Quick quips, or sitting in my basement has advantages




By CHRIS HAMBLE — Gazette Columnist


If we could, let’s set the “way-back” machine to Memorial Day. At that time, I mentioned that I have this unnatural knack of mentioning something in my column, and having the opposite happen. Well, last week, I started things off by saying how grateful I was that the heat wave was over.

Oops. You would think I should know better than to say something as stupid as “Gee, it’s nice out, don’t you love it now that it’s nice out?” Help us all if I say something that stupid during the winter. Being stuck in my basement with the AC, TV, PC and PS3 has its benefits. I get to watch a lot of news, and because of that, I can revive my semi-annual piece that some have called “Eh, OK.” This is, “Quick Quips: The Heat Wave Edition.”


Higgs Boson, or ‘Are you there God, it’s me, particle’


Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider, or the “giant, government-funded atom-smashing tube” over in Europe said they “found” the Higgs Boson, or “God particle,” that could help explain many of the mysteries of the universe. Or some such like that.

I don’t buy it. First, if you actually read the press releases, you would see that the scientists never actually said they “found” it. Instead, they apparently found what they believe was evidence of it. That’s akin to someone walking into a room, smelling burritos and cigars, and extrapolating from that that I had just left the room. It’s a good guess, but you still really don’t know for sure.

The difference is, the nasally accosted friend isn’t government funded, and doesn’t need to provide “something” to continue getting said funding. Cynical? Maybe, but I’m just extrapolating from the provided evidence.


U.S. Olympic Team outfits


Have you seen these travesties? I’m not talking about them being made in China (although it was kind of a boneheaded move in its own right). I’m talking about them being hideously ugly.

Seriously, I choked a bit on my burrito and cigar and had to leave the room when I first saw them. For something that was allegedly designed by a professional, they look anything but American. They look French, almost stereotypically French.

And the berets? Ugh. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, “The only good beret is a Green one.” Those guys are American heroes. As for the Olympic uniforms, I would have gone for something, you know, more American like blue jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap. The traditional outfit of a United States citizen.


DirecTV vs. Viacom


If you are like me — and 30 million or so Americans households are — you just lost a ton of channels because of a contract dispute between two companies that both claim to be fighting for you. Which is bunk, but whatever. I’m not going to take sides in this dispute (although, I wish they would hurry it up, because I’m missing some of my favorite asinine programming) but I am going to offer an idea. If they really do care about us, the consumer, how about letting us buy channels a la carte? Let me pick which channels I want to have access to, and let me pay for those channels alone. Charge a fee for the service, and a small (I’m talking a penny or two, which if you break down the channel bundles they have, is all they are getting per channel anyway,) channel fee per station I want, and let me opt out of all the crap that I don’t want to watch.

On my dish, I get around 200 channels or so, and after a quick scan of the station guide, I can safely say I only watch about 10. That leaves 190 or so channels that are just taking up space. I like my dish, but I tell you what, if any service offers channels “a la carte” like that, I’m jumping ship, immediately. And I’d be willing to be a lot of others would too.


Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.