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Happy Valentine's Day
Thursday, February 14 2002

Half-baked ideas

I have a little notebook in which I jot down ideas that may be turned into entries here some day. Some of them have been there for months, not even percolating. Others have been abandoned as I've realized the inspiration for the idea has turned out to be untrue or fruitless (but still I haven't crossed them out). Others have been crossed out because they've been turned into Jonal entries.

In a half-baked one of those ideas last week, "politically incorrect," I said I like being politically incorrect, but on further reflection it's not the whole truth. On many fronts I'm carefully politically correct. I'm more likely to say "native American" than Indian (even though anyone born in America is a native American). I certainly say "Asian" rather than "Oriental." (This week being Chinese New Year, that's especially appropos now.) And I suspect Asian vs. Oriental is a politically correct item many of you, being scattered from here to Gwent, South Wales, are unfamiliar with, simply because the U.S. West Coast is much more blessed with Asians than other parts of North America. And I worked for 11 years at Stanford University, one of the cultural crossroads of the world, not to mention the San Francisco Bay Area, where one quickly learns such helpful facts. At the least, such information helps you stay at Stanford for a while.

I'm politically correct to the extent that I don't want to offend anyone. But is that really the nub of political correctness? Remember an oldtime columnist who ran on the Tribune-Democrat's editorial page for decades? His name, I believe, was Lou Harris, and his short paragraph or two per day were nationally syndicated and consistently the most "philosophical" writing the Johnstown daily carried. His forte' was statements like "one man's political correctness is another's good manners," except that the concept "political correctness" wasn't current yet in his time.

Perhaps my fondest memory of the Blacklick Township susquicentennial event in 2000 was meeting a valley man who now lives, I believe, in Alaska. He introduced himself and said how much he enjoys the Home Page and added that he had shown the Blacklick Township page to a friend to let him have a look at the hometown. The friend looked at it and locked on the statement, "Belsano is of interest as the most Anglo-Saxon Protestant settlement in, possibly, all of Cambria County." His friend said, "He can't say something like that," at which hearing I laughed out loud and said, "Oh, yes, I can say something like that," [thinking, if he only knew what John Golias says to me every time he sees me; but I digress]. But I know the Belsano statement is not really politically incorrect, though it may skirt so close that it's fun to say "I like being politically incorrect." I was making an anthropological observation, not stating an opinion or a value judgment. And in fact, in all my years in Belsano I never encountered an attitude of "this is a Protestant town and is going to stay one," or any expressions of hostility toward other groups.

Any thoughts? More tomorrow.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Not real funny but 'fun-ny'


Well, think again...
Rubber bands (cf. "gum bands") last longer when refrigerated.
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
The average person's left hand does 56 percent of the typing.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
The longest one-syllable word in the English language is screeched.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the Day

Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far one can go.

— T.S. Eliot

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