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The Slice

Archive for September 2012

“North Idaho” vs. “Northern Idaho”

If you are keeping score, it's worth noting that Idaho's official state highway map opts for “Northern” in a subheading under “Scenic Byways.”

The long and the short of it

There are couples who go for long walks and hold hands the whole time.

Why doesn't that drive at least one of them crazy?

Maybe it's sweet. Perhaps it is romantic. But wouldn't implied affection be better?

Sure, if the relative heights and arm lengths line up perfectly, holding hands can be relatively effortless. But what if that's not the case?

Walking is good. Touching a loved one is great. They just don't always go hand in hand.

No Marmot Lodge meeting in October

Please mark your calendars accordingly.

Does Spokane need a few Ratso Rizzos?

Spokane pedestrians are too polite.

Drivers nose their cars into crosswalks we happen to be using and we say nothing. It's almost as if pedestrians here have been brainwashed into accepting the notion that people in cars are more important than people on foot.

But what if we had a few Ratso Rizzos in our midst?

Would an occasional “I'm walkin' here!” remind motorists of the reason for crosswalks?

You and your DVR queue

Someone has to say it, so I guess it might as well be me.

You know that show you have been saving for months? Well, you're never going to watch it.

Delete it. Free up the digital storage space. Get your percentage down.

Face the brand new day.

The Slice Blog recommends

I wouldn't argue that “The Adjustment Bureau” is a great movie. Not really sure I'd even call it good.


Early on, sometime in the first half hour, Matt Damon — playing a losing politician — gives a concession speech that is really worth seeing.

Hungry to hear someone tell the truth about the packaging of candidates? Check it out sometime.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Bumper-sticker spotted by Don McCoy: “I love your wife.” 

In case you were wondering

Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 4.

But people incorrectly saying “Daylight Savings Time” goes on forever.

A really annoying vintage beer ad

Apparently no one at the ad agency was familiar with the basics of football.

Some families still exchange clippings

Mine does anyway.

Remember that recent travel page story on the Empire Builder? My wife, a veteran Empire Builder passenger, sent that to her mother in Michigan.

At pretty much the exact same time, her mother sent us the same story from her paper, the Detroit Free Press. The boxes containing those newspaper clippings probably passed each other in North Dakota.   

Today’s strategy for wasting time at work

Do a Google image search on…vintage bowling alley signs

There's some great stuff.

Yes, the Cold War had rules

Rule No. 1: You do not talk about Cold War Club.

Caption contest

Just ignore all the text and put your own line on this.

There’s still time to write your review

Did you see Jimi Hendrix at the Spokane Coliseum in September of 1968?

One drawback to working from home

You can't bring overflow homegrown produce and unwanted Halloween candy to the office.

Just wondering

I wonder what Spokane area man had his 18th birthday closest to the official end of the military draft near the end of January in 1973.

My 18th was less than three weeks after that. 

Any ideas on recycling rooftop sign?

You could rearrange some of the letters and write aphid, rapid, tapir, third, triad, et cetera, if you had a need to spell out such words on a large scale.

What’s your “let’s get out of here” code?

A) “We're at crush depth.” B) “Open the pod bay door, HAL.” C) “Suddenly I'm in the mood for an MRI.” D) “I am declaring this an ejector seat.” E) “I just remembered that thing.” F) “Teleportation.”  G) “Plastics.” H) “Rosebud.” I) Other.

Remember this place?

Your thoughts on that claim?

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: What would happen to life in the Inland Northwest if you moved away?

Typical scene in a newsroom

And when they aren't dancing on the top of desks, publishers and editors can look a bit manic.

You already know how he feels about spunk.

Of course, reporters tend to be cute and hang out in the production building.

And copy editors, who all have their own offices, tend to wind up making out on a pitcher's mound.

Yelling at scofflaw sidewalk bicyclists

There are problems with reminding people that it violates a city law to ride a bike on sidewalks downtown. Here are five.

1. Yelling doesn't always produce learning.

2. To the listener, outdoor yelling often sounds like “Hey! Buzza globben and yule stamper doobie jackslob!”

3. “You're making every cyclist look bad!” doesn't really resonate with those who do not in any way view themselves as part of Spokane's cycling community.

4. The audience for this message is not exactly ablaze with desire to live life inside the margins of civil society.

5. The offenders are thinking, “Where's your badge?” 

Special note to Rick Hosmer


Your wife and I plan to meet for an eggnog latte in a few weeks.

And I didn't want you to hear about this through the rumor mill.

So there you go.



Pre-bedtime viewing protocols

A colleague who has been watching early seasons of “Breaking Bad” late at night noted that, though he admires the show, it can be so dark he then wants to watch a sitcom or something as a buffer before going to bed.

Can you relate to that? Or are you able to flip a switch and put disturbing images and troubling themes instantly behind you?

A Neil Young/Jane Austen mashup

If Neil Young had written songs about Jane Austen characters, here are some of the lyrics that might have emerged.


Down by the river

I shot Lady Catherine de Bourgh


Mr. Darcy, look at my life

I'm a lot like you were


I wanna live

with a Marianne Dashwood


Once I thought I saw Emma Woodhouse

In a crowded hazy bar


OK, your turn. I tried to find a way to use “Mr. Collins” but fell short.

“I was working in the lab late one night”

It's exactly five weeks until Halloween.

So would anyone advertise on a Spokane radio station that played nothing but “Monster Mash” between now and then?

It really won’t be the same without him

Of course, the songs live on. But still.

Corny? Sure. But ask a baby boomer. His voice on say, “Happy Holiday,” could trigger a heroin-strength nostalgia rush. 

Select your screen name

Did you see that Donna “Elly May” Douglas has a birthday today?

Well, you know what that means. Time again to select a 1960s screen name for yourself.

Remember, Dash Riprock, Bolt Upright and Beef Jerky have already been taken.

The Wednesday Slice question

There's something to be said for the stability and familiarity of staying in one home or one part of town. But what do you learn about the Spokane area from living in several different neighborhoods over the years?

A) This Part of Town vs. That Part of Town rivalries and resentments are not really a big deal. B) For all their apparent sameness, grocery stores have interesting little quirks. C) You see magpies in some corners of the Spokane area but not in others. D) With the exception of a few pockets here and there, the politics tend to be similar to what you might find in Oklahoma or Alabama. E) House-value homogeneity varies wildly from neighborhood to neighborhood. F) No one neighborhood has a monopoly on people who mostly want to be left alone. G) Attitudes about the usefulness of Interstate 90 vary. H) You find out if your allegiance to certain restaurants and stores had more to do with proximity than anything else. I) Spokane is 5% more diverse than many imagine. J) There are people originally from Butte, Montana, everywhere. K) Spokane is 5% less diverse than many imagine. L) You will always encounter people from the office if you call in sick and then go out to pick up some ice cream. M) Other. 

Would you read Debra Wilde’s tell-all?

Years ago, I honestly can't remember how many, I filled in one day for a vacationing Spokane morning radio team.

The show's producer made it easy. I had fun. And it went OK.

The fact that I was never invited back can be attributed, I believe, to an incident in a sports arena men's room in Oakland some time later.

The two radio guys, whom I had never actually met, were there for an NCAA tournament game. They happened to be in the restroom with their producer at the time I entered with an SR colleague.

