Posts tagged: Bill Hall
Until recently, coffee was part of the glue that holds couples together. Previously, when two people moved in together, they were, without realizing it, creating several subtle tests of whether they could exist as a permanent pair. Coffee, for instance. If he likes his coffee dark and strong and she likes hers light and bland, they are confronted with a choice: They can each make their own separate pot of coffee. Or they can compromise on something halfway between the two.Or maybe it's not coffee. My wife doesn't care for coffee. I do. So coffee was not our test when we decided to pair up for life. Granted, her distaste for coffee seemed a bit strange to me. What kind of grown woman doesn't like coffee?/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you and your mate share the same taste for coffee?
Geography teachers tend to put their students to sleep. And no wonder. Until you've been there, who cares where the Rhine River runs? Or what kind of winters they have in North Korea? Or which ocean is home to Iwo Jima? And what's an Iwo Jima anyway? All three places were once boring to most third-grade geography students. However, all three of those places eventually became lethally interesting. In fact, the day would come when former third graders would suffer and die in all three locations.War is a terrible geography teacher. It knows how to make the topic not just interesting but also so terrifying that the grieving families of the dead will never forget where an unlucky loved one met his end/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Did you know where Vietnam was before our long war there? Afghanistan?
My wife tells me that when she was 5 her kindergarten teacher sent a note home to her mother complaining that Sharon was absent-minded. And she is, to this day. So am I. But just because you are absent-minded in your senior years doesn't mean that you're losing it. Most of us have always been that way. Don't we all forget where we left our car keys? Don't we all go into a room from time to time and, upon arriving, have to stop and think what we went after? Absent-mindedness is more glaring at an advanced age than it was when we were 6 or 60 or - the most distracted age of all - sweet 16. Whatever our mental status at 80, we are brilliantly focused by comparison with a 16-year-old boy ogling a 16-year-old girl while walking insanely across a busy street without looking. Sharon has told younger members of our family that story about her teacher's kindergarten note. She urges them to keep that in mind before they decide to park us in some human storage unit because we seem to be getting absent-minded/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are you absent-minded?
At the Lewiston Tribune, columnist Bill Hall suggests a compromise that would allow bicyclists and pedestrians to coexist on sidewalks: “If you’re jogging or walking and you decide to move over to one side of the path without looking, and a bike comes along, it can wipe out all parties. It’s almost impossible for a cyclist to go over the top of a pedestrian without mashing the sorry sucker and then being thrown into the pavement himself.When I switched for a time to the bicycle, I became aware of that. I soon copied a few alert cyclists who had known about the danger. They used to come up behind me on their bikes when I was running and call out, 'Coming by' or 'On your left.' I did the same at first on my bike, but then I remembered those little musical bells we used to have on our tricycles and bicycles as children. They attach to the handlebars and are operated by your thumb and make a weird but cheery little sound of “Ring! Ring! Ring!” So I bought one. Better to be silly than mash a jogger while wiping out yourself.” More here.
Question: Have you ever had a close encounter with a bicyclist on a sidewalk — or the Centennial Trail?
I heard a scientist on television say that the human brain is about the same consistency as tofu. That explains a lot about the limits of human thinking. Too many of us have tofu for brains. We prove the limits of the human brain when we choose tofu - and zucchini - for dinner. I mention zucchini in the same context as tofu because both are nearly flavorless foods that are eaten for reasons other than flavor or excitement. I was reminded of that by a newspaper recipe urging us to cook tofu in hot Mexican sauce. That is a desperate and revealing attempt to impart flavor to a tofu dish. Tofu is not eaten because it tastes so great, or because it tastes at all. It is eaten for two reasons - because it is a large, healthy dose of the protein vegetarians need in place of meat and because it makes the people who eat it feel morally superior to meat eaters.Zucchini, by contrast, is not exactly brimming over with nutrition. You could eat tons of it every day and starve to death if you didn't also consume something like meat, tofu or maybe a five-gallon latte/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Anyone out there regularly eat tofu? Really?
This is the time of year when I keep a close eye on our tomato plants. But I didn't know until now that the tomato plants may be keeping an eye on me. Daniel Chamovitz, author of the book “What a Plant Knows,” makes a convincing case for the premise that plants can see. Maybe that sounds like a joke, or perhaps still another writer with insane ideas stretched into a theory. But, depending on how you define “seeing,” Chamovitz makes persuasive point. “A plant sees what we see,” he says. “A plant sees light. So if you take someone who's completely blind and by surgery in some way giving them a camera, allow them to see just shadows, would we say that person now has rudimentary sight?” Bear in mind, this is a time of year when home tomato growers are going after bragging rights for the first ripe tomato in the neighborhood. My wife and I are among the contenders here on the bank of the Snake River less than a mile from the lowest and therefore warmest spot in Idaho/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: How are your tomatoes doing?
