ERROL CASTENS: Things I don't understand, volume 1

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Completing the list could be a career plan, but here’s a partial list of things I don’t understand – some because they’re outside my experience, some because they’re outside my brain’s capacity and some just because they don’t seem to compute, no matter from what direction I peer at them:
– Tofu ice cream.
– How one heart can love both cats and dogs.
– Draggy pants.
– Any worldview that doesn’t consider everyone’s capacity for evil – including oneself.
– Contemporary children’s cartoons. (Tom and Jerry? Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote? Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd? Them, I get.)
– Swahili, Farsi, Femalei and a whole bunch of other languages.
– Prison for nonviolent offenders. Is it really logical to put mini-bads in with maxi-bads and not expect the lesser criminals to come out worse than before?
– Concurrent prison sentences. As long as we’re imprisoning anyway, how exactly are concurrent sentences different from running a two-for-one special on committing crimes?
– Government policies and societal attitudes that encourage having children without fathers.
– How the same flavors can be rapturous to some and retching to others.
– Punk.
– The concept that maturity is efficiently imparted by a four- to six-year exposure to extreme temptation funded but not supervised by parents and taxpayers.
– Keynesian theory.
– How the same kind of government project is “carefully planned investment” in one district and “pork” in another.
– The magic of smoke on foods.
– Humorless people.
– Scotch bonnets (super-hot peppers, not headgear) and the people who love them.
– Most mechanical devices.
– Music based on non-octave scales.
– Airplanes. (I never put all my weight on an airplane seat.)
– $375 jeans.
– How, using a system involving billions of dollars’ worth of technology far more advanced than that which sent manned rockets to the moon and back, GPS devices can get me far more lost than a map can.
– $500 sunglasses.
– Blood pudding, haggis and a few other delicacies of the British Isles.
– The fascination with Casey Anthony.
– The wonder of any basil-and-tomato combination you can name.
– Allergies.
– Lightning bugs.
– Tree frogs.
– The attraction of flying thousands of miles to lie on a beach when there’s so much more to see and do – and one could relax closer to home.
– How any one person – me included – can be both endearing and infuriating.
– Fashion. (You needn’t say, “No, duh!”)
– The love of a God who creates a universe, populates it with people he knows will corrupt it and sacrifices himself to redeem them.
Contact Oxford bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

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