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The Slice

Archive for July 2013

Taking some liberties with history

An earlier post reminded me of an Alamo-themed toy soldiers set I had.

Even as a kid, I knew how the actual events played out. Hey, we all saw the Disney depiction.

But there on the floor of my family's living room, the hapless Mexicans were routed time after time by the brave defenders of the Alamo. Gen. Santa Anna proved to be an astonishingly inept leader while Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and company put up a remarkable fight.

Truth be told, the hardy band of defenders might have been aided by some ahead-of-its-time weaponry. But you know what they say. All's fair. 

www.michtoy.com

In the S-R features section on 7/31/01

We had a story featuring local people with various perspectives on business offering advice to kids thinking of setting up lemonade stands.

There's one piece of advice I still remember.

 Post a sign saying “I washed my hands.”

Afraid you are too ga-ga about Spokane?

It can happen.

There are lots of terrific things about this city and the Inland Northwest. And it is possible to find yourself feeling almost giddy about the bounty of local wonderfulness.

That, of course, isn't always the best state of mind for evaluating reality. So how do you keep things in perspective? How do you keep your feet on the ground?

Do what I do.

Just recall a letter to the editor from this spring in which a writer used “diversity lovers” as an ill-disguised slur.

If that doesn't work, just spend a few moments thinking about our lineup of local elected leaders. Surely there are a few names there that will bring you back down to Earth.

Happy to help. 

Where the heck does she have her hand?

www.vintageadbrowser.com

On his belt maybe. But good grief. Who puts a hand there?

OK, perhaps it is on the railing. So never mind. 

Another reader’s cities-ranking list

This is from Slice reader Jerry Scheppel. 

“Having visited each of the listed cities (Tuesday's Slice) except Austin and Destin (some of them multiple times), my ranking would be…”

1. Fort Collins, Colo.

2. Bend, Ore.

3. Bozeman, Mont.

4. Madison, Wis.

5. Vancouver, B. C.

6. Boise

7. Flagstaff, Ariz.

8, Minneapolis/St. Paul

9. Redding, Calif.

10. Portland, Maine

11. Austin, Texas

12. Logan, Utah

13. Destin, Fla.

14. Las Vegas 

More pulp fiction fun

Here's my recommendation.

Do a Google image search on “pulp fiction covers” (with or without the quote marks). You will be amused. I promise.

Using quote marks produces a slightly different assortment. Unless you are actually attempting to get something done today, you'll probably want to try both searches. 

www.repulped.blogspot.com

The Wednesday Slice

When little boys growing up in the West decades ago played with Civil War toy soldier sets, which side usually prevailed?

Perhaps it depended on where the kid's family tree was planted back East. Or maybe it was more a matter of the boy's preference in bearded generals.

You might assume that this would be easier to answer if we were talking about boys growing up in, say, Illinois or Georgia. But that overlooks the fact that children have imaginations and are not always predictable.

In addition, thanks to institutions such as the United States Air Force, there are plenty of people who were born in one region and grew up in another. So if a kid was born in Texas but lived for years in Ohio, did he side with the blue or with the gray?

Or what if he had one parent from New York and one from Louisiana? What would that imply for his toy soldiers allegiance?

So again, what about boys out here in the West years ago?

It probably makes sense to guess most would have had the North prevail there on the bedroom floor or out on the back porch. Why not? The rebellion had to be put down. And the North was led by Lincoln.

But what if a kid had a thing for outnumbered underdogs and was not overly burdened with a grasp of the causes behind that horrible conflict?

Sometimes rewriting history can be more entertaining than simply following the script. Besides, the South actually did win plenty of battles.

Of course, the fact of the matter is that a lot of engagements between Civil War toy soldiers ended with virtually no survivors. Instead of rousing victory, there was mostly a lot of imagined smoke and carnage.

Little boys, whether staunch Union men or Confederate sympathizers, didn't tend to be interested in taking prisoners. I suspect that was as true out here as it was anywhere else.

Sports Illustrated on July 31, 1967

www.imageslides.com

As I recall, attempts by my childhood peers to throw this illegal pitch mostly resulted in a mess. Of course, we weren't using pristine baseballs. Maybe that was part of the problem.

If today is your 50th birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.

www.45cat.com

I wonder if this was the last doo-wop song to top the charts.

Make your own mini-skirt

Yes, this is from a different century.

www.etsy.com

This all seems pretty wholesome. Sort of makes you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Until, that is, you remember that these were worn by actual girls. 

If this young man was your ward…

…what advice would you give him?

www.thebatsite.co.uk

A) Try to grasp the link between academic achievement and opportunity. B) Stop dressing that way. C) No, really. Stop dressing that way. Now. D) In 2013, people are apt to mock someone referred to as “The Boy Wonder.” E) No, you would not have been man enough for Julie Newmar. F) Other.

OK, one more cities-ranking list

Here is Jan Stone's livability ranking of the cities listed in today's Slice column.

1. Minneapolis/St. Paul

2. Fort Collins, Colo.

3. Portland, Maine

4. Madison, Wis.

5. Flagstaff, Ariz.

6. Bozeman

7. Boise

8. Austin, Texas

9. Logan, Utah

10. Las Vegas

11. Redding, Calif.

12. Bend, Ore.

13. Destin, Fla.

14. Vancouver, B.C. 

Another reader ranks those cities

Here is Janet “Pinki” Culbertson's livability list.

1. Vancouver, B.C.

2. Bend, Ore.

3. Boise

4. Las Vegas

5. Redding, Calif.

6. Fort Collins, Colo.

7. Bozeman

8. Logan, Utah

9. Flagstaff, Ariz.

10. Austin, Texas

11. Minneapolis/St. Paul

12. Madison, Wis.

13. Portland, Maine.

14. Destin, Fla.

Rating cities

Readers of today's Slice column were asked to rank a list of cities in terms of how happy they would expect to be if living there.

Here's Karen Botker's list.

Minneapolis/ St. Paul — TOO COLD

Flagstaff, Ariz. — TOO HOT

Portland, Maine — TOO HUMID

Bend, Ore. — TOO MOSQUITOEY

Logan, Utah — TOO RELIGIOUS

Fort Collins, Colo. — TOO HIGH

Redding, Calif. — TOO HIIIIIIGH MAN

Bozeman — TOO ISOLATED

Madison, Wis. — See comments on Bend and Portland

Austin, Texas — TOO MANY LARGE BUGS

Las Vegas — TOO MUCH DEBAUCHERY

Destin, Fla. — TOO MANY HURRICANES

Vancouver, B. C. — TOO MANY CANADIANS

Though not on the list, she pronounced Spokane/Coeur d'Alene “JUST RIGHT!”  

It’s interesting that she gets to drive

Considering the era, that's pretty bold.

But maybe he's drunk.

www.autoweek.com

Have you noticed later sunrise?

I realize you are aware that this gradual process takes place every year. Of course. But I wonder how many of us are up in time every day to witness it as it happens. 

If today is your 62nd birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.

www.45cat.com

This date in Slice history (1996)

People walk by Hamer's open door downtown just to feel the air-conditioned air.

