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

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Scribbled Notes on the Margins of Life

April 30th, 2021 by dk

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

  • You know you’re a true Oregonian if you’ve complained about our lack of spring rains.
  • I got my pfirst vaccine shot the other day. I pfeel pfine. Nothing pfunny happened.
  • I see soaped COVID-19 vaccination release times scrawled on people’s driver rear window as 2021’s first flesh-and-blood meme — the new “Baby on Board.”
  • Takeaway from the Chauvin trial: “If you see something, film something.” (Who believes the outcome didn’t rely on Darnella Frazier’s video?)
  • Pictures have changed racial politics before. Emmett Till’s mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in 1955. She allowed Jet Magazine to publish photographs that shocked the nation and inspired a young pastor, Martin Luther King, Jr..
  • Masks have become bumper stickers for the face. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
  • How come we never hear about those who get out scathed?
  • How did “cat litter” come to mean two such very different things? (Both involving cats, at least.)
  • If the whole world was comprised of only one of these, would you prefer beginnings, middles, or endings?
  • Why isn’t Indian cuisine more colorful?
  • I don’t use the sprayer nozzle on my kitchen faucet nearly enough.
  • Shame-based self-correction is a little like corporate sensitivity training. It works best on those who don’t really need it.
  • Time is not our most limited commodity. Intention is. Any moment when we’re fully aligned with our intent stretches across dimensions.
  • Military officials should not be allowed to wear their medals inside the Oval Office. They must be reminded that somebody outranks them.
  • Government employees play defense so much better than they play offense. How can we change that?
  • Bureaucrats live in the rule world. The rest of us live in the real world. Having a plan in place sounds great, but “a plan in place” is no substitute for a plan in motion.
  • Statistics don’t guide us well toward us asymmetrical outcomes.
  • When I’m strong, I don’t need anyone. When I’m weak, I don’t deserve anyone.
  • Websites should also answer Frequently Unasked Questions, despite the unfortunate acronym.
  • Remember when subdivision sidewalks were not adjacent to the street? Homeowners were responsible for lawn on both sides of the walk. That was a better world.
  • Nothing is forever, right? We do what we can to hold off that day when nothing meets forever.
  • If Congress fails to pass Biden’s infrastructure bill, will it prove that American politics has gotten too big for its bridges?
  • Let’s make sure earmarks don’t become eyesores.
  • Why does the word “why” start with two silent letters?
  • Who is working on the gender-neutral term to replace “man-to-man defense”?
  • Where fear and sadness meet, do not yield to fear.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like numeric scale surveys?
  • I’m not a majoritarian. Whatever relies on “most people” is often wrong and sometimes dangerous.
  • The only alternative to theology is bad theology.
  • I hope somebody upriver is making artful commentary about pale blue dots on charred trees.
  • I am a man of my word(s).


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at


  • Is somebody working on reinventing bar bet questions in the age of Google?
  • History becomes more interesting as we become part of it.
  • I’m glad we’ve returned to precedented times, navigating charted waters ahead.
  • If you know whether it’s a recycling pick-up week without following your neighbors, you don’t have enough going on in your life.
  • We understand so little about what actually empowers people. We’re not even all that curious about it, which should be alarming. (Partly, we think we already know. Partly, we think knowing wouldn’t matter. I’m not sure which part is more dangerous.)
  • Why can’t bitcoin mining be directed toward accomplishing some sort of social good, instead of completing abstract calculations?
  • I wanted to be right. Instead, I was left … three times.
  • Wind Chill Factor (and its younger sibling, Temperature Humidity Index) ruined Amurika. “How it feels” became more important than “What it is.”
  • Related: We disrespect our nation’s most notable leaders when we insist their actual birthday is less important than our 3-day weekend plans.
  • In my perfect world, I would leave my front door and head right or left in equal measure. I’d rather be in the middle of things than at one end.
  • Nothing generates more Facebook comments than any random observation about Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
  • Did every mom hector their children to clean behind their ears or was that a 1950s and/or Midwestern thing? (I’d really like to know.)

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