Archive for August 2013
…could do worse than to stage a scene or two at Monkey Boy Books downtown.
The look just seems perfect for a cinematic meet-cute.
I wandered in there today while waiting for a to-go pizza at Europa, next door.
The woman behind the counter was speaking French to a little girl whose answers were all in English.
OK, I guess the bookstore scene is a bit of a movie cliche by now. But that doesn't mean you couldn't check it out in real life.
No? Well, how about this?
Apparently an editor said, “Birdie? Who's Birdie? There's no local angle.”
Or maybe they are thinking about the boat.
Your co-workers' choices can offer certain insights.
My alma mater's football team opens its season tonight against a school that almost certainly will clobber my school's team.
The two colleges are on different NCAA levels. So it is no big shock that my team never wins this particular state “rivalry” matchup.
But here's the thing. The one graduate of the other school that I see on a regular basis is a work colleague I genuinely like.
He is not a rub-it-in kind of guy. In fact, I am the one who has to bring up our loose tradition of betting a dime on the outcome of the always-lopsided game.
So I consider myself lucky. There have been college football fans at the S-R over the years who were not always gracious.
So, come Tuesday morning, I will walk into his office and place a dime on his desk. And he will change the subject.
Like I said, he's a good guy.
If, come Tuesday morning, your mother-in-law has not turned you into a chimp, you can consider it to have been a good weekend.
Here's some excellent advice for young people from Slate.
I have heard that it took a long, long time in front of a mirror to achieve this look.
How are you at being able to appreciate an artist or performer's work even if you cannot say you admire the individual?
The date on this magazine is Aug. 30, 1955.
“In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears.”
I have heard that those who grew up in really large families couldn't easily relate to this because privacy was so rare. But if you were lucky enough to have your own room as a kid, this song told your story.
The “A” side was “Be True to Your School.”
College football all-stars vs. the previous season's NFL champions.
I was riding my bike home this afternoon when some boys pulled the invisible-rope trick on me.
Or I should say, they tried. Because theirs was one pitiful effort.
Pit-i-ful, as Jed Clampett might have said.
You know this prank, right? Kids on both sides of a road pretend to be holding a taut rope across the thoroughfare. The idea is to startle some innocent motorist.
Nasty bit of business. But it happens. And that's all I am saying about anything that might or might not have take place somewhere in the Eastern United States around about 1966.
Anyway, it's tough to pull off in broad daylight. You really have to sell it.
But the boys I encountered this afternoon didn't come within a connecting flight of believability.
For one thing, I could see them from a hundred yards away. They made no pretense of picking up a cord or rope. They just assumed their straining-on-it stances, as if — magically — the rope was now in their incompetent little hands.
Also, on the north side of the street, two boys pretended to be pulling on the rope. But their hand positioning was all wrong.
I could go on, but there's no need to conduct a clinic here.
As I approached them, I thought about saying something.
“When I was your age, we cared about quality. But I wouldn't have wiped my…”
Instead I just fixed them with a look of disdain.
What has happened to the childhood arts?
It's time for those lads to go back to school. It's pretty clear they didn't learn anything this summer.
Can you tell by their midday aroma that colleagues have been to Pig Out in the Park?
Without actually walking up and sniffing them, I mean.
Tomorrow in The Slice column.
Probably not. Career girl Debbie Dean is a made-up character while S-R food maven and butter advocate Dorothy Dean was, oh, yeah. Never mind.
My retired friend Bill Mahaney used to be a college professor and administrator in the Boston area.
Those in his circle of friends don't tend to be the sort of folks who just fell off the turnip truck. Yet the extent to which these friends in the Northeast and Southeast do not really understand the West amazes him.
Once, friends from Massachusetts and Florida came to Spokane with a plan of then visiting Yellowstone National Park. They thought it would require just a pleasant morning drive to get to the park.
“Another friend was going to be in San Francisco on business. He suggested we drive down for dinner, stay over, and drive back to Spokane the next day. Another friend going to Seattle to attend a conference suggested we meet for lunch because it would only be a very short drive for us.”
Have you ever, as a child or adult, had a dog named Lady?
Do you remember “Room 222”?
Oh, wait. That's not right. I must be thinking of Snuffy Smith.
This is the song that was playing over the intercom when I walked into the lobby at my mother's assisted living community yesterday afternoon.
Ever cross paths with someone and then find yourself seeing media references to that person for decades?
When I was in college, I worked part-time at a small daily newspaper. I did a story on my school's football placekicker. He was totally personable. And he was a good kicker. He wound up getting drafted by an NFL team.
But his real career turned out to be sports administration. He has been called the best college athletics director in the country (see below). And I recently read about him yet again in a New York Times series on ESPN. The guy simply will not go away.
So who is your Tom Jurich?
States that are high school football powers.
Florida, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, California, Pennsylvania.
Submitted for your approval, today's chalk art sighting.
I saw it this afternoon on a sidewalk directly across the street from Comstock Park. Just west of the park.
The doubly colorful message was written in large letters, displayed for the reading pleasure of anyone just east of the sidewalk.
The lettering was pretty precise. I had no trouble reading it from my bike. So it must have been older kids at work.
Or maybe it was created by an adult who is no fan of the way people park when attending the Spokane Symphony's Labor Day concert at Comstock. And perhaps this was a festive pre-holiday tip of the cap.
But I have another question.
When did people start saying “Bite Me”? Did it come from “The Simpsons”? “Mystery Science Theater 3000”?
No, it had to be before that. I remember some of the Cary Grant-like guys I lived with in college saying it.
Are you surprised the expression is still in use?
Chances are you already know about this chapter in Spokane's military history. But just in case…
In a mostly forgotten 1980s TV series, this actor, who grew up in Spokane, played a 1960s Air Force officer who, in one episode, attends the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Can you name him? The series?
I know a Spokane woman who named her daughters after cities in Australia.
This was not some random whim. The woman in question has spent time living in the Land Down Under. It is an important place to her.
In my opinion, she chose fine names. In fact, those kids don't know how lucky they are.
I took a look at a map of Australia. And at the risk of sounding like a provincial nitwit Ugly American, I have to say that some of the cities and towns she could have chosen for names might have left the kids asking “Why me?”
