The point

Don’t you just love the TV news?

Ah, the vagaries of language. Our TV weatherdude speaks of “scattered showers.” That ends up as one drop sounding on the back porch roof, one shaking a leaf on Junior Tree about fifteen feet away, and yet another drip making a mark in the dust of the horseshoe pit across the backyard. Maybe there’ll be a telling dust mote on the pickup in the driveway out front. Scattered.

Then the TV weatherdude tells us of a chance of “more organized” showers later. Like, I suppose, rain arriving in organized regimented sheets with drops sorted by shape and size, falling in a strictly orderly fashion from one end of the yard to the other. (With, when appropriate, tastefully placed intervals of lightning and thunder; and a glorious double rainbow to end the show. Applause.)

In describing various instances of mayhem, the news anchors have said they determined that the cause was… undetermined.


Today the news reassured us that doctors have learned more about how the coronavirus spreads. Should we be surprised to hear this?

Okay, folks, this is very complicated, so pay attention. It is now thought the virus passes out through one person’s mouth, into someone else’s ear, back out the left eye socket, circling back to an ear, down through the upper—and this is important, just the upper—lip, back up through the right nostril, out the right eye socket, circling over to the left ear, and finally down into the lungs. It’s called the Covid exotracking endoformulary.

So remember, when you’re out and about, bite your lip, close your eyes, don’t breathe, and—above all—don’t listen.

Got it?

So now, the news folk have told us certain words are no-nos. Black hats, blackball, black out, and blackmail are a few that should be blacklisted. (Oh, wait…denied.) But I think I will still use white light to guide me through the black of darkness.

Some have said they’re Freud’s words, but there’s no firm proof. Good idea anyway: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Meaning, we need not overthink every little thing. Sometimes a raindrop is just a raindrop, a rose is just a rose, the point of a pencil is just the sharpened graphite, and black is just black.

There’s a broadcast, a newscast, a forecast, a movie or play cast, casting pottery, casting a net, and spin casting, just to name a few. A plaster cast for a broken bone. Ah, the vagaries of language cast their spell.

Think I’ll cast some cubes into a cocktail glass and enjoy an organized sip of hoarded whiskey. And watch for our favorite backyard raven.