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The Slice

Archive for March 2013

Programming alert

The Slice Blog will return Monday morning.

How many eggs can you eat?


How about on Easter?

No. 1 song on this date in 1971

She was dead before this made it to No. 1.

The Wednesday Slice question

What is the Spokane area's second-favorite major league baseball team?

Third favorite?


Suggestion for the reunion committee

Put the recorded version of “Some Good Years” written by Bob Cowsill — from the album “Global” — on your playlist.

Our area and water-damaged books

Because the Inland Northwest usually has relatively low humidity, can water-damaged books be salvaged here more often than in more mold-friendly parts of the country?

What drives Amanda Knox coverage?

A) The specifics of the strange, twisted case. B) Northwest connection. C) The way she looks on TV. D) The puzzling spectacle of the Italian court system. E) Other. 

One of the lesser forms of prejudice

Maybe I am wrong to feel this way.

But my expectations are not high for people who have a view-impairing volume of beads, fuzzy dice, air fresheners or whatever dangling from their vehicles' rear-view mirrors. 

Just wondering

How many people have enjoyed seeing the “Like us on Facebook” sign outside a strip club in Spokane Valley?

How to be a low-impact outlaw

It's easy.

Just put your driver's license in with the check and deposit slip at a bank drive-thru.

When the license and deposit slip come back out, just tuck the envelope in your front pocket.

Then, when you get home, put the envelope down on a desk or whatever. Forget about the license.

Then, the next day, head out in your car without remembering to retrieve your license and put it back in your wallet.

Ambient porn

I wonder how often browsers in stores that sell smart phones, portable computers and such tap on one of the demonstrator models and see that the last website visited was porn?

That just happened to me. It had the potential to be embarrassing because of the explicit photo that filled the screen when the tablet-style computer came to life. Fortunately, none of the employees at this South Hill store showed the slightest interest in assisting customers. So there was no one else nearby. 

If you are not religious…

What's the appropriate way to note Easter?

Mystery solved

In a window of the building on the west side of South Wall across from the Europa restaurant, there is a handmade sign.

Two signs, actually. But one at a time.

Sometimes it's “YES.”

Sometimes it's “NO.”

So what's the deal?

Something to do with romance? Espionage?

Sadly, the real explanation is a bit more mundane.

Turns out the signs are a signal to the UPS driver about whether there is something to pick up.

This date in Slice history (1997)

There's nothing quite so entertaining as a know-it-all from out of town.

Spokane's Corliss Lovstad came across a classic example just recently.

“I was sitting in the Denver airport last week, waiting to board a plane back to Spokane,” she wrote. “I overheard a conversation among three men who were waiting for the same plane. They were traveling to a conference at the Coeur d'Alene Resort and were trying to figure out how long it would take to get there from the Spokane airport. One thought it was about 40 minutes, another thought it could be as long as two hours. A young woman, also waiting for our plane and planning to attend the same conference, chimed in knowingly: 'It depends on whether you're going to Coeur d'Alene the city or Coeur d'Alene the resort. The resort is actually in Spokane.'”

Said Lovstad: “It was a good thing she wasn't driving the resort shuttle.”  

This date in Slice history (1996)

Today's Slice question: What do you learn about Spokane by going to home-for-sale open houses?

Re: Spring training for backyard grillers

“My back yard chef is working on his Bud Light,” wrote Alice Spray.

Hey, kid! Ditch the arts!

So what is necktie boy thinking?

A) “Gee, I don't know. I'm going to need my college deferment in a few years. And these boys seem like cannon fodder to me.” B) “Why am I the only one wearing glasses?” C) “This kid putting on his sneakers better pay attention when Texas Western waxes Kentucky in a few years. A change is coming.” D) “I might want to hire some of these boys one day.” E) “Why isn't this kid sitting on the steps while putting on his sneakers?” F) Other.     

Sometimes a bear in a hat knows best

Of course, the nagging question remains. Who, pray tell, who can prevent forest fires?

Reading the paper — Hey, I know her

I wonder if people who have never read a play preview checked out the one today because of Kris Crocker being in the photo.

No. 1 song on this date in 1982

Ever hear her ripping version of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme song? Sounds like a joke, I know. But she actually does it with respect and it winds up being almost touching.

But you can turn up your sound and decide for yourself.

Knowing when to keep your mouth shut

One of my favorite moments from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” …  Joel or one of the 'bots speculated that when there was a break during shooting of “The Big Valley” and Barbara Stanwyck would be telling stories about the making of “Double Indemnity” or “Sorry, Wrong Number,” Peter Breck kept quiet about “The Beatniks.”  

When parents claim their kids are good

It's not always true.

Coming in Friday's Slice column.

Has this worked for you as a strategy?

You know how those who have desk jobs are regularly admonished to get up and move around every so often?


But how do people make themselves do that?

