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The Slice

Archive for March 2014

Ever see one of these?

Thanks to Johnny Lee Achziger for bringing this unique toy to my attention.

Coming in Tuesday’s Slice column

A little-kid story that I think you will really enjoy.

On a scale of 1 to 10

How tiresome is it when local TV news anchors (often the weekend crew) do that thing where they pretend the weather person is responsible for the current or upcoming conditions?

Talking to strangers

I realize wearing sports-themed apparel is not a certain indicator of allegiance to that team.

But sometimes, when I see someone in a Detroit Tigers cap, I ask a question only an actual fan could answer.

Here are my 2014 preseason results.

Know-it-all (friendly): 1

Know-it-all (bit of an ass): 1

I'm just wearing this hat, I'm not really a Tigers fan (friendly): 1

I'm just wearing this hat, I'm not really a Tigers fan (seemingly annoyed that someone would assume he is a sports fan): 1

When having lived here isn’t enough

I was riding my bike up Adams Saturday morning when I saw a friend walking toward his job at the downtown library.

As always, I asked about his daughter. My wife and I have known her since she was an infant 25 years ago.

He updated me and I was pleased but certainly not surprised to hear that she is doing well.

One thing, though.

She lives in Wisconsin now. Before this winter, she had thought growing up in Spokane and then going to college in Missoula had prepared her to deal with whatever winter dished out.

Guess again.

In parts of the Midwest, the winter of 2013-14 bordered on surreal.

What reports did you receive from friends and relatives back there?

The value of friends who are not shy

I got to thinking about Dayton, Ohio, because of basketball.

But the memory that led to had to do with baseball.

When I was about 13 or 14, my friend Matt and I were down at the rail next to the grass at Cincinnati's Crosley Field long before the start of a Reds vs. Braves game.

We were hoping to get a few autographs. But none of the players was paying any attention to us.

Until Matt, who lives in Dayton, yelled “Hey, Hank!”

And over walked future home run king Henry Aaron. He signed our scorecards.

I was embarrassed when Matt shouted like that. But if he had not done so, we would not be able to say about 45 years later that we had met one of the most significant athletes of the century.

Ever had a friend like Matt?

Your parents’ favorite brands

Was this the evolution of your feelings about their preferences in canned vegetables, ice cream, cars, network news and fast food restaurants?

1. Obliviousness

2. Acceptance

3. Rejection

4. Sentimental Re-Attachment

5. Rejection

My apologies to Jeannine Hill

Her name is misspelled in today's Slice column.

Also, I promised her I would use the name of one of her daughters. And that name is nowhere to be found in today's column.

I am out of the office and don't have her phone number, so I cannot call and express my regret.

The name misspelling was discovered last week. But apparently there was a breakdown in the usual protocols for making a fix. Same for my attempt to add the daughter's name.

I'm sorry.

Just wondering

Ever been helping an older relative or friend try to figure out a convoluted phone menu or clear-as-mud website and found yourself thinking, “You know, these people have clearly made the decision that the elderly can just go to hell”?

True or False Twofer

Spokane is mentioned in Jim Bouton's “Ball Four.”

Trying to squirt the last drops of ketchup from a squeeze bottle is an excellent way to splatter red dots all over your kitchen.  

Make Spokane seem like a Jerkwater

You might recall that I have mentioned that riding bikes on sidewalks in downtown is one excellent way.

But perhaps you have your own nomination.

The Wednesday Slice question

What is the highest profile Spokane building in which you have never set foot?

An amateur diagnosis

When you are in a doctor's waiting room, do you ever speculate about what prompted others seated there to schedule appointments?

If you are waiting to see a general internist, that silent guessing game can be mildly diverting.

“Thinks he has pneumonia.”

“Back spasm.”

“Yeast infection.”

Of course, when you are waiting to see a specialist, speculation takes on a narrowed ranged of possibilities.

I was at the offices of a leg-vein specialty group yesterday afternoon. And I could not resist looking at the legs of those coming and going and others waiting. (Lots of people were wearing shorts yesterday.)

I hope I was subtle.

I realized that some of those I was scoping out probably weren't even patients. But I could not resist checking out these strangers' legs.

And if anyone in the waiting room was checking me out (even though I had on long pants), that's OK. It comes with the territory.

Just wondering

If you have your car worked on at a service department that's part of the dealership where you purchased your vehicle, there is a chance you will be offered your choice of shiny, new loaner cars for the day.

So here's the question.

Do you (or would you) choose a model similar to what you drive every day or would you select a vehicle that's nothing like your own car?

A note from your Slice Blog host

The Slice Blog will be a one post per day operation this week while I am away from the office.

Things will more or less return to normal a week from today.

No, this does not count as today's post.

You make the call

A delivery girl brought some food to our front door and complimented me on the old “Vote for Pedro” T-shirt I was wearing.

She was…

A) Demonstrating that, even though “Napoleon Dynamite” came out when she was about 8, she is a fan of that quirky movie.

B) Showing that she is enthusiastic about politics.

C) Attempting to get a bigger tip.

D) Other.

An omen?

Well, maybe for one team.

Sunday's basketball game will be on TV at the same time as “The Walking Dead.”

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 66

I once sat near a young woman who started seemingly every work shift by fighting with her ex-husband on the phone.

They blinded me with science

Yes, science. That's why guys my age back then went to see this.

Could it be that the people marketing this 1966 movie understood exactly what they were doing when it came to promoting this picture?

Does anyone say “Godfrey Daniel”?

I mean, since W.C. Fields and your grandfather died.

Should more people say it?

He had two stints in Spokane

Baseball cards were on my radar during his career, but I cannot say that I remember him. I do not intend anything snarky by this, but doesn't his name almost sound like a generic baseball player name?

No. 1 in March of 1967

“Happy Together,” a song of full-force good cheer.

Can you name this group without looking?

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 65

It might seem like playful sword-fights with pica poles would simply be jocular good fun.

But the truth is, this pre-computers brand of newsroom humor nicked up the edges of the metal measuring devices and made them all but useless as tools designed to slide smoothly over layout dummies.

Something you don’t have to worry about

Most people submitting something to me for consideration as a column item know to include their phone number.

But sometimes readers forget or simply choose not to write it down. So I ask for it when I reply to their email. A vast majority of the time, they are happy to provide it and there's no problem.

Once in a while, though, someone sharing a phone number specifies that he or she does not want me to share it with anyone. I wouldn't, of course. But here's the thing.

What if, purely by coincidence, that person starts getting swamped with sales calls and other telemarketing? Does he or she suspect I sold the phone number (and other readers' numbers) to a marketing outfit?

I have never been accused of that. Still, I have no way of knowing if someone out there incorrectly considers me a suspect.

As a wise man once said, it ain't me, babe.

Enjoying bands I had never heard of

That has been one result of recording “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and speeding through it the next day.

I can't say I have been wild about every one of the bands he has had on. But I've liked a lot of them.


How to make some people very angry

It's easy, really. Just ask this question.

Are the people who think guns are great in every situation the same folks who believe there is a military solution to every foreign policy question?

Giant woman of the Northwest

This ad basically says American women will want new refrigerators after World War II and Philco will be happy to provide them.

Just wondering

When you talk to an old friend with whom you have not spoken in many years, what is the first thing you cover?

A) Parents still alive?

B) Still married to same person?

C) How long have you lived in your current city?

D) Career status?

E) Hairline status?

F) Ever talk to any mutual friends from way back when?

G) Other.

The plural form of “cul-de-sac”

I can tell you this. However you choose to spell it, someone will delight in telling you that you are wrong.

Maybe not everyone in porn…

…actually merits being called a “star.”

Then again, maybe it's fine to call everyone a star no matter what they do or what their status is in their chosen field.

Self-esteem training doesn't have to be just for kids.

So you would be a (     ) star.

This wrecks the look of a sweater

For the rest of the day, it will be all stretched out of shape.

You know you’ve stopped rockin’ when…

“You see your long-ago S-R paperboy doing an ad for his law firm on TV,” said a reader who sent me a postcard.

