cat-talk

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 16:21

Talk of the Towns for June 21, 2017

An artful correction

Although it rarely happens, Talkers are not afraid to admit when they’re wrong. It happened in last week’s edition, when the omission of a single word in the first sentence of a story caused no small amount of heartburn for the ubiquitous Cornelius PARC Director Troy Fitzsimmons. The lede of the story about the hiring of Cornelius’ new art center Executive Director Justin Dionne read, “The Town of Cornelius doesn’t have an arts center yet, but it does have an executive director.”

The gaffe was pointed out to Fitzsimmons by his wife who saw the story first, and he described his reaction to Talkers in the form of a brow rub and a groan. Now, Talkers know that Cornelius does indeed have an arts center, the town operating its cultural programming inside historic Oak Street Mill. The single word omitted in the story was “new,” as in “The Town of Cornelius doesn’t have a new arts center yet ...”

Fitzsimmons and his staff labor tirelessly to provide athletic, recreational and cultural experiences in less-than-adequate space as the town has fallen behind the established standards of facility space per capita as a result of its unending quest to retain lowest tax rate bragging rights. And the effort to bring a new arts and cultural facility to the downtown area — which is anticipated to help usher in a new era of economic vitality along with pursuing PARC’s core arts mission — is being led largely by a volunteer committee-turned board of directors backed by $4 million in bonds approved by town voters, which in reality is only the start of the money that will be needed.

Talkers hold Fitzsimmons in high esteem and admire his efforts, and they lament his discomfort as a result of the goof. So for now, rest assured the PARC Department is working to whet the town’s artistic and cultural appetite at a makeshift arts center inside a former milll that was central to the establishment of Cornelius itself, just a few hundred feet away from the site of its eventual replacement. Pay it a visit sometime.

‘We’re here now, so stay out’

Nearly every time a plan is presented to a local government to convert woods, pastures and any kind of vacant land into a development, you can count some kind of opposition from citizens who simply want to keep things the way they are.

Typically, they site traffic concerns, but the reasons for that opposition run the gamut from nature preservation to overcrowded schools to lack of adequate infrastructure to crime — and so it goes.

The recent opposition to the Town of Davidson proposing to sell town-owned property on Beaty Street for development serves as the latest example, but Talkers wonder if protesters, in any way at all, recognize their own hypocrisy.

How many protesters, Talkers wonder, moved into the area in the last 10 years, five years or even 12 months? And how many of them live in houses that now stand on what was undisturbed nature? How many of them enjoy restaurants built atop farmland and drive on roads to get there widened through what was someone else’s property?

And before their own homes were built, how did people who lived here before they did feel about plans to develop neighborhoods on open land next to their homes?

The eastern Lake Norman population has tripled since the 1980s because people want to live here. And they still do, just like the vast majority of those who oppose growth yet played a key role in creating the challenges that accompany it.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 16:59

Talk of the Towns for June 14, 2017

An historic run

Anyone who even casually follows Davidson College sports would have to be as surprised as Talkers were that it was the Wildcats’ baseball team, not the basketball team, to be the first to win an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship.

And they had to be stunned that the baseball team, which receives fewer than three scholarships to spread over its roster, efficiently dispatched the UNC Tar Heels — with their fully funded program of 11.7 scholarships — in the Chapel Hill Regional to advance to last weekend’s Super Regionals in College Station, Texas, against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Following a middle-of-pack regular season, the Wildcats went on a post-season tear, catching that elusive lightning-in-a-bottle moment similarly enjoyed last year by Conway, South Carolina’s own Coastal Carolina, who shocked the college baseball world by winning the College World Series.

No, they shouldn’t have been there and they were playing on borrowed time, but losing just one step away from college baseball’s Mecca, Omaha — as one of the final eight teams in the NCAA’s final tournament of the year — still stings, especially when the Wildcats had been so close to winning twice in College Station. The day after participating in the longest Super Regional Game 1 in NCAA Tournament history — 15 innings — when they were a mere 90 feet from plating the go-ahead run two innings prior, they led 6-2 in the top of the eighth inning. Two defeats in two days snatched from the jaws of victory.

But reality, and perhaps 8.7 more scholarships, caught up to the Wildcats as the Aggies rallied, ending the Davidson season and all if its seniors’ careers. Graduating baseball players at Davidson — as the NCAA’s iconic TV commercial states about the vast majority of former college athletes — go pro in something other than sports.

They did, however, go out in style.

A smoking gun?

Opponents of the development of vacant property on Beaty Street near downtown Davidson believe they now hold the “smoking gun” that would prevent the proposed “Luminous” mixed-use development from being built there.

Just this week, one of the opponents posted a copy of the deed from the sale of the property on Feb. 22, 1985, which contains the following restriction as proof Mrs. Clontz conveyed the property only on the condition that it become a park:

“There must be no restrictions, easement, zoning or other governmental regulations that would prevent the use of the real property for park, playground, or other public recreational purposes ...”

Now Talkers shouldn’t pretend to be lawyers any more than lawyers should pretend to be reporters, but there appears to be a clear difference in language that would require a parcel be a park and that which prohibits the town from applying a zoning overlay on the property that prevents it from being one.

Talkers neither support nor oppose the proposal on the site, they just caution those who want to see the land remain as it is not hitch their wagon to this particular horse.

No longer dragging Anchor

One Talker recalls writing the very first story about the Town of Huntersville’s efforts to redevelop the town-owned site near downtown, best known as Anchor Mill. It was nearly two decades ago, and since then the whole process of finding a developer — sometimes any developer — to build a project to help kick-start downtown redevelopment on the 30-acre property seemed fruitless.

Hamstrung for years over the uncertainty of the potential of commuter rail, Talkers are glad to see that the original bidder for the site, a hometown developer in Nate Bowman, was patient enough to see it through.

Tuesday, 06 June 2017 17:07

Talk of the Towns for June 7, 2017

100-proof problems?

As of press time, it appeared a law overturning North Carolina’s long-standing policies restricting Sunday morning alcohol sales was destined for adoption. As a general rule, Talkers — who have always been pretty good at stocking up on Saturday to prevent any Sunday morning disappointment — don’t have a dog in this fight and believe if somebody wants a potent eye-opener to get the last day of their weekend off to a flying start, they might as well have that right.

But there have been some strange happenings the last few weekends that have Talkers wondering if folks in the state are having any real difficulty already getting access to all — or perhaps even more than — the alcohol they really need.

First, there was a group that, somehow, forgot about one of the members of their party at the Memorial Day Weekend activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway. When the clean-up crews arrived Monday morning hours after the big race, one poor lady — beer can firmly in hand, according to the surprised workers — was still roaming the grounds wondering where her ride, or at least the beer cooler, went.

And then last weekend at Ocean Isle Beach on the North Carolina coast, a couple of guys accidentally pumped 28 gallons of fuel into their boat’s fishing rod holder. The subsequent explosion of the gas that had pooled up in the bilge rattled the area around the pier, burned the boat and left three people injured.

In both cases, without knowing the individuals involved and exactly how everything played out, it’s impossible to say alcohol was the cause. But in both cases it’s also easy to assume that easier access to booze wouldn’t have helped.

A continued ban on Sunday morning alcohol sales probably wouldn’t have prevented the incidents, either, but for those fighting to keep what’s left of the state’s blue laws in place, they do provide points to ponder.

Sign of the times

On a night when a $61 million budget was adopted and, after 19 years of trying, a plan for the development of a big chunk of downtown Huntersville was finally given the green light, a Town Board decision about how often each day the message on an electric sign in front of church can change seems, well, almost irrelevant.

But sometimes when something seems so easy to dismiss, Talkers get to thinking.

One commissioner said rules about such things were an example of local government overstepping its bounds, and another referenced a Department of Transportation study that concluded a message change every eight seconds was acceptable.

In the end — despite a planning board recommendation that changes be limited to four times a day, and a planning staff recommendation that changes occur only twice a day — commissioners voted to allow a change up to 24 times a day.

While Talkers believe an entire street lined with constantly changing electric signs on varied schedules would be exactly the type of distraction local government officials should regulate, it’s still understandable how a majority of commissioners would decide to adopt the lenient standards.

But what happens in the future? When fast-food restaurants along U.S. 21 start using electric signs to advertise never-ending specials, or businesses along N.C. 115 in the Bryton development decide ever-changing promotions on electric signs are the best way to lure customers into their stores, will town officials be able to reel in the monster they just unleashed?