Some set up a program on their computers to flash a reminder.

That's easy to ignore, though.

A better approach?

Drink a phenomenal amount of water throughout the work day.

Cat sandwich

You recognize this screen kiss from the closing moments of “Breakfast at Tiffany's.”

Are you a Scorpio? You’re on your own

Alert reader Susan Jackson noted that Scorpio is missing from the horoscope in today's paper.

She wrote, “Would it have said 'You're on your own today' ”?

How are you least like Jason Bourne?

A) I have just one passport. B) I can't read street maps of huge European cities while driving like a madman and being shot at. C) My reflexes are more sloth-like. D) I'm pretty sure I know who's running Treadstone. E) I can barely speak one language. F) I would find Julia Stiles at least mildly distracting. G) Other.

Impromptu rain gauges

Any outdoor container lacking a lid got turned into a rainfall measuring device yesterday.

In my case, if was a garbage barrel (lid not closed after contents got emptied Wednesday morning).

I'd share my findings, but I fear it would sound like an exaggeration.

When you see condoms on the street

How do you suppose they got there?

A) Discarded after car sex. B) Discarded after helicopter sex. C) General litter bug behavior. D) Other.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Another Internet surprise: Gemologist Arlene Stromberger clicked on a Web site she thought would be about Japanese pearls.

But suddenly her screen was filled with nude Japanese women.

If all you care about is being in the will

There might be a price to pay.

At least there was in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “The Masks.”

It first aired on this date in 1964.

Coming in Thursday’s Slice

Everyone knows spring started today.

But determining the beginning of a certain other season is a bit more complicated.

Suddenly it started raining F-bombs

So I'm waiting in the pick-up line at a downtown pharmacy.

Suddenly, over at the drop-off window about 15 feet to my right, a woman starts yelling.

She's angry, and shouting the F-word in several different contexts.

Apparently there is a problem with her filling a certain prescription.

I don't know if she simply has a loose emotions governor or if she is mentally unbalanced. But everyone in the store can tell she is angry. Really angry.

Here's the thing, though. Through all the yelling, which lasts maybe 20 or 30 seconds, everyone stays calm.

The pharmacist and his helpers stay calm. The other customers stay calm. And so do a couple of nearby shoppers who just happen to be near the pharmacy.

Nobody gets big eyes. Noboby smirks.

After the shouting woman storms out, I find myself feeling proud of those around me.

Some people in our area enjoy bashing downtown Spokane. Fine. But the people who live and work down here aren't a bunch of easily flustered hothouse flowers.

Maybe they haven't seen it all. But they have seen plenty.

And when you know what gets real, they don't rattle.

Battle of the Jurassic talk show hosts

You pick.

Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin?

Tom Snyder or Dinah Shore?

This date in Slice history (2001)

How did getting burglarized change you?

The Slice Blog recommends

Appearing several times this month on Showtime.

And you thought your family was screwed up.

Has having dad be in charge of the band ever worked out?

The Wednesday Slice question

What bugs you about Spokane bicyclists?

A) I don't like people who have made choices that are not identical to my own. B) They get in my way on the road. C) Some are erratic. D) The costumes. E) Many of them seem reasonably fit and I am not.

F) A city exists to serve the drivers of automobiles and they don't seem to understand that. G) They don't fight back with adequate vigor when a cyclist-hater makes the ludicrous assertion that bicyclists don't pay taxes. H) Unlike those behind the wheel of cars, they don't always obey the law. I) I suspect some of them don't have sullen children and crushing mortgages. J) It bugs me when I'm in my car and I inappropriately stop to unnecessarily yield the right of way and the guy on the bike acts like I've simply confused everything. Well, excuuuuuuse me. 

K) I just know that at least half of the ones illegally riding on sidewalks downtown are named in outstanding warrants. L) They're always whining about having their bikes stolen. M) Some who ride in the dark don't have lights. N) I suspect many of them do not vote for candidates of whom I would approve. O) Bikes on city streets? Isn't that the sort of insanity you would encounter in Seattle or Portland?.

P) I don't approve of the Idaho stop law. Q) Those helmets — it's like they don't trust me and my fellow car drivers. R) I'm sorry, but I just don't like seeing butts ahead of me in traffic. S) I don't enjoy being reminded that I get zero exercise. T) Those people who ride their bikes to work? They're all doping.

U) They want special rights. V) Letting them use the roads robs me of my freedom. W) Bikes are for children. X) They are so smug. They pronounce “France” as if it's “Frahns.” Y) A cyclist will ask what bugs you about bike riders and then offer multiple-choice answers largely designed to make cyclist-haters seem like uninformed, reactionary pinheads. Z) Other.

If you had been a 1970s rocker…

…of a certain stripe, what hockey jersey would you have worn when performing?

No. 2 use for Zags cheer cards?

