Since I lack the energy to take on a more serious topic on these lazy summer days, here is a random (in both senses of the word) list of a few things I have found myself wondering about:
First, why were there so many performances of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the recently concluded July Fourth week? I heard it once on the radio, a couple of times on TV shows, and we in our church choir even sang it in anticipation of the week. It is certainly one of the most powerfully moving anthems ever written. But doesn’t July 4, Independence Day, have to do with the Revolutionary War, while “The Battle Hymn” is about the Civil War, which was almost a century later?
Next: Why have so many breeds of dogs ended up with those strange, floppy spaniel ears, instead of the perked-up ones that the original wolves had? What purpose do they serve? Surely they are not nearly as good in the hearing department, and they often seem prone to infection. Weird.
Yeah, I know — so are these questions. Anyway …
What ever happened to the idea that the “news” channels on TV would actually show reporters out there covering the news — instead of taking the easier and cheaper way out of barraging us with endless hours of people sitting around studio tables and talking about the news?
Speaking of TV news: Why do so many otherwise literate reporters keep mistakenly saying that something “begs the question”? They think it means simply “raises the question” or something, whereas the real meaning of “begging the question” is: “A logical fallacy that occurs when an argument’s premise assumes the truth of the conclusion.” Something else altogether.
While we’re on matters of literacy, why doesn’t someone sit our current president down and respectfully suggest using just a few other superlatives besides the word “very”? Do other TV viewers get as weary as I do of hearing him always talking about a “very good” man or a “very good idea,” or even a “very, very bad” person or whatever? Gets kind of monotonous.
(Is Donald Trump the only president guilty of annoying verbal mannerisms? Hardly. His predecessor, Barack Obama, had several of his own that he used to inflict on the rest of us with some regularity. One that comes to mind was the dreaded “double is.” It would go something like this: “The problem with this bill is, is that it would raise everybody’s taxes.” I never understood where that second “is” came from.)
But back to other silly things wondered about:
Why do commercial laundries often seem to charge so much more to wash and iron a woman’s blouse than they do for a man’s shirt — which is often identical, only larger – which would seem to suggest that it’s more work?
What miraculous process makes it possible for tiny monarch butterflies to hatch out way up here in the U.S. or even farther north in Canada, and find their way back to the tiny patch of trees in Mexico where their parents came from, when they’ve never even been there before?
I’m sure I must have asked this at some time in the past, but why is a road just east of here called “Cranes Creek Road,” when the fire department is called “Crain’s Creek” and the stream itself is labeled “Crains Creek,” with no apostrophe? Talk about inconsistency.
While I’m on that subject: Why is the town in northern Moore County called “High Falls,” while the nearby school is called “Highfalls Elementary”?
In old movie credits, what the heck is a “best boy”? A “gaffer”? And, especially, a “key grip”?
Speaking of jobs: What, exactly, does an “eminent actuary” do for a living?
And why are the rear door handles on my otherwise well-designed Honda HRV so artfully hidden and disguised so that back-seat passengers are often clueless about how to get in, sometimes even assuming that it’s a two-door and that they have to clamber in through the front?