Little Things That Rattle in My Mind
The world is full of little things that demand our attention but are not significant enough to capture the attention of legislators or newspaper editors or network television cameras.
But hundreds of these "little" things have been rattling in my mind, sometimes for years, and I've been looking for an opportunity to express at least a few of them.
Great little reflectors
Those little reflectors you find in the middle of some roads, like those on at least a portion of the Merritt Parkway, are great! They help in the fog and in the dark, especially, and in stretches of the road that are not familiar. Somebody deserves credit for the ones that are in place. They should be on every road, everywhere!
Faded license plates
State automobile registration plates used to be a convenient way of identifying vehicles, especially when they were speeding away from some bank that had just been robbed. In the early part of the century when cars were few and far between and moseyed along at speeds of less than 30 mph the plates were used for identification. Obviously that purpose has been dimmed to say the least. Today the state is more interested in making money selling specialized plates; if they cared about using them for identification they would issue new plates to those who have the old blue plates that have turned white. They're virtually impossible to read from more than one car length away.
Keeping high standards
* * * Wouldn't it be nice if radio and television reporters (i.e., personalities, as they like to be called) would adhere to the same news standards that newspapers work to achieve? On a recent Amtrak trip to Florida I awoke in the middle of the night and wanted to know the time (I don't wear a watch or any other jewelry for that matter except for tie pins.) No matter what station I tuned in to, the announcers always reported that it was 10 minutes or so "after the hour." What hour? That kind of "information" is good only if you already know what time it is.
* * * It's all right if radio and television stations want to spend five or 10 minutes telling us what the weather will be for the next few days; even though it is "a forecast" couldn't those meteorologists (some of them can't even pronounce the word) give their forecasts responsibly? There is a difference between forecasting and guessing, I believe, so couldn't they be less positive about their predictions when, in truth, they're only guessing? Farmers and golfers often have to rely on those reports!
Maybe someday I'll have another opportunity to relate some observations about other little things that cry out for attention.
I hope so, and I'll bet if you were asked you wouldn't have much trouble coming up with a few little things you'd like to get off your chest. I, for one, would love to know about them.
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Connecticut, on June 24, 1997. Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) apparently is a new wrinkle that's used to read license plates to help find lawbreakers (See accompanying video.)