I assume most who have no inclination to display them simply recycle the cheer cards with the rest of the newspaper.

But surely at least a few SR subscribers have come up with some creative repurposings.  

This date in Slice history (1998)

A partial list of the things Harriot Hagedorn's dog Sassie brought home: packaged rose bush, snake (2 feet long), head of a mule deer, front leg of a cow, stocking cap, one pair of men's briefs, one running shoe.

“We kept waiting for her to bring home the rest of the jogger,” wrote Hagedorn.

“Are you high?”

In the workplaces with which I am familiar, that question has always implied an unfavorable judgment.

But I wonder. Are we headed for a day when it will become a simple inquiry about someone's state of being?

Sure, I suppose managers in Washington will instruct workers to not show up for work stoned. But still.

Phrases not uttered except in song titles

“Hot Child in the City”

“Sweet City Woman”

22 across

Sandy Tarbox and Luis Montano were in the midst of remodeling an old house when they came across a crossword puzzle from 1938.

Someone had started filling in answers. But it had not been completed.

So, hoping the clues didn't lean heavily on 1938 pop culture, the Spokane couple decided to see if they could finish it.

And they did.

“In ink,” said Tarbox.

Today’s featured hair style

The Louise Pendrake.

“That was the end of my religion period.”

Getting what you didn’t pay for

I'm not saying they are the cheapest people in Spokane.

There's a lot of competition for that honor.

But those who spend a considerable amount of time reading newspapers plucked from display racks in grocery stores — and then put the papers back — are a curious case. I'm sometimes tempted to say something to them. But what?

A) “You know, they'll let you buy that and then you can take it home.” B) “I see that you believe information wants to be free.” C) “Putting wrinkles in pages like that deprives an actual paying customer of his or her right to a perfect, pristine copy.” D) “You might at least stand to the side while you're reading that story.” E) “The library has copies you can look at for no cost and you can even sit down.” F) Other.

The Tyrone Wells Zags song

You might have known about his local connection (he grew up in Spokane). And now there's this.

EWU zombie connection

Artist/cartoonist/toy designer and former EWU Eagle Todd McFarlane was a guest on “The Talking Dead” last night.

The show, a chatfest follow-up to AMC's blockbuster “The Walking Dead,” gets impressive ratings of its own — sometimes besting the competition on networks such as NBC. At least that's what I have read. 

Wondering about the rest of the story

Ever run into someone you have not seen in a while and ask about an individual with whom he or she used to pal around?

Nothing unusual about that. But every now and then, the person's clipped answer makes you wonder what happened.

I'm thinking of a time I asked a fellow about a friend of his and he answered, “I have had no contact with that person in years.”

Oh, OK. I didn't press him on it, and did not want our email exchange to drift even farther off course.

But I did assume there had been some sort of falling out.  

How would you review this?

A) Waste of time. B) Engaging and uplifting. C) Pleasant enough. D) Nice to see a story in which most of the characters are not 23 years old. E) Felt a bit neat and  packaged, but it was OK. F) Never really bought it, but I kept watching. G) Wrinkly piffle. H) Fun without being silly. I) Other. 

I am quite sure this can be topped

But you know those return address stickers various charities and social service organizations send you?

Sure. Well, I think my wife and I have received stickers with about seven different permutations of our names and initials on them over the years.

That is not especially mind-blowing, I realize. But it makes you wonder why some outfits decide to go with versions of your name that you yourself never actually use.

Just wondering

Did you ever hold a lighter above your head at a concert as your way of calling for an encore?

John Denver lyrics in real life

Have you ever used the expression “Mountain Mama”?

Ever said “Well, I got me a fine wife”?

This date in Slice history (1997)

Spring break makes some parents nervous because they can still remember being 19.

This date in Slice history (1998)

Slice answers: Readers said Browne's Addition and the Hamblen Elementary School area are visited by the loudest early morning joggers.

This date in Slice history (1999)

Here are a couple possible explanations for the oddly popular practice of approaching someone's work station and then staring uninvited at what's on that person's computer screen.

1. The people who do this simply don't realize how obvious it is. They think you can't tell where their eyes are focused.

2. They just don't care if they violate the rules of workplace etiquette. They are so tired of seeing the boring stuff on their own computers that they are willing to risk ostracism in exchange for a chance to read something interesting on someone else's screen.

Just wondering

Ever had to phone a co-worker when that person was still asleep in bed?

Good old days 2

“My first job after graduation from college was as a school counselor at a small school in Oregon,” wrote Betty Brueske. “I shared an office (which included sick beds for students) with the nurse. Not a particularly healthy place since the air was always blue from cigarettes that the nurse and I smoked there.

“Thank goodness I quit smoking in 1974.”

The good old days

“In the early 1970s, everyone in my office smoked,” wrote Janice Holcomb. “My boss would yell for me to bring him a match as he was on the phone and couldn't light his cigarette.”

