Is there anything sadder than a backyard garden that is played out at season's end? The greens have turned to brown, the corn stalks bowed before the autumn breezes, tomato plants collapsed in their cages, and the woodchuck bewildered that his cafeteria has closed for the year.* * * * *It has become obvious in this political season of our discontent that the greatest threat to national security is not terrorists but what we are capable of doing to ourselves.* * * * *The two sports teams that I follow closely -- the Philadelphia Phillies and University of Delaware football team -- are on a roll. The Phillies are perfectly positioned for the fourth straight year for a post-season run and shot at a third World series in as many years with the best front-end pitching trio in baseball that has combined to go 12-0 since September 1. Meanwhile, Delaware is 3-0, has a sensational true freshman running back who has piled up nearly 500 yards to date, and a defense that is the stingiest nationally in UD's division. Life is good.
* * * * *Perhaps the biggest mistake that a candidate can make is putting oneself in a position where the focus is on you and not the issues. At this Tea Party darling Christine "It's Only Witchcraft" O'Donnell is proving herself to be a master . . . er, mistress, most recently denouncing the witchcraft that she acknowledged dabbling in as a teenager, which of course angered witches.* * * * *Why is it that toilet paper rolls keep getting narrower as our backsides get wider?
* * * * *A consequence of our supposed Internet Age literacy is that old-fashioned literacy -- being able to read and write longhand -- is slowly being strangled. I work at a rare book and manuscript library where many of our holdings are correspondence, play scripts and such written in longhand, and with every passing academic year more and more students have trouble deciphering these materials.* * * * *I am fond of saying that a public opinion poll is nothing more than a snapshot in time, and that is being proven with considerable regularity in the run-up to the November elections. Take the Gallup generic-ballot tracking poll. Please! The poll showed a huge Republican gain two weeks ago which the news media quickly termed a Democratic Armageddon, but since then the poll has swung back to the Democrats (twice) and now shows a statistically insignificant Republican lead.* * * * *Is there a term for the residue that builds up on the desktop contact points of a computer mouse? I suppose that it falls under the category of schmutz, but it seems like a new term is in order. Mouse droppings, perhaps?* * * * *Try telling 15 million unemployed Americans that the recession "officially" ended in June 2009.
* * * * *An otherwise magnificent day down the shore -- brilliantly summer skies, a slight sea breeze to keep the bugs away and dolphins aplenty frolicking out beyond the breakers -- was marred by jammed traffic and too many fender benders to count on the northward trek back home. The big reason was obvious: Many if not most drivers were blabbing on their cell phones or text messaging. What kind of a disaster is it going to take to stop this insanity?IMAGE: "The Corn Harvest" (1565) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder