Advertise Here

The Slice

Archive for February 2013

Just wondering

Does anyone who is not LDS root for BYU?

One problem Spokane does not have

Sherry Jackson, perhaps best known for her role in “Make Room for Daddy” with Danny Thomas, was from Idaho.

Hating your sig other’s ethnic food

It happens.

Doesn't have to be a big deal, of course. But when you are seeing someone who really enjoys his or her family's traditional ethnic food specialties, it can require some tact to find a gentle way to say you find it vile and want it nowhere near your open mouth.

Chances are, you are not the first person from a different tribe to express a lack of enthusiasm for the exotic fare in question. But because romance is involved, you might think you need to tough it out and gag down the special treats his or her mother or uncle serves.

That seems like a mistake.

Sure, you want to at least sample the offerings. But if you quickly realize you can't take it, playing the self-blaming “It's my parochial taste buds/not this tantalizing food” card makes sense.

Remember super-short mini-skirts?

Did they cause social unrest in your home or at your school?

Some of the girls at my high school would have scoffed at the notion that what the model on the right is wearing qualifies as short.

Do you find beer makes people friendly?

Though perhaps what this vintage sign is actually saying is “Once you have spent money here, you are welcome to come back and do so again.” 

“In the Mood”

I keep hearing that marvelous song in the background of a KPBX promo while waiting for the bus in the morning.

Always reminds me of this NPR feature from 2000. Thought you might enjoy hearing it.

It's 15 minutes long, so you might want to check it out when you have some time. It's worth it.

Don’t you love mythic neighborhoods?

But where's the bike rider? He must be home filling his recycling bin.

50 years ago tonight on “Twilight Zone”

An hour-long episode called “Printer's Devil” first aired on Feb. 28, 1963. Burgess Meredith was the star.

To rescue his financially troubled newspaper, a desperate publisher makes a deal with the devil — represented in this instance by a mysterious linotype operator who goes by the name “Mr. Smith.”

Mr. Smith is able to predict the news — suddenly there is a lot of it and it is all exceedingly bad. Soon, though, The Courier's fortunes improve. But at what price? I suspect you can guess.

No. 1 song on this date in 1957

Can you make that out? It's “Young Love,” by Tab Hunter. Not a lot of baby boys being named Tab these days.

Country singer Sonny James had a version of this song that was ten times better.

Can you name the Sonny James song on the soundtrack to the Paul Newman movie “Slap Shot”?

Coming in Thursday’s Slice column

A mixed bag including some stuff in categories a letter-to-the-editor writer recently specified that he can't stand.

Don't know if the letter will run. But, of course, I hope it will.

Making the case for boyfriends

You probably know the story. Kathy Switzer, who registered as “K. V. Switzer,” broke the gender barrier by running in the 1967 Boston Marathon. A couple of miles after the start, a livid race official shouted some unpleasantries at her and tried to rip the race number from her clothing. But Switzer's boyfriend, football player Tom Miller, sent that ass sprawling with a deft body-block.

When I first saw these famous photos as a kid, I probably absorbed a bit of the equal rights message. But what really impressed me was Mr. Miller's fast-thinking action. At last, here was real-world guidance on just what it was boyfriends were supposed to do.

Well done, Mr. Miller. Well done.

Which job would you rather have?

One that required you to smile and act cheerful when you didn't feel like it, or one that required you to be a silent prop in photo opps?

Feline endorses Chinese dissident

Of course, this isn't much of a shocker as that appears to be one of artist Ai Weiwei's own cats.

States that ratified the failed ERA

States that ratified the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 1970s are in red. (A few states, such as Idaho, originally ratified but then rescinded that.)

The Wednesday Slice question

What does a cul-de-sac symbolize to you?

One problem Spokane does not have

Gigantic, rampaging, fire-breathing turtles.

No. 1 song on this date in 1966

My attitude about this one has changed a bit since I was 11. No matter. This record does not often come up in conversation today.

Probably didn’t hear that quite right

Had “The NewsHour” on and heard what I thought was a reference to the “1965 Boating Rights Act.”

I'm pretty sure the speaker actually said “Voting.”  

True or false

This is the founder of Sprague, Washington. As a young man, he stuck an S on the front of his last name to reduce confusion with the name of the city in Europe.

Cleaning up after dogs, a rite of spring

That's what reader Karen Kearney suggested at least.

Which makes you wonder if Spokane area pet owners with dogs in the backyard are among those who wouldn't mind if the ground stayed frozen and snow-covered a little bit longer.

In what leagues did these teams play?

Some of these pro sports franchises moved to other cities. Some just switched off the lights.

All you have to do is identify each team's sport.

Kansas City Scouts.

Cincinnati Royals.

St. Louis Cardinals.

Montreal Expos.

Cleveland Barons.

Los Angeles Rams.

Buffalo Braves.

Kentucky Colonels.

Ever been on double-secret probation?

Or is the whole idea that you NOT know?

Ever cited a little known codicil?

Ever get these two mixed up?

The woman on top is news anchor Judy Woodruff. The woman below is author Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Ultimate fantasy for many around here

I'm thinking it's represented by the basement arsenal scene in 1990's “Tremors.”

When subterranean monsters invade the wrong rec room.

Would be a dream come true for some who grew weary of hearing that they were paranoid nutjobs to acquire all those weapons.

Hadn’t known there was an Idaho Pavilion

Any memories of it? This postcard makes it look pretty modest.