The colleague in question did not like these two and had mentioned that fact several times. So when the opportunity to make small talk with them arose, I was a little less ebullient than I might have been if my co-worker hadn't been right there.

I'm not proud of being a tad frosty in that moment, but I understand why I was.

Anyway, back on the day of that guest-host radio shift, I conducted a few phoners with people I know. One was with Debra Wilde, still a TV anchor then.

I joked with her on the air that her no-holds-barred autobiography could be a best-seller in this town.

I wasn't really kidding.

Since that conversation, she has lived several more chapters — some sad, some funny, all readable.

Of course, the book's success would depend on her willingness to be brutally honest, settle scores, name names and recall favorite sweaters. And you certainly could not blame her if that didn't seem appealing.

But maybe she will consider it someday. After all, even if it might make her cringe, her publisher would have a field day with potential titles playing off her last name.

Today’s time-wasting suggestion

If you have any interest in defunct pro sports leagues, you might want to check this out.

Anyone else around here able to claim having seen an International Volleyball Association match?

How about the Major Indoor Soccer League or United States Football League?

I can also claim the International Hockey League, though that went through so many changes over the years I long ago lost track of its status.  

The crest of bad baby names insanity

Has crashed down on 1st and 2nd grade classrooms.

Please observe a moment of silence as your show of support for the school teachers having to cope with parental insanity of six and seven years ago.

The Creature Whose Name Can Not Be Pronounced/Spelled.

Getting people’s attention in 1952

So the lesson here was something along the lines of “Take Civil Defense seriously — or else!”

How to be popular

Have you had your all-over wash today?

Interesting hair color for a girl her age.

Favorite scene in 1976’s “Network”?

A) The classic “I'm as mad as hell…” scene.

B) When Faye Dunaway mentions Spokane.

C) Ned Beatty explaining how corporations run the world.

Another concert I missed

Didn't get to the Hatebreed show at the Knitting Factory.

Start planning to push up your boobs

The email's subject line read “Halloween Trend Alert.”

It was from a public relations firm. And it began this way.

“Many women love to dress up on Halloween but extravagant costumes can get overwhelming and pricey.”

The solution? Corsets that squeeze a woman's torso and push her breasts way up high, so that they will appear as if they are being served on a platter.

How nice.

Halloween gets scarier every year.

If you were ever a boy of a certain age

You might remember when a fairly detailed awareness of the new car models — which started appearing at about this time of year — was a basic part of your knowledge base.

Laughing all the way to the bank

I'm sure that the many corporate interests invested in the hit reality TV series, “The National Football League,” are pleased that Refereegate has demonstrated once again that consumers (the viewing audience) actually care. 

What we say about our parents

“I'm very proud to be able to tell people they have been married for 67 years.” — Janice Holcomb

“My mom raised seven kids, and washed and ironed church linens. She was a wonderful 'Church Lady.' My dad was at Normandy Beach, earned several awards and medals.” — Charlotte Applegate

“My mom was the first female building manager in Portland, managing a 15-story high rise. This was in the early 70s. Her motto was 'Don't wait for your ship to come in…swim out after it.'” — Nancy Kiehn

“What did I tell people about my mother? She won $1,000 in a fundraising raffle for the little hospital in her small town. When they handed her the check she said, 'Thank you very much. Now here's a donation for the fund,' and she handed it back to the president of the group.” — Susie Schmidt

“I didn't thank them enough for their love, concern, and sacrifices in helping me grow up.” — Bill Dropko

“My father served with the Marines during the war. He and another Marine became good freinds. They made a pact that if one of them didn't make it home, the survivor would look up his family. Well, his friend, Frank, didn't make it. When my father was released from the hospital from injuries he had sustained, he made the trip from his home in Ohio to Frank's in Philadelphia. And that is how he met my mother.” — Mary Shelly

“I tell people my mother and her siblings were orphaned. Mom was 12, and the oldest, and sent to a Lutheran childrens home in Twin Valley, Minnesota. My dad rode the rails and played pool for pocket money.” — Patsy Wood

“My mother always looked for the good in everyone, My dad always expected everyone to like him. And you know, they were seldom, if ever, disappointed.” — Joan Gemmrig

“My dad married my mom when she had three kids, me and my two brothers. Circumstances were that he had to quit his job and move us all to another state. From the first day we were HIS kids, he adopted us as quickly as possible and never received a cent in child support though he had to start a new job. No wonder I loved him and am so grateful for making my life wonderful.” — Wendy Pemberton

“Re: What do you tell people about your parents? It is not their fault.” — Gary Polser

“We always get a kick out of letting medical personnel know that my 80-year-old mother, Lasca, who lived on Mingo Mountain above Kettle Falls until recently, is a great whitetail deer hunter. She has bagged a big buck most of the past 30 years and has five trophy neck or shoulder mounts to prove it. We take pictures to the doctors. She has been 'enjoying' poor health for a number of years, and everyone is impressed by her story.” — Susan Johnson

“My mom just turned 89 and is doing well. When I took her for her yearly physical last month, she said, 'What am I going to tell the doctor? I don't even have a hangnail.'

“She's pretty slow these days, but still walks her dog every day in Manito Park They toddle along very slowly, Duffy stopping frequently to check 'pee mail' and Mom stopping to admire the trees. She blesses them and those who planted them.

“Our family used to have summer reunion campouts at Lake Roosevelt. On our last day there the year my mom was 75, we were assembled at the shore so the boys could knee board one more time before we all piled into our cars and headed out.

“My mom, watching the kids having so much fun, announced she'd like to give that knee board thing a try. So she did! My brother-in-law pulled her out onto the lake in a wide arc as all of us on the shore hooted and hollered at her pluck. It's one of my fondest memories because it shows her amazing spirit of fun, and willingness to throw herself into life without thinking twice.” — Ann Fennessy

“Both of my parents are dead but I still talk about my dad to people. I sometimes say. 'They named a huge sports complex after him because he championed physical fitness before anyone else did.'

“Every now and then I hear some TV college basketball commentators say '…And here we are at the Stephen C. O'Connell Complex at the University of Florida…', accompanied by the appropriate fly-over view so one can appreciate its huge footprint on the campus. I put my sewing down for a moment and say, 'Hi, Dad.'” — Denise Marcum

Deleting emails without reading them

In what circumstances do you find it's OK to go ahead and do that?

International Slice question

In your experience of observing people on the hoof in downtowns on both sides of the border, do you find that Canadians are safer, saner pedestrians than Americans?

Instead of “WALK”, perhaps the sign could say “TAKE OFF.”

Spot the phony record label slogan

“Hitsville USA” — Motown Records, Detroit

“Soulsville USA” — Stax Records, Memphis

“Hooterville USA” — Green Acres Records, Spokane

This date in Slice history (1994)

Today's Slice question: What's the best advice for someone who just moved to the Spokane area from a much larger city?

What was “normal” in childhood?

Ever hit golf balls with a baseball bat? (In the middle of a residential neighborhood?)

Ever sidearm-hurl record albums in flying-disc fashion?

Ever determine that your parents' car could go way faster than they ever drove it?

Ever use garbage cans as construction molds when building an impregnable snow fort?

Ever watch ants for about 10 hours? 

Conventional wisdom

Spokane makes a considerable effort to attract conventions to this city.