It's not mocking another culture's place names to suggest that not everything makes a good moniker for a baby.
“Time to get ready for school, Ballarat.”
“Gympie, I asked you to pick that up.”
“Eat your vegetables, Dubbo.”
“Cessnock, come here this instant.”
“Is Cunnamulla downstairs?”
“Please ask Ngukurr to step in here.”
“I can't at 2:30, Wangaratta has soccer.”
“Warrnambool, are you finished with your homework?”
“Wagga Wagga, it's your turn to walk the dogs.”
And so on.
Again, I'm not knocking Australian place names. I'm sure many have honored indigenous meanings. And I would be happy to note that most U.S. place names would not make ideal baby names.
I'm just saying I think the Spokane girls, Sydney and Adelaide, lucked out.
So if you were going to pick baby names from cities in a certain country, state, province or whatever, which would you choose?
I like to reinforce the idea of little kids wearing helmets when riding their bikes.
So when I encounter a child on a bicycle I often say something affirming about him or her wearing a helmet.
But I've noticed something. When I'm addressing a little girl (most of the time in the presence of a parent) I tend to say the same thing.
“That sure is a pretty helmet.”
Not, “It's important to protect your head if you want to make partner someday.”
Not, “Children who wear helmets have been shown to do well on college entrance exams.”
I tell her the helmet is pretty.
I can't even remember what I've said to little boys. But apparently I believe little girls want to be told they look pretty.
Pretty shallow, I know. But here's the thing.
The kids don't seem to mind.
Still, I don't want to contribute to little girls defining themselves strictly in terms of appearance. So I guess I'll come up with some new material.
Nobody ever said Mariners fans had to be good spellers: Substitute teacher Norma Egger was used to kids asking if she is related to the Egger Meats family. (She is.) But she wasn't really ready for it when a little boy, excitedly bouncing in his seat and holding his hand up, said, “Mrs. Egger, Mrs. Egger, are you related to Egger Martinez?”
…you remember when radio stations celebrated the month of Zeptember.
You are correct. It is not in Spokane.
I am not a Seattle Mariners fan.
But I know a lot of good people who are M's rooters. And each year about this time I find myself thinking the same thing.
I wish these various friends, co-workers and blog commenters could experience having their team involved in a pennant race. They have waited a long time. They deserve it.
Is there a sports team you don't care about personally but almost root for because so many people in your life are long-suffering fans?
…to make a convincing case that he or she is less interested in hydroplane racing than I am.
Can't be done.
And by the way, I'm not putting it down. To each his own.
I'm just saying no one could possibly be less drawn to this particular spectator experience than yours truly.
Unlike the fellow awarded the Medal of Honor for his incredible real-life heroism.
A friend and former colleague who grew up in Montana addressed a couple of Slice Blog issues — searching for elementary schools with the same name as the one you attended and school counselors.
“I tried Rattlesnake Grade School. There is only one, although they call it Rattlesnake Elementary School now. So citifed. Did find a Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary in Tucson. How unoriginal.
Searched Hellgate High School, too, One of a kind. The name was great for some sophomoric cheers like 'Go to Hellllllllllllllllllgate!' Guess you had to be there. Seemed hilarious at the time.
“My high school counselor was a recent former Miss Idaho. When I was in her office I could never make eye contact. Probably how I ended up in journalism.”
This was the No. 1 song on the radio.
Thought about dropping in a youtube link here. But why bother? Chances are, you already know every note.
Or so it would seem.
What does that sailor have on his mind?
Can you spot the artist?
One reason living in the Northwest beats living in the Southwest: Less chance your cat will bring home a live lizard.
A) Spokane is not a cattle stockyards/beef processing center. B) We all know it is a put-down, but Fort Worth, Texas — significantly bigger than Spokane — embraces that nickname. C) Many of those who use that expression have not spent a lot of time in Paris and San Francisco. D) Other.
Tomorrow in The Slice column.
I say this banana is about four or five hours away from being at just-right ripeness.
What say you?
Will Spokane area football fans who casually rooted for the Detroit Lions because of Jason Hanson still wish that team well out of habit even though Hanson retired?
If, as some contend, it's fair to say the NFL approached the network and told ESPN to distance itself from the PBS “Frontline” investigation of the league's handling of concussions and ESPN acquiesced, would you think less of ESPN?
Or did you never have any illusions about what the “Worldwide Leader” would do when it came to remembering who butters its bread?
John Denver in concert.
I know I have mentioned this anniversary before. But not everyone remembers him. And I feel like I need to point out that he was so frickin' big at that exact time that it almost cannot be exaggerated.
A reader took me to task for not knowing that ravens and crows are the same thing.
They aren't, of course.
We all make mistakes. And I was happy to write back and briefly point out his.
But I really don't get it. Wouldn't you make sure you knew what you were talking about before firing off a blistering rebuke?
But on my ride to work this morning I noticed just a few toppled garbage barrels and rings of debris around storm drains.
What did you see?
Sure, we all update a little bit.
But for the most part, what year does yours most accurately reflect?
Speaking of maps. What's the longest looking-up-places-where-I-used-to-live session you have had with Google Maps?
A) Thought they were great. B) Who? C) My all-time headphones favorite. D) Their songs made me want to be in a great romance. E) A bit bombastic, I thought. F) It is as if the 1970s were 40 years ago. G) Other.
1. This is an “imaginary story,” as opposed to the usual James Olsen fare.
2. Did you know Jimmy Olsen Jr. was a rabid University of Oregon alum?
3. Seems like Superman could have started wearing regular shirts at some point.
4. Re: Her glasses…artist correctly assumed retro would be big in the future.
On Oct. 1, 1988, I listened to the radio broadcast of a WSU football game. Can't recall what else I was doing. I just remember that I was in my apartment in downtown Spokane.
The Cougs were playing Tennessee in Knoxville. WSU won handily, sending UT to its fifth straight loss.
I had lived in Tennessee for a few years. And my wife has a graduate degree from UT. But the score of the game didn't bother me.
Here's what did.
As the outcome became certain, many of the 92,000-plus fans started booing and what have you. That happens.
But the guy doing the play-by-play on the WSU broadcast made it sound like he feared a hillbilly riot was about to break out at Neyland Stadium. I think the word-picture he was going for was something akin to a scene from “Deliverance.”
