Friday, June 5, 2020

Three completely unrelated subjects

Subject 1 - Proximity Has Its Advantages

I grew up in a small town (around 1,000 people) with a small high school (around 300 students). Today 75,000 people live in my hometown and it has five huge high schools, but back then it seemed like Nowheresville, USA. My town had exactly two traffic signals, one at either end of its block-long business district. I grew up exactly 14 miles from a big city, but it might as well have been 14 light years.

It was therefore only natural when the young and the restless thereabouts began yearning to seek to alleviate certain hormonal tensions with other young and restless individuals through mutual and consensual exploration that they would look to individuals near at hand instead of individuals in the city 14 light years away. Many of my peers who didn’t leave home to attend university or to seek employment elsewhere often ended up marrying one another after high school. It took me practically no time at all to come up with this list from my era off the top of my head:

1. Robert H. married Anna C.
2. Oscar S. married Mary Elizabeth N.
3. Guy Lewis A. married Gloria F. (they later divorced)
4. Ben N. married Sue N.
5. Barbara P. married Odell E.
6. Patsy H. married Roland C.
7. Louise M. married Bruce C. (they later divorced)
8. Patsy R. married Ronnal B.
9. Diane H. co-habited without benefit of clergy with Robert M.
10. Alene B. married Gene B.
11. Johnny Paul H. married Johnie Charlene S.
12. John F. married Barbara M.
13. Joe S. married Martha T.
14. Wayne W. married Carol Ann W.
15. Billy P. married Delores W.
16. Wesley S. married Linda G.
17. Kenneth G. married Carolyn W.
18. Fred S. married Judy W. (they later divorced)
19. Elmer W. married Martha
20. Margie N. married Don (they later divorced)
21. Dianne P. married Larry C.
22. Ruth Ann S. married Doug M.
23. Luis H. married Paula G.
24. Laurence W. married Donna M. (they later divorced)
25. Charles M. married Cora Faith M.
26. Glenda V. married Morris F.
27. Roy W. married Rosalie E.
28. Bonnie Gaye H. married Wayne H.

and those are just the ones I can toss off without even thinking about it. I could provide surnames upon request, but I won't. These names stir up other memories of my hometown. Anna C.'s brother Tommy was valedictorian the year after I was. Barbara P.'s and Billy P.'s dad was principal of our high school. Linda G.'s dad owned the local Mobil Oil service station with the sign of the Flying Red Horse. Fred S. eventually married three different women named Judy, and today he owns a boat named Judy, Judy, Judy that people think is named after Cary Grant. It isn't. Elmer's wife Martha earned a doctorate and became head of the mathematics department at a local university while Elmer ran an automobile repair shop. Cora Faith's dad was pastor of Central Baptist CHurch. Sometimes Diane lived at Robert's house and sometimes Robert lived at Diane's house. John and Barbara became millionaires. Several of the couples in that list have been married for nearly 60 years. I remember them all like it was only yesterday (reader Bonnie in Missouri, see what I did there?).

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Subject 2 - Frustration Is Not Just A Word In The Dictionary

I do enjoy watching the television program Jeopardy! in which statements are presented in various categories and the contestants' answers must be in the form of a question. Alex Trebek has been the program's host for 37 years. I'm pretty good at general knowledge (what some call trivia, but it isn't) and can usually answer about half of the answers. There are 30 in Jeopardy, 30 in Double Jeopardy, and one in Final Jeopardy -- 61 opportunities each evening to test one's general knowledge. What keeps me flabbergasted (British, gobsmacked) are the occasions on which I know the answer but not a single contestant buzzes in. Last night it happened again when Alex said, "This book of the Bible includes the story of King Nebuchadnezzar throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo into a fiery furnace" and the three contestants just stood there (I do not say with their tongues hanging out) while I yelled "What is Daniel?" at the screen. Repeatedly. These were not ordinary contestants, either. They were the three finalists in this year’s awards Teachers Tournament.

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Subject 3 - Why Black Lives Matter

Here's food for thought borrowed from the blog of Starshine Twinkletoes:


  1. I too grew up in small towns. We moved many times however. It has been difficult to stay in touch with some of my friends. I have had contact with a few.
    I once guessed the final word on Wheel of Fortune before any letters were chosen and I have witnesses. The answer was Lucille Ball.
    I absolutely love the cartoon. It illustrates the point so well.