Had you heard about this?

Apparently it is not exactly breaking news, but I had missed it. And I usually notice anything to do with the air war in WWII.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/hbo-developing-third-wwii-miniseries-413632

What do survivalists hope for?

A) They hope they are wrong and all their gathering of ammo and food stores will have been unnecessary. B) They hope for the total collapse of the U.S. economy and the opportunity to shoot people they consider a potential threat. C) They hope for a societal breakdown that will make them valuable members of the new order even though they have virtually no formal education. D) Other.

Would one of these succeed here?

http://www.rokcooking.com/

From my understanding, the restaurants doing this bring a superheated rock to your table and you more or less cook your meat bite-by-bite.  

Re: Shirley Jones having sex

If that's a topic that interests you at all, there's a story in today's features section you will want to read.

www.fineartamerica.com   

Is he really kissing her?

I'm thinking maybe he just blacked out and is on his way to the floor.

Not sure if she will be disappointed or perhaps relieved.

www.mycomicshop.com

Life magazine cover — 7/29/57

I'm guessing the editors chose this picture — featuring a kid in a seemingly perilous position — to get people talking. 

www.amylee988.tumblr.com

If you got married on this date in 1988

This was the No. 1 song on your wedding day.

Couples have gotten worse advice.

www.991.com 

If today is your 51st birthday

This was the No.1song on the day you were born.

www.musicstack.com

Do you remember summers like this?

www.ew.com

Well then, how about this?

www.illuminedillusions.com

Or maybe this?

www.guardian.co.uk

This?

www.dominicanablog.com

This?

www.metro.co.uk

Ever read this?

www.amazon.com

Well, maybe you read the book he wrote about Spokane.

Anyone remember how this smelled?

www.pzrservices.typepad.com

A question for women: Would you want your man to smell like a chemical imitation of lime?

Are some girls “Born to be Alone”?

Nah. That kid will be fighting them off before she knows it.

www.mycomicshop.com

How fast is summer going by?

Feel free to express your answer in terms of a warp factor.

http://nlpagan.net

Potential band names from “Seinfeld”

1. Uncle Leo

2. Crazy Joe Davola

3. Newman

4. Jack Klompus

5. Lloyd Braun

6. Man Hands

7. Timmy's Dipping Lecture

Potential pet names from “The Wire”

www.interactive.org

1. Prop Joe

2. Senator Clay Davis

3. Bubbles

4. Fat Face Rick

5. Omar

6. Stringer

7. Roger Twigg

Today’s underrated “B” side

With “California Girls” on the “A” side, this was easy to overlook when the record came out in July of 1965.

But “Let Him Run Wild” has much to recommend it. There are the group's soaring harmonies, of course. Then there are the clear allusions to sex. And it acknowledged the existence of a familiar character every kid had heard about — the lying lothario.

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, it offered boys a vision of the Emotional Rescue Guy — a role offering potentially sweet rewards. For some future squires, envisioning oneself as a shoulder to cry on had a heady appeal.

No mere throwaway, this was Brian Wilson near the height of his powers.

www.45cat.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFJLkC4Hd7M

Compare size of your family triangle

I have a friend who lives in Minnesota.

As of this fall, he will have one son in college in San Diego and one in college in North Carolina.

I know there are families more far-flung than that. But looked at in terms of the Lower 48, that's pretty impressive for a four-person family.

Or can you top that?

What if this was St. Spokane?

Slice reader Bob Launhardt wonders how atheists deal with living in cities named after saints.

Just wondering

Around here, how many people play golf AND tennis?

I tend to think of golfers and tennis players as being in two very distinct camps. But surely there is some crossover.

Maybe it's like that Gay Communist Gun Club skit on SNL years ago.

www.middlestates.usta.com

Weighing advice from readers

One reader thinks I ought to be campaigning for people to have no more than one child.

I'm sure that would be hugely popular. I could ditch the cute-kid sayings and start scolding grandparents.

“Hey, Lou. It says here that if we care about the environment we should not have any kids.”

“Good advice. Unfortunately for us, it comes about 30 years too late. But I'm glad the paper is telling us how to live our lives.”

“Besides telling us that public-sector unions will be the ruin of society, you mean?”

“Yeah. Besides that.”

Before Internet, teens were serious

This is just one of the many youth-oriented public policy journals popular 40 years ago.

www.janeaustenfilmclub.blogspot.com

www.coverbrowser.com

If today is your 38th birthday

You should know that you were born under a disco sign.

This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1975.

www.45cat.com

Are you sure you want to click on this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8XWeiGQbqU

Reunion committee thinks you are dead

What to do?

Check out one option in Thursday's Slice column.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Today's Slice question: What past or present advertising slogan offers the best advice/encouragement for the Inland Northwest?

Album cover copy editing

The Slice Blog has featured this album cover before. The look these gentlemen were going for is, as you can see, quite remarkable. You could almost call it groovy.

No matter. Their hit, “I Got Rhythm” is one of the all-time earworms.

But I have a question. Why is “Greatest Hits” inside quote marks?

www.us.7digital.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O0z3LdhZn0

This is the truck I want

www.geeklegacy.com

I would keep riding my bike to work, but use this for errands, rolling parties and camping.

The Wednesday Slice

A great deal has been written about listening to baseball on the radio.

Some of that has been elegant, touching even. And some of it reads like what the British would call havin' a wank.

But there is one aspect of listening to baseball on the radio that I have not seen addressed. It's this.

If you were an impressionable boy back when you tuned in to games, it was quite easy to gather the impression that drinking 19 beers over two or three hours was a perfectly rational thing to do.

That's because quite often the regional broadcasts of big league games were sponsored by a brewery. And the announcers describing the action tended to push the sponsor's product with indefatigable zeal.

“Say, friends, wouldn't this be the perfect time for an ice-cold Stroh's?”

So if you were a 12-year-old boy listening to the national pastime on a hot summer night, you could easily find yourself thinking “Why, yes, I could go for a cold one right about now.”

Adding to the near-mythical allure of a frosty, golden lager was the not implausible notion that the color man was helping himself to same with genuine gusto.

He and the play-by-play guy sometimes referred to beer so often that, even when they were talking about the game, there was almost a subliminal suggestion that the listener ought to be headed to the fridge.

“Fans, have you made sure to stock up on Ballantine?”

Or…”Baseball isn't baseball without a cold can of Hudepohl in your hand.”

Or…”That's right, you'll love Hamm's…the beer refreshing.”

This incessant drumbeat could turn a grade school lad with a theretofore impeccable record of sobriety into someone who absolutely craved the suds. It could make him yearn to find out what the finest grains and hops were all about.

It's rough when you're just a kid and you realize you had built up a sincere and monumental thirst in desperate need of slaking and all you had to answer that call was 7-Up.

Of course, the truth is, more than few boys would not actually like the taste of beer. But the theoretical idea of a cold one, well, that's different. That could be almost magical. And maybe some full-bodied refreshment would help your team win. 

“Now in convenient pop-tops!”

It turns out that some boys grew up to discover that beer tastes pretty OK.

But it could never be as good as back when you couldn't have one.

