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The Slice: Certain mail can require code breaking

A friend in Coeur d’Alene has discovered that she is not alone.

Apparently others, including several of her co-workers, cannot easily read the handwriting of their grandmothers and elderly aunts.

“When my husband and I receive such a letter from an elderly aunt, it’s somewhat of a puzzle to try to decipher what it says and it’s always kind of fun, but we can never get it all,” she says.

Oh, well. At least those ladies still write letters. They might be the last to do so.

The best policy: Brian James buys his copy of the S-R from a vending box near his Spokane workplace. Naturally, being an honest guy, he takes just one paper. But he wonders.

“What other businesses or services still run on the honor system? Did this practice used to be more commonplace? What other services could/should be converted to this system, and, would it work?”

Slice answers: Several readers suggested that one need not use whole milk to make terrific hot chocolate.

A couple of readers said gift cards are one way to thank neighbors who have been helping to clear your driveway. Another proposed giving a gift basket that included rum.

Herb Postlewait said the biggest winter-preparedness con job is the idea that studded tires are necessary.

Shelley Davis and others sang the praises of studded tires.

Slice readers said there isn’t high school hockey around here because of a lack of facilities and, unlike in the upper Midwest and New England, no tradition of the sport being part of the scholastic sports scene.

And it was proposed that “The Penultimate” or “Next to Last” could be nicknames for my friend whose recent dating record includes seeing women quickly go on to get engaged to other guys.

Staying up to date: “Have you noticed that The Slice is very much behind the times?” asked a reader named Leonard.

He noted the recent popularity of sometimes fuzzy Skype-cam reports on local TV news.

“The Slice must compete with this! You need a Slice equivalent of the live Skype-cam. We can call it Slice-Skype or Slype for short. On every column you write, make sure that the printing presses smear the ink a bit to give it that non-high-definition look – a Slype look and feel.

“Print some words really faintly or too bold and dark so as to be unreadable. Leave out some random words or drop random letters from words to have that Slype edginess – it will be just like a Skype-cam feed. Your editors can always summarize your column at the end to explain what we couldn’t read.”

Today’s Slice question: Is going to get coffee a sacred ritual where you work?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail Some people have had their driveway markers stolen.

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