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The Slice: Call it the spirit of Meriwether Lewis

Sun., Feb. 27, 2011

A theory advanced by several academic researchers suggests parents in newer U.S. states are more apt to give their children nontraditional names than parents in more established regions.

According to a report on the LiveScience website, it supposedly has something to do with a lingering frontier spirit. Thanks to John Lodge for bringing this to my attention.

Washington and Idaho, by the way, are considered new states in this context. Home of “distinctive” names, as the story put it.

Maybe this explains a lot. Or not.

But something tells me that if long-ago Native American populations had encountered settlers with 2011-style names, certain European descendants never would have gotten west of St. Louis. Or at least they wouldn’t have been allowed to stay out here.

“Chief, that farmer down there says his name is Jaycub, J-A-Y-C-U-B.”

“What? Oh, for the love of … look, go back down there and tell him he’s got to head back to where he came from. Jaycub. Give me a break. Name like that could disturb game.”

“What should I tell him?”

“Tell him to go in peace and to name his kids John Boy and Little Elk.”

Slice answers: Do couples seem extra snappish at Costco?

“No, cuz we’re in hog heaven,” wrote Carl Eklund.

“Yes,” said Lauren Hopkins. “The husband hates being there, the wife loves being there and the wife can’t understand why the husband hates being there.”

Warm-up question: When you heard that the Old 97’s would be appearing in Spokane this spring, what was your first thought?

A) Who are the Old 97’s? B) Recalled the whole discussion of pubic topiary in that Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie in which the band appears briefly. C) Wondered if they ever run into Ryan Crocker down in Texas. D) Other.

Today’s Slice question: Where would be the logical place in Spokane for throngs to gather for a mass protest?

A) Under the clock at The Crescent. B) Carnegie Square. C) Depends on the nature of the protest. D) At the base of the Clocktower. E) Polly Judd Park. F) Other.

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail It’s past time to retire that ragged U.S. flag on the First Avenue side of The Ridpath.

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