When your relatives are bad listeners

How did you handle it when someone in your extended family started forwarding insane political screeds that, to put it mildly, don't reflect your personal viewpoint?

The Costnerian visions of the future

Which movie is a more plausible depiction of life in the future — “Waterworld” or “The Postman”?

Definitions of “Back East”

(This appeared in The Slice on Feb. 25, 1999.)

We're cutting short the reader comment period in the matter of defining “Back East.”

We've heard enough. Here's a sampling.

“For those of us from the Great Lakes Midwest, 'Back East' refers to Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., or anyplace within 300 miles of them,” wrote Ellen Pierce.

“I grew up in Ohio, which was definitely called the Midwest,” wrote Lorinda Knight. “Therefore, 'Back East' must be somewhere east of Ohio.”

“I originally hail from upstate New York, so there is no question in my mind what 'Back East' is,” wrote John Sayles.

Peter Lucht said “Back East” stretches far enough west to include Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.

“'Back East' pertains to New England or the Mid-Atlantic states,” wrote Marianne Kutner.

“I believe 'Back East' does not mean way back to the Atlantic coast, but back in the easterly direction of a prior home,” wrote Margaret Ensor.

Mary Testa-Smith recalled growing up in New York City and considering Pennsylvania “Out  West.” But now that she's in Spokane, she doesn't mind if 'Back East' means anything on the other side of the outlet Mall in Post Falls.

Dee Hilt confirmed that there is plenty of confusion about this. “A number of years ago, I asked a friend at work if she knew where a previous co-worker was now living. She answered, 'On the coast.' I said , 'Oh, I thought she had moved to somewhere in the St. Louis area.' And my friend replied, 'Well, I meant on the East Coast.'”

So, here's our ruling. We agree with the half-dozen readers who said 'Back East' describes any place in the Eastern Time Zone.  

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice

An opportunity to mutter “What in the hell is he talking about?” 

One more pet-on-the-bed story

“Our cat was not allowed on the bed,” wrote Lois Bender. “So in the daytime he would crawl under the bedspread where he thought we couldn't see him.”

Of course, there was a problem with his plan. The large lump o' feline under the bedspread was a bit obvious.  

Bald men and hats

You know, some guys wear hats because it is winter.

Oscars: All hail the Pacific Time Zone

Because the broadcast starts early in the evening out here, you can record it and then still have time before going to bed to fast-forward through the whole mess in about half an hour.

Three questions

1. Did quicksand incidents in TV Westerns freak you out when you were a kid?

2. How many people describing a scene as being like a “war zone” have ever actually been anywhere near war? (This is a friend's pet peeve, first mentioned to me way back during Ice Storm.)

3. Have you ever found yourself in the position of having to ask for some sort of assistance from an elected official for whom you have zero respect?

Checkout aisle conversation

The grocery cashier was asked if he had any names in mind for the baby he and his wife are expecting.

“I'm thinking 'Megatron',” he deadpanned.

The shopper said the child would probably raise objections in four or five years. “Dad, EVERYONE in my class is named Megatron.”

The cashier chuckled.

No. 1 song on this date in 1974

This has also made a few “worst songs ever” lists.

No. 1 song on this date in 1967

If you are between the ages of 55 and 70 and do not remember this song, I judge you.

One time Spielberg got hosed

My opinion anyway.

I liked “Shakespeare in Love” as well as the next moviegoer. More probably.

But I thought “Saving Private Ryan” should have gotten “Best Picture,” if for no other reason than having the courage to frankly depict the horror of war.

Sharing George Washington’s birthday

“Having the same birthday as George Washington was great,” said Jean Roeber of Spokane. “As a kid I always got a day off from school.”

Advice sought

I have a friend who is about to go from spending every weekday in an office at a large business to working from home.

Any tips for him as he approaches this transition?  

Northwest flavored movie trivia question

An actress who appeared in both “Double Indemnity” and “Going My Way” lived for a time in both Oregon and Washington.

Name her.

Re: How to conduct your life

When driving somewhere that involves a specific arrival time, do you leave early enough to allow for fixing a flat tire (and still getting there on time) or do you believe that it's crazy to operate like that?

Remembering Underdog and Sweet Polly

Noted an obit this week for the guy who created the “Underdog” cartoon series.

Wonder how many people remember that. Was must-see TV for me.

Reminded me that if you refer to a TV news reporter as “Sweet Polly Purebred” these days, there's a good chance the person to whom you are speaking won't get the reference.

Passing the torch

Chances are, you have heard the classic Spokane story about some long-ago S-R subscriber calling the circulation department to complain about the paper boy loudly whistling early in the morning.

That paper boy, of course, was a young Bing Crosby.

Well, I wonder. Are there descendants of that disgruntled newspaper subscriber still in Spokane? What do you suppose they complain about in 2013?

“Don’t come downtown and shoot people”

It seems like someone could make a small business out of selling T-shirts emblazoned with quotes from Spokane's new police chief.  

Felines on the march

I've always liked this 1960s photograph, “The Mob” by Walter Chandoha.

Sort of reminds me of that old animated series, “Top Cat.”

Can you hum that show's theme song?

So are the other stations in India?

Not to mention the fact that the hometown team isn't necessarily any good.

No. 1 song on this date in 1977

“New Kid in Town” can get stuck in your head. So, my apologies if it becomes your personal Friday anthem.