SR sugar-delirium defense coming up

Girl Scout cookies have been delivered to many in the SR newsroom this morning.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 64

There once was a man who used to park himself by the wall of mail slots and go through co-workers' mail when others were not around. If something was not in a sealed envelope, he would read it.

Several people in his department were on to him. So they set a trap.

I'd love to go into detail, but it's not really my story to tell.

The Wednesday Slice question

If you unexpectedly found yourself interviewing for the position of bouncer at a nightclub or bar, what would you say were your strengths as a candidate for the job?

An important date in “Ball Four”

The March 19 entry from Jim Bouton's 1970 baseball tell-all is where readers learn how to swear, Joe Schultz-style.

The Seattle Pilots manager would make a compound cuss word out of the two most common four-letter expressions. Sometimes the resulting eight-letter word would start with an “s” and sometimes “f” would be the first letter.

According to Bouton, Schultz said it a lot.

After “Ball Four” had been out a while, so did half the guys I knew.

What kind of editor could you be?

A) Opinion pages. B) Books. C) Hunting and fishing. D) Entertainment. E) Religion. F) Crime news. G) Online. H) Sports. I) World/national news. J) Science/technology. K) Food. L) Marijuana. M) Other.

Back when you could have beer delivered

“Hey, we're almost out of beer.”

“Better call the Liquor Man.”

Channeling John Forsythe

If you approached three women you know and said, “Angels, you're going undercover,” would they have any idea what you are talking about?

Just wondering

Did you ever have a car that was about two inches narrower than the opening to your garage and did parking said vehicle make you wonder if you might have been able to handle delicate NASA mission docking procedures in space? 

Famous Monsters of Filmland

If you once regarded FMOF as important reading, you might recall a few of the vintage covers displayed here.

Things that make Spokane special No. 42

It's not everywhere that you can find people with vague pretensions of being part of the counterculture who also play golf.

Cover your ears

Noticed that there was a “Deadwood” marathon on one of the HBO channels this weekend. Re-watched a little. I really enjoyed that show.

I wonder if anyone ever added up the number of times a certain 12-letter word was used.

Divided loyalties

Florence Young grew up in Tucson, home of the University of Arizona. “My brother is a UA grad and a 25-year season ticket holder for Arizona basketball.”

But during her many years in Spokane, Florence has come to love Gonzaga University basketball.


“If Arizona and Gonzaga get past their first games, they meet in the round of 32. Of all the teams in all the towns, why did those two…!”

A team name you wouldn’t see today

Does this make you think the graphic designer did not understand firearms?

My Monday morning conspiracy theory

The scales in medical offices are rigged so patients will entertain the notion that they are in even worse shape than they thought.

Should be interesting for Kris Crocker

The KXLY weather presenter went to Oklahoma State.

Overheard in the waiting room

So this guy who looked to be about 40 walked into a minor emergency clinic Saturday afternoon.

He approached the reception counter where two women were on duty. One was about his age. The other, a bit younger.

He explained that he had a case of pink eye.

In the course of his check-in process, he mentioned that he was going to Las Vegas on Monday. Only he didn't say “Las Vegas.” He said “Vegas.”

Then it was as if someone had declared a competition to see who could say that the greatest number of times in a short span of time.

“Oh, I love Vegas.”

“Gotta love Vegas.”

“You definitely don't want pink eye if you're going to Vegas.”

And so on.

That always strikes my ear as just a wee bit affected. You know, as if saying that makes you sound as if you have an exciting life.

But what do I know? I've never been to Vegas.

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

I wouldn't call it biblical rain.

There were, after all, no frogs falling from the sky.

But when I was ready to ride away from the Review Tower this afternoon, it was coming down hard.

Two sodden colleagues, John and Kip, came into the lobby from the back door looking as if they had been fetched up from the mouth of a great sea serpent. “At least you missed the hail,” said one. 

I waited a few minutes and then set forth.

To bolster my spirits, I hummed a tune by Brother Claude Ely.

“Ain't no grave,” the Pentecostal pastor sang. “Gonna hold my body down.”

Spotting troubled kids: Then vs. now

If, back in the day, setting fire to toy soldiers would have been viewed as alarming, how many of us would have gotten hauled off to see a therapist?

If you see SR photographer Dan Pelle

Ask him to tell you about his family's connection to the chart-topping 1960s rock band, The Beau Brummels.

Maybe you remember their hit “Laugh Laugh.”

They were big enough to have “appeared” on “The Flintstones.”


You are too young to have had one

Yes, I have posted similar photos a hundred times before. I just never tire of defunct Spokane breweries as a theme.

“Her untouched nymphet beauty”

After opening, scroll down to find an ad touting the first Spokane showing of a long-forgotten movie.

Just wondering

If everyone in the Spokane area between the ages of 30 and 60 had no choice but to move somewhere at least 600 miles away, where do you suppose most would go? 

Earworm alert…seriously, think twice

This was the No. 1 song for much of March in 1985. Called a power ballad, this got played a lot on the radio. Can you remember where you might have been when you heard it?

Perhaps it is odd to issue an earworm alert with a post that does not include an audio link. But some of us do not need to be reminded how “Can't Fight This Feeling” goes.

You know you’ve stopped rockin’ when…

I pose that question in an upcoming Slice column.

I have asked that before. And, chances are, I will ask it again.

But even though it hasn't even appeared in print yet, I believe I have the answer.

You know you've stopped rockin' when, on Thursday night, you find yourself wondering which of your early-arriving co-workers will be bringing doughnuts to the newsroom on Friday morning.

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

A woman who looked like she might be about my age backed out of a driveway right in front of me this afternoon.

We all make mistakes. And she was driving a huge ass Canyonero (or whatever). I imagine those things have a few blind spots.

Still, she was backing onto 29th, across a bike lane. Seems like you would want to look for traffic. Wouldn't you?

I was going pretty slow and had anticipated this possibility, so stopping was no big deal.

I said nothing. I made no gesture. But I looked at the woman as I passed.

We were both wearing sunglasses, so I suspect a bit was lost in translation. But she clearly said something, perhaps to the grandchild in the front passenger seat.

If you had to guess, what do you think she muttered?

A) “Effing cyclists … think they own the road.”

B) “Effing cyclists … why don't they realize cities were built for cars?”

C) “Effing cyclists … they'll sneak right up on you!”

D) “Good grief … I need to be more attentive.”

E) Other.  

If you were a Spokane police officer…

…and you were going to have car sex with a married woman you met at church, what store's parking lot would you choose?

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 63

Years ago, there was an editor and a reporter who loathed one another.

I don't know if he was trying to run her off. But he made it amply clear that he was not satisfied with her work. Over and over. And not in private.

For her part, she did nothing to conceal her disdain for this guy, who was her section editor.

I was not friends with either of them. But there was one thing the editor did that made me side with the reporter.

She would be writing a story and he would come up behind her and look over her shoulder at her computer screen. Now that's not really a big deal. It happens. But it was how he did it that made a lasting impression.

He would lean over her back and practically put his chin on her shoulder. It almost looked obscene.

It wasn't really physical intimidation. She could have kicked his ass.

But the face he would make as he read her story suggested that he was experiencing severe gastro-intestinal distress. It was something to see.

Even before he opened his mouth, everyone nearby knew he was not about to say “That looks good.”

“The Great Hemline Hassle”

Life magazine — March 13, 1970.

I don't remember this magazine cover. But I do recall short dresses and skirts. How about you?

Did it damage your relationship…

…when you asked a relative to stop forwarding you ludicrous political emails?

One question music trivia quiz

What Doobie Brothers song made it to No. 1 in March of 1975?

How would you respond if …

… someone said, “You're not a real Inland Northwesterner if you don't take inordinate pride in the off-road mud caked on your vehicle's exterior”?

A) I'd say “Sure, pal” and take my leave.

B) I would suggest that the speaker has a somewhat limited view of life's possibilities.

C) I would agree.

D) I would ask the speaker if he lives in a beer commercial.

E) I would politely point out that the word “inordinate” undercuts the argument the speaker is advancing.