Big check mark on JFK’s to-do list

The crew of Apollo 11, home safe — July 24, 1969.

www.newseum.org

The neighborhood garage band’s friend

This learnable song was No. 1 on this date in 1966.

www.waybackattack.com

Coming in tomorrow’s Slice column

Oh, wait. Tomorrow is Wednesday. There isn't a Slice column. It's food-section day.

So be sure to read that.

Meantime, enjoy the remainder of National Hot Dog Day. Though it is not traditionally regarded as a religious occasion, you should celebrate as you see fit.

Long ago and far away

The other day, a couple of my favorite S-R colleagues had a brief exchange.

One, an editor, got a call from the reception desk on the first floor of the Review Tower. It seemed there was a woman down in the lobby who was having a hard time connecting with the paper's website on her laptop.

So the editor approached a staffer with lots of know-how about computer stuff and asked (very nicely) if she would go down to the lobby and try to help. Ms. Lots of Know-How said she would be happy to do so.

It's 2013. We're all about customer service.

I don't know how that turned out. But their conversation reminded me of something from another geologic era.

Fairly early in my career, I worked at a paper where one of the editors enjoyed occasionally pulling the leg of an unsuspecting reporter. He would affect a super-serious/urgent expression and approach a journalist he knew to be extra busy.

And he would say, “I need you to interview this old guy sitting out in the lobby. He's got a steamer trunk full of odds and ends and plenty to say about …”

By that time, he would have gotten what he wanted  — a horrified look on the face of the reporter.

Boy, that editor had a hell of a laugh.

Now that sounds like the sort of prank an editor might play on interns or new hires. But the editor in question knew that those people were such eager beavers they would have been halfway to the lobby before he could tell them he was just horsing around.

No, his targets tended to be veteran staffers or at least status-conscious reporters who had been around long to acquire a certain sense of self-importance.

“Hey, there's a white-haired gentleman out in the lobby with a …”

Eventually that editor had to come up with some new material. People got wise to the “steamer trunk” gag.

Still, it was good while it lasted. Especially when you realized he was just kidding.

Understanding your baby boomer boss

When he or she says “It's like when Charlie Brown balked in the winning run,” that means the screw-up in question should never have happened.

And if your boss had advocated naming the royal baby “Rocky Raccoon,” well, if you don't know that, maybe you should just go back to bed.  

Sex? No, hair coloring

This ad campaign's signature line might have been mildly risque in its day, but the actual ads were about as modest as you could get.

www.baerpm.com

New neighbors’ bumper stickers

Which reaction have you experienced?

A) “Oh no, not another one of those.” B) “Well, I didn't know the people who lived there before. Good chance I won't have any dealings with these people either.” C) “I don't believe it. I might actually have something in common with the new neighbors.” D) “Please let that truck belong to a contractor doing work at the house.” E) Other.   

When in doubt…

…go get some more bags of ice.

Do you miss the Seahawks in Cheney?

I'll bet there are newcomers in our midst who aren't even aware that the NFL team used to hold its annual preseason training camp out at EWU.

I never went out there, but I get it about the appeal of pro sports training camps. There's less pomp and packaged excess. More up-close viewing access. At least there used to be.

Before my parents moved to Spokane in 2000, I used to go back to New England and visit them in September. And as it happened the New York Rangers held their preseason training camps in the late 1990s at the nearby University of Vermont. I'm not sure how many times I went over to the campus and watched for an hour or so. Maybe three or four. Maybe half a dozen times.

The Rangers had a player then named Adam Graves who might have been the most fluid skater I have seen up close and in person. It was a pleasure to watch him even when he was just doing drills.

I suspect those who went out to Cheney to watch the Seahawks practice have smiliar memories. 

One great thing about newsrooms

Many of your colleagues are experienced at taking notes (even if they don't always write everything down). So if, by chance, a bit of your office banter gets retold after the end of the work day, there is a good chance you will be quoted accurately.

www.smithsonianmagazine.com 

Can you identify this woman?

www.hbo.com

A) She works in cable TV news. B) She is an actress who plays a woman who works in cable TV news. C) She is the mayor of the Munchkin city. D) The photo credit sort of gives it away. E) Other.

Time magazine cover — July 23, 2001

www.time.com

I wonder if they would run this cover today. You can almost imagine the editors wringing their hands.

“You know, this is going to look a lot like we believe in science. Could really alienate some readers on the religious right.”

“Do we even have any readers on the religious right?”

“How about putting Cheryl Tiegs out there again?”

“OK, we're done here.”

This just doesn’t seem right

Perhaps Miss blue sweater is a student teacher. But still.

Maybe the guy is a grateful parent or something. Or maybe he should be in jail.

www.mycomicshop.com

If today is your 53rd birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.

www.45cat.com

This date in Slice history (1998)

Today's Slice question (complete this sentence): You know someone in Spokane is lying when …

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice column

What regional institution of higher learning would offer the best program for a young scholar aspiring to be among the undead?

You won't find the answer. It's an invitation to weigh in.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice question: What happens to people who drink untreated water from your lake?

Another event from July of 1969

www.stariemblems.com

Neil Armstrong actually offered a greeting from space to the big gathering at Farragut State Park.

Have you ever…

Asked a seemingly despondent young lady if she was downcast because her daddy had taken the T-Bird away?

It's pretty certain that, in 2013, she would have no idea what you are talking about. But it still might be fun to say. Fun, fun, fun, in fact. 

www.oldcarbrochures.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB3F6645zwM

Are we excited about our daily lives?

Does that sound like USA Today from 30 years ago or what?

Anyway, I think I know the answer. How? It's simple. I have been listening to people answer grocery cashiers when they ask, “Got any big plans?”

My findings:

Some of us are.

Some of us aren't.

And some of us are but really have no reason to be. 

Just wondering

Ever found yourself holding an opinion on some matter of public policy that meant you were in agreement with a group of people you do not like?

Did anyone in your home…

…buy this magazine?

www.flickr.com

If today is your 60th birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.

www.45cat.com

How to know you are not reality-based

If you think your house plants are friends with one another, you might have gone around the bend.

They are botanical growths. Try to remember that.

Of course, at my home, we have a couple of plants currently residing outdoors that are, in fact, pals. But in the case of our 2011 poinsettia and the small palm, that BFF relationship just evolved organically. It's not like I imagined it or something. 

My trend-forecasting gets challenged

I was on an elevator with two elderly women both named Dorothy.

We got talking about that name's popularity once upon a time. And I cheerfully suggested it might be poised to make a comeback. You know, just as soon as new parents got tired of trendy names and “creative” monikers.

One of the Dorothys fixed me with a skeptical expression. “I don't see that happening,” she said.

It could happen

Ever assemble something destined for Room A in Room B because it has plenty of open floor space and then, when you are done, realize it won't fit through the door of Room B?

On a related note, a Spokane furniture salesman once told me that it is not unheard of for people to order, say, a couch, and then upon delivery realize it will not fit in the intended space.

If today is your 21st birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you were born.

www.dailydot.com

I'm assuming you already knew that Anthony Ray is a Seattle guy.  

