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The Slice

Archive for August 2014

Shouldn’t Ferris be the Highlanders?

You know, from a topographical standpoint.

Meanwhile Shadle Park's teams could be, well, whatever the SPHS community decided.

If they wanted “Saxons,” they could have it. Though maybe they would prefer “Visigoths.”

Neighborhood etiquette

If you are having a yard sale, do you want the people who live next door coming over to check out your stuff?

A) Depends entirely on how I feel about the neighbors in question. B) Sure, it would be the friendly thing to do. C) No, having them scrutinize our belongings would be creepy. D) Doesn't matter. I wouldn't recognize them anyway. E) Other.

Taking names

Earlier this week, while riding my bike home from work, something on Jefferson Elementary's electronic reader board caught my eye.

It was a message saying class lists would be posted in a front window at 4 p.m. Friday. I made a plan to be there.

When I arrived at the South Hill school not long ago, a few minutes before 4, it was clear that the lists had already gone up. Several women and a handful of children clustered around the white sheets in a window. More than one took pictures of the lists with their phones.

One girl squealed and jumped with delight. Apparently her best friend would be in her class.

Trying to look like a grandfather and not a pedophile, I approached the window and started writing down names in my reporter's notebook. But I had hardly begun when I realized my presence was blocking the view of the small crowd gathering behind me. And really, this was their day. Not mine.

So I got out of the way. My space was filled like sand in an hour glass.

My mission, of course, had been to record some of the kids' names that reflect the era since John and Mary went out the window. I didn't get far.

But I can report that among the first graders at Jefferson this fall will be Wyatt, Angel, Nisah, Izabella, Gracyn, Shylah, Adalyn and Malacai.

We're all rooting for you, kids. Have a great year. 

Imagining your kid’s college roommate

Would you want that person to be much like you were when you were that age? Or does that prospect make you shiver?

Who said this?

“I bet she drinks from the bottle.”

What was this game show called?

A) Bassword. B) Massword. C) Assword. D) Password. E) Wussword. F) Fussword. G) Other.

Eat Drink Man Woman

I invite you to check out a few Pig Out pick-up lines in Friday's Slice column.

Timing is everything

Spoke to a reader this morning who told about spending part of his summer vacation in Kansas and other parts of the Thunderstorm Belt.

He went there expressly because he wanted to experience some kick-ass thunderboomers.

As it happens, the weather down there was pretty boring during his visit. But of course, during that time, Spokane had a couple of noteworthy meteorological events.

Why do women look so happy…

…in commercials for cleaning products?

People Who Used to Work Here Dept.

To name just a few.

Considering the “Simpsons” marathon

The idea of 12 days of 24/7 episodes is rather amazing.

It shows how expenditures of leisure time can add up.

If someone had read every print Slice column since August of 1992, I wonder how much of an investment of time that would have been.

I tried to do the math in the summer of 2002, but I knew it was impossible to be precise.

I mean, how do you account for variable reading speeds or, say, the subscriber who looks at the headline, sighs “Marmots…again” and then, to borrow a phrase, moves on.

Does everyone in Spokane…

…who works at a good sized business have one co-worker who sounds like a Julia Sweeney character?

I'm not necessarily thinking of Pat.

It could be, for instance, the voice of the nutcake she played in “Frasier.” 

Best-ever air-drumming song?

U2's “New Year's Day” has to be a finalist.

Headlines That Still Bug Me Department

Yes, we all know that's where he was born. But in the matter of where he was from, well, that's a different story.

The day my relative made history

I'm related to the fellow described in the first link below.

A case could be made that he drilled the first workable oil well on this date in 1859. He was not much of a businessman, though, so his descendants had to work for a living.

But even if he was a bit of a screw-up, I have always been proud to be related to the guy who stuck a dagger in the heart of the New England whaling industry.

And no, I don't blame him for climate change. That one's not on him.

Are there those in the EWU community…

…who are not thrilled about Eastern's rise to prominence in FCS football?

Speaking of high school mascots

Got an email from a West Side reader who graduated from Everett High School.

I think Seagulls is a good mascot. Hawks and Eagles are a dime a dozen, but how many schools field teams called the Seagulls?