Did you watch Showtime's “History of the Eagles”? What did you think?

I did. I would give it a C+. Enjoyed a few insights into the creative process, such as when Glenn Frey talked about learning how to write a song by lying in bed and listening to the piano-playing guy who lived in the apartment beneath him, Jackson Browne.

And the sequence dealing with the origins of “Hotel California” was watchable. 

50 years ago on “The Twilight Zone”

An episode called “Miniature” first aired on Feb. 21, 1963.

Robert Duvall plays a guy who falls for a resident of a dollhouse. They said it would never work!

Never one of my favorites. But it's diverting to watch Duvall in his Boo Radley era.

When is a prom dress too expensive?

A) $100. B) $500. C) $750. D) When the amount is in the same ballpark as a year of college. E) Other. 

Just wondering

How many people who use the expression “Big Brother” have actually read Orwell's book?

This date in Slice history (1995)

Spring is exactly a month away.

Commence swimsuit anxiety now.

“Mommy, why is Daddy drunk again?”

One thing people in newsrooms enjoy discussing is the salaries of ex-journalists currently working in public relations.

One school of thought holds that even a big bump in pay would be seriously eroded by the need to purchase a lot of self-medicating spirits.

Of course, not all PR jobs are alike — just as not all media careers are the same.

And, in Washington, the whole marijuana thing might have interesting implications for being able to live with your particular deal with the devil. 

Ever build a Pinewood Derby racer?

For many who wore the colors, it was a part of paramilitary training.

It’s OK to admit it now

Did you ever wear plaid pants?

Bell bottoms?

Plaid bell bottoms?

Listening to the radio

Had NPR's “Morning Edition” on while riding the bus and heard an interview subject be described as “a Kansas City rancher.”

Perhaps his spread is in the general vicinity of the Missouri metro. But I find it hard to believe that this guy's ranch is actually in Kansas City.

I suspect someone simply forgot the word “area.”

But you never know when someone on one of the coasts actually believes that all life here in flyover country is essentially rural.

Have you ever seen the northern lights?

Where were you?

Did you realize immediately what it was you were seeing?

No. 1 song on this date in 1966

It was that first song.

Are you ready, boots?

Though one source says the single wasn't even released until Feb. 22, so this date might be off by a few days.

Connecting familiar faces with a name

A few years ago, I noted in print how I had recognized a guy in the parking lot outside the post office on South Grand but had been unable to come up with his name.

At first, at least. Eventually it came to me.

It was Irish politician Gerry Adams.

Of course, I realized after about half a second that this could not be the answer.

But I still find myself making similar unlikely connections.

This afternoon in Albertsons, I saw a guy I was sure I recognized. But I couldn't come up with his identity right away.

Then it hit me: That's movie/TV producer Judd Apatow.

Again, not likely. But we keep hearing that it's a global economy, so who knows.

A lesser problem

When I refer to Maru the cat in a text, the spell-check turns it into “Mary.”

Should these be controlled substances?

Or at least accurately labeled to reflect their addicting nature. Something along the lines of, say, Cocaine Sandies or Meth Patties.

Spokane vs. Boise

I occasionally overhear people discussing the merits of Idaho's capital city.

Most of the time, the reviews are quite flattering.

So I wonder. Does anyone in Boise ever critique Spokane? What do they say?

For the record, I have never been to Boise. Maybe I need to suggest to the features editor that she send me down there to check it out and file a report.

You know, “A Tale of Two Cities.”

If you note Justin Verlander’s birthday

It's today. He's 30.

I was informed of this by a Kansas City Royals fan who, I suspect, was wishing he was older.

Her career counseling style needs work

What would you have said to Joan?

That's one small waist.

Does anyone still use the expression “Try to amount to something”?

Should Mel have moved to Spokane? 

Once upon a time

Do you have an opinion about bow ties?

The Wednesday Slice question

When confronting the stack of emails snagged by your spam filter, do you carefully check each individual message or do you just nuke the whole batch?

Recalling playtime anachronisms

No, you weren't the only kid who occasionally spiced up a battle involving toy soldiers by introducing plastic dinosaurs to the fray. 

What’s being sold in this 1970 ad?

A) A muscle car. B) A metaphorical male body part. C) The idea that a new image can be purchased. D) A value system. E) Other.

Working in a crime district

When the Spokane police close down an entertainment venue literally across the street from your workplace because it is a menace to society, questions arise.

Q: Have you ever been attacked by gang members while going to or from work?

A: No. We keep different hours.

Q: What's the difference between rap and hip-hop?

A: I'm not really sure. I think hip-hop might incorporate a greater degree of musicality. 

Q: Have you ever felt the need to arm yourself when near your workplace?

A: Not really. But it would have been OK with me if someone had fired at the bicycle thieves who have visited the newspaper's property.

Q: How did intoxicated/high young men wanting to seem tough (and possibly engaged in criminal activity) conduct themselves back in your day?

A: In an exemplary/model-citizen fashion.

Q: What's the matter with kids today?

A: You mean the ones who have never in their lives known people who make responsible decisions?

Q: Have you read the online comments about this whole Knitting Factory thing?

A: No, but I'm sure they're insightful.

Q: Do bad things happen in Spokane?

A: Yes, but that's not an altogether new development.

Q: How many shows have you seen at The Knitting Factory?

A: Zero. But I thought about going to one or two. I doubt that there would have been much of a gang presence at Lindsey Buckingham or the Psychedelic Furs. Unless you consider AARP a gang.

