Written by Bob Woelk Tuesday, 07 November 2006 18:00As the seasons change, and fall looks a little more like winter, this is a good time to ponder some of life's seemingly unanswerable puzzles. Here's what's been on my mind lately.
-- How many people of voting age actually change their choices of candidates based on commercials, yard signs and newspaper endorsements?
I have to believe there are not many. So, why should a governor spend more than $4 million to get the word out that she would like to be reelected? Is it a sad and necessary fact of political life that all candidates are bought and sold by someone or some group?
-- Why do athletes in sports where helmets are required take them off when a fight breaks out? Wouldn't it be a lot safer with the headgear on?
How about that University of Miami player who took his helmet off and began to swing it around like some sort of medieval weapon?
Interestingly, the smaller college busted its players big time, while the big-time college did little by way of reprimanding its participants in the melee.
Unfortunately, these types of fights will always be a part of sports because players are filled with emotions that sometimes get out of control, especially in contact games.
Would stronger penalties be an effective deterrent? Probably not, for the same reason that stiffer jail sentences and even capital punishment will never stop people from killing each other. The perpetrators are not thinking clearly when committing the acts.
I doubt the football players involved in the fracas in Florida stopped to consider the consequences of their actions before going after their opponents. If they had, they likely would not have risked professional careers over a few wild punches.
-- Why was my reference to my wife as "the wife" such a big deal to so many people? I heard from a number of readers that the term is derogatory and sexist.
I plead ignorance and offer the following evidence that the slip of the computer keyboard was not an intentional slam against my lovely bride....
She didn't care and was surprised anyone else did.
She didn't even mention it to me before I mentioned it to her.
She didn't read my column anyway.
Let me just go on the record as apologizing for any injury I may have caused, whether real or imaginary, to my spouse's reputation, real or imaginary.
Please forgive me, and let it be noted I did not call her "the old lady," "my first wife" or the "old ball and chain."
-- Has the death of a reported 600,000 souls in Iraq made us feel better about 9/11 yet? Can we stop now?
-- How come volleyball teams can celebrate and taunt another team with dances and gestures when an ace is served or a spike or a block is successful when such a spectacle would result in a penalty if performed in other sports?
Can you imagine a similar celebration in tennis when an ace is served?
-- When a person sucks on a strong mint and then takes a drink, does the candy actually make the water colder, or does it just feel as though your mouth is freezing?
And, another thing. Are inanimate objects like car engines affected by wind chill? Why else would we park a car with its grill downwind when it gets really cold? Why does an unheated garage help a car start more easily in winter?
-- Why do we have to use tongs to pick up food in a cafeteria when everybody comes along and uses the same utensil? Wouldn't it be better to just grab the food we are planning to eat instead of spreading germs via the tool?
-- Why do so many people still leave bathrooms without washing their hands? Aren't they the same people using the tongs?
-- How can a certain television network capture pedophile after pedophile, week after week in prime time, but the police can't find these predators and keep them off the streets in the first place?
-- Can Hillsboro follow some other forward-thinking towns and cities and enact a law that prohibits people from parking on their lawns and across sidewalks?
In Hays, for example, I understand residents are informed the ordinance is necessary to keep cars and trucks from dragging mud and dirt onto streets, thereby limiting the amount of debris swept into the storm sewer system when (and if) it rains or snows.
As far as the other request goes, I was once told that a pedestrian has the right to walk right over the top of or right through a car that is parked across a sidewalk. We may already have such an ordinance, but I am quite sure it isn't being enforced.
-- Do deer whistles and flu shots actually work? How would we ever know?
I used to have deer whistles on my vehicles. They are the little objects that stick to the front bumper and supposedly emit a noise that makes the deer stop and say to themselves, "Something is whistling down the road. I am very afraid of it. I therefore will not step out into the pathway of that whistling thing."
I never hit a deer while I had the devices on my cars. Then again, I have never hit a deer with any of my vehicles, though I came within milliseconds of striking one last Friday near Goessel.
Can the same be said of flu shots? I didn't get one last year, and I didn't get the flu. The year before, I received the shot, and I didn't get the disease. Is it because I was just lucky last year, or does the shot make virtually no difference? Am I willing to take that chance?
-- How 'bout them Trojans? How 'bout my grammar? So far this year, Hillsboro High School has sent participants to the state level of competition in girls' tennis, volleyball, boys' cross country and, most recently, football.
That win last Saturday by the grid squad was a doozy. I certainly didn't see it coming as I was participating in the first bowling tournament in Hillsboro in a long time-the Trailettes Turkey Tournament-that same night.
-- Congratulations to all involved in fall sports this year, and congratulations to Marie Kessler on completing the first 300 game Saturday I have ever seen in Hillsboro.
Sure, it was a nine-pin tournament (which means knocking down nine pins on the first throw is counted as a strike), but it was still a landmark game.