ERROL CASTENS: Observations from the front porch

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Casual (mostly) commentary about the human condition:
• Kids have so much energy that one 7-year-old boy can easily do the work of four adults. Oh, wait; I’m sorry; that “do” should read “undo.”
• When my wife was taking a work-related online course recently, she regularly yelled at her computer and then demanded that I explain why the class website would freeze up several times during every session.
It’s just my feeble reasoning, but it seems she’d have gotten better results if she’d directed both her ire and her inquiries to the IT folks whose job it is to run the website.
• Meat jerky “is like Greek yogurt for men,” the Wall Street Journal quoted a Dutch market researcher as saying. Except I don’t know any men who sit around and chat about how jerky will improve their colon function in just two weeks.
• Another man and I simultaneously approached a sidewalk crossing in the Grove from different directions. No one else was within 50 yards of us. I slowed my pace by half a step and nodded that he should pass through first.
It was a classic Oxford traffic jam.
• Those who wish to change boys into peaceable creatures by banning toy weapons have never seen them turn sticks into swords, paper towel rolls into clubs, notebooks into axes, and, with artistic biting, a piece of bread into a pistol.
• Another misunderstanding of weapons: Automatically referring to someone killed in a shooting as the “victim” is prejudicial, both legally and intellectually, as is automatically referring to the survivor as the “killer.” In cases of self-defense, which the Brady Campaign and other hoplophobes routinely ignore in their hand-wringing about gun violence, the dead guy is the perpetrator and the survivor is the victim.
• The college-age son of two very hovering parents is moving from flyover country to the East Coast. The parents are already thinking about relocating their own household nearby. Onlookers are wondering where the parents can buy a clue and are already taking bets on how soon the son moves to the West Coast.
• Any given child’s chances of having a scoop of potting soil dumped on his or her head during a group activity in the church garden are directly proportional to the length, the curliness and the blondness of the child’s hair.
• Thinking back on Sue’s confrontations with the computer and her fruitless appeals to me about them (not to mention 21 years’ worth of other situations beyond comprehension), I’m going to write a book, “Everything Husbands Need to Know about Getting Along with Their Wives.”
The entire text of the book is this: “It is not the role of a husband to understand his wife. It is the role of a husband to be understanding toward his wife.”
Contact Oxford bureau reporterErrol Castens at

Click video to hear audio