FREE FALLING- Crazy things appear in the daily paper

Maybe I should stop reading the daily newspaper, watching the news and observing people. It’s a crazy world out there.

For example:

I’m not much of a mathematician, but I believe a recent report on legislative action to be in error. The writer noted that a proposed bill failed a committee vote 20-16, then pointed out that the measure came up five votes short.

Using my fingers, I calculated that if only three committee members would have changed their minds, the proposal would have passed by a count of 19-17. Am I wrong?

These kinds of mistakes are made all the time in the world of sports. I recently read this headline: “NASCAR Pioneer Sub-par so Far.” The article was about Bill Lester, the first African-American driver on the circuit in 20 years. Apparently, he is not faring well on the circuit.

The headline used a sports analogy, comparing Lester’s performance to that of a golfer. So, wouldn’t sub-par be a good thing? If high scoring is the goal on the links, I might very well be the best duffer in all of Hillsboro.

Speaking of sports, what are the apostrophe rules in newspapers these days? They are ambiguous at best.

I read the following headline recently: The coach with 567 victories is set to replace Jim Wooldridge as the Wildcats basketball coach.” If he will be coach of the Wildcats, shouldn’t that be possessive? Where did the apostrophe go?

The Associated Press labels college and professional sports as “men’s” and “women’s,” but chooses “boys” and “girls” when referring to high school athletes (“boys tennis” but “men’s basketball,” for example).

I can’t think of any reason to drop the apostrophe for young people. I guess you have to have a huge shoe contract to earn an apostrophe.

I am constantly informed by media that a “bank has been robbed.” I was once told by a famous journalist that only people can be robbed. Buildings are burglarized or broken into.

While I’m at it, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that he said children are reared, and pigs are raised; pictures are hung, and people are hanged.

I have noted with interest (pun intended) now that Wal-Mart has meandered into banking at its Stuporcenters, the financial industry is becoming concerned that their local branches may be in peril from the competition.

Look around any medium to large city and you will see a new bank going up on every corner. I don’t think the situation is all that dire.

Illegal aliens have been in the headlines lately. Our government is trying to figure out what to do about the swelling numbers who cross the borders without the permission of immigration.

Here’s a thought: why not come down hard on the business owners who are using the cheap labor force to their advantages? If no one hired illegals, would they keep coming?

Our fair city of Hillsboro has been hit hard by vandals lately. Having spent the past 16 years endeavoring to educate youngsters, I can say with some degree of certainty that kids plus warm weather plus loitering equals vandalism.

If our youth are allowed to “hang out” wherever and whenever they wish, there will always be vandalism. Parents and police officers need to work together to get the job done.

Concealed carry has passed. Don’t we all feel safer now that Kansans will finally be allowed to walk the streets fully armed?

But, did you catch where guns will not be allowed, gentle readers? So far, I have tallied churches, government buildings, libraries, many stores and shops and restaurants among those places where firearms will be banned.

To the disappointment, I’m sure, of the advocates of this bill, at least one saloon owner was quoted in the Wichita daily as saying he plans to ban weapons in his establishment. “Guns and alcohol don’t mix,” he said. Even Wild Bill knew that.

I say if Creekstone Farms wants to test every ounce of the beef that is herded through its Ark City packing plant for mad-cow disease, more power to the company. I find the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s position that it will not allow such an upstart move by one company to jeopardize the entire industry nationwide indefensible.

The government’s claim is that U.S. beef is already safe, and allowing the Kansas company to screen its product will give the impression that our cattle are in need of psychiatric treatment.

Hogwash. That’s like saying we will stop immunizing our children against horrendous diseases because it gives the impression that all American kids are sick.

The latest fashion trend in jeans is driving those of us who claim to be adults bonkers. Just when the low-rise craze appears to be coming to an end, parents are being asked to purchase factory-torn and paint-stained pants. My dad couldn’t resist pointing out to a store clerk the other day that when his jeans look like the ones he saw on display, he uses them to wipe up oil spills in his garage. So, that’s where J.C. Penney is getting its catalog stock.

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