One thing I've discovered is the joy of writing in "Draft" mode rather than in "Publish Now" mode, because in "Draft" mode I don't have to worry about such things as having a point, being amusing, being factual, or spelling words correctly. Now, I know you're thinking: That's DIFFERENT from "Publish Now" mode??? You're shocked. But maybe I'm just a little gunshy after my "friend" Von Drehle referred to my blog postings as "toenail clippings." This is the guy who has gotten more free pub in this space than anybody. Ungrateful would be just the start of the string of adjectives that I would hurl at Von Drehle were I to even bother mentioning him again. Also he said that I just write "whatever's rattling around your head." True enough, but that's the only way I can get the stuff to stop rattling. You don't know what it's like to go through life feeling like a 6-foot maraca.
This just in from noted blogger David "Dave" Barry:
So I took my daughter to soccer practice this evening, and another dad and I were talking to one of the moms, whom we both know and whom we have both seen roughly once a week for the past six months. After we talked for about 10 minutes, a second mom showed up, and immediately said to the mom we'd been talking to: "YOU HAD YOUR BABY!" And then they hugged, and the new mom got out baby pictures. And the other dad and I looked at each other and realized that not only had we failed to notice that she'd had a baby, but we had been at most only dimly aware that she had been pregnant. We apologized, and she assured us that it was no big deal. Women are accustomed to the cluelessness of guys in these matters. The thing is, if she had shown up carrying a cool new cell phone, we would have noticed that.
Changing topics: I always thought this blog would deal with science. The best I can do is offer up this Why Things Are item from 1992 or so:
"Q. Why does a can of Diet Coke float in water, while a can of regular Coke sinks?
A. We heard about this from reader Mary Callahan of Washington, who
heard about it in a speech by Maxine Singer, a chemist, and sure enough,
when we called the people at Coca-Cola USA they said it's true. Of
course, we have a policy in the Why bunker of experimentally verifying
everything we hear, so we obtained two specimens of soda of the
specified Coca-Cola brand, one "Diet" and one "Classic," and immersed
them in the sink in the men's room.
Not since Galileo dropped weights off the Leaning Tower of Pisa has
an experiment proven so brilliant. Yes, the Diet Coke bobs right to the
surface. Definitely the more buoyant of the two. We must note, though,
that the Classic didn't exactly sink. It seemed to have trouble making
up its mind whether it could float. (No doubt both cans were buoyed by
the air pocket inside).
The explanation from Coca-Cola: Diet Coke contains aspartame
(Nutrasweet), which is less dense than sugar and also much sweeter, so
less is needed. We would imagine that the second half of that is what
really matters here. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar; if it
takes 9 teaspoons of sugar (sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup) to
sweeten a Coke, then it takes less than a 20th of a teaspoon of
aspartame. Check out the ingredient label: There's less sweetener in a
Diet Coke than there is caramel coloring.
So the gobs of dissolved sugar make Classic denser than either water
or Diet Coke. But if you drop both cans off a building simultaneously,
they hit the ground at the same time. We'll take Galileo's word for it."
Kind of glib, those columns. I'm trying to figure out how to get them online, but I don't really know yet how to use this dadgum blogging tool.
I may post something over the weekend about the demise of Bush's Social Security plan, but first I want to make sure that it has really...you know...demised. Suffered demisement.
For those who missed it, here's last Sunday's column on baseball in Washington. I like writing about sports, though I find that the eighth or ninth time I've told the same joke it starts to feel stale. (Here's an early sports riff from the days when I occasionally wrote something for Slate.)
And since I didn't post it, here's the column from a couple Sunday's ago about my rabbity dancing style.
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