F) Other.

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

Once again, coming down the South Hill in the morning was easier than going back up it in the afternoon.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 62

Modern era reporters and editors are supposed to welcome feedback from readers.

Well, at least tolerate it.

That hasn't always been a deeply ingrained newsroom value.

Years ago, I worked with a reporter who didn't have much patience with readers who phoned him to talk about a story he had written. So, regardless of what time it was, he often cut the conversation short with what became his trademark phrase.

“I'm on deadline. Gotta go.”

If it was 10:33 a.m. …

“I'm on deadline. Gotta go.”

If it was 5:04 p.m. …

“I'm on deadline. Gotta go.”

To tell the truth, I don't think any of his colleagues actually regarded this as annoying. But I suspect some of those who called him might not have found it amusing to be summarily dismissed.

Singing at O’Doherty’s

“Your question about O'Doherty's was a memory maker,” wrote Rich Kapelke. “I sang 'Danny Boy,' because I thought that was the only song used when anyone stapled their dollar. Any song is OK.

“My vocal effort went quite well and the standing (on the bar) view is impressive.

“I am in my 60s, however, and just getting to that perch is what I remember most.”

A couple more readers sing out in Thursday's Slice column.

One half-baked theory

I cannot prove it. But I have a hunch that Spokane has a disproportionately high concentration of women who are the favorite aunt of someone who lives far from here.

The Wednesday Slice question

What were the circumstances when you first smoked marijuana?

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

It was fine this morning.

Brisk but fine.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another thrilling report from Spokane's most self-congratulatory bicycle commuter.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 61

Taking stuff out of the newspaper morgue and then not returning it.

I guess anyone else who might want to use those files or materials can just go to hell.

Check out his list of screen credits

Was just talking with a colleague last week about the late Albert Salmi. Today is his birthday. As you can see, he got a lot of work as a character actor.

Of course, there's no getting around the fact that his connection to Spokane did not end happily.,7989608

Just wondering

If you assume that Mariners caps are the most prevalent, what major league baseball team would you guess is the second most-often reflected on caps worn by people in the Spokane area?

How would you defeat Flubber defense?

I would think that if you can fake the defenders into leaving their feet, you would be one pass away from a lay-up. Time after time.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 60

I cannot count the number of pregnant women I've worked with over the years.

It has been a lot.

Virtually all of them have been total professionals during the time they were expecting. In fact, several of my all-time favorite colleagues have been in this co-worker category at one time or another.

But I once sat near a pregnant woman who constantly complained about how much her breasts hurt. Well, not constantly. But she issued mammary bulletins more frequently than any of us within earshot required.

Maybe they really did hurt. I'm sure it is no laughing matter.

But that must have happened to other pregnant newsroom women, too. And they managed to keep it to themselves.

Any of your kids ever have head lice?

I've been hearing that the traditional treatments have become less and less effective.

That's all we need. Super lice.

If you were born on this date in 1973

This was the No. 1 song on the radio when you arrived.

A quote to help you start the week

“It's always disappointing to me when people talk about the weather. Because that means you don't really want to talk about anything.” — Louis C.K.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 59

Back when quite a few reporters and editors still sucked on cigarettes in newsrooms, I worked with a smoker who typed from a slouched position.

He looked like he was doing the luge.

At least a couple of times a week, a chunk of smoldering ash would fall onto his shirt without him noticing. A few minutes later, he would realize a small hole was being created in his garment by the embers. Maybe he felt the heat. Anyway, he would erupt in a volcano of profanity as he flailed away at the cigarette ash.

At first, it was sort of funny. And I have no business complaining about off-color language. But after witnessing these performances1,000 times, it started to get old.

East Jesus, Ohio

I had a journalism professor in college who used to refer to the hypothetical location of his students' first newspaper jobs.

“East Jesus, Ohio,” he said.

I always thought he made that up. But this morning, I noticed something online. Other people say that, too.

All I could do was shake my head.

Have you ever discovered that something you thought was original or unique wasn't?