Good time to go look at the moon

It won't be full for a couple of days. But if you have some binoculars you can almost see 1969.

Reactions to swimsuit pics on Facebook

A) There's a happy person enjoying fun in the sun. B) Oh, my God. (Good) C) Oh, my God. (Bad) D) I admire people who are comfortable about their bodies, but isn't he a little close to some open food? E) I think this photo sums up her whole reason for being on Facebook. F) I guess you can have abs like that or you can be able to hold your own in conversation. He's made his choice. G) So is the idea here that we're supposed to be looking where we really shouldn't be looking? H) That's totally aimed at her ex. I) Didn't need to see that. J) How long does it take for hysterical blindness to go away? K) Other.

Here’s something you could do for me

Next time you are in Nelson, B.C., or some other Canadian community…

Stop a dozen or 20 different strangers on the sidewalk and ask, “Can you tell that I am an American?”

I would be interested in your findings.

I'd do it myself, but I'm still recovering from having spent a few days walking around Seattle wearing a big pink button that said “I Know Spokane…ASK ME!”

Sure, that was in a previous century. But I still have occasional nightmares about it.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/aug/03/the-great-divide-he-knows-spokane-self-styled/

Favorite reunion scene in a movie?

On second thought, maybe there aren't really all that many.

Let's see, there's “Romy and Michele” and, uh, OK, let's move on.

www.waxinmilkin.com

Gotten seasick at floating restaurant?

You know, the one on the lake in Coeur d'Alene.

A couple of Slice readers told about that happening to them. But in a breathtaking departure from contemporary blame-somebody-else mentality, neither claimed it was the restaurant's fault.

Stuff happens.  

How often do you see June bugs?

It seems as if there are two kinds of people here.

Those who encounter June bugs all the time at this time of year.

And those who are skeptical about whether they actually can be found in the Spokane area.

www.osu.edu  

Just wondering

What Spokane area arts/cultural organization has the most competent board of directors?

Let’s play “Where is his hand?”

www.adbranch.com

A) Holding another bottle of Pepsi. B) Somewhere that reflects that he is, in fact, thinking young. C) Somewhere harmless. D) Poised gently atop her bra clasp. E) Scratching his knee. F) In some gentlemanly no-man's land. G) Softly wiping excess hair cream on the back of her skirt. H) Sliding into third base. I) Other.

From what I read, this song was R-rated

All these years, I hadn't known that. Of course, I mostly paid attention to the sound and megawatt energy.

www.45cat.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oi1-S6UPNc

This date in Slice history (1997)

Three kinds of idiots: 1. People who think cats don't have personalities.

2. People who think they can always spot a gay person.

3. People who assume they would behave heroically in combat.

Coming in Friday’s Slice column

This wasn't the only time appeasement was bad policy.

www.telegraph.co.uk

Subtle hint about the tone of the letter

An envelope arrived at the S-R newsroom this morning addressed to “Editor in Thief.”

Did these WSU boots ever catch on?

www.gamedayboots.com

And for what were these boots made?

A) Walkin'. B) Losin'. C) Kickin' butt. D) Regiftin'. E) Other.

Uh, Superman…ever heard of knocking?

This is from the summer of 1963. Apparently volunteer nurses were allowed free interaction with patients at that hospital.

http://connect.collectorz.com

I can tell you that this sort of thing is always happening to guys with that patient's name.

Middle America meets the hippies

Life magazine, July 18, 1969.

www.art.com

With Woodstock just a few weeks away, the Greatest Generation found itself asking, WTF? 

Future astronaut/Slice contributor

Reared-in-Spokane Major Anne McClain, recently selected for an elite astronaut training program, has had five submissions to The Slice printed over the years. Her first appeared on July 23, 1998. On that occasion, she had written to say people complaining about bad coffee ought to taste the awful stuff they serve at West Point.

www.readwrite.com

Idaho: Home of sweet jumps

www.haphappy.com

No idea how they filmed this scene from “Napoleon Dynamite” without the actor hurting himself.

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Always ask yourself: Could what I am contemplating wind up resulting in groin injury? 

Ever work in an office like this?

www.thelmagazine.com

Do you instantly recognize this as a scene from a movie?

Is it OK to not really like this song?

I mean, can you agree with the sentiment and all but just not find this to be pleasing music?

It was No.1 for a short time in July of 1971.

www.45cat.com 

How often do you want your own pool?

www.anothermag.com

A) Once or twice a year. B) Never. C) On days like this. D) I like the idea but not the reality. E) I have one. It's a mixed bag. F) Doesn't make sense here. G) What kind of liability insurance do you need to have? H) I'd think if I used it a couple dozen times a year, it would be worth it. I) Does chlorine infiltrate your precious bodily fluids? J) Other. 

When newspaper editors are idiots

An editor in North Carolina wrote a column apologizing for an earlier satirical column.

Here's an excerpt from his apology.

“I'd intended for Vern to represent a universal hick: a mountain hillybilly in Washington state or eastern Ohio, a cornshucker in Nebraska, a sodbuster in Illinois, all places I have lived and know well.”

Mountain hillbilly in Washington state?

One reason people stopped riding trains

www.mycomicshop.com

Morally casual women in yellow pants were always hanging around.

You make the call

If you had to guess…what percentage of Spokane men wearing shirts today are attired in shirts that have collars?

Do you still do this?

www.mnn.com

You know. Draw up grocery lists on paper.

The Wednesday Slice question

Is it ever appropriate to tell someone he or she must have been great-looking back in the day?

A) It all depends on your relationship and how exactly you frame it. B) No. Period. C) Maybe. It can be done without implying that the person looks awful today. D) The real question is why would you contemplate saying something like that? E) The problem is there is no way to avoid sounding as if you believe only 19-year-olds can be attractive. F) You can't know how someone will take that. But it's almost worth risking it on the chance the person will get a kick out of it and say, “Yeah, I would have been way out of your league.” G) Other. 

Sometimes there is a reason to cry

www.tumblr.com

The second-youngest also seems less than thrilled.

“Can you dig it, baby?”

The No. 1 song on this date in 1968, “Grazing in the Grass” included that line and many like it.

www.45cat.com

Let’s list the problems in this scene

www.comicvine.com

1) If the elephant means to stomp that guy, he must have it coming.

2) Lorna is not going to deter the pachyderm with that spear.

3) Lorna's outfit is not tight enough.

4)

Can you name your birth county?

Not everyone can.

Sure, virtually everyone can tell you the town or city where they were born. But some have no idea about the name of the county, even though that is standard birth certificate info.   

True or false

This is a photo of one faction involved in the power struggle at the Civic Theatre.

www.wetpaint.com

End of an era on Lake Pend Oreille

The pirate ship of Bayview is leaving.

Spokane's Lawrence Killingsworth has sold his beloved Ta' Ata Ori, and the vessel soon will be heading to the West Side.

The lake will not be the same.

And the future for Cap'n Lawrence, a sailor for some 50 years? He's still figuring that out.

www.porttownsendsails.com

Closed Spokane movie theaters

I was making a mental list of all the movie theaters that have closed since I moved to Spokane in the 1980s.