Q: Do SR people and Knitting Factory people mingle?

A: I can't speak for all SR people.

Q: Does the SR have a liquor license?

A: No, we're a BYOB operation.

Just wondering

Were you ever on a state championship team?

Today’s top email from a PR agency

Got one just a bit ago from a public relations shop in New York City.

It began:

“Hi, there

“Hope you survived fashion week.”

Yes, once again, I did. Say what you will about Spokane. It's a good place to hunker down when Manhattan hosts some event that isn't really your cup of tea.

Did you survive fashion week? 

Would you pay more for a truck if…

…it has a little label attached to it that says “Heavy Duty”?

Old-school commentary

You know that thing school kids (well, boys) used to do in class where they would pretend to cough but actually be offering up some rude remark?

Sure. Well, do kids still do that? Or do they text everything now?

This date in Slice history (1998)

Stop thinking about speed-skaters' legs.

The sickest man in Spokane

Saw a guy in a grocery aisle just a few minutes ago who appeared from a distance to be chartreuse.

I've heard of being under the weather. But this was ridiculous.

I probably should have turned and run. But I was curious.

He looked liked a cartoonish “Before” picture in a TV commercial for some over-the-counter cold remedy.

Then I got a little closer, and I saw.

He was a painter or drywaller and his face was covered with light green residue of the building trades.

Name every president to visit Spokane

For our purposes, he did not have to be the sitting president at the time of his visit.

Face time with the president

This was all well and good, but it could be argued that the train scenes are what left an impression.

Apollo Creed as George Washington

From the original “Rocky” movie. Kind of hard to see. But this was before the fight.

Life in this century

How often do you misplace your portable phone and, to help track it down, have to call the number from a land line or from someone else's cell phone? 

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: What Inland Northwest county has the highest percentage of cars and trucks with bench seats?

This date in Slice history (1997)

Just wondering: What is the Inland Northwest's most common tattoo?

This date in Slice history (1999)

What business or lifestyle trend presented by the media as universal and inescapable is not even remotely reflected in your experience?

Game of chicken

Doug Burr answered today's Slice question.

He said the words “science fair” remind him of his days at Logan Elementary, and one project in particular.

“Involved feeding groups of chicks three different qualities of food and charting their growth. It all went as expected with better food resulting in bigger and healthier chickens.”

So far, so good.

“After the experiment was over we gave the chickens to my grandfather and I promptly forgot all about them. Some months later we went to his house for dinner and I commented on how good the fried chicken tasted.”

His grandfather had a ready reply. “It SHOULD taste good, it was one of yours!”

“Sigh,” wrote Burr.

How to be a meteor snob

Post a picture along these lines and say, “I used to live about 45 miles from this.”

Ever confront danger while hitch-hiking?

I can't say that I ever did.

Once, when I was college age, I got in with a guy who had a stack of a certain kind of porn mags positioned in the middle of the bench seat.

But I bulled my neck and got the hell out of there asap. 

Ever have a teacher who hated sports?

Once when my high school hockey team was about to travel to a tournament in another state, I had to notify my various teachers that I would be out of school for a couple of days.

So I dutifully carried from class to class a note written by our coach, an intense little man who did his best.

My history teacher, Mr. Cain, looked at this piece of paper with undisguised disdain. There might have been spittle.

Noting the signature, Mr. Cain sneered and, reading aloud, said “Coach Smith…he signed this 'Coach.' Doesn't he have a real name?”

Not sure why I remember that. But I do recall that it was always interesting to discover that various adults loathed one another's values.

No. 1 song on this date in 1966

I know some radio listeners couldn't/can't stand his falsetto song stylings.

But as a preteen in 1966, I recognized Lou Christie as a harbinger of nasty adolescent behavior to which any normal kid would inexorably be drawn.

“Nature's takin' over my one-track mind.”

Oh, the humanity.  

True or false

These gentlemen were instrumental in the drive to incorporate Spokane Valley years ago.

Chicken or the egg

Are those who consume low-priced alcoholic beverages while riding in motor vehicles already prone to litter or does the tendency to toss empty bottles and cans to the roadside emerge only after consuming the product in question? 

Just wondering

Of course, it would never happen because of safety/liability issues.

But if playground monkey bars had not been invented until 2013, what would they be called?

Something more child-affirming, I'm guessing. 

Part of a complete breakfast

As I recall, those “Marry Me” candy hearts could be the source of much hooting, hollering and all-around hilarity back in grade school.

Fill in the blanks

The national-level success (        ) has experienced in the last few years has to absolutely drive (        ) crazy.

Some people avoid stores having sales

Just saying.

Sure, this is a bargain-minded burg. But there are those whose desire to avoid crowds trumps the prospect of saving a few bucks.

Perhaps this minority could be drawn to stores advertising an upcoming “Extra-High Prices 13 Hour Blowout!” 

How to talk to girls

I sometimes listen to teenage boys talking to girls on the bus.

And I have come to a conclusion: Some of them need better material.

Sure, it might be their nature to lurch between being monosyllabic slabs of meat and self-absorbed motormouths. But I know some of these boys have potential. So here's what I wish I could tell them.

If you want a girl to notice you, find the right moment and tell her about your hopes and dreams. Then ask about hers. Listen. Ask questions.

OK, there's no guarantee this will work. But who knows? Maybe it would with Miss Right.

The girl might laugh, of course. Or yawn.

But what if she doesn't?

Girls long to be taken seriously, just as you do. Sharing an aspiration is a small gift of trust. It just might be well-received.

Here's the thing, though. You have to mean it. If your “I know what I want to be” spiel is pure BS, a smart girl will spot you as a phony in an instant. And smart girls are the ones you want.

But if there really is a vision of the future you hope to pursue, and you have thought about what it would take to make it happen…well, that could be the start of a conversation worth having.

A little modesty and self-deprecating humor wouldn't hurt. But if you believe in yourself — even if no one else seems to — it's OK to let that show.

Maybe, before you know it, she will, too.

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: What's the ultimate Inland Northwest putdown? (Our pick: “You spend a lot of time indoors, don't you?”)

Today’s “Born in Spokane” flashback

The late Chuck Jones.

“Oh, whaaaaat would you want with a wabbit?”


Feel free to speculate about the couples dynamics and fondue flavor here.

What if Spokane had been ‘Indianapolis’?

You know, if people in Indiana had not used that name long before Spokane got its first strip mall.

Would we have gone ahead and called the baseball team the Indians and the hockey team the Chiefs?

“Greco Roman Catholic Wrestling”

Remembered that line the other day.

Pretty sure it comes from an episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

His mom is looking out for him already

A pregnant colleague weighing the possibility of giving birth on Valentine's Day said she hoped it didn't happen.


Well, she said, she didn't really think it would be fair for her son to have to worry about meeting emotionally erratic girlfriends' V-Day expectations on his own birthday  

Recalling years of sore losers

Seeing that tomorrow's Today section will feature artistic Valentines created by children reminded me of a kindergarten art contest I organized about 20 years ago.

What could be nicer, right?

Well, after the winning entries were printed in the newspaper, the whole thing turned into a snakepit of accusations and recriminations. Parents of non-winning kids denounced parents of the winners for over-the-line helping. Charges flew back and forth. It got nasty.

After I shared a bit of the rancor with the woman I had gotten to judge the contest — a quiet, sweet-natured artist — she staggered away from my desk with a dazed look.

The whole thing would have made a fine installment in my imaginary set-at-a-newspaper sitcom. That episode could have been titled “The Kindergarten Art Contest.”

Of course, if you want to talk vicious you need to hear about some of the blowback I got after presenting the winning photos in a Cutest Pet competition.

But that's another story.     

The Wednesday Slice question

One problem with real life is you can't always send everything to the lab for analysis.

Unlike in TV shows, we are often left to make decisions based on guesswork.

So, when coming down with a temporary gastro-intestinal disorder, there's an understandable temptation to make a mental list of everything you had eaten in the hours prior to your dramatic discomfort and then issue a firm ruling.

“I'm never eating any of that again.”

Often rounding up those suspects involves marking an X through some foods you really liked. But the power of association being what it is, it's usually not difficult to resist those things for a while after your epic bout with digestive upheaval.

But here's my question.

After being turned off certain foods because of their real or imagined link to being sick, how long does it take before you are willing to try them again? 

No. 1 song on this date in 1975

I talked to her brother once ages ago. He was a high-ranking police administrator.

Things I did not say included: “You know, I once had a poster of your sister.”

Not sugar-coating it

The pharmacist at the drive-through window last night did not pretend the prescription cough syrup might be mistaken for candy.

“It tastes like gasoline,” he said.

Some last names just sound alike

But are not spelled the same.

How to annoy your friends

Here's one I have perfected.

Whenever a friend announces plans to take a trip, ask that person to bring you a copy of the newspaper from the destination city — silently implying that you will expect it to be delivered in pristine condition.

Greatest record album of all time?

Do you have a nomination?

Do you give a rip that others might scoff?

A bit of Fat Tuesday New Orleans trivia

Check out post-Packers Taylor's helmet. No, he wasn't a kicker.

The gravitational pull of the kitchen

Unless you live alone, there is a good chance you have noticed.

It's hard to be by yourself in the kitchen.

That's because the moment you duck in there to snag a beverage from the fridge or pop something into the microwave, other people appear.  

One moment, no one is in the kitchen. Then, in the next, there's a small crowd and someone is telling you “Don't back up” so you will not fall onto the open dishwasher door.

You might have been alone for a moment. But then, all of the sudden, your presence is blocking access to the spoon drawer.

Is this a social dynamic, a law of physics or what?

Yes, certainly, the attraction of food is one factor causing kitchen clusters. But it has to be more than that.

Could it be that, even in the age of social media, people crave togetherness?

Or is just that others in your household see you go into the kitchen and are reminded of something.

That something being, of course, snacks.

She drove him to the seminary

“If you can stand one more first kiss story…,” wrote longtime Slice correspondent Janet Culbertson.

“Mine was with our neighbor, Joe Adamson, in Sunnyside.”

They were both about 5.

“Mom told me he became a priest. Doesn't say much for my kissing abilities does it?”

White actors playing Native Americans

Yes, that's the Rifleman, Lucas McCain, there in the center — aka Chuck Connors.

And here's Victor Mature as Crazy Horse.

Messing with your head

A friend who was in Manhattan recently noticed this hat on sale for $24.

Just wondering

In how many different states have you had a locally issued driver's license?

My answer is five. I've moved more than that, but on several occasions it has been going from place within the same state.