Be sure to follow Kip Hill’s TZ tweets

My SR colleague is going through a boxed set of every season of “The Twilight Zone.”

A worthwhile undertaking, I'd say.

How do people who don’t work M-F…

…feel about hearing “Happy Friday”?

Best albums of 1974

Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing that can be said for this list is that its creator was not afraid to include some pop stuff and it isn't just a painfully esoteric compilation of obscurity.


Sighted: First slug of 2014

The neighbor's cat stopped by for a snack this afternoon.

She polished off most of her treats. It's a two-paper-plate operation on the back porch.

A bit later, she was ready for a little more. It was then I noticed that a decent sized slug had crawled onto one of the plates.

Have you seen one yet this year?

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 58

I once worked for an editor whose wife would walk through the newsroom and hand out invitations to social gatherings.

The thing is, not everyone received the invites.

It was sort of “One for you…one for you…one for you…NOT YOU…one for you…NOT YOU…”

Call me crazy. But it seemed like bad manners.

In a state of undress

Wouldn't this be sort of itchy and scratchy?

Your neighbors’ religious affiliations

Do you know? Do you care?

When I was a kid, I could have told you pretty much where everyone on our block went to church. If, that is, they went to church at all.

It was not a big deal. But I knew.

Now? No idea, really.

Today is the late Tom Foley’s birthday

You are entitled to your own opinion about his public policy positions.

But I was always awed by one of his more personal accomplishments.

He once lost weight at the same time he gave up smoking.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 57

An editor I worked with long ago once told me that visiting the men's room just isn't the same after you become someone people lobby about their department's needs and pester about pet projects.

Just wondering

Does your business have a mission statement? If it does, do you know what it says?

Just wondering

How many people have started recording “The Tonight Show” and watching it the next day since Jimmy Fallon became the host?

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 56

I once worked at a paper where one of the guys in sports saved himself the trouble of learning new co-workers' names by simply addressing everyone — males anyway — as “coach.”

This was a couple of years before “Cheers” was on TV. Or it would have been tempting to break into song: “Albania…Albania…you border on the Adriatic.”

Prepare yourself to be a consultant

How does this sound with your last name plugged in?

The (       ) Group

The part of the story that gets left out

There are people of a certain age who enjoy suggesting that kids today tend to be greedhead whiners.

What they seem to forget is that some of these same people made their parents' lives a living hell with constant nagging about the all-important need to buy a color TV.

One reader’s idea for a band name

Coeur d'Alene's Lisa Thompson listens to TV traffic reports on weekday mornings. And she has decided that “I-90 and the Arterials” would be a good name for a band.

Yes, but what kind of music would they play?

If you turn 30 today

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

The Wednesday Slice question

A former college roommate sent me a friendly email this week. Though we always got along, I had not talked to him since the 1970s.

He said he came across my picture online. Which suggests he realizes I no longer look like I did when I was 19. That's fine.

But it leads to the question.

To what extent has the Internet nuked the illusion of friends and lovers we knew long ago remaining frozen in time?

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 55

Early in my career, I sat about two desks away from a significantly older reporter who used to shout the name of the person calling him when the individual on the phone was reasonably high-profile.

Of course, the standard for what qualified as high-profile in that particular community was not especially high. Nevertheless, my colleague would yell the caller's name.

“Tom DeBerry!”

Another reporter, a guy just a year or two older than I was, used to do a delightful impression of our colleague's phone antics.


Just wondering

Do any other STA riders live with dear, sweet people who express profound reservations about the practice of coming home and sitting on various pieces of living room furniture while still wearing “bus pants”?

(For the record, persons expressing said qualms can be enthusiastic supporters of mass transit. It's just that, apparently, some modes of being out in public are thought to invite a mysterious sort of contamination incompatible with a snugsville jammies-and-cocoa home environment.)

So anyway, here's a helpful tip.


“Are those your bus pants?”

“Uh, yes.”


“Are those your bus pants?”

“What? Huh? I think I have come down with a case of amnesia. Who am I? Where did these pants come from?”

On newsstands 50 years ago

What's your answer to that question near the bottom of the cover?

