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The Slice

Archive for April 2014

No. 1 song when Expo 74 opened

I guess they had dropped “Railroad” by this time..

Wait, there's more.

When you were a short-timer

Can you recall people dealing with you in a way that made it abundantly clear they didn't give a damn about you?

Something I saw on Twitter yesterday reminded me of this.

Once, when it had just been announced that I would be leaving one newspaper to go work for another, a colleague approached me. We were not close friends, but I expected some version of “Sorry to hear you're leaving.”

Not quite.

What he said was, “Do you know what they are going to do about filling your column space?”

Understanding Expo-era America

If you were not around to experience it or were not a young person at the time, you might want to include this in your research.

How to tell that you are not Frank Sinatra

When you address someone as “Chicky Baby,” you simply sound ridiculous.

The Wednesday Slice Question

Considering the elevation of where you live…If floodwaters threatened your home, how bad would this natural disaster be for others in our area?

The blossoms bonus

So you're standing beneath a flowering tree, all but gawking at the profusion of blossoms.

Then you see it, up high. A nest.

You look hard, to make sure. But there can be no mistaking it.

Is it active or a holdover?

You can't hear anything. There are no comings or goings. Not at that moment anyway.

You can look again later. You will look again later.

For the moment, all you can do is wish them luck. If they're there.

If anyone is home.   

Marijuana brownies as food page story

How do you think SR readers would react to that if it showed up some Wednesday morning?

I think I once volunteered to write that story, though my experience with the subject is extremely limited and involves no 21st century sampling. I guess it would require some, what do they call it, oh yeah — reporting.

But it is also a time-honored newsroom tradition to sit on your ass and pipe up with “You know, someone ought to do a story on…”

Today’s online search exercise

A while back, I suggested that we all look to see how many elementary schools across the country had the same name as the grade schools we actually attended.

But here's something different.

Are there any grade schools that have your name?

Why people are yelling in Spokane

A) They fear that a failure to do so will result in people being unclear about how they stand on issues of the day.

B) They spend a lot of time with the hard-of-hearing and sometimes forget to turn down the volume when speaking to others.

C) Exuberance.

D) The person from whom they get all their information always yells.

E) Insecurity.

F) Other.

Conflicted feelings

If you polled bicycle riders, you might expect to find that a significant percentage have a favorable view of electric cars.

In theory.

But out there on the road, it is a bit disconcerting to not be able to hear a car coming up behind you.

Who knows, though. Perhaps drivers of electric cars tend to be safer and more considerate than average.

I thought most people spent time online

But I guess that must not be the case.

I mean, how else would you explain the ability of so many Americans to be repeatedly surprised when yet another lunkhead says something moronic?

Finish this sentence

My spouse/significant other's family tree includes…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

If one of those half-hour commercials for this comes on, be careful.

You might think, “Oh, I'll listen for a few minutes. Some of those old country songs were pretty good. What harm can it do?”

I'll tell you. You can watch that commercial on Saturday and on Tuesday morning still be hearing Cowboy Copas singing “I'm going back to Alabam.”

Marketing to 10-year-old boys

“Hey, I thought that was all about kissing and stuff.”

“Oh, no. It's an adventure story.”

Trading sex for potato salad

See Tuesday's Slice column.

One question Spokane trivia challenge

What was the name of the giant robot bearing down on Spokane in an issue of Iron Man years ago?

Where did 1967 Monkees tour end?

That's right. Spokane. I'm sure I have noted this before, but it remains one of my Top 100 bits of useless Spokane trivia.—british-tour.html

Remembering Bloomsday 1988

Sandy Felsenthal, a photographer I had worked with before coming to Spokane, was going to shoot the 1988 Bloomsday for National Geographic magazine. He asked me if he could join our staff photographers up in the Review Tower on that Sunday morning.

I introduced him to the SR people who could make that call. And he was given the green light.

Then, with Bloomsday drawing near, that permission was withdrawn. I never did understand what happened. But I have always suspected one particular idiot was behind the decision.

So anyway, Sandy rented this big-ass crane and had it set up on Riverside. (I suspect the city green-lighted this because of the nature of his assignment.) As a result, he was actually IN the pictures taken from behind him up in the Review Tower.

If it looked like that big white crane was flipping off the SR, well, that was fine with me.

