown-nosing.)

Anyway, the reporter and I agreed that, say what you will about the SR, at least that's not one of our problems.

Literal pieces of history

There's a white-haired Spokane man whose older brother died in 1943 when his B-17 collided in midair with an on-fire German fighter over The Netherlands.

I have talked to this gentleman several times over the years. I know he's on the level. But I hadn't met him in person until today.

He has exhaustively researched what happened on that day 69 years ago, including making a trip to Europe. He met with members of the family that has for generations farmed the land where the Flying Fortress crashed. They gave him a couple of small pieces of the doomed B-17 that had been kept in a barn since the war.

There's a finger-sized piece of shattered plexiglass and a small, rusted temperature gauge.

Today he brought them to the newspaper to show me. 

Handling these artifacts was a bit surreal. I don't suppose I will forget it.

A convention idea for Spokane

How about a national gathering of people who, as infants, played the role of the baby Jesus in long-ago Christmas pageants?

There could be seminars, speakers and much social time.

“When did you portray the Christ child?”

“It was way back in 1955. I went for restrained and understated. From what I understand, my performance was well received.”

Why Spokane?

Why not.

“How did you deal with your Wise Men?”

“I sent them away with a subtle Don Corleone-like wave of my hand.” 

Christmas Presents Hall of Fame

If you were as fortunate as I was, you could come up with your own list.

Here's something that would definitely be on mine. My first Tacks. Got them more than 40 years ago and I still have them.

“Bunny Hill” explained

Bill Brock wondered why a gentle run at a ski area is known as a “Bunny Hill.”

So his long-suffering 6-year-old daughter, Reed, had to explain it to him.

“It's obvious, Dad,” she said. “You just hop on and go.”

White male Christmas

When I first glanced at this, I thought it said “WJM.” So, naturally, I found myself asking “Say, wasn't that the Minneapolis station where Mary Richards and Lou Grant worked?”

As you can see, this 1962 promo is actually from a real station in Ohio. Not exactly a tidal wave of diversity rolling in off Lake Erie.

But speaking of WJM…I've wondered when watching a rerun of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” what people who actually know something about producing a TV news show find most amusing about that depiction of the biz.

Premarital waving

I honestly can't remember girls riding these. You?

I'm sure they did. Just can't summon any memories of seeing it.

The Wednesday Slice question

If it turned out that this was all just some cosmic joke and living in Spokane was actually a continuing education course, what would be the name of the class?

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice question: Ticket prices for premier local entertainment and sports events effectively put these happenings out of reach for what percentage of Spokane area families?

Ethics question: You make the call

A Spokane married couple I know both graduated from College A.

I went to College B.

Recently the couple and their two boys visited the community that is home to College B. Their older boy — I think he is about 8 — reportedly had a great time.

So naturally I contacted the admissions office at College B and asked them to mail this lad an information packet praising the programs and opportunities at College B.

Was this wrong?

Re: Getting to the airport early

Occasionally I hear people talk about relatives who insist on getting to the airport insanely early.

Don't make me laugh, I think.

Your relatives are fine people, I'm sure. But in this regard, they are mere pikers.

My late father was the champion. He once went out to the airport before the family members who were flying that day had even finished packing.

Let me repeat. He was not one of those who would be boarding a plane that day. He just wanted to get an early start on being in position to say goodbye out at the airport.

Just wondering

Is neighborhood Christmas caroling extinct?

A secret of manhood

That's Joe DiMaggio down in the corner. There's no doubt he was a great ballplayer. But from what I have read, he was not always comfortable in his own skin. Maybe he should have played with model trains more. 

It’s Luca Brasi, not Lou Cabrasi

Even some real fans of “The Godfather” get this wrong. Let's move on.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice question: Is Spokane's reputation as a city of drivers who honk politely still deserved?

Let there be lights

Apparently even as far back as 1963, “Made in the U.S.” was something worth noting.

Ridiculing a society that deserved it

It wasn't devoured like, say, Playboy. Of course. But I have heard multiple times over the years that Mad was a favorite of the guys in Vietnam. And that has always made perfect sense.

“Santa Claus and His Old Lady”

“I've seen the dude, man.”

There are versions of this on Or you could just ask Sherman and Mr. Peabody to take you back to the 1970s.

This date in Slice history (1997)

The difference between Spokane and TV's “Green Acres”: The electronic cash registers at a South Hill grocery store were down for one reason or another. So a woman who was ready to make a purchase suggested to a store employee that he just write the transaction details on a slip of paper and enter the information later.

“This isn't Sam Drucker's store,” he said.

If I were going to make a prank call

Yes, I know. They are juvenile and stupid, et cetera.

I did not say I was actually going to do it.

But if I did…

There are a couple of people I know that I wouldn't mind calling and pretending to be a respresentative of the Columbia Record Club.

“Hi…yes…I see your account has been in arrears since 1973.”   

Cable watch: “Red Tails”

There's a good movie to be made about the Tuskegee Airmen — the story has it all.

But “Red Tails” is not that movie.

The horror of being a “Swell kid”

Is Miss Green Dress a piece of work or what?

That's quite the head of hair Karen has.

Ever have one of these?

You wouldn't think there would much chance of injury here. But I think some of us might have suffered hearing loss as a result of playing against kids who constantly shouted at the top of their lungs.

The geography of childhood

For some of us, Jellystone seemed a long, long way off.

But of course, if you grew up here, it was practically next door. 

It’s the late Robert Goulet’s birthday

Can you identify the scene above?  

This date in Slice history (1999)

Here's The Slice's proposed code of conduct for Spokane area Christmas tree lots.

1. No arguing in front of the kids.

2. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.

3. Keep the bargaining cheerful.

4. Sniffing is free.

5. No cell phones.

(Sort of makes me laugh now to think that 13 years ago I thought No. 5 was even remotely realistic.)

Let the Festivus countdown commence

Just one month to go. Dec. 23 is on a Sunday this year.

The murder story cup o’ cheer

A few years back, there was an S-R editor who passed out commemorative mugs on the day after Thanksgiving. He did this several years in a row.

Printed on the outside of these mugs were brief references to big stories the paper had covered in the previous year.

Fine, right?

