Latest from The Spokesman-Review
The truth is, I say it all year long. Though, it doesn't really make much sense in, say, May or September.
But on New Year's Eve night, if we're not going out again, I have been known to come through the door at home and declare “I'm in for the year.”
- New Year’s Eve
Here's an outline for the first half of a children's story.
Your challenge is to come up with the second half. Good luck.
A dwindling band of squirrels in the Palouse believe their small cluster of trees is the only island in an endless, rolling ocean.
Then, one day, a vegetarian hawk tells the furry rodents the truth. “There are other trees beyond the horizon,” he informs them.
So an intrepid young squirrel named Thornton sets out to find others of his kind. (A wise old squirrel sends him off with advice Thornton doesn't immediately understand — Bushy tail, true heart.”)
At that moment, several miles away, a fetching yet willful young squirrel named Steptoe is wondering if she'll ever meet a boy squirrel who isn't afraid of his own shadow.
But everything in the Palouse is about to change. A streetwise gang of Spokane squirrels intent on expanding their territory start hopping into the back of pickups and heading south on highway 195.
The urban toughs capture Thornton and detain him. They don't buy his story that he's lost and far from home.
But Steptoe manages to free him while the guards are on a cigarette break. And as the two of them scamper to safety, Thornton notices that Steptoe's tail is especially bushy.
She sees him looking at her. So she stops and stares at him. In that instant, she realizes there's something special in Thornton's big eyes. “We don't have time for this,” she snaps.
And off they scurry toward a lone tree, unaware that a hungry owl is watching them…
The fact that they weren't invited anywhere isn't the only reason a lot of people don't go to New Year's Eve parties.
No, more than a few folks stay home because they are afraid they won't have anything to say to strangers. This is called minglephobia. Fortunately, it's treatable. All you need is a good opening line.
So, as a public service, we present 20 guaranteed conversation-starters for use at Spokane area New Year's Eve parties.
1. “Hardly anyone knows this, because I was just a kid at the time, but I'm the one who talked Bing into recording ''White Christmas.'”
2. “Hey, I got your Growth Management Act right here.”
3. “I'm hoping my lifestyle will become a new Spokane stereotype.”
4. “If I ever have children, I'm thinking of naming them Moose and Squirrel.”
5. “I've done some research, and it turns out that kids who are forced to write thank-you notes almost never wind up in jail.”
6. “I'm not sentimental about the Cold War, but I miss seeing the B-52s overhead.”
7. “Didn't I see you at the Lilac Parade?”
8. “Ever have the urge to drive a pickup on thin ice?”
9. “Next year, I'm either going to single-handedly save downtown or shave 15 strokes off my golf game. I can't decide which.”
10. “Don't you just love maps?”
11. “My new CD is nothing but songs about wheat.”
12. “The statement I'm going for with this outfit is 'East Valley happy hour.'”
13. “You might already be a winner.”
14. “My script is called '101 Marmots and a Baby.'”
15. “Get that dress at the Ernst close-out?”
16. “Ever have one of those dreams where everyone at NorthTown is speaking German?”
17. “I blame the staring-without-compunction way people watch TV for the fact that ogling in real life has lost all its subtlety.”
18. “If you had five seconds of airtime for your own public-service announcement during the Super Bowl broadcast, what message would you share with America?”
19. “Want to see the North Idaho variation on that under-the-mistletoe tradition?”
20. “I once called something in to The Slice but they were too chicken to use it.”
Today's Slice question: What will be the hottest Inland Northwest lifestyle trend of 1995?
(Readers took that question about as seriously as it deserved. One respondent suggested the hot trend would be scraping mud off boots before coming inside.)
If you know your movies, you know a happy ending is right around the corner.
Of course, circumstances vary. But it seems as if these smooches should be three things.
3. Not a five-minute performance.
In Flagstaff, Ariz., they drop a giant pine cone to mark the start of the new year.
About the time my wife was born in St. Louis, her parents lived next door to a young mother named Stella Stevens. She had yet to become a national sex symbol.
Two teenage revelers nearly escaped arrest in Lewiston early New Year's Day but surrendered “within a couple of minutes due to being cold and wet,” police said.
The boy and girl were drunk in a hot tub in the 3600 block of Country Club Court while the owners were away on vacation when police arrived about 3:15 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Police arrested a man who was passed out in a vehicle in front of the home, then saw the teens run from the home in their swimsuits but soon return. They told police only three were in the hot tub and were released to their parents, but officers learned about 9:15 a.m. that another juvenile had fled the scene and not been heard from since, according to a news release.
Police and the boy's parents were assisted by the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office and a tracking dog “due to the extreme cold weather and the fact that the juvenile was believed to be clothed only in a swimsuit and possibly a t-shirt,” according to a news release.
A resident found the boy passed out in a bedroom at his home a block from the crime scene about 12:30 p.m., police said. All four face underage consumption of alcohol charges. The fourth suspect also is charged with unlawful entry.
Merrymakers watch the early fireworks show finale obscure the clock tower in Riverfront Park Monday evening, Dec. 31, 2007 at First Night, the New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Spokane.
On Dec. 31, 2001, Spokane grappled for the first time with a concept called First Night.
It proved an instant hit. About 14,000 revelers jammed downtown streets.
And after that, it really got popular.
Attendance topped 20,000 in its second year and has stayed mostly above that range – with the occasional blizzard-caused dip – ever since.
This year, executive director Chris Martin expects somewhere on the order of 26,000 people for the 10th annual First Night Spokane on Friday. Jim Kershner/SR
The Mr. and are thinking about taking our youngest to the First Night festivities. We've never attended. What are your plans for New Years Eve?
Fashion wise, different cultures bring in the New Year in a variety of different ways. For example, fancy panties are de rigueur for folks in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela; red underpants are supposed to bode well for love in the new year, while yellow knickers indicate dreams of money.
Here in North Idaho it doesn’t really matter what color your skivvies are, at least for the most part. It’s what you’re wearing on the outside that’s important and you’ll want to break out your finest ski bunny outfit for New Year’s Eve at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort ($40). Patrick Jacobs/SR
What are your plans for New Year's Eve?
- New Year’s Eve