Thanks, Stanley Cup playoffs

For reminding me of the downside of watching anything live on non-premium channels.

Even muted, there are some commercials that, seen often enough, make a person want to harm himself and/or others. 

With wedding season approaching

One thing is virtually certain.

Some people who will suggest stopping at every roadside historical marker will marry people who want to keep driving.

Been meaning to get around to that

I wonder who is the current Spokane area record-holder for having a book the longest time without ever getting around to reading it.  

Construction cranes in downtown Spokane

How does seeing them make you feel?

A) Encouraged. B) Optimistic but mindful that downtown still faces multiple challenges. C) As a registered downtown hater, I can only assume that it is some sort of Cowles conspiracy. D) What do cranes downtown have to do with me? E) Other.

Talker’s remorse

I recently attended an informal gathering of about a dozen co-workers.

And I talked too much.

I didn't divulge any inappropriate secrets or commit some hideous gaffe (that I know of). I just talked too much.

My theory is that I happen to like every one of the people at this gathering. And I felt relaxed. Too relaxed.

What should I do?

A) Attend the next six such gatherings and not say a word, in the hopes that doing so will even things out.

B) Send an apology email to all who were in attendance.

C) Ask myself, “Do I ALWAYS talk too much?”

D) Don't sweat it, because people probably weren't even listening.

E) Say nothing. Bringing it up at this point would just sound like “And here's even more about me.”

F) Learn from it and move on.

G) Other. 

To guarantee that I’ll toss your offering

Respond to my follow-up request for a phone number by writing back “Our number is unlisted.”

If I hosted a Spokane radio talk show

I'd call it “The Shack” and would want a snippet of this song to be the musical intro.

Can you guess what part of the song I have in mind?

Former Spokane resident on the ropes

Do you know why?

And considering boxing's fading popularity, do you even know what that expression means?

The reality of bicycle commuting

Bike to Work Week is coming up next month.

I'm a fan. Taking part in the 2008 event changed my life, as they say. I'm still grateful to those who encouraged me to do it.

But at the risk of sounding like a traitor to the two-wheel movement, let me tell you something. Riding a bike to work just isn't for everyone.

I am able to do it because:

1) The distance is right.

2) My morning route is easy, so I don't arrive at the office in a lather.

3) If I need an automobile during the day, I have access to my company's fleet cars.

4) I don't have to pick up a child during the day and take the kid to the dentist, et cetera.

5) If my bike experiences a mechanical problem I can't deal with, I can either walk it the rest of the way or my wife can put our rack on the car and come get me.

6) I'm in reasonably good health.

So with all those factors in my favor, I wouldn't feel right saying everyone ought to do it. That would be a tad preachy.

But the work commute isn't the only opportunity for bike riding, of course. You could just ride in your neighborhood or to the store and back. You name it.

There's nothing wrong with starting slow.

So let me ask you. How long has it been since you rode a bicycle?

If it has been a while, I want to suggest something.

Consider giving it a try. You might discover the same thing I did.

Riding a bike feels good.

Sure, I need the exercise. But the real reason I'm still riding six years after that first Bike to Work Week is that it's fun.

And your little dog too

I have a question.

You know how you'll be ambling or rolling down the street and a poorly trained little dog being walked on a leash will hurl itself in your direction with all the ridiculous ferocity it can muster?

Sure. Happens with some regularity. The petite canine lunges with violent force and the person holding the leash pulls back as if trying to land a small marlin.

Well, here's what I wonder.

Why don't these dogs choke themselves into unconsciousness when doing this zero-to-60 routine?

Insufficient throw-weight? Rigid collars that don't cinch tightly around the neck?

If you have a theory, please share.

By the way, I have nothing against little dogs. Some of their owners, though, I could do without.

Coming in Friday’s Slice column

Ideas for observing a Spokane calendar confluence.

One of my favorite vintage ads

What's not to like?

I used this as one of my earliest posts back when The Slice Blog was first stumbling out of gate almost three years ago.

I love stuff that says “This has been a real city for a long time.”

Your family has deep roots here if …

It once was involved in fur trading.

(Feel free to complete that sentence in your own way.)

When newspaper editors piss you off

Looking at the maps of other Spokanes (previous blog posts) reminded me of a totally unsatisfactory exchange I had with The Washington Post a few years ago.