Do you recognize this 1960s actor?

No, it's not Kevin Bacon's father.

This date in Slice history (1997)

Just wondering: What percentage of local residents would rather die than pay for parking at the airport?

This has nothing to do with politics

More than 20 years ago, photographer Dan Pelle and I went back to Washington, D.C., to spend some time with Rep. Tom Foley shortly before he became Speaker of the House.

You are welcome to your own opinion about him and his list of achievements. But one thing about him impressed me so much that I have never forgotten it.

He once managed to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time. 

Is it a normal Spokane thing…

…to still have a bottle of Pepto-Bismol from the 1980s? 

Headlines fondly recalled

Wonder what the new pope's thoughts are re: Diego Maradona's “Hand of God” goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup.

No, I don't really care. But this gives me a chance to recall a couple of my all-time favorite headlines, both from British tabs.

One captured the skepticism about that famous goal: “Handball of God.”

And then, when an English goalkeeper mishandled an easy shot and let in a stunningly weak goal against the U.S. just a few years ago, someone on a British news desk pulled no punches with: “Hand of Clod.”   

A message from attorney J. Scott Miller

“As I approach a dreaded milestone birthday on Sunday I want to thank everyone that celebrates with me,” he wrote. “Parades, corned beef and cabbage, green beer and Jameson's…it's all rather overwhelming. I can't remember the last time I had to pay for my own drink!” 

Would you read Spokane version?

You could, of course, shake your head and mutter “How jejune.”

But would you read it?

The problem with old cars

Maybe they are polluting.

It could be that some of them have certain mechanical reliability issues.

But if you are trying to transport a small flower arrangement from the store to your home, the lack of cupholders can seem like the biggest drawback. 

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day

Or maybe quite a few decades too early. Remember avocado appliances? Sure. You can still see them now and then at Spokane home-for-sale open houses in older neighborhoods.

Neil Young’s only No. 1 single

Which, of course, is no meaningful measure of his music.

This is from the spring of 1972.

“I've been a miner.”

Do potholes act to calm traffic?

It's an old Spokane question.

But after you have seen enough drivers barreling around craters in the road as if being timed on an obstacle course, you start to get the idea that potholes don't make everyone slow down.

KC Royals fan heading for the showers

Longtime SR stalwart Ryan “Pine Tar” Pitts says goodbye to the newspaper after this week.

He says he has an exciting new job lined up. And I believe him.

But newsrooms can be skeptical places. So there have been murmurs.

Is it mere coincidence that he is leaving just before the start of the baseball season?

Or, in a workplace populated by at least one fan of every other American League Central team, does this diehard Royals rooter simply want to avoid sharing another summer of water cooler banter about his field of broken dreams?

Might he be so bone-weary of pennant-race irrelevance that he would rather work from home than rub shoulders with, say, White Sox or Tigers fans?

I, for one, would not speculate on something so personal.

But perhaps you have dealt with Ryan. He has been our go-to web guy, after all. So feel free to weigh in.

Re: Fighting in hockey

Does it keep you from taking the sport seriously?

“Same old cornball”

On occasion, I am asked “What's in your column tomorrow?”

And “Same old cornball” is one of my favorite answers.

Refreshing modesty? Nah. It's a line from an old movie partly set at a newspaper.

Can you name that film? 

The Wednesday Slice question

It's likely that most if not all of the B-24s in which my father flew during World War II were built at this plant, the storied Willow Run complex in Michigan. Reading about that mammoth — now dormant — factory made me wonder.

Have you ever thought about trying to visit an industrial site that had special significance to someone in your family?

What was your takeaway from this?

I am assuming you first saw this when you were young.

A) Time eases a broken heart. B) A good dog is just about the best thing in the world. C) Growing up out in the country is the way to go. D) Love endures. E) The hydrophoby is bad news. F) A good dog abides. G) Sometimes your big brother shows you the way. H) Sometimes girls mean well. I) Love is love. J) Life is for the living. K) Life means pain. L) Trying to pretend you were not crying is futile. M) Other.

Your assignment, should you accept it

Look up the police department motto in a city where you used to live and report back.

I'm wondering how many alternatives to “To serve and protect” there are.

Simply finding the department's home page should do it.

For instance, St. Louis goes with “Service, Integrity, Leadership and Fair Treatment To All.”

The police department in Erie, Pennsylvania, opts for “To protect and serve.”

In Flagstaff, Arizona, it's “Service at a Higher Elevation.”

In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, it's “Committed to Excellence in Our Commiunity.” 

There must have been some issues in Binghamton, N.Y. That department's motto is “Restoring the Pride.”

But self-esteem appears to be in good supply in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the police slogan is “Protecting the Legend.” 

Imaginary geography

If, instead of with Idaho, Eastern Washington shared a border with Oklahoma or Alabama, what would be different?