    1. Emma, the longest our family lived in one place when I was growing up was 11 years, which happened to coincide with grades 2-12 of my education, so I really got to know these people. I congratulate you regarding Lucille Ball; that is amazing!

  2. The cartoon says it all. It is funny.
    The Black lives matter riots are not amusing. I agree they do but no more than white lives, yellow lives and so on. I have worked with people of all colours who I never identified as anything but human but they were the competent ones. Black isn't a colour as anyone with half a brain will confirm. Nasty, violent folk wanting something for nothing are the rioters and looters.
    Apparently the person of dark colour or whatever colour was a scumbag thieving blighter, he was treated in a rather extreme manner and I believe those responsible have been banged up. I also consider it a little insensitive for folk to kneel when his demise is taken into account.

    1. Adrian, I agree that the riots are certainly not amusing. I do have half a brain, as it turns out, and some might even say two halves, but that might be stretching it. I was going to take you to task for referring to the person in Minneapolis as a scumbag, but then I saw Candace Dixon's video on Rachel's blog, so I hereby withdraw my task taking impulses.

  3. #1. In your list of small town marriages I find it interesting that only 5 out of 28 were divorced. I may be wrong, but I think that may be better odds than you normally see these days? Sad, I know. Is that your name at the top of the list? So you married your high school sweetheart? I love that. Oh and yes, I did see what you did and yes, there are many memories that are "Just Like Only Yesterday"!

    #2. I enjoy Jeopardy too and I'm not surprised a man of God such as yourself easily got the answer to that question. Obviously, those teacher contestants were not at all knowledgeable regarding the books of the Bible!

    #3. The cartoon is excellent. Hopefully it will help as least a few people to understand the situation better. I'm afraid there are still some that don't want to understand the situation. I pray for understanding and healing on all sides.

    1. Bonnie, the Robert H. at the top of the list is not me. I am Robert B. with a middle initial of H, and I married an Eleanor, not an Anna. So no, I did not marry my high school sweetheart. We met three years after I graduated from high school, in a galaxy long, long ago and far, far away (also known as Orlando, Florida in 1961).

  4. I grew up in a small town too, but the population has decreased. Many of the kids left and the old folks died off.
    I bet you are good at Jeopardy.
    I had seen that cartoon and thought it made a good point. Someone also posted the parable of the shepherd looking for the lost sheep. He didn't love the 99 sheep any less, but the lost one was in danger. All lives do matter, but black lives are in more danger right now. I thought it was a good point anyway.
    Have a good weekend.

    1. Kathy, so many small towns are losing population and becoming even smaller even as the cities and suburbs swell to the bursting point. It's a shame.

      Your point of the parable of the lost sheep is well taken.

  5. I don't believe it. I have just typed a whole long considered comment and in the middle of it your blog just crashed. I've not had that happen before. I am really peed off. Please excuse my language but I really am. One of my pet hates is repeating something to which I have just given thought. At least you may only have to read a shortened version now.

    I was brought up with "flabbergasted". A smack in the gob was something very undesirable and not a saying used in polite society even in Liverpool. However we did used to exclaim that "My flabber has been well and truly gasted."

    I have no idea whatsoever what has happened to any of the pupils in my year or even in my school apart from John Lennon who was three years ahead of me. I know what happened to him.

    As for quizzes, as I said on YP's blog recently I am utterly hopeless even on subjects which I know like the back of my hand. My mind just does not work like that and I have always had a dreadful memory.

    The cartoon does provide considerable food for thought but I find any sort of discrimination anathema. However the idea that someone should be discriminated against because of their skin colour is so utterly illogical that it can only be explained by history. The sooner it becomes history the better.

    1. Graham, I'm sorry you lost your whole long considered comment. The shortened version is pretty long too.

  6. You have an awesome memory - recalling all those people way back when and how they hooked up together. By the way, purely for your linguistic information, British folk would hesitate to use the term "toss off" in the way that you did - as it is considered rather rude. At that point "rattle off" would be preferable. And please don't go barking at me over this point as you did recently over mealtime etiquette.

    1. Yorkshire Pudding (Neil), I had no idea about tossing off versus rattling off but I will take it under advisement for the future. And I have never barked at you.


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