The Wednesday Slice question

How do you feel about the name of the street or road where you live?

Do you remember when…

…Auntie's bookstore was on Riverside?

…Partners restaurant was still open?

…Milt Priggee produced editorial cartoons for the S-R?

No. 1 album on this date in 1979

Yes, the one with “My Sharona.”

An online press release I stopped reading

“Hi, Paul

“Did you know your cell phone is 18 times dirtier than a public toilet?”

And speaking of first sentences.

My high school’s 2014 football schedule

There is no reason in the world for you to care.  I'm posting this as my annual trumpeting of my alma mater's unique mascot.

What were your school's teams called?,vt)/football/schedule.htm

Bay of Pigs vs. Pig Out in the Park

Prove that you know the difference.

Which took place in 1961 and involved the CIA?

Which was widely considered a success?

Which required lots of extra napkins?

Johnny Cash in Spokane (1965)

There are several possibilities here.

This could be a partial list of the songs he performed. Or he was just one of the acts in one of those caravan of stars concerts. Or this list is totally wrong. 

A burger bigger than your face

If you enjoyed that photo, I recommend doing a Google image search on “magazine covers best burgers”

Reactions to your ideas in meetings

What do others usually say after you are done speaking?

A) “Danger Will Robinson.” B) “What color is the sky in your world?” C) “Dive! Dive! Dive!” D) “What is your blood alcohol level right now?” E) “Brilliant!” F) “Dave's not here, man.” G) Other.

An email correction

This past Friday afternoon, the PR person for a local theater group sent out an email to Spokane area media.

Early on, in an otherwise upbeat message, he wrote “I've had conflict with a lot of you in the past.”


A few hours later, a correction arrived.

It seems the writer had meant to type “contact,” not “conflict.”

No helmet for her?

Which is worse…that helmet or the way he's wearing it?

Can you blame her for wanting to get away from a home with a bright-yellow interior?

Do you know what this is about?

Hint: One of those names belonged to a guy who once lived in Spokane.

Knowing the summer romance is over

The summer before I was going to leave New England for my junior year of college in Arizona, I dated a girl I met at my summer job. Her name was Shelly or Shelley.

We were not madly in love, but we hit it off. And there was some attraction there.

Anyway, after I was out West, I wrote her a letter. One thing I played up was that I had been spending time in the Grand Canyon. That, I reasoned, had to seem exotic to a girl in Vermont.

She wrote back and, in passing, noted that she supposed if you have seen one canyon you have seen them all.

I can't remember if I bothered to correct her.

Complete this Homer Simpson quote

“Everyone knows rock attained perfection in (    ).”

He makes this observation in a great episode called “Homerpalooza,” which first aired on May 19, 1996.

Human nature vs. cherished sports myths

We all know what it takes to be a good team guy.

But does the backup quarterback really want the starter to succeed at the beginning of the season?

The (temporary) lake

Were any puddles created this morning near your home that might have shown up in satellite imagery?

Which bugs you more?

When characters in TV shows/movies drive for geologic periods of time without glancing at the road ahead or when they make plans to meet someone but leave out all sorts of necessary information such as the exact time and place?

Why you chose to drive a huge vehicle

People cite all sorts of reasons for driving big ass cars.

Some are more persuasive than others.

But one reason I personally never question is ownership of enormous dogs.

Does it make you a bad person?

If nothing about county fairs interests you?

The two kinds of people

When I was a college freshman, I made my way to the dining hall each evening with pretty much the same group of guys.

One of these scholars had a habit that annoyed another of my fellows.

Classmate A would invariably offer a running commentary on the meal. He would assess the taste, texture and overall preparation of each food item and share these observations with the rest of us.

This bugged Classmate B. More than once, he complained about the narration. His thought, vigorously put forward, was that we could do without it.

I can't recall the specifics of his objection. Perhaps he simply found the food talk boring and thought our time would be better devoted to lively give and take about world affairs or girls.

Now, decades later, I wonder to what extent this great divide still exists in the general population.

What have you observed? Do you find that there are those who enjoy offering detailed critiques of their meals and there are those who would rather talk about world affairs and girls?

Of course, there is nothing saying that one person cannot do both. You know, analyze the entree AND discuss other things.

