Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


That's kind of ironic...

Posted 8/08/17 (Tue)

The other day my wife sent me to the grocery store to pick up some garbage bags. You know, the ones that fit in that rectangular basket that usually is positioned under the kitchen sink.

She told me to just get the regular kitchen bags. So that’s what I looked for.

I found kitchen bags and when I looked to see if the label said “regular kitchen bags,” I found that they have a 13-gallon capacity.

That’s nice, but I’m not pouring the dishwater into these bags, I’m stuffing them with kitchen trash.

Honestly, I’d be surprised if that bag would hold 13 gallons of any liquid.

So why do they say 13 gallons? Why does my shop vac hold 25 gallons – that’s 25 gallons of solid material like sawdust I’m usually sucking up off the garage floor?

I didn’t know that sawdust or kitchen trash had liquid measurements.

• When you go to a big city, and I’ll just use Kansas City as an example, and you ask how many miles from one point to another, you get a measurement in time.

“OK, it’s 32 minutes from the World War Museum to Arrowhead Stadium.”

Now this confuses me because the first question I have to ask, is at what speed?

Time and distance are two different things so if I’m driving from say Minot to the border, it will most likely take me 50 minutes. Others will do it in 40 minutes.

That begs the question then, according to who is it 32 minutes to Arrowhead Stadium?

Distance is finite, time is variable. So when someone tells me it’s 20 minutes from San Francisco to Oakland, that doesn’t mean anything unless I have some kind of reference point.

• This probably isn’t a widespread irony but, “irregardless,” where I grew up people would often “unthaw” their ground beef before making spaghetti.

Can you visualize that? After all, isn’t that what unthaw means, to freeze? Why not just say I’m going to thaw some ground beef?

And, irregardless isn’t a word but people use it all the time. How did it become so common?

• My brother was helping one of his friends move and while my brother was driving his own vehicle, his friend was directing him back to the front steps of the house so they could unload furniture.

“Go ahead and back up,” my brother’s friend said. So my brother sat there in neutral because he wasn’t sure if he should go forward or back up.

• I don’t know about you, but I’ve been around baseball a long time and there is one thing I still don’t understand about the game.

I played 11 years, was an umpire for two years and a fan for life, yet when someone bats a thousand or bats 300, shouldn’t it really be 100 or 30?

Ted Williams was the last player in the Major Leagues to bat .400 in a season. In reality, it means he got a hit 40 percent of the times he went to bat.

It’s the same with teams. The Blue Jays squeaked into the playoffs last year with a .551 percentage. It should really mean that they won 55 percent of their games.

• Here’s something TV news reporters say on air frequently. They’re supposed to be educated about talking on camera, but when one of them says “that’s kind of ironic,” “it’s a bit ironic,” or “this is very unique.”

It’s kind of like the distance between San Francisco and Oakland, either it is or it isn’t.

Ironic defined is what appears on the surface is radically different than what it actually is. So there’s no “kind of” or “bit” of ironic. It’s either ironic or it isn’t.

Same with unique. There’s no very or kind of, either it’s unique or it isn’t.

• The first time I heard this military phrase, I was at Camp Williams, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City, taking my two-week annual training.

Somebody, who apparently didn’t like the training, said “yup, two more days and a wake up.”

OK! But don’t we wake up every day, especially when a drill sergeant enters the barracks at 4:30 in the morning banging two garbage can lids together?

Gee, I hope the Army doesn’t plan on keeping us awake for 48 hours, then waking us up.

What it really means is we have two more days of training, and on the third day, we get up, have breakfast, clean the barracks and leave for home.

I’ve heard that phrase a lot over the years, especially during our active duty stints.

Most of us develop these speaking habits and don’t give it a second thought, like this one – Throw me down the stairs my roller skates!