Sure there are lots of new mall-based screens, too. But the list of disappeared cineplexes is pretty long: Newport highway, Lyons, the one on North Division, the one behind that shopping center off 29th, the one out in the Valley, and so on.

So anyway, here's my question. If you could count up all the movies you have seen in Spokane theaters, would it turn out that a majority of your film-going experiences have been at movie houses that no longer exist?   

One problem with keeping a car forever

You remember exactly what it cost to fill up the gas tank back when it was new.

www.cargurus.com

Annual recommendation

You don't have to give a rip about Apollo 11 to enjoy this set-in-Australia story.

www.movieguide.org 

Just wondering

Has regular season interleague play made baseball's all-star game less special?

No. 1 song on this date in 1964

Interesting wording on the group's artist credit.

www.45cat.com

“Cynthia Doyle: Nurse in Love”

A little late with your warning there, nurse. Oh, well. Maybe he doesn't use that hand much.

www.ebay.com

Any round barns in the Northwest?

www.shelburnemuseum.org

This one is on the grounds of a museum in New England. 

This could be confusing

www.lchs.vansd.org

I wonder if there are any graduates of Lews and Clark High School (of Vancouver, Wash.) living in Spokane.

Though I suppose you would quickly learn to automatically clarify that when mentioning it hereabouts.

“Dragnet” water gun

Fifty years ago, maybe. But this looks a bit too much like a real gun to be an ideal toy today.

www.comics.ha.com

Did you care or were you oblivious?

There are two kinds of people.

Those who knew exactly which car in their high school parking lot was the fastest.

And those who could not possibly have cared less.

www.ultimategto.com

The company you keep

Let's say you like a certain TV show.

Then you learn that someone whose opinion/tastes you do not admire enjoys that same show even more.

Does it prompt you to rethink your own fan status?

The cards I mentioned in today’s Slice

Well, at least two of these spell “Veradale” correctly..

www.1967topps.blogspot.com

www.1970topps.blogspot.com

www.cardboardex.blogspot.com

www.comc.com

Conversations with cashiers

Was at a specialty foods store this morning and the friendly young guy ringing up my purchases praised the weather.

“I sort of regret wearing pants today,” he said.

I inferred that he meant “long pants.”

But the store in question prides itself on being a little different. So who knows.

No. 1 song on this date 50 years ago

This was a song about unusual coastal demographics. “Two swingin' honeys for every guy.”

www.musicstack.com

No one has ever had this thought

“Gee, that candidate sure has festooned the city with campaign signs. Must be the leader we need.”

Getting a whiff of the near future

Does every Spokane area household of two or more persons have someone who is always first to detect the scent of skunk spray wafting in through an open window?

Multiple choice

What word best describes your contribution to family vacation planning?
A) Cheerleader. B) Naysayer. C) Reich Marshal. D) Ballast. E) Drone. F) Visionary. G) Worrier. H) Other.

www.aurorasginjoint.com

Humidity Snobs meeting will begin

Our first order of business: Did you see that headline in The Inlander referring to locally “hot, sticky” weather?

“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

All right, all right. Let's come to order. 

How to make people smile

When friends, relatives or co-workers present you with a newborn to admire, be sure to say, “Ahhh, the REAL royal baby!”

Actors walking in a local wheat field

www.daleyscreening.com

Which appeared briefly in “The Graduate”?

Which had a Huckleberry friend and an orange cat?

Which was in an episode of “The Big Valley”?

Hockey fights vs. baseball fights

I'm happy to stipulate that the official tolerance for fighting in certain brands of ice hockey (NHL, major junior) is insane and that 96.3% of hockey fights are utterly ridiculous. It is a disgrace and understandably prevents many people from taking the sport seriously.

The “necessary safety valve” excuse is tantamount to admitting that the referees are incapable of controlling the game. Moreover, it suggests that the players cannot exercise the same restraint as players in college or Olympic hockey. Have they been hit in the head too many times? 

But that having been said, I have to tell you something. When a couple of hockey fans are watching a baseball game and an on-field “fight” breaks out, knowing eye-contact tends to be made.

And the unspoken message is “The only danger here is that someone might twist an ankle on the pitcher's mound while they're dancing around.”

www.whatthehellisicing.wordpress.com

www.diamondiaries.net

If insects bother you, please look away

This was the July 12, 1976 cover of Time magazine.

www.time.com

After dealing with some yellow jackets building a condo on our garage last night, I can report that they have arrived.

Know your Bruce Springsteen lyrics

Maybe you have been in Spokane too long.

But it's not “Beneath that giant Arby's sign that brings this fair city light.”

It's “Exxon.”

A great moment in “The Honeymooners”

www.tvstylebook.com

Ralph gets a notice in the mail indicating that there is a question about his tax return. It directs him to report to a federal office the next morning.

Naturally, he worries.

So after much ranting and raving by Ralph, Ed gives him some advice. Stand on the 18th amendment, he says.

Mystified, Ralph wonders if Norton means the 5th amendment. He notes aloud that the 18th amendment established Prohibition.

Exactly, says Ed. “When you get down there, tell them you were drunk when you filled out your tax return.”  

DIY projects: Could you tackle this?

Digging/building an egress window well and cutting a hole in the side of the basement wall/foundation to accommodate the window.

www.morphmpls.com

What could go wrong? 

Why listeners fled to album rock on FM

Over on AM Top 40 stations, this was the No. 1 song on this date in 1977.

www.45cat.com

This date in Slice history (2001)

Today's Slice question: What constitutes justifiable cause for mutiny on a small pleasure boat?

Has Spokane grown afraid of bold ideas?

I would hate to think that.

But how else would you explain the failure to act on a boffo tourism concept, an idea ignored year after year?

I'll get to that in a moment. But first, let me ask. Have you ever heard of Pamplona, Spain?

Of course, you have. And for one reason — interactive agriculture.

Well, inspired by that fine madness, a former colleague of mine, Rick Bonino, had a brainstorm. It's a way Spokane could put itself on the map.

You can have your family-focused runs and your street basketball.

What about something that would really get hearts pumping and adrenaline flowing?  

Ladies and gentlemen, how about…

The Running of the Pit-Bulls.

I mentioned Rick's idea in my column years ago. But no one has picked up the leash and run with it, so to speak. Not even lawyers, who almost certainly would benefit.

Oh, well. You can lead a horse to water. But you can't make people line up to get bitten in the ass.

And by the way, I realize that the problem citizens among that particular canine population are the result of idiot owners. But I don't think we could sell The Running of the Two-Bit Drug Lord Wannabes.

www.salon.com 

The prices will tell you how old this is

www.flickr.com

Yes, Clarkston, Washington.

Fishwich could have been a band.

A movie not filmed in Metaline Falls

This is not the one with Kevin Costner.

www.last.fm

“The Postman” filmed near here was a somewhat resistible treat about love, letters and a post-apocalyptic future. But I've watched it more than once.

I've seen the film referred to in that poster, too. But I can't remember anything about it. How about you?

Where is he about to place that envelope? Maybe it's special delivery.