You are no doubt familiar with the economic benefits and what have you.

But here are a few questions.

Have you ever attended a convention in another city?

How much money did you spend while there?

On what basis did you evaluate the host city?

Would you go back there if the opportunity arose? 

Just wondering about radiospeak

Do any of the on-air folks at any Spokane radio stations still refer to the current month as “Zeptember” and the month starting a week from today as “Rocktober”?

I kind of doubt it.

The real Ivan Doig

I wonder if anyone in the audience at Auntie's last week for Ivan Doig's reading was surprised that he doesn't sound just like Dick Estell, who gave voice over the years to a number of Doig's books on public radio's “Radio Reader.”

Sometimes people say the right thing

There was no doubt about it.

The dead 70-foot white pine in the front yard needed to come down. Everyone was in agreement.

Waiting would just make the situation worse.

But today, when the appointed time for the tree's removal came around, the homeowner was feeling a little sentimental, if not engaging in full-blown anthropomorphizing.

Arborist Paul Heindl must have sensed this.

“It was happy here,” he said.

Smoke gets in your brain

I don't want to cost the guy a client, so I will leave his last name out of this.

But here's a note I received a few minutes ago from a reader named Mike.

“Say what? A cigarette smoker came into my office this morning and was complaining about all the smoke in the air. She was tired of it and said she was having trouble breathing.”

Kids faking illness so they can stay home

What are the magic phrases?

I assume “stomach ache” doesn't work any more. So what do little kids who don't want to go to school say in 2012? How do they manipulate modern parents?

“I'm having chest pains”?

“My white cell count is probably off the chart”?

“It could be that 24 hour lupus that's going around”?

“You might have to intubate”?


A couple of my colleagues were talking about someone they both know.

The man said the guy in question now worked for a brokerage. He mentioned the name of the business.

He said “Wright McAdams.”

The woman wasn't sure she heard that correctly, so she repeated it. “Right At 'Em”?

The man clarified. But don't you like the other name better?

“Who handles your investments?”

“Right At 'Em.They don't mess around.”

Your opinion re: fighting in hockey

A) It is total BS and the people who run the sport know it. Team owners in the U.S. realize attendance would crater without it. B) I have sipped the Kool Aid and buy the argument that it is a necessary safety valve that reduces nasty and dangerous stick infractions. Yes, I realize this means I believe that the referees are incapable of controlling games. C) Why doesn't anyone ever note that there isn't fighting in Olympic hockey and college hockey? D) I don't mind the rare spontaneous bout. But these enforcer vs. enforcer charades are ludicrous. E) It's why I am not tempted to take the sport seriously. F) So players in other contact sports are able to control their emotions and hockey players aren't? G) I can live with it on the NHL level, where it is declining. But the spectacle of children striking each other in the face is why I don't go to Spokane Chiefs games. H) I'm sorry that it often defines the sport in the minds of non-fans and detracts from appreciation of what gifted athletes these players are. I) If you have ever been to a game in person and noticed how excited the crowd got during a fight, you probably have an idea why the people who run the sport are inclined to keep coming up with rationalizations for keeping it in the game. J) If it's not a farcical sideshow, how come it virtually disappears during the Stanley Cup playoffs? K) What's hockey? L) Other.

Friday’s U.S. geography quiz

As you know, not all state capitals are centrally located. How many can you name that are about as far from the middle of the state as Olympia.

This gets a little subjective. But to my eye, there are about 10.

How to “wow” the ladies

“What do you like about Bob?”

“His aroma. It's so he-man.”

Best of those who have moved away

Some in our midst have a tendency to harrumph “Good riddance” whenever someone moves away from Spokane.

Which is sort of dumb, because there are many different reasons people leave. Many of them are not expressions of dissatisfaction with Spokane — or at least not with every aspect of life here.

Sure, some of those who depart are not sorely missed. But a few leave a hole when they head down the road.

So here's my question.

If you were to draw up an all-star team of people you knew who moved away, who would make your short list?

Today’s locally irrelevant I-90 sign

How many people around here have seen the Niagara Falls?

Maybe we’re paranoid about safety now

But I have to tell you, seeing this little girl riding like that gave me a chill.

Yes, I know many of us survived countless risks just like this. That does not make it a good idea. There's this thing called learning.

I suspect the agency that came up with this 1960s ad for Honda knew exactly what it was doing.

“How can we send the signal that riding motorcycles is safe?”

“I know! Let's show a child riding one.”

“Should the kid be wearing a helmet?”

“Definitely not! That would just remind consumers of traumatic head injury.”

Pat yourself down in the morning?

You know, to see if you have everything before heading out the door.

What is included in your inventory?

Keys? ID badge? Wallet? Pills? Phone?

I suppose you don't have to frisk yourself if you carry a purse or backpack.  But then if you forget to bring that, you're sunk.

Not an actual seating configuration

Well, I guess it would be roomy if yours was the only row of seats.

A misheard lyric from 40 summers ago

“Take It Easy” introduced a lot of us to The Eagles, in 1972.

My high school friend, Jim, misunderstood one of the lyrics of that set-in-the-Southwest song.

But before we get to the mildly off-color details, let me tell you something about Jim. He would grow up to become the supervising sound editor for one or two of the “Star Trek” spin-off series. I think he won awards and what not.

So you would assume his hearing was adequate.

Nonetheless, he thought the Eagles were singing “Lookin' for a lover who won't blow my rubber.”

Vivid, certainly. Edgy? No doubt. But not the most elegant phrase, I'm sure you will agree. And let's not even entertain questions of possible meaning.

Jim revealed this misapprehension outside Ann Wick's house, where a party was underway.

I cannot recall if I was the one who noted that the actual line was “Lookin' for a lover who won't blow my cover.”

But I am quite sure that, at Jim's expense, a good time was had by all.

If there is one thing 17-year-old boys love it is evidence that they aren't the only idiot in the conversation.

What exactly is this old ad saying?

Something about wearing a beret and sex appeal, I guess.

Find out more about this ad by clicking on the link and entering Spokane in the search bar.

Born in Spokane Department

This is Paul Johansson, an actor who has never heard of you either.

They walk among us

You never know when that person ahead of you in line or passing by on the sidewalk is someone who once had the lead in a high school play.

For baseball fans only

I have a question for you.

But first, let me explain the situation.

For many post-childhood years, I paid virtually no attention to baseball. Then, when I noticed about 10 or 12 years ago that a team I had followed as a kid was threatening to finish with the worst record in modern baseball history, I started checking scores again.

Good grief, Tigers, I thought. How did it come to this?

But things got better.

Last year, the Tigers won their division by a wide margin. September was spent just waiting for the playoffs to begin.

This year, the second-place Tigers stand an excellent chance of not even making the playoffs.

But you know what? It's actually more fun being a fan this September than last. All of Detroit's games mean something. It's a real pennant race, like one or two that enthralled me as a boy.

Another thing that makes it fun to be a fan is the fact that, by some quirk. the SR newsroom is populated by at least one fan of virtually every team in the American League's Central Division. And each of these guys is a gentleman.

Anyway, here's my question.

Would you rather your team ran away from the field and clinched the pennant early or would you prefer to take your chances with a dramatic finish?

If you are a Mariners fan, go ahead and use your imagination.

