Time Again For This-And-That

People often ask how I come up with ideas for a newspaper column week after week.  Truth is, I don’t really know.  Some columns, like those that revolve around holidays or special occasions, I can plan for.  But mostly I just keep my eyes and ears open and the wheels in my mind turning and–more often than not–an idea will fall in my lap.  Usually just in the nick of time.

Occasionally, though, I’ll happen upon things that I want to write about that just can’t fill up twenty newspaper inches.  So I save those things for a time like this and drop them into a column I like to call “This and That”:

  • If there’s any sound sweeter than rain on the roof after a long drought, I can’t imagine what it is.
  • Speaking of drought, though I found it impossible to water all my trees and shrubs during our long dry spell, I couldn’t bear to let my zinnias die.  They’re shouting “thank you” in a million different colors.
  • In spite of the drought, I managed to pick six cobblers-worth of blackberries from the tangled thickets in my pasture before they shriveled into nothing.
  • Speaking of blackberries, there was plenty of blackberry wine available at the super-fun second annual “Wine on the Westside” last month.  And lots of other varieties, too, thank goodness.
  • Even without the drought, June bugs would likely have finished off my berry crop.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, a June bug is not a Japanese beetle.  Someday I might write a whole column about the difference.
  • Speaking of bugs, I often wonder if putting Frontline drops between my shoulder blades once a month would keep me as tick-free as it does my dog.
  • Hooray for the National League All-Stars, who shut out the American League 8-0 on July 10.  It was the first shutout since the NL blanked the AL 6-0 in 1996.
  • Double hooray for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, my newest hero.
  • Tell me again why I should care that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have split up. Or what Suri’s doing every minute of every day.
  • If you’ve ever wondered whether you could pass the test that prospective U.S. citizens must take, you can find out at www.csmonitor.com/U.S.citizenship-test.
  • Another fun brain exercise is “Jumbles” online.  To play, go to www.uclickgames.com/jumbles.
  • County budget makers need to do whatever it takes to fund a new Monterey High School.  Cookeville and Baxter have lovely, state-of-the-art high schools.  Fair is fair.
  • Speaking of budgets, here’s hoping that the Department of Leisure Services can find the money to keep restrooms at Dogwood Park open for extended hours.  Relying on the restrooms at the Putnam County Library is not the answer.
  • Speaking of the Putnam County Library, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that law enforcement officials will discover who deposited human excrement in the book drop a few weeks ago.  And I’m hoping the punishment fits the crime.
  • Finally, speaking of libraries and books, the answer to whether I’ve read the blockbuster bestseller “50 Shades of Grey” is yes.  More about that in next week’s column.

(July 29, 2012)

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