Please read this...Some whining...and other good stuff, too

A few things up front, before we get started on the "good stuff."

First, I just want to say that I really don't want to hear another mention of how the National Football League team known as the Rams has returned "home." The team's "home" was in St. Louis for about 20 some odd years. Before that, the team's "home" was indeed in Los Angeles. And before that, the team's home was in Cleveland. Returned "home"? Hum bug.

Second, I want to know why so many motorists still insist on using their cell phones WHILE THEY ARE BEHIND THE WHEEL AND ACTUALLY MOVING ON A REAL STREET. 

Last Friday morning, I saw a young lady cruising down the street, one hand on the steering wheel in her car, the other hand holding a phone, which she was looking at while she was driving. 

Later, around lunch time on Friday, I saw a gentleman of my age persuasion, as in reaching the point where the warranty is about to run out, tooling down the road in a pickup truck the size of an ocean liner. He had one hand on the wheel. The other hand was holding a phone. I'm guessing, by the way his lips were moving, that he was on the phone.


There. I am done whining now.

Now, onto something that might, or might not, matter.  Maybe you heard: the Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last week during a ceremony which was held at Harvard University in Cambridge ("our fair city"*), Massachusetts.

A magazine called Annals of Improbable Research organizes the Ig Nobel Prizes. The awards ceremony, as explained on the website, "is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association."

The prizes "honor achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK.. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology." 

Now, that's a whole bunch of fascinating concepts, he wrote, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Laugh. Think. Honor the imaginative. Spur interest in science, medicine and technology. See if you can find those ideas on a reality TV show.

The folks behind the prizes added that they "collect improbable research. Real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere. Research that's maybe good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless.

"Our goal is to make people laugh, then make them think. We also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not – in science and everywhere else?"

Just in case you were wondering, and I know that you were, here's a look at some of the 2016 Ig-Nobel Prize winners, by category:

Economics Prize: The prize went to some folks from New Zealand "for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective." They sound like my kind of folks.

Physics Prize: This prize went to some folks from Hungary, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland "for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones." 

Medicine Prize: The prize went to some people from Germany "for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking in a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa)." I did not know that. Did you? Let me know if you try this.

Peace Prize: This prize went to folks from Canada and the United States for their study which was titled "On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound ********." The ******** represent a word which I have chosen not to use in print, and, yet, I now see this vulgarity on several 2016 political campaign signs. I don't get it.

Literature Prize: This prize went to a gentleman from Sweden "for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead."

Perception Prize: The prize went to a couple of folks from Japan "for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs."

With that last prize in mind, please take your newspaper, bend over...oh, never mind...

(*Sincere apologies to all you fans of Tom and Ray. Couldn't help myself.)

The Gazette-Democrat

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