While it may seem like the columns that appear here are built upon the trivial and insignificant, it is actually matters of great international import that unleash the fiendish muse that controls this space.
- The elderly Hong Kong women who practice the ancient ritual of Da Siu Yan -- "beating up the wicked people."
- The wisdom of the British who control dancing by allowing it only in pubs that have a public entertainment license, and severely fine those which allow their patrons to engage in "rhythmic moving."
- The Canadian penchant for the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, as evidenced by that country's recent hosting of the International Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship.
But there are also smaller matters that, by themselves, are not sufficient for a separate column. These, the muse saves until enough are collected to fill this space.
Here, then, are the little things that drive the muse insane:
Bad Election Campaign Tactics
Seems like the 2002 election had it all -- from a candidate who used bales of hay to build name recognition to a pair of mayoral rivals who brought new meaning to that expression about the devil and the deep blue sea. But here's what ticked off the muse most:
1. Candidates who professed to understand us rural folk better than their foes, but couldn't pronounce the word "rural" -- dropping the second "r" so it came out "rule." If you're going to convince us you understand us, a good place to start is correctly pronouncing "rural."
2. The British guy who left messages on my answering machine telling me to vote for some local "chap." Hint: If you want this "rule" guy to vote for your candidate, don't employ somebody who ends his message, "Cheerio."
Millionaire Basketball Players Who Need Forever to Master a New "Motion Offense"
The Phoenix Suns changed offenses and then excused their early losses by saying they needed more time to learn it. Hey guys, if you're going to take an average of $3.2 million apiece for playing basketball half the year, you need to spend a little extra time learning this new offense -- like 18 hours a day if necessary.
No matter how much motion you put into it, the object of the game is still to put the ball in the hole. How complex can that be?
By the way, if you haven't caught a Suns game since they got their offense figured out, you should. These guys are good.
The Eternal Cardinal Jinx
The Arizona Cardinals finished the season 5-11, and now must flip a coin with Dallas to see if they pick fifth or sixth in the upcoming draft. Of course, we all know what will happen next:
The Cardinals will lose the coin toss and the Cowboys will use their pick to draft a Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith-type player who will turn their team around. The Cardinals, on the other hand, will draft some lout who will hold out, have a bad attitude and underachieve until he leaves via free agency and turns into a superstar with another team.
Letters from the "Keeper of the Records"
What do you do when you get a letter from the "Keeper Of The Records"?
Shake and quake as you struggle to get it open. After all, the ultimate Keeper Of The Records is the guy upstairs. And if it's not from God, it must at least be from the Internal Revenue Service.
Turns out it's a flyer from the United States Vehicle Acquisition Center telling me I can pick up a great car at Winslow Ford for $49 if I take over the payments. But don't even try to get in on the action. It says this is a nontransferable special offer to me based on the current vehicle I drive (which no doubt tells them $49 is all the cash I have on hand).
Critics of a Mickey Mouse Main Street
Some people say the facade grants awarded to 10 Main Street businesses are nothing more than fake storefronts like those at Disneyland. One person even wrote a letter to the editor proclaiming that Mickey Mouse is alive and well and living on Main Street.
I say what's wrong with Disneyland? Walt made a few bucks on the place.
Altogether now: P-A-Y-S-O-N-M-O-U-S-E.
Who do these bark beetles think they are, anyway? But I have a solution nobody has thought of -- and it's cheap, effective and environmentally friendly. We cut off the bark beetles' food source by replacing all the dead ponderosas with -- get ready for this-- artificial trees. That's right, giant plastic trees. We could either go the exact replica route, or we could take a more campy approach and utilize huge blow-up trees like the fake Santas and Christmas trees that are all the latest thing in outdoor decorations.
And that's what makes the muse fiendish.