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Questioning A Reporter’s Motives


Paul Turner of The Slice blog offers tongue-in-cheek reasons why journalists enter professon:

A) To work in a profession where you don't have to pass state-sanctioned tests to demonstrate competence. B) To meet sexy male editors. C) So pseudonymous online readers could dump self-impressed bile on her work. D) To right wrongs. E) To crank out local briefs. F) To perfect the art of always being away from her desk when the assignment editor comes trolling for warm bodies. G) So that she could fall asleep in the break room and have a colleague take out a pen and draw arrows on her face pointing to her eyes. H) Other.

DFO: I became a journalist to make a difference. I'm still motivated by that original intention.

Question: Why do you think most journalists enter the profession?

New Year’s Eve in The Slice (1998)

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…

This date in Slice history (1996)

Nikki Sauser was in the Kinko's on the South Hill when this guy came in and started making photocopies.

He hadn't been at it all that long before a loud car horn sounded from outside. The guy's face scrunched into an exasperated look and he scurried toward the door.

Sauser noticed that several people near the front windows were chuckling. Then she saw why.

Inside the guy's pickup truck was a big dog with a paw on the horn.

"You could see this was no accident," said Sauser. "The dog knew what it was doing. And you knew from the way the guy acted that this wasn't the first time."

Sauser got a kick out of the scene. But she said she hopes her dog, Eddie, doesn't learn that trick. "My life would never be the same."

This date in Slice history (2000)

Today's Slice question: What getting-dressed mistake have you made that you didn't discover until you got to work?

This date in Slice history (2001)

Today's Slice question: What's the most unusual thing your pet has eaten?

This date in Slice history (1998)

The Customer Service Revolution still has a few battles to fight: There's nothing quite like dealing with a salesman who clearly hates his job and hates you for asking questions.

Slice: Recalling A Close Call At Camp

SR buddy Paul Turner of The Slice blog posts: "When I was a kid in Burlington, Vermont, I spent a week one summer at a hockey camp in nearby Lake Placid, N.Y. Boys from all over New England attended this sports-focused session. We stayed at a place called the Northwood School. On-ice training took place at a rink that belonged to that prep school. The Lake Placid facility that would become a celebrated venue because of the 1980 Winter Olympics did not exist at the time. I have a number of memories from that week. But one still makes me wince. One day when we were in our dorm rooms exchanging bon mots between hockey practices, an older boy named Dennis got an idea. Wouldn't it be a riot to fill a plastic cup with urine, place it atop a room door and then summon an unpopular camper?" More here.

Question: Did you attend summer camp as a kid? Any close calls that you might want to share with us?

Green For St. Paddy’s, Taupe For Winter

We all know today is green beer’s big day. But what about other colors? Do they feel left out? Maybe some of them should get a chance to shine in a frosty mug, too. So, if green beer says St. Patrick’s Day, what would beer in other colors signify? Taupe: Winter is coming. Azure: Time to toast the vernal equinox. Burnt umber: Imbibe beneath a glowing harvest moon. Magenta: Pretend that you are slaking your thirst with the cold blood of your enemies. Ecru: Order up several pitchers and discuss your commitment to muted tones and sustainability/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here. (2010 SR file photo: Chad Bucher, Adam Metzger and Makenna Busch celebrate with green beer at O'Doherty's Irish Pub before the start of the St. Patrick's Day parade in 2010 in downtown Spokane)

Question: Can you suggest a color for a beer and the type of day that it might commemorate?

‘Downton Abbey’ Withdrawal

Paul Turner of The Slice shares this from a reader: "With the end of Season 2 of the popular 'Downton Abbey' series on PBS this weekend, a co-worker of mine (at WSU Riverpoint) was heard to say that she was 'Not addicted, Don't care, Could stop watching it anytime.' “A few minutes later she was seen asking some of the nursing faculty if anyone could provide a prescription for 'Downtonadone' until Season 3 next January. “She wasn't able to get one, but was offered access to Season 1 on CDs, to help her withdraw more gradually. Nurses are kind like that.” More here.