Well, there was one problem. Because a lot of what the paper covers could be characterized as bad news, many of these big-story labels were not what many would consider festive.

So when you studied the outside of your holidays mug and saw references to child abuse or whatever, it didn't exactly put you in the mood for hot chocolate and marshmallows.

This date in Slice history (1996)

Nikki Sauser was in the Kinko's on the South Hill when this guy came in and started making photocopies.

He hadn't been at it all that long before a loud car horn sounded from outside. The guy's face scrunched into an exasperated look and he scurried toward the door.

Sauser noticed that several people near the front windows were chuckling. Then she saw why.

Inside the guy's pickup truck was a big dog with a paw on the horn.

“You could see this was no accident,” said Sauser. “The dog knew what it was doing. And you knew from the way the guy acted that this wasn't the first time.”

Sauser got a kick out of the scene. But she said she hopes her dog, Eddie, doesn't learn that trick. “My life would never be the same.”

Multiple choice

What do you remember about your first Thanksgiving weekend back home after you had moved away (for college, a job, the military or whatever)?

A) Not much. That was a long time ago. B) I suspect I had an inkling that life was moving on and that the new friends I had made while away seemed to know me better than my old friends. C) I have a vague recollection of resenting the fact that my parents still treated me like a kid. D) Move away? Don't understand. Did you mean “move down to the basement”? E) I remember having looked forward to seeing the person back home I had been dating and then realizing, when we did get together, that it just wasn't there anymore. F) I think I expected to be greeted like a conquering hero or something. I pictured people hanging on my every word. Instead, my old friends had the nerve to expect me to want to hear about THEIR lives. G) I had not been away long, but I remember being awash in nostalgia upon seeing my hometown again. H) My family was wealthy and I had been going away to prep school since I was a little kid, so coming back for Thanksgiving when I was a college freshman was no big deal. I) I remember that my parents had turned my room into a storage space while I was away. J) I was struck by how fast my siblings were growing up. K) I remember I had turned into a film snob while away and my family, quite rightly, expressed the view that I had become a pretentious twit. L) I know this will sound insanely self-centered. But part of me sort of resented that life had not stood still while I was away. M) I don't remember details, but I know it was a happy time. N) Have you ever seen “The Graduate”? O) The greatest dog in the world put on a clinic about how to welcome someone home. P) Other.  

Hint: Average income is higher there

Despite the suggestion in the ludicrous “Red Dawn” — no, I haven't seen it…but c'mon — there isn't a Spokane high school that uses Wolverines as a name for its sports teams.

But there is such a school elsewhere in Washington — a traditional football power, in fact.

Can you name that high school?

This date in Slice history (1997)

Here are a few more Thanksgiving dinner tips, these from first graders and second graders at Spokane's Willard Elementary School.

“Buy a tercky.”

“Cut the feathers off.”

“Cook it foor 3 das.”

“Take the blood off it.”

“Bak it.”

“Cute it.”

Thanks to teacher Karrie Brown.

Coming in Thursday’s Slice column

Little kids offer directions on preparing a Thanksgiving dinner.

Don't try them at home.

This might seem like the way to go

It would allow you to quickly make your way around the grocery store, dancing past people blocking aisles with their rolling carts.

But after you have selected 57 items weighing an aggregate 147 pounds, does it still seem like a good idea?

Failure to communicate

When two people are discussing Spokane media they like and one of them thinks Out There Monthly is about gay lifestyles, there is a certain disconnect.

My Thanksgiving in jail

When city editor Jon Kamman asked if I had any Thanksgiving plans, I tried to act like I didn't see what was coming.

But I knew. He realized I had no family in Arizona. And he was about to invite me to his house for the holiday, which was just a couple of days away. What a guy. Wasn't that thoughtful?

No, I said. No plans.

Good, he said. “We need someone to work Thanksgiving.”


This was about 30 years ago. But the memory still makes me shake my head.

When you are in your 20's, there's a tendency to think you know everything. There is also a tendency to be wrong.

I was a newsside general-assignment reporter at the morning paper in Tucson. I hadn't been there long, and working a holiday was not really unusual — especially for someone with zero seniority. But the extent to which I misread the city editor in that moment amuses me still.

And Kamman — a fine editor and decent, honest man — had an assignment for me. He thought I should join the prisoners for Thanksgiving dinner at the Pima County Jail. So that's what I did.

I don't remember much about it. Except that virtually all of the prisoners I spoke to confided that they were innocent of the charges against him. Totally innnocent. What are the odds?

Maybe some of them knew the city editor and had heard that I was easily duped.

Thanks to Twitter…

…and people tweeting things they overhear in their own homes…

A lot of people have learned what it's like to live with a columnist. 

The Wednesday Slice question

How do you feel about being in a grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving?

A) I complain about the crowds, but I love it. B) For me, it is the start of the holiday season. C) Makes me glad to live in the land o' plenty. D) My favorite thing is getting home and bringing the bags inside. E) I feel like I'm in a Hallmark Channel movie right there in the produce department. F) It's the one day I actually use a list. G) I would not consider grocery shopping on the day before Thanksgiving. H) You know what they say about anticipation. I) Who wouldn't enjoy selecting things that you know will delight loved ones? J) Other.   

This date in Slice history (1995)

As low as you can go: A Coeur d'Alene 6-year-old named Colin explained that the worst grade you can get in school is an “F minor.”

50 years ago on “Dick Van Dyke”

An episode called “The Night the Roof Fell In” first aired on Nov. 21, 1962. It featured Rob and Laura having a fight.

They eventually made up and, presumably, repaired to their separate beds.

Reader challenge

Name the winner of the Miss Alaska pageant who worked in Spokane TV news as a weather spokesmodel some 20-25 years ago.

“Time Enough at Last”

They dropped the big one in this classic episode of “The Twilight Zone,” which first aired on Nov. 20, 1959.

The lesson: Always have an extra pair of glasses.

The other lesson: If your spouse is a horrible gorgon who makes your life hell, nuclear war is not without its upside.

Yes, I mentioned this last year. And if the world doesn't end before then, I'll mention it next year, too.

Does time of day matter re: surgery?

I know someone scheduled to have an operation tomorrow afternoon.

