No holiday from random thoughts

Some random thoughts as Christmas approaches, basketball season begins and measurable snow becomes a distinct possibility:

n I read an article in a big-city newspaper that mentioned the possibility of the return of gas prices below $1 per gallon. Amazing. I am still awaiting the day when the sign at the former Wen?s One station on D Street is once again accurate at $1.43 per gallon. I never thought I would see the day when that would be remotely possible.

n On the other side of the economic downturn, I have at times been tempted in the past to play the market. After all, it?s what farmers do every year. They gamble with their futures each time they put a new crop in the ground or buy livestock. But, I have always been afraid of losing it all.

Oh, wait?. As it turns out, I likely could have done much better than those who have been hired to manage my few mutual funds, the supposedly safe and steady route to financial bliss in my old age. I could quite easily have lost 50 percent of my retirement by myself, thank you very much.

n Yes, that is a new photo of me for my column. My wife suggested that since my salt-and-pepper beard has become mostly salt, I should have a new picture taken. It?s only been five or six years. And, of course, I always do what my wife suggests.

n I am pleased to see that our new activities director at the high school is keeping up the tradition of encouraging our student body to cheer loudly, but without personal insults, at basketball game.

At our first contest Friday night against a team that shall remain nameless, the Trojan opponents shouted ?airball? on several occasions at Hillsboro players and used an incorrect remaining time countdown to confuse a Trojan player at the end of the third quarter.

Both of these tactics, by the way, are strictly forbidden by the sportsmanship section of the Kansas State High School Activities Association?s Rule 52.

Question: Who is responsible for enforcing such rules? Are the game officials allowed to issue a technical foul to the student section? Or, is it up to the activities director of the offending school to stop the behavior? I think a technical foul would send a strong message to the violators and make our student body feel a lot better about keeping it clean.

n Kudos to the University of Kansas football team for defeating Missouri in what I believe was the greatest college game to come along in a very long time.

Who cares if the matches in the Big XII have become track meets? Sports is entertainment, after all, and that was one mighty entertaining border battle with four touchdowns in the last 61⁄2 minutes of the contest.

n Hey, folks, I keep harping on this: You are required to switch on your automobile?s headlights when it is raining. That?s the law. If you are forced to use your windshield wipers to see, you are supposed to hit the lights so others can see you. Why is this concept so hard to understand?

n What is the dumbest high-profile movie of the year? I vote for a tie between ?National Treasure 2,? starring Nicolas Cage, and ?Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,? featuring a reunion between Indy, played by Harrison Ford, and Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen.

I believe it was William Shakespeare who invited viewers of his plays to ?suspend disbelief? for a few hours. I understand that in certain films, we are asked to set aside reality. But, in these two cinematic clinkers I recently watched on DVD, I found nothing to believe in at all. At best, they made no sense. At their worst, they insulted my intelligence.

n Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (thank you, USD 410 for providing an extra day off to teachers and students, by the way), I recorded and became hooked on two television series.

One, ?Gavin and Stacy,? is shown on BBC America. It is a fine example of a British situation comedy/drama that is oddly addictive.

The other show is ?Time Warp? on the Discovery Channel. In this program, two cinematographers use high-speed cameras that run at 20,000 frames per second and beyond to show us super-slow-motion imagery of water balloons being popped by arrows, popcorn exploding, bullets piercing various objects and assorted explosions.

I figured this is guy stuff, but I am finding lots of females are fascinated by these shots as well.

The really good news is that, since I own a DVR, I can watch an entire 30-minute episode in about half the time. Now, that?s a real time warp.

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