So what can be done? The best approach might be to trust the people with the job of considering all the factors — including present and future consequences — before offering an opinion. Folks like, well let’s see, the planning board and the planning staff.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 17:32

Talk of the Towns for May 31, 2017

The day is the thing

Among the few days of the year when, in the media, the spirit of the occasion and its separation from politics is sacrosanct has been Memorial Day. Until now. Talkers couldn’t help but take note of the New York Times’ take on President Donald Trump’s Monday visit to Arlington National Cemetery, and its stark contrast to the coverage of the same event by the arguably similarly left-leaning National Public Radio.

Rather than focus on the gravity of the day and the President’s interactions with surviving family members of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the preservation of freedom, the Times wrote:

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 16:29

Talk of the Towns for May 24, 2017

‘Baby You Can Drive My Car’

Talkers of a certain age are resolute in their belief that no good rock music has been written or recorded since the early 1980s, and those of a certain advanced age might argue that the era of quality rock music ended in 1979 — Disco notwithstanding.

So it was not without a high degree of anticipation by them that The Beatles Channel debuted on Sirius XM Radio last week, delivering a delectable collection of ear candy wrapped in a shell of glass and steel and served on a bed of asphalt during the Thursday commute.

And one Talker in particular was surprised to discover that the lyrics of some of their groundbreaking, iconic early tunes were so easily retrieved during that first morning session of left-lane karaoke performed before an audience of only an equally tone-deaf steering wheel.

Mixed in with the playlist were the requisite, LSD-influenced streams of sounds of imperceptible origins that “Peppered” their later years, but Talkers resisted the temptation to spin the knob, deciding simply to “Let it Be.” No “Help” was required as Talkers “Should’ve Known Better” what awaited them on other channels, and all in all the new channel was a pleasant diversion from the standard Sirius XM fare, political talk radio, mundane and repetitive oldies stations, and really non-professional local sports talk.

Slipping so easily into the melodies and lyrics of songs not heard in decades made Talkers wonder: had the Pythagorean Theorem been set to the tunes of the 1970s when they were in school, would that have made it easier to remember for algebra class?

We can only “Imagine.”

Non-truth, injustice and the un-American way

A local blogger of some prolificacy and whose stated agenda often manifests itself behind the dais at Huntersville Town Hall has recently cited (blamed) Talkers for a unanimous vote to extend an agreement with the Carolina Rapids soccer club, reversing a 3-2 vote from two weeks prior.

In a recent entry, the writer cited Talkers’ continued assault on conservative values, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet (a quick check of the voter registration logs may just surprise him), claiming such bias as reflected in print coerced town commissioners into changing their minds about the Rapids, thus wasting taxpayers’ money.

Just how an organization paying the town a half-million dollars over 10 years for prioritized field use is a burden on taxpayers is difficult to fathom. Still, Talkers would like to think they have enough clout that the factual reporting of that previous meeting by the assigned town beat writer and the follow-up commentary of another Talker who happens to be a Huntersville taxpayer are what swayed the  commissioners’ thinking.  But Talkers know better.

More likely, it was the volume of phone calls and e-mails the electeds likely received in the two weeks hence that changed their minds.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 16:35

Talk of the Towns for May 17, 2017

Quality decisions

“Quality of Life” is one of those terms Talkers hear frequently in tours of duty around town board meetings, civic functions and school activities. And it’s one of those terms that, Talkers have learned, has a definition determined by who’s doing the talking and in what direction the conversation has drifted.

As municipal budget season evolves, the phrase becomes more prevalent as elected officials struggle with the seasonal chore of deciding which expenditures are crucial for their community while simultaneously looking for ways to appease taxpayers (and potential voters) by promoting spending cuts.

It’s not easy, but it’s also not an assignment that can be ignored — and more than once in private conversations Talkers have been compelled to remind some of those same struggling officials that identifying things vital to their constituents’ quality of life is part of the job for which they volunteered. The problem is that, very often, those who want the focus on just what they consider necessary are the loudest voices, while those who just assume everyone understands the intrinsic value of amenities don’t speak up.

