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A sleepless night brings random thoughts

Date: 5/18/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

There are many things I don't understand and as such I seek answers. Sometimes I wake up at night with these thoughts running through my noggin. Among them are the following:

What's the big deal about tags in T-shirts? Sometimes things get stuck in your mind and a while back Hanes ran a campaign about the elimination of tags in T-shirts as if this was a major accomplishment. I didn't remember it until I was dressing the other morning and realized the size information is now silk screened on the shirt itself.

Were people clamoring about this? In all of my years of wearing T-shirts the tag was never an issue. When did they become one? Did any of you clutch the back of your shirt during the middle of the day cursing the irritating tag? "Damn you tag! Damn you!"

I suspect not.

Now, I've written in the past that I don't understand automatically flushing toilets. Perhaps "understand" is the wrong word as my confusion stems not from the advance in technology but from the concept that we can't be trusted to flush a toilet after we use it. I think it's one of the signs of the degradation of our society if an adult can't manage to move a handle.

I've noticed lately that many of these toilets I encounter now flush as I enter the stall as well as several other times during my visit. They are so finely tuned that any sort of action seems to trigger them. How does this fit in to our continual efforts to save resources such as clean water? Just how much are we wasting through overzealous automatic toilets?

What the hell is Dick Cheney trying to accomplish with his ongoing interviews criticizing the Obama administration? Is it just an effort to shore up his own place in history or is he trying to build a defense by staging an offense?

I was trying to remember a time in which a former president or vice president undertook such a verbal offensive at the present chief executive, especially at the beginning of his term.

Perhaps Cheney is working up a controversy so a book deal would be more plausible. In my judgment, what he is saying is not news, but rather just self-serving political commentary.

Why can't we make a toaster oven in this country? Or a coffee maker? A can opener? Have we lost the skills and technology?

Sgt. John Delaney of the Springfield Police Department sends out reports to the press accompanied by mug shots of those arrested for crimes. I have to say my staff and I enjoy the mug shots, as inevitably there are those which are either pretty funny or completely inscrutable.

Don't these folks think about the future? These photos might come back to haunt them.

A good rule if you are posing for your mug shot is not to smile or laugh. I doubt that casts you in a good light. On the other hand, there have be a few in which the perp is crying. Hey, if you've been caught with a bagful of drugs or robbing someone or breaking into a car, you need to man up here. There's no crying in crime.

I think a good solid look of contrition is more appropriate. If you're dealing dope in Springfield you might want to practice it in the mirror.

Speaking of police matters, Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott has been beating the drum of judicial reform for years. He has also been calling to our attention that repeat offenders are routinely given a slap on the wrist and then released on their own, seldom to come back for trial.

Why can't we as a state recognize what he is saying is completely valid and needs to be enacted? Is the status quo so efficient or attractive?

Why does Lucky the Wonder Bichon only chew up my slippers? And why are the more expensive slippers more attractive to him?

I've tried to go as far as to buy him a cheap pair or to keep my older chewed-up slippers, but these have not proven to be solutions. He likes the taste of fresh slippers.

I've long said that I wished I had taken the time to learn Chinese. Now I wish I could speak Bichon.

Answers to any of these queries are always appreciated.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., E. Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.