You may possibly remember an item in this space last May, when I wrote about the finding of the ancient skeleton of a whale near Rochester. My main source of information on that topic came from local geologist Jim Ward. Well, I received another email from Jim about the findings of a four-legged whale with hooves in Peru!
Don’t scoff — it’s not the first such creature to be unearthed, but it is the first discovery of one in the Pacific Ocean. Others have been found in India and Pakistan. It gives more validity to the theory that the whale — a mammal such as horses, cows and elephants — was once a land animal that made the habitat transition from land to sea. In case you’re interested, the remains of the Peruvian creature were found in 42.6 million year-old sediments. I just thought you’d like to know.
This is not in the category of the goofs made by closed captioning, but it comes from the same source: Channel 5. A newscaster was talking about the increase in the number of cars that collide with bicycles in the bicycle lane. He made the comment that “There are too many serious bicycle fatalities lately.”
Tell me, are there any other kind? I can’t remember ever hearing about a hilarious fatality. It’s just another example of superfluous words, most of which are adjectives. I’ve said this before about a favorite author of mine who once wrote that, after he finished a piece, he would go through it again and cross out all the adjectives. He may have been stretching the truth but I try to follow that example. Once in a while, I even have to go back and cross out the most useless adjective: “even.” Whoops.
I don’t think I can put this next bit into the category of “things I miss” but nevertheless when I was brushing my teeth this morning, I found myself singing, “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”
Remember back when almost every product advertised on the radio had its own singing commercial? It’s been too many years since I gave up smoking and I can’t remember the brand offhand, but there was no more famous radio ad than the tobacco auctioneer whose spiel was indecipherable but whose last words were, “Sold, American.”
I think I may have said before that my favorite was the one every afternoon after school left out for “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.” All I can remember is a quartet singing, “Have you tried Wheaties? They’re whole wheat with all of the bran, etc.”
After I wrote that last sentence I went to a favorite source for anything connected to old radio shows. It’s a book written by John Dunning named “On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio” with over 800 large pages of information about nearly every program ever broadcast. Nearly four of its double-column pages are devoted to Jack Armstrong and they include the words to that commercial. What a delight that book is to an old radio man.
Sometimes it pays to read all the small print before we speak. An article in Sunday’s Seattle Times concerned a plan near the John Day Dam on the Columbia River to pump water to a higher location in order to generate power when it is released. “How dumb,” I thought.
Wouldn’t the energy needed to pump water uphill cancel any gain in power from sending it back down again? It would, except for the fact that the power for the pumping would be produced by wind or solar energy during times when they have an excess. Read the whole article first, Moeller.
Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at email@example.com.