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Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

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Festive Fripperies

December 17th, 2018 by dk

Fifth Friday footnotes, follow-ups and far-flung fripperies:

  • Tautology should be the study of knots.
  • Liberalism has never found an appropriate response to cruelty.
  • An economist has shown that income between brothers has a stronger correlation than height. In other words, if you are rich and tall, your brother is more likely rich than tall.
  • When a speaker reads aloud their PowerPoint presentation, I miss the singalong “bouncing ball” from my youth.
  • As your life becomes less full, add more intention.
  • Our social contract relies on imprecision and opacity. “The freeloader problem” was always there, but mostly hidden. As we cede tabulation to non-human devices, how can we add back the inefficiencies that made things humane?
  • Life is short. The world is wide.
  • I don’t believe in bucket lists, except to keep moving until you kick it.
  • When you’re not fluent in the language, quick casual dining becomes neither.
  • Live-work spaces haven’t succeeded in America like they do in France. We don’t live or work in the same ways, so maybe that’s why.
  • Time zone shifting is good for more than jet lag. When everything around you is happening eight hours ahead of time, it’s hard to feel behind on anything.
  • American escalators all run at the same speed. Not so, elsewhere.
  • The French still have color choices for toilet paper. Their pursuit of beauty has no end.
  • I walked Paris from end to end and here’s what I learned about America: It’s not the food. It can’t be. There’s a butter-rich temptation on every corner in France, yet very little obesity. The food is not the problem. Our relationship to food is the problem.
  • Only Starbucks offers to-go cups in France. The French don’t want to drink while they walk. (They’d rather smoke.)
  • I didn’t wash my vegetables while cooking in France, hoping I’d get whatever it is they’ve got.
  • We have 350 billion bacteria in our gut — our microbiome. We’re more like a galaxy of tiny beings than a chunk of fleshy matter. Now think about this: What if one of those bugs is or becomes or considers itself central to that galaxy that is you?
  • “Entertain” shifted from an active verb to a passive one in the last 50 years. We no longer entertain from our homes. Now we stay home and expect to be entertained.
  • Looking back, now with the wisdom of years, do you regret the waterbed?
  • How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t like repeating myself.
  • If something is retractable, I retract it at every opportunity.
  • Petting = fur envy.
  • Our leaders avoid politics and our politicians avoid leadership.
  • It’s myopia — not your opia!
  • I went inside on a warm rainy day to take a shower. That’s a metaphor for something, but I don’t know for what.
  • Parades are almost always in the morning and I don’t know why.
  • An urgent meeting is an oxymoron. If it was really urgent, there’d be no time for a meeting.
  • Why does almost every kitchen appliance beep at the same frequency?
  • I have a hunch that magnanimity is like baldness — a trait that skips generations. That generous habit of mind is passed on to us most effectively by our grandparents.
  • Here’s a word we should all learn, so we can recognize its occurrence: paralipsis. (Look it up.)
  • It’s strange how many people who are my age suddenly seem old.
  • When you turn 40 or 50, you gain permission to do things you never did. When you turn 60 or 70, you’re permitted to stop doing things you always did.
  • I wish there was a TSA Pre express lane program for grocery stores. I’d pay $75 every few years for that.
  • “Fear is temporary. Regret is permanent.”
  • I wish I had learned the verb “catastrophize” much earlier in life.
  • Best bumper sticker: “Respect existence or expect resistance.”
  • It doesn’t make sense, but when I wear sunglasses, hot weather bothers me less.
  • What if schoolchildren’s overstuffed backpacks contribute to childhood obesity? After lugging that load every day, bulking up makes good sense.
  • If it wasn’t for deferred gratification, I’d have no gratification at all.
  • “Bartenders make pour decisions.”
  • When you do it right, hard work is its own reward.
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival has commissioned modernizations for every one of Shakespeare’s plays. Somebody should do the same for the Federalist Papers.
  • How can I learn to replace my sponges sooner?
  • Whenever change happens, the news has done its job.
  • Beauty shared is beauty squared.
  • Restaurant manager to confused wait staff: “Push the pulled pork.”
  • Does anyone else use their stairs as a vertical filing system?
  • It says something about you, but I don’t know what: You never cook less than an entire package of pasta.
  • Avocado toast is a chronological necessity. What do you do with an avocado that was rock hard at dinnertime last night, but will turn to brown mush before dinner tonight?
  • An alien analysis of our planet’s hierarchy would assume our ruling class has hard metal shells and round rubber feet. They sit, unbothered, for hours every day, while bipeds scurry around like servants.
  • Pretzels are crust without bread.
  • Burlesque dancers are just barely performing.
  • Cliches are truths better known than understood.
  • Storytellers are liars.
  • Bitly codes show that concision is good, but clarity is better. Would you rather type or
  • No sailor dreams of docking on the North Star. Direction and destination are different.
  • I’d like to be the first to suggest that quantum computing be called “quomputing.”
  • Was there ever a better name for a reunion group than The Ricketies?
  • Height displays ambition. Girth reveals satisfaction.
  • Somebody could sell broken umbrellas as parasols at summer festivals.
  • Some loves don’t require falling, you know.
  • Is it fair to call it depression when the only viable alternative is delusion? Sometimes things really are as bad as you feel.
  • “Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor.”
  • Not everyone gets to grow old.
  • So much is on-demand now. We used to shower, shop, and watch TV until it stopped being fun. It’s demanding to be so demanding.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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