She has been told it will start at about 3:30.

Great, she said. The medical team will be tired and thinking about everything they need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving.

So…is she paranoid or would you think exactly the same thing?   

If you went home and were surprised to discover Guy Fieri in your kitchen

What would you say to him?

A) “Stand still while I shoot you.” B) “My but you are offputting.” C) “Man, that Times review of your new place was a hoot, wasn't it?” D) “Are you here to cast the tie-breaking vote on which sort of dressing we're going to make?” E) “Don't you think your look is a bit silly?” F) “Any tips on portion control?” G) “I'll bet that deep down you are an OK guy.” H) “How often do you shower?” I) Other. 

If you went home and were surprised to discover Nigella Lawson in your kitchen

What would say to her?

A) “Keep cooking. We've got a bunch of people coming over Thursday.” B) “You had better leave. My wife will be home soon.” C) “You had better leave. My husband will be home soon.” D) “Did you see that Man U lost to Norwich?” E) “This is not my beautiful house.This is not my beautiful wife.” F) “Who are you?” G) “I think that's simmered long enough.” H) “Do you need me to make a Rosauers run?” I) “Where's your 'English Muffin' shirt?” J)Other. 

As adventures go, these were pretty tame

I've long suspected that millions of Americans loved this gentle show because it offered a refuge from the tension that pervaded many real-life homes. The stories were slight, but Ricky was cute and Ozzie never raised his voice in anger.

Did you watch “The Dust Bowl”?


I recorded both Sunday night's and Monday night's installments but haven't had a chance to watch yet.

Thinking of trying a backyard ice rink?

You might want to check out

Which kind of mouse are you?

I suppose it's all relative.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice questions: If you were to get a tattoo that expressed your feelings about the Spokane area, what would it say? Where on your body would you want it?

Newspaper editors in the movies

This is from 1958's “Teacher's Pet,” a disappointingly sparkless Clark Gable/Doris Day exploration of the proper way to become an ink-stained wretch.  

One or two things have changed.

Yes, I know that's not Doris Day. I never said it was.

That's Mamie Van Doren playing a fan of understated earrings and hard-drinking newsmen.

This came out 29 years ago this week

Do you have a favorite scene? Mine might be when Ralphie is composing his “What I want for Christmas” theme for school and is mightily impressed with the quality of his own prose. “This is great.”

Stocking the fridge

Men. Aren't they amusing?

If you were the wife here, what would you do? Crack open a frosty bottle of Schlitz using Mr. Wonderful's noggin as the opener? Leave all the groceries out and simply declare that Thanksgiving dinner is off?

“We'll be having beer this year.”   

Did you watch Turkey Day marathons?

You know, on “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

There was something cozy and comforting about these marathons. Even if you felt a bit distant from your own family on Thanksgiving, there was always room to hang out with Joel and the Bots.

A Thanksgiving tradition once

But we've got to verify it legally.

How long will it continue?

A friend wonders when the media and others will stop referring to Myanmar without tacking on “formerly known as Burma.”

After all, he noted, people eventually stopped saying “Louisiana, formerly colonial France.”

Who else has perfect Apple Cup record?

I have not attended an Apple Cup game in this century.

But I went to one in the late 1980s, in Pullman. And another in the late 1990s, in Seattle.

WSU won both. (I realize that's not everyone's idea of perfection.)

But really, what are the odds of the Cougs being 2-0 in randomly selected UW vs. WSU games?

Sisters in the kitchen at Thanksgiving

Can you name this 1986 movie just from this?

How to look like Lars Thorwald

In Spokane, it's simple.

Go out and put luggage in your car after midnight in preparation for taking someone downtown to catch the train at the Intermodal center.

If any of your neighbors are insomniacs with Gladys Kravitz tendencies, the sight of you out there putting something in the trunk in the wee hours has to seem suspicious as hell.

(If you don't know who Lars Thorwald is, you need to study up on the late Grace Kelly's body of work.)

No. 1 song on this date in 1973

And now, a bonus trivia question.

In what movie — partly filmed in this area — does a stranger tell people in a post-apocalyptic village that the name of the new president is Richard Starkey?

This date in Slice history (1995)

One appealing thing about bare trees: You get to see bird nests you hadn't even known were there.

(And here's an item from Nov. 18, 1996.)

Some of those around here who have been trying to sell their houses must be thinking it.

What this area needs is more Californians moving here.

“Spokane Falls, West Texas”

Check this out. It's pretty funny. My colleague Gina found this. (Sorry about it not being clickable.)

This date in Slice history (1994)

Today's Slice question: How can you help someone stop smoking?

Thinking about the Polar Bear Plunge

If you have given a friend tentative indication that you might actually join him for the potentially heart-stopping annual event in Coeur d'Alene on Jan. 1, when is it appropriate to start asking yourself “What was I thinking?”

I’ll send a coveted reporter’s notebook…

To the first reader who can prove next week that he or she greeted someone Sam Wainwright style, “Hee Haw!”

It’s on

A case could be made that the “holiday season” unofficially starts today.

Sure, Thanksgiving is still almost a week away. But for some of us, the weekend before Thanksgiving is when the holidays vibe first starts to be felt. And today, the Friday before that milestone weekend, can usher in early inklings of a mood change.

Next week, Thanksgiving week, will feel different. No doubt about that.

And today, well, there's no escaping the fact that next week is now on the near horizon.

So when you are this close to the start, it sort of feels like the start itself. Right?

Feel free to festively disagree.   

“Thanksgiving on the Farm”

The artist was John Clymer, and that's the Nov. 26, 1955 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

Here's another Clymer cover. He was born in Ellensburg.

Multiple choice: How fast do you eat?

A) I was fine until I met my husband back shortly after the Dawn of Man. But he eats so fast that I eventually became a bit of a gobbler just so there would not be a half-hour gap between when he finished and when I did. B) I eat at a calm pace suggestive of fine dining. C) Depends on how interested I am in the show I'm watching. D) I eat like a golden Lab. E) Depends on what I'm having. F) “Vacuum” would be an appropriate verb. G) I must be pretty slow because my food always gets cold. H) I used to wolf everything. But years of hearing my wife say “Slow down — you're going to choke!” has helped me reform. I) I pick and nibble. J) Me? I'm not sure. I'm so busy yelling at my kids to chew their food. K) Other.  

