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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Answer Man

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Q: When does something lack validity?

A: When it doesn't jive with the facts.

Gene Lyons & Donna Brazile are two syndicated columnists whose articles appear in every Wednesday's Daily Dunklin Democrat.

More in particular Lyons, than Brazile, they are both convinced that conservatives only sources of information are Fox News and talk radio.

This loses some validity because in order to gain this insight you must first read Lyons & Brazile. Maybe they don't consider themselves a source of information? What ever the case, they are being read.

You also have to consider that unless a person is brain dead, and even in the dark recesses of troglodyte caves, this circadian news service we have today will provide information whether you want it or not.

Lyons & Brazile seem to have forgotten that there was a time long, long before Fox News, long before radio itself, and even longer ago than Gene Lyons & Donna Brazile. The battle of liberals versus conservatives may go back to when we washed ashore. There might have been cultural arguments over the invention of the wheel.

Isn't it just possible that Fox News, talk radio, and their readily available detractors, merely echo long established ideas? Who was it that said "There is nothing new under the sun?"

Q: What is a screw ball?

A: Forget about the dictionary definition for a minute. A screw ball is a person who says or does things we would normally shy away from.

We have to wonder today just who might be the ultimate screw ball. You read about these people who jump buses and eventually break every bone in their bodies.

You see one of those loonies leaping off a cliff with nothing tied to them but some flimsy apparatus they hope will sail. A bungee jumper jumps off the Royal Gorge relying on Providence to keep the cord from breaking. A complete nut-so encases himself in a barrel and cascades down the Niagara Falls. Where does it end?

There are people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to be part of a Mt. Everest expedition. Almost every foot of the way is a study of torture, and death.

Over one hundred and fifty people have gone up this mountain, and never came down.

But we my have now reached the nadir in screw ballism.

There is a book out now by James Tabor entitled "Blind Descent." It tells about the cave speleologists who go down into the bowels of the earth to discover the deepest hole on this planet. Their rewards are plentiful:

They get to spend months in caves two vertical miles deep that have thousand foot drops. They can enjoy deadly flooded tunnels, raging whitewater rivers, monstrous waterfalls, and mile long belly crawls - all of this along with the phycological horrors produced by weeks plunged into absolute perpetual darkness.

They have faced dangers so many times the author says, "They have felt the lion's breath so often that to them it's like a kiss."

Of course it's a mere inconvenience that they have to also face killer microbes, sudden burial, pit vipers, asphyxiation, claustrophobia, anxiety, and hallucinations. These people are not a group of Hell's Angels who get beered up and decide to go down in a hole, Not quite. These are highly educated scientists whose technological knowledge is almost unlimited. Without this expertise they couldn't get deep enough to plant a rose bush. It's not a place for witless dare devils.

It's a place for brilliant screw balls.

The Answer man
The Answer Man