And my total does not include the “McLovin” Hawaii license made for me as a gift.

Favorite “Captain Kangaroo” character?

In the TV show, of course. Not the comic book.

A) Mr. Green Jeans. B) Grandfather Clock. C) Mr. Moose. D) The Captain. E) Bunny Rabbit. F) Dancing Bear. G) Other.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Tough cats: After we asked what local house cat could go 15 rounds with a coyote, we heard from Sheri Hatley in Thornton, Wash. “We have a cat named Mama (not the nurturing kind) who likes to chase our dog, Curly, a cocker/shepherd mix,” she wrote.

Mama hisses and swats at Curly during the pursuit.

“She also won't let any of the other cats eat until she is finished,” added Hatley. “She's downright mean.”

Colville's Phyllis Hyatt told about a battled-scarred cat named Big Al. He won't back down from anything.

And Valleyford's Ann Bowers reported  that her cat, Chip, has gone toe-to-toe with coyotes and lived to tell about it.

This date in Slice history (2000)

Today's Slice question: What's the best evidence that aliens from another galaxy do, in fact, live among us here in the Inland Northwest?

Something happened to their bodies

In the years between comic books costing 12 cents and their costing 20 cents, artists took a super leap toward idealizing the human form.

Make these sports nicknames your own

Pep up your image by borrowing a classic sports nickname.

There are lots of options.

You can place one in front of your real name. Such as…

Hammerin' Paul Turner

Slingin' Paul Turner

You can make it your new middle name. Such as…

Paul “Night Train” Turner

Paul “The Truth” Turner

Or you can simply replace your first name. Such as…

Bear Turner.

Magic Turner.

What favorites have I forgotten?


“Live at Eastern Washington University”

You've heard of “Live at the Fillmore” or “Live at Red Rocks.”

But how about this?

Mrs. Miniver sparking up a joint

OK, maybe not. But she did have to cope with a lot of stress. A husband with monogrammed pajamas, for instance. And the war.

Australian movies were all the rage

A) 10 years ago. B) About 35 years ago. C) 70 years ago  D) Last year. E) Other.

“A 2-year-old walks into a bar and…”

After surveing the news, one of my entertaining colleagues said that.

No, she didn't think there was anything funny about the news story in question. But sometimes dark humor is one way to confront absurdity.

So if you would care to finish that, be my guest.

My colleague's first thought was “…and orders a glass of milk.”

The day white socks became uncool

One day back in the 1960s it was possible to wear white socks to school and go about one's business unmolested by the fashion police.

But then, on the next day, word got around that boys wearing white socks were unfit for decent society and should be hounded from our midst.

Not sure who decided this. But I suspect it had something to with either troll dolls or madras and paisley shirts.

Pope sitcom

Was going to say something about hoping the new pope starts out by declaring “Hey, let's fire everybody within a mile of all these child-abuse cover-ups.”

But that sort of goes without saying.

Remember Bob Newhart's 1970s TV show, the one where he played a psychologist? Sure.

Well, one of my favorite moments came in a session Bob was having with Mr. Carlin, a patient.

Mr. Carlin was talking about trying to interest television producers in an idea he had for a new series. He had not had much luck though.

The series? “Darn Than Pope.”

What happened to old letter jackets?

Ebay? Goodwill? Still in the basement? Gave it to a girl decades ago and she never returned it?

Did your crosstown rivals have cooler letter jackets?

Your swastika flag exceeds size limits

You know how now and then we hear about plans for a backwoods survivalist community or a white supremacist enclave here in the Inland Northwest? Sure. These plans usually fall through. But the initial reports always make me wonder.

Would these places have homeowners associations? 

Re: Watching Westminster dog show

Does it make you feel disloyal to all the mixed-breed and shelter dogs who deserve good homes?

It's today and tomorrow, on CNBC and USA. Consult listhings for times.

No. 1 song on this date in 1992

Coming on Showtime — History of Eagles

I liked the Eagles back in the 1970s. In fact, I used to joke that transferring from a college in Vermont to one in Arizona was based in part on my desire to have my life be more like an Eagles song.

Still, I wouldn't argue that much of their music has stood the test of time.

There's a scene in “The Big Lebowski” where the Dude — a huge CCR fan — complains about a cab driver playing an Eagles disc. The driver thows him out of the cab. But I sort of understood where the Dude was coming from on that.

There's just something a bit phony about certain Eagles songs and, I suspect, about several of the guys in the band.

But, as I said, I used to like them. And I'm grateful for the hours of listening pleasure. So I might record this Showtime special and watch it sometime.

How about you? If you were a Showtime subscriber, would you check this out?

Collect them all

If you had purchased this whole set of trading cards back in 1967 and preserved it as a collectible…well, there's no use talking about that now. Once you have used them in your bike spokes, they aren't worth much. 

How can you tell these are early B-24s?

Later models would have something these Liberators lack.

Adages and folk sayings as city slogans

You know, as possible replacements for Spokane's “Near nature…”

I'll start.

“If it's not one damn thing, it's another.”

Re: Having holes in your socks

A couple of readers wrote to say visiting other people's homes is not the only scenario where this can be an issue.

Don't forget about going through security at the airport, they said. 

Play Old TV Shows Fantasy League

I'll trade you a “Seinfeld” Lloyd Braun for a “Sopranos” Furio Giunta.

Is Selection Sunday on liturgical calendar?

No, not really. Not even if you root for a church school.