No. 1 song on this date in 1982

If you are of a certain age, you might recall that this got played on the radio a time or two.

What did you think of it? How about the movie? Can you keep the story straight (and not confuse part of it with “Top Gun”)? 

Coming in Friday’s Slice

Looking ahead one week…identifying your leftovers-accessing style.

Search me

Oh, wait. I just did that. I suggest you try looking for motels that have your name.

Rate your email spam filter

A) It stops next to nothing. It is a sieve. B) It mostly intercepts email I'd actually like to see. C) Other.

Raunchiest local “roast” ever?

This would be hard to pin down.

But of all the “roast”-format birthday celebrations, retirement parties and what have you, one must be the clear winner when it comes to an exuberant excess of bad taste.   

Here’s a great 2012 Christmas stamp

As it happens, it's Canadian. But you can always do what my wife and I did once many years ago. Take your Christmas cards across the border and mail them from Nelson, B.C.

Hoping to steer clear of sex scandal

Just plowed through a backlog of invitations to connect with people via LinkedIn.

It was a fairly lengthly list and I did not scrutinize the individual profiles. I just clicked on “Accept” over and over.

After finishing, a far-fetched thought occurred to me.

Gee, I hope none of those people is that horrible woman in Tampa.

This date in Slice history (1996)

When early is too early: “Our neighbor, whose back yard is kitty-corner from ours, put up his Christmas lights this weekend,” Spokane's Kevin and Michelle Robinette wrote a few days ago. “The display is rather large and includes a large star and full-size plywood Santa and reindeer. Upon seeing them for the first time, our 3-year-old daughter, Marie Elise, exclaimed, 'Oh! Is that a store?'”

Happy birthday, Ed Asner

Here he is as newspaper city editor Lou Grant. (This was after “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”)

How can you tell at a glance that this scene does not depict a modern newsroom? 

This date in Slice history (1997)

Recipes for memorable dining: Joann Caputo asked her second-graders at Spokane's St. Charles School to write down instructions for preparing a turkey dinner.

For that, we give thanks.

“1. Buy a turkey. 2. Put garlic on it. 3. Make it crispy. 4. Put salt on it. 5. Put turkey juice on it. 6. Add pepper. 7. And eat it!” — Hannah

“1. Get the turkey. 2. Get teriyaki sauce. 3. Stuffing. 4. Frutsalad. 5. Salad. 6. Jallo. 7. Peas.” — Taylor

“Get the heart out of the turkey. Get the guts out. Sprinkle some pepper. Put the turkey in the oven.” — Sam

“1. Put turkey in oven. 2. Turn oven to about 200 degrees. 3. Cook for about 15 minutes. 4. Take out and eat.” — James

We wish we could share every one of the kids' papers because they're all good. But here are a few highlights from the rest of the class.

“Clean guts,” “Take out the guts and bones,” “Bake it 4 degrees,” “Take the chicken bone out,” “Put it in the microwave,” “Take out the fat,” “Put it under a stove,” and “Poot grease in the turkey.”

A little girl named Alyssa even offered a serving suggestion: “Put it on a lovely dish.”  

After school special

How involved with your homework were your parents?

A) Not at all. B) They practically did it for me. C) I just told them I didn't have any and they pretended to believe me. D) They got involved if I asked for help. E) My parents were liberal arts majors, so they didn't actually know anything. F) It wasn't a Ward and June and household. G) Other.    

It’s a wonderful greeting

A poll about Christmas music on Huckleberries Online and a Slice Blog commenter saying he was related to Jimmy Stewart got me wondering.

At what point on the calendar can you begin to hail a fellow as an “old building and loan pal”?  

Ever had a fruitcake from this place?

It's a mail-order outfit in Texas.

The cakes are good —  moist and sweet without being cloying. They have a bit of a zing. The calories-per-bite is alarming, though.

It became fashionable long ago to bash fruitcakes. But that's just a cliche. At least it is if you have had one from the Collin Street Bakery.

“Winky Dink and You”

This kids show was a bit before my time. But surely some Slice Blog scanners remember it.

Perhaps you have read about it. With the help of their parents, viewers could order a special plastic sheet that one placed right on the TV screen. Then young Winkers and Winkettes could get out a crayon and take part in the show's connect-the-dots segment.

Just think. Interactivity in the 1950s.

Anyway, some kids who didn't have the special plastic sheet got out a crayon and drew right on the TV screen. This caused comment among parents.

Ever tried to get crayon off a television screen?

But, of course, my real reason for this post is the fact that it is fun to say “Winky Dink.”  

Do you remember this Spokane band?

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ripper.

According to, the source of this photo, Ripper existed from 1973 until 1975. But I suppose you could guess the era from their hair.

Photo by Dave Joern

Just wondering

Will people smoking a joint be required by law to stand 25 feet away from the entrance to a building?

Here’s one you might have forgotten

This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1963.

For some, this song evokes a memory of a tragic news event that would shove everything else aside later that November.

Here's the song.

Cardinals where there are no cardinals

Maybe lots of people know the answer.

But I don't.

Why is “Cardinals” the sports nickname for North Idaho College athletics even though we don't have the red birds here?

I suppose I could bestir myself to look into this on my own. But last time I did that — re: same question and the Medical Lake High School Cardinals — it turned into a time-sucking black hole. And all I ended up finding out is that, long ago, a teacher who had moved here from back East suggested “Cardinals.”

Of course, it's true that sports mascots often have little relationship to geographic reality.

There probably aren't a lot of lions and tigers in Detroit. Not many bears in Chicago, et cetera.

But in at least one example of a mascot/location mismatch, there is an explanation.

In the case of the Arizona Cardinals, it's worth remembering that the team moved to Phoenix from St. Louis — where there actually are red birds.

So now I'm wondering. Was North Idaho College originally in Missouri?  

The Wednesday Slice question

What story are you seemingly powerless to stop yourself from telling over and over even though you know everyone in your life has heard it?

