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An Exhaustive/Exhausting List of 2020 Fripperies

November 7th, 2020 by dk

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

  • An occasional “slipper day” can be nice. “Slipper months” — not so much.
  • My friend made this observation: “Some states are just too dense to avoid COVID-19, especially the sparsely populated ones.”
  • If President Trump offered to sell off the postal service, who would outbid Amazon’s Jeff Bezos?
  • You know anxiety is in the air when you worry that your croutons may be getting stale.
  • People have stopped using their voices. I think I understand why. When the TV’s on, why interrupt people who are more articulate and handsome?
  • Overeating is more fun than eating.
  • A friend asked me to go to a protest in his place. I was a stand-in at a sit-in.
  • We overvalue excellence and efficiency. We undervalue inclusion and authenticity.
  • Why hasn’t anyone designed earbuds that double as earrings?
  • Reading fiction builds empathy.
  • Courage first requires admitting how long things take.
  • If five guys walk into a Five Guys, do they get a secret discount on their burgers? They should.
  • Make a recipe immediately after it intrigues you, or you probably never will.
  • How often is conformity mistaken for excellence?
  • Thanks, Maureen Dowd, for this one: “isolationship.”
  • During difficult times, the people will always raise their vices.
  • Let bygones be bygones, but not while they’re still bygoing.
  • Self-sufficiency was never more than half true.
  • You go to the kitchen not with the pasta you want. You go with the pasta you have.
  • Are you getting tired of looking at bookcases behind talking heads, showing us how smart they are?
  • Watching a movie, set in San Francisco, I wondered why no tech billionaires except Marc Benioff have built prominent skyscrapers. Every wide shot of the city’s skyline reminded me of his company, Salesforce.
  • The greater good is both.
  • Would things be better or worse if the invading virus had infected every computer chip instead, shutting down all machine communications?
  • Our systems force shock or stasis. All defenses align against incremental change.
  • Introverts were social distancing before social distancing was cool.
  • I wish I could reprogram my smoke alarm, replacing its “Fire!” alert with “Mmm. Fried food! Maybe a little overdone … but still, yum!”
  • We’ve been testing fate for years, so why are we surprised when there’s suddenly a shortage of testing kits?
  • America to Coronavirus: “Take my life and liberty, but not my pursuit of happiness.”
  • With infections and unemployment skyrocketing, government should just ban skyrockets. Problem solved. You’re welcome.
  • Do people fret anymore? (Maybe that’s the problem.)
  • I don’t remember the question, but the answer is thicker socks.
  • Americans don’t question authority as much as they think they do. Those annoying “Do Not Remove” tags on pillows and upholstery? That warning was for retailers, not for you.
  • Popcorn is not a crummy snack. No crumbs.
  • Two activities we prefer to describe in the passive voice: haircuts and marriages. Make of this what you will.
  • Once chocolate cake was invented, how did any other desserts survive?
  • When it’s walls versus barbarians, history doesn’t favor walls.
  • How much middle of a toothpick is absolutely necessary?
  • I miss precedented times, when we were in charted territory.
  • Are you a literalist or a lateralist? Do you prefer things to be straight ahead or does sideways motion interest you more?
  • Who has the last remaining kitchen appliance colored either avocado, harvest gold or burnt umber?
  • Multi-tasking is overrated. It keeps most from actually tasking.
  • I marvel at the elegant engineering of a weed-whacker. The name is clumsier than the machine.
  • For long-time residents, the Black Lives Matter protests started off confusing. When we protested against clearcuts, BLM stood for the bad guys — Bureau of Land Management.
  • What are the French trying to tell us? Their word for Warning is “Avertissement.”
  • I hate it when I’m a day late to an avocado.
  • I haven’t set my phone’s ringer on vibrate for seven months. So there’s that.
  • “All Lives Matter” is the goal. “Black Lives Matter” is the next step toward that goal.
  • Let bygones be bygones, but not while they’re still bygoing.
  • The insufferable seem to know everything except that they are.
  • Who teaches tech support to add “for me” to every directive? And to begin some instructions with “Let’s go ahead and ….” ?
  • Arranged marriages are back! In place of parents and tribal elders, we now entrust our familial future to dating site algorithms.
  • How many disposable masks have you not disposed?
  • Have the designers and practitioners of hospice care ever received a Nobel Prize? If not, why not?
  • If you insist on things being black or white, you won’t have much use for gray matter.
  • Is there anything that doesn’t sound better to many people when the prefix “eco-” is added?
  • I feel poor only when I have no leftovers in the fridge.
  • What is Division Street dividing?
  • When we separated algebra from geometry, we divided truth and beauty. Bad move. Elegant solutions must seek both.
  • Now is the time to articulate a better future — before it’s too late.
  • I think the Coronavirus will end up having less impact on us than our stubborn belief that it will have none.
  • Twelve minutes, in and out of Costco, parking included, on the weekend. Where’s my medal?
  • Being a disaster victim during a time of universal tumult is like having your birthday on Dec. 24. Hardly anyone seems to notice.
  • With several months of practice, we’re all learning to recognize the distinctive squints that accompany smiles hidden behind masks.
  • Who knew how much we all relied so much on lip-reading?
  • I’m not the only one wondering how wearing face masks will change the shape of our ears.
  • Rebuilding Blue River: If the people don’t come back, the people won’t come back.
  • Grocery Outlet is the poor man’s Trader Joe’s. Can I get a witness?
  • I don’t always know when I’m right. But I usually know when I’m done.
  • What is the plural of ottoman?
  • I just now got the word play behind Head & Shoulders shampoo.
  • Gone are the days of reckless abandon. Welcome to the days of abandoned wrecks.
  • Why does curry pizza not exist?
  • What happens when the desperate outnumber the poor?
  • Something tells me that work-from-home orders and legalized marijuana are a bad mix.
  • We have “squish” and “quash,” so do we really need “squash”?
  • I’m sorry, but  I don’t have any pans that need handling.
  • I’m worried that Clarence Thomas might announce his retirement after Election Day, leaving McConnell time before inauguration to replace him on the Supreme Court with a 12-year-old conservative.
  • Intentions inhabit your future self.
  • On the topic of pets, do you prefer catalysts or dogma — change or lack?
  • Have you missed fripperies? They’ve missed you.


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

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