I had a question and still regard the answer as ludicrously inadequate. As if anyone outside Missouri hears “Spokane” and thinks of the hamlet in the Show Me State.

After clicking on this, go down to the sixth paragraph.

But seeing as how the well-regarded editor/columnist here passed away several years ago, it's probably time to let this go.

Have you watched this show?

What did you think?

How about this show?

Back when we made macrobrew

I wonder if the made-in-Spokane version was better?

I once had a Bud in St. Louis that really seemed way better than the usual. Maybe it was my imagination. 

Genre exhaustion

I know what you are thinking about the new zombie show to be shot locally.

You're thinking the whole zombies thing is played.

I thought the same thing about mob stories back when I first saw promos on HBO for “The Sopranos.”

You are not young anymore if you can

… remember when this gentleman was really, really big.

Recalling Karina Shagrengate

I can't remember why I asked. But about nine years ago, I invited readers to share their opinion of Karina Shagren, then a reporter at Channel 4.

She must have made some sort of impression on me.

Though I had not thought of that question as fishing for bashing remarks, some readers apparently did. They wrote and called to express their displeasure. I printed some of that testy feedback.

Ms. Shagren, on the other hand, sent me a “Thanks for the shout out!” email. Maybe she was trying to make lemonade out of a potentially bad situation. I don't know.

In any event, I think I ran readers' answers in several columns, including this one from this date in 2005.

Here's some more on Karina (see last item).

My sister-in-law’s summer camp angst

I wrote this six years ago. I have not been invited to contribute to the annual summer camps section since.

Your home vs. Stately Wayne Manor

A) Your place lacks a Bat Cave. B) You have no butler. C) You do not live with a tights-wearing ward. D) Nobody at Stately Wayne Manor sweats out basement radon levels. E) Other.

The Wednesday Slice question

What were the consequences when, as a kid, you first dropped an F bomb in the presence of a parent or guardian?

One difference between Umpqua, Sterling

Umpqua Bank's dress code isn't quite as relaxed.

Make of that what you will. 

How impressive were your curves?

This illustration makes it look like it was easy. But some backyard hurlers experienced chronic control problems.

Check this out.

How to put baby to sleep

A colleague's infant daughter was visiting the newsroom.

The woman, a fine reporter, showed her baby girl a printed City Council meeting agenda.

It’s a Spokane world, after all

A couple of ladies who are among my favorite correspondents noticed one another's names in The Slice and have reconnected decades after being high school friends.

They once went on a dress-up double date that included dinner at the Davenport.

He is STILL playing

This doesn't have his complete 2013-2014 stats. But he was in the Stars' game last night.

How to crack up your grandchildren

Open an upstairs window.

Lean out of it, assuming there is no screen.

Then, in a clear, strong voice, as if beginning a momentous statement, say “People of Earth…”

Urinating on campfires

Make a guess. What percentage of Inland Northwest males have done it?

1960 Spokane Indians

Yes, the famous Indians teams would arrive about 10 years later. But look at all the future big league players here.

If you were born on this date in 1967

“Somethin' Stupid” was the No. 1 song when you arrived on the scene.

No reason to take it personally.

At your workplace…

…what's the equivalent of infield chatter?


Here’s your answer

Ever been walking on a certain block on the north side of Riverside Avenue and found yourself wondering why there seemed to be such diversity represented by people milling about out on the sidewalk?

This might explain it.

Temporarily out of stock

If you look closely at the coupon, you can see that it actually says “I Can Dig It!”

Today’s Expo 74 trivia question

The command module from which Apollo moon mission was on display at the fair?

A late burst of speed

Janet Lake saw something in the paper this morning that caught her eye.

In a story about helping elderly people move to new residences, there was this: “The market is ripe, with Americans age 85 and older comprising the fastest segment of the population.”

“Of course, it should read “fastest-growing segment,” wrote Lake. “But I'm kinda looking forward to speeding up in another 10 years.”

An Easter skeptic

When Judy McKeehan's oldest son was 4, he decided that he didn't believe in the Easter bunny.

“You can't tell me that a bunny hops all over the world leaving baskets of eggs and candy,” he said.

So the boy's mom asked him. Who did he think did that?

He was ready with an answer. “A man in a bunny suit, of course.”

It says here…

Earth Day would be the perfect occasion to launch a self-improvement regimen.

Just wondering

Is there someone in your life, someone who lives far away, who just can't seem to remember the time zone difference?

Your history with dressing up

How did you learn to tie a necktie?

Your driver’s license weight

What will be the implications for its accuracy if you eat as much tomorrow as you probably will?

Why there are many angry people here

Here's Theory 73.

There are some people in our midst who have been mad ever since learning that the 1986 Hands Across America route would come nowhere near our part of the country.

Who’s on first

One problem with trying to use “I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it” from “Magic Bus” as a password is that it's 28 characters and that tends to be too long.

Trying to duplicate restaurant dishes

You were dining out and had something you really enjoyed.

So, after asking the waiter a few questions about its preparation, you later tried to make this dish at home.

How did that turn out?

One of my all-time favorite items

I had been looking in the archives for Slice column references to Easter eggs found months and months after Easter. There were several. But the linked column below is what caught my eye.

It's the first item.

Always look on the bright side of life

What was your reaction to “Monty Python's Life of Brian”?

A) Never heard of it. B) Loved it. C) Didn't actually see it, but I was offended. D) Have seen it many times. E) “Oh, life's a …” F) Other.

The time I was saved by religion

One day, when I was a general assignments reporter at the morning paper in Tucson, one of the assistant city editors asked me to check something out.

It seems someone was targeting a home with a very specific sort of vandalism, if you could call it that.

The unknown culprit was partially filling paper grocery bags with dog droppings and setting the bags ablaze on someone's porch. I can't remember if it had happened more than once.

Was this retribution for dog-walking crimes committed by the targeted homeowner?

Some dumb kids being dumb kids?

Some sort of neighborhood feud?

Or worse, did it have something to do with racial or ethnic resentments?

The editor didn't really know. And I seem to recall he was aware that this might not be much of a story.

Anyway, I was about to leave the newsroom and drive over to the scene of the incident. But by this time, the editor had started a conversation about having a photographer meet me there.

And our new Photo/Visuals editor, a guy named Chuck Freestone who had come to us from the Seattle P-I, was putting his foot down.

This was a Thursday, and he didn't think a Metro-front report about bags of flaming dog waste was something we wanted to greet our readers with on Good Friday morning.

So the upshot was that we wouldn't be doing the story. I think Chuck and the assistant city editor got into it a bit, but only one thing mattered to me.

I was off the hook.

How would you react?

You're in a room working on some non-computer task at a desk.

Some other member of your household comes into the room for just a moment. Then, as that person leaves, he or she turns off the light. Suddenly you are in the dark.

A) Quietly mutter a four-letter word. B) Say “Thank you!” C) Say “Hello?” D) Resist the temptation to assume the individual regards you as a non-person. E) Assume the person who snapped off the light is deep in thought. F) Remember a classic “Peanuts” strip where Linus is watching TV and Lucy walks over and turns it off. Linus offers up a loud, lengthy protest. Then, his indignation spent, he admits the show he had been watching wasn't any good. G) Other.

Honor roll of long-ago PCL opponents

And I noted the other day that the player whose minor league stats are below pitched against the Spokane Indians (in a mid-season exhibition game) as a member of the American League's Seattle Pilots. But he also had a couple of stints as a player on PCL teams.

Back when broadsheets were broad

In this movie scene, the character played by Donna Reed is…

A) Just closing up the library. B) Waiting for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. C) Looking for news about the police investigation after her boyfriend killed Quinton McHale in a knife fight. D) Looking in the classifieds for deals on labradoodle pups. E) Waiting for Sam Wainwright to call. F) Wondering if she will have a daughter who will have a hit song with a recording of “Johnny Angel.” G) About to say “Hee-Haw! How about going easy on the sauce!” H) Other.

A reason why someone seems rattled

He or she turns into his or her driveway from a busy street and, despite switching on the turn-signal a block away, has to deal with almost being rear-ended by inattentive speeders several times a week.

If Abba had played Spokane 40 years ago

What would you have been willing to pay for a ticket?

2014 Pulitzer finalist I danced with in 1981

As I recall, Cynthia Hubert, now of the Sacramento Bee, was an intern who was so good she got hired fulltime by my paper in Arizona.

I didn't know her well, but I remember her as a good person.

Check this out.

Thinking about sex at church

I was thinking about Easter.

That got me thinking about how people used to dress up for church.

That reminded me of a column I wrote long ago and far away about how women tended to look quite fetching in their Sunday finery.

And that made me wonder if I could go online and find a piece from the Chicago Tribune spun from that column.

After George Bailey died unexpectedly

Mary left Bedford Falls and took up with Don Drysdale in Los Angeles. What do you suppose the Dodgers hurler is thinking at the moment this picture was taken?

When “B” stood for “Spokane”

As in, “He has little chance of making the big club.”

In the wake of the news

So how many other Spokane cyclists are carrying shotguns?

When people in EW make fun of Idaho

Do they ever stop and think that, without Western Washington's domination of state politics, Eastern Washington might give the Gem State a run for its money when it comes to a certain brand of political high jinks and arguably blind antipathy for government? 

Guaranteed* conversation starter

What was your dad's opinion about white-wall car tires?


* For listening audiences made up of individuals born before 1965 who grew up in a quasi-“Wonder Years” setting.

Slice Blog back to normal tomorrow

Normal, of course, being a relative concept.

Thanks for putting up with today's Easter basket of reruns.

Just wondering

What's the No. 1 sign that an office chair is worn out and needs to be replaced?

The Wednesday Slice question

How often do you come home from the grocery with something you didn't intend to buy because, when picking up two of something, you failed to confirm that the can behind or the package beneath the item you did mean to select was not the same item?

This date in Slice history (1996)

Since these are obviously blog filler, why so many from 1995, 1996 and 1997? Didn't The Slice actually start in 1992?

Yes, but for some reason, the years mentioned above are easiest to access. Not sure why.

True or false

College students who have part-time jobs are more successful socially because others view them as having a little grit and substance and they also have that whole working-class hero thing going for them.

Which Rockies are more grand?

The mountains on the U.S. side of the border or the range in Canada?

WHL players on NHL rosters

This list is not quite up to date. But it does give you an idea of just how many players in the Chiefs' league make it to the National Hockey League.

Does your tax return include any lies?

“I listed my Marmot Lodge dues as a tax deductible donation,” wrote insurance man Curt Olsen. “Should I be concerned about this?”

Curt, I recommend standing on the 18th amendment if you are audited.

To paraphrase Ed Norton from “The Honeymooners”… Just say you were drunk when you filled out your return.

Just wondering

Ever make a point of shaking the hand of someone that you know badmouths you behind your back but is way too much of a coward to say anything to your face?

Pulitzer winner that stunned journalism

If you have never heard of Janet Cooke, “Jimmy's World” and the fake story that humiliated The Washington Post, you owe it to yourself to spend a few minutes Googling one of journalism's all-time embarrassments.

Brace yourself

The 49 weeks of the Stanley Cup playoffs starts in a day or two.

Isn’t this a contradiction?

If you live in Spokane, it's a good bet that you have encountered people who have a “get a job, ya bum” attitude and yet hate public transit (which might assist said bums in getting to a place of employment). 

Just wondering

Have you seen any wasps yet?

Did you watch the DC5 thing on PBS?

As someone who spent allowance money on several Dave Clark Five 45s, I approached the documentary with eager anticipation.

But it was so overblown, it was a bit of a chore to watch.

Yes, they were an important British Invasion band. They had lots of hits. And, as Bruce Springsteen noted, there was something exciting about their loud, sax-infused sound.

But any notion that they were in the Beatles' league is, of course, silly.

How many people do you know who could name any of the other four guys in the DC5?

Still, it was fun to hear some of the old songs again. If only the two-hour show had been half as long.

The week Farley died saving April

It was this week in April, in 1995.

You didn't have to love “For Better or For Worse” to be moved by this series of strips.

You just had to know what it was like to love a dog.

How did your family wind up out West?

This week in April of 1846, the Donner Party set out for California from Illinois.

“Mad Men” report: No Spokane mention

It's beginning to look like it might not happen again.

Does it make you 10% better-looking?

To have a little redness in your face from being out in the sun over the weekend.

A) Yes. But maybe just 5%. B) I'm not 16. My mind doesn't work that way. C) I am not white so this isn't really applicable to me. D) Yes. It makes me look young and vital. E) Who cares? F) I've noticed that it makes co-workers want to kiss me. G) A certain kind of smile is what makes a person better-looking. H) Other.

Are you the right age to remember?

Once upon a time it was common for high school coaches to have strict rules about boys' hair length.

About 40 or so years ago, this was a big issue. A cultural collision, you might say.

Sounds silly, I suppose. It's just hair, for heaven's sake.

But more than a few coaches saw themselves as defenders of societal values that seemed under attack. And some high school athletes wanted to let their freak flag fly, as they say.

Some coaches adjusted. Some didn't.

And a few had to reconcile themselves to the fact that at least some of their best players had minds of their own. .

Cashiers don’t really listen

From a few minutes ago.

Cashier (a young lady who looked about 20): “Got any fun plans for the rest of the weekend?”

Me: “Miscellaneous tasks.”

Cashier: “Sounds good.”

THAT sounds fun?

I might as well have said “Julia Ormond wanted to come over and try on sweaters and horse around on the couch but I had to remind her that I am married.”

“Sound good.”

The case for studded tires…

…is not strengthened by the sound of drivers roaring around on them on April 13th.

If you don’t need a secret guns cache…

…what DO you need to hide behind a wall in your dwelling?

Kitten tries to console Super Girl

Should she try wearing normal clothes?

Maybe the tears have turned Super Girl's hand into an attractive salt lick?

Salute Expo by adopting 1974 hair styles

Back in 2004, I suggested that we all do that.

Yes, I noted at that time that many of us already sported '70s hair styles.

Several guys who had gone bald since 1974 wrote and said “I wish I could.”

OK, the photo above is actually more like 1977 hair. But you get the idea.

Can you usually tell…

…if someone used to be a member of the Student Council?

Ever own a “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” lunch box?

I loved that show, though I can't remember why.

That scene depicted on the lunch box looks a lot like the work of a certain MAD magazine artist.

If you were on a first date…

…and the person you were with honked at another driver in an insanely hostile way, would there be a second date?

How about if your date gave the waitress a boatload of grief over some minor thing?

Do as I say, not as I did at your age

I was almost home this afternoon when I saw a couple of other cyclists ahead of me on a fairly busy street.

The bike riders were girls who might be sixth graders.

Both had helmets, but they were not wearing them. The helmets dangled from their handlebars as they approached an even busier street.

Even though I realized I had approximately zero chance of influencing their behavior, I started rehearsing what I might say to them if we ended up side-by-side.

That didn't happen. Still, I wonder what might have been the best thing to say.

A) “Girls, those helmets won't do you much good if you aren't wearing them.” B) “Boys won't be able to admire your pretty hair if you're dead.” C) “Maybe you could use your helmets as planters.” D) “You two certainly are quite the rebels.” E) “I recognize that some people are down on bike helmets because they think it makes cycling seem more dangerous than it is. But those people already have head-related problems.” F) Say nothing and let the fact that I'm wearing a helmet speak for itself. G) Other.     

All things U-boats

Do you remember some of the sites you visited when you first started using the Internet?

I do. Here's one. Apparently it is still going strong. (This interest stemmed from some World War II books I was reading at the time.)

Facing TV’s equivalent of the change-up

You know how, in baseball, pitchers try to keep batters off balance by varying the speed of their offerings? Sure.

Well, I'm convinced that the people who fit commercials into TV shows do something similar.

Sometimes the commercial interruption lasts seemingly just a few seconds. Other times, it goes on for minutes and minutes.

The aim of this tactic is pretty obvious. Broadcasters know we record shows and watch them later. Then viewers fast-forward through the commercials.

But when you aren't sure how long the commercial break will last, you tend to be tentative about your fast-forwarding. You might resume normal speed too soon and end up accidentally watching a little of some of the commercials.

Or you might zoom past the point where the show resumes and then back up too far.

In any event, successful commercials-avoidance requires a steady hand on the remote.

If only this had been a better song

Imagine how much fun it would be to hear it now and then.

Alas, “Memphis” or “Kansas City” it's not. Heck, it's not even as good as “Lodi.”

Today’s pulp fiction treasure trove

I'll give it a rest for a while after this.

Can you name the “Best Picture” Academy Award movie in which a character talks about what a great writer Mickey Spillane is?

Two key questions

1. Who around here has set foot on the greatest number of Air Force bases that now do not exist?

2. What was it like to grow up as a kid who used an inhaler and see every inhaler-user in movies and TV shows be depicted as a loser?