This date in Slice history (1995)

After witnessing dramatic and sudden changes in our weather recently, Cheney's 4-year-old Elizabeth Olson asked “Mommy, what season will it be tomorrow?”

Remembering a line from decades ago

News coverage of gas rationing back East in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy reminded me of something I read ages ago.

It was during a gas crisis of one kind or another. And a columnist — either Russell Baker or Mike Royko — came up with an alternative rationing plan.

If your license plate ends in an odd number: You could get gas on odd-numbered days.

If your license plate ends in an even number: You could get gas on even-numbered days.

If you have a vanity plate: No gas.

This date in Slice history (1998)

“The French Burrito”: That's where 5-year-old Blake Bekken told his parents he was going after learning that he would be part of a group visiting Finch Arboretum.

We all scream

The Slice Blog has dealt with Bing Crosby ice cream before. The thing that actually caught my eye in the photo below is the carton on the lower left.

I happen to know someone who once got some grief for referring to Neapolitan ice cream as “Van-choc-straw.”

But there it is. “Van-Choc-Straw.” Big as you please.

Sometimes evidence to help us support our case surfaces too late. But still, there's some comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Multiple choice

What's the ideal weather for Thanksgiving?

A) Just slightly above freezing and gray. B) Light snow. C) Sunny and unseasonably warm. D) Rain. E) Other.

In Spokane, all of those seem possible.

I don’t care about Taylor Swift

But apparently I am the only person in the United States who feels that way. Seemingly everywhere I look, there is media coverage of her various doings.

Oh, well. I don't really care about the National Football League either, and I have a hunch that's not going away.

So, here's a question. To what extent are we defined by the things about which we do not care? 

Ever hear anyone object to saying grace?

I seem to recall someone at a holiday dinner saying something about abstaining, but he didn't try to talk others out of a premeal prayer.

Would threatening emails actually work?

I mean, in a battle of rivals for one person's affection.

Sounds more like a “Saturday Night Live” skit than a real-world strategy.

Will pot be available at yard sales?

We all know how people in the Spokane area love a bargain.

So it stands to reason that, around here at least, people shopping for marijuana will be looking for low, low prices.

It would be a bit of a culture clash for Wal-Mart to carry the stuff. And Costco is sort of busy selling booze right now.

So maybe it will fall to individuals running yard sales to offer the real bargains.

Just wondering

What's the drawback to wearing a baseball cap as your winter hat?

This date in Slice history (2001)

Today's Slice question: When people introduce you to strangers, what's the one identifying detail they tend to mention that you wish they wouldn't?

Tallying the seasons

Saw some action on the Manito Park hill near Grand this afternoon.

Reminded me of the classic description of Vermont's (or sometimes New England's) climate — nine months of winter followed by three months of poor sledding.

The sledding looked pretty poor today here in Spokane. But it's early.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Snowboarders' slang in the Year 2003:

Poomer — someone who tries dazzling jumps but can't quite pull them off.

Sniffer — a snowboarder whose real interest is making social contacts.

Boing boing — someone who falls a lot.

Composter — snowboarder with poor hygiene.

Citizen — snowboarder with a life beyond snowboarding.

Mertz — someone over 30.

Marsupe — snowboarder with candy bars in his or her pockets.

Oral — snowboarder whose talk exceeds his ability.

Inert — never having snowboarded outside the Inland Northwest.

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice

Infrequently asked questions about Christmas season music.

One way to observe Veterans Day

“How about make love to a veteran,” wrote Karen Reinhart. “My husband was in Vietnam for a year from 1969-70.”

If you thought your teeth were white

Compare and contrast with this young woman employed in Spokane TV news. 

Flipping off some cross-country skiers

No wait, that's a different finger.

So is “fun” being used as a verb here?

Which do you say?

“Snowblower” or “snowthrower”?

Re: The end of “The Walking Dead”

When the phone rang in the prison at the end of Sunday night's episode, you were not the only one who assumed it was a political robo-call.

“Living the dream”

When you hear someone say that, what percentage of the time is the speaker being sarcastic? 

Real life vs. watching “The Big Lebowski”

In real life, you probably don't see a guy wearing a bathrobe at the grocery store and think, “Hey, maybe he's got it all figured out.”

Chances are, you just assume he's simply another snack-seeking blogger or other Spokane basement dwelling devotee of casual attire.

Who taught you to tie a necktie?

Have you ever taught this skill to someone else?

Whatever gets you through Monday

This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1974. If it gets stuck in your head, well, that might be a good thing.

You could spend the day hearing “It's alright, it's alright.”

There are worse options.

If you avoid “Doonesbury” because…

…Trudeau's politics make you mad, that's your business.

But you are missing some good stuff. Today's was an example.

Tonight on KSPS-TV at 8 — “Diner”

I'm willing to bet that a hell of a lot of this has not aged at all well in 30 years. And I recall that there are some astonishingly depressing parts. I'm even willing to acknowledge that watching some young, self-absorbed guys talk, talk, talk might not be all that appealing if you yourself are no longer young and full of it.

But I suspect a few of the diner conversations still feel like four-star eavesdropping. If you have never seen this, I recommend recording it and then fast-forwarding through everything but the diner scenes.

Yes, I realize a cinephile would find that suggestion abhorrent. But hey, we're all pressed for time.  

Coming in Saturday’s Slice column

Glimpsing Spokane from the other side of the world, kids today and how to remember the names of your Wallace neighbors from 25 years ago. 

Happiness is a traffic light

Asked my ride-home bus driver how she felt about the new traffic light at 37th and Grand.

“Ahhhhh,” she said. “I could have done a dance in the middle of the road. I was so happy.”

At least no one seemed to be hurt

A Slice Blog correspondent observed the aftermath of a traffic accident at Thurston and Perry on Spokane's South Hill this morning.

Both drivers seemed to be OK.

But the damage to the vehicles was considerable. Tow trucks were required for both.

A woman who had been behind the wheel of one of the wrecked cars said she was headed home from the dealership in her brand-new auto when the accident took place.

We've all heard about depreciation beginning the moment you drive off the lot. But that's ridiculous.

The urge to build

I heard about a Spokane Valley grade-schooler who went out last night and managed to make a remarkably tall snow man.

Imagine what this boy will do when he has more raw material at his disposal.

