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The Slice: Follow signs to a dim-witted electorate

Thu., Sept. 4, 2008

There are those who contend that campaign signs are an eyesore and a waste of time and materials.

But in a way, they do perform a public service.

Let’s say you don’t follow local politics all that closely. And you have a neighbor with a cluster of campaign signs in the yard.

Well, let’s further imagine that a couple of the signs endorse high-profile candidates you are eager to vote against. OK, then isn’t it reasonable to assume that the lesser-known politicians represented in the phalanx of signs are also people you would not want to support?

I suppose you could also view this in a more positive light. You know, if a cluster of signs includes those for a candidate or two you enthusiastically support, it might be fair to extrapolate that other folks named in that yard are also worthy of your vote.

This isn’t a foolproof system, of course. There’s always the chance that the guy down the street is a ticket-splitting nutcake with a nonpartisan knack for supporting liars and incompetents.

But the only real alternative is to be well-informed. And survey after survey shows that, after four hours of TV and three hours of recreational Web surfing, many people say they don’t have time for that.

•Fun Ideas Department: The Slice heard about a couple who used a canoe as their wedding guest-book when they got married a few years ago. So now, whenever they haul that boat out, they get to see once again where friends and family signed it.

•Slice answers: “I think the hardest time to maintain friendships is during any transition period, especially the first year after high school and the first year of college,” wrote Patrick Stagaman, 19. “For most, it is the same. But for some (like me) it will be two consecutive years.”

He moved to Chicago after high school. He made new friends there, but lost contact with a fair number of his Spokane friends. And though he has since moved back to Spokane, he’ll soon be off to Western Washington University.

“So I don’t even know how I’m going to truly maintain my friendships with the people back in Chicago besides the occasional Facebook comment.”

Lauren Allen said the hardest time to maintain friendships is middle school, which is where she finds herself.

“There’s no time when girls are as mean and as unfriendly as in middle school,” she wrote. “I really don’t understand why everyone at this age is so cruel and unforgiving. I bet all you grown-ups have forgotten how hard it is to keep friends when you are 13. It’s hard, really hard.”

•Today’s Slice question (for those with indoor jobs): What percentage of the people where you work are happy with the thermostat setting?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail Every Spokane area workplace with more than 10 people has at least one self-styled “voice of Everyman” who is actually just a loud lunkhead.

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