Written by Bob Woelk Tuesday, 09 August 2011 15:37
Some random thoughts in the twilight of summer:
What would happen to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis if a strong tornado hit it?
I spotted a dead armadillo on the side of U.S. Highway 56 west of Lehigh earlier this summer. I read an article about how the critters are moving north and have been found in every Kansas county. How long will it be before their roadkill numbers match the standards set by possums and skunks?
I always use 1980 to compare the relative heat of any given summer. “You think this July is hot?” I have been heard to say. “You should have been around in ’80, the year I got married. Now, that was a hot summer.” From now on, will we discuss the heat wave of 2011 with the same awe as 1980 and 1936?
What were the predicted indicators of global climate change again? Polar ice caps melting at record rates. Check. Extremes in weather, including cold winters, hot summers, flooding and drought. Check. Conservative politicians claiming scientists are just trying to scare us. Check.
It seems late July is the only time we allow our kids to be kids in the summer. The rest of the time they have more commitments to activities than they do during the rest of the year.
I saw a cartoon in the newspaper that made a lot of sense with today’s emphasis on fighting obesity. Instead of restaurants’ offerings of “all you can eat” for one price, they should offer “half you can eat” for half the price.
What purpose does ear hair really serve?
Is the opposite of procrastination concrastination?
Which side of the road should a motorized wheelchair be on? Is it a vehicle that should travel on the right side or a pedestrian who by law should be on the left side?
I played some tennis with a young man from Germany a couple of weeks ago. He said he plays on clay, grass and sometimes carpet surfaces, but rarely gets a chance to compete on American-style hard courts. I can’t imagine how the ball would bounce on any other surface.
My wife, daughter and I took a trip to Boulder, Colo., in July. I would describe this town just north of Denver as Lawrence on steroids. My daughter likes the feel of this small, yet progressive, city because the people are open to anything and everything. Everybody owns at least one bicycle and several dogs. There appear to be no fashion rules. We even saw one young man sporting a handlebar mustache.
While in Boulder, we met the famous street performer known as Zip Code Man. Give him your six-number combo, and he will name your hometown. He didn’t peg Hillsboro on the first try, largely because our 67063 is close to Hesston’s 67062. He knew the town started with an H, though. He amazed the large crowd with his uncanny ability to identify their places of origin.
I am a fan of change, as long was the new direction has a perceived advantage. I don’t mind making adjustments on the fly. But, the upcoming school year might be a bit overwhelming even for me. We have a new grading scale (based on 90 percent being an A), a new starting time (8 a.m.), a new schedule where classes meet every day (no more block) and an unprecedented sharing of high school and middle school teachers. We old dogs are definitely being asked to learn some new tricks.
I enjoy the occasional fireworks show, but I am less than enchanted by the debris that is left behind. Though many residents clean up after their families’ evenings, quite a bit of trash remains on the streets the days after the Fourth of July celebrations end. The show at the Marion County Fair’s demolition derby was spectacular, but the location became a bit of a burden for me as a Hillsboro High School coach. With the start of practice a few short weeks away, I recently spent a couple of hours pushing a broom around the courts, clearing the fallout from the pyrotechnics. Not everything burns up in the sky.
Debris of another sort was evident on the morning following the derby. There had to be a couple of truckloads of trash left under the bleachers. No, I did not volunteer to sweep up that mess. I tip my hat to the people in charge of cleaning it all up.
I hadn’t been to the demo derby for several years, but not all that much has changed. The cars are still loud, the mud still flies, and the Hamms still know how to build winning machines. The figure-eight race was my favorite part of the night. We have some aggressive youth pastors in Hillsboro, at least when it comes to driving.
Thanks to the U.S. Congress’s creation of the recent debt crisis and inability to decisively solve the problem, Standard and Poor’s last week downgraded our nation’s credit rating slightly. This sparked China, our landlord, to scold us in an attempt to get our borrowing under control. We should tell them we will take care of it just as soon as the Chinese government deals with its human rights issues.
Much of the disagreement between our political parties seems to be based on whether the most wealthy individuals and businesses in America should help bear more of the burden of paying for government. While one side points out that revenue will have to increase in order to effectively deal with the deficit, the other group believes taxing the wealthy will stunt job growth. I would contend rich people aren’t nearly as interested in creating jobs as they are in creating more wealth for themselves. Their track record through this recession would seem to indicate that I am right.
We have finally received rain, a couple of inches’ worth, in the past week. Does this mean we will have to mow our lawns again soon? It appears the moisture came too late to save the earless corn and podless soybeans. Farmers, the eternal optimists that they are, will soon be sowing the seeds of another wheat crop. For them, the rain is a Godsend.
I’ve never understood how, in times of extreme drought, plants that we water and attend to have a tendency to wilt and turn brown while grass and weeds growing out of cracks in driveways, streets and sidewalks seem to flourish. Perhaps farmers should consider planting next year’s summer crops in parking lots instead of fields.