Today section drives her out of her mind

At least yesterday's did.

S-R reader Cynthia Laird called and reported that the big “Hey, hey Paula” headline on yesterday's features section made her start hearing a certain song. And she kept hearing it. And hearing it.

All day.

“I thought I would lose my mind,” she said.

I'm not sure who wrote that headline. But I have a hunch it was an EWU grad who hadn't even been born when the song in question was a hit in 1963.

Just part of our sing-along service.  

When we left our story last time…

Took the first downtown-bound No. 43 this morning and was surprised to discover a different cast of characters (fellow riders) than when I last rode the bus seven or eight months ago.

I had sort of expected to see all the same faces. Wrong.

I keep forgetting that people sometimes tweak their schedules and make other changes in their lives without consulting with me first. 

Question for those of a certain age

When, long ago, you and some of your friends were pretending to be the Beatles, how did you handle it when there were more than four of you?

On my block, we realized that being the Fab Five was simply ridiculous. So it fell to me to fire a member of our group. He did not take it well, and I still don't blame him.

Wish I could remember exactly how I handled it.

“Jeff, we're thinking of going in a different direction.”

Where’s your messiah now?

It's certainly possible that road conditions far from my front door could be quite different.

But at first glance, it would appear that children's prayers for a snow day off from school fell on deaf ears.

Perhaps their promises to “be good” and clean up their rooms in exchange for schools being closed today were not deemed credible.

This date in Slice history (1996)

Here's a prediction.

The final instance of someone around here telling a reporter that he or she is shocked that a violent crime happened in his or her neighborhood will occur in the year 2021.

Forecast tomorrow morning’s commute

A) “If it snows overnight, I assume drivers will take it easy tomorrow morning.” B) “Carnage.” C) “Could be the end of the bike commute season for some.” D) “We will be serenaded by the song of spinning tires.” E) “Commute, schamoot. I'm retired and plan on staying home.” F) Other.

The parka doctrine

Had a column idea and was ready to write, then I discovered that I had already said what I intended to say.

Here it is, a Slice item from Nov. 1, 2002:

Longtime Slice readers are familiar with the psychology of saving your warmest winter coat for truly frigid weather.

(“Saving” being defined locally as “Never wearing it.”)

The theory is that putting on your warmest coat leaves you with no good answer to the question, “What will I do when it gets even colder?”

Committing to your ultimate parka robs you of the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've always got one last line of defense.

But it's time to acknowledge a simple truth. The policy of holding in reserve your warmest coat only makes sense if you spend hardly any time outdoors.

Think about it. A lot of people around here spend 99.9 percent of the cold season either indoors or in a heated vehicle. They can get away with wearing skimpy jackets while their dirigible-sized super coats stay smushed in a closet.

But if you spend a fair amount of time outdoors, you don't really have the luxury of noting that the official start of winter is seven weeks away. You've got to keep from freezing.

So The Slice amends its admonition to think twice about hauling out your polar-grade survival gear. If you are going to be outdoors longer than 30 seconds, do whatever you have to do to stay warm.

Go ahead and drag out the Big Bertha in your winter-wear lineup.

And don't forget to layer.

One good thing about LinkedIn updates

You get to see who among your contacts has been named executive bartender.

Thanksgiving movie trivia (one question)

In 1987's “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” what possibly pornographic paperback novel is John Candy's character reading on the plane early in the film?

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: Could you sum up in one sentence what makes your best friend special?

This date in “Twilight Zone” history

Set in the future — 1974 — this episode takes place 10 years after a nuclear war. It first aired on Nov. 8, 1963.

Do you remember what you were doing in 1974? It had to have been better than trying to figure out if certain cans of food had been contaminated by radiation.

One interesting theme in “Old Man” is the idea that a computer could be trusted but not strangers in uniforms. At least not if they are led by a bullying James Coburn.  

Suggestion box spillover

Here are a few that did not make it into today's print column.

“Five Mile Prairie desperately needs STA bus service.” — Donna Stovall

“As an ardent yard-saler and estate saler, I believe Spokanites should have orange cones atop their cars (much like student drivers) indicating we will be stopping suddenly, U-turning, slowing down to read signs and other erratic driving behavior in our fight to find great deals.” — Tracie Swanson

“I suggest that Spokane create a campaign to promote library use and encourage people of all ages to read.” — Stacy Carlson

“Spokane should establish a Port District.” — Ken Flint

“For 30 days preceding a general election, your masthead should include 'The general election will be followed by a peaceful transition of power, hallelujah.'” — Edward Sawatzki

“I suggest you start a movement to get Halloween switched from October 31st to the last Saturday in October of each year, thereby saving parents from having to send exhausted, sugar-overloaded kids to school the following day, and also allowing for the gracious homeowners who still pass out candy to not have to face the ringing doorbell the second they walk in from work.” — Lauren Loutzenhiser

“As a way of saying 'Thank you' to all their loyal supporters who don't have the opportunity or funds to purchase season tickets at the McCarthey Athletic Center, GU men's basketball should play one conference game per year in the Spokane Veteran's Memorial Arena with tickets ranging in price from $5-$30, and sold on a first-come/first-serve basis to everyone.” — Bonita Roach

“How about building a wildlife underpass (a la U.S. Highway 95 at Athol, in North Idaho) that would start at Nine Mile and funnel only wolves up to the Canadian border where they can be returned back to their native home.” — Debbie Cross

“My suggestion is that all graduating seniors go to military boot camp (perhaps a short version of 2-4 weeks), because believe me, it will make an adult out of you who has values, is hard working and loves our country.” — Kimberly Madore

“Agree to disagree.” — Cheryl Lugar

“I suggest that everyone live by this motto: 'If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, seek after those things.'” — Nancy Chevigny-Dahlke

“I suggest that you write an article on studless snow tires, how good they are and how they would save our roads.” — David Randall

“End War.” — Nick Britz

“For one month, examine carefully those in your life who have given in extraordinary proportions to family, friends and community and emulate that type of caring to those you know and to those you have not yet met.” — Lori McElhaney

“Have police officers who 'salute' disgraced Officer Thompson wear a special badge so that the average citizen can know which specific officers to sneer at (perhaps ZEHM with red slash across).” — Leonard Butters