For instance, you could talk about girls you knew when you were 18.

One possible reaction to the news

Remember the scene in 1987's “Roxanne” (filmed up in Nelson, B.C.) where the character played by Steve Martin purchases a newspaper from a vending box?

Do you recall what happened next?

Sure. He looked at the front page and instantly found it too discouraging to bear. So he inserted more coins, reopened the box and put the paper back inside.

Just wondering

Ever been watching sports on TV and seen a competitor go down with an injury and legitimately been able to say to yourself, “I know exactly how that feels”?

If you had been the editor in 1977

On this date in 1977, the front page of the morning newspaper in Memphis led with the death of Elvis Presley. Of course.

There were several Elvis stories starting on A1.

But there were also a couple of unrelated stories on that front page.

Some, over the years, have found it odd that the paper did not make A1 100% Elvis.

Others have defended the decision to play news of the entertainer's death prominently but not take over the whole front page with it.

What would you have done? 

Slice Blog schedule for next 10 days

This is pretty much going to be a one post per day operation until Aug. 25.

Thanks for taking a glance at this blog.

In what context was this said?

“The New York State Thruway is closed, man.”

Hint: It had nothing to do with weather.

Where to put “Turkey Crossing” sign?

I'm not confident that it would do much good. But we could use one on Cowley at about 8th or 9th.

No idea how those birds make a living, let alone survive crossing busy streets. 

Coming in Friday’s Slice

Kids vs. Parents title bout — shopping for school clothes.

A great moment in mail delivery

North Idaho real estate agent Jacques Lemieux was a college student in Great Falls, Mont., in 1967.

His little sister in eastern Montana wrote him a letter.

She addressed it: “Jack Lemieux, Great Falls, Montana.”

“I got the letter! Forty-seven years later, I am still appreciative of the effort by however many folks at the Great Falls PO.”

Today’s online exercise

See if you can find images of bars or taverns named after someone who shares your first name. Bonus points if you can find a real dive.

Differences between Spokane, Mayberry

1. Spokane is more diverse.

2. Spokane's drunks lack homespun charm.

3. Spokane has more dining-out options.

4. Mayberry has less crime.

5. Most families in Spokane don't spend much time sitting on the front porch.

6.  No column in any Spokane newspaper has a name as good as “Mayberry After Midnight.”

7. The Spokane police would have shot Ernest T. Bass.

8. In Spokane, you have to pump your own gas.

9. There are barbers in Spokane who aren't really all that eccentric.

10. Spokane has more Catholics and Mormons.

11. People in Mayberry flip each other off a lot less.

12. (Your observed difference here.) 

Wonder who holds the record

Every now and then I hear from people I first knew back in the early 1990s, before they moved away.

Then they move back to Spokane. “I'm back,” they say in a phone message or email.

Often, retiring from the Air Force is part of the story.

In any event, it always makes me wonder. What returning family holds the record for having been away from Spokane the longest?

The Slice Blog recommends

Do a Google image search on “haboob” when you have some spare time, which I assume you have plenty of if you are reading this.

Yes, it's safe for work.

Questions you can’t really ask at work

“How much repressed sexual tension do you think there is here?”

“Is that guy who rides his bike to work aware that he smells like he has been exercising?”

What was the lesson here?

A) Don't trust outside consultants. B) If it seems too good to be true… C) Visitors from other galaxies might not be vegans. D) Other.

Can this relationship be saved?

“…she says her boyfriend head-butted her in the face and then threw her out of the vehicle.”

(From the police radio scanner a couple of minutes ago.)

The Wednesday Slice question

When you are thinking of hosting a party, what's usually the thing that keeps you from going ahead and doing it?

Songs You Had Forgotten Department

Though I don't know how, if you check this blog even once in a while. I think I mention this song several times a year.

Once heard vaccinations bashed

By a cigarette smoker.

He has a right to his opinion, but I have the right to not regard him as a health expert.

Where were you in August of 1987?

Maybe you were fooling around with some girl named Baby.

This movie came out that month. Ever see it?

Availability for work communications

Are you expected to check for work-related texts or emails 24/7?

Some people are online whenever they are not asleep, so it's not a big deal. But for others, that expectation is an intrusion.

