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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
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What a Waste!

I always assume that no one is reading this column, so I was stunned to notice there were actual website comments - three as I'm writing this - attached to last week's rant.

What brought on this frenzy?

It began with this from Jonathan: "Liberal news darling Brian Williams is discovered lying about every exciting thing in his bio, and you waste this space to talk trash about Fox news. Hilarious."

I was thrilled.

Thank you so much, Jonathan. I try hard to be hilarious every week here. Glad you enjoyed it.

As for the Brian Williams thing, I don't think we disagree.

Truth good. Lies bad.

Except when you don't want your wife to be mad. Then lie your ass off.

The Williams story actually broke (or at least came to my attention) after I wrote last week's column (surprisingly, they don't instantly spring from my brain just before appearing here), so I might have mentioned him too, although I don't know what the USA would sue him for.

Infliction of emotional distress for destroying our illusions?

(In case you missed this spot last week, my recommendation was that the country, as a person, should sue people who get facts wrong.)

One of my first thoughts after seeing the storm of controversy in the three comments was to write about all the other instances over the years when I've known journalists made stuff up.

But just about everyone else in the universe is talking about Brian Williams and fictional qualifications and news. I didn't see much point in adding more examples.

I think we can agree that everyone we disagree with is making stuff up.

Besides, there's a much more interesting question here: Can you waste space on the Internet?

What does that even mean?

The third comment picked up the theme - calling Jonathan's comment a waste of space.

Which of us was wastier?

Is wastier a word?

If someone already has wasted precious space, is it a greater waste to point this out?

Do we need to be careful about what we're saying on our computers so we don't run out of room for new pornography?

Is Internet resource consumption accelerating global warming?

Are we in danger of using up all the space on the Internet?

I find this interesting in part because I'm an old guy, and wasting space used to be meaningful. I literally could run out of space in the print publications I worked for.

Usually this meant the story I'd been working on all day was cut to a few paragraphs to make room for something about a stabbing or a lost dog.

I don't have an answer to these questions, but I believe the many episodes of "Star Trek" and "Dr. Who" that I've watched may provide a clue: Something has affected the space-time continuum.

We don't waste as much space any more - but we waste a whole lot more time.

Scientists out there wasting time reading this should be able to devise an equation for this.

In the meantime, quit wasting time and go on to the next item.

Thought for food: Is it really a good idea to chew your food thoroughly?

I don't have an answer to that. I'm just wondering.

Could a negligent failure to chew be a defense in a civil action, or is failure to chew a reasonable method for avoiding injury?

I've been pondering these issues since spotting a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that contained this: "On or about May 6, 2014, plaintiff ingested the burrito completely and entirely. ...

"Upon medical testing conducted at the emergency room, it was discovered that plaintiff had ingested a metal screw from the burrito."

Someone slurped that thing right up.

Clearly, swallowing a screw is a bad thing, but was the plaintiff contributorily negligent for failing to chew enough to find it before it went down?

Or should reasonable consumers avoid chewing to prevent damage to teeth?

I don't know. Either way you're screwed.

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