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The Slice

Posts tagged: The Wednesday Slice

The Wednesday Slice question

If you have never been on an STA bus, who do you imagine makes up the majority of the rider population?

A) Felons. B) The poor. C) The mentally ill. D) People with multiple DUI convictions. E) Vegans. F) Unemployed socialists and Lewis & Clark buffs.

G) Exceptionally cute 19-year-old poets. H) Exceptionally tired 55-year-old teachers. I) People with ideas. J) People who think you can simply declare your pet to be a service dog and that makes it official. K) Mutterers. L) Aspiring spokesmodels and others who don't watch the same shows you do.

M) People who don't like to pay for parking. N) People who go to an office, stay there all day and then go straight home. O) Social service volunteers. P) People who resent the wealthy but consistently support politicians whose agendas start with comforting the rich. Q) Atheist unpublished novelists.

R) Those wearing the same pants they wore yesterday. S) People who did not watch the game and would have no idea what you are all worked up about. T) The young and lawnless. U) Hummus eaters. V) Dropouts.

W) Children of the corn. X) Addicts. Y) People like yourself who don't need a car every day. Z) Other.

The Wednesday Slice

The out-of-home portion of my day got off to an inauspicious start yesterday.

A fraction of a second after locking the back door, I managed to pitch my keys into a bush next to the porch.

I had my ice skates carrying-case draped over my neck and I suspect my hand brushed against it en route to my pants pocket and, well, who knows.

I spent a few moments looking. But it was still dark. And it was foggy. So I decided to go on without them.

My hope, of course, was that they would be easily findable after the sun came up but not so obvious that they posed a security issue.

After getting to the Review Tower and parking my bike, I sent my wife an email detailing my latest adventure in personal competence.

I was confident she could find them after daylight arrived. But something worried me.

What if one of the squirrels that spend time in our yard has pack-rat tendencies? What if such a rodent saw my keys under the bush and thought they might make a nice home-decorating touch?

The two keys themselves are nothing special. They aren't even all that shiny. There's one house key and one slightly longer key to a downtown post office box. They are attached to a red plastic key bob that used to be adorned with a snapping-fingers Stax Records graphic. That has worn off.

As I say, nothing unique. But who knows what a squirrel might fancy for his great room?

And who really can say what it might be like to negotiate with rodents about the return of my keys?

Me: “I am prepared to offer a variety of mixed legumes and a nice fruit platter.”

Squirrel: “We want an iPad and a large screen TV. HD.”

Chances are, they wouldn't even agree to bargain.

Maybe they would opt to keep the house key and let themselves in whenever they felt like it.

And what about the P.O. box key? Those animals are one STA bus ride away from access to potentially important mail.

Think about THAT, as they say in one truck commercial.

I can just see one of them taking a package-delivery slip up to the service counter and claiming to be me.

As it happens, my wife located the keys. I never had to come up with a ransom.

Perhaps it was wrong to suspect that the squirrels were potential key stealers. But I guess we'll never know.


Today's Slice question: What's the greatest number of people to have been in your kitchen at one time?

The Wednesday Slice

Time again for another installment of “Ask a South Hill resident.”

The Slice: Do Spokane's leaders waste too much time hearing out cranks and crazies when any rational sense of time management suggests they should simply say, “Sir, I'm sorry that you are deranged. I have to move on.”

SHR: That's a question?

The Slice: Will boys respect a girl who kisses on the first date?

SHR: You are aware, aren't you, that this is 2013? And define “kiss.”

The Slice: Toxic waste: where should it go?

SHR: Somewhere on the North Side, I suppose. Or the Valley.

The Slice: Have you ever been misunderstood by those who do not realize you are attempting to be mildly humorous?

SHR: Yes.

The Slice: What do Spokane and Los Angeles have in common?

SHR: They have the same number of NFL teams.

The Slice: Are you into the new “Foyle's War”?

SHR: Not really. Not like before.

The Slice: What do you think of that commercial where the giant football fan catches his hand on fire while grilling?

SHR: Can't say that I care for it. I like the Honda Accord commercial with the dad and daughter.

The Slice: You know the beer pitchman, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” Well, who is the most interesting man in Spokane?

SHR: That would be John Blanchette.


Today's Slice question: To what radio station do you listen? Why?

The Wednesday Slice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wednesday Slice Question

The newspaper's in-house newsletter recently featured a fine story about the SR offering readers learn-a-language record albums 50 years ago.