No, I am not forgetting that Eastern Washington can be seriously conservative. And I am not really thinking of things like lakes, statewide racial profiles or college football recruiting.

Just mulling Idaho politics and how some people visualize the Northwest. 

Why Dagwood always needed a nap

A) C'mon. Have you forgotten what Blondie looked like? B) Feeling logy after eating a huge sandwich. C) Other.

“It’s a Hiawatha year!”

Which should not be confused with the year of the goat or other Chinese new year's designations.

So people used to bring real plates along on picnics?

And please note his stylish socks.

Do those ablaze with class resentments…

…find it hard to root for the GU basketball teams because the players are culturally elite college students? 

I cannot remember seeing one of these

And it seems like I would have noticed. My family actually had a Corvair, though not the wagon version show here.

Do you remember Hawkman?

Despite the hype here, Hawkman never really cracked the A list.

When TV news anchors act

Which faked emotion bugs you the most?

No. 1 song on this date in 1978

“We know how to do it.”

There are people in our area related to John Travolta.

Wondering about the gender barrier

Most of us like to believe we would have been on the right side if we had been around during moments of important social change in the past.

But there's no way to know.

I found myself thinking about that this afternoon when I saw some girls working as crossing guards outside their elementary school.

Would I have welcomed them to the fold back when I was part of an all-male sixth grade patrol-boy unit? Or would I have argued that they lacked the “necessities” to hold out a flag and tell some foot-dragging fourth grader to move his sorry ass?

No telling.

But I must say the girls I saw this afternoon seemed to be doing a fine job.

This is why you don’t talk about no-hitter

The SR newsroom had a modest celebration Thursday to note a recent stretch of exemplary accuracy.

So naturally, in the next day's paper, my column spelled someone's name wrong.

(Insert bad word here.)

I did not learn about it until this morning. It's going to be my first correction since 2010, if memory serves.

Still. (Insert even worse word here.)

Today’s vintage station wagon ad

Am I nuts to think this is a really cool-looking car?

One reason to buy The New York Times

Because the daily New York Times costs $2.50, I am routinely asked by cashiers how a newspaper can be worth that much.

I used to say something like “Well, I guess it depends on how much information is worth to you.”

That didn't always resonate. So I have new answer.

“The national obituaries.”  

Multiple choice

At what time of day would you assume the highest percentage of those out and about are under the influence of mind-altering substances?

A) 1:01 a.m. B) 2:30 a.m. C) 6 a.m. D) 3:30 p.m. E) Other. 

Understanding Canadians

A Canadian talking about growing up in the six-team era is referring to what?

A customer service move that matters

Perhaps you have noticed grocery checkers with no one in their lanes stepping out and actively looking for shoppers who might be ready to be rung up.

It has quickly become so standard that it has to be a management directive.

But here's the thing. Unlike many behaviors that start with a memo, this actually improves the shopping experience.

So, to whoever came up with this…Thanks. 

Considering “Enlightened” marathon?

Season 1 stops being available via On Demand on Tuesday.

Small news

Our 2011 Christmas poinsettia, the hardy plant I wrote about last December, has rebloomed.

Well, just a little. Still, the three-leaf burst of brilliant red could not be more striking.

Easter is still ways off. But I'm wondering if this is one poinsettia that refuses to be seasonally type-cast.

Final note re: pets on the bed

“I know I'm a little late to the game, especially since The Slice today said No More Pets on the Bed (items),” wrote Karyn Christner.

“My Yu kitty was due to have babies any day so I set up a nice 'nest' next to the bed for her. Middle of the night something wakes me up. Something wet on my head. Yes, a freshly-delivered kitten.

“Have that with your morning coffee, Lynda Post of Moscow!”

Now, now. Let's play nice.   

That’s the ticket

High school teacher Dave Jackson wonders if any babies have been conceived in the GU Kennel Club “Tent City” before a big game. And he further wonders what would be a creative name for such a child.

One more claustrophobia story

A reader told about getting in the trunk of a car with some friends who were sneaking into a drive-in movie years ago.

She freaked.

Before it was over, she had kicked loose the back seat of the car. 

Just wondering

How often do you suspect that someone's desire for his or her 15 minutes of fame overrode good judgment?

How could car girl get in that position?

Maybe Jerry's car has bucket seats and her bottom half is wedged between them.

Get ready to watch your back

The Ides of March is just a week away.

Sometimes you just don’t like a song

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

Of course, this was a time when the Top 40 could not have been less relevant to pre-legalization fans of FM and 23-minute drum solos.

This date in Slice history (1996)

She's not alone: “Caroline Levine's biological clock is ticking loudly. She is 57 years old and has no grandchildren.” — from The Wall Street Journal

Fill in the blanks

“I used to live in (       ), and I can tell you that nobody like (      ) could have gotten elected there.” 

Know any veterans of the Korean War?