Seasonal adjustment

The other day Steve Webbenhurst saw a smallish SUV with skis in the ski rack.

He wondered if the driver is simply lazy, and the skis have been been there since March, or insanely eager for the 2012-13 ski season to begin.

What's your guess? 

Public notice re: NAU vs. Montana

I am no longer responsible for any debts, public or private, incurred back when I wagered on the outcome of the annual Northern Arizona vs. Montana football game.

As NAU has not beaten Montana since 1931, my “buy you a beer” bets with those who matriculated in Missoula are now null and void.

This should not be interpreted as a lack of desire on my part to discuss at length various embarrassing episodes involving U of M athletics — motto “Thank God for Penn State.”     

SR’s Dorothy Dean as a young woman

She once threatened to pistol-whip a reader who suggested Dean's casserole recipes called for too much cheese.

And here (below) she is near the end. When the newspaper's promotional campaign based on the Little Baby Butter Eater doll failed to generate buzz, Dean withdrew from the public eye and devoted herself to writing anti-fluoride tracts.

And here's Dorothy's son, Mikey, regarded as a carving prodigy. Became an SR editor.

Dorothy's granddaughter, Manita, went on to be the lead singer for a Seattle band called Seems Important. She defended her grandmother's controversial career in the song “Clean Plate Club.”

Though scaled back over the years, the Caravan of Carbs mobile outreach, part of the SR's annual Food, Folks and Fat drive, continues in Dean's name even today.

The Wednesday Slice question

Here's an end-of-summer rerun. (Actually, I have asked this many times. So it's really more of a re-rerun. But it could be argued that it is the essential Spokane question.)

Is Spokane big enough to offer the attractions and benefits of a city without being dragged down by the drawbacks of the urban experience … or is it not really large enough to generate the upside of city life but is still home to the hassles and social ills often associated with metropolitan America?

A) The former. Most of the people who complain about the lack of culture here never leave home. B) The latter. Places like Portland or Minneapolis — or, for that matter, Bozeman, Bend, Logan or Flagstaff – would be a better bet. C) Neither. D) Depends on how much money you have. E) Not that simple. Are you more interested in kayaking or in foreign films? F) Your health, family happiness and income security are all that matter regardless of where you live. G) Does medical specialists and college basketball count as culture? H) It's the former. I can show you the ticket stubs. And I don't think our crime situation is “Let's move to a gated community” bad. I) It's the latter. People here talk about diversity as if it's just a race thing. But its real magic is holding open the possibility that, on any given day, you will meet someone whose life experiences and perspectives are altogether unlike your own. I don't find that here. J) It's a little of both. K) Spokane would be fine if people just realized that nothing here — good, bad or in between — is unique. L) Spokane would be fine if people really understood why family members who moved to the West Side are not dying to come back. M) Other.

The Slice Blog recommends

Nobody would argue that “Play It Again, Sam” is a great movie. It has some funny moments. But its depiction of how men and women relate makes it seem as if 1972 was in another century.

Oh, wait.

Well, at any rate, there is a reason to watch. A supporting character, a businessman, calls his office from wherever he happens to be with an “I can be reached at…” message. This happens over and over. Viewed in 2012, it's sort of amazing.

OK, that might not be a compelling reason to watch a movie. But as a glimpse at a long-gone era, it's kind of fun. And it makes you wonder what we will invent next. 

Born in Spokane Department

This is Michael Winslow. Known for his oral sound effects. He was in all 43 of the “Police Academy” movies. Homer Simpson once tried to do an impression of him creating amusing noises.

The case for throwing out ruined clothes

There is a danger to consigning a defective garment to the magical land of potential weekend wear.

The danger is that you might forget that the item of apparel has been compromised. You might, in fact, wear it to work by mistake.

Which is precisely what I did today.

The item in question is a loose summer shirt that does not tuck in. A few weeks ago, it was noted at home that this shirt has a long, horizontal rip in the back.

It's quite a gash. Looks like I was involved in sword play or rode my bike too near a disgruntled tiger.

At the time this tear was discovered I theorized that I still might wear this shirt on weekends. That's what I almost always say about a garment that has been nominated for disposal. “I could probably wear that on Saturdays.”

The thing is, I have lots of casual clothes from which to choose. So I seldom, if ever, elect to don stuff that has been specifcally relegated to unsuitable-for-work status. At least not on purpose.

But some fantasy notion of future weekend activities — working under the car? — perpetuates the insane idea that it makes sense to hang on to damaged apparel.

We've donated a lot of clothing over the years. I have no problem with that.

But if a sweatshirt or pair of jeans is seriously nicked up in some way, I must believe the item has character.

And maybe I'll wear it some weekend.

Or today, as the case may be.  


Commenters on the S-R's Facebook page have suggested that my request for recommendations about salsa brands reflects poorly on my lifestyle choices.

Apparently it would be better to make my own salsa. Much better.

Perhaps. But as I mull this, I am put in mind of a line uttered by the long-suffering Mr. Bennet in Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice.”

“And yet, I am unmoved.”

Often confused

A subscriber to the S-R's print edition was fooling around with her smart phone and typed in “spokesman.”

The program she was using asked her if she meant “spiderman.”

Salsa recommendations sought

The company that makes the salsa we've been using at my house for years must be under bold new leadership.

Because, in short order, they apparently tampered with the recipe in a disastrous way. There was a recall. And then the stuff simply stopped showing up on grocery shelves.

My guess? Layoffs claimed the people who actually knew how to make it.

So anyway, we are looking for a new salsa brand. We're holding tryouts as we speak.

So far, there has been a lot of “Thank you…NEXT!”

You know. Too watery. Too mushy. Too something.

Got a recommendation?

It doesn't have to be so hot it could be used as a solvent in a foundry. But I would prefer that it be made locally. I'm willing to be flexible about just how we define that.

One sign a Slice reader is losing her grip

She phones me with a story about her cat bringing a live bat into her home through a pet door.

Nothing wrong with that, of course. But I liked it better when she shared it with me the first time, in 1998.

(The cat's unusual name rang a bell, so I looked it up.)

Oh, well. Maybe she just forgot that I already printed an item based on that animal adventure.

Fourteen years is a long time, especially in cat years.

Are you willing to admit you saw these?

You know, Don Knotts movies. “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” “The Amazing Mr. Limpet,” et cetera.

I'm raising my hand. But I saw them on TV.

Harmless family fare, I suppose. Naive bumbler lucks into fame and gets a three-alarm girl.

I wonder if anyone took a date to see one of these.

This date in Slice history (1994)

Slice answers: Cindy Peterson and several others nominated “Why don't you have kids?” as the Spokane area's most common none-of-your-business question.

“Are you pregnant?” also got a few votes. 

When certain people refuse to disappear

A little more than 30 years ago, I worked in a newsroom with a guy who didn't like me.

I knew this because friends there were kind enough to share with me some of his comments.

As I didn't happen to care for him either, this situation was fine with me.

Besides, everyone pretty much realized his resentment was based on two key facts. The editors praised my work. And this one woman in features he desired made it clear that she liked me.

Anyway, he moved on in fairly short order. There really wasn't any need to give him another thought.

Oh, I found it mildly amusing to read long ago that he managed to get fired from a large Northwest daily during his first week at work there. But for the most part, he was gone and forgotten.

