The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington on December 14, 1995 · 41
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The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington · 41

Spokane, Washington
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 14, 1995
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h iiiitfi ii?nniiiii f 1 1 1 vMUftND NORTHWEsr es worn By Paul Turner Staff writer n more than 20 years of obsessively aeeounting for every minute of the day in numbingly mundane detail, diarist Robert W. Shields has typed what he estimates to be more than 36 million words. People who hear about it invariably respond with five of their own. Is the man a nuteakc? The question doesnt bother the retired minister and high sehool English teaeher. I dont mind a ribbing, he says. The truth is that Call me Bob Shields a 77-year-old Dayton, Wash, resident with pale white skin and hearing aids in both cars enjoys attention. And he's getting a lot of it lately. , , National Public Radio reporter David Isay included Shields in his recent book, 1 Iolding On," a look at eccentrics, dreamers and visionaries. And an excerpt focusing on the world's longest diary appeared in last months I Iarpcrs magazine. Since then, the 10 phones in Shields house have been ringing. One day its the Washington Post. The next its a radio station in Australia. Shields, who is about 5-foot-2 and looks like Bub from My Three Sons, has even made the National Enquirer. Screamed the tabloid: I IE EVEN WRITES DOWN WI IEN I IE GOES TO TI IE POTTY! Still, it's not hard to find people in Dayton who have never heard about Robert Shields diary chronicles every minute of every day of the last 20 plus yean of his Ife Shields keeps his stacks and stacks of recorded memories on the back porch of his Dayton home. Shields diary. And he swears that thats OK with him. I Ie didn't start it with the idea of someday becoming famous for a few minutes, he insists. So why DID he decide back in the early 70s to keep track of his day in five-minute sections? I dont know, he said. I dont know why any of us do anything. That's the truth. I Ie spends about four hours a day at the typewriter in his cramped study, with classical music in the background. The rest of the time, hes taking notes about his admittedly pedestrian activities. I dont think it has happened unless Ive written it down, he said. Shields can sound a bit like the out-of-it Larry Bud Melman character of David Lettcrman fame, such as when reading his poetry aloud until his listener all but begs him to quit. I le has a puckish demeanor and loves to recite highlights of his resume almost as much as he enjoys showing off his blue 1759 Ford Fairlane. And, in fact, the man behind the white picket fence on Oak Street has not led a totally boring life. I Ie wrote a book that wound up being turned into the first Llvis movie, Love Me Tender. And he once was a winner in the Bulwer-Lytlon fiction contest for the best intentionally horrid first sentence of a would-be gothic novel. But thats not the sort of stuff that fills his diary. This is: Continued. DiaryD5 The Slice drivers: Marilyn Johnson nominated her father, Ray I). Billman. I Ie would never think of running a red light, she said. Robin Campbell touted an STA driver named Jim. It is wonderful to believe By Paul Turner Stull writer Russ Fithens best Christmas pageant memory comes from the time he and other Gonaga University students put on a performance of Alice in Wonderland for some battered children who were living in a shelter. 1 Ie played the mock turtle, who is sad because he isnt a real turtle. After the show, the actors still in costume mingled with the kids. Fithcn felt a lug on his outfit. I Ie looked down and saw a little boy gaing up at him. Fithcn leaned over and the boy whispered in his ear: "Youll always be a real turtle to me. Patent this: "My daughter, Emily, is 3 years old, started a note from Teri Beal. I have a brother named Patrick and his wile is I leather. "One day my husband, Rod, was helping Emily put her shiny, black church shoes on. And alter he linished explaining to her what they were called she came to me and said Mommy, I have Pat and 1 leather shoes. Be a leader: If everybody wails to see who is going to send them a card before mailing their own, we'll never gel this show on the road. I More safe, courteous Pat and Heather shoes. One of his neighbors nominated trucker Denny Young. Patti Reeves said her husband, Bill, would be tough to beat. I Ie has never had a traflie citation nor any lender benders in 36 years of driving, she wrote. Coeur d'Alenes Lonnie Anderson, a 30-year-old trucker, said he has driven 3,870,000 courteous share-the-road miles without a mishap. Learning his lines early: Joey Anderson, 7, was listening to a worried adult conversation about the prospect of a winter storm, So he tried to help put things in perspective. "Don't worry, Grandpa, he said. 1 he weather man doesn't know anything. Recommended arts and entertainment in the region: Santa's helpers Childrens Santa Express Store for kids ages 4-1 2 to shop on their own at the store, with proceeds benefiting the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, at NorthTown Mall, second level next to Musicland, continues through Dec. 23. It's not the Jerk: Square dancing is the official dance of Washington stale. Were not sure about Idahos. But we think it's the Pony. Today's Slice question: Whats your best splashed-by-slush story? The Slice appears Monday, Tuesday. Thursday and Saturday. Write The Slice atP.O Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470, fax (509) 459-5098, Study hard kid v, while we adults sit back and relax ; says Dave Barry. The best knowledge is secret Miami Herald ell, you young people have gone and done it again. Im talking about the recent study showing that high-school students, to quote The Associated Press, do not know basic facts about American history. I hate to be a nag, but this is something like the 46,0IH)th consecutive study showing that you young people are not cutting the academic mustard. Do you know how that makes us older people feel? It makes us feel GREAT. We go around saying to ourselves: We may be fat and slow and achy and unhip and have hair sprouting from our noses like June asparagus, but at least we know the basic facts about American history. According to The Associated Press, more than half ol America's high-school seniors do not know the intent ot the Monroe Doctrine or the chief goal of United States foreign policy alter World War II. Is that shocking, or what? Of course, to be lair, we have to admit that, for most of the past 50 years, almost NOBODY knew what our foreign policy was. It was a secret. For a while there, in the early 1970s, the only person who knew anything about our foreign policy was 1 Ienry Kissinger, who kept it hidden in a secret compartment in his underwear, refusing even to show it to President Nixon, although he did occasionally bring it out to impress actresses he was dating. In fact, we now know, thanks to recent news reports, that NONE of our postwar presidents really knew what our foreign policy was, because the Central Intelligence Agency (motto: Proudly Overthrowing I idel Castro Since 1962") was passing along false inlormation about the Russians. (1 here is an excellent reason why the CIA did this, but il I told you what it is, I would have to kill you.) Basically, the CIA led the presidents to believe that the Russians were this well-disciplined, super-advanced military power with all kinds of high-tech atomic laser death rays; whereas in fact the Russians, if they had actually fought us, would have had to rely primarily on the tactic of throwing turnips. So we spent billions of dollars on items such as the Stealth Bomber, which by the way we are still building, in case we ever need to sneak an Continued BarryD5 Bid farewell to comic boy and his tiger The countdown is in for "Calvin and 1 lobbes" Ians. On Dee. 31, the cartoon strip will stop publication, and were interested in your reactions. Will you miss the little guy and his toy tiger? If so, why? And what are your favorite "Calvin and 1 lobbes" memories? Your responses may be included in a special IN File goodbye to Calvin and his creator, Bill Watterson. Please call our Cityline service and leave a message. A touch-tone phone is required. In Lastcrn Washington, call (509) 458-8800 and once the connection is made, enter category 9867. In North Idaho call (208) 765-8811, category 9867. Cityline is free, but normal charges apply to longdistance calls. Leave your name and daytime telephone number along with a brief message about "Calvin and Hobbes." i I I I ! I I

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