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The Slice: Some talk the talk … then talk and talk

Sun., Nov. 13, 2011

Ever noticed that people discussing someone in the news for a highly publicized screwup almost always imply that, in similar circumstances, they themselves would have done the right thing?

Perhaps they would have. But you know what they say about talk.

Let’s move on.

Just wondering: J.D. Thayer, who is on the English faculty at Gonzaga University, shared a question.

“I’m currently re-reading Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Player Piano,’ and thought you’d find this amusing: A character in the novel is the Shah of Bratpuhr who tours America trying to learn from the most powerful nation on earth, naturally providing satirical insight to readers. Chapter 24 reveals that there is a unit of liquid in his country called a prakhoul, defined as ‘that quantity of fluid that can be contained in the skin of an adult male Bratpuhrian marmot.’

“What would we call such here? A Spo-canfull? A Li-lick City pint?”

Re: married couples and last names: Got a note from a reader who teaches at a local grade school. I’m going to keep her name to myself, in case any parents of her pupils would freak out about this.

Alluding to Tuesday’s Slice, she began, “What kind of hippie are you? Two last names in your family?”

She continued. “I have three girls with hyphenated names in my class this year. What happens when they marry a boy with a hyphenated name? Do they keep their own name or tack on two more names?

“A kid asked me one time how I got my ‘real name.’ After some questioning, I found out he meant my last name. So we had a discussion about women taking their husband’s name or not. I told them that the kids usually take the name of the dad. Boy, did that open a can of worms — ‘I have my mom’s name,’ ‘I don’t have a dad,’ et cetera.”

The teacher, who is my age, concluded this way.

“Families have gotten a lot more complicated since we were in elementary school, back in the Dark Ages.”

Today’s Slice question: Are there any local golfers who practice their putting stroke on the carpets in their offices or is that strictly a ’60s sitcom thing?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email I double dog dare you to check out The Slice Blog at Apparently there is a band called The Bumpus Hounds.

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