Well, he would have been if he hadn't managed to cobble together a pretty decent freelance career.

You see, the guy can really write.

Over the years, I saw his pieces in a variety of national publications. This would always prompt an odd reaction. It was a combination of  “Gee, I wish he had taken a swing at me all those years ago” and “Wow, this is a nice profile.”

Shouldn't people you don't like have the decency to lack talent?

I saw his byline again yesterday, in a weeks old issue of The New York Times magazine. As usual, the piece was well done.

I suspect he is still an ass who enjoys ripping people behind their backs. But boy, he has a readable prose style.

Some sports talk is just talk

Around lunchtime Saturday, I was walking home from a branch library.

I had earphones in and was listening to the radio. It was an “On the Media” discussion of how NPR can defend itself against charges that it has a liberal agenda. Pretty interesting.

I met show host Bob Garfield once, but that's another story.

Anyway, I'm walking along and a guy doing some sort of yard work hails me in a friendly way. I take one earphone out so I can hear him.

“Are you listening to the Cougar game?”

This put me in a bit of a spot. I didn't want to sound like I was calling him an uninformed idiot. But there was really no choice.

“They played last night,” I said.

But sticking with the charade that he actually gave a damn, I brightly added, “They won.”

I have a hunch I could have said, “Yes, they are leading Oregon 30 to nothing,” and that guy would have been none the wiser. But he was just trying to be friendly. No need to punish him.

Did you know there’s a connection?

Are you old enough to remember…

…when TV broadcasts of college football games included showing the marching bands at halftime? 

On this date in “Twilight Zone” history

The show's third season kicked off with a memorable treatment of the insanity of war. The episode, “Two”, starred a pre-“Bewitched” Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson. They are surviving soldiers from opposite sides of a devastating conflict.

It aired for the first time on Sept. 15, 1961.

There's not an overabundance of dialogue, but the message comes through loud and clear.

Do they get together in the end?

Of course. But it's believable.

Coming in Saturday’s Slice column

So you went online and found the contact info for an old friend — someone you haven't talked to in years.

Do you take the next step?

Better read Saturday's Slice first.

One way journalism has changed

Back in the day, when a reporter and a photographer wanted to silently communicate to one another that an event they were attending did not merit coverage, they had to write a note and surreptitiously show it to the colleague.

Often, you couldn't really say much out loud. That would risk offending one of the event organizers. Hence the note.

Usually, this staffer-to-staffer message would say something along the lines of “No way.”

Often there would be an unprintable intensifier starting with the letter F between “No” and “way.”

Sometimes there would also be a frank assessment of a certain editor's mental health. 

But now the reporter and photographer can text one another with these professional evaluations of an assignment's worth.

What an amazing age we live in. 

Places names that could be characters

Slice reader Dave Spilker saw the column item about local place names that could have been the names of eccentric characters in old TV westerns.

And he took it from there.

“There are a few old towns, sidings, and 'jerkwaters' on the Milwaukee railbed right-of-way that have names that would fit,” he wrote.

Here are a few of Dave's casting ideas.

Taft: The portly banker of the town.

Adair: The loopy owner of The Sheep Dip Assay Office.

Pearson: The barber and owner of “Get Suds and Clipped” bath house.

Avery: The barkeep of The Raging Inn.

Plummer: The first town engineer west of St. Louis.

Malden: The cook at the Moo and Cackle Cafe.

Ewan: The owner of the Purple Thumb Hardware store.

Rosalia: The big-hearted owner of the Cattleman's Society (ahem) Birdwatching Club.

Marengo: The town sheriff (a former gunfighter turned good guy).

Pizzaro: The town hothead.

Boyleston: The town blacksmith.   

An online case of mistaken identity

This email from a woman named Debbie arrived a couple of days ago.

“Hello, Paul Turner.

“I stumbled across 'The Slice', and had to write, since you mentioned growing up in Burlington, VT.

“Are you the Paul Turner who camped at Papoose Pond? I think we might have been 12 or so. You drove your motorcycle to Maine? Joined the Coast Guard?

“If you're not that Paul Turner, please disregard, but know that I enjoyed your story.”

Then she said thanks and told me her full name and where she now lives in Maine.

As it happens, I'm definitely not the guy she had in mind. But I can see how she might have remembered the other PT. Any kid who could ride a motorcycle across northern New England and then join the Coast Guard at the age of 12 would certainly leave a lasting impression.

Or perhaps she left something out. Yeah, that must be it.

In any case, if this is a matter of paternity, it ain't me, babe.

Have you gotten emails like that?     

Ever see one of these shirts?

Are they in the Big Sky Conference?

In a different era

Labor groups at a few big city newspapers occasionally went on strike, sometimes shutting down the daily in question.

Have you (or your family) ever been a subscriber to a paper that stopped coming because of labor strife? What did you do after the presses started running again? 

Tell me your story and I'll tell you mine.

Best high school hoops team I ever saw

Belmont High of Dayton, Ohio, in 1964.

I was just a little kid at the time. But my significantly older brother and sister went to a high school (Fairborn) that was one of Belmont's early victims that season. I attended many of the games, including that one. Even went to some away games, occasionally traveling with my sister and the other cheerleaders.

Even with the score, 101-69, I'm quite certain I didn't realize just how good Belmont was. Probably had no idea. I might have simply assumed that Fairborn was pathetic.

But this stroll down memory lane by a Dayton sportswriter tells some of the story. Scroll down a little to get to the Belmont stuff.

What's the best prep team you every saw (any sport)? 

If you don’t care for rough language

Would it have been impossible to enjoy this remarkable HBO series from a few years ago?

What if you really, really love gritty Old West stories?

Maybe there aren't many people with low tolerance for swearing who get HBO.

Wrappers that don’t say “organic”

I'll start with this.

Looking ahead to office Christmas party

Two or three years ago, an engaging fellow at the Magner Sanborn advertising/brand design agency invited me to stop by their downtown Spokane offices sometime.

I haven't done it yet. But I am still planning to take him up on the offer. (I checked and have been assured that the invite has yet to expire.)

Why the foot-dragging?

Well, I'll tell you. At some point, I got it in my head that the perfect time to barge in on those creative folks would be during their office Christmas party.

But there's a problem. Reality, at least modern reality, could not hope to compete with the party I have conjured in my imagination.

For one thing, I'm sure the smart men and women at Magner Sanborn conduct themselves in the manner of self-actualized, mature grownups. And so, the notion that they would salute the Christmas season by drinking too much, groping clients' spouses and generally behaving as if it is 1962 is, well, ridiculous.

I'm sure they are fun people. And I am quite confident that they know how to have a good time.

But let's face it. This is 2012. We are into consequences now.

Letting it all hang out has long ceased to be a good idea — even at ad agency parties.

Or so I imagine.

Still, I have to admit that I enjoy my little fantasy about the agency's holiday gathering. I like to picture people dancing on desks and shouting “Hi-yooooooo!” I like to envision spiked punch, hilarious toasts and liberties being taken.

Of course, for me to take part in anything remotely resembling that would first require a personality transplant.

But that's the thing about fantasy. You can enjoy it even when you know it's make-believe.  

Former SR editor opens beverage mart

OK, not really

But as the gentleman in question is known by an astonishing number of people around here, I will simply assume that you know who I am talking about.