But that doesn't mean you couldn't have a Selection Sunday party.

If you were invited to one, what would you bring? Going with a St. Patrick's Day theme is one option.

You have some time to think about it. Selection Sunday isn't until March 17. 

This summer will make it 30 years

Since “National Lampoon's Vacation” and the family truckster arrived in 1983.

What would be a fitting way to note the anniversary? Other than totally ignoring it, of course.

Where were you in 1983?

Think this story might be a tad thin?

Did you do the Twist?

Restaurant name of the day

This is in Maine.

A breakfast cereal you won’t remember

From what I gather, Big Otis bit the dust about 50 years ago after a fairly short run. Even Yogi the Bear couldn't rescue OKs.

One website I stumbled onto noted the strangeness of those kids running under the kilt and, well, let's not even go into it.

This date in Slice history (1996)

Today's Slice question: If there was a movie called “It Came from Spokane,” what would be the monster's creation story? 

Spokane’s least interesting job shadow

I would nominate myself. Though I guess it is actually the kid who is the shadow.

In any case, watching me work has not proven to be scintillating.

“OK, Skipper, just have a seat there and I'll narrate my thoughts for eight hours. Hang on for hilarity! Look out —here comes some off-the-hook typing!”

I stopped agreeing to those get-togethers quite a few years ago. Sometimes the kids asking sound disappointed. But if they only knew, they would thank me.

“Watch this Madison! I'm going to answer some email! Whoomp! There it is!”

But surely there is sausage-making even less interesting than my own brand. And with Take Your Kid to Earth Day — or whatever it's called now — coming up, it makes me wonder.

Who in the Spokane area has the job that would be the most boring for a young person to observe from close up?

Crossover audience

I know I have alluded to this before. But it always amuses me to imagine the segment of the TV audience that watches both “The Walking Dead” and “Downton Abbey.”

I'm guessing this is not a tiny group. 

When would he have been in our area?

The context I have in mind involves the filming of a movie, though not the one including the scene shown above.

Action at the hospitality suite

The guy in the white shirt, standing in the doorway — what's he thinking?

Just wondering

This year's on-air promos for Spokane Public Radio's annual recordings and videos sale have been far less zany than in years past.

Do you miss the old approach or are you grateful for the change?

No. 1 song on this date in 1961

In our household, it fell to my older sister to ask, “Which one's Bobby and which one's Sissy?”

This date in Slice history (1998)

Spokane is the (       ) city in America: “Most average” is how Sonya Thurling filled in the blank.

“Blandest,” said Rich Young.

“Hoopest,” said Larry Barringer.

“Most insecure,” said Judy Ohrt.

“Potholiest,” wrote Nancy Stucker.

Readers also offered “most accommodating,” “most compasionate,” “most inbred,” “cheapest,” and “most unsophisticated,” among others.

How to make real life sound like TV news

“I was first on the scene here at the refrigerator to tap these leftovers.”

“Tonight, in an exclusive report, I will tell you how I know that your stepmother is insane.”

“We have breaking news. The toilet is stopped up.”

“This is your teenage son, reporting to you live from the basement.”

“Though the action all took place many hours ago, I'm standing here in the yard to tell you about Fluffy's tangle with the squirrel.”

“Mom and Dad, authorities now say my report card first took a turn for the worse when I realized girls just want to have fun.” 

“For parties” … “For picnics”

So are you supposed to read that “Draft beer…best type” or “Best draft type beer”?

Have you been using your fireplace?

Yes, I realize not every home has one.

But for those who do have a fireplace, it seems like it's not unusual for people to go on streaks. You know, using it every night for 10 days in a row and then going a month without having a fire. 

“What is the purpose of your visit?”

A South Hill party host had some guests coming to his house from the North Side bring along playful visas authoriizing their travel to his part of the city.

So it sort of makes you wonder.

If you had to go through a checkpoint when going from north to south (or from south to north), what questions would the Spokane border guard ask?

“Are you transporting any homegrown produce?”

“Do you have any firearms in the vehicle?”

“Have you made any purchases in the duty-free store?”

Evergreen State in TV history, No. 41

In a 2002 espisode of “The Sopranos” called “Everybody Hurts,” Tony Soprano is having dinner with his sister Janice.

Haunted by recent events, he asks her if she has ever known anyone who committed suicide.

Sure, she says. “I lived in Seattle.”

The Wednesday Slice question

Are deadlines a part of your life?

This game never became a national hit

Perhaps the ingredients that attracted viewers to the bouncing-lifeguards TV show didn't translate to a board game. Go figure.

Dangerous times? I’ve got your…

…dangerous times right here.

Critiques of this 1950 volume suggest the title's claim was a bit of a stretch.

No. 1 song on this date in 1972

There's no way to know for sure. But I'm guessing this song might have been one of the most butchered pop hits of all time by people singing in the shower or singing along with the radio. I would include myself in the ranks of offenders.

The simple truth is not many people sound like Al.Green.

Cast yourself in a gladiator movie

Perhaps you have heard of this game before.

Just add the letters “us” to your first, middle and last names.

Then go around striking a clenched fist against your breastplate. 

Rush songs as new slogans for Spokane

You pick.

A) “Available Light.”

B) “Beneath, Between and Behind.”

C) “Carve Away the Stone.”

D) “Ceiling Unlimited.”

E) “Closer to the Heart.”

F) “Everyday Glory.”