Is he drinking that on a boat?

www.vintageadbrowser.com

Well, maybe he intends to have just one.

I've mentioned, haven't I, that my father knew Jack Palance in the military. And when my family was at a drive-in movie and he appeared on the screen, my dad noted this. My sister did not believe him. If she had known her Palance movie trivia at the time, she could have said, “Prove it.”

Trivia challenge

If someone said his mission statement comes from “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” what, in all likelihood, would he mean? 

Jane Jetson before she got married

http://streamlinermemories.info

A randy small town girl from Roundup, Mont., she met George when he was on his way to a sprockets and cogs trade show in the Twin Cities. They got married after realizing a daughter, Judy, was on the way.

A press release I stopped reading

It was from a New York PR agency and had something to do with a contest certain to be of interest to my readers in Spokane, VA. 

Here’s your assignment

Address someone as “Joe College” today.

Maybe it could be your nephew or an intern at work.

You just might have the honor of being the last person to ever use that expression. Or at least the first since Tony Soprano addressed his screw-up son that way.

www.mycomicshop.com

Just wondering

Does everyone have a short of list of people they would just as soon not bump into at the store?

www.dbcovers.com

Romance deal breakers

Let's say you are single and starting to get interested in someone. Which of the following behaviors would make you rethink your desire to continue seeing this person?

A) Talking on phone/texting while driving. B) Being rude to a waiter/waitress. C) Casual use of a racist slur. D) Hints that intimate social congress will be on the near horizon if you do something possibly unethical that you clearly do not want to do. E) Mocking remark about your childhood religion. F) Detailed badmouthing of his/her ex. G) Angry driving. H) Spending 10 hours a day bitching on websites. I) Applying a political litmus test to every single thing in life including what to have for dinner. J) Inconsistent dedication to hygiene. K) Unwillingness to compromise about what movie to see. L) Zero interest in public affairs or the arts. M) Never asking you any questions. N) On opposite end of spectrum from you when it comes to interest in sports. O) Tweets while on the toilet. 

Why did those you know leave Spokane?

It always amuses me when I hear someone interpret an individual's decision to move away from here as some sort of sweeping indictment of the Spokane area's real or imagined shortcomings.

In my experience — or at least that of certain friends — it usually has more to do with getting away from horrible bosses in highly specialized fields or pursuing career opportunities that do not exist in Spokane.

I'm not saying that no one leaves because they simply don't like Spokane. I just know that isn't the case each and every time.

What have you observed?

July 11, 1960 cover of Life magazine

www.oldlifemagazines.com

“Grandfather at Play”

This was before editors fretted about the need to be edgy.

I'm not bashing it. Just noting how different things were.

A fan of “Benny & Joon” soundtrack?

Well, The Proclaimers are scheduled to appear in Cranbrook, B.C., on Aug. 27.

That's considerably less than 500 miles.

 http://keycitytheatre.com/index.php?page=buy-tickets

Discover your Looney Tunes name

It has been about half an hour since I last mentioned that the late Chuck Jones was born in Spokane.

So let's do this.

Did you know that we all have a Looney Tunes name? It's true. We do.

Just find your astrological sign to discover your Chuck Jones name.

Aries: Wile E.

Taurus: Pepe.

Gemini: Marvin.

Cancer: Ralph (the wolf).

Leo: Sam (the sheepdog).

Virgo: Claude (the cat).

Libra: Elmer (the Fudd).

Scorpio: Tweety.

Sagittarius: Porky.

Capricorn: Sylvester.

Aquarius: Bugs.

Pisces: Road Runner.

Study of social media: Spokane’s happy

Check it out.

After you open this, the story is over on the right.

http://pubs.aarp.org/aarptm/20130607?pg=15#pg15

Thanks to Tamara Schupman for telling me about this.

Here's more.

http://www.livescience.com/27357-tweets-reveal-happiest-us-cities-sidebar.html

Disco earworm warning

This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1974. Just when you thought you had forgotten it.

OK, let's be fair. It's sort of catchy, isn't it?

If you doubt it, take the Slice Blog challenge. Listen to “Rock Your Baby” and try to keep perfectly still.

I'll bet you can't do it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8db_aQ_Fgk

www.45cat.com

The Wednesday Slice

There are drawbacks, of course.

But one advantage of having grown up in several different states is that certain childhood memories are protected from reality.

When I was about 10, my family lived on a street that inclined up and up until it stopped at the edge of some woods. On one side of the street up by that dead end, the sidewalk was a long, uninterrupted slope. It made an excellent race track for sit-down skateboarders.

One summer in the middle 1960s, the boys in my neighborhood all but wore out that hill with race after thumb-crunching race.

Sometimes there would be three rows of three racers each at the start. And, once underway, there was so much grabbing, pushing and pulling that these downhill sprints resembled seated roller derby.

It was not unusual for every competitor to have been knocked off his board well before the finish line. Sprawled over the sidewalk and adjacent lawns, the convulsively laughing skateboarders could have looked to an uninformed observer like victims of some insanely underage drinking party.

It was bedlam. And man, it was a blast.

But here's the thing. When I think about that summer, and I do at this time of year, that hill seems huge. In memory, that steep stretch of sidewalk is like a ribbon of concrete tracing a challenging ski slope.

That's because I have not actually seen it in many years. If I still lived in that town, I might occasionally be confronted by the truth.

And I suspect the truth is that my hill o' doom is actually a bunny slope of depressingly tame angle and short length.

But since the only pictures I have are the ones in my memory, it remains a formidable topographical feature.

I suppose I could check it out on one of those websites showing photos of seemingly every street in the U.S. But I fear much would be lost in translation.

To present the whole picture, the photo would have to show Johnny, Bruce, Bill, Tommy, Ken, Bob and the other skateboard racers. And it would have to show what summer looks like to a 10-year-old who thinks it is never going to end.

That would be hard to capture. But I still remember. From the top of that hill, you could catch a glimpse of it.

This date in Slice history (2001)

Today's Slice question: Where will you find the real Spokane?

A) Emergency room on a Saturday night. B) Driver's license testing office. C) Picnic at Manito Park. D) East Sprague. E) Youth soccer. F) North Idaho. G) At some bland family restaurant. H) At a blow-out sale. I) On a flight to Seattle. J) STA Plaza. K) Passed out in the back seat. L) Beer aisle. M) In quiet acts of grace and compassion. N) Jail. O) Straddling two lanes. P) Country concert. Q) Day care. R) In the eyes of a doctor counseling an obese smoker. S) In the basement with a 41-year-old poet who lives with his parents. T) In a tent. U) Other.

Top 40/sports cars trivia challenge

Can you name the two car models mentioned in this song?

www.45cat.com

Were you one of those kids who…

…changed dramatically over one particular summer?

Maybe you got significantly taller or more muscular. Perhaps you lost a lot of weight or saw your figure blossom.

Or maybe you were one of those kids in the position of being startled in September by how much certain classmates had changed since last seen in June.

Sure, adults can drop a few pounds, restyle their hair or get cosmetic surgery. But there really isn't a grown-up equivalent of the eye-opening back-to-school experience.