I suspect he was just trying to be colorful.
Still, I didn't care for it. He didn't strike me as someone with a sophisticated grasp of the Southeast and all its complexities. Nor had I realized that, by comparison, Cougar Country was populated exclusively by the champagne and tuxedos set.
Anyway, I was never impressed with his broadcast stylings over the years, not that I would qualify as a regular listener.
But if you stick around long enough, people start calling you a legend. And I just read the other day that the legend in question is giving up his play-by-play duties.
I recalled my reaction to that 1988 radio broadcast. A thought occurred to me.
As someone who knows a bit about rubbing certain people the wrong way with an offhand remark, I probably should have tried to keep that guy's career in perspective.
He has been doing games for decades. My writing him off partly because of a humor misfire 25 years ago now seems a tad small.
So I hope he is OK with his new job description. I trust he is hearing from his loyal fans about what he meant to them.
Just being there counts for something. And he has been, for a long time.
Looks as if an artist had some fun doing the faces in the crowd.
Today's Slice question: If you piled up all the Idaho and Montana mud that gets washed off Spokane cars and trucks in one summer, how much soil would you have?
I ride my bike by the new Jefferson Elementary School every weekday afternoon.
Today something caught my eye as I surveyed the new ball field just east of the almost-finished South Hill school. Emerging like sailboat masts from the two ends of the outfield fence were dandelion-yellow foul poles. They looked terrific.
I imagined how much fun it will be for kids to pretend to be Carlton Fisk and attempt to will a ball fair for a home run.
Then I came to my senses. I doubt many kids today know about the 1975 Red Sox vs. Reds World Series or Game 6 — arguably the best baseball game ever played.
Hell, their adult coaches were probably too young to have seen that.
But some of us remember. And seeing those shiny new foul poles can trigger a moment of time travel.
Maybe that's enough.
Recently overheard a conversation between a guy who is a huge college football fan and a young woman who recently finished college.
Can't recall what he said to prompt her. But she volunteered that she had never attended a football game while in school.
He managed to refrain from calling her an unpatriotic American. But clearly, he was baffled.
That can happen when you assume your interests are universally embraced.
Can you recall being around someone who suggested “Ya gotta love it” when you, in fact, found “it” to be a total bore?
What would be his first move?
Was he or she anything like the one in “Freaks and Geeks”?
Or did your counselor look more like this…
This was 1965. Like all other seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, this one would end in disappointment.
If it was just a matter of a day or two, would you purchase milk with a sell-by date that is the same as your birthday, your spouse's birthday, your anniversary or Christmas or would you buy the milk with the freshness date furthest into the future?
If you did a search on the name of your elementary school, what results come back?
Don't include the name of your town. Just use the school name. And if you attended more than one elementary school just use the one you attended longest.
For some of us, it turns out that there were/are grade schools with the same name all over the country.
Can't track down a copy of that promoed article, so I'll just assume the prescription called for cutting back children's TV time to four hours a day. Either that or sending them to Vietnam.
Or perhaps the author was forward-looking and suggested that, for future generations anyway, the key would be preventing anyone from inventing the graphical user interface.
This was the No. 1 song on the radio at that time. Well, the regular version anyway.
Coming in Friday's Slice column.
Can you briefly describe what's going on here?
The former columnist is the guy on the left.
This was the 1994 Sports Illustrated college football preview issue.
Arizona did not turn out to be No. 1 that season.
It's an American classic.
Let's see a show of hands. Who has done that? While seated next to, um, your identical cousin?
Would you do it in a house? Would you do it with a mouse?
What would be his first move?
When football players with exceptionally long hair feel their locks get caught against another player and be inadvertently tugged, yanked or even deliberately pulled.
What if it got snagged on someone's helmet?
Yes, that picture in today's sports section made me think about this, though not for the first time..
“As a writer covering the health and beauty industry, we invite you to…”
This was the No. 1 song serenading your arrival.
I wonder if some baby girls got named after this.
All the way back to the 1970s, a magical time when young people obsessed about stereo components to an extent that is almost impossible to exaggerate. Seriously. Geeking out did not wait for the digital revolution.
Some of it was about the music. But part of it was wanting to have a system totally unlike your parents' record player.
Do you remember the first album you played on your new stereo? I do.
She tolerates me but probably wonders why I'm not on the phone with National Geographic about her or working on a coffee table book called “House Cats of Spokane's Kalahari.”
Here's the Time magazine dated Aug. 21, 1972.
I was a card-carrying teenager at the time. And my family subscribed to this magazine. But I do not recall seeing this issue.
Maybe my parents hid it so I wouldn't be prompted to think about sex.
Rejected themes for the upcoming Spokane County Interstate Fair”:
“Pig Out in the Fairgrounds.”
“What's that Smell?”
“Lots o' Livestock Puns.”
“Spendy But Fun.”
“Meat Comes From Animals.”
“Sweatin' With the TV News Anchors.”
Rejected new names for the upcoming Pig Out in the Park:
“All You Can Eat.”
“Made Glorious Summer.”
“Man, I've Really Gotta Floss.”
“Something To Do Over Labor Day.”
“Sweatin' With the TV News Anchors.”
Here's my hope.
Because the Inland Northwest has had an abundance of hot, sunny days this summer, people around here will be less apt to complain about winter a few months from now.
Call me a dreamer.
But it just seems fair.
Perhaps someone poised to grouse about a little snow or cold will pause and have this thought: “Well, we did have exactly the sort of summer I yearn for…so maybe I need to accept that a vigorous winter is only right.”
OK, I know what you are thinking.
“Not a chance in hell.”
You're thinking that winter whiners are incapable of perspective, incapable of seeing things in context.
Incapable of remembering that our area shares a border with Canada.
Perhaps. But I prefer to have a little faith in people.
I'm betting those who traditionally seem stunned that our area can get a little frosty will remember the summer of '13 and act like grown-ups.
I'm betting that they will accept a little nip in the air as a fair trade for the long, hot summer they loved.
But that's just a guess. What's your prediction?
…almost all young people seem like this.
(My wife came across an online discussion of this theme, and I think it's an interesting topic. So I'm borrowing the question.)
