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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: My spiel: the good, the bad and the ugly

Here are the pros and cons of inviting me to speak to your civic group or club.

Pro: For the most part, I am a warm body.

Con: If you shake hands with me, you might discover that my fingers can be corpse cold at this time of year.

Pro: I will probably decline the invitation, in which case you can keep looking and find someone good. My own recommendation is that you invite an affable guy named Dan Storie. He has started a nonprofit group called Community Pets that aims to facilitate spay/neuter outreach. He’s informed, committed and all about taking an active role in reducing the shameful overpopulation of cats and dogs in our area. Call him at (509) 928-0093.

Con: Lots of your members have never heard of me.

Pro: If your group has something to do with bike-riding, you will find me an enthusiastic beginner who loves to talk about that subject.

Con: If your group has nothing to do with bike-riding, your members might wonder why I am talking to them about cycling anyway.

Pro: I have several delightful anecdotes about interviewing celebrities and spending quality time with TV reporters who have had too much to drink.

Con: A lot of your members won’t recognize the names Dinah Shore, Rufus Thomas, Billy Joel or Julian Bond.

Pro: I can talk about the time ages ago when international diplomat Richard Holbrooke got sore at me.

Con: A lot of your members won’t know who Richard Holbrooke is.

Pro: I can talk about my two brief encounters with the young Cybill Shepherd.

Con: A lot of your members never saw “The Last Picture Show.”

Pro: One of your members who dislikes me can get to see if I squirm when he or she asks about the future of newspapers.

Con: That person will be disappointed.

Pro: I am willing to recycle entertaining stories I’ve heard from John Blanchette, Steve Bergum and Jess Walter.

Con: Some of those locker room tales might be too graphic for a meeting taking place in the presence of open food.

Pro: I can talk about turning down a chance to take Calvin Trillin out to have some pork barbecue or watching Rep. Tom Foley razz Sen. Chris Dodd about his hair when the latter pulled up in traffic behind the wheel of a convertible.

Con: Your members might rather hear about the time I was in a B-52 at low altitude over Saskatchewan and got so airsick (though I didn’t actually spew) that I hoped the plane would crash.

Pro: During the Q. and A., someone is certain to ask, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Con: I’ll get to say, once again, “What ideas?”

Today’s Slice question: What boarded-up building or vacant storefront is most haunting to you?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5470; e-mail For previous Slice columns, see Do you wish EWU’s teams were still known as the Savages?

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