It was a promotion designed to increase subscriptions. Readers were to clip out coupons appearing in consecutive papers and then send those in along with a small check. Or something like that. The records would arrive in the mail. Collect them all!

According to the story by Joe Butler, a few other papers tried this. But local readers availing themselves of this special offer received vinyl records with “The Spokesman-Review” emblazoned on the label.

Some of those who wish Spokane was a different sort of place think of the SR as one of the local institutions instrumental in keeping the city, as they see it, parochial and provincial.

But here the paper was offering to help readers learn at least a little about how to speak Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Russian and Hebrew — a dozen years before Expo. How horizons-broadening can you get?

OK, OK. The idea, of course, was to get more people to sign up for home delivery of the paper. Nobody had any real plan to turn Spokane into a community version of Jason Bourne.

But here in this nation of immigrants, learning languages is a good thing. I'm sort of proud of the paper for having tried that, even if it does sound a bit goofy 50 years later.

That was then, though. This is now. And that brings us to…

Today's Slice question: If you were in charge of circulation-building promotions at The Spokesman-Review, what would you offer people in 2012 as an inducement for signing up for home delivery?

The Wednesday Slice question

Today's Slice question: Which of these lines uttered by movie characters played by Charlton Heston would you most expect to overhear someone in Spokane say?

A) “All border towns bring out the worst in a country.” B) “Oh, there were women. Lots of women. Lots of love-making, but no love.” C) “It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people.” D) “We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well, and live.” E) “Does your god live on this mountain?” F) “They've taken the bait, Sir. It's Midway.” G) “I don't know that I would wear that hat too long around here, Mr. McKay.” H) “It's a madhouse. A madhouse!”

The Wednesday Slice

A colleague I would have thought too young to be experiencing an LSD flashback mentioned to me the possibility that I might want to provide after-school care this fall when her daughter begins first grade.

I'm pretty sure she was being amusing. But maybe it's not so crazy as it sounds. My co-worker knows that I start early and leave the office early. So it might work, schedule-wise.

Plus, those of us employed in the mainstream media are always thinking Plan B.

And I'm sure her daughter is a good kid, entirely capable of entertaining herself. We'd get along fine.

“Sweetie, I dropped the remote. Could you reach it for me?”

But would I want to limit myself to one child? Why not open Uncle Slice's Spokane Kidz Kare? Or maybe Deadline Daycare? Or Paul Turner's Li'l Marmot Scouts.

I'm already thinking of slogans. “Home of Healthy Snacks Since 2012,” “Nap Mats Cleaned as Warranted,” “Come for the Activities Program, Stay for the Yard Work.” 


Just wondering: What would you say to Hugh Laurie if you bump into him when he's in Spokane for a concert later this spring?

A) Nothing. I'm not one of those people. B) “In your estimation, how many times has 'House' jumped the shark?” C) “I know it was a small role, but I thought you were really good in 'Sense and Sensibility' all those years ago.” D) “Why are you Brits so much better at doing accents than American actors?” E) Other.


With which statement do you agree: 1. It's the most natural thing in the world to have one's mood shaped by the weather. 2. Saying that the weather determines your mood is like admitting that you have no life of the mind.


Adapting song lyrics and movie lines to include an Earth Day reference: Art Anderson in the Silver Valley had an offering: “Earth Day? We don't need no stinkin' Earth Day.” 


Coming in Thursday's print column: We begin to call the honor roll of exceptionally well-rested Inland Northwest cats.


If people at work eat lunch at their desks near you: Even if it is distracting and makes you hungry, it's better when the food smells good. If the aroma of someone's lunch almost makes you retch, it's harder to get much done.

Of course, a lot of people work at home. So I guess they have to take ownership of whatever they're smelling.


Warm-up question: How well can you calculate how things stand re: bills vs. bank balance while taking a shower? 


Today's Slice question: You might have seen where Jim Kershner noted the other day that 100 years ago the S-R ran a column consisting of random items and what-not. It was called “Chinookers.” My friend Bill Simer mentioned this. I asked him if he thought that referred to the fish or the wind. The fish, he said. So…if I changed the name of my column to a fish theme, what should I select?

Bass? Scrod? Flounder? 

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email There are people living around here who saw “Ball Four” author Jim Bouton pitch for the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

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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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