When a columnist becomes repetitious
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 25, 2014 | 1147 views | 0 0 comments | 171 171 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If readers have a truly legitimate complaint, it’s when a columnist becomes repetitious. And I have to plead guilty.

My views on cell phones are well known – “sickenly well known,” according to a friend of mine. So are the 2014 Patterson event calendars being brazenly hustled in this column to aid the Boy Scouts.

And more recently I’ve hashed over the amazing gadgetry of our new vehicle. That gadgetry takes over 400 pages to explain in, not one, but two operating manuals. Apparently one for each eye.

Those three topics provide enough repetition in Fast Talk to fill a couple of months of weekly columns. So I promise you that I’ll get off these three subjects – starting next week.

First, to the tremendous advance in automotive technology.

After three months I’ve mastered unlocking the doors (I have three choices how to do this), starting the engine (I haven’t yet tried the device that will allow me to do this from inside the house), and driving away from the curb. Many dozen of technological settings have yet to be learned. Some may never be.

One button is to improve gas mileage. I don’t understand why this isn’t made to operate automatically, but I’m not going to ask at this stage.

I have the use of a camera while backing, and it screams at me when I’m getting to close to something back there. If another driver cuts too closely in front, red lights flash brightly enough on the dash that you begin looking for a rest room. (No, the instruction manual says nothing about an on-board water closet, but I’m only on page 24 and have 90 percent yet to digest.)

But here’s my point.

Local dealer Bruce Thompson predicts that within five years, autos will be on the market that will drive themselves. He undoubtedly knows what he’s talking about.

I’ll just sit in the back, maybe reading a book or watching TV. Rest assured I won’t be talking on a cell phone. Taking a nap is more likely. Leave the driving to the on-board computer.

But questions do arise. Will the car pay the ticket if it runs a red light or exceeds the speed limit? Will accidents, and thus traffic cops, disappear from the scene?

And in the event of road rage, will the vehicles themselves duke it out?

But seriously, it might have advantages. Family Pharmacy could put in a drive-in window and I could send the car down on its own for pills. Or to the airport to pick up a friend or relative. (I hate trips to the airport.) Heck, I might not even need a driver’s license.

But that’s all five years down the road. Right now I’m just barely able to navigate.


The other day at a local bank, four of us were in line to transact business. Three were talking on cell phones.

Guess who wasn’t? OK, you win the prize. Congratulations. You have been paying attention.


Haven’t these recent days had the greatest weather!

Wait until about 11 o’clock when the morning chill is gone to head out to work in the lawn.

Then at the strike of 12 comes the glorious chimes from the Lutheran Church announcing that lunch-time has arrived. After that, a good nap.

At our house, the weeds are winning the race.


When someone sends me Murphy’s Law, which occurs at least once a year, I read it from top to bottom – and smile widely. Here’s the Law of Mechanical Repair:

“After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to run and you’ll have to pee.”


Someone once told me, “Out of confusion comes chaos. Out of chaos comes anarchy and fear. Then comes lunch.”

Don’t forget the above-mentioned nap.


Thanks to a tip, our 90-Plus list of long-living Patterson area residents has increased by one.

We’ve learned that Bias Profito of up Vernalis way had a 90th birthday early last September. He ups our count to 68. Any more?

And down Newman way, a young man left this week to begin his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That would be Davis Freitas, who several years ago earned his Eagle rank as a member of Patterson Boy Scout Troop 81.

Making the story more interesting is his destination – Donetsk, Ukraine. That’s the large city to which the deposed Ukrainian president recently fled after demonstrations rocked the capital of Kiev.

Best of luck, Davis, and keep your head down.


Ah, apparently spring has arrived.

We hear the ping of aluminum bats striking the ball. That’s far different from my day when the sound was more like a thud.

Or in my particular instance, a whish.


By the time you read this, I hope it’s raining.

If not, stop flushing.

Ron Swift is the editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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