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The Slice: Don’t forget the pole and feats of strength

Just three weeks until Festivus.

Have you decided what grievances to air?

Let’s move on.

Tannenbaum tales: Real vs. artificial isn’t the only tree question.

For families decided on a real one, there’s still the matter of how to acquire it.

Rick Shaffer, prime minister of Historic Wallace, Idaho, said his household is an example of the divide. His wife prefers to get a Christmas tree from a lot operated by Boy Scouts. Rick advocates searching nearby forests for the perfect tree.

How does your family decide?

Dickensian Spokane: Una Zeck sent a note prompted by Monday’s column.

“Regarding The Slice’s ‘Ebenezer Turner’ reference:

“Since there are no longer birth announcements in the newspaper, you can’t search your archive, but I wonder when was the last time a baby was named Ebenezer in Spokane? Or anywhere.”

My guess is it would have been back around the time Spokane changed its name from Whoville.

In case you didn’t hear: Slice reader Mike Vlahovich told me he sometimes feels he cannot escape Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

I urged him to picture the late Mr. Ives in the role of Big Daddy in the film, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”


Anyway, that reminded me of the time a few years ago when I decided to take the advice offered in “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet.”

With the help of an able volunteer assistant (keeping score on a notepad), I walked around downtown at lunchtime and greeted the first 100 people we encountered out on the sidewalks.

As I recall, the results were unremarkable. I encountered some guarded friendliness, some fight-or-flight alarm.

Someone might have better luck prompting reactions by spinning a survey off the line in that song that says, “Kiss her once for me.”

You know, go around saying “This is for Burl” and then smooch away. Without benefit of mistletoe.

If you take that on, be sure to let me know how it goes. Though I suppose your first call ought to be to a lawyer or bail bondsman.

Slice answer: John Mraz said that if he were a character in a TV series or movie, he might be a handyman who leaves a trail of grateful customers, sunflower seed shells and the persistent aroma of WD-40 and black licorice.

Today’s Slice question: Why are you not a typical resident of the Inland Northwest?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If those 1880s Dutch investors had renamed Spokane after the fire, what would they have called this city?

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