Today is sort of a hopscotch day, as we tackle an item or two or three that readers have suggested.

Don’t worry. Your secret gripes are safe with me, as no names will be used.

* Here’s one that crops up every now and then in the area of Trivia – except that this one may not be trivial at all.

Problem: A fire engine, a Police Cruiser, an ambulance, and a Post Office Delivery vehicle arrive at a four-way intersection simultaneously.

Question: Which one has the right of way?

Answer: The Post Office – by Federal law!

If this ever happens, we’ll let the other three sort themselves out, but since I’m none of those, maybe I should get used to being low man on the totem pole and just wait until the intersection is clear.

P. S. It’s not a question of “Neither rain nor snow” – etc., etc., it’s just that ‘the mail must get through’. (If we could locate the person who initiated this law, we just might find it was some anonymous Congressman who was waiting for his paycheck.)

* Here’s a slightly different kind of doodling – messing with history under the heading of “What if famous quotes had different endings?”

(a) "There is a tide in the affairs of men – that will sink your boat if you’re not careful."

(b) "Fourscore and seven years ago – it was November 19, 1776."

(c) "Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes – and hope they’re not bloodshot."

(d) "Damn the torpedoes; my enlistment expired an hour ago."

(e) "We have nothing to fear but fear itself – and the boogeyman under the bed."

(f) "Read my lips – until the wife is finished vacuuming the carpet."

* Next, we move into the kitchen, where someone suggested the following definition of casseroles with no discernable flavor: “culinary camouflage."

Here, a good rule to follow would be, "Don’t ask," and if someone is brave enough to request the recipe, say “It’s just something I just threw together.”, or “I don’t really remember. It was just sitting there in the refrigerator and I thought I’d better use it up.” Then change the subject.

* Here’s one of those questions that keeps getting asked:

“Are we having fun yet?”

If you have to ask, obviously, you’re not. (And don’t ask me again. If I’m having fun, you’ll know.)

Another: Am I out of step with the world, or is the world out of step with me? (Depends on how you look at it.)

Don’t reply.

I already know the answer.

* We talk and write funny, which can spark some of civilization’s burning questions.

Why does the word "spaghetti" have an "h" in the middle?

What’s the difference between "flammable" and "inflammable?" The dictionary gives the same meaning for both, so let’s get rid of "inflammable," or change its definition so that "in" means “not”, just like it does in all those other words. Then we can call something ‘non-flammable’ and there won’t be any doubt about describing something that won’t burn.

Same thing applies to the prefix "anti." As everyone knows, "anti" means "not" or "against" but that’s not where the question arises.

Just when did "antii" start being pronounced "ant-eye?" And why?

You’re not going to confuse Auntie Myrtle with Uncle Herman being anti-Myrtle when they got divorced, are you?

Of course not. So quit monkeying with it. "Anti" has behaved just fine for as long as anyone can remember, then just recently, people began saying "ant-eye," and if you need a reason to not use the "ant-eye" version, just think about "antifreeze" or even "antihistamine."

Keep it simple, stupid. "Anti" is "anti"- and if you insist upon pronouncing it wrong, I’m gonna wind up being anti-you.

* Years ago, a friend described the phrase ‘mixed emotions’ as “watching your mother in law drive over a cliff in your brand new Cadillac”, and we all enjoyed a good one-liner. And then along comes another of his definitions.

"Frustration" – sitting in front of a guy who sings hymns offkey in church, when the sermon was about forgiveness.

Observant readers will have noticed that we have now reached the point where I’m hoping I get forgiven.

But it’s been educational.

I learned that it’s time to stop.



Freelance Columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan.

He can be reached at

Mike’s book, “On The Loose Collection, Volume One” is on sale in Newton at the Kansan, 121 W. 6th St., and at Anderson’s Book & Office Supply, 627 N. Main St.