Question: If you know this phrase is all about, I'm afraid you're going through "Downton Abbey" withdrawal today: "It was lust, Matthew." Are you in withdrawal or denial?

High Noon: Public Restroom Mix-Up

On her Facebook wall, the Accidental Rabbit Trails blogger admits that Paul Turner's Slice column struck a cord this morning — you know, the one in which Paul asks if you've ever wondered what it's like in the public restrooms used by the opposite sex. The ART blogger recalls "a time at a hockey game in DC when I accidentally walked into the men's restroom (saw "men" and thought it had a "w" and an "o" in front of that) — saw lots of men standing, facing walls and thought — literally, it was my first thought — why are all these men in the women's bathroom?"

Question: Have you ever accidentally walked into the public restroom of the opposite gender?

Cottage Cheese: Love It, Or Hate It?

Many opinions and beliefs divide us. You know the list. No need to repeat it here. But overlooked in the heated wrangling over contentious public policy issues is an undeniable reality. The most polarized schism in our society might be over cottage cheese. Many love the stuff. Others call it vile. And, no, we can’t all just get along. Not totally, anyway. Seemingly innocuous, some would say bland, it might seem strange that these mass-produced curds would elicit passionate condemnation. But cottage cheese haters are not into tolerance/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Question: Do you love cottage cheese or think it's vile?

Slice: Making Molehills Into Mountains

As you know, large portions of the United States are pancake flat. In those parts of America, you can stand in a field and see a storm coming from three counties over. In other vast swaths of U.S. countryside, the highest elevations are found atop low, rolling hills. Sometimes people who live in such places wind up moving to the Spokane area. Upon surveying their new surroundings, these individuals determine that we have mountains here. And that’s where it gets complicated. Yes, it’s certainly true that there are mountains hereabouts. Quite a few, actually. They just aren’t particularly tall or breathtakingly jagged, as is the case elsewhere in the Northwest/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here. (Wikipedia: Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park)

Question: Have you ever lived anywhere where there are real mountains?

Slice: Take Time To Scrape Frost

Saw a car this morning being driven by someone who had bothered to scrape frost from only about 10 percent of the windshield. The driver was, in effect, peering out of a little peep hole. Submarine captains in old World War II movies could see more when looking out of their periscopes than that South Hill motorist could see out of the frosted windshield. So here's my question: Why not take an extra minute or two and scrape the rest of the windshield?/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Question: Do you always take time to scrape frost from your car windows to see properly out of them?

What’s Your Thanksgiving TV Policy?


On his Slice blog, Paul Turner offers this question as Thanksgiving approaches: A) No TV on Thursday. B) No TV except for seven hours of football. C) It can be on until there is a fight over control of the remote. D) The TV is never off at our home. E) Other.

Slice: Hyphenated-Name Conundrum

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?/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Question: Anyone know of an instance in which two individuals with hyphenated last names married? How did they solve the problem of 4 hyphenated names combining? And/or: Are there hyphenated surnames in your family tree?

Slice: Lake Places Need Lots Of Work

Pullman’s Joan Harris wrote last week to suggest that those Inland Northwesterners without lake places don’t understand. It’s no picnic. “I just got back from my lake home where I spent two days cleaning up the beach that’s been flooded since June,” she said. “I stacked wood, carried wood, cut wood, burned wood, raked detritus both days and am sporting aches in every muscle.” But she can’t say she wasn’t warned. “When I bought my place on Lake Coeur d’Alene, a neighbor said, ‘See those people out there on the lake enjoying themselves – those are my guests. I’m in here working.’ ” Well, that is a different perspective. Harris concluded, “My point being, don’t always envy those who say they are ‘going to the lake’ unless they are the guests”/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here. (SR file photo, of lake view from Harrison home)

Question: Even with all the work involved in maintaining a lake house, would you be willing to swap your current place for one?

Slice: North Idaho/Northern Idaho?

“Regarding the North Idaho/Northern Idaho debate,” wrote Shannon Bahr-Allert. “When I was visiting Pocatello last summer we were watching the local TV station and they refer to 'Eastern Idaho's biggest Ford dealership' or 'Eastern Idaho's best weather coverage' yada yada yada. I turned to my friend and said that up north we refer to Eastern Idaho as 'Montana' ”/Paul Turner, The Slice blog.