That conflict included some of the most ferocious hand-to-hand combat of the 20th century.

I once went on a long drive with a newspaper photographer who had seen action there as a foot soldier. This time spent with him was almost 30 years ago. But I still remember his descriptons of being dug in and waiting for the next wave of Chinese troops.

Nobody admits to being a bad driver

But you might have noticed that there are a few out there.

So how would you explain the discrepancy?

Coming in Friday’s Slice

The column's annual random reference to the movie “Shane.”

Is your dog a news hound?

No, not like this. I meaning phoning in news tips and such.

One reason to not rip your boss in emails

You might accidentally send it to the person you are badmouthing.

I knew a guy who did exactly that. He found himself invited to explore new employment opportunities.

A most unlikely newspaper promo

If you look carefully at the front page of the paper Morticia is reading, you will see a line of top-of-the-page promos.

“Complete N. Y. Stocks  Comics Section  Feature Writers”

Feature writers? I have been looking at newspapers for a long time, and I don't recall ever seeing a real one use that as a page-one come-on. I just can't imagine that conversation taking place on the night news desk.

“What do you want to promo across the top of A1?”

“Do we still have any feature writers?”

“Yeah. I think so. I never see them.”

“Well, tout that.”

“Consider it done.”

A magazine that’s not about our region

This IE, as you already guessed, is the one east of Los Angeles.

Which comes first in the Spokane area?

Bike commuting season is in full swing.

Or babied/pampered restored autos emerge from the garage and can be seen on the streets.  

I ask you

Has Spokane had a decent place to smoke cigars since Playfair closed?

How many GU fans can say this?

When I first saw a Gonzaga basketball game, the Bulldogs were in the Big Sky Conference. 

This date in Slice history (1995)

Note to Lucille Leonard of Moses Lake: Our legal department is reviewing your claim that we owe you a new bra. (She disassembled one of hers so she could send us the underwire, demonstrating that some are, in fact, made of plastic.)

Re: Today’s Slice column spillover

Here are a few more answers to the question about readers discovering that they were/are claustrophobic.

 “Back in the late 1970s we were trying to get our son Wesley to do an MRI,” wrote Ken Stout. “He was scared of it and I volunteered to slide in to show him how safe it was. I told them in no uncertain terms to slide me back out.”

Jeffrey Neuberger never thought of himself as claustrophobic. An MRI forced him to reassess.

Ray Blowers recalled a different sort of experience. “It happened eons ago when I was just a tot, but I still shudder when the frightening episode comes back to me. It had to do with a discarded area rug on our front porch. Some neighborhood bullies decided to roll me up in it just for laughs. I was hysterical by the time my mother rescued me.”

Barbara Lee was touring a network of caves in South Africa in 1970. “You were supposed to go down one part of the cave, go through a tube (a very small tube) and come back up the other side. I was certain I was stuck in the tube and would never see the light of day again. Needless to say, a great deal of panic ensued and I have NEVER been back in a cave since.”

Diane Newcomer was about 11 when visiting a series of caves in Oregon. “We came to a place where the guide told us it was our last chance to leave the tour. I stayed, being too shy to leave my parents. To this day, I think I made the wrong choice.”

Medical Lake's Douglas Jasmer shared this. “We were driving in Austria and entered the Arlberg tunnel. I don't know how long it was but because it had a couple of curves you could not see the other end. I had this feeling of it pressing down on us. I had to get out. The feeling left when I could see the opening coming up. We took another route back to our hotel.”

Once on a camping trip, Julie Prafke was sleeping in the back of a covered pickup truck. “I was sleeping next to the cab of the truck with our daughters in the middle and my husband on the outside. Sometime during the night I awoke to find myself wedged against the wall with no clearance on either side of me and the roof right above my head. I thought I'd been buried alive.”

Getting stuck by herself on an elevator in England helped Debbie Kitselman realize confined spaces were not her cup of tea.

And Bridget Freeman learned a lesson when she was a small child. “My many older siblings and I used to play a really stupid sort of tag in our basement on cement floors. We put zipped sleeping bags over our heads and proceeded to bounce off one another like bumper cars. Because I was the smallest, I always fell down first and became the bottom of the so-called dog pile. My palms are beginning to sweat and my heart rate is elevating even as I type these words!

“It was a terrible experience to be buried under five or six sleeping bag-clad bodies for what seemed like an eternity. The experience did teach me to be able to talk myself down while being stuck in enclosed spaces such as MRI tubes and airplanes. Nothing has ever been as bad as those childhood experiences and I simply remind myself of that.” 


True or false

In one of the movies, the Jason Bourne character spends some time in Spokane.

Do any Inland Northwest kids today…

…want to be farmers, miners or timber harvesters when they grow up? 

“There was time now”

Well, until the coming jump to Daylight Saving Time snatches away a precious hour.

