A Few More Things Wondered About
In an earlier column, I wondered out loud about "mixed" vegetables (really mostly broccoli), computer queries, diagonal parking and other nagging mysteries.
Here are a few more questions that bug me:
- If you're not supposed to stick Q-tips in your ears, why do they appear to have been perfectly designed for that purpose? What else are they good for?
- About those oh-so-cute Chick-fil-A commercials that show cows holding up signs urging people to "Eat Mor Chikin" instead of them: In place of beef cattle, why do they feature Holsteins, which are a dairy breed?
- Speaking of commercials, how about the ones for TaxMasters? First company founder Patrick Cox asks you whether the Internal Revenue Service has been bugging you. (Never mind whether you deserve it because you've been evading paying your fair share.) Then he promises that "our former tax agents" will go to bat for you and scare those old meanies off.
Let me get this straight. Here you have a bunch of guys who spent years working for the IRS. Then they retired. And now, while drawing a nice pension (paid for by us taxpayers), they start earning extra money on the side by helping people do battle against the IRS?
What's wrong with this picture? Would we allow retired military officers to keep getting their pensions while fighting for an enemy army?
- Before I leave the subject of TV, there's just one little thing (actually a pretty big one) that I don't understand about The History Channel: Why isn't there ever much history on it?
When I first heard about The History Channel, I thought: Great! I wouldn't want to make a steady diet of it. But as a long-ago history minor, I could really use a fix once in a while. A good, serious two-hour special on Thomas Jefferson, maybe. Or the Crusades. Or the Oregon Trail.
Instead, take a look at this typical recent lineup:
7 p.m.: "Modern Marvels: Doors." 8 p.m.: "Ancient Aliens" [as in space aliens]. 9 p.m.: "Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide." 11 p.m.: "Monsterquest: Birdzilla." 12:01 a.m.: "Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy."
Don't you love history?
- Once you've dialed a phone number, why does your cell phone require you to push an additional button to place your call - when your hard-wired phone doesn't need that extra step? I'm sure there's a simple answer.
- Why do so many people these days - especially young people - say "didunt" instead of "didn't"?
There is, indeed, a vowel missing in that contraction, but it's the "o" from the middle of "not." That's what the apostrophe stands for. There was never supposed to be another vowel in between "did" and "not." The same goes for "couldn't": Where did we ever get the idea that it should be pronounced "couldunt"?
Then there are the more extreme variations that sound like "dinnant" and "counnant," but don't get me started.
- Why do so many people seem to assume, in best anthropomorphic fashion, that the tweetings and warblings of birds heard in the spring are happy, exuberant expressions of joie de vivre? The fact, as I understand it, is that they are more like aggressive stakings-out of territory. What all those wrens and finches are really doing is yelling the avian equivalent of, "You kids get off my lawn!"
And finally ...
- Why in the world do college basketball coaches wear suits and ties?
I mean, baseball managers and coaches do just fine dressing out like the players. Football coaches affect casual jackets. Yet here you have a hot, noisy arena in which everybody else is wearing either armpit-revealing basketball togs or cutoff jeans and T-shirts, but the coaches continue this quaint and senseless tradition of dressing up more than most people these days do for church.
Steve Bouser is editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2470 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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