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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Keep an eye on that summer beverage

FILE - Yellowjackets crawling inside of a beverage can deliver a nasty summer surprise. (Terry Gray)
FILE - Yellowjackets crawling inside of a beverage can deliver a nasty summer surprise. (Terry Gray)

We don’t like to admit it.

But sometimes, when a yellowjacket or a wasp stings someone, the human had it coming.

Consider the case of children poking an insect nest with a sharp stick. If you were a wasp, what would you do?

Of course. You would defend your homeland.

If that causes some snot-nosed kid to go running into the house, crying about being the victim of an unprovoked attack, so be it. Maybe next time he’ll think twice about interspecies home invasion.

Still, there is one situation where the human in the getting-stung scenario can be said to be blameless.

This occurs when a yellowjacket or hornet surreptitiously crawls into an open beverage can and then freaks when the unwitting person enjoying the cold drink goes to take a sip.

This has been a part of summer in Spokane for as long as we have been drinking out of cans. No, it does not happen a lot. But neither is it just an urban legend.

Oh, I know. It would seem simple enough to monitor your beverage can and keep track of comings and goings near the opening.

But here’s what happens. You’re sitting out back, listening to the conversation and keeping one eye on your drink. Then someone says something that absolutely requires your response. So, just for a moment, you totally divert your attention from the beverage.

“Oh no, that’s not what she said. What she said was …”

During that brief instant, a yellowjacket with a taste for high fructose corn syrup alights on the can and nimbly spelunks down inside it.

I need not tell you what can happen next.

License plate season

We’re approaching that time of year when those visiting gas stations near Interstate 90 are apt to see a variety of out-of-state plates.

Want to be an ambassador of goodwill for Spokane? Ask those folks friendly questions.

Alabama: “Notice how, for your benefit, I’m not affecting a bad Southern accent?” Alaska: “Should bears be allowed to vote up there?” Arizona: “Has anyone ever taken pictures of the Grand Canyon?” Arkansas: “What’s the deal with woooo, pig! Soooie!?” California: “Did you ever meet Brian Wilson?”

Colorado: “Did you know we have chain-up areas, too?” Connecticut: “Any chance the Hartford Whalers will be revived?” Delaware: “Can I incorporate my cat there?” Florida: “Ever met an alligator?” Georgia: “That Lester Maddux was a trip, wasn’t he?”

Hawaii: “Do pineapples taste better there?” Illinois: “Did you know Ryne Sandberg grew up here?” Indiana: “Do you know former SR editor Gary Graham?” Iowa: “Are you required to have an opinion about ‘The Music Man’?” Kansas: “Are you afraid I’m going to go ‘Wizard of Oz’ on you?”

Kentucky: “Ever been to Secretariat’s grave site?” Louisiana: “Want to hear me yell ‘Stella!’?” Maine: “Are you related to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain?” Maryland: “Did you watch ‘The Wire’?” Massachusetts: “Ever met Bobby Orr?”

Michigan: “Is it Mackinac or Mackinaw?” Minnesota: “What did you think of the whole Garrison Keillor thing?” Mississippi: “Like our dry air?” Missouri: “Cards or Royals?” Montana: “Isn’t this Custer battle month?”

Nebraska: “How does a unicameral legislature work?” Nevada: “How ’bout those Golden Knights?” New Hampshire: “Ever heard a loon?” New Jersey: “Do people still see your plates and refer to ‘The Sopranos’?” New Mexico: “Are you enchanted?”

New York: “Do you claim Trump?” North Carolina: “Are you expecting me to make some Mayberry reference?” North Dakota: “Was the oil boom good or bad?” Ohio: “Ever been to the Museum of the Air Force?” Oklahoma: “Don’t you have something that belongs in Seattle?”

Oregon: “What’s the cutest town in Oregon?” Pennsylvania: “What’s the deal with being a commonwealth?” Rhode Island: “Is small state complex a thing?” South Carolina: “Secede lately?” South Dakota: “What should be the fifth face on Mount Rushmore?”

Tennessee: “Is Elvis alive?” Texas: “Is it true the Alamo is surprisingly small?” Utah: “What’s it like to live there if you aren’t LDS?” Vermont: “Do you claim Bernie Sanders?” Virginia: “Ever been thanked for George Washington?”

Washington, D.C.: “How many times have you taken visitors to the Vietnam Memorial?” West Virginia: “Does your state have the weirdest outline?” Wisconsin: “Is it true your rural roads were smooth and well maintained because of the dairy industry and transporting glass bottles?” Wyoming: “Don’t you love ‘Shane’?”

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