About 20 years ago, the Pentagon gave stand-up comedians a ton of fodder when it announced that it was developing a thermos (or something akin to a thermos) that would withstand the crash of a 747 jet. I guess we were supposed to suspect that the world was demanding this. Along about that time, someone coined the expression: “A million here and a million there and pretty soon you’re talking about some real money.”

Of course all of us newspaper folk had a lot of fun with the thermos project. We searched for practical application and finally we rationalized that anyone who survived such a crash certainly deserved a hot cup of coffee. That project, by the way, never got off the ground. All pun intended.

Of course we hear all sorts of things like this that makes one wonder what ever happened to common sense.

I get lots of tidbits sent to me on the subject of common sense. And I feel compelled to share some of them with my readers with the thought that maybe they will take root and run rampant — like philosophical kudzu.

This just came in today:

— Zero Gravity: When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 centigrade. Meanwhile, the Russians used a pencil. Your taxes are due again -- enjoy paying them.

— Our Constitution: They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, and it's worked for more than 200 years. And, we're not using it anymore.

— The Ten Commandments: The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

There are so many events that happen where, in retrospect, we wonder why more scenarios were not considered.

Ever since the fiasco at Waco, Tex., (Camp Davidian) and other instances where people were holed up in a cabin or a makeshift fort, I’ve wondered why didn’t the people in charge sit down by a fire, have a cup of coffee, smoke a cigar and discuss simple solutions? Maybe ask for ideas from some people who are just casual observers and have no vested interest in promotions.

Take that Camp Davidian thing: Why didn’t the feds just build a fence around the compound and declare it the Waco Minimum Security Facility. The investment would have been minimal by government standards.

And when the Camp Davidian people came out to the gate to complain about having run out of toilet paper and Tootsie Rolls, either capture them right then or tell them their requests would go to committee.

Now I realize we live in very complex times and it seems the experts are getting paid by the word.

But, on the points of simplicity, common sense and deep thought, ponder these other gems passed onto me.

— Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

— Forgive your enemies, it messes with their heads.

— Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

And with some reference to the Camp Davidian thing, I close on this note: Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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