SunWinks! Sunday Gather Writing Essential March 31, 2013 Randum Thotz II (SunWE)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on March 30, 2013 0 Comments


Don’t call it the World Wide Web; call it the World Wide Umbilical Cord.

I wish I was a psychic…I could learn from my mistakes before I make them.

Jimi Hendrix just came out with a new studio album, his first since 2010. Hendrix is more prolific than I am, and he’s dead…

What’s all this talk about Taipei personalities?

Remember phone booths? Where does Superman change now?

Moss people lichen me because I’m such a fungi.

Everybody talks about the speed of light, but nobody does anything about it.

Is it bad luck to spill salt substitute?


With 150 spring training games on MLB channel this month plus the World Baseball Classic, I’m learning there IS such a thing as too much baseball…..NOT!!! Especially if you have a DVR!


Do you have to be a baseball geek to appreciate this one? I laughed out loud…  Scott McGregor, a notorious junk ball pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, was on the mound against the Yankees, shaking off sign after sign after sign.  Then-manager Lou Piniella yelled out of the Yankees dugout, “What’s with all the shaking off? We know you’re gonna throw a changeup!” MacGregor yelled back, “Yeah, but you don’t know what speed!”


Bert Blyleven—a very classy guy, don’t get me wrong—on getting elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame:  “I’ve been very lucky.  I got to play a kids’ game…first, on the field…now I get to play with Dick… a kids’ game…up here in the booth…”  Oops.  That was a close one…  Two days later, he made the same speech:  “I’ve been very lucky.  I got to play a kids’ game.  Now I have the pleasure of working with Dick Bremer up here in the booth.”


Think you’re having a bad day? With only one out in the first inning, pitcher Chris Leroux of the Pittburgh Pirates couldn’t get a strike call.  His catcher, Russell Martin, equally frustrated with the narrow strike zone, got himself thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes.  Now Leroux, who’s just lost his catcher, loads the bases and gives up a grand slam, making the score 8-0 Baltimore, still with only one out in the game.  Pirates manager Clint Hurdle can’t watch anymore and pulls Leroux after one third of an inning.  So Leroux’s ERA—he hadn’t given up an earned run in seven spring training appearances—suddenly went from 0.00 to 8.59.  All on national television.



Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.

Steve McQueen looks good in this movie.  He must have made it before he died.

[Playing 20 Questions:]  Is he living?
[Next question:]  Is he living now?


BUMPER TICKLERS (Acknowledgment to AOL)

I live in my own little world, but that’s okay, everybody knows me here.

Vehicle protected by anti-theft sticker.

Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for you.

Jesus loves you.  Everybody else thinks you’re a jerk.

Honk if you’re Amish.

I bet Jesus would have used his turn signals.

Remember, drinking causes memory loss, or worse—memory loss.



If you expected science to give all the answers to the wonderful questions about what we are, where we’re going, what the meaning of the universe is and so on, then I think you could easily become disillusioned and then look for some mystic answer to these problems…[T]here are very remarkable mysteries about the fact that we’re able to do so many more things than apparently animals can do, and other questions like that, but those are mysteries I want to investigate without knowing the answer to them…

[A]nother thing has to do with the question of how you find out if something’s true, and if all the different religions have all different theories about the thing, then you begin to wonder…

With the scientific view,…that we should look to see what’s true and what may be or may not be true, once you start doubting, which I think to me is a very fundamental part of my soul, to doubt and to ask, and when you doubt and ask it gets a little harder tobelieve.

You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing.  I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean.

[from The Pleasure of Finding Things Out; Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1999.  Emphases mine.]

It occurs to me that there is a great deal of evolutionary advantage in doubt and curiosity, and essentially no evolutionary advantage in blind faith. So doubt and curiosity, as Dr. Feynman suggested, live at the very deepest level of human nature.




The Shroud of Turin has recently been dated to the time of Christ by a professor in Italy after having been dated to the 13th Century by three independent laboratories in Switzerland, the U.S., and England in 1988.  To celebrate the finding, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI authorized the showing of the Shroud on Italian television March 30.  Pope Francis will narrate.  There will also be a Shroud 2.0 mobile app.  For $3.99 you can download an ultra-high-resolution image which reveals details not visible to the naked eye.

You can’t make this stuff up.


The Prompt


Two weeks ago, I asked you to share tidbits from your idea journal/gag file/notebook, whatever you have.  The two responses were riffs on the idea of randomness—good stuff, and I’m grateful for them—but didn’t exactly fulfill the assignment.  So, on the occasion of this second Randum Thotz column, which I felt needed to come out before Opening Day, I’m going to give you the same prompt.

If you don’t have an idea journal or a gag file or some such notebook in which you capture thoughts as they come to you, start one.  Share with us in a post some of your favorite observations, stories, gags, quotes, story ideas, whatever it might be.


  • Put SunWE in the title and tags.
  • Share your post with Gather Writing Essential group.
  • Indicate in some way which devices or techniques I should be paying attention to.  (If responding to today’s, put Randum Thotz in the title field.)
  • This prompt does not turn into a pumpkin a week (or even two) from today.  If your piece isn’t done in the next week or two, get it in when you can.  This is supposed to be fun.
  • I will comment on every submission and include a link to it in the next column.


Responses to previous prompts below. Let me know if I missed yours.

As ever,



Word Origins


Easter Morning

by Sheila Deeth |

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© 2013 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved.  Please share this on, and elsewhere on the web by means of a link back to this page, but please do not copy.   Doug’s latest book is The Depressed Guy’s Book of Wisdom from Chipmunka Publishing.

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About the Author ()

57 year old musician, poet, father of 4 grown children, composer, recording artist, author, humorist, survivor. I'm thoughtful, introspective, introverted, open, scathingly honest about myself, creative, a Renaissance guy, willing to grow and change and

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