Actually, I'm hoping he'll come work for me at one of my new upscale bistros — a quartet of convenient Spokane area locations to serve you. 

In the matter of Katie Utehs

A reader called and asked what happened to KREM's Katie Utehs.

I said I didn't know.

He waited for me to say I would look into it. I offered no such assurances.

A little while later, he called back. He said he had gone online and determined that she had moved to California to get married.

There you go, I said.

Did Spokane stations play this song?

I've read that quite a few radio stations across the country refused to play this song about a white girl who tells her black boyfriend she can't see him anymore. It came out in 1967, but Janis Ian wrote it several years earlier, when she was something like 13. Just think of that.

This day in Slice history (2000)

Today's Slice question: A Shakespearean play based on life in Spokane would be called what?

When searching for pics of Albi Stadium

You can find yourself looking at photos of Albi, France. Don't think WSU ever played any home games there.

If I were a TV weather man in Spokane

I would enjoy saying…

“And there is a 10 percent chance that my friends who ride their bikes to work before dawn will experience icy conditions where yard sprinklers have sprayed the street.”

“With every paper I’d deliver”

Do you recognize that song lyric?

If you do, you might want to go to and track down a recent installment from an “All Things Considered” series in which listeners talked about music that their parents loved. (Is that a great idea for radio or what?)

Anyway, the on-air conversation to which I'm alluding sort of got to me. Apparently I was not alone.

Wednesday Slice question

I read somewhere that not long ago a chain of apparel stores came out with a sports sweatshirt that included an astonishing number of mistakes.

Reportedly, in saluting some long-ago football championship, it confused the American Football Conference with the old American Football League. And it referred to the Houston Texans in a context in which either the Dallas Texans (old AFL) or Houston Oilers (AFL then NFL and now in Tennessee as the Titans) would have been closer to correct. I think there were other errors, too.

But if you aren't obligated to get things right, coming up with text for commemorative sports sweathsirts could be sort of fun.

Just imagine.

“Spokane Canaries: 1916 Stanley Cup Champions”

“4ever Zags: 2002 NCAA Final Four”

“Cougs Threepeat: WSU Rose Bowl Wins — 1997-1998-1999”

“Spokane Indians: AAA Champs 2005”

And so on.

So here's the question.

If you were not bound by the restrictions of reality, what would like to see on a sports shirt?


Can you name the Montana-born actress, possibly most remembered for her leaning-over scene in the movie “Superbad,” who played a 1960s college student whose last name is Spokane in a 1990 episode of a network TV drama?

This date in Slice history (1994)

Warm-up question: What's the most interesting thing you've heard coming from the next hotel room?

Today's Slice question: Who has the biggest lunch box in the Inland Northwest?

My idea of sightseeing: Industrial ruins

I certainly don't revel in the lost jobs they represent.

Nor do I think there's anything amusing about the decay and decline of, say, Rust Belt cities.

But I have long been fascinated by the sight of closed, abandoned manufacturing plants. It's as if they are sprawling historical exhibits.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time has probably heard me talk about seeing the virtually abandoned Studebaker complex in South Bend, Indiana, 30 years ago. Or some of the ghost buildings my sister-in-law has driven us past in Detroit.

Closed breweries. Shuttered factories. Long-silent assembly plants. Industrial ruins intrigue me.

How many people worked there when it was going full tilt? Was the demise gradual or sudden? Would this place have been going strong during the “Mad Men” era?

How about you? What stark reminders of the days when America actually built stuff have you seen up close?

Auditor’s motor vehicle dept. is fast

Mailed my license renewal form and check on Saturday.

Got my 2013 sticker today.

Seems like that is the sort of turnaround I experience every year. 

Cracking the code

There is a cozy coffee shop near the newspaper that has, among many other offerings, refrigerated items such as potato salad and cottage cheese.

These snacks have been packaged by hand in clear, no-label plastic containers.

On the bottoms of these containers are mysterious marks of different colors made by a highlighter or some such. This, of course, is the proprietor's secret freshness code.

For years I have wondered what the colors mean. Is red good? Does green indicate the cottage cheese should have been thrown out last week? Does purple mean “extremely active” cultures?

And does he wipe off the marks after closing time and then make new ones using different colors?

Are the containers with no visible marks the ones with the freshest food? Or is that a ruse and the seemingly markless containers are actually little tubs that once had marks but have now been wiped clean even as the contents age?

OK, it's not like he's using an Enigma machine. It's a coffee shop, not a U-boat.

Still, I'm baffled.

Today I told the proprietor that I intend to crack his code.

He chuckled.

The potato salad I selected had a red mark on the bottom of the container. It turned out to be OK, but could have been fresher I suppose.

Next time I'll look for green. Or maybe blue.

Thanking a teacher

This is from Donna Euler, a program supervisor at the Idaho Youth Ranch.

“While attending the University of Idaho in 1970, I enrolled in a class entitled Mental Retardation. The professor was Robert Otness, PhD, who was a strong advocate for those with mental and physical challenges. Dr. Otness had traveled all over the world visiting institutions for the mentally disabled. As part of the class, he displayed items made by the residents of the institutions he had visited. The class members were amazed by the quality of the crafts and it helped us see this population of people in a different light.

“In 1975, I visited Dr.Otness to tell him I was now working at a state facility for the developmentally delayed and how much his class had impacted me. I was surprised when, at the end of our visit, Dr. Otness presented me with a book from his personal library complete with a hand written inscription.

“Dr. Otness is gone now but I continue to treasure the book and the gift of knowledge that he gave me.”

My career as a joke-writer for Playboy

Actually it wasn't a career. While either a freshman or sophomore at Castleton State College — motto: “We've never heard of you either” — I submitted maybe two jokes.

Neither was accepted. Perhaps they were too wry.

In any case, it's too bad my ribald humor stylings got shot down. I seem to recall the magazine paid 50 bucks for jokes it printed on the back of the centerfold. In 1970s dollars, that was real money.

I have never met anyone who claimed to have actually sold a joke to that publication. But for all I know, Spokane is home to many such individuals.

Though I can see downplaying that as one grew older and possibly wiser.

Pomeranian ever threatened to kill you?

It has happened to me more than once.

Those little dogs just don't like me.

Connect the dots

Between this guy and a movie filmed not all that far from Spokane.

No. 1 song on this date in 1962

I cannot recall being personally acquainted with any 4 Seasons fans. You know, someone who would actually buy their records.

And yet, the group had a ton of hits. How they managed this without the backing of the kids in my social circle, I'll never know.

“Sherry” would be succeeded at the top of the chart by “Monster Mash.”

When breathing air filled with dirt…

Do you stop and tell yourself that it could be “Soil trod upon by Solomon or even Nebuchadnezzar”?

Do they play 7th grade football here?

I realize that question demonstrates two things.

1) I am out of the loop on kids' activities.

2) I am too lazy to find out for myself.

I'm sure there's JV football. But 7th grade?

We had it at the junior high I attended in suburban Dayton, Ohio, before my family moved to Michigan in the middle of that school year.

We practiced for weeks but played a grand total of one game. The Red Sox battled the Cardinals in the World Series as the grudge match with our crosstown rival neared.

