Folks, add “alternative facts” to your vocabulary.
The term is a dressed up version of “lies,” those bald-faced lies that these days are flowing from right and left during the current political wars.
During my childhood, resorting to “alternative facts” could bring the painful feel of a peach tree switch across my back and legs. “Alternative facts” were frowned upon back then. But resorting to them these days is common practice, especially among politicians.
Some of you may remember a moral from the popular children’s story of Pinocchio. Every time Pinocchio lied, his nose grew a few inches until finally the Blue Fairy, feeling sorry for him, restored the nose to its normal length.
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Evidence of today’s lies are not always so physically apparent. So it’s up to diligent news media, not the Blue Fairy, to smoke them out.
The ‘wish book’
The news that Sears is in a financial crisis and closing dozens of stores is troubling to many consumers. Sears – or Sears, Roebuck as it was once known – is an American merchandising icon.
Its annual catalog once found its way into thousands and thousands of homes and served as the country’s year-round wish book.
Mail-order shopping wasn’t its only use. At one time, across rural America, the catalog often ended up in the “little house out back” as the predecessor of toilet tissue.
For reader Stephen Wilder, the Sears catalog also was a sex education aid.
“I’ve come to realize that I was born in a truly innocent time,” Wilder wrote. “As a teenager, I remember waiting for the new Sears and Roebuck catalog to arrive so that I could turn to the lingerie ads and look at the women models in their underwear.
“Now kids ... can go on line and see all the porn they want. I wonder how this will affect their lives and morals in the future.”
I recently wondered what one does with those Christmas cards after we’ve enjoyed them during the holidays.
Reader Genie Clark came up with the answer: Send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.
Just remove the front picture if there is no message on the back of it and mail to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude’s St., Boulder City , NV, 89005-1618.
At St. Jude’s, the children cut off the card fronts and glue them to pre-printed card stock. The youngsters receive 15 cents per each acceptable card. The income is divided among their savings, their college fund, their cottage fund or for special group outings and as extra pocket money. Old cards of any kind are acceptable.
Not for husbands
A Raleigh reader is pestered by a plague of unique species of squirrels. They dine on hot-pepper sunflower kernels.
“It’s true, the hot pepper seeds work for a while,” she writes. “Then the bushy-tailed rats go ahead and take a bite, rub their mouth and take another bite. They don’t eat the seeds as fast as they eat the regular birdseed, but they will endure the taste after awhile.
“I left a bag of the red hot seeds sitting on the kitchen counter before I filled the feeder. When I came home later that day, my husband told me that those sunflower seeds are very hot! He thought I had bought a bag of nuts for us.
“He said the hot taste stayed with him for quite some time. I’m glad he took a pinch instead of a handful! I wish the squirrels felt the same way about those seeds.”
President Trump does not suffer from a lack of critics.
Nevertheless, he surely earned high fives from just about everybody for the brevity of his inaugural speech: only 15 minutes.
It may be that he remembered the fate of President William Henry Harrison who in 1841, without coat or hat, spoke for one hour and 45 minutes in the face of a heavy snowstorm. The poor fellow caught pneumonia and died a month later.
The come-and-go spring days we’ve experienced in February remind us of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
But for reader Wendell Murray, who was born in a lunar cycle year of the Rooster, those warm days prompted him a week or so ago to joyfully remind us that wild turkey season in North Carolina “is just a tick over 80 days away.”
To each his own.