Did you have a summer that reshuffled the deck for you? 

Proper way to pronounce “Minnesota”?

A colleague is headed that way for a vacation and it would be good to know.

Just wondering

Ever been a fan of someone nobody else seemed to care about?

www.peanuts.wikia.com

An experiment you can try today

If you approached three women you know and said “Angels, you're going undercover,” what is the chance that they would get the reference?

www.cozitv.com

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Here's a chance for you to brush up on your Tamarian language skills.

(This relates to a remarkable 1991 episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”)

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Tamarian_language

He was destined for big things

www.comc.com

If you don't follow baseball, the onetime Spokane Indian led all players in votes for a spot in the upcoming major league all star game.

www.usatoday.com

You can stop worrying about this now

This was a 20th century issue. We all have other problems now.

www.tvhistory.tv

Were altar boys required to smoke?

Maybe it just seemed that way.

Do you remember any who were drunk with power?

You be the copy editor

Wouldn't “Earth” be implied?

I mean, it's an Earth newspaper isn't it?

www.monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku

How can you tell that the S-R is or isn't an Earth newspaper?

No. 1 song on this date in 1983

What did you think of The Police? Ever buy one of their albums?

www.45cat.com

When the front page was a puzzle

Modular design was still years away. This is from July of 1961.

Also, notice how the editor who wrote that main headline went with what was known for sure at that moment.

www.lib.udel.edu

What your produce-handling reveals

Tomorrow in The Slice column.

This date in Slice history (1995)

Today's Slice question: Could everyone around here with grandchildren in California fit in the Opera House?

How old are your oldies?

I was in an organic juice bar downtown, waiting for my order.

Sue me. They make something I like.

The only other people in the place, both staff and customers, were women who looked to be in their early 20s. I noted this because of the recorded song we all were hearing — “The Ghost in You” by the Psychedelic Furs.

I bought that album back when it came out in 1984. Particularly liked that song. And I felt like saying something about that, but decided against it.

But I thought it: “None of you was even born when this song came out.”

It's OK for them to listen, though. I guess. I did the same thing when I was their age.

www.tumblr.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T87u5yuUVi8  

When you are not reading carefully

You can find yourself looking at a film summary and wondering what on earth Patrick Stewart is doing in a certain movie. Rereading reveals that it was actually the late Patrick Swayze.

Same with seeing a magazine promo for its list of “eligible shingles.”

Make that “singles.”

Ever watched her show?

Do you think she knows what she's talking about?

www.azellmer.xanga.com

Does this make you want cake?

www.coverbrowser.com

Or does this make you want to talk like these cover blurbs?

www.redballauction.com

Learn something new every day

Open this link and check out No. 75.

I always thought it was “Keep It Comin' On.” But as you can see, it's not.

http://www.musicoutfitters.com/topsongs/1977.htm

Stuff old guys think about, No. 17

Would it be better to have been a minor rock star or to have had a modest career as a pro athlete?

Let's consider it.

In the case of the former scenario, you could imagine old girlfriends hearing one of your songs on the radio and feeling pangs of regret.

That would be nice.

But if you had been a pro athlete, you could be all quiet and self-effacing about your playing days. But every once in a while, you could say something like “Well, we had a slightly different perspective on concussions back in my day.”   

Playboy cover from 50 years ago

Two questions.

Do you remember seeing these in barber shops or was Esquire about as racy as the reading fare got in the places you recall?

Do you remember seeing women with similar hair styles?

www.ebay.com

Snore and peace

Some houses are pretty close together.

And sometimes people in adjacent dwellings both keep windows open at this time of year.

So do you think it is possible that someone in House A might occasionally hear a person in House B snoring?

This date in Slice history (1996)

Here's our apology to readers offended by our remarks about the need to get bicyclists off sidewalks:   

For people who only need a beat

Saw something on my bike ride home this afternoon that I can't recall having encountered before.

A boy who looked to be about 8 or 10 was playing drums in his front yard, out near the street.

These were not toy drums. This was an actual drum set.

He could play a little. And though he didn't seem to be trying to make a point of it, the sound was pretty loud. I suspect anyone on that block who happened to be home could hear it.

Did a deranged parent send him out there to serenade the street with percussion?

Was it the kid's idea and someone would soon put a stop to it?

Were other children with different instruments about to join him?

By the time I thought to request “Wipeout” or shout “Play the opening of 'She Loves You,'” I was already past and around the corner.

But I have a hunch someone in that neighborhood was singing along with a muttered chorus of “What the hell is that?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SvfIb5aaog

Oddly, some people don’t realize this

In terms of square miles, Idaho is quite a bit bigger than Washington.

Coming in Saturday’s Slice

Nostalgia can be a crock. But some things really were better.

www.flickr.com

Isn’t the top picture a bit deceptive?

www.ebay.com

OK, I guess the top picture is promoting pool toys. But when I first looked at this, I thought it was being suggested that the scene was from a yard pool. 

Would you get the reference?

If you knew someone who always answered queries about weekend plans by saying “Three days of peace and music,” would you connect with the allusion?

Ranking states by their miles of I-90

1. Montana.

2. South Dakota.

3. New York.

4. Washington.

5. Minnesota.

6. Ohio.

7. Wyoming.

8. Wisconsin.

9. Indiana.

10. Massachusetts.

11. Illinois.

12. Idaho.

13. Pennsylvania.

Cooking with 7-Up

According to the website noted below, this is from a mini-cookbook offering suggestions about using the aforementioned soft drink in various ways to perk up your bland existence. Did you ever make ice cubes with 7-Up? 

www.vintag.es

How to confuse a young person

1. Recall being on a party line.

2. Talk about listening in on conversations on the extension.

3. Remember aloud how people used to panic about staying on the phone too long when it was a long-distance call. 

When two things don’t go together

When you find yourself behind a vehicle adorned with stickers that suggest to you the driver is an utter cretin, do you ever find yourself slightly surprised because the vehicle itself doesn't conform to your expectation of what that particular variety of idiot would drive?

“Twilight Zone” marathon alert

There's a signpost up ahead.

It's TZ all day tomorrow on the Syfy channel.

www.cinemablend.com

Stunningly bad fireworks advice

I assume you are weary of common-sense counsel by now.

What do they take you for?

So, for a change, let's hear some insanely bad advice.

“The one sure way to tell if your M-80 is a dud after lighting it is to hold it up to your ear to see if you can hear the fuse hissing.”

Pro/con: Going to a movie on the 4th

Pro: If there is something you want to see, a weekday holiday could be just the ticket.

Con: Is it legal to not engage in water recreation on the 4th?

Pro: Theaters are air-conditioned.

Con: Hearing a certain person go on about ticket-price inflation.

Pro: Easy to rationalize going to see escapist fare at this time of year.

Con: Will interrupt your eating potato salad.

Pro: Doesn't take all day, leaving plenty of time for other activities.

Con: Getting to agreement on what to see can be a challenge.  

Re: Garbage disposal called Badger

What household appliance might benefit from having “Marmot” as a model name?

www.lowes.com

What’s it like to grow up back East?

Well, I'll tell you.