What's something that is common knowledge in your profession but not widely known by those outside your field?
If you click on the link below and scroll down to the capsule preview for Central Michigan, you will see a reference to a guard named Ken Bickel. He would be my ninth grade football coach.
He used to yell “Put a hat on him!” Which meant use your helmet as a battering ram.
That advice notwithstanding, I think he knew what he was doing. And though he could be intense, he was not a humorless hardass 24/7.
I still resent being pulled out of a game after my pass for a two-point conversion was off the mark. There was a penalty, so we got a do-over. My replacement, a guy who would have a brief career in the NBA, ran the same exact play and zipped a completion.
Anyway, I expect to get over that any day now.
I think about Ken Bickel for a moment each August, when I briefly savor not having to sweat out two-a-days.
Hope he had a happy life.
(This all sounded a bit familiar. So I checked the archives and was reminded that I had written about Coach Bickel in 2008. Seems like I would have remembered that. But maybe I followed his orders to “put a hat on him” too many times.)
That “Our Price” thing never got old.
This was the No. 1 song on the radio when you arrived.
…when renewing your vehicle license plate because…
A) You don't use the parks much.B) With your liquor bill the way it is, you don't really have five bucks to spare. C) You don't believe in government. D) You loathe Washington's regressive tax structure with its crazy-quilt of fees and embarrassing reliance on sales tax, so you resent this tacking $5 onto the tag renewal and don't feel like being an enabler for a juvenile approach to state budgeting. E) You are cheap. F) You are almost certain that the parks are used by people who do not vote according to what you think is right G) Form says “optional.” So you opted out. H) You believe it's socialism. I) NA/You are not a resident of Washington. J) Can't afford it while saving up for a home theater with Dolby surroundsound, stadium seating and a 16-foot High Def smellovision screen. K) Other.
For you? For others?
A Slice reader told about being over on the West Side with her husband and entering a Seattle area trip destination in their car's GPS.
Well, the moment they got on I-5 the GPS freaked. Its robo-voice told them to get off the interstate over and over.
Take this exit.
Take this exit NOW. And so on.
They knew those instructions had to be in error. They still had quite a distance to cover. There was no good reason to get off I-5.
Finally, they identified the problem. The GPS computer had somehow been accidentally set to chart the best route for making the trip by bicycle.
Has anyone ever said that about you?
A lyrical link.
The people who say downtown Spokane is dead apparently have never seen a downtown that really is.
What would the text say?
I'm pretty sure The Slice once ran a picture of her dog, Scanner.
It's impossible to look at this photo and not wonder what became of those kids.
According to my calendar, we'll have a full moon tonight.
Songs with “moon” in the title…
If you had asked me 40 years ago, I suppose I would have said that I did. But maybe I was just following the herd.
I look at his stuff today and have my doubts. But maybe that's not fair. Something can be new only once. So maybe all that mattered was how we viewed his art in the 1970s.
Bill Watterson was a genius.
Here are the answers to your questions.
2. A prairie chicken.
Doesn't that floor you? There are so many examples.
When watching “The Wire” a few years ago, it never once occurred to me that the gentleman below, Idris Elba, was not American. But it turns out he grew up in East London.
What makes this even more impressive is the fact many U.S. actors are terrible at accents.
Hint: It has nothing to do with Rocky Balboa or this poster not being in English.
Or can you see Stephen Root in something else, say last night's episode of “Newsroom,” and not think of the stapler mumbler in “Office Space”?
I have never actually heard a reporter refer to himself or herself as “famous.”
But I've known plenty who assumed everyone read every word of each and every story they wrote. And they held fast to this magical thinking even after years of being confronted with ample evidence to the contrary.
I guess we all all fool ourselves in one way or another.
How long ago was 1970? Manning was playing when the SEC had its first African-American players.
If you are baffled because you think that acronym refers to the Securities and Exchange Commission, I salute you for the manner in which you are conducting your life.
Some readers might find this interesting:
No, there's no connection between Jackson Browne and the fair. Well, except maybe that the album's cover designer and Expo's host city both like old cars.
Yesterday, at just about this time, I saw a co-worker in a grocery store. He was pushing one of those toy-car carts that a little kid can ride in.
Seated in the toy car was his preschool daughter, Hazel. Though I had never met her in person, I have initiated quite a few conversations about her in the last few years. I like hearing about her adventures in growing up. And I think it is safe to say I root for her, like I do all of my colleagues' children.
So, anyway, I was delighted to have an opportunity to say hello to Hazel. I have always liked her name.
Well, let me tell you. This kid is a total sweetie. I mean, she simply could not be any cuter. Four stars.
Unfortunately, she mistook me for Godzilla and withdrew just a tad. It happens.
But the truly odd thing about our encounter was totally my doing.
I introduced myself to her as “Mr. Turner.”
Since when did I start doing that?
I'm all for kids respecting adults and recognizing authority figures and all that. But “Mr. Turner”?
If I had it to do over, I would invite her to address me by my first name. And I would assure her that I do not devour small children. Well, hardly ever.
So what do you do in that situation? How do you introduce yourself to young children of friends?
We can assume this scene is back East. So that sound you hear is mosquitoes massing.
Surely that has happened to at least a few moviegoers who bought tickets for this without knowing anything about its socio-political perspective.
So if you go to see “Elysium” and find yourself near someone you suspect of being a one-percenter, you might want to find a different seat.
Once a year, my South Hill bicycle shop has a 10 p.m. to midnight sale.
I checked it out for the first time tonight. I'm glad I did.
A fairly diverse group of 50 or 60 people were lined up outside before the doors opened. Everyone, or at least those near me, seemed in good spirits. And once inside, the shoppers conducted themselves in a calm, considerate way.
“Midnight Sanity” was more like it.
It was fun to see so many people in the store. And I guess some of the sale prices were attractive.
But I didn't really sense a buying frenzy. At least a few of the other customers appeared to be doing what I was doing: Looking at accessories and wondering, “Could I use one of those?”
We were all shapes and sizes. And the age range looked to be about 15-70.
But we belonged to the same tribe.
Would on-duty sex be considered wrong by your employers?
If you are familiar with the S-R's style, you know we refer to medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians as a doctor, but not those with an academic Ph.D.
Would you change that in any way?
Personally, though I have friends who are academic doctors, I'm happy with our policy. But my attitude about this was hardened years ago, at another newspaper.
One of my editors began dating a college professor. Not long after that she came in one day and suggested that we start giving academics the “Dr.” treatment in print.
I cannot recall if any of the reporters literally threw up. But it was a long time ago.
Though he has not worked here in this century, former S-R reporter Jess Walter, now an acclaimed novelist, still gets mail at the newspaper.
The Slice has noted this before.
“He gets more mail here than I do,” said his brother Ralph, a talented S-R page designer.
The latest piece of mail sent to Jess here at the paper is a brochure for the “2013 Four Directions/Tree of Healing Conference on Spiritual, Emotional, Intellectual, and Physical Healing and Addictions Awareness.”
The Oct. 1-4 event is to take place at Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights.
The return address is the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling in Olympia.
Don't know a thing about them. Maybe they do great work. But their mailing list sure is out of date.
We don't all have the same experiences. We don't all connect with the same exact set of cultural references.
But all Americans ought to know this story.
What happened when you went to a once-a-year late-night sale at a Spokane bicycle shop?
Transposing letters can make a big difference.
Still, an alert reader of emails can usually tell from context if “marital arts” was actually supposed to be “martial arts.”
Makes you wonder, though. What would it take to earn a black belt in one of the marital arts.
I asked my wife if she had ever heard the ballfield expression, “We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher.”
She indicated that she had not.
“What's a belly itcher?” she asked.
I had to admit that I really didn't know.
But when he was in his prime and healthy, this guy was just about as dominating as anybody in his day. Only Koufax, Gibson and Marichal were better. At least that's what it says here.
Overhearing a conversation about stinging insects reminded me of one of the stupidest drug deals of all time.
Or I should say attempted drug deal.
I was a freshman at a small state college in New England. And one day, after lunch I think, I was heading into my dorm when one of my fellow Liberal Arts scholars hailed me.
“Heyyyyyyyyy, my philosophy man. Wanna buy some yellow jackets?”
Pulling it halfway out of his jacket pocket, he showed me a baggie of capsules.
I didn't really know what yellow jackets were. (They are barbituates, at least that's what they were in the 1970s.) But I told him I wasn't interested. He never approached me again.
A few minutes later, I described the encounter to a few of my suite-mates. And for a couple of weeks, they had fun addressing me in a new and exceedingly laid-back way.
“Heyyyyyyyyy, my philosophy man.”
Then again, maybe you had forgotten.
On Aug. 18, 1967, Conigliaro was hit in the face by a pitch from Jack Hamilton of the Angels.
He would make a comeback, but it was not long before vision problems forced him to retire.
This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1966.
Scurrying to prepare a snack or go to the bathroom during the commercials?
This was before the “Pause” option.
Now, admittedly, not every show required you to give this any thought. Missing a few minutes just was not a big deal.
But when you were watching something that really had your attention and you didn't want to miss a second, there was a tendency to behave a bit like a baserunner taking a lead off first base. Then when the commercials break came, you were off.
Sounds primitive, I know.
And yet, we survived.
Santa's public relations people sent us a copy of a letter from a Spokane kid named Kitra Yeager.
“Dear Santa: I know this is kind of late in the year. Well the reason I'm righting you is because I want to know if you can make it rain…P.S. Can I have a picture of Rudolf!”
…what would the text say?
From what I gather, the plane was renamed (see link below). Not a joke.
Fair warning: The answer I'm looking for is a little on the indirect side.
How often do you find yourself turned off by both sides?
Can you connect this to Woodstock?
Who finds HBO's “Hard Knocks” training-camp series way more interesting than actual NFL games.
I'm a relative newbie. The season that hooked me was the one with the Jets.
I'm sure this famous tabloid's editors knew their readers and sought to give them what they wanted. And perhaps the paper's actual Woodstock coverage was slightly more nuanced. But “HIPPIES MIRED IN SEA OF MUD”?
Why not just go with “GET A HAIRCUT YA BUMS”
In any event, the happening of happenings happened 44 years ago.
1. Ever tuck an envelope full of cash into a newspaper and then put the paper down and forget it?
We all remember when Uncle Billy did just that. Sure, he might have been a stupid, silly old fool. But let he who has never done something like that cast the first stone.
And didn't Janet Leigh stick some cash in a paper in her room at the Bates Motel in “Psycho”? Sure, the circumstances in which she became separated from the money were a little different. But once again a newspaper proved to be an imperfect currency conveyance.
2. If you were to come up with a variation on “…old building and loan pal” based on your work or social life, what would it be?
“Old Q6 pal”?
“Old Spokane Club pal”?
“Old Manito Park pal”?
Maybe people responded to this because so many of the group's hits were clamorous, and this was so gentle. A sweet, simple song.
This post is dedicated to the S-R's former food editor, Lorie Hutson.
She is off to school. She's going to be a nurse.
Lorie was an absolute pleasure to work with — smart, funny and willing to be honest.
I know she will excel in her training. For one thing, she will be able to focus. Unlike Linda Carter (above), she already has a great husband and two terrific boys.
Good luck, Lorie. Everyone here will miss you.
Were you allowed to wear jeans to school? Plain white T-shirts?
Were you allowed to smolder?
You know the artistic display of Inland Northwest lakes in the entranceway floor at River Park Square?
Sure. Of course.
Well, do you also remember how Waitts Lake was spelled “Waits”?
I had a Slice column item about it on Oct. 19, 1999.
And there was a letter to the editor about it on June 15, 2002, from a Ruth Waldron.
Frankly, I assumed it had been fixed and moved on. But no.
I just received an email from Tom Dalrymple, pointing out the spelling problem.
He wrote, “Why should the masses be subject to bad spelling when we shop?”
I walked over to RPS and looked at the floor. He's right. It's still wrong.
I suppose I should query mall management about it. But then, if I wound up writing something, I'd have to get into that whole “…is owned by…” nightmare. So, to quote Bartleby the Scrivener, I'd prefer not to.
Besides, I'm sure they're going to get around to fixing it. It has been only about 14 years. That's hardly any time at all. Let's try to be patient.
Ever wear anything like this?
