Bag of Randomness for Thursday, March 26, 2020


  • My wife and I both took a typing class in high school. But unlike my wife, I had to use an actual typewriter. I remember being bewildered there was no exclamation point key. To compensate, we would have to use four different keys: the shift key, the apostrophe, the backspace, and the period.
  • For Lent, I wish some of my friends would refrain from using the exclamation point. They tend to overuse it by including it in every typed communication.
  • When I use an exclamation point, I only try to use one, I never have a need to double or triple an exclamation point at the end of a sentence.
  • I think the meaning of the exclamation point has changed over the last decade. It used to convey intensity, but now it seems to convey sincerity. Replying back “Thanks.” can seem pointed or even snarly. But replying with “Thanks!” makes it seem likes something is really appreciated and has a certain niceness to it.
  • As for its origin, one theory states it is derived from a Latin exclamation of joy (io). Up until the Fifties, it was referred to as “bang”.
  • I’m a fan of the interabang: (‽).  It’s intended to combine the functions of the question mark and the exclamation point. Scott Pelley of  60 Minutes actually did a book signing at Interbang Books in Dallas, which was later heavily damaged by a tornado.

Amid a nationwide shortage of masks, Amish are sewing 13,000 to donate in Lancaster County


This story is about seven years old but still darn interesting.

I was swallowed by a hippo‘There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf’

I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf.

I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs, and a tremendous pressure against my chest. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo’s snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape. I swam towards Evans, but the hippo struck again, dragging me back under the surface. I’d never heard of a hippo attacking repeatedly like this, but he clearly wanted me dead.


It’s been funny witnessing WfieGeeding try to teleconference with her peers as they prepare lesson plans. She’s finally getting to experience what it’s like in my world. I’m reminded of this old conference call bit.



Coronavirus Has Slashed Global Air Pollution. This Interactive Map Shows How


How One Movie Theater Owner Is Selling Curbside Popcorn to Pay His Employees

Since he couldn’t sell movie tickets, O’Meara took inspiration from a nearby McDonald’s that was offering only takeout. Last Wednesday, he started to sell “curbside concessions,” hawking large tubs of popcorn for $3.

“We have a parking lot the width of a sidewalk and nobody else is open, so there’s plenty of space,” he said. “I’ll do what I can to get these kids paid.”

On his first afternoon in business, O’Meara sold $25 worth of popcorn in 45 minutes. He is now averaging $300 to $400 a day in concession sales.


My hometown of Mineral Wells is crazy again. I had no idea the original sign was made out of porcelain. I never understood why that entrance to Mineral Wells was chosen for the sign, I’d think more visitors would arrive to the town from Weatherford than Palo Pinto.

Back in the day—from 1933 to 1958—travelers on the Bankhead Highway were greeted with an unusual sign as they drove through the heart of Palo Pinto County’s biggest town. “Welcome to Mineral Wells,” read the placard spanning the roadway, “the Home of Crazy.” An arrow on the sign pointed toward the seven-story Crazy Hotel, two blocks away. Postcards of the novel greeting often showed the 14-story Baker Hotel towering in the background.

After the city removed the original porcelain sign in 1958, it went missing. Reports of the sign surfaced from places like a Dallas junkyard, but nobody ever found it. But now Mineral Wells residents can once again salute the sign after a local group raised money to erect a replacement earlier this month over State Highway 180.



Suzanne Vega’s a capella version of “Tom’s Diner” was instrumental in the development of the MP3.

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4 Responses to Bag of Randomness for Thursday, March 26, 2020

  1. Bryan B. says:

    Lots of great, thought provoking content today. Thank you!!! (You see what I did there?)

    I took typing and used a typewriter as well, but I don’t remember a lack of an exclamation point.

    My wife and kid have had pretty good luck with their teleconferencing thus far. Luckily, on my few work from home days, teleconferencing has been limited to being put on speaker phone in a meeting. My mom and some of her friends celebrated one of their birthdays via some sort of conferencing app earlier this week and it took them 30 minutes of their 45 minute free trial of the app to get everyone on and able to communicate.

    My wife will absolutely freak out if we find a theater that’s selling popcorn. She swears it’s better than what you can make at home.

    I’m enjoying the Mineral Wells posts. I remember thinking it was a really cool setting for a town when I traveled there for sports in junior high and high school. The closest I’ve really been since then was when I went flying with a friend a few years ago and he circled the town a few times while doing some touch and go landings at the airport there.

    Love the Soarin’ video. We did some Disney virtual rides on the big living room tv over the weekend. Soarin’ wasn’t in the rotation that night, but we’ll try it another time. (And we’ll be Disney super snobs and ride the original California ride instead of the new version.)

  2. AndreaJN says:

    I took typing on a real typewriter too, but that was back around 1982! (This is also why I am still a strict adherent to putting two spaces between sentences.) I can’t believe yours didn’t have a exclamation point! I love Victor Borge’s routines about punctuation! Here’s one!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf_TDuhk3No 🙂

    It’s tricky to convey emotion in writing. I think I sound harsh sometimes, so I try to soften my writing or clarify with punctuation or emojis, etc.

    Stay safe!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Item #1: the 1980s video of Suzanne Vega doing Left of Center with her mom on drums is one of my guilty pleasures still.

    Items #2: your fellow blogger, Mr Liberally Lean, dove into the deep end on statistics and are the real numbers really real (too many Rs). Reminds me of an archaic term, Murder by Numbers. Means (in this case) we kill the ability to note significant individual events (death of a fellow human) by getting lost in the weeds by a flood of group statistics, in my opinion.

    Item #3: With #2 above in mind, my John Donne Quote of the Day.
    Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

    Item #4: I can’t believe that all the talking heads on TV/Radio and in the blogosphere haven’t repeatedly referenced Stephen King’s book, The Stand. Seems like an excellent speculative example of life imitating fiction (maybe).

    As always, Keith, keep on keeping on. You are providing an important service with BON. Thank you.

    PS – I love the new Crazy sign in Mineral Wells!!! (exclamation marks appropriately used)

  4. Bizarro Big Tex says:

    Sorry. The Anonymous was me.

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