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Year-End Fripperies (With Leftovers Aplenty)

January 11th, 2018 by dk

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

  • To the dozens who came to the south Eugene rest stop singalong last Friday, thanks — especially hosts Nathan and Tracy, the fabulous musicians, and those who brought warmth (which was everyone.) To those hoping to buy wool socks at Costco or Bi-Mart just before Christmas, we apologize for the inconvenience. Their shelves should be restocked soon.
  • Crock pot cookery is a miracle by another name.
  • Priceless gifts are the ones that cannot be exchanged.
  • When you find yourself with no good answers, what you need is a better question.
  • “Close enough for government work.” Is that really what we want to hear from our primary care physician?
  • Where do all the people who were out on the roads over the past few weeks live during the rest of the year?
  • My package arrived without incident. Incident was mailed separately.
  • “Keeping up” is not a life goal. It’s a life plight.
  • I added corrugated metal siding to a tiny house design while eating ruffled potato chips. Coincidence?
  • Some people get hackles up in us that we never knew we had.
  • Baseball season is several months away. But is there any other professional sport that calls its playing field a “park?” What other sport allows the home team to set the playing field’s parameters?
  • Please remember to keep separate what you know from what you’ve been told.
  • By and large, people seem to be getting by and getting large.
  • If it wouldn’t take a corner from someone in need, I’d be tempted to sit by a traffic light with a cardboard sign: “Not poor. Not hungry. Just curious.”
  • Facebook trades on our confusion between knowing about somebody and actually knowing them.
  • If Michael Coughlin’s new project in south Eugene lands the city’s second Trader Joe’s store, we may no longer need the Ferry Street Bridge.
  • Where is the line between minimalism and sacrifice? What moves that line better than beauty?
  • When self-satisfaction equates with happiness, waistlines grow — but almost nothing else does.
  • Gradualism (which too many people equate with evolution) has sanitized change as inevitable, imperceptible, and never uncomfortable.
  • Productivity is more than activity. It leads with (and to) a product.
  • As restaurants make all their public restrooms unisex, someone must be stockpiling used urinals.
  • The plot thickens. Or maybe it’s just gotten older.
  • We all love that feeling when we “get it,” but what’s behind that? Is it inquisitiveness, acquisitiveness, or the intersection of the two?
  • People you don’t know are just like the people you do know, apart from being more numerous.
  • The word “straight” contains wasted motion. Remove two letters and it’s still strait.
  • Curves convey confidence. They take and make extra strength.
  • It’s a struggle to remain as interested in what you don’t know as what you do. Only effort widens your — and the — world.
  • Improving anything improves everything.
  • Half our therapists should be retrained as career counselors. Satisfying work cures many pains.
  • How long before wind chimes are regulated, to protect neighbors from noise pollution?
  • Whenever somebody tells me I’m smart, I worry they are trying to say something else to me.
  • I’m surprised Republicans didn’t tuck an elevator use tax into their recent legislation, to punish urban voters.
  • Artificially whitened teeth look purple to me.
  • We call it snail mail, but the address still ends with a ZIP code.
  • It took us 100 years to admit that tennis balls should be a different color than the court’s boundary lines. Now can we stop processing salt and sugar to look identical?
  • How far is away?
  • The North Star provides a direction, not a destination.
  • We might tackle addiction more effectively if we grant its majoritarian status. Almost all of us are addicted to something. Once we admit that, solutions won’t be disguised as charity.
  • As Eugene grows into its cityhood, residents can help by greeting rapid changes with creativity and cheer.
  • About Garrison Keillor’s firing: Donald Trump won the 78 most rural of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Prairie homes want a new companion.
  • About Keillor’s image being removed from the Eugene Airport: Judas did worse things, but he’s still in daVinci’s “Last Supper.”
  • Not every event has a cause.
  • How much longer can “trump” remain a generic verb?
  • Sharp knives and smooth-writing pens are gifts worth giving to ourselves.


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


  • The purpose of hot salsa is to sell more medium salsa.
  • People aren’t asking for more information — they’re awash in it. They need stories that will help them draw meaning out of all that information — more signal from the noise.
  • I wonder how many couples who are both public employees choose to pay the small monthly surcharge to have both of them covered on a single health care account, saving taxpayers over a thousand dollars each month for a second, separate account?
  • It’s odd that I call myself a communitarian, when I’m just barely socialized.
  • “Social media” is humanity’s default setting. Researchers believe that reading (at least in the West) has been around for millennia, but reading silently — without being considered anti-social — is barely 300 years old.
  • I get confused between “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Eats Shoots and Leaves” — one gives the reader profound life lessons and the other is a romantic comedy.
  • Remember sissy bars? (There’s no point; it’s just a question.)
  • My memory’s not as good as I remember it being.
  • There are two kinds of people in the world — those who store glasses rim-up and those who store them rim-down. If you don’t know which you are, then there are three kinds of people in the world.
  • Tell me again. Is chicken-fried steak chicken or steak?
  • Glitter: if you ever, you will always.
  • A student athlete’s status would ring more true if we stopped referring to their four years of eligibility as their “career.”
  • When I ask Siri or Alexa something, but forget their wake word, I remember I was never very good at “Mother May I?”
  • A runner friend hurt his foot. I offered insole support. He refused. He didn’t want to add insert to injury.
  • I want some or most people to agree with me most or some of the time, but I hope no one agrees with me all or none of the time.
  • Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean it makes sense. We’re often forced to choose between rhyme and reason.
  • Fonts matter. Use the wrong one and “pom-pom” looks a lot like “porn-porn.”
  • Our government’s power resembles opera rope. Without their consent, the people will not be governed.
  • I remember when floppy disks were floppy.
  • What is anxiety but fear dressed up for company?
  • I can tell which side of your brain is “talking” by where you place “only” in a sentence. The left brain is better at delaying its insertion. The right brain wants to put it in front of the verb.
  • Headline writing is dividing into two paths. Paper editors still summarize the article, while online editors craft a click-bait tease.
  • To have a non-politicizing conversation about gun laws, let’s agree on an appropriate date and ignore all the tragedies that occur between now and then.
  • Rectitude and philanthropy sound too similar to things they are not.
  • How often do we meet an aesthetic problem with an ascetic solution?
  • There is no authority without agreement.
  • How did sleeping in become a mark of success or stature? It strikes me as a passive form of self-immolation.
  • If you feel like nothing is going your way, sharpen a knife and tell me if that doesn’t make things a little better.

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