Did the pants make a whoosh-whoosh sound when you walked?
How did you do when, as a little kid, you were asked to sell candy or gift-wrapping paper to raise money for some extracurricular group, club or youth sports organization?
A) Fine. My mom sold all that stuff at her office. B) I tried to remember, “Always be closing.” C) My parents bought it all. D) I learned that I was not cut out for sales. E) Couldn't give it away. F) I went door to door and learned a lot about life. G) The whole thing struck me as rather Dickensian. H) I was a regular Willy Loman. I) The pressure sort of got to me and I really started pounding the Dr. Pepper. J) Other.
A friend who saw a lot of Spokane Indians games more than 40 years ago, back when the AAA team was producing future Dodgers right and left, says this is the guy he knew would make it.
This was the No. 1 song when you joined the party.
The gathering never having been announced, it seems like a good idea to reschedule.
Let's shoot for 2014, when we can push it back once again. I have found that never actually having the meetings works best for everyone's calendars.
According to the info accompanying the photo below, the critters at that woman's feet are Tibetan marmots. I think I've read that they are considered a food source there. So maybe she's tending her herd.
No sense trying to warn them at this point. “'To Serve Marmot'…it's…it's a COOKBOOK!”
Readers' attempts at Spokane bashing: One of our first calls on this subject came from a guy who characterized the Lilac City as “A big Ricki Lake waiting room.”
Conversation has ground to a halt?
Pose this question: What beer did your father drink when you were a kid?
Yes, I realize not all fathers drank beer. And I also am aware that some drank too much.
But I have found almost any answer to that question kick-starts a lagging conversation.
How long does it take to get tired of saying, in your best Munchkin voice, “But we've got to verify it le-gally”?
An email that bores you or one that has you contemplating a reply in which you would suggest that the sender commit an anatomically impossible act?
Newman Lake's Rickey Harber passed along a clipping from a Georgia newspaper.
The article in question included the following sentence.
“Most mosquitoes don't travel very far from where they're bread.”
Rye? Sourdough? Pumpernickel?
Thank heavens, the S-R has never made a mistake.
Well, except for the time we had a recipe for “honey-fried children.”
Or the time, in a story about schools, we referred to “pubic education.”
Or the time, in a photo caption, we got one letter wrong in a woman's name and wound up calling her “Lix Cox.”
Or the time, on a subscription sign-up card, we called the editor of the newspaper “Christ Peck.”
Or, well, you get the idea.
You don't have to embrace the values underpinning big-time college football to think that certain helmet designs are pretty cool.
I seem to recall that my brother had a friend who believed that what Melville had written was this comic book.
Maybe the confusion was about another Classics Illustrated comic. But apparently that young scholar didn't really understand the concept.
Another fine example of why Top 40 was becoming increasingly irrelevant to an increasing segment of the music-buying public.
I engage in a bit of speculation in Tuesday's Slice column.
“…I'm gonna need you to come in on Tuesday.”
OK, that doesn't have the same ring. But I lack the patience to save this for Friday.
And this gives you the whole week to get up to speed on the TPS forms.
The highly promoted Larry David movie for HBO was no triumph, even if loyal fans managed to watch it all.
But was it a total disaster or merely flawed?
My guess is that a headline caught his eye but he turned his head too late to see more of the paper.
Or maybe guys just cannot help checking out women carrying a newspaper.
In the 1964 movie “Fail-Safe,” there is scene where an American Air Force officer is talking via hot-line with a Soviet air defense official.
The nukes are about to hit the fan. Both know it is too late to avert it.
They discover that both had spent time in London during World War II. Both say they loved it there.
The Soviet official offers the opinion that great cities, such as London, are the ones where you can walk and walk and make unexpected discoveries and encounter history at seemingly every turn.
Do you agree? And if so, what cities with which you are familiar have that characteristic?
Of course, the newspaper future as seen in the late 1970s now seems like it was in a different century.
Oh, that's right. It was.
I believe I have mentioned a silly game I used to play with a couple of features department colleagues years ago.
The challenge was to think of famous people most unlikely to have a Lilac City connection.
I thought of that little workday diversion when I saw that it was Catherine Deneuve day today on the TCM channel.
Feel free to suggest your own local-connection absurdity.
This was Sports Illustrated's college football preview from September 1968. I believe it was in this issue that subscribers read about a Purdue lineman who was making a grid comeback after having been wounded in combat in Vietnam. The SI writer suggested that nothing Ohio State or Michigan threw at this Boilermaker was apt to make him tremble.
Ever channeled the late John Belushi when the lid just won't come off the pickle jar?
Or do you prefer to imitate an old-timey pro wrestler putting a sleeper hold on the jar?
When you say something to a stranger based on the baseball cap he or she is wearing, what usually happens?
A) You quickly discover that the person knows nothing about the team in question. B) You find yourself listening to a know-it-all. C) You see someone looking at you as if you had just said “Have you heard the good news about everlasting salvation?” D) You experience a pleasant small-talk exchange that leaves you with a good feeling. E) Other.
Yesterday morning, I was backing out of the garage when I saw a car stopped in the street at the end of our driveway.
At first, I couldn't understand. Then, as I backed a little farther, I saw that the driver had come to a halt because a couple of loose dogs were prancing in the street.
In seconds, two women appeared and took hold of the canines' collars and escorted them out of the road. The car out on the street proceeded. And I backed out and went on my way.
But as I drove to the store, I started wondering. Distracted as I was, had I remembered to close the garage door?
So when I got to the store and parked, I sent my wife a text asking that she confirm that the garage door was closed.
Well, I thought I sent it to my wife — recipient of 99.9 percent of my paltry volume of texts.
But actually that request went to my sister-in-law in Michigan, with whom I had exchanged messages Friday night.
When my sister-in-law got the text, she assumed or was kind enough to pretend that I was trying to be funny.
Later Saturday she called my wife and asked her to see if the flowers outside her place there in Michigan needed watering.
Slice answer: Mike Kilgore says that if he had a nickel for each time he's had to say “No, Seattle is about 300 miles away” he would have $100.”
“My stepson was camping on his property, lounging in his favorite sweats,” wrote Slice reader Polly Carlson. “I guess when you are camping it matters not that your pants have a hole in the crotch.
