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C-Notes, Part 5
Assorted thoughts in 100 words or less

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MARCH 29, 2004:

Sometimes, when I make a choice, I prefer to keep my selfish reasons secret.  A hypocrite is one who claims that the real reason for his choice is some lofty principle.

His hypocrisy is revealed only when, again for his own ignoble purposes, he makes a subsequent choice that violates the general principle.

Example:  You don't want to visit your in-laws because you don't like them.  You claim that the 200-mile drive would use too much gas.  But when there's a concert 300 miles away, you make the trip, revealing that you're not truly basing your decisions on fuel conservation.


MARCH 29, 2004:

In 1957-58, The $64,000 Question was on CBS-TV Sundays at 10:00.

One week, I watched a contestant go for the big money.  Quizmaster Hal March warned that the half-hour was nearing its end.  Finally, the contestant came up with the answer.  Hal shouted, "That's correct!  For sixty-four thou—"

At that moment, the sound cut off, the CBS logo came up, and WBNS-TV went to its station break.

The next day's newspapers told about the winner.  And they reported that the producers were apologetic for eating up something like seventeen seconds more than their allotment of CBS network time.

The $64,000 Question, with its contestant in an isolation booth, was the #1 show in 1955-56 with a 47.5 rating!


JULY 3, 2004:

My colleagues this week were in a mood for twisting familiar expressions.

Gary Gaal:  Why did you decide to leave rocket scientry?

Jerry Schad:  Even a blind squirrel is right twice a day.


JULY 3, 2004:

Once, our Pittsburgh TV crew was on the road in Cincinnati, televising a Pirates game back to Pittsburgh.  We reported how our starter pitched a great game but our batters couldn't drive in any runs.

The next day, I read about the game in the local Cincinnati paper.  The story was completely different.

Our pitcher's feats were hardly mentioned.  Instead, Cincinnatians were concerned with the continuing slump of their Reds hitters.

And our batters' failures were hardly mentioned.  The story was how the Reds defense came through in the clutch.

Is all sports local? 


JULY 14, 2004:

A first-time visitor to Pittsburgh, ready to leave, goes to the airport.  He gets on the little train.  "This transit is departing for Concourses A . . . B . . . C . . . and D."

Just like the Atlanta airport, he thinks.  My gate's on Concourse C, so I'll wait for the third stop.

Unfortunately, there are only two stations.  The 1st stop is all the concourses; the 2nd, back at landside.  The 3rd is where our visitor finally does disembark, grumbling, having figured it out.

Fortunately, after 11 years they've finally added an announcement:  "Please exit!  This is the final stop, for all airside connections."


JULY 22, 2004:

This website serves an unintended purpose:  it's a searchable catalog of my life.

In almost four years, I've typed tons of facts into it.  Now the PicoSearch utility has become the best way for me to look up certain historical data that I've forgotten, such as my grandfather's birthday or my 1969 optometrist's prescription.  This method is much quicker than digging again through boxes of original documents.


MAY 24, 2004:

I drive a chameleon.  Actually it's a Subaru, but its "Mystic Blue" color mystically changes with the lighting conditions, as seen in the four little pictures above.  The hues are just the way they came from my digital camera.

I suppose it's not surprising, because the shiny car reflects the light around it — here, for example, the sky.

I think I like my chameleon best on a rainy day.

JULY 27, 1968:

Typical feminine self-centeredness.  You propose to trim the seams on diapers with pinking shears, do you?  This may be fine for the little girl babies, but can you imagine how the little boy babies would feel if they had to wear diapers trimmed with pinking shears?  Such humiliation!  And it would be impractical to have separate bluing shears to trim the boys' diapers.

So you must either abandon the idea of a colorful name, or else compromise and call them purpling shears.  Take your choice.


SEPTEMBER 1, 2004:

At 2:30 pm July 31, 1963, I stood atop Pikes Peak.  I looked down at the plains of the eastern half of Colorado, two miles below me.

Seventy years and nine days before, English professor Katharine Lee Bates was inspired by the same view.  She reached for her notebook and wrote:

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
   For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
   Above the enameled plain!

America!  America!
   God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
   And music-hearted sea!

Like any good author, she knew the value of revision.


APRIL 7, 1968:

There's a family in England that pronounces their name "Darby" — although it's spelled Enroughty.

Seems the last surviving member of the Enroughty clan, some centuries ago, had no one to bequeath the family fortune to when he died.  So he made a deal with a family by the name of Darby:  he'd will his money to them, if they changed their name to Enroughty to perpetuate his family name.  They agreed.

But anyone is free to pronounce his own name any way he likes.  After old Mr. Enroughty had passed on, they began pronouncing it "Darby."

I got it backwards.  Here's the real story, I think.


NOVEMBER 18, 2004:

Does anyone else think it's odd that sometimes we use “the” before names of buildings or institutions and sometimes not?  We say games are “in Yankee Stadium” and “in the Superdome” — not “in the Yankee Stadium” and “in Superdome.”

Except, of course, if you watch old movies from the 1930s.  There you may indeed hear an actor speak of “the Yankee Stadium.”  Apparently when this venue was young and there were fewer stadia around, it retained its definite article.  (As did the Polo Grounds.)


NOVEMBER 18, 2004:

For the first half of my broadcasting career, I often had varied tasks, including announcing, directing, editing, producing, lighting, and wiring up equipment.

Now many positions are highly specialized.  I know how to do electronic graphics, but not much else.  For example, once I could edit tapes on a one-inch VTR, but now I'd have no idea how to proceed on an "Elvis."

However, for some reason, I still feel I ought to be able to do anything.  I have nightmares that the professor will call "switch!" and we'll all have to move to different chairs.


OCTOBER 22, 2004:

Why is and not called "clockwise"?

When mechanical clocks were invented, they had only an hour hand.

I suspect that the designers wanted that hand to mimic the movements of the shadow on a standard sundial, which (in the northern hemisphere) looks like this.

But what if they'd drawn their inspiration from a vertical sundial mounted on a south-facing wall?  Then "clockwise" would have been the other direction.  And probably the clock face would have been divided not into 12 hours but into 24, with noon at the bottom and midnight at the top.



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