I know that I’m getting older because I have begun to find value in bromides. That’s why I’ve decided to highlight one every so often, starting today. After all, Ben Franklin made a decent living at it – not that my site is comparable to Poor Richard’s Almanack, for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t use a pen name.
  • I get to write what I want rather than what I think will sell.
  • I’m allowed to curse.
  • I know how to spell “almanac.”

Let me emphasize that an axiom is no substitute for independent thought. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, pious aphorisms are a way to appear profound when what you’re actually expressing is “Because I said so.”

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Wish I had a piece of the hosiery industry in Anchorage, where you remove your footwear after you enter someone’s house. Knowing you’ll be unshod regularly means making sure your feet are decently covered.

Once when I was an Anchorage Daily News reporter I took off my shoes at an interviewee’s home and discovered a rent in one sock. It’s hard to look professional when your big toe has its eye to the peephole.

Obviously Alaska is not the only place where indoor shoe-wearing is frowned upon. People in other cultures live this way too – and so, increasingly, do U.S. residents, as a quick Internet search indicates. Sometimes it’s because they want the carpet to last longer. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want spike-heel scratches on the hardwood.

And sometimes it’s to keep you from tracking in poisons.

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thChristina at the Northern Cheapskate blog recently wrote about needing a new toaster cover. The old one doesn’t owe her a thing because it’s more than a decade old, a “well-intentioned gift” from her mother that initially left Christina embarrassed. It was an old person’s item. Women in their early 20s didn’t use toaster covers.

Eventually she appreciated the gift. Still, the idea of “needing” a new one made her laugh: “The toaster won’t feel ashamed if it sits on the counter in its natural state.”

It’s more than just a toaster cover, of course.


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Win this bear.

You don’t have to throw baseballs at weighted milk bottles to win this rather pensive ursus maritimus.

All you have to do is be the person whom the random number generator picks. To enter:

If you do any (or all!) of these things, please leave an additional comment for each so that all your entries will be counted.

Deadline is 9 p.m. PDT Monday, July 19.

Polar bears are pretty awesomely dangerous creatures, but it’s hard to take this guy too seriously because he’s wearing a maroon bow.

It’s from The Boyds Collection, if that means anything to you bearophiles.

P.S. I once talked with an Inupiat Eskimo who told me that as a boy he’d eaten soup made of polar-bear paws. He said the meat tasted something like pork.

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I was at the post office today mailing two long-delayed giveaway prizes (sorry, Diana and Denise — they’re on their way!). A young man came in carrying an infant car seat. While waiting in line I saw him smiling at the baby and making the occasional funny face. What a loving father, I thought.

As I got into my vehicle I saw two little boys, aged about 3 and 4, in the adjacent vehicle. One of the children caught my eye and smiled. The car’s windows were rolled down. No adult was in sight.

I started to back out of the parking space — and then pulled forward once more. It just didn’t seem right to leave two kids unsupervised.

Eventually their dad returned. You guessed it: He was the guy carrying the car seat.

“What took you so long, daddy?” one boy asked fretfully.

Good question.

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