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Which do you prefer? Dogs or cats? ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Star Wars’?

December 17, 2018

Random things I think when nobody’s looking:

I’ve always been a cat person instead of a dog person. When I was 12 years old, no cat ever growled and chased me on a gravel road as I pedaled my bike as fast as my skinny legs let me. I didn’t warm up to dogs until about a decade ago, but I still prefer cats.

Kirk over Picard. Miracle Whip over mayonnaise. Pitchers batting over the designated hitter. John Hartford over John Denver. Star Trek over Star Wars, although both franchises have lost their way lately. DC over Marvel. Chess over checkers. Pumpkin pie over pecan pie. Deep Space Nine over Babylon 5. A road trip over a week at a beach. Country roads over city streets.

Many, many years ago I wrote a column challenging readers to answer a question. People around here like to complain that Interstate 64 was routed south of Huntington instead of through it. I asked readers to tell me which neighborhoods they would like to see destroyed if the state decided to build the road through the city. As best I can recall, no one ever answered my question.

In Charleston, Interstate 64 pretty much severed the West Side from the rest of the city. That couldn’t have helped a once-busy business district. Neither could it have helped neighborhood residents very much. So it’s probably good that Huntington has the interstate passing near it instead of through its heart.

Often when I talk to young people of college age, I ask them if they ever had to do some of the things my generation had to do in our elementary, middle or high school years. You know, memorizing the Gettysburg Address, or even reading it. The same with the Preamble to the Constitution. Diagramming a sentence. Calculating a square root by hand. Transposing a piece of music from one key to another. Writing a research paper with footnotes. Usually the answer to most of these is no. And I wonder, what happened?

No, the activities listed above were not those of a talented and gifted program. The school I attended didn’t offer TAG activities. The closest thing we had to TAG in my high school was vocational agriculture. Don’t dismiss vo ag. It provided plenty of practical applications for the theoretical stuff we learned in other classes.

If you’re a perfectionist, the rules of when to use or not use a comma will frustrate you mercilessly.

When people in Huntington parallel park, many times their cars are a foot or more from the curb. As a fellow employee here at The Herald-Dispatch says, Ohioans drive in the left lane because West Virginians park in the right lane.

Hanging Rock, Ohio, once had a reputation for being a speed trap. I don’t know if it still is, but I watch my speed when I drive through there.

For more than 40 years, people in downtown Huntington have walked past a sculpture called “Continuous Ascent.” It was on the 9th Street plaza in front of the Cabell County Public Library until it was moved to the Big Sandy Superstore. In all this time, no matter where it’s been or at what angle the light strikes it, I have had no idea what it’s supposed to mean.

An old article in The Herald-Dispatch archives says Continuous Ascent is meant to move slightly in the wind and make whooshing sounds during temperature changes. But what does it mean?

All my life, I have heard newspapers referred to as “fish wrappers,” but I have never seen a fish wrapped in a newspaper.

Jim Ross is opinion page editor of The Herald-Dispatch.

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