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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, June 6 2001

Ado about nothing

My brother Bob asked how I come up with the topics to write about every day. The ready answer is, "the best topics are nothing." It's a concept that Seinfeld's situation comedy introduced to my mind, though Shakespeare may have had the same idea earlier (as the title for today's entry implies). Jerry and George from Seinfeld developed a proposal for a network TV comedy show, and when George raised the question, "what's it about?" Jerry replied, "it's about nothing! That's the genius about it." And in a sense, the sitcom in which they were acting was that very show. You could watch it a while and say it's about the relationships among New York singles living in their own apartments and meeting for coffee and neighborly interaction, but it has no theme, no message, no axes to grind. Life's funny if you have a sense of humor...maybe that's what it's about. To laugh is enough.

I've worked at having meaningful topics for the Jonal entries, probably with mixed success. The ones that resonated most were ones I stumbled into while writing about "nothing": the part the local woods played in our childhood development as staging backgrounds for adventures, porch sitting, swimming holes. Maybe next, "nothing," itself, will be a hit.

This "formula" for the Jonal seems appropriate if its purpose is mainly encouraging conversation revolving around nothing more, or less, than life in a mining town of the 20th century, or a former mining town if you're too young to remember when there was a mine in town.

When I decided to try breathing new life into the Jonal last January I stumbed onto the Postcard metaphor. And that wasn't really original.... For years the San Francisco Chronicle carried a daily column called "Stanton Delaplane's Postcard from...." The idea that everything worth saying could be scratched into the message space of a postcard made it seem manageable and, in fact, the truth that it's almost impossible to say anything worth saying in such a small space makes it seem easy to say at least something. Even if it's nothing. At least it seems to be working so far.

Having a great time. Wish you were here.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

The slap

In a train carriage sat Bill Clinton, George Bush, a spectacular-looking blonde and a frightfully awful-looking fat lady. After several minutes of travel, the train passes through a dark tunnel, and the unmistakable sound of a slap is heard. When they leave the tunnel, Clinton has a big red slap mark on his cheek.

(1) The blonde thinks, "That Clinton wanted to touch me and by mistake, he must have put his hand on the fat lady, who in turn must have slapped his face."

(2) The fat lady thinks - "That dirty old Bill Clinton laid his hands on the blonde and she smacked him."

(3) Bill Clinton thinks - "George put his hand on that blonde and by mistake she slapped me."

(4) George Bush thinks - "I hope there's another tunnel soon so I can smack Clinton again."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Four more to grow on

"He who knows only one side of the case knows little of that." John Stuart Mill

"Dignity does not consist of possessing honors, but in deserving them." Aristotle

"Try not! Either do or do not!" Master Yoda in Star Wars

"Adapt or Die!" Andrew Grove (Founder of Intel)

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