One of the first places I ever bought beer was a small store called Stannard's, named after a Vermont general who played a not insignificant role in the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

www.vermontcivilwar.org

Born on the Fourth of July

“It's the best day of the year to have a birthday,” wrote Lisa Nunlist. “I've NEVER had to work or go to school on my birthday. People remember it. However, I was a little miffed when I was in Paris one summer. Those slacker French didn't celebrate my birthday until 10 days later!” 

The Sci-Fi Slice question

What if you woke up tomorrow and the only people left on Earth were those you had seen with your own eyes in the course of your life?

Your family would be there, of course. So would friends, colleagues, classmates, fellow jurors and neighbors. But countless others still here tomorrow morning would have virtually no connection to you — except that you had once seen them.

You might have seen them when you were 4. You might have glimpsed them in passing in an airport, stadium or theater.

Maybe you saw them when you were backpacking across Europe or while in the military and stationed in Japan. Or Germany. Or South America.

Perhaps you saw them on a college campus, in a bustling downtown while on vacation or at a world's fair, music festival or political rally.

Maybe you saw them in a Philadelphia hospital or Kansas City bus station. In an Ohio amusement park you visited when you were 10. Or on a cruise to Alaska. 

Maybe you saw them while touring a prison in Tennessee, while dining in a Boston restaurant or while using a restroom during a cross-country road trip in Canada when you were 20.

At Disneyland, the Grand Canyon or a Sudanese refugee center.

Some famous. Most not.

You need not have spoken to them. They just had to pass through your field of vision for an instant sometime in your life.

These individuals — assuming they are still alive on this special morning — are the only people left on Earth.

So here's the question.

What would an illuminated map of the world's population look like?

Neighborhood nicknames

Everyone is familiar with the idea of coming up with a nickname for a neighbor whose real name you don't know or can't remember.

Often these made-up monikers would be tough for a far-removed stranger to guess. But every morning I ride my bike past a certain home. And I have a guess about what the people who live nearby call the guy who lives there. I don't think they really have a choice.

The Front Yard Farmer.

Grocery checkout daydreaming

When you find yourself in a grocery cashier's line behind someone purchasing 48 ears of corn, what goes through your mind?

A) Gee, I sort of wish I was invited. B) Gee, maybe I should have a party. C) Wonder how carefully he/she examined each one. D) Probably too early for the really good sweet stuff. E) Well, there's a family that soon will merit the description “corn fed.” F) Other. 

A song that should have been No. 1

It got to No. 9.

www.45cat.com

New Year’s resolution update

So we're halfway through 2013.

And you might be wondering. How am I doing with my resolution to no longer read comments tacked onto www.spokesman.com content that I wasn't involved in producing?

The answer is “Pretty good.” Had a few slips, but mostly I have stuck to my plan.

I have to say, it has improved my outlook on humankind.

Now neither The Slice Blog nor the online copies of my print column get many comments. (For the most part, my readers subscribe to the actual newspaper.) But except for dyspeptic feedback from those poor anonymous souls forced against their will to read my offerings on this website, most Slice-related online comments are quite congenial. In fact, I have become fond of many of my blog-commenting regulars.

But comments elsewhere on this site, well, you know what it's like.

The agent in “Tootsie” could have begged those folks to get some therapy, but I doubt that they would have listened.

I realize my policy throws the baby out with the troll water. But I have yet to come up with a better plan.

www.thebestpictureproject.wordpress.com

Tanning and putting lives at risk

www.creepingirrelevance.tumblr.com

Shouldn't he instruct her to get her ass out of that chair?

Born on the Fourth of July

When she was young, Janice Whitaker thought the fireworks were in her honor.

“Very self-absorbed, right?”

It wasn't long before she learned the picnics and parades noted the birth of the country. But she was willing to share.

“As a mom of teenagers and adult children, I became disappointed that they would rather be with their friends on the 4th than with their mom who was celebrating another milestone. Oh, well. Welcome to adulthood.”

Now she is retired and has become philosophical about the whole thing. “I'm just glad to be alive to celebrate another day of living and I've learned it's not all about me.”

Did you have this collection?

www.workman.com

Of course, if you're like me, you might have had the season-theme cassettes 25 years ago.

Really good for road trips.

The collection above includes the one about a family taking a boy to college, a remarkable story.

Re: Special AC setting on old Ramblers

My friend Mike Carlson, an ace auto-restorer, noted that old AMC Ramblers had unusual air-conditioning controls.

“They had the usual low to high settings and a very optimistic setting for 'Desert only.'”

Hmmmm. I've lived in the Southwest, and I recall that home/office cooling systems down there employed a design different from traditional air-conditioning. But it's hard for me to believe that AMC equipped its cars with dual AC systems in the 1960s.

You probably won't be able to make it out in this photo (“Desert only” — over on the bottom right), but it's the best I could find.

www.forums.pelicanparts.com

Incredibly easy one-question TV quiz

What holiday was the backdrop for the series finale of “The Wonder Years”?

Cold showers: How low can you go?

Weather conditions being what they are, it's tempting to think a cold shower is a good idea.

But then you actually get under the water and something happens.

You remember why you have never done the Polar Bear Plunge over in Coeur d'Alene.

Oh, sure. A lot of us can take a cool shower. And that still feels great if you have been outside in blazing heat.

But a truly cold shower? That takes something special.

Remember when, during an extended citywide power outage years ago, Mayor Jack Geraghty referred to taking a “Viking shower”?

Well, I wonder how many Vikings walk among us this week.  

“Hot enough for ya?”

It's true. Timing and delivery are everything.

Overhearing a deadpan colleague, I was reminded yesterday afternoon that this question can actually be funny. 

A WTF Spokane matchbook

www.ebay.com

According to someone selling this vintage matchbook cover, these were distributed by the Chamber of Commerce long ago.

Perhaps convention hijinks is the theme. I can't say. But the guy peering through the keyhole is a bit odd, any way you look at it.   

This date in Slice history (1999)

Any day now: Someone in the Inland Northwest will actually admit that every possible specialty-products use for huckleberries has already been attempted.

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice

How to succeed in the fourth grade.

Know your Apollo 11 anniversary dates

If your memory of 1969 is a bit hazy, let's review.

Launch: July 16

Landing/walk on moon: July 20.

Return to Earth: July 24

www.history.nasa.gov

Some people can’t handle the truth

And the truth is not everyone can be trusted to follow directions.

www.saltyseadog.com

Remember greyhound racing at Post Falls?

Seems like that was in another century.

Oh, right. It was.

There might have been some OK people involved locally. I don't know. But you didn't have to read much about that particular form of entertainment to see that it was sometimes just one rung up from cockfighting when it came to care for the animals.

Just wondering

Is your front porch light fixture where moths go to die? 

Your link to Battle of Gettysburg

Did anyone in your family tree take part in that pivotal clash?

If you are going to claim to be related to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, please present some evidence.

Just so we’re clear

It's not a compliment when relatives refer to your son as “The Dauphin.”

www.wikimedia.com

One question

Is grilling worth the trouble if you do not eat meat?

www.kitchn.com

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About this blog

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

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