We were the Central Flyers. Somewhere in my basement I think I still have a blue and yellow sticker that boldly proclaims: “Nothing can stop the Central Flyers!”

Sadly, that proved not to be the case.

The game was played on a Saturday morning at a high school field.

Our tailback, Mark or Mike something, got his arm broken on our first series of downs. I think it might actually have been on the very first play. But I can't say for sure.

Things didn't improve from there. We got steamrolled. They were bigger, faster and better. 

Our quarterback, Chris something, was emotionally overwhelmed. He had tears in his eyes in our huddle. Poor kid.

He literally apologized to me — I was a plodding but durable fullback — for having me carry the ball over and over.

I'm pretty sure I told him it was OK.

After all, keeping the ball on the ground kept the clock running.

Building a bulwark against winter

Too early to be even thinking about such things?

Not if you are a feverish fireplace-fuel gatherer who aims to amass a wall of wood and regards same as a shield against the season.

Have you ever been obsessed with gathering firewood?

Being a designated driver…

…can make you consider the possibility that it's time for some new friends.

Ever seen one of these little guys?

According the website, this is a yellow warbler seen in Moses Lake. 

Ever do push-ups at the office?

I have to say, Rob's got pretty good form. Or so it would seem. You can't really tell until you get to see how far down the push-upper goes.

Spokane High — Home of the Owls

In case you haven't guessed, this is in Missouri. 

How old were you…

When you got your first sports mouthpiece?

9/11 and gradual return to normalcy

I heard several different reactions after asking if those with Sept. 11 birthdays or anniversaries have noticed a gradual return to normalcy when it comes to that unforgettable date.

A couple of readers were angry that I even suggested this might be possible. Perhaps they didn't really understand what I was asking. Or maybe they were simply wrapped up in being competitive grievers.

Some, such as Cindie Webb, said it remains a day of conflicted emotions. “My dad's birthday is Sept. 11. It's a day of mixed feelings. I'm glad my dad is celebrating another year but sad for those who never got a chance to celebrate another birthday.”

Then there was this from Nancy Engard.

“Yes, thankfully having our anniversary on September 11th has become more normal again. My husband, Jim Shaules, and I will be celebrating our 30th this Tuesday. …We certainly will never forget the victims of 9/11 but we can (and will) celebrate OUR day.”

This date in Slice history (1996)

Mixed returns: Readers disagreed about whether Spokane has a higher percentage of jerks than the national average. “Jerks don't have enough sense to stay,” wrote one woman.

Others argued that one need only drive a car to arrive at an answer that does not flatter the Lilac City.

Hmmm. We suspect there are inconsiderate motorists everywhere — even if not every city requires a remedial “Stop for red” campaign.

But one reader suggested Spokane has more than its share of people angry at the world because they made lousy wages for decades. And, the theory goes, they vent hostility in countless impotent but annoying ways.

Of course, a lot of us are jerks once in a while. And that makes a city's j-quotient impossible to determine.

But here's our guess. National jerk percentage: 16. Spokane area percentage: 14.

This date in Slice history (1994)

Ann Graham was driving on the South Hill when a man on a bicycle pulled in front of her.

She couldn't help noticing that his biking shorts were ripped along the rear seam. And he had nothing on beneath them. Extremely nothing.

What a visual treat.

So Graham got up beside him and broke the news. The well-ventilated cyclist responded by trying to yank his shirt down. Way down.

Graham laughed and drove away.

Extremely short wedding dresses

No, I do not have photos.

But I am wondering. Do you recall seeing mind-blowingly short wedding dresses? Was this in a decade commonly known as the 1970s? Was it in Montana?

Dickensian Spokane

What local criminal legal proceeding most reminds you of “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens — especially the interminable court hearings attendant to Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce?

One 1960s editor thinks inside the box

Yeah, a gimmick. That's the answer, Perry.

Don't do it, Lois. Make a run for it while there's still time. 

Not wanting to watch “Lawrence Welk”

During a certain long-ago era, almost every family had a kid who wanted to watch something other than “Lawrence Welk.”

And this impatient youth invariably would express his or her disdain for what was on the screen by asking “Which one's Bobby and which one's Cissy?”

This date in Slice column history (1995)

Slice answers: According to readers, higher education administrators are the most overpaid people. And various lower-tier categories of nursing got a lot of support in voting for the most underpaid occupation.

Part of the welcoming committee

My elderly parents moved to Spokane on Sept. 7, 2000, arriving at sunset.

I flew here with them from Vermont (with a stop in Chicago) and my wife met us.

I had not driven us a mile from the airport when I saw a coyote trot across the road up ahead, lit up by my headlights.

“Welcome to the West,” I said. Or something like that.

I think about that animal sometimes when I go out to Spokane International. I wonder if he is still around.

Probably not.

But you never know. Perhaps what I saw 12 years ago was the storied trickster of mythology.

Maybe he's still out there, greeting new arrivals. And then disappearing into the night.

The moment a good day got better

I was riding slowly, so it was not going to be an issue.

But the little girl walking ahead of me beneath the tree-branch canopy on 40th looked like she might be about to veer across the street right in front of me. And that's what she started to do, but only after looking behind her.

I swung wide, well out of her way. But I didn't want her to think I felt inconvenienced or anything. So I spoke to her in my friendliest tone.

“Did you have a good day?”

It was implied that I was asking about school, which had just let out. She was carrying a backpack. It's the first week of classes.

If I had to guess, I would say she is just starting the third grade.

And I was moving past and away from her, second by second. I was not a threat.

“Yeah,” she said in a cheerful little voice. “Did you?”

Totally charmed by her asking me that, I told her I had had a pretty good day.

Truth is, I was ready to adopt her on the spot.

“Look what I brought home!”

But something tells me she already has parents who know what they're doing.

How many times have you done this?

I was walking over to Thai on 1st for a long-planned lunch with a friend.

A woman on a bike waved at me. Thoughtfully realizing I might not recognize her because of her helmet and sunglasses, she said “Hi, Paul — it's Suzi Hokonson.”

I have known her more than 20 years. She was very encouraging when I first started riding a bike to work in 2008.

So naturally, I waved back and shouted “Hi, Cindy!”

There’s still time to plan your party

You know, the one you'll be throwing next month as part of the jubilee anniversary of the world not getting blown up in 1962.

Did you ever work as a carny?

Do you know anyone who did?

Have you ever seen that listed on a resume?

Ever eaten a caramel apple while wearing a mohair sweater?

Not exactly a level playing field

Nobody asked me. But I cannot say that I approve of people being allowed to post anonymous online comments on letters to the editor written by SR readers required to use their real names.

Because I didn’t grow up here

I don't know the answer. So I'm asking.

Has there ever been a time in Spokane when picking up a television signal from Canada was pretty standard?

As I kid, I lived reasonably close to the Canadian border (closer than Spokane is) in two different states. And watching the CBC was pretty routine. But I think that's because it was a part of the cable lineups.

Anyway, it just seems wrong to me to live this close to our neighbor to the north and not be able to pick up “Hockey Night in Canada.”     

Slice answer

Today's print column asked if any readers had competed against someone in high school who wound up being a professional athlete.

One of my regular correspondents, Gary Polser, noted that he had been on the track team at California's Clovis High School (outside Fresno) with future pro football quarterback Daryle Lamonica. Polser recalled that Lamonica was good at pretty much every sport.