The one good thing about it, I suppose, is that you hear about bad news right away instead of coming in bright and early to find an ominous “See me” note in your mail slot that has been festering since yesterday.

Would Ted Bundy have been caught…

…sooner if his horrible crimes had been taking place in the Internet era?

Re: “I Saw Her Standing There”

If the object of his desire is 17, how much credibility is there in a young man's claim that he'll “Never dance with another”?

You know what I mean?

OK, sure, the singer is speaking from the perspective of youth. And some of us might remember how things could seem to a person that age.

Besides, who knows? Maybe she's the one.

You never know until you cross that room.

“June Cleavage” and a clarification

This is the Slice column from this date in 1995. One thing I recognize here is a note clarifying my position on the movie “Babe.”

I liked it. But several days before this column ran, a tone-deaf headline writer had made it sound (in the headline on an earlier column) as if the opposite were the case. For the next 10 or 15 years, I made a point of checking Slice headlines in advance.

When a song gets stuck in your head

The thing is, you don't actually have to hear it.

I was out on my bike yesterday when the smell of charcoal burning reminded me of this song. And there it stayed, for a good, long while.

One downside to signing your hate mail

Ordinarily, I am all for signing your hate mail. It's definitely the way to go, for several reasons.

But if you send nasty signed letters to, say, a columnist, and then months later attempt to insult him by going on social media to say you have never heard of the writer in question, it invites the columnist to comfort himself in the certain knowledge that he was right about you.

One upside of the recent high winds

“The only damage we had was an old fence blown down that we wanted to replace anyway,” wrote Mike Storms. (Yes, that is his real name.) “We did have a bunch of old pine needles blown out of the roof valleys. I looked at the needles on the lawn and said, 'Thank you, God.'”

So what comes to mind when you hear that expression? Probably this.

Remember your first letter to the editor?

My first, if memory serves, was a critique of a traffic situation in Burlington, Vermont.

I was in high school when I submitted it to the Burlington Free Press. It got printed. I remember the headline because it amused my father: “Chaos on North Champlain St.”

But I remember my second one for a different reason.

That letter, submitted in the summer of 1973, questioned the seemingly high salaries of staffers working for Sen. Patrick Leahy.

I didn't know what I was talking about.

As it happens, one of those staffers later died on July 31 of that year when Delta Flight 723 (Burlington to Boston, with one stop in Manchester, N.H.) undershot a runway at Boston's Logan Airport and hit a concrete seawall.

A few weeks later, I met my first college roommate. He turned out to be the younger brother of the ill-fated Leahy staffer.

Even more unbelievable is the fact that my roommate's mother had put my stupid letter to the editor in a scrapbook. And when the college had sent out pre-orientation materials (including the name and address of your upcoming roommate), his mom had wondered if I was the same numbskull who had whined in print about Senate office salaries.

To his credit, my roommate never held it against me.

Sizing up columnists

Paid a call on the father of a friend over the weekend.

He was expecting me.

Really enjoyed our visit. He's a good guy.

But I'm still tickled by something he said when he first opened his door.

He exclaimed that I was a lot bigger than he expected. A bit later he repeated that observation, noting that his extrapolation from having seen my mug shot countless times was off the mark.

(Actually we had crossed paths briefly a few years ago, but one of us was standing and one of us was seated.)

Anyway, it made me wonder. Do lots of people imagine that they can infer a columnist's height and weight on the basis of having seen his or her mug shot?  

Mystery anxieties

Ever find yourself being aware that something is troubling you but you can't actually identify just what it is?

You know, it's something that has been relegated to the back of your mind. But it's still bugging you. If you are a talented worrier, you might be able to relate to this.

But there's an upside. Once in while, when you finally figure out what it is, you realize it's something that doesn't merit all the fretting. Not even close.

In my home, sports falls in the category of “Not really worth getting upset about.”

So when someone is bothered by something that he or she can't pinpoint, you will sometimes hear “Maybe it's just the Tigers.”


Parenting a pirate

A swashbuckling buccaneer brandished a cutlass at Super 1 foods yesterday afternoon.

He was about 4 and the sword was made of plastic.

