The copy editor never shuts off

Some random thoughts as we say farewell to 2018 and wonder what 2019 will hold.

I saw this sign in Wichita recently: We are ugly house buyers. There is no photo, so I can’t be sure what these realtor wannabes look like, but I am guessing a clearer statement would be: We buy ugly houses. But, I don’t know. Perhaps they said what they meant.

The editor that lives in my head is at times a blessing and at times a curse. I can’t turn it off. So, when I hear the ad that states, “Welcome to friendly,” I cringe. It’s not even close to grammatical. Give me a holler if you want to know why.

The wording in some commercials just seems like a bit of overkill. Take, for example, all those ads that say, “Don’t take (place the name of your favorite medication here) if you are allergic to (medication name here).” Then, again, how does a person know he or she is allergic unless he or she has tried it? Often, pharmaceutical commercials implore us to ask our doctors if a medicine is right for us. Shouldn’t our doctors be making those recommendations to us, not the other way around?

Here’s a pun I thought of recently: I was considering traveling to a fun country in South America, but I heard there were lots of mosquitos there. On second thought, the idea seemed malarious to me.

Here’s a civics lesson: Some Americans seem to think that when our president imposed tariffs on other countries, that proclamation somehow penalized those countries. In actuality, it only hurt us, the consumers. Foreign countries don’t pay a penny more to send their products to us. The extra cost is collected upon import and is passed on directly to shoppers in the United States. In theory, we could refuse to pay the extra tax and stop buying the product. We know that will never work. So, tariffs are essentially useless.

Just so you know, our leader told an average of 15 lies a day in 2018, according to a number of credible sources. That was triple his 2017 daily average. This would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

Here’s an idea for a rule change in all levels of football. As it currently stands, the only player who can place his hand into the face of an opposing player is the ball carrier. If anyone else, on defense or offense, pushes off an opponent’s facemask, he will be flagged for a penalty. Why is the move any less dangerous if a player possesses the ball? A shot to the face should be illegal for all or legal for all.

And, speaking of football players, I wish they would grow up. In one college bowl game last week, a player had an interception return for a touchdown waived off by officials when he held out the ball and taunted his opponents.

Then, in the final game of the regular season, a Kansas City Chiefs player ran backwards into the end zone and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. That penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff.

I also object to players in any sport at any level waving their arms to exhort the crowd to get louder. I feel like I am smart enough to decide when to cheer. To players I say, “You do your job and play hard, and I will applaud your efforts.”

Occasionally, fans believe that officials are standing in the way of those efforts.

At a recent basketball game I was announcing, a spectator came up after the game and invaded my personal space, declaring she had just witnessed the “worst officiated game I have ever seen.

I know we lost, but those refs were terrible.” I gently pointed out that I was just the announcer, and I was not in charge of hiring officials.

In point of fact, I believe they are assigned by the league. I make a concerted effort to keep my announcing on as even a keel as possible, and I am sometimes thanked for my efforts.

I try to treat visiting fans as I would like to be treated as a visitor somewhere else.

Partly because it’s the right thing to do, and partially because the Kansas State High School Activities Association has a set of guidelines for my profession. And, yes, I am aware that many high schools choose not to follow those guidelines. I think their attempts to imitate college announcers sound ridiculous at best.

I was excited to read the letter to the editor a week or two ago that suggested a walking and biking trail from Hillsboro to Marion Lake was possibly in the works.

I applaud that effort, and I would be happy to volunteer to help create and maintain such a path. Dedicated places to run, walk or ride bikes around this part of the state are nonexistent.

Does anyone beside my wife and me find the YMCA commercial that features a group of people running from a bear to be at least somewhat disturbing, if not downright offensive?

The premise is that one reason to join a Y is so a person can outrun others and thus leave those at the back of the pack to be attacked.

I understand the commercial is based on an old and familiar joke, but athletes I am acquainted with would not take that attitude toward fellow hikers.

The annual Frostbite Four-Mile run lived up to its name this New Year’s Day. Wind chills were frightening.

If it wouldn’t have been so cold, I would have taken my hat off to middle school student Wenxi Funk, who completed the course in his specially-designed wheelchair. Very impressive, young man.