Your pity is misplaced if you have been hoping that someone will invent a “cure” for baldness. If you want to cure something, cure the abnormal crop of hair on a mature man's skull. Scientists who condescendingly try to find a “cure” for the non-disease of baldness might as well be developing a potion to make women stop growing breasts. Talk about confusing a normal condition with an ailment. Speaking of “curing” baldness is like curing handsome. It's like the daffy terminology for depriving an animal of its reproductive possibilities by saying you have had the dog or cat “fixed.” Wrong. What you do in that situation is to have the animal broken. You sever its natural ability to produce offspring and thereby convert it to an unnatural state of reproductive dysfunction. Consequently, I was not among those shiny-headed men who ran cheering into the street at the recent news that science may actually have found a “cure” for male-pattern baldness — some new goo to rub on a bare head to grow a childish clump of head hair/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Have you fought to stop your receding hairline or let nature take its course without whining?
They have been called the young indestructibles, young adults in the prime of life who are pretty darned sure they are immortal and don't need medical insurance. Life can have wicked surprises for people who don't have insurance. When you suddenly decide you need insurance, it's usually too late. Insurance doesn't get your attention until you have run up a large and unexpected medical bill. Insurance is a strange purchase. You buy it hoping you never get your money's worth. If you didn't get your money's worth this year, it's because you didn't get seriously sick or hurt. However, if people who shun insurance protection are called the young indestructibles, then most of the rest of us should be called the old suckers because we end up not only buying our own protection but paying for the medical care of those who walk the tightrope of life without an insurance net beneath them/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More to come.
Question: What life's lesson taught you that you aren't indestructible?
I received a call from a reader one time who was hot under the collar that Mormons had posthumously baptized her dead son. After her son died, his young widow joined the LDS Church and the mother was offended that members of that church were trying to win the dearly departed an eternal ticket to the right kind of heaven. The mom wanted me to chastise them for their impertinence. She was livid, and I understand why, but the offense, though insensitive, was meant as a favor. More often than not, hurtful differences among religions are based on badmouthing each other. But this was well intended. Mind you, those LDS baptizers might at least have notified the mother what they were planning to do. But I tried to get the mother to look on the kind side of what happened. Strangers had tried to do something that they sincerely considered a favor to the son/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Bill Hall has a point: If you don't believe in the Mormon practice of baptizing for the dead, why should you be upset that they do so?
English is a moving target. Like all languages, it never stops changing. Words drop in. Words drop out. The longer you live, the more words you need to retire from your speaking or writing because they are unknown to newer portions of the population. For instance, we went to a fast food shop the other day and the clerk asked me if I wanted chopped onions in my chicken salad. “Hold the onions,” I said.The clerk looked at me with a hint of alarm in her young eyes. She thought I actually meant she should hold the onions in her hand or in her armpits or something. I quickly realized that what we had there was a failure to communicate. She was working in a restaurant but she had never heard the old hash house (a restaurant) slang “hold the onions.” She didn't know that meant leave out the onions/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More to come.
Question: Hall goes on to say that a grocery clerk referred to his wife recently as “your old lady”? Do you ever use that expression for your wife or “my old man” for your husband?
The Internet website LiveScience.com recklessly reveals a dirty little secret about cats with no apparent realization that the information might put cats out of business if we all come to realize what we have been sponsoring all these years. What we have been sponsoring is wholesale mayhem. We have been harboring fuzzy little murder machines that cut a merciless swath of daily death through millions of well-intentioned though filthy rodents.LiveScience.com makes the brave and honest point, whether we want to hear it or not, that rodent populations would explode without cats — our cats — carrying out their constant savagery/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is your cat a good mouser?
Oh, great. I just finished reading a book by John Steinbeck and now I owe him another apology. Pity that he's dead. He was also dead the first time I owed him an apology. In fact, it was his dying that made me so regretful I hadn't written to him.We humans love our lists - the best movies we ever saw, the biggest fish we ever caught, the most beautiful actress we never caught (Sophia Loren) and the best novel we ever read (“East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.)Actually, it's virtually impossible to choose No. 1 in such matters. The best movie and the best novel are like your favorite child; there's usually no such thing. You love one kid for this and the other for that and they both shine in your mind and in your heart. It's like trying to decide whether your favorite food is fried chicken, pizza, caramel ice cream or chocolate chip cookies/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Which John Steinbeck novel is your favorite?
A few years ago, I had a flat tire on my car after decades without one. But long, long ago, I had several flat tires every year. Similarly, it had been many years since a car of mine refused to start. And then the other day, it happened. I immediately knew why, though I am far short of being widely recognized as a mechanical genius. It had dawned on me one day that the battery in the car we bought new almost seven years ago had yet to need a replacement. So even I realized that was a stretch. I vowed I would, in a timely matter, replace the battery before it stranded us somewhere. To dysfunctional mechanics like me, a timely manner means one of these days. Thus it was that the battery was rude enough to die on me/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: When did you last have a flat tire on your vehicle? And/or: When did you last experience a dead battery on your vehicle?
