SEPT. 21, 2019 BUNCHING UP IN THE WIDE-OPEN SPACES
Every few days, I like to leave the suburbs behind and drive out into the countryside for a relaxing cruise among the trees and fields. I did so yesterday.
This is Route 85 about five miles west of Rural Valley, PA, a two-lane road where the speed limit is 45 mph. As usual, there's not much traffic, but as usual, several cars seem to be traveling as a group. Yeah, we got a little convoy; ain't she a beautiful sight? But why?
Suppose I'm in the red car leading the pack through the winding curves, uphill and down. I don't want to exceed the speed limit, but I don't want to drop below it either, so I've set my cruise control for 45 mph. Other drivers who would prefer to go faster have bunched up behind me. I keep an eye on them in my rear-view mirror. They can't pass me, because the double yellow line continues for miles. I've forced them to become law-abiding citizens. Mmmwwwhahaha! (Evil laugh.)
SEPT. 19, 2019 YOKAY?
The most common single line of dialogue in scripts seems to be the question Are you okay? I hear it in every movie and TV program. In the final season of The Big Bang Theory, I counted four times in Episode 14 when someone asked Leonard whether he was all right. Usually it was because he had sneezed rather violently. Allergies.
Every show, whether comedy or drama, has at least one moment in which a character suffers an emotional or physical misfortune. (If there were no problems, there would be no story.) Another character sees the first character groaning in anguish and solicitously asks, Are you okay?
Despite the frequent appearance of that line in scripts, I don't remember hearing it often in real life. Well, there was one time, if high school can be considered real life.
It's also preferable to simply ignoring someone's suffering. An Australian suicide-prevention organisation is called R U OK?
I was just reviewing tomorrow nights starting lineups for the Latrobe High School Wildcats. According to the official roster, the defense includes nose guard Thomas Dovie and strong safety Donato Lonigro. However, theyre better known as T.J. Dovie and D.J. Lonigro.
Many young men these days call themselves something J. Can we assume J is their middle initial? Does J stand for Joseph or Jefferson? No, more likely J stands for Junior.
A couple of years ago, T.J. Beam pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates. His formal name was Theodore Lester Beam, Jr., so he should have gone by T.L. instead of T.J. But I suppose his father was known as Ted, so people called the new little boy Ted Junior. That soon became T.J., and that stuck.
Among Juniors, this is still a fairly limited phenomenon. Otherwise, we'd have celebrities like K.J. Griffey the baseball slugger, V.J. McMahon the wrestling entrepreneur, and D.J. Fairbanks and L.J. Chaney the late movie stars. Famous racecar drivers would include D.J. Earnhardt, A.J. Unser, and A.J.J. Foyt. In the Seventies, our President would have been J.J. Carter. President J.J.? That would have been dyno-MITE!
SEPT. 13, 2019 THE HIGH LONESOME SOUND
On this date 108 years ago, what was happening in western Kentucky?
Another town, just three miles from Livermore, has a puzzling name. Now I can reveal its source. My article is titled Marooned in the Bluegrass, and it's mostly about old bridges.
Many car keys come attached to a fob containing a little radio transmitter. At the press of a button, you can remotely unlock your cars doors.
Shut your mouth. Radio waves dont behave like that. They don't bounce off your body; they are absorbed by it. They dont reflect off anything inside your mouth (except your dental fillings, which only scatter them in random directions). Instead, they soak into your head, as we've learned from the alarmist warnings about cell phone radiation.
Yet some people insist that their fobs work better at chin level. Could this be? If so, is there a non-bogus explanation?
To automobile stylists, the beltline is the base of the windows. Above the beltline is the greenhouse mostly glass, through which radio waves easily pass. Below the beltline are fenders and door panels mostly steel, which radio waves dont penetrate.
But if you hold the fob at your beltline, as the man is doing with his left hand, youre holding it below the cars beltline. The radio waves dont have a direct path to the receiver. (Nevertheless, theyll probably get there by a roundabout path if youre not too far away. Maybe theyll first reflect off the underside of the cars roof and then bounce around the interior for awhile.)
Take it from a physics major: your mouth can redirect sound waves, but not radio waves. Unless you're an android, of course.
I'm watching a PBS documentary about Bakersfield country music (Merle Haggard, Buck Owens). The backstory: Okies packed up their cars to flee the Dust Bowl for California.
SEPT. 4, 2014 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
You claim that people evolved from apes, millions of years ago, says the creationist. But if the monkeys turned into humans, why are there still monkeys? Huh? Answer that one. You dont have an answer, do you?
No, I have another question. If our family is descended from Scottish people who emigrated from Scotland to the New World two centuries ago, why are there still Scotsmen today? Huh? You see, some Scots became Americans, but not all of them.
Clearly, not only have the people at Answers in Genesis not read their biology textbook. The people at Answers in Genesis have not even read Genesis! At least they havent read it beyond the story of Noahs flood.
Scripture clearly does not delineate Gods insistence on a single, exclusive union.
Therefore, Answers in Genesis, has God commanded his people to restrict their sexual activity according to the standards of 18th-century America? The way youd prefer?
No, he has not. The answers are in Genesis.
SEPT. 1, 2019 NONLINEAR REPORTAGE
An inverted pyramid is an eye-catching building. But the term means something else in journalism.
However, if the tale of an athletic contest is written in this manner, I get confused. I want to be led through the game step by step. How did it begin, then what happened, then how did it finish? That's hard to reconstruct if the story starts at the end.
Last week in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost 6-5 at Philadelphia in 11 innings. Let's analyze the game story from the next morning's online edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
we've accounted for all the scoring, so there, in the middle of the
game, the story ends! Wouldn't it be better to tell the tale in
chronological order, as indicated by the gold line? Ah, what do