Semiannual three-dot tickler file

Posted July 23, 2010, at 7:24 p.m.

As a sweltering July prepares to morph into the lazy dawg days of August, it is time for the semiannual purging of my tickler file — the jettisoning of material that at one time had seemed like swell fodder for columns that, alas, never made it off the drawing board.

A swell way to accomplish this is the three-dot column, a device that involves stringing together a bunch of things via the three dots of ellipsis that indicate a number of possibilities, including the omission of words or a sudden change of topic — no continuity promised by the writer, none expected by the reader …

Random observations …

It may be just my tin ear malfunctioning again, but fully half of the talking heads on television who report on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill appear to speak of the “golf’’ of Mexico, although to be sure that’s the case I suppose I would have to hear them use “gulf’’ and “golf’’ in the same sentence. It would come as no great surprise to learn that these people are also fans of Tiger Woods and the great brand of “gulf’’ the man plays. The aggravation quotient is similar to that triggered by people who seem to say “affidavid,’’ for “affidavit,’’ and “ek cetera,’’ for “et cetera’’ …

Insightful commentary …

As the natives grow increasingly restless with encroaching big government, they continue to offer helpful suggestions like this anonymous advice that circulated on the Internet in January: “They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for 200 years, and we’re not using it any more’’ …

Author P.J. O’Rourke on fly-fishing: “Here’s a guy standing in cold water up to his liver, throwing the world’s most expensive clothesline at trees. A full two-thirds of his time is spent untangling stuff, which he could be doing in the comfort of his own home with old shoelaces, if he wanted. The whole business costs like sin and requires heavier clothing. Furthermore, it’s conducted in the middle of blackfly season. Cast and swat. Cast and swat. Fly-fishing may be a sport invented by insects, with fly fishermen as bait’’ …

Political correctness and incorrectness …

A help-wanted ad on television in which a Maine town sought a “foreperson’’ did not stipulate whether the unisex position calls for supervising firepersons and policepersons, or whether that detail might be left to the town’s selectpersons … The lieutenant governor of South Carolina apologizes after comparing government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals …

This three-dot stuff is not as simple as it seems … Strike that. The content is definitely simple, but the proper execution, not so much … I keep wanting to develop a theme, and tend to run on when I should be writing tighter, the better to keep you off guard …

Running on about alleged cruelty to animals is what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights organization, did in February, demanding that organizers of Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Day festival replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot. P. Philip, as everyone knows, is the live groundhog who is put on display each Feb. 2 in the small Pennsylvania town for shadow-determining purposes wherein it pertains to the arrival of spring. Get a life, his handlers told PETA — the animal is “treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania’’ …

Rocket scientists, Left Coast version …

According to The Associated Press, two men who apparently were trying to invent an unusual thrill ride were seriously injured in an explosion last week at a shop that builds and services race cars in Washington state. In what probably had seemed like a good idea at the time, they put 4 gallons of methanol in a 55-gallon barrel, climbed aboard and touched it off, presuming that the barrel would skitter across the parking lot like a rocket. Instead, it blew up. Like a rocket …

And speaking of thrill rides … police in Lowell, Mass., reported that a flatbed lumber truck crashed into a home after the driver blacked out when he drove over a bump and choked on chili he was eating. There has to be a moral here someplace concerning multitasking while driving, but I can’t quite put my finger on it …

BDN columnist Kent Ward lives in Limestone. Readers may reach him by e-mail at olddawg@bangordailynews.com.

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