Random Thoughts while Driving in Waco

By Jack Smith

Jack can be reached at jwsmith2@flash.net

At George H.W. Bush’s funeral service, instead of a 21-gun salute, they had 21 jets fly over College Station. That was cool. But I wondered why it’s a 21-gun salute instead of a 10-, 12- or whatever gun salute. Well, I looked it up. Originally, back like 500 years ago, the normal salute (from a ship’s cannons) was seven blasts. It is thought that seven was used because of astrological and biblical concepts. At that time there were seven known planets, and the phases of the moon changed every seven days. God rested on the seventh day and every seventh year was sabbatical. When firing from the ground, where a greater supply of gunpowder was accessible, it was decided to do three times as many shots. In 1842 the U.S. government made 21 the official number of salutes for a President. So there.

A friend said that whether he is sober or not, if he gets pulled over by a cop and is asked to recite the alphabet backward, he’ll just walk himself straight to the backseat of the cop car.

The other day I saw something online about “real fake news.” I guess that’s opposed to fake, fake news. Now I’ll have to worry about whether fake news is real or fake. Of course, the item about “real fake news” could have been fake news. Apparently there’s a lot of it going around.

Does James Patterson publish a new book every month or is it every week?

One day I will count the medicine ads during a 30-minute national TV newscast. It seems like there are about 20 minutes of them. As I have mentioned before, they tell you about how the medicine (Exstinex or something) will cure what ails you. Then while beautiful and fascinating pictures of kids or dogs are being shown, they tell you of all the horrible side effects. The worst one was for an antidepressant that said it could cause suicide. Wow! Recently I heard one that said, “Don’t take [Exstinex] if you are allergic to it.” How do you know if you are allergic to something you’ve never taken?

Ninety-five percent of these commercials are aimed at old folks like me. One that I need but haven’t tried yet says that it will really improve your memory. It has something to do with jellyfish. That’s the same jellyfish that wash up on shore and can’t remember how to get back to the water. Anyway, I need help with my memory. It’s so bad that I have forgotten how to ride a bicycle.

Perhaps because of old age, I have lost weight lately. My shirt size has gone from a large to an extra-medium.

Speaking of old, back in the day, my grandfather was really good at Morse code. My grandmother took up tap dancing and drove him crazy.

Which letter is silent in the word scent?

Speaking of letters, why is the letter W called a double U? Shouldn’t it be a double V?

Speaking of TV and presidents (we were at some point, I think, but I forget), did you know that the first president to appear on TV was Franklin Roosevelt in 1939? Unfortunately for FDR, nobody owned a TV set.

On a family outing during Thanksgiving with our kids and grandkids, we discovered a copperhead snake asleep on some steps. It was dispatched by a sure-shot grandson with a .410 shotgun. A couple of weeks later, near the same place, a rattlesnake was found and was dispatched with a hoe. I wonder if snakes are afraid of snakes. Everybody else is.

IF I WERE KING: Reports of snake spottings would be fake news.