“It wouldn't have been an issue either, if a yellow jacket or wasp hadn't found its way in and gotten lost. Needless to say, my stepson found out about the bee's dilemma before long. Much ice was needed.”
Don't remember? Of course, you don't. Nobody does.
The 1985 show was called “Mary.” It did not last long.
A) Pitched a no-hitter. B) Appeared in a movie called “C'mon, Let's Live a Little.” C) Dated Mamie Van Doren. D) All of the previous. E) Other.
If you overhear someone say that today, will you know what local entertainment event is being discussed?
Just got an email from a geologist in Wallace. And it reminded me of a story.
When my sister-in-law the accountant was in college, she took an intro-level geology course.
The professor had a pretty strong accent. So when he said the word “develop” my sister-in-law thought he was saying “devil up.”
She assumed this must be some geology lingo. And you know, it does sort of sound like it could be.
“Over millions of years, the tectonic plates would slide past the magma and devil up as an overbelt extrusion.”
Anyway, when she wrote her first paper (or maybe it was in answering questions on a quiz) she used the expression “devil up.”
Naturally, the professor was baffled. I don't recall adults saying “WTF” in the 1970s, but he managed to convey his puzzlement on the paper.
So, as I recall the story, my sister-in-law spoke to him. They cleared up the confusion. And “devil up,” a wonderfully descriptive bit of scientific nomenclature, was retired forever.
What else tells you this is not a scene set in a modern newsroom?
Yes, these guys. But you knew that.
Still, wouldn't you agree that it doesn't hurt on a Friday to see these outfits once again.
Say what you will about Bob Montana, the guy enjoyed drawing the female form. We all know about Betty and Veronica. But even one-time characters such as the nurse above found themselves in remarkably snug attire thanks to the creator of “Archie.”
This was at an auction site. It would be tempting to suggest that the ring apparently didn't mean all that much to Garvey. But for all I know, he gave it away as a charity fund-raiser.
The last S-R story on such antics that I can find in our electronic archives appears to have been published in late 2012.
Care to explain this apparent suspension of stacking activity?
A) The perpetrators got bored. B) They went on to become contributing members of society. C) They went to college. D) They were disappointed that, instead of blowing everybody's minds or having all of Spokane up in arms about the table-stacking, most people simply didn't give a damn. E) The perpetrators discovered new modes of alienation. F) The girls they were trying to impress labeled it juvenile and pointless. G) A person can only devote just so much energy to being a zany madcap before peers brand him an irredeemable ass. H) The perpetrators got beat up by a roving band of puppeteers who came upon a stack-in-progress in a local park. I) One of the perpetrators bragged about the stunt to his step-mom and was taken aback when, in a weary voice, she asked if he didn't have anything better to do. J) It's still going on but, like baseball broadcasts that don't show drunken idiots who have run onto the field, the Spokane news media have agreed to ignore it. K) Other.
The psychedelic rock stylings of the King Family singers.
This appeared in the summer of 1969.
You know, “Trout Fishing in America” and the others.
I've read a little about him and apparently he was a bit unhinged. Maybe that should not have come as a surprise.
…P, O and E?
Or perhaps, if you are a “Dr.Strangelove” fan, you just use that as your code group prefix.
“Broadchurch” could be just the show for you. This British import began its U.S. run last night. And in that first episode, two different newspaper journalists demonstrated what it's like to operate without worries about ethics.
If you are new to The Slice Blog and decide you are going to check out all 5,790 archived blog posts in one marathon sitting, you will discover something.
In a fair number of “No. 1 song on this date” posts, the image of the record is missing. That's because one of my primary sources for these photos has begun disallowing links. And so, retroactively, quite a few pictures of vintage 45s no longer come up.
I always, 100 percent of the time, credit that site when using an image. But that's fine. There are plenty of other sources.
Besides, I have a hunch I am way more interested in old No. 1 songs than most of the blog's readers.
But I came by it honestly. When I was a little kid in the 1960s, my significantly older sister and brother were teenagers. Their lives intrigued me. And one aspect of that allure was their music. That's why I sometimes seem obsessed with pop songs that were hits when I was 10 years old.
Anyway, thanks for checking out the blog.
It seems like a statistical certainty, given the population of the Inland Northwest and American mobility, that someone in our midst was a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies during 1964.
Baseball fans of a certain age will remember that 1964 was the year of the Phils' epic collapse at the end of the season.
St. Louis ended up atop the National League, so the tickets below were never needed.
The name alludes to Johnny Appleseed's connection to the Indiana city.
Today's Slice question: Who holds the Inland Northwest freestyle record for inadvertently walking around in public with an important zipper unzipped?
Here's some interesting background on the song from NPR. I have posted this link before, but in case you missed it…
Itchy and Scratchy and premarital coed wrestling.
The postman's main squeeze brings the heat.
Instead of being a tasty blend of soy beans and lentils, Soylent Green turned out to have what as its main ingredient?
In other Food Day news, my wife received something in the mail addressed to her here in Spokake, Washington.
According to something I read, the team was going to be called the New Hampshire Primaries. But just about everyone hated that.
Check this out and take your mind off it.
Exchanged emails the other day with a nice guy whose first name is Damon.
At some point I asked him how often people heard his name and alluded to its use in the “Star Trek” universe as a word meaning captain or commander among the Ferengi.
He said it had not come up, at least not that he was aware of. “I get called 'Damien' as in 'The Omen' a lot.”
I'm not sure which association would be more troubling.
Is there any chance that a few thousand grains of beach sand you first acquired in the 20th century have since become a permanent part of your body?
When playing hide and seek with older kids did you ever wait and wait and wait until finally emerging from your inexplicably excellent hiding place to discover that everyone else was gone?
For better or worse, what makes Spokane different?
Guys, at what age did you stop worrying about experiencing sudden-onset swimming party tumescence?
God help us all.
Try as I might to rework my schedule, it looks like I will miss the Saliva concert at the Knitting Factory.
Just think. A kid from this area can grow up to be the center of a story headlined with the phrase “Fights for opera on the BBC.”
I brought this up in Sunday's column. Here, thanks to Shawn Paulson, are a few answers.
…ever heard Europeans share their reaction to baseball and American football?
