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C-Notes, Part 3
Assorted thoughts in 100 words or less

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NOVEMBER 23, 2002:

Here's an oddity that I discovered while looking at census figures for people over the age of 17.  In the town where I grew up, there are 812 women and 712 men.  In the town where I live now, there are 1580 women and 1237 men.  It appears that, as a man, I'm a member of a minority group.

 

SEPTEMBER 6, 2001:

Two of my bachelor television colleagues live near each other.  One is popular, the other annoying.  The first said about the second, "I had to cancel a party because he found out about it.  None of those girls would have spoken to me again if he had been there."

 

MARCH 26, 2003:

It's one of the worst diseases that can strike a woman.  It increasingly debilitates and disfigures the patient until a painful crisis is reached, requiring hospitalization and sometimes surgery.

Before modern medicine was developed, this crisis often proved fatal.  Nowadays, the patient still faces an extended recovery.  Coping with the aftereffects of the disease occupies all her attention around the clock for months.

Although many women gradually, over time, can resume some of their former activities, the effects linger for decades.  And the malady can recur again and again.

This condition is commonly known as "pregnancy."

 

JUNE 27, 2003:

If B and V each cause T, does B cause V?

When I fall asleep under a cool Breeze, I wake up with a temporarily sore Throat.

When a Virus infects me, my first symptom is also a sore Throat.  Sniffles and other signs of sickness follow.

Many people, including my late father, have failed to make the distinction.  Because a breeze can cause one of the symptoms, they think that a Breeze causes the full-blown Virus infection, the "common cold."

Ben Franklin was astute enough to realize that we don't "catch cold" from a draft, but the misconception persists.

 

MAY 4, 2003:

In the early 1960s, folks knew about photography, but the electromagnetic recording of video images was not generally understood.

When television sports introduced instant replay, one of my classmates wondered how they managed to get the film developed so quickly.

When the unmanned Ranger moon probe sent back close-up views of craters seconds before crashing into the lunar surface, destroying the spacecraft and its camera, my grandmother wondered how we had been able to get the pictures back.

 

APRIL 10, 2003:

Richwood High School grew by consolidation to include all of northern Union County.  The year after I graduated, its name was to be changed to North Union High School.

We had been the Richwood Tigers; we wore Princeton's orange and black.  But the new North Union would need a new mascot.

Coach Frank Zirbel suggested the "NU Gnus."

I scrambled Civil War iconography to suggest the "North Union Rebels."  The Rebs could wear blue and gray (like this altered picture of an Ohio State Buckeye).

Actually, only minor changes were made.  The colors became orange, black, and white, and the tiger turned into a wildcat.

 

JUNE 27, 2003:

How would you like to have a job in which you and your co-workers fail 50% of the time, on average?  And whenever your company fails, even it wasn't your fault, you're expected to be depressed?  On your trip home from work, you mustn't joke around or listen to music, because you haven't earned the right to be happy.  Instead, you must glumly meditate on what went wrong.

I'm glad that I can usually be content at the end of a day's work.  I'm glad that I'm not an employee of a professional sports team.

 

OCTOBER 25, 2002:

Baseball is too slow, and some parts are slower than others.  The game creeps along until there's a runner on first base.  Then everything stops.  The pitcher, refusing to pitch to the batter, stares at the runner and tries to pick him off.

My rule change suggestion:  If the pitcher throws the baseball in any direction, that's a pitch.  If it's out of the strike zone — and a pitch caught by the first baseman is way out of the zone — the umpire calls it a ball.  The pitcher can throw over to first, but it will cost him.

 

OCTOBER 28, 2002:

In TV graphics, we're not supposed to make incomplete comparisons.  If we type

JEROME BETTIS
7,785 CAREER RUSHING YARDS
2ND MOST IN STEELERS HISTORY

the producer asks "How far is Bettis out of first place?  And who is in first place?"  We must add

(FRANCO HARRIS 11,950)

In life, I cringe at incomplete opinions like "That was a good movie."  What, specifically, was good about it?

There's a local bulletin board about TV where people remark, "She's a terrible anchor," or "I liked this character but I didn't like that one."  Tell me more, tell me why.

 

JUNE 10, 2003:

At work, I often type in all capital letters.

Manual typewriters have a SHIFT LOCK key.  Use it to lock the typewriter in upper case.  To return to normal, press SHIFT momentarily to release the lock.

Computer keyboards should also have separate keys for these two functions.  Instead, there's a toggling CAPS LOCK.  Hit it and you're in all caps.  Hit it again and you aren't.  If you're unsure, you have to check for the little light to see which mode you're in, lest you type "uNITED sTATES OF aMERICA."

Touch-typing works better with a SHIFT LOCK!

 

JULY 8, 2003:

(I've exceeded my 100-word limit on this one, but it's okay because most of the words were written by someone else.)

You've heard the Dixie Chicks sing Bruce Robison's "Travelin' Soldier":

One Friday night at a football game,
The Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang,

A man said, "Folks, would you bow your heads
For a list of local Vietnam dead."

Crying all alone under the stands
Was a piccolo player in the marching band,

And one name read, and nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair.

[CHORUS:]  I cried,
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy.

"Too young for him," they told her,
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier.

Our love will never end;
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again,

Never more to be alone,
When the letter said a soldier's coming home.

Did you notice the inexact rhymes?  Apparently, it's enough nowadays that the concluding vowel sounds echo each other.  The final consonants don't have to match.  (I'm told these are called “soft rhymes” and in genres like songs are sometimes considered “close enough.”)

 

MAY 31, 2003:

Suppose I'm the victim of a crime, or someone I know is murdered.  A suspect is brought to trial.

I'll testify if needed, but otherwise I'm going to stay as far away from that courtroom as I can.  I have better things to do.  I'm going on with life, not reliving the bad memories.

I don't understand victims and victims' families who, fixated on revenge, grimly insist on being present throughout the trial to "ensure that justice is done."  Isn't that the state's job?  What can spectators do to help, except perhaps intimidate the jury?

 

JANUARY 29, 2003:

An inspirational "stop and smell the roses" cliché is sometimes attributed to the late Senator Paul Tsongas: "No man on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’”

In general it's true — for those whose work is meaningless drudgery.

But there must be others who say, "I shouldn't have wasted so much of my life running off to Las Vegas and getting drunk.  I wish I’d spent more time at the office, writing my book (or freeing innocent prisoners, or finding a cure for cancer, or saving another soul)."

 

TBT

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