Parks and recreation activities are always a popular target for those who think town-funded services should only include the barest of minimums. But many others consider places to play, exercise and relax as true basic necessities.

It would be easy for towns to slice expenditures by eliminating park space and reducing the staff and programs that provide outlets for active and athletic adventures. But what those elected to represent the best interests of their entire town need to consider is, in terms of real quality of life, how much would those potential savings cost?

This one’s for the birds

Talkers have been in our new Huntersville digs now for about five months, having made the arduous move all the way from Gilead Road near the post office to just around the corner on North Old Statesville Road.

It doesn’t seem like a relocation less than five miles away would make that big a difference, but we have thoroughly enjoyed our new — and far more improved — location. Parking is a dream now that we don’t have to share a lot with a bunch of spatially challenged fitness nuts, and our view of Old Statesville Road is our own real-time traffic alert.

Aside from the incredibly painful contortions we have endured and the Time spent wasted in dealing with a major Cable company whose Charter was to provide us a Spectrum of reliable and timely communications services (and you know who you are), this has really been a great move.

The problem, however, is our neighbors.

No, not the friendly people just to the north of us. It’s the critter menagerie that we’re becoming alarmingly well acquainted with.

It was cute at first. There’s the big fat cat that comes and goes through a broken board in the barn behind us, and the variety of songbirds that we can hear all day long in the towering trees that shade our old house-turned-office.

But lately, Talkers have a few new visitors that are far from cute. There’s a turkey vulture that regularly perches on top of the old building near our parking area, just sitting there with wings stretched wide in a menacing pose. Today, he was parked on the railing of our back porch. When the sound of the door opening ran him off, a second one immediately joined him on the adjacent roof in an obvious show of strength.

And we’re pretty certain we have a slightly deranged squirrel. He spent most of today trying to eat through the surface of a board on our back deck. Unfortunately, he’s making progress.

Talkers guess it’s only fair, though. They can just imagine what the local fauna thought when a bunch of journalists moved in ... there goes the neighborhood.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 06:06

Talk of the Towns for June 10, 2017

Double cross(word)ed

There are a handful of sins newspapers cannot commit that are absolute. Usually, Talkers are satisfied if the tens of thousands of words that can appear in a weekly edition don’t include any offensive ones. Yes, an occasional apostrophe slips in where it doesn’t belong (and we do know the difference between its and it’s), a typo might slip past them, the dreaded double word that is so hard to catch is suddenly glaring from the printed page and even a punctuation error or two occurs.

And sometimes what appears to be an error really isn’t, as newspaper grammar sometimes varies from the King’s English, and even the “Oxford comma” is a constant matter of dispute. Usually, if there are fewer than 10 minor errors out of every 10,000 words, we figure that to be a pretty good batting average for a small staff that does just about everything required to create a newspaper, short of threading the printing press itself.

But there are some unforgivable sins. Over the years, Talkers have seen the results of writers and graphic artists goofing off by putting content into stories, headlines and even advertisements that were never meant for public consumption, yet somehow made it to print. And although the term is thrown around so loosely most don’t understand the definition of it, libel is what we guard against the most vigilantly.

The worst offense, Talkers were reminded last week, is when the crossword puzzle is left out of the paper. It’s happened two or three times in the last eight years, but each time it does, phones and e-mail accounts are flooded with complaints. There were also a few weeks not too long ago when the print quality of the puzzle was definitely sub-par. Talkers don’t know why but, hey, at least it was there.

During the final hours of production of last week’s edition, a late decision to move the puzzle to a different page was made and the page to which the crossword was destined, one that had previously been electronically transmitted to our printer in Winston-Salem, was never replaced with the new version to include the puzzle. So, puzzle solvers who turned to the page where the crossword was supposed to be were disappointed to find only a “For The Record” commentary written by a Davidson College student about an asbestos issue in Davidson and a couple of editorial cartoons.

It was weighty content indeed, but that which does not rise to the level of the New York Times crossword. Talkers apologize, and they know if it happens again, they’ll be the second ones to know about it.

Is it news?

Talkers can already hear the hue and cry in certain circles as they digest this week’s issue of the Citizen. “Why,” they will ask in an accusatory tone, “did they not write about the former mayor of Huntersville and her free membership to NorthStone Country Club?”

In this era of reacting to a story that may not be a story and rushing to be first to put it in print or on the air, some media outlets still prefer to take the time to make sure that news is, indeed, news. First, if it’s on local TV, Talkers cast a cautious eye to simply repeating a report. And sometimes the effort to find out if something truly is news takes more time than the print cycle will permit.

So, rather than parrot a story that may or may not have legitimate value, responsible media will take the time to ask more questions: For example, ask the general manager of NorthStone directly, rather than take the word of a third party, that he was unaware membership was still extended to Huntersville’s former mayor because he was “unaware” she was no longer mayor. And secondly, was it a membership at all, or perhaps an arrangement with the town that falls short of that level.

So many questions and so little time. The key is to take the time ... first.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 05:56

Talk of the Towns for May 10, 2017

Double cross(word)ed

There are a handful of sins newspapers cannot commit that are absolute. Usually, Talkers are satisfied if the tens of thousands of words that can appear in a weekly edition don’t include any offensive ones. Yes, an occasional apostrophe slips in where it doesn’t belong (and we do know the difference between its and it’s), a typo might slip past them, the dreaded double word that is so hard to catch is suddenly glaring from the printed page and even a punctuation error or two occurs.

And sometimes what appears to be an error really isn’t, as newspaper grammar sometimes varies from the King’s English, and even the “Oxford comma” is a constant matter of dispute. Usually, if there are fewer than 10 minor errors out of every 10,000 words, we figure that to be a pretty good batting average for a small staff that does just about everything required to create a newspaper, short of threading the printing press itself.

But there are some unforgivable sins. Over the years, Talkers have seen the results of writers and graphic artists goofing off by putting content into stories, headlines and even advertisements that were never meant for public consumption, yet somehow made it to print. And although the term is thrown around so loosely most don’t understand the definition of it, libel is what we guard against the most vigilantly.

The worst offense, Talkers were reminded last week, is when the crossword puzzle is left out of the paper. It’s happened two or three times in the last eight years, but each time it does, phones and e-mail accounts are flooded with complaints. There were also a few weeks not too long ago when the print quality of the puzzle was definitely sub-par. Talkers don’t know why but, hey, at least it was there.

During the final hours of production of last week’s edition, a late decision to move the puzzle to a different page was made and the page to which the crossword was destined, one that had previously been electronically transmitted to our printer in Winston-Salem, was never replaced with the new version to include the puzzle. So, puzzle solvers who turned to the page where the crossword was supposed to be were disappointed to find only a “For The Record” commentary written by a Davidson College student about an asbestos issue in Davidson and a couple of editorial cartoons.

It was weighty content indeed, but that which does not rise to the level of the New York Times crossword. Talkers apologize, and they know if it happens again, they’ll be the second ones to know about it.

Is it news?

Talkers can already hear the hue and cry in certain circles as they digest this week’s issue of the Citizen. “Why,” they will ask in an accusatory tone, “did they not write about the former mayor of Huntersville and her free membership to NorthStone Country Club?”

In this era of reacting to a story that may not be a story and rushing to be first to put it in print or on the air, some media outlets still prefer to take the time to make sure that news is, indeed, news. First, if it’s on local TV, Talkers cast a cautious eye to simply repeating a report. And sometimes the effort to find out if something truly is news takes more time than the print cycle will permit.

So, rather than parrot a story that may or may not have legitimate value, responsible media will take the time to ask more questions: For example, ask the general manager of NorthStone directly, rather than take the word of a third party, that he was unaware membership was still extended to Huntersville’s former mayor because he was “unaware” she was no longer mayor. And secondly, was it a membership at all, or perhaps an arrangement with the town that falls short of that level.

So many questions and so little time. The key is to take the time ... first.

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 16:48

Talk of the Towns for May 3, 2017

No ‘senior’ moments

Talkers admit to being a little surprised by the recent announcement that super-popular NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has decided to retire at the end of this season. But it’s not that Dale Jr. hasn’t completely earned the right to steer his life in a different direction, it’s just that one of us still remembers him as a small, shy and awkward school kid and the thought of him as a grown man heading out to pasture delivers a blow to the system about the inevitable and steady passage of time.

Talkers wish nothing but good things for the boyish, 42-year-old as he enjoys a farewell lap around the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup circuit and then moves on to whatever passions and interests his future holds. But there’s also some dread involved as Talkers realize that, at least through Dale Jr.’s final race, there will be an avalanche of talking heads and writers intent on referring to his late father with the irritating, aggravating and completely unnecessary description as “Senior.”

For the record — again — there is no such person as Dale Earnhardt Sr. Never was and — barring a beer-infused tribute by some rabid race fan who, somehow, also becomes a parent — never will be. The “senior” description has oozed in like a virus and attached itself to our modern vernacular, but it has no place. There are “juniors” — millions of them — and for most the name is a priceless source of pride, but there are not, no matter how hard some newspaper, radio and television reporters try to make us think differently, any “seniors.”

Talkers don’t know why this phenomenon has spread, but it does seem to have the deepest roots in the world of sports. In other subject areas, Talkers can’t remember anyone, ever, referring to President John F. Kennedy as a “senior,” although John Jr. made plenty of headlines. And while Hank Williams Jr. developed a pretty solid following of country music fans in his heyday, not many folks ever felt the need to add “senior” to his father’s name.

The simplest way for folks to get it right would seem to be realizing that once you call one of the subjects “Junior,” there’s no need to identify the other as “Senior.” But even more important is the fact that Dale Jr., Hank Williams Jr., John Kennedy Jr. and the rest of the millions of juniors out there were given those names at birth. And again, except in cases involving exceptional clairvoyance or unimaginable parental pressure, nobody names their newborn “Senior.” Ever.

Paper proposals

Talkers know there’s a silly season in the N.C. Legislature when lawmakers propose bills they know will quietly wither and die, but nevertheless shout to their constituents about the grand changes they tried to make. And it’s also understood that the charade is enhanced in the spring before a fall election.

But even when it’s clear a lot of trees died to provide paper for proposals that hopefully will never, ever emerge from what one astute legislator once described as the “committee where things go to die,” there are still some doozies in the mix that merit extra ridicule.

There’s one bill that would eliminate rules along the Catawba River that currently prevent land owners from stripping the shoreline bare. Surprise of surprises, it was proposed by a developer who, as his defense, said he doesn’t currently own property impacted by guidelines meant to protect the environment and water quality. But Talkers can’t help but wonder if this developer might know a colleague or two who whispered in his ear how much better things could be if this obstacle was removed from future project plans.

And there’s another that would remove statutes banning the use of plastic bags along Outer Banks beaches. The bags become eternal litter and also endanger some of the wildlife, which is why the rules were adopted, but now the powerful retail store lobby says paper bags are more expensive to produce.

But what if the paper wasted on these bills was instead used to make bags?

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:39

Talk of the Towns for April 26, 2017

Science is no picnic

Talkers receive a lot of e-mails from people and organizations often eager to promote their latest news or to proselytize the audience to their point of view, most of which are disregarded because they have nothing to do with the contents of this newspaper nor its audience. Then there are some that are so riveting that we must pause our weekly production duties to investigate further.

Just this week, in fact, Talkers received the latest epistle from santilli-foundation.org. What is it? Well, we don’t really know, but from what we can ascertain, the organization wants to make the Citizen’s readers aware of the latest brainiac open-handed slap-brawl between those who espouse opposing viewpoints regarding a recent hypothesis of negative masses.

What is that? Even after reading it, Talkers have absolutely no clue, but the subject apparently arouses the level of passion of a UFC bout.

With lab coats.

It seems whatever the author, whoever it was, wrote in a recent paper that posited a hypothesis that new dynamical effects in Bose-Einstein Condensation can be interpreted via negative masses is subject to debate.

And the folks at the Santilli Foundation do indeed beg to differ.

“It seems that the authors, apparently, are not aware of the fact that the important effect they measured is evidence of the limitations of QM at mutual distances of particles smaller than their size (wavepackets or charge distributions), which conditions are necessary to achieve the Bose-Einstein condensation,” they wrote. “More specifically, the effect constitutes experimental evidence of the limitation at short mutual distances of the mathematics underlying QM, the Newton-Leibniz differential calculus, since the Bose-Einstein condensation cannot be exactly abstracted as an aggregate of point-particles in vacuum.”

Well, duh!

Ahh, but that verbal retort was followed later by an equally robust clarification

“When using QM and its underlying differential calculus, the proton must be essentially represented as a massive point; you cannot ‘compress’ the electron inside a point; and the neutron synthesis is impossible contrary to crushing evidence,” the Santilli folks wrote.  “In any case, the mass of the neutron is bigger than\ the sum of the masses of the proton and the electron, thus implying a ‘mass excess’ which is beyond any possible QM treatment, thus forcing the construction of the covering HM.”

But of course, Talkers acknowledge. Did they really need a press release to tell us that?

In other developments, with National Picnic Day coming up this Sunday, according to another e-mailed press release, “Americans may disagree on a lot of things, but eating outside isn’t one of them.” As evidence, nationaltoday.com reports that one in four Americans will celebrate Picnic Day at the park and, while there, one in three of them will prefer sandwiches over fried chicken.

The top five picnic foods, nationaltoday.com’s survey reveals are, in order,  sandwiches, fried chicken, watermelon, potato salad and chips and dip.

The Santilli Foundation has yet to weigh in on nationaltoday.com’s research. Talkers think they will find it to be a lot of baloney.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 16:47

Talk of the Towns for April 19, 2017

Beats hospital food

Talkers were happy to hear that quick, thoughtful action by an administrator at a Statesville hospital in early April kept things calm, peaceful and groovy when it was discovered that a batch of cookies and muffins distributed to hospital staff were unknowingly baked with cannabis oil.

Somehow — and don’t you know the family member planning the party at home was sorely disappointed — a batch of marijuana-laced cookies and muffins (and Talkers never knew or just can’t remember if you can get the munchies while eating munchies) were mistakenly brought to a work station inside Davis Regional Medical Center and, before anyone knew what was happening, everything on that floor got really, really mellow.

That is until a few of the laid-back cookie crunchers overdid it and got to feeling a little woozy. Staff performance got sluggish when some workers complained they just weren’t feeling right and a few others got preoccupied ordering pizza, but before things got completely discombobulated a team leader bravely stepped in and confiscated the tainted snacks.

Talkers imagine the items were carefully stored and then personally hauled away when the shift ended, and furthermore believe that the fast-acting administrator deserves all the accolades — high praise indeed — for those selfless actions.

It’s always somethin’

On multiple occasions, Talkers have used this space to rant about incidents where social media posters and some television news folks have made a mockery of the truth or, worse yet, pulled down a few strings of information from dubious sources to catapult themselves toward a catastrophic conclusion that, despite those origins, is nevertheless shared with the world.

An unfolding of facts recently in Mooresville provided yet another example of how rushing to say something first, instead of finding out what really happened, can cause not only unwarranted anxiety but also fuel a disastrous dissemination of misinformation.

In April, personal postings ran amok when it was reported that a “stalker” had pestered a woman and her daughter inside two retail outlets in Mooresville. In a frighteningly swift, Internet-enhanced version of the Telephone Game, the report grew into a full-grown manhunt and women and children were warned that a vicious pervert was on the prowl.

A local TV news crew pounced on the incident, but the irony of their report — which included statements that the evil man was acting in a “suspicious nature” and that the juvenile girl in question had been “grabbed” — was that it included this statement by a Mooresville police officer: “The challenge with an investigation of this nature is the panic this type of incident creates through the community. In this age of social media, the information that gets posted, shared or copied can often be taken out of context or some facts changed completely from the initial incident.”

Yeah. Exactly.

Thanks to in-store video and an actual search for the facts, we know it turns out the girl in question had rounded a corner while leaving the restroom and bumped into a visually impaired man who was on his way to the men’s room. The man was concerned that the girl may have been injured and held her shoulders while making sure she was okay.

In the late 1970s, in the heyday of Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner created the character “Emily Litella” who appeared as a local news guest commentator pontificating on controversial topics she had misinterpreted — like “busting school children” and “violins on television.” When provided with the truth, Emily didn’t alter her argument or look for someone to blame. She would just pause, look in the camera, and calmly say, “Never mind.”

In an age when technology makes it easy to sprint willy-nilly down the wrong path, maybe its time for that catchphrase to enjoy a revival.