Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Verschlugginer Grocery Carts

I wouldn't be the first person to complain about malfunctioning shopping carts. That's old. Every comic in the known universe has a routine based upom wobbly-wheeled grocery transport. No, I'm here to praise these wonders of domestic engineering. Next time you have no choice but to take one of those difficult-to-steer offenders, I suggest you imagine that you're in a French supermarket and thank God that you're not. A French shopping cart is a copy of the American original except that the French thought that they could do better. The American cart has two wheels that are free to steer. The French thought they could gain even more maneuverability with four free wheels.

If you ever try such a cart, you'll find that the stress on your wrists coming out of a turn is enormous. Twenty minutes per week of this kind of shopping is enough to build corded forearms like those of the Governor of California. Even if you manage to handle such a cart, you'd better take cover if you see a little old lady heading down an aisle pushing a metric ton of groceries at full speed. You don't need to have read Newton to know that "A body in motion will remain in motion." Madame will inevitably roll out of the turn sideways, madly trying to outrun the cart and to get to the opposite side. She will generally fail and run into some innocent monsieur with a cart full of bottles of a delicate Mouton Rothschild (Appellation Controllé 1999). Cleanup on aisle numero quatre!!!! Yes, thank your lucky stars that you live in America where the non-lethal grocery carts only chatter, wobble and squeek.

To the Daily Sun, Thanksgiving 2007

To the Editor:

Sandy Mott and I agree on a wide range of issues ranging from educational accountability to the war against Islamo-fascists. However, I was disappointed to see that she chose to kick off the season of love with a Thanksgiving diatribe against secularism and atheists. One vainly hoped that this year we might not hear the annual Christmas rabble rousing about how Christians are a persecuted majority. Instead, we were treated to Sandy Mott's unprovoked Thanksgiving assault on anyone who believes in the Founders' vision that religion and government should be separated. The season of hate seems to have started early this year. I'll resist the temptation to add fuel to the fire by citing the many quotations of Presidents Jefferson and Madison favoring separation of church and state, but I can't resist the fact that Jefferson refused to declare a federal day of prayer and thanksgiving.

Columnist Mott starts her article with a quote from President George Washington declaring a day of thanksgiving to the Creator at the behest of Congress. I would suggest she keep in mind and heart another quote from this visionary man.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. -Washington, letter to Moses Siexas of the Touro Synagogue, Newport Rhode Island

The Father of our Country desired that in all things the government sees each of us as individuals, not members of a class or religion or party or philosophy. People who wish to divide themselves into such groups are completely free to do so. They should not, however, seek government advantage for themselves. Columnists who wish that government would subsidize such divisions among our people should instead count their blessings on Thanksgiving. The very same amendment of the Constitution that keeps government out of religion keeps government out of journalism.