“I have a list of suggestions for used campaign signs: Their waterproofness and plastic coating makes them ideal for sledding, they make great walls for snow forts, they make great covers for RV tires so they don't get sunburned, they can also be used to build dog shelters.” — Gail Neidhold

“Spokane unites as a community (non-profits, business and individuals), buys a piece of property in Detroit and builds a business on it, while challenging other communities across the country to do the same.” — Darrin Coldiron

“We need to develop a new tree that drops its leaves or needles in neat piles equal to the size of a large sized leaf bag.” — Kasey Kramer

“Language translator app on smartphone or iPad could be used in an emergency room to solve communication problems.” — Roger Chase

“In any given basketball game, the height of each team's basket would be adjusted according to a yet-to-be-determined formula based on the average hieght of the players who played in that team's previous game.” — Charlotte Thacker

“I suggest that a TAB key be added to the right side of the computer keyboard by the 10-key number pad.” — Mae Greenwood

“My suggestion is a non-profit charity like Union Gospel Mission set up a website to sell 'unable to use' GU basketball tickets.” — Jack Haley

“I think you should write about my father-in-law, Dan Hite.” — Kimberly Roadruck

“Since winter is coming, Randy Shaw needs to get a perm and Tom Sherry should grow a beard.” — Val Maciver

“My suggestion is for me — Dawber Mushmouse — to be the first ever Marmot to win free (GO) Zags tickets!” — Marlene Humphrey

“Raffle off the Zags and Zagettes (all of them, coaches included) as FRIEND FOR THE DAY and donate money to charity of their choice.” — Jo Anna Stanger

“Stop hiring California cowboy cops that move to North Idaho like Kry Baby Thompson and Hair Trigger Hirzel.” — Kathy Wright

“My suggestion would be that every community had a citizenry and elected officials enlightened enough to make recycling a viable enterprise.” — Charlotte Applegate

“The banks that own the foreclosed homes should somehow assist with housing those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.” — Vikki Sawyer

“I would put up an extra pedestrian crossing light at Lincoln/Main so pedestrians would not be crossing on a green light for northbound Monroe traffic.” — Mike Kraft

“My suggestion would be to have school zone lights at every school.” — Linda Hempel

“How about you continue the suggestion offer, so more of us old gomers who can't sleep on the frozen ground in the ticket line have a chance to go to a Zags game.” — Bruce Hunt

“Never be too busy to make time for family…sitting down at the table for dinner together, snuggling and reading at bedtime, and caring about your child's education.” — Mary Griffith

“Give an incentive to a business owner to open a quilt shop in downtown Spokane.” — Nancy Harris

“To best reflect changing times, and tastes, I suggest renaming the Maple Street Bridge to the Bacon and Maple Street Bridge.” — Rich Williams

“My suggestion so that I can win your GU basketball tickets is that elementary math teachers use a method that I used when teaching how to divide fractions.” — Gary Rust

“Many trendy, eclectic and exciting small restaurants and businesses are popping up in downtown Spokane, so let's take steps to create a safe, clean and inviting city center and MOVE THE STA!” — Angela Poole

“We suggest that everyone donate what they would spend at Starbucks for one day to the Spokane Symphony — they are an awesome group of musicians.” — Bruce and Sandy Colquhoun

There were more. But I suggest we wrap this up. 

“Vote for me and I’ll set you free”

Can you name the 1970 pop song that includes that lyric?

Stuff Clogging Up Our Brains Department

“The elevation of the Ryegrass rest stop on I-90,” wrote Sue Chapin. “2535 feet.”

Planning to see this when it comes here?

I enjoyed reading “Team of Rivals,” so I assume I will check this out.

A penny for his thoughts

White socks AND high-waters. He's got it going on.

This date in Slice history (2000)

Today's Slice question: What getting-dressed mistake have you made that you didn't discover until you got to work?

Local connection

Seeing that Boz Scaggs would be appearing at Northern Quest later this month reminded me of this 1978 movie.

Can you say what was unusual about the conversational reference to the musician in this otherwise forgettable film?

The Wednesday Slice question

From whom do you expect to hear the most ludicrous day-after analysis?

When bad typing ages you 256 years

It turns out that the form linked to below doesn't work if you mistakenly enter your birth year as 1699.

Discovering political campaign collectibles

If you ever find yourself going through boxes of family stuff that have been taking up space for decades, you might run across items like this.

These things aren't usually worth much in a monetary sense. But if you are fortunate enough to have older relatives still around, they can make great conversation starters.

“So I take it my grandfather wasn't a big FDR fan.”

When your email misses by 3,000 miles

A colleague sent his young-adult son an email about a possible purchase of a computer. My co-worker's son lives in Spokane.

But the reply my colleague then received came from a member of the Canadian navy currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Apparently my friend had made one key-stroke mistake when typing his son's email address.

He said the fellow over in Maritime Canada could not have been nicer.

I wonder how that far-away sailor is coping with the lack of an NHL season.

“He Shares His Saddle With Danger!”

I did not read “Rawhide Kid.” And I really have nothing to say about Western-set comics.

I'm sharing this because I just love that overline.

So, with what do you share your saddle?

One question TV/presidency quiz

In what TV show did a presidential candidate once say, “Crime, boy, I don't know”?

When it was still Norman Rockwellian

Before the shift to voting by mail in Washington, here's where my wife and I voted in Spokane.

1. Fire station. 2. Lutheran church. 3. Elementary school. 4. Methodist church.

How about you?

Who was your favorite movie president?

That's Henry Fonda in 1964's “Fail-Safe.”

No one could say he was incapable of making a tough decision.

Would you recommend 1999’s “Election”?

I thought it was good, but I'm quite certain it would offend some people.

But then, some people are always going to be offended.

If you work from home…

…when do you start planning the office Christmas party?

This date in Slice history (1998)

Today's Slice question: If leaves falling from a tree in your yard land in the next yard, are you still responsible for raking them up?

This date in Slice history (2001)

Today's Slice question: What's the most unusual thing your pet has eaten?

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice

What to say when you are asked if you ski.