Question: Who should decide whether it's North Idaho or northern Idaho?

The Slice: How Goes The Battle?

The other day, a nice guy on an elevator asked me a familiar small-talk question. “How goes the battle?” I can’t recall my answer. But I remember thinking afterward that a person in a town with a zillion military retirees really ought to be able to come up with a decent reply. So here are a few things I might say next time: “We are being routed on all fronts.” “They’ve taken the West Plains and Mead.” “If we don’t get some air support soon, we’re in trouble.”  “We’ve been hit and are taking on water”/Paul Turner, The Slice, SR. More here.

Question: Do you ever tell someone how things really are when s/he gives you a generic greeting?

The Slice: The Road Not Taken

SR writer Paul Turner re-enters the blogosphere again today w/The Slice blog:

Maybe some of us were destined to wind up in this neck of the woods. The other day I was going through a box of ancient personal papers. I came across a reminder that I almost went to the University of Idaho. Back in the mid-70s, while in my second year as a student at a tiny state college in Vermont not far from home, I decided that my life really needed to be more like an Eagles song. So I applied to several medium-sized schools in the Intermountain West. The U of I was kind enough to accept me. And I recall thinking that “the University of Idaho” would sound exotic to my friends in New England. It might even appear that I had a real plan, which I most assuredly did not. “A Vandal? It's, um, a righteous pillager. Or something”/Paul Turner, The Slice (blog). More here. And The Slice blog.

Question: Ever been pawing through some old box of stuff and found a fork in the road?

The Slice has a blog

Spokesman-Review columnist Paul Turner has written his observations and musings in thousands of Today sections (even before it was called the Today section). Paul's fans will be happy to know that he has joined the ranks of the SR bloggers. Check out his new blog here and sit back and enjoy the ride. Let's move on.


Just clearing weekend email and phone messages. That's always fun.

You won't believe this, but not everyone enjoyed Saturday's column about some women encouraging men to urinate into plastic cups when using the facilities.

Go figure. 

Chiefs fall to Portland

First, enjoy Paul Turner’s thoughts on the nicknames of the Western Hockey League teams.

A last minute goal allows Portland to continue its dominance of the Chiefs in Spokane - but you don’t want to remember last year, went the Winterhawks went 4-0 in the regular season and 4-0 in the playoffs. Well, that streak is up to nine now.

The game story is here.  The long box is below with some notes.

FYI, we’re now tweeting,  SRtrim.

Celebrating Birthday @ NIdaho Fair

Mary Jo Moore has a daughter whose birthday always coincided with the Kootenai County Fair. When that child turned 4, the family went to the fair and the little girl thought it was swell that so many people turned out to help celebrate her birthday/Paul Turner, The Slice/SR. More here.

Question: Does your birthday land on an important day?

Turner: Women Can Read Your Eyes

Virtually all the women responding to last Monday’s questionnaire about men’s styles of women-watching requested anonymity. I understand. But here is a quick synthesis of at least some of their answers. Yes, a woman can tell when guys are straining to keep their eyes on her face. “Because they are rarely completely successful,” said a reader named Leslie. Women said they know what they are doing when they wear something snug or revealing but suggested that this is not an invitation for men to de-evolve into cave dwellers/Paul Turner, The Slice/SR. More here.

Question: Where’s the line between gawking and healthy admiration?

Slice: Avoiding Stray Spokane Gunfire

Here’s how to avoid getting hit by stray gunshots in Spokane, according to Paul Turner of The Slice/SR (full list here):

  • 1. If you are attending the symphony and notice that more than a few others in the concert hall are shirtless, turn around and go home.
  • 2. If a lot of the others who showed up for a meeting about sustainable transportation alternatives seem glassy-eyed high or pointlessly belligerent, take a rain-check.
  • 3. If you are at the library’s reference desk and everyone nearby is yelling and cursing and generally trying to act tough, save your question for another time.

Question: Besides avoiding Spokane altogether, what suggestions would you add to Paul’s list re: how to avoid stray gunshots in Spokane?