Always have a pair of back-up glasses.

Re: Hollywood Erotic Boutique

I'm guessing there is little of the glamour one typically associates with “Hollywood”.

I suspect you won't find many film stars there, shopping for sex toys.

Still, you can't blame the owners for taking liberties with the name of the place. Truth in labeling might not work, marketing-wise.

You know, “Soul Deadening Erotic Boutique,” “Dildoes R Us,” “The Most Depressing Place on Earth,” or “Constitutionally Protected Ennui.”  

When there are no more cigarette butts

How will people satisfy the urge to flick small pieces of trash out the window of their vehicles? 

Re: Bombing China

What percentage of the U.S. population would be OK with taking drastic military measures against China until people there stop buying ivory?

Time-capsule questions for Abner Kravitz

When you were a young man, did it occur to you that you would never get to finish reading your paper in peace?

How often do you picture Mrs. Stephens naked?

Did you happen to notice that there were two different Darrins? (Same goes for Louise Tate and Darrin's father.)

What was it like working with Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York”?

Ever fantasize about approaching Mrs. Stephens and saying “I got your magic right here, Sweetie”?

What attracted you to Gladys when you first met?

Do you feel like “Bewitched” ever really captured your own private suburban hell?

There has been speculation that you were able to tolerate your wife's eccentric behavior because you were half drunk most of the time. Comment?

Why didn't Darrin and Samantha ever call you “Abner”?

Did you think Uncle Arthur was gay?

What was your reaction to Endora?

Could you have been to blame for the fact that Gladys, from all appearances, didn't have much of a life? 

The Wednesday Slice question

The Riverfront Park garbage goat is a fine start. But what other animal-themed contraptions might help improve our quality of life here in Spokane?

Happy birthday, Cookie Rojas

His real name is Octavio. When I was a kid, it did not occur to me that Spanish-speaking parents in Latin America would not actually name their sons things like “Cookie.” 

Your one-question U.S. geography quiz

In what state was today Town Meeting Day?

Is this Spokane’s No. 1 last name?

One current Spokane phone book has almost a full page of tiny-type Nelson listings.

Anderson is another contender. So are Jones and Wilson.

To say nothing of Johnson and Smith. 

Great movie moments at the lake

Dabney Coleman doing a Russian dance in “On Golden Pond.”

Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters in “A Place in the Sun.”

The court found him guilty.

The original stranger danger.

Was this bad form or is a bag just a bag?

Last weekend, I saw a woman in Huckleberry's using a Trader Joe's shopping bag.

What? There were other generations?

A Slice reader wrote to say he has nothing against baby boomers. But he added, “My generation (say about 1930-1945) has become the anonymous generation.”

Would you get the reference?

If the SR started putting “Our Price 75 cents Cheap” on its vending boxes?

Ready to jump to DST this weekend?

I'm not. Though it might be a good occasion for launching a self-improvement regimen.

Remember, it's Daylight Saving Time, not Savings.

Did you see this 2005 concert?

If you were going to refer to yourself by a one-word nickname, what would it be?

Take me to the river

What on God's green Earth is going on with those two near the water?

Looks like he is playing first base off the wrong foot. And what's going on with her skirt?

You be the editor

What did you think of how the SR played the GU No. 1 thing?

A) Just right.. B) Overkill. It's just sports. C) Totally appropriate. It's a big, big deal. D) To have done less would have suggested the paper is wedded to a dated model of what is A1 news. E) To have done less would have suggested that the paper simply is out of touch with the community. F) I'm OK with it, just so long as the night desk would have been willing to rip up that planned front page if something big had happened early Monday night. G) It was OK with me. But what if GU does something in the tournament? Planning to take 100 percent of A1? H) Totally right call. There will never be another first time being No. 1. I) A bit boosterish for my tastes, but I know a case could be made for it. J) I think it's a treat for the paper's readers. Maybe it will goose rack sales for one day, but I suspect those are a tiny portion of your overall circulation. K) Those who disapprove can always write angry letters to the editor. L) Give me a break. We all haven't drunk the “Zags” Kool-Aid, you know. M) It was an appropriate salute for a good-news Spokane milestone many years in the making. N) Other.    

Just west of the Big Empty


That old line about Spokane being the biggest city between Seattle and Minneapolis has always seemed absurd. The comebacks are too obvious.

“So, in other words, you mean there are no big cities between Seattle and Minneapolis.”

“What about Denver?”

Et cetera.

But this map showing plans for a TV advertising campaign almost makes you wonder if there were any television stations between Spokane and the Midwest 50 years ago.     

No. 1 song on this date in 1980

If you found this song to be an annoying little trifle, I will not say ye nay. 

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice column

An invitation to go off about people not understanding your allergies to pets.

A baby visits the SR newsroom

A colleague brought her infant son to the newsroom today.

So that handsome lad will one day be able to have a conversation along these lines.

“I've been in a newspaper newsroom.”

“A newsroom? What is it?”

“It's a big office space with reporters and editors. But that's not important right now.” 

Hope your family never saw one of these

I was reading about a big March 4, 1944, bombing mission against Berlin when I came across this telegram.

From what I have read, the attacks on Berlin at this time were not so much about strategic targets as they were about forcing the Luftwaffe to engage. The idea was to wear down German air defenses before D Day. There would be heavy losses on both sides. The Allies had replacements. The Germans didn't.

Of course, there was a price to pay. An unimaginable price. 

Ever see one of these?

The Schwinn Cycle Truck.

I think my grandmother got grocery deliveries from a guy who rode one of these.

Would you call McCarthey “palatial”?

In a long story on GU basketball in Sunday's editions, a writer for The New York Times described the McCarthey Athletic Center as “palatial”.

Agree? Disagree? Have no idea?

See you in October

There was a decent turnout for the season's last day of skating at Riverfront Park's Ice Palace yesterday. One tiny boy in hockey gear motored around in a steady, sure manner, making at least one onlooker wonder if he started skating while still sleeping in a crib.

Every picture tells a story

When I see people who appear to be visitors to our city taking pictures of each other, I sometimes offer to take one for them that would include everyone in the group.

I realize I am not the only person who does this.

But I recently had a thought. Why aren't people worried that I will simply take off with the camera or phone?

I'd like to think it's because I seem trustworthy. But maybe it has more to do with the fact that I don't look like a fast runner.

Or perhaps tourists mistakenly think everyone in Spokane is honest and decent.  

Just wondering

Generally speaking, what do those who attend AA meetings think of the way such gatherings are depicted on TV and in the movies?

Did you think this song was dirty?

Did you think it was about outdoor intercourse? “Over and over.”

“Crimson and Clover” was No. 1 on this date in 1969. 

When does spring begin?

A) Vernal equinox. B) Easter. C) It began this past weekend. D) Just before that last snowfall. E) It has something to do with baseball. F) When certain adults start saying “Spring break? We didn't get no spring break. Why, back in my day….” G) When you find yourself looking out the window and muttering about your lawn-obsessed neighbor already doing yard work. H) Other. 

This date in Slice history (1997)

Today's Slice question: To get along in Spokane, it is necessary to at least pretend that you know what?

This date in Slice history (1998)

If you have no interest in basketball, now would be a good time to leave the country.

This date in Slice history (1996)

After 17 years of marriage, it's not news to Maureen Shogan that her husband, Joe, likes sports.

“However, it wasn't until we returned from seeing 'Phantom of the Opera' (in Seattle) that I knew how much he really enjoyed athletic events,” she wrote, “When asked about the show, he related to friends that he got sleepy before 'the end of the first half' and that they 'didn't use all the starters.'”

I have to admit that this would be cool

Early next week you might find yourself on the phone or exchanging emails with someone in a different part of the country.

Let's say it is someone who is a decent person but who, you suspect, isn't all that impressed with Spokane.

He'll say: “So, did I just see that Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in the country?”

And you say: “Oh yeah, I guess that's right.”

He'll say: “No. 1. That's something.”

And you say: “Yeah, they are having an OK season.”

Heh heh heh.

Another problem Spokane does not have

Dinosaurs regarding the city as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Of course, we don't have the young Raquel Welch either.

Every time a bell rings…

I was on the north side of Riverside downtown, walking east.

Up ahead, a guy in a motorized wheelchair was careening along on the sidewalk in an erratic manner. He made a bat-turn onto Howard. And I heard bells.

In a moment, I got up behind him and saw that hanging on the back of his scooter-chair were a couple of ornament-like bells.

I caught up with him. When I turned to face him, I got the impression he was a bit out of it for one reason or another. In all honesty, I think he was (expletive deleted)-faced. But I went ahead and asked him my question.

“What's with the bells?”

I had to ask a couple more times before he figured out the nature of my inquiry. But eventually, he had an answer.

“Every time Obama (expletive deleted) over the country, they ring.”

I suggested that him driving like an (expletive deleted) might have more to do with it.

But it didn't seem as if we had established the basis for fruitful dialog, so we happily went our separate ways.

Reading a newspaper and drinking beer

Bowling? City Hall? Nah. The guys in this 50-year-old ad are no doubt talking about how it wouldn't kill them to help out a little around the house.

Is Father Chuck in the all-time Top 10?

You know, in a ranking of great movie characters over the years.

Reading the paper means making choices

What annual events that the SR never fails to cover do you always make sure to not read a word about? 

Looking ahead

It's March. Easter is on the last day of this month.

Once again, it's on a Sunday this year. 

March Fools Day

It there actually was such an occasion, how would we observe it?

Disco alert

This was the No. 1 song on this date in 1976.

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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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