How to avoid spoilers

When you are watching a high-profile TV series several years after it came out, what is the best way to avoid accidentally bumping into information that gives away where things are headed?

A) Never leave home. B) Never go online. C) Avoid media. D) Put yourself in a hypnotic state before going to work. E) Start humming loudly and cover your ears every time someone mentions the show in question. F) Other.

“Leave It To Beaver” trading cards

Hadn't known such cards existed. Don't believe I would have spent part of my allowance on these.

“Trade you two Whiteys for a Lumpy.”

“Nah. But I'll give you a Fred Rutherford for a Miss Canfield.”

And speaking of overlooked trading cards…

Spokane in the imagination

In the course of exchanging emails with a friend who lives in a distant state, I mentioned riding my bike to work. I noted that it was not a long trip, maybe about four miles.

I should note that he has never been to Spokane.

Anyway, when he wrote back, he approvingly noted that I must live in the “inner city.”

Something tells me he imagines Spokane is a bit bigger than it really is.

No. 1 song on this date 50 years ago

Can't vouch for this, but it all sounds plausible.'s_a_Rebel

This date in Slice history (1994)

Today's Slice question: What's the best thing about the Spokane area's distance from larger cities?

You wouldn’t be the first

To drop off your ballot at one of the free-standing collection boxes outside libraries and elsewhere and wonder about the chance the box will be vandalized before the next pick-up.

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: If you sold Spokane door-to-door, how would you describe your product?

Robo calls and Decision 2012

Election Day is still to come. But many of us have made up our minds.

The land-line phones have got to go.

Just wondering

Do you have a job that a child would enjoy pretending to do during playtime?  

Spokane’s most common cat coloring?

I've always thought it's gray and white, but I could be wrong.

Pay no attention to the fact this feline is actually in New Hampshire. 

A lot of people here grew up back there

Happy statehood day to North Dakota and South Dakota.

They became states on this date in 1889, nine days before Washington's admission.

Some of those chuckling about our winter whiners grew up back there.

Did you have a thing for Jessica Lange?

Can you name a movie in which she played a woman born and raised in Washington?

“Area man”

Earlier this week, that expression was the beginning of a headline on the S-R's front page.

Nothing wrong with that. Made sense and was perfectly clear.

But I wonder how many readers thought of The Onion when they saw that.

Are you ignorant?

Not across-the-board. Hey, you're here aren't you? That earns you the benefit of the doubt.

I mean ignorant about certain specific topics. Such as…

1. Spokane's city limits.

2. The basics of internal combustion.

3. The problem-solving value of yelling at your computer.

4. The difference between the flu and a cold.

5. What it means when you write or say “I could care less.”

6. The difference between “fighter pilot” and “bomber pilot.”

7. The language of interior decorating.  

Today’s idea for a great band name

Was comparing notes on Halloween with a friend and something he said gave me an idea for a band name.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Contingency Candy.”

Everybody look, what’s going down?

The loud bang outside late yesterday afternoon might have been a car backfiring.

Or maybe a transformer blowing.

Then it happened again. And again.

By the time I went out to have a look-see, all sorts of neighbors were already outside looking for an answer.

Turned out it had, in fact, been a pickup backfiring. The truck was pulled over down the road, with its hood up.

 One neighbor said it had sounded like gun shots. Another agreed.

Good to know I live on a street where people will go out and investigate when the shooting starts.

Your assignment, should you choose…

…to accept it.

Tell someone at some point today that he or she better slow that Mustang down.

Just where does he have his foot?


Click on the Page 57 ad.

Then answer this. Does the guy at the table have his foot on the knee (or other body part) of the woman across from him?

Check out the position of his gray slacks beneath the table.

Your chance to win GU hoops tickets

For details, see Saturday's Slice.

That's Saturday's, not tomorrow's.

Tomorrow's Slice is an experiment designed to see how many readers I can annoy. 

Halloween head-counts 6

“My parents, Craig and Kathy Godtfring, counted at least 465 trick or treaters this year,” wrote Danielle Milton.

She said her folks, who live near University High School, had to stop because they ran out of candy. “They likely would have reached the 500 mark if they had not had to turn the lights out.”

Halloween head-counts 5

“I'm a bit of a curmudgeon regarding trick or treaters,” wrote Bob Stallman. “I have to say, though, if I'm going to be shaken down for candy it's comforting when the little extortionists are cute. Last night 65 of them came to our door and at least 60 of them did their job. Cute and polite will get you a long way in my grumpy world.” 

Halloween head-counts 4

Last year, Carolyn Terry got zero trick or treaters.

This year? “I greeted 27 very well-mannered and delightfully costumed trick or treaters, a standard poodle, several moms and dads, and a baby in a stroller out for its first Halloween. Most said 'Thank you,' and one wished me a 'Happy Halloween.'”

Fritz Howard in Lacrosse, Wash., counted 50 kids last night at his place. “All well-costumed and extremely polite. I am convinced there is hope for us yet.”  

Halloween head-counts 3

Craig Walter, who lives next to Corbin Park on Spokane's North Side, reported that his family handed out 1,450 pieces of candy.

“This is 45 fewer than last year. Have we peaked? We think not! We think we can blame the decrease on the fact that Halloween was on a Wednesday, and also the threat of rain. We are eagerly awaiting the year we break the 1,500 mark.” 

Halloween head-counts 2

Janet Culbertson had 43 trick or treaters. “Down a bit from last year but still loads of fun.”

Her first arrived at 5 p.m., the last at about 9.

Karla Sherry counted 24 at her place. “It was fun to see the looks on the kids' faces and hear their comments as they left our door. We give out full-size candy bars.”

The No. 1 costume theme might have been princess.   

Halloween head-counts

It's all a matter of perspective, I guess.

Bonnie Rae got 25 trick or treaters last night at her house. She had fun and had good things to say about the kids' costumes. “There was one fantastic mummy.”

But she found herself missing the days, 20 years ago, when more than 100 children would show up.

Maggie Fritz also got 25 trick or treaters at her place. “Most I've ever had.”

What stood out?

“There were two girls with serious cleavage.”

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: When it comes to making a memorable first impression, what's the single most annoying thing a newcomer to the Inland Northwest can do or say?

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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