I know I said the next column would be a quiz and it would be based on water, but forgive me, that will be postponed until the next column because there are some things I want to talk with you about and I don’t want to wait two weeks.
All right, one question to help out until a whole quiz: Where do we find the lines, “Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink”? Five points, of course. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Have you noticed the proliferation of the phrase “ I mean” on news programs and telecasts? Even before the person has said anything at all, he or she says, “I mean.” It has been bad enough for the past few years listening to all the “you knows.” Two days ago I counted six “you knows” within three minutes from one newscaster. These people are professionals. Wouldn’t you think they could deliver sentences and thoughts without you-knowing us? Listen to yourself. I’ll bet you don’t do that.
But now there’s something new: “I mean.” Even before the speaker breaks his or her big news to us he says “I mean,” then launches into the profound statement we are treated to. We surely know what the speaker means because he tell us. This is an epidemic. Is there a cure? Have you noticed this new habit? Lucky you if you said, “No.” I mean, it isn’t really necessary. We’ll learn just by listening. I mean — I find it irritating
Next: there have been many obits for Dick Gregory. We have been reminded of his childhood, his humor, his becoming a civil rights advocate, his place in American history. But nowhere have I seen mention of one of his books.
I used to place a few books on the window sill in my classroom so students looking for some good reading could borrow from Stein’s room, enjoy and return. So I bought Dick Gregory’s book. It disappeared and didn’t come back. I bought another. It disappeared and wasn’t returned. A third and fourth suffered the same fate, and my kids were helping make this book a best seller.
Now I’m wondering if the book wasn’t mentioned because of its title, which is simply the forbidden “N” word. Mr. Gregory said he gave it that title so that any time his mother heard someone use the word, she could say, “They’re talking about my son’s book.” What other reason could there be? He did write the book and it was very good. I recommend it.
I wonder why the area’s car dealers feel they need to shout their sales pitch. I’ll bet their sales wouldn’t tumble if they lowered the decibels a few notches.
I have now finished Al Franken’s book, and I said in the recent book column I’d write more about it. So let me tell you I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I learned a lot, too. I had never really thought much about the amount of money it takes to run for office, particularly for senator. I learned more about Lorne Michael, whom I have been in awe of for a long time. SNL is just one reason. I learned about the working of committees and how one gets along with such different personalities. I learned how Franken used humor. And now I am hoping he continues to get re-elected. A good book!
All right, one more quiz question. (You surely are spoiled!) Which is the smallest of the Great Lakes? Happy?
Betty E. Stein is a retired teacher and resident of Fort Wayne.