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The half-life of advice

Not long after I started driving as a teenager, my older brother gave me some advice.

If you ever get pulled over by a cop, he said, take your driver's license and registration to the officer before he ever gets out of his car.

Apparently that had worked for him.

So I tried it. And the first time or two, it actually seemed to help turn the traffic stop in my favor.

But then came a day when I was getting out of my vehicle and the cop, already having emerged from his patrol car, practically freaked. He ordered me to get the hell back in my car. I understood, and I have never done it again.

(By the way, we're talking about a grand total of maybe eight or nine stops in more than 40 years of driving. So it's not a huge sample.)

But here's my question.

Did you ever get some advice that seemed wise at first but then proved to be unreliable? .

If this young man was your ward…

…what advice would you give him?

www.thebatsite.co.uk

A) Try to grasp the link between academic achievement and opportunity. B) Stop dressing that way. C) No, really. Stop dressing that way. Now. D) In 2013, people are apt to mock someone referred to as “The Boy Wonder.” E) No, you would not have been man enough for Julie Newmar. F) Other.

Weighing advice from readers

One reader thinks I ought to be campaigning for people to have no more than one child.

I'm sure that would be hugely popular. I could ditch the cute-kid sayings and start scolding grandparents.

“Hey, Lou. It says here that if we care about the environment we should not have any kids.”

“Good advice. Unfortunately for us, it comes about 30 years too late. But I'm glad the paper is telling us how to live our lives.”

“Besides telling us that public-sector unions will be the ruin of society, you mean?”

“Yeah. Besides that.”

Sunday spin: 8 simple rules to survive your campaign

The lineup card for the August primary shows we’re fielding quite a few rookie candidates for local office this year.

Welcome to the ring. Watch out for all those hats being tossed around.

Many of you will do as well as most of the veteran pols, and some of you will do better than a few of them. Without casting aspersions on anyone’s abilities or intelligence, Spin Control each year at this time offers candidates and campaigns its eight simple rules to make it through Election Day. As my dad always said, free advice is usually worth what you pay for it, but here goes:

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

At home on the hill

ABC’s Diane Sawyer recently sat with the 20 women elected to the US Senate. She asked them what advice they have for children. People of any age can benefit from their wisdom: “Read, read, read” advises Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina and “Once you’ve gone 100 miles, you can always go 10 more,” says Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, wisdom she learned on her long-distance bike trip with her dad.

These women have traveled more than 100 miles in their metaphorical journeys to the hill. They have taken risks, followed dreams, ignored the naysayers and arrived…and they continue to work hard on behalf of the citizens who voted them all the way to Washington.

(S-R archives photo:U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a field hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which she chairs, on April 4 in Tacoma.)

Re: Giving advice to newlyweds

Who most enjoys giving advice to newlyweds?

A) People who have had perfect marriages. B) People who think they have had perfect marriages. C) People who have been divorced more than once. D) People who want to share hard-earned insights. E) People who like to say “Plastics” even when the conversation is not about career paths. F) People who have never been married. G) People who sincerely believe that they have learned a few things since their wedding day. H) People who think tricks or tactics are the key to sharing your life with another. I) People who have been to counseling. J) People whose ideas about marital harmony mostly come from comedians appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” K) Other.  

Otter Sought Advice From BSU Coach

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and his staff visited with Boise State football coach Chris Petersen, pictured, during the summer, Otter said during Monday's “State of the State” speech. “We asked the Coach how he’s been able to keep upgrading the Broncos’ success on the field. We asked how he’s been able to build a national reputation for excellence with what’s considered limited resources by today’s college football standards,” Otter said late in his speech. “What I took away from his answer was this: FOCUS. Focus on the challenges at hand. Focus on leveraging your strengths. Focus on improving every day. Focus on what you can control. And focus on helping individual players understand how they can help achieve team goals while reaching their own academic and athletic potential …”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you think it's odd that Gov. Butch Otter & his staff would seek advice from Boise State football coach Chris Petersen?

Overwhelmed by a huge project?

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

This is not a new title. And I'm quite sure the author would rub a lot of people the wrong way.

But this small book contains perhaps the best advice I've ever heard about getting your arms around a challenge that seems out of control.

I could try to summarize it, but it's better if you hear it from her. 

Why Worry?

   

   It wasn’t just that the voice was familiar to me, but the tone of the voice on the phone was also instantly and unpleasantly recognizable.  I would know it anywhere.
    It was, for those of you who’ve raised a family and know what I’m talking about, the annoying sound of an adult child ( or, to be more specific, a child who is almost an adult) letting me know that she wouldn’t be needing my advice at this particular moment.
    I’ve heard that tone plenty of times.
    “Mom, I’m 20 years old,” the disdainful voice on the phone said. “I know what I’m doing.”
    Oh, really? Is that a fact.
    I wanted to ask her if she had any idea how many times the words “I know what I’m doing” are served up with a really bad idea.
    I don’t know for sure, but I imagine “I know what I’m doing” is exactly what runs through the minds of squirrels, deer, possums and skunks right before they cross a six-lane highway. At rush hour.
    It seems to me George Armstrong Custer sent a similar message before riding over the hill and straight into a mighty big mess. So did Amelia Earhart as she cranked the propellers, climbed into the cockpit and flew right into an unsolved mystery. So did somebody at the White Star Line when the unsinkable Titanic rolled out of the shed and splashed into the sea. Just before it sank like a stone.
    What do you want to bet that some unlucky stiff in Chernobyl  said the same thing?  “Of course, I hear the warning bells. Relax. I know what I’m doing!”
    Want the perfect contemporary example of thinking you’re a whole lot smarter than you really are and getting us all in a lot of trouble because of it? Two words: British Petroleum. They told us they knew what they were doing, too.
      I woke up the next morning with a headache, brought on, I’m sure, by grinding my teeth all night.
    As a parent, nothing infuriates me more than having my offering of perfectly good advice and wisdom ignored.
    She ought to listen to me so I can save us both a lot of headaches. I’ve been around. I’ve done a few things. I’ve made enough mistakes for the both of us.
    I deserve a little respect. After all, for goodness sakes, I know what I’m doing.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Joe Biden’s ill-advised comment

VP Biden handed out some alarmist advice this morning on the “Today Show” regarding swine flu. Now he's back-pedaling. And to think some people wanted to flip that ticket. Sure glad the cool customer is the president.

Did he get it right the first time? Or is this another example of speaking before thinking?