Random Thoughts While Driving in Waco

By Jack Smith

Jack can be reached at jwsmith2@flash.net

My cute little dog is very skittish. It may be because she is about 75 percent deaf and lots of things sneak up on her. But it could be that she is just a scaredy-cat or fraidy-cat. Can we have scaredy-dogs or fraidy-dogs? Why not?

Soap smells like it would taste good, but …

We sometimes read or hear that some statement is a “red herring.” We generally know what it means — something that misleads or distracts from a relevant question — but where did it come from?

Glad you asked. Way back in 1807, an Englishman told a story of using a kipper (a strong-smelling smoked fish) to help train hunting dogs or hounds, as they were called. Smoked kipper could turn a red color. So, the red kipper, or herring, was dragged across the ground to divert hounds from chasing the scent of the hare. The diversion device was part of the training. Forget the dead fish, stay after that pesky rabbit.

This year I tried once again to watch the Grammys. I gave up quickly because I had never heard of any of the nominees or presenters. I decided that I am more in tune (pun intended) with Grannies than with Grammys.

Am I getting older or are grocery stores playing better music?

We talked about Grannies and Grammys, but how about grammar? Here’s a tip: A double negative is a no/no.

Many TV ads annoy or confuse me. A current one is an ad for GMC pickups. Apparently, the newest model has a really fancy tailgate. It can almost dance. So, the ad shows a man carrying his Ford tailgate up a hill. Soon he is followed by several and then hundreds of people carrying their old tailgates up the hill. Why? First of all, if it were me, I wouldn’t be able to take my tailgate off if I had one. Secondly, I certainly wouldn’t want to carry a heavy tailgate up a hill. Is there a guru at the top of the hill who is going to magically turn their old tailgates into new ones? And their trucks into GMCs? Who knows. It makes no sense. It just shows what can happen when you give an advertising person free rein.

I recently stubbed my toe. My little toe. I think I broke it. I might say I broke it in three places, but it was just one place — my hotel room. I only hit my little toe, but the other toes also turned blue. I guess it was like a sympathy thing. “Stubbed” has two main definitions. One is stubbed your toe, and the other is stubbing out a cigarette. I don’t smoke, but given a choice, give me a cigarette.

My 15-year-old grandson asked me, “What’s worse than stubbing your toe?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “The Holocaust.”

Trying to understand politics today is like trying to smell a color.

We frequently hear that we should take something with a grain of salt. It means that something may not be reliable. I wondered where the expression originated. My research assistant (kind of like an imaginary friend) said that the story was entirely too complicated to explain. It had something to do with Pliny the Elder back in A.D. 77. I’d rather hear from Pliny the Younger. I’d take anything the old guy said with a grain of salt.

If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted … I really do want a new car.

One thing we can all be thankful for is that spiders can’t fly.

IF I WERE KING: The second time I won the lottery, I’d know how to handle it better.