They tend to be underwhelmed.
So I got to thinking that my previous post crept perilously close to “Everything was better in the good old days” territory.
And while I think you could make a case that the retail shopping experience isn't what it used to be, it would be nuts to suggest that every store employee was a ball o' fire back in the day.
One of my wife's first jobs was at a department store. And she remembers witnessing something over and over that made her shake her head.
An experienced clerk talking to a customer on the phone would say that the store was out of some item of apparel or whatever. Then the clerk would offer to check with the chain's other stores in the metro area.
After putting the customer on hold, the clerk would then visit for a minute or so with another clerk about the weather, the problem with men or whatever.
Then she would get back on the phone and tell the customer that everyone seemed to be out of the item in question.
So a Spokane woman went to a local store, looking to buy a small household appliance.
She found an empty display box with all the necessary info. She presented the box to a clerk.
The clerk, a reasonably cheerful young woman, started talking into the com system attached to her blouse. You know the kind I'm talking about. You used to see them in movies. A Secret Service agent would cock his head downward and say “Eagle is on the move.”
A little time went by and another clerk emerged with the wrong item. After a brief discussion, the second clerk disappeared.
A little while later, the original clerk heard from the second clerk over the com system.
She turned to the shopper. “I think we might be out,” she said.
The shopper politely informed her that she had checked online before coming to the store and learned that were three in stock.
This prompted more discussion over the com system.
Eventually the second clerk emerged again, this time with the correct item.
The shopper made the purchase. But if she hadn't had a better grasp of the store's inventory than the clerks, that could not have happened.
Is that nuts or what?
Maybe what we need are fewer fancy headsets and clip-on microphones and more people who actually know what they are doing.
But I guess stores would have to pay those people something, and that might not fit the current business model.
Where have you voted over the last 25 years?
Here's my list.
A fire station, a Lutheran church, an elementary school, a Methodist church and a drop-box outside a branch library.
According to pnwbands,com, this was a Spokane group in 1967.
Got to like that socks and sandals look.
Or perhaps you were not enough of a swinger.
What percentage of adult Spokane area residents will spend at least part of today looking for things to steal?
Here's something from NPR on that famous opening.
But they had better watch out. One of us might pull out a harmonica and, well, if you know this “Twilight Zone” episode, you know what can happen.
Many summers ago, I was going to use this photo for a caption contest. The only question was how close to Aug. 6 could we run it without the whole thing being in questionable taste.
“I said 'Good day,' sir.”
1. It seems like any kid has a right to be inspired by anyone.
2. Those who achieve excellence, whatever the field, deserve credit — certainly not blame.
3. It's true that the pursuit of athletic accomplishments can teach a person valuable lessons.
But, on balance, is the prevalence of African-American athletes in certain college and pro sports a net negative for black youths who might benefit from emulating more statistically realistic role models?
Just wanted to see if that would fit on one line.
What TV character in a long-running series occasionally referred to the Mud Hens?
Check out the articles lineup.
…a town in Idaho. Which would be the biggest seller?
A) Burley. B) Chubbuck. C) Deary. D) Fruitland. E) Gooding. F) Hidden Spring. G) New Meadows. H) Sugar City. I) Wilder.
(high school sports mascot)
(favorite city park)
(state of birth)
(sign of the zodiac)
(Inland Northwest lake)
…would be called what?
A) It makes me nostalgic as hell. B) I find myself thinking of how life for women is about to change. C) I hope they will be happy. D) Wonder when the divorce will be. E) I hope he's no Don Draper. F) I think that magazine cover is either the corniest thing I have ever seen or it could be a rare flash of genuine insight. G) “Vacuuming… oh, boy!” H) Other.
Today's Slice question: Does the Spokane area value conformity more than other places you've been?
Now, please rank his female co-stars.
That's him, on the left. For some of us, he'll always be “the guy from 'Local Hero.'”
But what the heck. That was only 30 years ago. Time flies.
Today's Slice question (a rerun from 1993 and preparation for The Slice's upcoming second annual Lyle Lovett Bug in the Mouth Day): What were the circumstances when an insect flew into your mouth?
(As I recall, the Lovett reference is an allusion to something that happened at The Festival at Sandpoint in the middle of a song.)
No, not “Vision Quest.”
It was in “A League of Their Own.”
Does it seem dated?
Must have been nice.
I realize there are still passenger trains. But it's not the same.
For putting soft drinks in the freezer and forgetting them.
When was the last time you did that? Did it go kablooie?
We'll save you some time: Certain men's magazines love to tout stories about the secrets of success in both personal life and business. Invariably, these “secrets” are essentially rehashings of seven basic truths.
1. Women want you to listen AND talk.
2. Bosses want you to solve your own problems.
3. Looks matter.
4. If you are a jerk, you need to be able to conceal that fact.
5. All managers value people who make them look good.
6. It's an excellent idea to be young, stylish, smart and funny.
7. Life's not fair.
How often do parents find themselves thinking “I wish I had known about/could have afforded this school back when I was 17”?
What big name performer appeared in Spokane on Aug. 3, 1996?
This was a few years before one of this artist's songs became a staple at home games of a major league baseball team.
The book looked at 351 metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada and ranked each in several categories, 1 through 351.
Here is how Spokane scored 20 years ago.
Costs of living: 164
Health care: 69
Overall rank: 98
Since then? If you actually care, I'd invite you to do an online search.
Me, I'm almost afraid to look and possibly discover that we have fallen out of the top 100.
What advice would you offer him?
If he was your daughter's boyfriend…
From what I read, it's a socially conservative place. But the county is named after William Christian, an officer during the Revolutionary War.
A) Archer Maggott is going to get his. B) Talky Tina is seconds away from reaching into Telly's chest and extracting an “Aliens” creature. C) Doll-kick to groin. D) He's going to say “Who loves ya, baby?” and Tina is going to reach around and break his stranger-danger little finger. E) Other.
What would the text say?
Not if you have grill-o-vision.
Today's Slice question: When you go to the movies, what tactic do you employ to discourage people from sitting right behind or beside you?
This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.
Actually, another list I consult says this song didn't become No. 1 until Aug. 4, 1973, and “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” was still atop the chart on Aug. 1. So there you go.