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Afterthoughts

An occasional collection of vignettes from events and public meetings in Warren County that never make it into news stories because…well, you’ll see.

Happy New Year!

Some holidays are better than others. For reporters, the most interesting ones are often the least pleasant (because they might have to work). One local reporter had to be working as the clock turned from 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31, 1999, to midnight Jan. 1, 2000. The world didn’t end with the Y2K stuff. But, that reporter did hear some things. Don’t eat chicken as a first meal of the year. Chickens scratch backward. Eat some pork. Pigs nose forward. There are many traditions. The most interesting one we’ve heard since the turn of 2020? … wearing underwear inside-out.

Before or after?

The abbreviation a.m. roughly means ‘before noon’ while p.m. is after noon. Noon is noon. So, saying 12 a.m. means the 12 before noon? That’s midnight, right? And 12 p.m. would be the 12 after noon. So, midnight? That problem is why writers are encouraged to use midnight and noon and never 12 a.m. nor 12 p.m. Next problem. Other technicalities aside, when the calendar was about to be turned or had turned from 1999 to 2000 (or 2019 to 2020), was it proper to talk about midnight Friday, Dec. 31, 1999, or midnight Saturday, Jan. 1, 2000? Is midnight on the day before side or the next day side? We’ll go with a long-standing source. According to military time, midnight is 0 hours. That sounds like the very start of a day rather than the very end. So, midnight is the start of a day. The stroke of midnight, Jan. 1, 2000 (or 2020) was a moment of celebration, not a time most folks who had to work a day shift on Jan. 2 should have been sleeping.

Chicken, egg, soup

It is not infrequently said that there’s a first time for everything. Then again, there’s nothing new under the sun. After an incident at home, a newsroom staffer is wondering which saying covers the situation. On his way home from work, he picked up carpet cleaner, as requested. When he arrived at home, he understood why. One of the children in the house was trying to have vegetable soup instead of the delightful meal prepared for her. As she more-or-less carefully carried the soup to where she was going to sit and eat it, the hot bowl started to slip out of her grasp. Not wanting to spill soup on the carpet, she made a quick move. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. She struck the bottom of the bowl off to one side. The staffer should have picked up ceiling cleaner, too. So, for the first time that he had heard of, it was necessary to say, ‘please try not to spill any more soup on the ceiling.’ Are these words that have been uttered to that effect before?

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