If Spokane Valley was Mardi Gras central

“Well, based on their rulings against scantily clad baristas, I don't think any woman would be catching beads that are normally thrown to women who expose the same body parts,” wrote Keith Hegg.

“I don't think there would be a lot of half naked people dancing about and women pulling up their parkas/rain coats to show off their boobs for beads,” wrote Jeannie Maki.


Don’t look at this if you are eating

Worst manners I have ever seen. Might as well have lunch with Gamera. Though Gamera would probably be too polite to do that right on your meal.

Potentially record-setting puddle plumes

To avoid getting splashed by vehicles zooming through deep curbside puddles, you need to stand back.

Way back.

Yesterday afternoon, traffic on Grand was throwing up such a tsunami that even a guy shoveling up near his porch got splashed.

Getting the name wrong

Ages ago, photographer Colin Mulvany and I spent a week with a Spokane-based long-haul trucker. We rode with him from Spokane to Los Angeles and back.

I remember a number of things about the experience. There were parts of Nevada that looked more like another planet than anyplace I have seen. I recall that we spent several hours picking up a load of rolled metal at a Southern California industrial complex that had been used as a setting for scenes in “The Terminator.”

And I remember that the driver, an OK guy, called my co-worker “Collins” for most if not all of the trip. (I can't remember now if Colin or I ever corrected him.)

But that leads to my question.

If someone with whom you are going to have limited dealings gets your name wrong and you let it ride for a while, is there a point when you essentially say “what the hell” and decide that correcting him or her is almost more trouble than it's worth? 

This date in “Twilight Zone” history

“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” first aired on this date in 1960. It's a TZ classic.

I'm just going to assume you know the story. I mean, c'mon.

But can you identify the Spokane connection? No, you can't. Even though I have mentioned this before..

Oregon would have been the place to be

At least in this one Cold War fallout scenario.

The text next to the white box reads “No shelter required.”

Delusional, but that's what it says.

What are these infants thinking?

Fill in your own thought bubble for one of these neglected youths.

Annual reminder

If you don't want to hear conversations about college basketball at work this month, you need to get yourself a cone of silence.

Let’s synchronize our watches

Yes, this coming weekend is when we spring ahead one hour.

I've never understood why we can't adjust our schedules instead of monkeying with the clock. But I guess that would be too hard.

Annoying Newsroom Behavior No. 54

I once worked on the copy desk at a newspaper where several of the reporters were high on self-esteem. This is not unusual.

But one reporter in particular would occasionally do us lowly drudges the huge honor of pulling up a chair after deadline and regaling us with thrilling tales of how he got the story. We were supposed to be a rapt audience. My practice was to get up and go to the restroom.

“Wait, Paul, you'll want to hear this.”

“Uh, I've kinda gotta…”

Anyway, the thing is, the guy was not a terrible reporter. And for all I know he was, gaps in his people skills notwithstanding, an OK human being.

But to paraphrase Woody Allen, he couldn't write a grocery list.

Though I am quite sure he read every word of his stories after they came out in print, he must not have noticed that someone had bludgeoned his unreadable prose into something almost comprehensible. Or maybe he noticed but didn't want to dwell on an uncomfortable reality.

Or perhaps he pictured himself as a throwback to the “Get me rewrite” days when reporters phoned in facts and someone else cobbled together the stories.

In any event, the fact that he couldn't write did not make him modest.

What song would you sing…

…to entitle you have a dollar with your name written on it stapled to a wall inside O'Doherty's?

Ice Palace season goes out with bang

March coming in like a lion was perfect in at least one regard.

Snow and cold made for a classic ice-skating backdrop as the Ice Palace at Riverfront Park wrapped up its season today.

The ice at the open-air rink is kept cold by artificial means. And some years, on the last weekend, it's all the chilling technology can do to keep the rink from turning into a shallow pond. But not this year. Today they could have shut off the power and the skating surface would have maintained integrity.

If you are one of those people who hate everything about winter, I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you should move.

Spring will be here soon enough. But today, Riverfront Park quietly celebrated the one season that overlaps the years.

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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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