His cart-pushing mother called for him to keep up. But the small pirate seemed lost in a fantasy that had nothing to do with mothers or the bread aisle.

When the young marauder finally did run up to where his mom was, he gently poked her in the butt with his sword.

She didn't even look back.

How some boys honed their swearing

They built model airplanes.

You see, a lot can go wrong in that process.

Propeller blades can snap.

Landing gear can come out of the box inexplicably malformed.

An errant drop of glue can turn the plane's supposedly clear canopy into a gooey blob.

I'm sure some boys suffered these setbacks in silence.

Others, however, gave voice to their frustration with choice selections from some recently acquired vocabulary.

No need to name names.

S-R births list from Aug. 8, 1996

Hope all these kids are happy, healthy and enjoying being teenagers.

Were you on the student council?

Would your answer surprise any of your friends or co-workers?

Watching the interns

This morning a certain young lady tried to sit on her desk chair, forgetting that she was still wearing her backpack.

To her credit, she laughed. And said “I meant to do that.”

That is the exact wording my wife uses when she sees a cat do something atypically clumsy.

Bagging on football books

Came across this while searching for images of the paperback version of Dan Jenkins' “Semi-Tough.”

There's some pretty readable stuff here. Though this isn't for the easily offended.

Building a mystery (or a sandwich)

Six years ago this month, Slice readers debated an important issue.

Does the order in which you stack sandwich ingredients make a difference?

It all started with a Deer Park couple's disagreement about this.

Most responding readers said it does matter, especially in terms of tomato management. (Placing soppy tomato slices directly against soft bread can quickly lead to a loss of structural integrity.)

But beyond that, does the order of layering make a difference?

Where were you on Aug. 27, 1967?

After opening, scroll down to remind yourself of this tour's big finish. We were last but not least.—british-tour.html

Remember him?,3865664


I spoke with him in person just one time. He was reporting a week-long series of stories on The Spokesman-Review. And he approached me about doing something on The Slice, which was still a fairly new column at the time.

I declined. Can't really remember why.

He went ahead and included a bit about the column in one of his reports, which, of course, was his right. I can still remember him interviewing some old guy in a café who could not get his mind around the idea that I posed a question on one day and printed answers to that question on another.

One fairly hard movie trivia question

In 1962's “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation,” the title character played by Jimmy Stewart has something in common with Lewis and Clark.

Can you name it?

My catch and release program

Every now and then, while riding my bike home from work, I'll notice a ladybug on my shirt. Usually on the sleeve.

Not wanting it to travel too far from wherever it calls home, I usually manage to coax it off by reaching under the shirt and gently flicking the material beneath the insect.

But yesterday afternoon a ladybug must have ridden all the way home with me. Stepping out of the shower, I found it climbing a bathroom wall above the clothes hamper where I had placed Thursday's work clothes.

I located a plastic Solo cup and a magazine subscription card. And employing an approach I have used when evicting spiders, I ushered the ladybug out the back door and urged it onto the closest bush.

In retrospect, I wish I had released it onto the potted 2011 poinsettia currently thriving on the patio. But as I was wearing nothing but a towel, it seemed best to limit my foray into the outdoors.

So that leads me to a question.

To what lengths would you go to rescue a pest-eating ladybug? 

Talking smack

Tomorrow in the Slice column.

Take my advice

Don't call up a bunch of “javelin accident” videos.

No, not this kind. The track and field kind.

Dry Nostril Syndrome

Have you experienced it in other parts of the country or just here?

Today’s college dorm trivia

I know a guy who resided in the same coed dorm at Northwestern as this actress. He wrote a weekly column for the S-R and his wife, a full-time S-R staffer, wrote a lot of fine health features. They moved to Chicago several years ago. Can you name either of them?

Speaking of how to find porn

I have a colleague who is working on a food page story about a specialty offering often found at county fairs.

And if he isn't careful with his online searching related to said item, well, let's just move on.

OK. If you are offended because you feel that this post was bait-and-switch, feel free to ask for your money back.

And if you are one of those online readers who delights in saying you don't pay for the paper, you should feel free to go to blazes.

The Elvis deathiversary is Aug. 16

Of course, you know that date as Bennington Battle Day.