Can you remember this accomplished passer's nickname?

No. 1 song on this date in 1964

And, while we're at it, here's the No. 1 song on this day in 1965.

Remember VH1’s “Behind the Music”?

You know, the cheesy cable series that profiled rock bands, focusing on the seamier aspects of stardom and the seemingly inevitable fall from grace.

It has long been a screwball wish of mine that I could have appeared on one of those installments and said something like “Well, I know there was a lot of tension” or “Yes, I did see drugs.”

I would spill all that reluctantly, of course.

I blame my older cousins for denying me that opportunity.

When I was about 11, they had a garage band and made a demo record. My brother didn't think much of it, but I thought their song was pretty cool.

Their band was named after a 1960s car model, but I can't remember which one. Chevelle maybe.

Anyway, they did not make it big. So I never got that call asking me to go before the camera and grimly testify that, yes, there was indeed a power struggle between my Cousin Dave and Uncle Roy. And coked out girls right and left.

Of course, I was in no position to know. Our families lived several states apart. I saw my cousins once a year.

But as I recall, actually knowing what you were talking about was never a requirement for appearing on “Behind the Music.”

Sometimes a career doesn’t take off

According to the website credited for the image below, the nine games Hector played in the majors in 1965 were it as far as his time in the bigs went.

Oh, well. That's nine more than most of us can claim.

He wound up doing several stints here.

Cool find in the Review Tower basement

One of my colleagues was rooting around in the bowels of the newspaper building when she came across an artifact from another era.

It's an editor's rubber stamp that says “KILL”.

If that blast from the past mysteriously disappears from her work area, feel free to consider me a prime suspect. Because I am coveting the beejezus out of that primitive tool.

Of course, it wouldn't be the easiest thing to actually use in 2012. For one thing, there isn't an ink pad to go with it. And, perhaps more to the point, newspaper work long ago shifted to computers.

Still. If somehow the opportunity arose (assuming an ink pad materialized), and one had the chance to slam the “KILL” stamp down on some old-fashioned copy that just didn't meet our standards…well, that would have to be pretty satisfying.

“Hey, Paul, I'm almost done with my 60-incher on these book club women who are learning to love again by getting in touch with their…”


I suppose one could ink it up and then carefully press it against the computer monitor displaying someone's in-progress article or column.

But one thing I've learned in my 36 years of newspapering is that it's better if at least some of your newsroom colleagues do not despise you. Besides, that would be messy.

Plus, there's another issue. It's an old newsroom saying.

“Let he whose copy is perfect slam down the first KILL stamp.”

Feathered pedestrians on South Hill

“Just had to tell someone,” began a note from Maxine Kinzer.

“I was driving up Bernard St., about 24th. I stopped. Five ducks walked across the crosswalk! I don't think the car in back of me knew why I stopped until the ducks were all the way across. It sure made my day.”

Do you remember Phyllis George?

Do you remember when she was a regular part of CBS coverage of the NFL?

OK, well, how about this. What is her roundabout connection to Idaho State University?

This date in Slice history (1994)

Today's Slice question: What is the quintessential Spokane occupation?

Looking ahead

With a mere 108 days until the official start of winter, it seems fair to ask.

What sort of season will it be for building backyard ice rinks?

Last winter was pretty much a no-show in the Spokane area. Maybe 2012-13 will be different.

Care to offer a prediction?

That kid in goal really needs to move out and cut down the angles. 

The Wednesday Slice question

Instead of mumbling “nothing” or “something to do with fractions,” what do you wish you had said when one of your parents asked what you learned in school that day?

A) “The guitar intro to 'When You Walk In The Room.'” B) “That people sometimes say they are upset about one issue even though it's something else entirely that really made them mad at you.” C) “The difference between 'lady friend' and 'special lady' as outlined in 'The Big Lebowski.'” D) “It's not who you play, it's when you play them.” E) “If I told you, I'm pretty sure you would say my teacher is a Commie.” F) “Getting to be a patrol boy is all about whose butt you're willing to kiss.”

G) “Bringing my troll dolls to school was a mistake.” H) “That the fourth grade is not much like a romantic comedy.” I) “We listened to the Tigers/Cardinals World Series game on Mr. Kimichek's transistor radio. He called it independent study. Lolich is the man.” J) “Apparently the assistant principal is just a hired thug.” K) “Jane Matson had a seizure and fell on the floor and I got accused by this one dip of looking up her dress while she was indisposed, but that's a load of bull.” L) “I learned that mocking other people's tastes in music and film is sort of fun.”

M) “The hot lunch in the cafeteria looked like something a child my age should not see.” N) “It would seem that Cindy Kenworthy regards herself as quite beguiling because she keeps trying to 'meet cute' even though I have known her since kindergarten.” O) “I got into a fight on the playground. It was a split decision. But we're friends now.” P) “During a discussion of nutrition during a health unit, this girl named Jamie said 'game' was one of the four food groups and I couldn't stop laughing so I had to go stand out in the hall.”

Q) “A couple of older scholars were comparing pubic hair in the bathroom.” R) “This kid named Dweebin running for student council started his campaign by getting beat up. He's lagging in the polls.” S) “Rob Campbell fell on the monkey bars and hit his face on one of the steel rods. Mrs. Todd told him to shake it off.” T) “Karen Akers made a compelling case that the Stones are derivative.”

U) “The counselor asked me why I am dabbling in self-destructive modes of alienation. I told her that's how I roll.” V) “This boy snapped the back of my training bra so I cut him a look and asked if that was honestly the best way he could think of to get my attention. He wept.” W) “I saw a kid get stuffed into a locker. I think he's still there.”.X) “We heard a lot about Mrs. Wilson's divorce and something I didn't get about her ex having to drive a big truck.” Y) “It was suggested that I totally missed the point of last night's “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Z) Other..  

You can’t spot them just from looking

But there are supposedly serious people in our midst who once took part in dining hall food fights.

Falling down on the follow-through

You know that advertising insert in today's paper featuring the big image of a spider?

Well, if you put it into the kitchen trash to spare an arachnophobe housemate but left it face up, your good inentions were fine. But it's possible you came up just a bit short on the execution of your “hide this” plan because it might have looked as if there was a big spider in the trash. 

Do you remember your lunch boxes?

Would any of them be considered collectibles today? 

When did your interest in the NFL peak?

For me, it was right around the time this set of 1967 cards was being sold.

Can you name a movie in which Tim Brown appeared?

Recalling hot temps here in September

“Regarding your Friday column and how hot it got in early September 1988,” wrote Terry Hontz. “While I don't recall the heat of September 1988, I have a vivid memory of another Septemeber heat wave.

“I arrived at Fairchild AFB on September 27, 1967, my first assignment as a newly minted airman fresh out of boot camp..

“I had just left two months of heat in San Antonio, Texas, and I was looking forward to September temperatures like I had grown up with in my native Pennsylvania.”

That's not what he encountered. On the 27th, it got up 87. And then the next day, the temperature got up to 89.

“I have long since made Spokane my home, but I recall those first two days like yesterday.”    

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice question: What would co-workers identify as your most irritating trait?

More readers’ postcards to The Slice

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Thanks to the readers who shared accounts of their travels this summer.

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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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