Two reasons cats at work is a bad idea

1. Some of your co-workers might be allergic.

2. Felines lounging on computer keyboards could harm productivity.

Coming in Thursday’s Slice column

My suggestion: Many of those who criticize high-profile people who leave Spokane to take exciting new jobs are utterly unfamiliar with what it is like to have career options.

Also, was going to ask how many pit bull owners graduated from high school, but decided that might not be fair to the two or three who did.

What’s that? Hawaiian noises?

See if you can guess what word in “Money for Nothing” cable TV's Music Choice felt necessary to censor?

Yes, it's a slur. But can't we assume that listeners understand that the character being played by the singer is being presented as a bitter dolt?

The change didn't ruin the song for me. But I prefer hearing it the way Mark Knopfler intended.

I guess this isn't a new issue, though.

Find the backward N

If you are a sports fan, I recommend spending some time with that fun site.

This slogan strikes me as mildly amusing

Of course, it might be because I am adding on “…isn't it?” when I read that.

The Wednesday Slice question

What, if anything, would you change about the way the Spokane news media (SR included) cover crime?

Did you ever get sent up on the roof?

You know, to jiggle a TV antenna that probably had more to do with wishing and witchcraft than any real technological connection to picture quality.

I wonder how many of those 1960s staples got turned into art projects?

You make the call

Let's say you write for a print/online news organization in beautiful Spokane, Wash.

One of your readers calls your attention to something said about you in another Spokane publication. That mention makes an assumption about some silly thing you wrote last year. The assumption is wrong. But you are sick of dealing with the aftermath of that particular blog post.

What would you do?

How many diapers have you changed?

A) Approximately a trillion. B) Less than 10. C) 100,000. D) Would have to be expressed in algebraic terms. E) Which century are we talking about? F) Zero. G) Other.

What do you say when…

…you unintentionally trigger a heightened startle response from a stranger in public?

A woman was staring into a glass-doors freezer case at a grocery store yesterday afternoon. I gave her a minute and then decided I could open a door and reach what I wanted without requiring her to move.

“Excuse me,” I said in a calm, friendly tone.

She yelped. Loud.

I smiled and said, “You remind me of my wife.”

I don't think she heard that. She was still coming down from being startled.

“Obviously I was deep in thought,” she said in a way that absolved me of blame. 

Mickey Rooney’s most unfortunate role

It was in “Breakfast at Tiffany's.”

Things They Don’t Teach in J-School

Almost 25 years ago, the SR features section — it was still called Empire Life then — conducted a readers' poll regarding the comics page. Which strips should we discard? Which new ones should we add?

Lots of subscribers filled out ballots and mailed them in.

Others tabulated the votes. But I was asked to write a story summarizing the results.

One problem. The newspaper's editor decided to overrule the survey's findings.

I can't remember to what extent we had pledged to absolutely abide by the readers' voting. But suddenly the whole survey process was relegated to “advisory” status.

In another words, the balloting was all but ignored.

Not sure how I handled that in the summary. But it's not easy to type when you are holding your nose.

Pretty sure there’s a typo in byline

I believe that should be Mike “Lynch.”,2066094&dq=rossland+warriors&hl=en

Also, can you spot the Spokane guy in the adjacent NFL game summaries?

Pet peeve

It bugs me when broadcast media types refer to any and all college athletes who have used up their NCAA eligibility as having “graduated.”

One doesn't necessarily imply the other.

Don’t want light jacket season to end

Sure, most people around here want it to be Death Valley hot asap.

But a few of us hope light-jacket season lasts a while longer. When it's over, we miss the pockets.

It's harder to organize your life when you don't have on a light jacket.

Grooming and punctuating the week

I'm not sure what the equivalent might be for women.

But for guys who go the whole weekend without shaving, reaching for the razor on Monday morning can feel like the unofficial start of the work week.

It's sort of like “OK, let's do this.”

No one is forced to wear bike shorts

It's a self-inflicted apparel decision.

Did you know…

…that there is a sport in which competitors are timed as they run up the stairs in some of the world's tallest buildings?

How would you have done at that when you were at your most fit?

Seems pretty brutal. Not only would the exertion be punishing but you have to be smart about pace. I have read that once you lose your breath there is no getting it back while running up stairs — no matter what kind of shape you're in. 

How long before these are collectibles?

Remember Spokane Metro magazine?

One of life’s small pleasures

Passing along the business card of someone you trust to a person who had asked you for a recommendation.

I used to give this woman the finger

In public. From half a block away.

It was an inside joke. We were and are friends. I like her husband, too.

But I decided to stop doing that when I realized onlookers who were unaware of the backstory might assume I was something less than a gentleman. Plus, it was played.

Do you have a similar story?

No? OK. Well, have a good weekend.

Just wondering

How long do you have to go without seeing a certain woman on your block before you suspect her husband is a Lars Thorwald? 

If you Google “TPS report cat”

You get a slew of images.

But leave off the quote marks when you do the search.

From Spokane to the World Series

In 1958, Sherry spent much of the season in Spokane.

In 1959, he won two games for the Dodgers in the World Series.

How old were you when you realized…

…these adventures were a tad prosaic?

A) 4. B) 13. C) 10 . D) 16. E) What?

Curtis Stone in celebrity birthdays list

Yes, I saw that.

Turns out the Curtis Stone in question is in a country band. And, no, he's not the inveterate writer of letters to the editor.

But for .000001 of a second…

Warning: 1970s hair straight ahead

After opening, be sure to scroll down to see additional photos.

An easy local trivia question

Before they were known as the Eagles, Eastern's sports teams were called what?

You make the call on these headlines

After opening this, check out the Chron front page that will appear on the right.

Would you have stacked the headlines that way?

Remember Maureen O’Boyle?

If you don't, feel free to move on.

To the best of my knowledge, she is the only person who once worked in Spokane and appeared as herself in “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Forget Hollywood

Because of the angle of sunlight at our latitude, I think you could make the case that wearing sunglasses all day in Spokane makes more sense than it does in certain affectation-embracing showbiz meccas.

Were you part of the Pepsi generation?

They are so happy. And it's all thanks to sugar water in vaguely phallus-shaped bottles.

Hey, Kids! What’s that in his hand?

Can you identify the device Larry Tate is using in this scene from “Bewitched”?

One of the challenges facing newspapers

Though, admittedly, this sort of thing is not an everyday concern.

The Wednesday Slice question

Yesterday afternoon, a gull screeched while gliding over a South Hill parking lot.

A little boy, maybe 4 years old, said “Look Dad, an eagle.”

OK, he's just a little guy. No harm done. But it made me wonder.

Considering that we live here in “Near Nature” country and so many among us enjoy camping, hiking and what not, do you think kids here know a bit more about wildlife than typical American children?

If today is your 30th birthday

This was the No. 1 song on the day you arrived.

Yes, I saw the Kevin Bacon thing on the “Tonight” show last month.

Did you know that Spokane's Don Hamilton once photographed Loggins for a record cover?

Charles Rowe to return to KREM news

No, that's not true.

But did you know he was in an episode of “The Rockford Files”?

Remember this?

I passed George Plimpton on a sidewalk in San Francisco one time. Didn't say anything to him.

If you had been given a chance to say something to him, what would it have been?

Unusual name for a B-17

I have seen lots of photos of WWII bomber nose art. But I hadn't seen the word “potato” on a Flying Fortress before.

“Real Housewives of Spokane County”

Casting agents are in town. Contact The Slice Blog for more info.

Profiling Spokane’s litterers

It's the same every spring.

Winter fades away and reveals all kinds of litter.

And once again, I am forced to the conclusion that those in Spokane who toss trash out of car windows drink lousy beverages, eat crumby food, smoke cigarettes despite all the evidence and purchase moronic products of all sorts.

“Oh, to be 39 again”

Was talking with a colleague about a baseball player who is considered old at 39.

As both of us reached that milestone back in the previous century, it was sort of amusing to imagine 39 being over the hill — even if the sports world admittedly is a special circumstance.

That's when he uttered the line I quote above.

Later, I got to thinking about it. And I believe a case could be made that 39 is a great age. One of the best, actually.

You're old enough to know a few things, and still young enough to have energy and ambition.

You are no longer a dumb kid addled by emotions whiplash. You don't feel the need to prove yourself every two seconds. You know something about who you are.

So here's the question.

Where were you and what were you doing when you were 39?

Or, if that's still a few years off for you, where do think you might be and what do you hope you will be doing?

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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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