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Foregone Fripperies

May 7th, 2022 by dk

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

  • Humpty Dumpty went over easy.
  • What if trash pickup was unlimited and free — or even less than free? If bounties were paid for collected litter, would everyone’s mood brighten?
  • Do back-up cameras make us better drivers or worse? Discuss.
  • Hot water mistifies me. Hard water petrifies me.
  • Does everyone tuck in the sheets at the foot of their bed?
  • Why can’t government acknowledge and rescind failed regulations? Parking spaces designated for compact cars are ignored. Emotional support animal certifications are more abused than used.
  • The pandemic has made remote workers more productive and less enterprising. Taken together, it’s a net loss.
  • Has anyone else noticed how air travel resembles incarceration? Where else are we subject to seemingly random rules, enforced with absolute authority?
  • Is narcissism a label invented by average people so they feel better about themselves?
  • Can we be lonely together? Does that make it better or worse?
  • It’s such a fine line between being held and being held hostage.
  • Too much of what we call entertainment these days is merely spectacle. No human connections are fostered.
  • I’m leaving soon for my first trip in several years. Are places still pretty far apart? (My Zoom screen is 13 diagonal inches.)
  • Do visitors stay at, in, or on the Virgin Islands? This is the sort of question that keeps me up at night.
  • Imagine my discomfort warning dark-skinned immigrants to avoid pickup trucks waving American flags.
  • Why are there so few leather throw pillows?
  • If you’re a busybody, chances are yours isn’t.
  • You can’t always dodge the bullet. Sometimes you gotta bite it.
  • What’s the most generic common job title? Leading candidates: operator, actor, waiter, receptionist, associate, cashier.
  • Humanity’s universal fear is that we’ll run out of time. Every hesitation makes it more true.
  • I’ve found no effective way to divest myself of the privilege I’ve been granted. So I try to leverage it for the benefit of others.
  • What if Putin and Trump are essentially one person? (P could definitely fit inside T.) They inhabit each other’s grievances with near perfection. Putin hated Hillary. Trump hates Zelensky. Exquisite simpatico or something more?
  • I’ve found that smokers are more often interesting people.
  • How did the inventor of the heated steering wheel not win a Nobel Prize?
  • If I seem not quite myself, that’s because I am. I had my gallbladder removed.
  • Most liars are lazy.
  • My colonoscopy was performed at a local endoscopy clinic. That sounds right. (Park in the rear. Entrance around back.)
  • Precursor (n): clumsy handyman before he hammers a nail
  • Children are like ropes. They’ll go to great lengths to lie around loosely, unless they’re taut.
  • I’d pay more for a book if the price somehow included the time to read it.
  • Are audio books better for fiction or non-fiction? I’m genuinely curious.
  • In case of apocalypse, borrow a book. If the world collapses, you get to keep it! If not, you had something to read while waiting.
  • More of my thoughts lately seem to end with a parenthetical afterthought (and I don’t know why).
  • Followers who refuse to break new ground should be called fallowers.
  • When you buy bay leaf in a jar, you’re paying mostly for the jar.
  • How does a person who quiets bells stay busy all day? It’s baffling.
  • Black Friday and Good Friday should switch names.
  • All things being equal, they never are.
  • What can be said about a world that has given us hands-free driving before hands-free flossing?
  • Don’t try to find yourself. Give yourself away.
  • Why don’t therapists confront shame quickly and directly? Replace “How do you feel today?” with “What secrets do you expect to take to your grave?”
  • Performative liberalism is the worst.
  • What can be done when knowledge no longer shapes judgment?
  • Can we choose to be normal but not ordinary, balanced but still remarkable? Or is every genius a tortured genius?
  • On the far side of disagreement lies a land of empathy and compassion. Let’s explore it.
  • Be more benefit than burden.
  • Regulators are not keeping up with electrified bikes and skateboards. Self-propelled roller skates will come next.
  • Too bad there aren’t sports-related video games that won’t unlock the next level until you master a related proficiency in real life. Imagine how a local game developer could partner with Kidsports to motivate kids to balance screen time with physical activity.
  • A city’s transit system is its Table of Contents. The cemeteries are its index.
  • The wind invites us to play catch with our caution.
  • When we respond loudly to our pet’s misbehavior, they may think they are training us.
  • Position is nine-tenths of the law.
  • It’s too soon to judge incoming UO football coach Dan Lanning, but he recognizes fun as requisite to the game, for players and fans.
  • Since college athletes can use the transfer portal only once, will some coaches build stable programs by recruiting only portal athletes and ignoring high school players entirely?
  • Good design requires two sorts of precision — execution relies first on intention.
  • We produced too many lawyers for a generation. Now we’re producing too many MBAs. Those who don’t make it to Wall Street are taking their spreadsheet skills to everyday places, including the baseball diamond.
  • I bought a Nissan Leaf so I can look down on Prius drivers.
  • We so easily confuse precision with accuracy. Each differs from truth, and even truth is not actionable without applied context.
  • Seeking common cause has become my new hobby.
  • We love our pets, hoping to occasionally change their minds.
  • How would our economy and/or geography change if every American paid the same price for nearly everything?
  • One journalism startup begins with this pledge: “We want to earn your trust and time.”
  • Storytelling can take us where facts and arguments cannot.
  • Inevitability offers an addictive comfort. We give up nothing but our life in return for certainty.
  • Hunger is a huge problem that mostly doesn’t exist around us. Fear of hunger, on the other hand, is everywhere.
  • Kings benefited from a court jester, who didn’t come up through the ranks, didn’t succeed to gain stature, and wasn’t part of the conventional wisdom.
  • Nancy’s Yogurt is better than others. It’s whey better.
  • We can fix Facebook ourselves. Simply unfollow almost all of your so-called “friends.” Starlings self-organize into magnificent murmurations, but each bird monitors the movements of only six or seven others.
  • In all my adult life, I’ve only once been given a raise. I’ve avoided success that completely.
  • Envy is the fuel that powers capitalism.
  • When Dollar Tree raised its price on everything to $1.25, math teachers everywhere rejoiced.
  • Am I asking more questions than usual? Is that OK?
  • Most people seem to be missing the Starlink and Neuralink connections to SpaceX, Twitter and Musk. Own the means of production….
  • I rely on the wind at my back so much that it sometimes becomes too much about the wind and less about me.
  • Wordle really tests players in three ways. First is luck, then comes skill, but sometimes players need endurance. Not bad for such a simple concept.
  • To those who have expressed how “deeply disappointed” they are in me because I have a different opinion, can you hear your regal passivity and assumed superiority?
  • I worked so hard at literacy, only to have them introduce numeracy late in the game! Unfair! 62% unfair! (whatever that “means.”)
  • I don’t miss fried food, but I miss the smell of fried food (onions in particular).


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

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  • 1 Kim Clark May 7, 2022 at 10:50 am

    My two cents, an audio book is better for fiction. Nonfiction lends itself to dog eared pages and note taking between the covers. (Never have listened to an audio book. That’s how much my two cents are worth.) Love fifth Friday.