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The Slice: Baby, you can drive my pickup

Got a kick out of this response to Tuesday’s column.

“Being from Idaho, I confess I have no respect for people who can’t drive a stick,” wrote Sandy Tarbox. “Dad thought it was important that his girls could drive whatever needed to be driven and that has served me well.”

Space invaders: We have discussed people crowding strangers unnecessarily on the lake and in parking lots. But Ralph Hernandez noted that there’s another place where this is an issue: Fitness clubs.

There can be plenty of unused treadmills or stationary bikes but still a mystifying number of people will choose the one right next to him, he said. Same goes with selecting lockers.

Slice answers: Gail Palumbo was riding bikes with her grandson last weekend when he got a flat. She said it sounded like “PPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSssssssssssssss.”

Betty Shaw said her daughter’s bike got a flat years ago that sounded like a .22-caliber rifle being fired.

Ken Stout shared this. “I had a one-speed Sears with huge balloon tires. Popped many a tire and usually sounded like a short, loud fart. A friend had a bike with skinny tires. Once we were pumping them up at the neighborhood gas station and one blew. It sounded like a large firecracker.”

And Blake Ballard said the sound one would have heard last time he got a flat was his unprintable exclamation.

Life with pets: Keri Yirak’s cat is obsessed with cotton swabs.

Close Calls Department: In the summer of 1996, Spokane retiree Celesta Frost was aboard a cruise ship that maneuvered so violently to avoid a collision that many passengers were sent sprawling.

Here’s the beginning of a story about it in The Vancouver Sun, datelined Victoria, B.C.: “A cruise ship carrying 1,700 people just missed ramming a barge loaded with propane and dynamite last month in the waters separating Vancouver Island from the B.C. mainland.”

Today’s Slice question: How did you make friends at a new school?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If you sent me an email last weekend, there’s a good chance I did not see it as a result of what shall henceforth be known as the Inbox Incident of ’13.

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