A special year-end fifth Friday footnotes, follow-ups and far-flung fripperies:
• Analysts wonder why violent crime rates continue at record lows, despite the sour economy and high unemployment. Until the bad guys develop a pocket-sized device to jam our cell phone signal, we’re safer on streets than we have been in decades. It’s a new weapon in the pockets of potential victims, but also among potential passersby. “Grab a purse in an instant, star on Youtube in the next.”
• I don’t miss bowling, but I do miss being on a bowling team.
• Our Thanksgiving-Christmas feasting traditions have somehow held their own with surprisingly little reliance on cheese.
• Given Americans’ demonstrated love of mixing holidays with tangentially related sportscasting, it’s a wonder that ESPN hasn’t declared the day after Christmas as Boxing Day.
• I’ve noticed that tea-drinking countries almost always are slower-paced and focused inward. As a nation steps into the world economic maelstrom, its people switch to coffee. Or is that reversing cause and effect?
• If you don’t push on it, a lever is nothing but a stick.
• Our smart phones have ushered in a new age. But forget to dial “1” first and the recorded voice will sound like June scolding the Beaver in 1959. Doesn’t that voice know that she’s not our only Ma anymore?
• You can take the pizzeria out of Chicago, but you can’t take the pizza out of the Chicagoan.
• Each time I return from the other side of the planet, I’m sad to report that roughly half the first questions people ask concern jet lag.
• I had my colonoscopy last month (just after returning from one of those long trips.) Half the questions I heard afterwards focused on the required fast. I’ve just allowed a team of people to insert a camera as deeply inside me as it’ll go and people ask me if I want a sandwich.
• The new Thai bistro in south Eugene discounts its menu every weekday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. That’s off-peak discounting is common in London. Watch for it to become more popular here.
• There are deodorant people and anti-perspirant people. Once you’ve chosen, it’s hard to change.
• New Zealand may have found the next gourmet comfort food craze, after donuts and cupcakes. Popsicles.
• Australians hardly ever cuss. Not even at sporting events.
• Australia and New Zealand don’t promote tipping. Unlike America, their forefathers didn’t import that vestige of aristocracy.
• The other day, I tried to touch my horn for a quick alert, when a driver ahead of me didn’t see the light had changed. But I lacked the fine motor skill and held the horn just a moment too long, sounding angry. (If that was you, accept my apology.) Now that we’ve got cars that show us maps and find us music and warm our coffee, could we please have a “light beep” button beside our regular horn?
• We should do less multi-tasking and more multi-asking. Is it necessary? Must it be done immediately? Is beginning more important right now than completing? Managing tasks is easier for many of us than managing loss — and every completion constitutes a loss.
• I suspect people who love to type “LOL” don’t laugh out loud very much.
• Spending many hours watching film could be the only shared habit of football players and their fans.
• I never feel older than when I’m struggling to remember one of my online passwords.
• Procter & Gamble is abandoning the middle, segmenting its product lines into “economical” and “expressive.” It seems the fabled Invisible Hand of the market is dividing us into haves and have-nots. Or, in this case, the Invisible Hand’s lotion.
• I almost don’t want to jinx it, but I think most of us are over having vanity ring tones on our phones.
• “Jinx” would be a great word when playing Hangman, almost better than “rhythm.”
• A man with an earring and a hearing aid on the same ear — get used to it.
• I don’t understand why the largest word on No Trespassing signs is often “POSTED.”
• “Howdy” just sounds friendlier than “hello” or even “hi.”
• Remove the male factor from malefactor and what’s left?
Don Kahle (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs.