FREE FALLING-With a new year come more questions

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BOB WOELK
With the dawn of 2007, a whole new bundle of unanswered questions has arrived at my mental doorstep.

Is there really such a thing as a normal high temperature in Kansas? I often hear meteorologists talk about the statistic along with the other daily weather records. But, having lived in this state all my life, I have yet to witness anything that resembles normal climactic conditions.

Now, if I was told the typical or average high for this time of year, that statistic would make sense. Those numbers could be calculated.

On a related subject, I recently read that Kansans typically see the sun 65 to 67 percent of the time in a given year (excluding nighttime, of course). By contrast, Honolulu residents can expect 63 percent of their days to be sunny, and Juneau, Alaska, is sunny only 30 percent of the time.

Bob Knight or Dean Smith-which college coach would I rather have my son play basketball for? On the surface, I would immediately choose Dean Smith. He seems like a really nice man.

Then, there’s The General. He has certainly had more than his share of success as the winningest (is that a word anywhere else but in sports jargon?) coach in college basketball history. But, he is not a nice guy.

More importantly, perhaps, what does this kind of debate say about the state of American arrogance and how we define success?

What exactly is “our way of life” that I hear and read so many people refer to?

According to some, the United States is in Iraq fighting to protect the American way of life. Would that be the way of life that brings us TV shows such as “Desperate Housewives,” movies such as “Jackass II,” or the lifestyle that has turned us into a cell-phone and junk-food nation?

If Rachael Ray would run for president, would she have a shot? This woman is everywhere on TV lately. If a candidacy requires media exposure and name recognition, I have to believe she would have more than a good head start on the race. She and Oprah.

Remember when all the college bowl games were played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Now there are more than 20 bowl games over the course of eight days. Only the National Basketball Association has a longer season.

Was Dr. Dennis Scharenberg misquoted? First of all, congratulations are in order for his having been named Kansas Chiropractor of the Year. But, in a “Wichita Eagle” article Dec. 28, he is quoted as saying he is “an aggressive socialist and likes to meet new people.” Socialist?

Why are some pastors so cranky when they are away from their pulpits? A few are downright rude out in public and have less-than-nonjudgmental things to say about other members of the community. Is it because they have too many bosses?

Of course, we are all guilty of looking down on people from time to time. But shouldn’t ministers be extra careful to spread God’s love and kindness?

Did our Kansas legislators do anything important last session besides allowing for concealed carry of firearms? How about pass a new rule allowing water skiing 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset? Or, offering a break on auto licensing fees to the tune of 50 cents per tag? Both those laws went into effect Jan. 1.

What kind of guy is KSNW sports director Jim Kobbe? I mean, really deep down inside. I have met him a few times, and I always thought he was a pretty good guy. But he was caught dropping the F-bomb on the air last week when something went wrong with his sportscast.

That in itself bothers me some. However, the fact that he was directing it at a coworker bothers me more.

Is it still true that what a person does and says when he or she thinks no one is watching define that person’s character?

Where are the coffee drinkers going to go twice a day now that McDonald’s has closed? How will all those pesky city, school district, county, state and national problems get solved if there is no longer a caffeinated quorum?

Is anyone else at least mildly offended by those ads that invite us, now that Christmas is over, to go ahead and “get what you really wanted”? Doesn’t that sort of fly in the face of the “It’s better to give than to receive” mentality?

By the way, the Dec. 24 issue of Parade Magazine reported there are more Barbie dolls than people in America.

I have a small refrigerator on my back porch, which is enclosed but not heated. I’ve often wondered whether the fridge’s insulation can keep the contained Dr. Peppers from freezing on a cold night?

I realize a prolonged super-cold spell would cause the pops to pop open as they swell from the cold, but I would guess the type of winter we have had would not affect them.

Would as many Americans have supported the invasion of Iraq if they had known more than 50,000 children would die since our military action? How about more than 600,000 Iraqis?

Yes, people were dying during Saddam Hussein’s regime. But, what about the deaths of more than 3,000 American soldiers?

Our president’s response is to tell us to spend more money to boost the economy and forget about the carnage; he and his team know what they are doing, he says.

Is there anyone out there who still does not believe the world climate is changing? Another piece of evidence came to light last week when it was reported that a 41-square-mile piece of ice broke away and floated 30 miles out to sea north of Canada.

Does this column writer seem extra crabby this month? Sorry. I really didn’t intend to be so preachy.

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