But here is some Elvis stuff to scroll through.

What? You question my EP credentials? Please read on.

More tomatoes

Nora Bingaman remembers being 10 or 12 in the 1950s and living in Hood River, Oregon.

“I used to come home from school, grab the salt shaker and head to the backyard. I would pick a big, red, ripe, sometimes warm tomato from the vine, brush off the dust and eat it right there in the garden. Sometimes eating another one. I had to bend over a bit to keep from dripping onto my school clothes.”

Slice answer

“The best tomatoes I ever tasted were from my grandmother's garden in Culver City, California during the late '30s and early '40s,” wrote Leila Larson.

Chuck Jones and sharing credit

I found this interesting and estimate that 3% of those who glance at this blog will as well.

Mark Twain in Spokane on Aug. 7, 1895

His stop here was part of a speaking tour designed to help get himself out of debt.

Am I the first person to ever …

…  have to change where he parks his bike at work because of upgraded archives-preservation protocols?

I'm not grousing, by the way. It is zero inconvenience. And I am not clueless about the importance of maintaining archives and preservation issues. I'm married to a former librarian.

Still, I just cannot imagine this having come up before.

But you never know.

Remember the episode of “Mad Men” where a tipsy secretary driving a riding mower in the ad agency's Manhattan offices all but amputates a visiting executive's foot?

I loved when Roger Sterling, reflecting on the incident later, says “Believe me, somewhere in this business, this has happened before.”

Thursday’s Slice

The only claim I will make is it might prompt a particular food craving.

How to find porn

Do a rapid-fire Google image search using a keyboard that features several keys that stick.

Reader challenge

Identify the Spokane connection to a Tom Cruise movie that features high school football.

Just wondering

Where would he fit on the 2014 political spectrum?

The Wednesday Slice question

How do you react to people referring to the Seattle area as “the coast”?

A) I believe they should be quietly shunned. B) I believe they should be vigorously hounded from our midst. C) I don't have a problem with it. D) I feel sorry for them because it's such a silly affectation. E) I ask them if they have ever seen a map of Washington. F) A case could be made for saying that. G) Other. 

One reason I miss the births listings

Every now and then, someone would name a newborn after a character in “The Three Musketeers.”

Does anyone answer the phone…

…when they don't know who is calling?

Family geography

Had my annual Thai on 1st lunch with a friend who now lives in Minnesota. (They kept their place outside Spokane and come back every summer.)

His four-person family still has the biggest Lower 48 dispersal triangle of any family I know.

My friend and his wife are in the Twin Cities.

One son is in North Carolina.

The other son is in San Diego.

The story of “Light My Fire”

This is long. And I have mentioned it before.

But I listened to it again the other night. And once again I found it fascinating.

Speaking of how songs came to be, here's another great NPR interview.

Ever read this?

Or perhaps you read the excerpts in Sports Illustrated about the events of Aug. 13, 1967 at Glacier National Park.

Here are a few details.

Your trees and the next storm

Have recent events made you look at the tall trees on your property in a different light?

It’s a civic holiday in much of Canada

But you live in the U.S., so get ready for work.

Just wondering

If you lived in another part of the country, do you suppose you might be attracted to the idea of attending a convention in Spokane?

How to sound like a non-success

KXLY's Melissa Luck made an interesting observation on Twitter the other day.

“If you're thinking about getting a tattoo, think about how silly it might sound if a dispatcher is describing it over a police scanner.”

“We’re at the lake”

When you are right in the middle of something and the last 10 times someone has come to your front door it has been about politics, there is a temptation to ignore the doorbell.

Especially if all your neighbors know how to reach you by phone or text.

Even if you don’t often read comments

I have a feeling the comments on SR editor Gary Graham's oped piece today will be highly entertaining.

The temptation to tell all

When picking up a prescription numbing cream (to be applied at home to one's leg two hours before a surgical procedure), there is a tendency to want to offer the woman behind the pharmacy counter more details than are absolutely necessary.

Just so she'll know what it's for.

As if that matters one iota.

How to dress for golf

Do you remember this episode of “The Honeymooners”?

One man’s horrible secret

Women were not the only target for Madison Avenue's brainwashing campaigns.

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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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