Many Questions

by Peter Wallace, © 2007

Why do the people who make signs, write radio and TV commercials, and prepare ads in publications and on-line insist on putting the word “free” in front of the word “gift.” To me, a free gift is like wet water or hot heat. By definition, a gift is free. Nobody hands out invoices around the Christmas tree.

It does seem to be true that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, though.

If “flammable” means something can catch fire, how can “inflammable” mean the same thing? Famous and infamous don’t mean the same thing. Except for Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan. And in truth, they are both famous and infamous, so the differentiation of those two words stands.

Why is it that we don’t work on Labor Day? In fact we don’t work with such enthusiasm that it takes us a few days to recover after Labor Day. And, why is it that we don’t remember the predictions the “experts” made about $4.50 per gallon has back in June?

How can you tell when sour cream and yogurt go bad? Do they turn sweet?

How is it possible that some folks on sports talk radio programs minimize Michael Vick’s actions, with the hope that he can return to the NFL someday? Have they never owned a pet?

Why is it that in my early 50’s, I still want to buy school supplies this time of year? And why does paste smell so darn delicious?

What is the allure of trolleys and light rail? Jonathan Richmond of Harvard, writing in Transport Review, says “In no case has new rail service been shown to have a noticeable impact on highway congestion or air quality.” No rail system has garnered even 1% of traffic, or even commuter traffic.

I also wonder why the movie “Hairspray” has John Travolta playing a middle aged, overweight woman. I looked on-line, to find out that the Broadway production has a heavyset man (Paul Vogt, who used to be on Mad TV) also cast in that role, so maybe it’s important to the integrity of the story to have a man playing a woman. Travolta did a nice job, but I really don’t see the point. I’m sure it’s just me.

And, actually, I’m sure all of the questions I’ve cited above have perfectly good explanations, and I’m certain that it is just me who is clueless about them all.

Here’s one last question: Why don’t we have toll booths on our border with Illinois, and exempt cars with Wisconsin plates? A buck a car times, maybe, 60,000 cars per day? Plus, another 60,000 leaving per day… times 365… that’s almost $44 million. Turn-about is fair play, isn’t it?

Like I said, it’s probably just me…

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