G) “Grand Designs.”

H) “New World Man.”

I) “Something for Nothing.”

J) “Stick It Out.”

K) “We Hold On.”

What’s the key to a good Oscars party?

You have a few weeks to figure it out.

The Academy Awards show is Feb. 24.

I know it is mostly about the movie clips and looking at attractive people. But how do you keep partygoers from talking during parts of the show you actually want to hear?

Archer Maggott: Best movie name ever?

Sure, you remember Telly Savalas as the slithering sicko Archer Maggott in “The Dirty Dozen.”

That was a few years after he lost his title bout with Talky Tina in “The Twilight Zone.” 

How many would get the reference?

If you went around telling people in your circle that they had taken a nothing day and suddenly made it all seem worthwhile?

Bordering on tartar sauce

When I was a college freshman in New England, someone working in the dining hall engaged in a bit of whimsy.

Using a cookie cutter-like utensil, fish patties were cut in the shape of our state before being breaded. It was probably North Atlantic cod.

But when these carved patties were served, the sign declaring that evening's entree options would announce that “Vermont fish” was on the menu.

For some reason, it was sort of fun to move through the serving line and say, “I believe I'll have the Vermont fish.”

So it's fair to wonder. How about Washington fish?

It might work. If you fudge a bit about reflecting the presence of Puget Sound and take a few liberties with the course of the Columbia River, expressing the outline of the Evergreen State in fish might be doable.

Idaho would be tougher. But shouldn't college be about facing up to challenges?

Know your 1970s hair: McGarrett burns

Neither man nor beast, these babies almost had a life of their own.

A look you don’t see in this century

Except maybe on Halloween.

What happens to prom kings/queens?

A) They live happily ever after. B) Real life opens up a can of whup-ass. C) Nothing that doesn't happen to everybody else. D) Come the revolution, they are clapped in irons. E) Other. 

From what you’ve seen over the years

Would you say that those most into Mardi Gras revels don't tend to have an interest in or an especially thoughtful perspective on Lent?

Fat Tuesday is Feb. 12

You might want to sit down for this

Next year, on Feb. 9, it will have been 50 years since The Beatles first live appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Year of the snake is coming

Chinese new year is coming next weekend. So we probably ought to review.

What of the following is not one of the signature animals in rotation?

Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, gerbil, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Some people’s reality

When invited to a gathering at someone's home, the following questions immediately come to mind.

1.) Do they have dogs or cats?

2) Will I start experiencing respiratory shutdown after about five minutes?

3) What will I say when the well-intentioned hosts uselessly offer to move the animal in question to another room? 

Lots of action in “Cowgirl Romances”

You have to like that she's not just sitting around waiting for some guy to address the situation.

What have you been putting off?

A) Getting a shingles vaccination. B) Replacing your ancient smoke detector. C) Coming up with a Plan B. D) Checking the lyrics on 1985's “Something About You” by Level 42. E) Emailing order-of-finish predictions for the 2013 American League Central Division to The Slice. F) Calling about getting a smaller garbage barrel. G) Writing a letter to the editor. H) “Extras” marathon. I) Having that thing on your neck looked at. J) Reading that novel collecting dust on the nightstand. K) Other. 

No. 1 song on this date in 1965

Remember this?

A version by Telly Savalas fared less well. 

If Clydesdale commercial gets to you

It means…

A) You are normal. B) You have unresolved issues with Stevie Nicks. C) You can have a soft spot for big horses even if you don't drink mass market beer. D) You are capable of being emotionally manipulated (see A). E) Other.

One-question quiz

Who first said “matriculate the ball down the field”?

Let he who is without signs of aging

You know. Hurl the first snarky description.

So you'll hear nothing from me about the good people lined up in Rosauers a couple of hours ago to buy Fleetwood Mac tickets.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Warm-up questions: Does anyone still leave the key under the mat? So what does it mean if a marmot see its shadow? If they made a sitcom based on your office, what would be the name of the show?

Cavemen pounding brewskis

You just know Fred was a mean drunk.

Barney? Probably just got melancholy.

Workplace etiquette

Do expecting mothers take offense if co-workers participating in an office baby pool guess that the infant will weigh 20 pounds?

Use “Love” stamp to mail Avista bill?

What if they were the only stamps you had?

Some would say such a scenario makes the case for online bill-paying.

Actors you had forgotten were in “B&J”

“Benny & Joon” that is.

This is William H. Macy.

This is Oliver Platt.

This is Dan Hedaya.

If you had been in this TV conversation

What would you have said?

George Costanza: “No matter how depressed I get, I can always read the sports section.”

Jerry Seinfeld: “I could read the sports section if my hair was on fire.”

Compared to other regions you know

How would you rate the Inland Northwest for residents' ability to pronounce “February.”

Talking Heads songs as Spokane slogans

You pick.

A) “Road To Nowhere.”

B) “This Must Be the Place.”

C) “Take Me To the River.”

D) “Psycho Killer.”

E) “Burning Down the House.”

F) “Once In a Lifetime.”

No? How about Fleetwood Mac songs as the inspiration?

A) “As Long As You Follow.”

B) “Second Hand News.”

C) “Little Lies.”

D) “Don't Stop.”

E) “Go Your Own Way.”

Just wondering

Ever heard someone in the middle of exercising describe himself as “Strong like porker”? 

Get blog updates by email

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.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on The Slice.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
Advertise Here