Cumberland Times-News


June 1, 2014

Coming soon to a highway near you?

People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

One of my co-workers said, “Goldy? Can I ask you two questions?”

“Sure,” I replied. “What’s the other one?”

She took the next two or three minutes to call me everything but what I am, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Genius deserves to be rewarded.

Sometimes, people ask me questions I can’t answer, at least not right off. A fellow I know recently asked me, “So what don’t you like about those roundabouts on Route 220?”

That stopped me in my tracks. It left me standing there, as we say in my family, with my teeth in my mouth.

He might as well have asked Hugh Hefner why he likes girls or Dick Butkus why he liked to play football. I had no answer, smart-(beast of burden)ed or otherwise, and mumbled something about how he should ask the truck drivers or anyone else who has to weave through them like the Titanic should have been doing in that ice field.

We’ve belabored the stupid-about and the question mark-about enough, haven’t we? If this fellow has read sufficiently of our discussions to know that I don’t like them, he ought to know my reasons.

I have on occasion — while going (zig to the left, zig to the right, stand up, sit down, fightfight- fight) southbound through the question mark-about — seen cars backed up almost to the bottom of the hill, waiting to their turn to go through the northbound stupid-about, where the lead driver must wait to see if he will have to yield the right-of-way to someone who is cutting in front of him after coming through the question mark-about.

Never in half a century of driving to Cumberland from Keyser did I see such backed-up traffic there until the advent of the -abouts.

Compared to what’s been deposited upon motorists elsewhere, what we have here is nothing more than a mild exercise of your brakes and steering.

The Congressman’s Lookalike Son and I went to Morgantown a while back for a Civil War symposium at West Virginia University (where I found and had a wonderful conversation with Mister A, one of my all-time mostbeloved college professors, who’s still sharper than his students were.) My friend knows the new Morgantown as well as I knew the old Morgantown and was driving. Suddenly, we were going through what seemed to a relative rookie like me to be
the roundabout from hell.

We were surrounded by cars that were flashing in front of us, behind us and past us in the opposite direction at what seemed an unreasonable speed. I could almost hear Rod Serling doing the intro to The Twilight Zone:
“You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind ... .”

Text Only
  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • Build it now Build it now

    Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fronts, highs, lows determine weather

    Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.

    July 13, 2014