Was it really only three weeks ago that I was standing coatless in the vegetable garden ingesting a substance so intoxicating that it probably should be declared a dangerous drug? I speak of tomatoes - hot tomatoes straight off the bush, so hot from the sun, so succulent and slobbery that devouring them verges on an erotic, almost biblical experience. The weather made a sharp turn this autumn from late warmth to sudden winter. Hot tomatoes one day, black tomatoes the next. We are still eating blushing green tomatoes from the kitchen counter, but the outside heat has gone into hibernation. Heat does wild things to tomatoes and to some other fruits that are normally eaten chilled/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Which vegetables or fruit do you enjoy eating off the vine in the garden?
Tell me something: Why is it that members of the military repeatedly risk their lives for their country but most members of Congress won’t even risk losing an election? Why is it that policemen routinely go out there in the night along lonely highways and down dark alleys daring death, but members of the House and Senate tremble in their boots at the thought of defying moneyed lobbyists and ignorant voters on matters of principle? Why is it that members of the fire department dare run into a fire to save a child, but most members of Congress don’t dare tell a menacing lobbyist with a pot full of cash to put it where the sun don’t shine? Most members of Congress would rather become puppets of pressure groups than die a mere political death at the polls. What is it that they fear?/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think columnist Bill Hall is right — that most congressmen would rather be toadies for lobbyists and special interests than put their jobs at risk?
When Willie Nelson is on stage, three great gifts to music are present - an historic American song writer, one of the best guitar players in music and a singer with a unique nasal baritone warble that irritates some but absolutely delights Willieophiles. However, it is the song writing that most sets him apart. Just think of any country classic and often, it was written by or with Willie Nelson. He sang a couple dozen of those hits the other night - “Crazy,” “Hot-Blooded Woman,” “Funny How Times Slips Away,” “To All the Girls I've Loved Before,” “You Were Always On My Mind,” “On The Road Again,” “Good Hearted Woman,” “Night Life,” “Family Bible,” “Bloody Mary Morning” and others. I found myself trying to decide which was my favorite, and failing to do so. Trying to settle on Willie Nelson's best ever was as pointless as trying to decide which of your children is your favorite kid. It's an honest sentiment to love them all/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (2010 AP file photo)
Question: Do you love/hate Willie Nelson's singing voice?
Today, the waiting room magazines often include readable, non-political, middle-of-the- road publications. Some medical offices even have a few magazines in those lonely little rooms where you take off your clothes and await your turn with your favorite healer. However, there are still examination rooms where you cool your heels with nothing to read but wall posters showing gruesome and frightening drawings of human innards. But take heart. A new era has dawned in which patients are no longer dependent on or threatened by the tedious, preachy and germy magazines in the waiting room. These days, when visiting the doctor places, many of us take along our own electronic book readers, from which we can read the book or magazine of our choice. And now I have acquired one of those so-called “smart phones.” They call them that because the phones are smarter than we are/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Does your doctor's/dentist's office have decent reading material?
One of the most annoying things about elders my age is that we have lived long enough to see humanity rise high and fall low and we can't resist blurting out judgments on whether our unstable species is getting calmer or crazier. When you look back across three or four generations, you see a changed world. Unfortunately, we in the geriatric portion of the population can't agree on whether humankind is mellowing or barely clinging to its marginal sanity. Some see the glass half full. Some see it half empty. Count me in neither column. I see the glass two-thirds full. Over recent decades, we have taken more steps forward than backward/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think humanity is advancing or digressing as a species?
When I hear someone boasting that “I never watch television,” as I did the other day, I always want to ask a few cheeky questions: Have you also forsaken electric lights? Do you use indoor plumbing? How long does it take you to drive your buggy to work? When your foot gets infected, do you refuse modern cures like antibiotics? Do you remain true to your old standby, rubbing bat mucus and cobwebs on that pesky foot? If you don't watch television, do you ever listen to that new-fangled gadget, the radio? Do you write letters with a quill pen or do you use those satanic invitations to wasting time, the computer, the Internet and e-mail? Do you read parchment scrolls instead of books?/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Some are all too willing to tell us about the evils of television. What do you consider to be the greatest benefits of TV?
Many among our kind are built like a buffalo, and I don't mean because they eat too much fast food. The sacrificial urge is in our genes, whether we all heed the urge or not. We are designed to rush to the rescue of strangers, to save fellow humans, those who are part of our pack. Just like a buffalo, we aren't built to do nothing. Consider the recent reminder in Arizona. When a distorted man started shooting people, the most common reaction of bystanders was to run to the rescue They threw themselves on top of others almost instinctively, using their own bodies as shields. Among those who sacrificed themselves was a federal judge, John Role. He decided in an almost irresistible impulse to impose himself between flying bullets and another defenseless human being. That cost him his life/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Any idea what you might do in a situation like the one that Judge Role and others faced when crazed shooter Jared Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others?