FREE FALLING

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BOB WOELK
Some random and perhaps strange thoughts to ponder as summer turns to fall:

— I don’t know about anyone else, but I can tell at what stage of refilling my toilet tank is by the sound. If I am waiting to turn on the shower until the stool stops running, for example, I always know by the tone when the water level is about to reach its appointed depth.

This talent has no other use that I can determine.

— I often hear people say, “Yeah, I slept like a baby last night.” To my way of thinking, that’s not necessarily good. Does that mean they wake up every couple of hours because they are hungry or, worse yet, because they filled their pants?

— It’s time to remove Trinity Broadcasting Network from the cable airwaves in Hillsboro. Though I occasionally enjoy watching T.D. Jakes in action or Christian music videos, the lady with the pink wig and Pat Robertson have turned TBN into a parade of lunatics.

Pull the plug, and fill the void with something useful like the Food Network or the Travel Channel.

— I hope the people in Wichita and surrounding areas who want to have a law passed making it a federal offense to torture a puppy are not the same ones who drive around the highways and byways with dogs in the car or in the back of pickup trucks.

Imagine what would happen if there was a wreck. If you really love your pet, leave it at home.

— On a somewhat related note, I am continually baffled by the lack of seat-belt use in the Sunflower State. Did you know that fewer than half of 10- to 14-year-olds in Kansas buckle up? Overall, there was a 2 percent decrease of usage overall in a year’s time.

Again, as I have mentioned before, it’s not the severity of the punishment that is a deterrent, it is the surety of being caught.

Let’s catch these lawbreakers.

— Reading the Wichita Eagle’s opinion-line feature each morning, I would think the River City’s economy is in shambles. Yet, a new restaurant opens nearly every week, and the building of houses and businesses continues at a torrid pace. Is it all purely speculation?

I read the other day that a new Wal-Mart is planned for the northwest end of Wichita. While I believe that is No. 6, it seems more like No. 60.

— Have you noticed the proliferation of crawls along the bottom of TV screens lately?

Yes, I am a man with a limited ability to spread my attention around, but I find it hard to believe that the average viewer can listen and watch a news program while looking at two sets of crawling messages about other news, sports or the stock market.

I must say, however, that I have grown accustomed to the use of the score of the game in the corner of the screen, and I like it. I miss it when it is not there.

— The Royals are sinking to new depths with each game this season. I must be getting old because I remember well when our Kansas City team was a perpetual division winner.

I view the demise with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I yearn for the days of George Brett vs. the Yankees in the playoffs. However, the last time I threw up due to the stomach flu was 1985, when the Royals were in the World Series. I know because I was home sick in bed and watched them play.

So, if they start being good, will my stomach go bad? I’m not so sure I want to make that trade.

— Every time there is a storm in Wichita, TV viewers get the same mixed message: “This is a dangerous storm, so you need to seek shelter. By the way, be sure to e-mail us your storm pictures so we can put them on the air. And, if you happen to stand outside long enough to videotape the destruction of your neighbor’s house, or better yet, your house, that’s a bonus.”

— Never slight an exhibitor at the Hillsboro Arts and Crafts Fair. That is one lesson I learned from helping set up for this year’s extravaganza.

One man accused us of shorting him 6 inches on his 20-foot booth space. Apparently, he had measured it with his feet (we use a tape), but later he apologized by saying his shoes must be bigger than the ones he wore last year.

Even more incredibly, one exhibitor complained that her space was off by 2 inches. The person who had marked it apologized and redrew the boundaries.

Overall, the visiting merchants I met were congenial and mellow, thanks to the fantastic weather and their being allowed to set up the evening before the fair.

I heard all kinds of horror stories about how dangerous and chaotic setup was when the streets were opened the morning of the big day.

Many I spoke with were extremely complimentary of our town, the fair and the organization.

Though it’s a major inconvenience for some citizens of our burg (I heard one person refer to it as the annual “arts and trash day”), the benefits far outweigh the hassles every year.

It’s just one day. Get over it.

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