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by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & Reading Comprehensive & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & recent mashup of most popular books on campus and SAT scores reveals that at the smartest schools (Cal Tech, MIT, the Ivies), the most-read books (according to Facebook) include Lolita, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Crime and Punishment and Freakonomics. Meanwhile, students at the lowest-ranked schools (places like Rust College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) list The Color Purple, Fahrenheit 451 and the Bible as their faves. Of 1,352 schools ranked, Whitworth and Gonzaga are both in the top 200; WSU, not so much. Visit www.booksthatmakeyoudumb.com.





Overheard at the Fox


An "intrepid" crowd trudged through the slush on Sunday afternoon to watch Fabio Mechetti conduct two entire symphonies from memory -- and to witness (this was a nice touch) the return of former concertmaster Kelly Farris and his former assistant and white-maned sidekick, Michael Price, sawing away back there among the first-violin back benchers.


Also, this tidbit, overheard at intermission: "Well, January has been a torturous month. The Dow was down 10,000 points, and 10,000 feet of snow fell on Spokane."


As Sinclair Lewis once said, "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation."





Change-of-Edge Spirals


If you want to see the 2006 U.S. champion, Sasha Cohen, check out "Stars on Ice" at the Arena next Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 pm. Tickets: $25-$110. Call 325-SEAT.





Share and Savor


Slow Food aficionados will gather for a Meet and Greet Potluck Brunch on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9:30-11:30 am at the Saranac Building, 25 W. Main Ave. Bring your own tableware and a breakfast treat to share (no Pop-Tarts, please), and mingle with others who enjoy delicious, local, sustainable food. E-mail [email protected] for more information.





Social Sickness


In the 1950s, a Chicago company sold, on average, nearly 200 units a day of its most popular item, fake vomit. Today, "it's still made the old-fashioned way, ladle by ladle, formed and coagulated," its latex texture resembling "a jagged lunar landscape" and featuring "ridges of multihued solid chunks." Yet currently, Americans purchase scarcely 15 pieces a day of what the president of Fun Inc. calls "America's best vomit." Who will put a stop to this cultural malaise?

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