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The Slice: One big ‘Nuts!’ might help you get through today

On this day in 1944, a besieged American general responded to a German surrender ultimatum during the Battle of the Bulge with the one-word reply: “Nuts!”

Perhaps there will be a moment today when you can salute that spirit of defiance by using the same expression yourself.

Seasonal good cheer notwithstanding, there should be plenty of opportunities.

Once burned: The day after their usual send-off kiss at the preschool had resulted in a static shock, Maria Washington once again leaned toward her 4-year-old, Brendan, to give him a goodbye peck. With all sorts of people within earshot, Brendan came unglued. “No, mama! Not the kiss! You hurt me! You hurt me!”

Just wondering: Are you more likely or less likely to listen to KISC-FM during its Christmas music blitz?

Still more family phrases: “We have a small guest house which has alternately been called the Cabin and the Cottage,” wrote Meridene Bloom. “One day in my haste it became ‘the Cabbage.’ A daughter made a tile sign which resides over the doorway. And it has been referred to as the Cabbage since.

“One sunny day a solicitor came to the main house and after giving me his pitch asked if I would take his literature and give it to the Cabbage family next door.”

And Gwen Spencer said that when her son was small, he reported that the dog “lickled” him, a cross between lick and tickle. “Still happens in our family,” she wrote.

Warm-up questions: What’s it like to be a short guy named Tim at this time of year? At what point do holiday visitors from out of state start to wonder if the pod people have taken over and Spokane is a real-life updating of “The Body Snatchers”?

Today’s Slice question: Ever heard doctors talking about which of their colleagues are good and which are not?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@ In defense of people who give combination presents to those with birthdays near Christmas, it’s only fair to point out that some two-fer gifts are whoppers.

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