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Random Musings About Who-Knows-What

April 29th, 2016 by dk

Fifth Friday Footnotes, Follow-ups and Far-Flung Fripperies:

  • Our angst about growth would lessen if people stopped moving here. If we build a wall, could we get California to pay for it?
  • It’s too bad restaurants seldom have Going Out of Business sales — not for the half-price hash browns, but for the opportunity to say proper good-byes.
  • We don’t strut often or well. With more practice, it would feel less awkward.
  • “Peerless” and “good-looking” should be opposites.
  • I’d like to meet a perfect stranger, assuming I’d be the same to them. My motivation is purely adjectival.
  • I heard from somebody that President Trump will ban shredded cheese. He’ll make America grate again.
  • Pace and perspective shape one another. For example, bicyclists see the town differently than motorists.
  • If you feel too busy, give some of your time away. It will remind you that each hour starts out being yours to use as you choose.
  • Do you think customers are given better service in cultures where “busy” is not part of their word for business?
  • I wonder how a comma could ever necessitate a question mark.
  • I wonder, how could a comma ever necessitate a question mark?
  • In single-family housing, height is often a proxy for class. Tall ceilings or even stairs feel like wasted space that the poor can’t afford.
  • That reminds me of my favorite lyric from Harry Chapin’s little-known musical, “Cotton Patch Gospel”: “He’s waitin’ for a call from the man upstairs, but he lives in a one-story house.”
  • After writing about zoning changes contemplated for parts of south Eugene, I understand better the visceral objection many of my neighbors feel, summed up with a single verb: “loom.”
  • Sharing beauty creates joy.
  • Algebra’s getting a bad name because algebra has a bad name. Call it “problem-solving” and the opposition melts away.
  • Conventional wisdom among political consultants says it’s rarely a good idea to convey a candidate’s political leanings on lawn signs. I notice only one local candidate has followed that practice. About the others, did they not receive that advice, or did they not accept it?
  • Just three generations ago, Americans were taller than people from almost every other country. Now we’re somewhere in the middle. That may be because the middle is getting larger — at least our middles are.
  • One under-appreciated aspect of the Panama Papers, which exposed thousands of off-shore tax havens: Hundreds of journalists, often working for competing companies, worked on the story with little oversight for over a year without a single leak.
  • Falling in love is like trying to relax — the harder you try, the harder it becomes.
  • We’re bad at endings because we refuse to practice.
  • Who got the last hairdo?

We interrupt this jaunt of jocularity to say, God bless our own Jack Roberts. This week, he gave the lie to three dishonest tropes in one fell swoop.

He refused to resign to avoid being fired. He refused to claim he wanted to spend more time with his family. And he detailed personnel issues as the probable cause of his termination, when most others would hide behind so-called confidentiality concerns.

Following Richard Lariviere’s unceremonious end as University of Oregon’s president, Eugene’s message to Salem: You can fire us, but you cannot frighten us.

  • If America really loved freedom, wouldn’t we be replacing stop signs with yield signs, instead of always the other way around?
  • We can forgive the know-it-all if the “all” in question is more than we originally knew.
  • You haven’t heard the term “benefit cliff,” but you will soon. It’s not good news.
  • We could help the addicts among us by not co-opting their terminology to describe our bad habits.
  • College once was the first chapter of adulthood. It’s become instead the last chapter of adolescence.
  • Neglect is often rejection with less courage.
  • Nobody else seems bothered when extroverts use reserved parking spaces.
  • The new Scholastic Aptitude Test take no longer penalizes wrong answers more than blanks. Lesson: take a guess, because doing something is usually better than doing nothing. (Can we get that message to the United States Congress?)
  • Trump l’oeil: where an artist creates an illusion of depth by drawing clear lines pointed toward an invented horizon.
  • A few words that lack any imagination: fireplace, antifreeze, refund, deodorant, Oldsmobile.
  • I bought a bottle of non-aspirin, just for the surprise of it. Inside could have been literally anything, except aspirin. I was disappointed. It should have been labeled Almost Aspirin.
  • While you weren’t watching, ice cube tray designers have made amazing technological strides.

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

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