More Jackson County Opinions...

July 25, 2001


Column
By Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
July 25, 2001

This is a big pile of stuff
Did you see John McDuffie's letter to the editor two weeks ago?
He said he reads my stuff first because I am "always thought provoking" and I force him to look up words he thought he knew the meaning of, like "stuff."
I've never met you, Mr. McDuffie, but you are a true friend. That's just about the nicest compliment I've received in nearly six decades of writing-or trying to write.
I really appreciate your taking the time to look up "stuff." As far as I know, you and Tom Bryan are the only two readers who did that.
Would that more of you out there followed suit-and became really educated. The word "stuff" embodies all of the stuff you need to know to be a success-or failure-in whatever you undertake in life.
You can find "stuff" in one of the most informative, interesting and fascinating books ever written. It is called a "dictionary," and one of my greatest fears is that the computer and its word processor will make it obsolete. If that ever happens, we'll really be a stupid nation.
The dictionary I have in front of me (I never sit down to write without it) is a big one. I mean, it is THE WORLD Book Dictionary.
Also nearby is Dictionary's first cousin, Thesaurus. (Look up thesaurus).
Look, I am not writing down to you people. I just feel like there are some out there who don't know what a thesaurus is. They need to know.
"Stuff" and all its offspring (I don't think that's the right word) occupy one full column, or one-third of a page, in my dictionary.
For your information, "stuff" is followed by "do one's stuff," "know one's stuff," "strut one's stuff," "stuffed shirt," "stuffer," "stuffily," "stuffiness," "stuffing," "stuffing box," "stuffing nut," and "stuffy."
Why, you could use "stuff" as a text and teach a full year's course on etymology and semantics. And the University of Georgia ought to offer such a course. It should be required for all football players. They could begin and end a sentence with something other than "like, you know."
OK, class, let's look at the word more closely.
The first definition of stuff (stuf) n. is this: "What a thing is made of."
Delve deeper and we learn that the word also applies to a person-a real, live, flesh-and-blood human being, like you and me.
First test question: What kind of stuff are you made of? Is the answer definition no. 5, "worthless material, useless objects; refuse," or no. 6, "silly words and thoughts," or no. 7, "inward qualities; character; capabilities"?
Like I said, stuff has a lot to do with success or failure.
The word perfectly describes Greg Maddux and offers a pretty good clue as to why he is successful: "the ability to throw a variety of pitches with deception." Greg's got good stuff.
Strut one's stuff ("to show off"), stuffed shirt ("tries to seem more important than he really is"), and stuffy ("angry, sulky") pretty much nails a former Braves pitcher who is now blowing saves for the Cleveland Indians.
Stuff is what we wear ("any woven fabric, especially a woolen or worsted one").
It can be a substance ("The doctor rubbed some kind of stuff on the burn").
I hope the doctor knew his stuff ("competent or well-informed, especially in a particular field").
There are people who stuff pillows, and there are people who stuff the skins of dead animals to make them look like they did when they were alive.
And in just about every election some crooked politician stuffs the ballot box.
OK, you've had enough of this stuff. I don't want to become stuffy ("lacking freshness or interest; stodgy; dull").
So let us move on to two other words that give me a lot of trouble. I am speaking of "know" and "believe."
I am not sure if I know what I am doing or believe what I am doing. All this stuff is very confusing.
There I go, back on stuff again. It's hard to get away from stuff. Stuff permeates our lives. We live with stuff 24 hours a day.
The answer? Just put up with it.
"Know" and "believe" are powerful words, too. Most people know or believe (take your choice) that they mean one and the same thing. Most people, of course, know or believe a lot of stuff that just isn't so.
Know and believe have been important parts of my life for many years. The first sentence in my written-down philosophy goes like this. "I know the only years of my life are out ahead; I believe the best years of my life are out ahead."
I have been asked why I know the one and believe the other. I used to wonder about that myself. So I took it upon myself to study the two words.
In the dictionary, there is a slight difference between them. In real life, the difference is as wide as from here to eternity.
Know and believe are often used interchangeably with little thought given to their shades of gray. However, it is possible to use them with discrimination to convey quite distinct ideas.
To know stresses assurance and implies a sound logical or factual basis.
Believe, too, stresses assurance but implies trust and faith (as in a Higher Power) as its basis.
"I know he is telling the truth" is quite different from "I believe he is telling the truth."
I know I am riding in the back of the pickup; I believe I'll arrive safely at the campsite.
I know the sun will come up in the morning. Or do I? Perhaps believe is the better word here. It does involve trust and faith. (Look up faith in the dictionary. See also Hebrews, chapter 11.)
Sorry, but I cannot end this without adding to the pile of stuff. Our Contractor used pretty good stuff in laying the foundation. In fact, He said it was very good. Now we are a work in progress. It's up to us to use the right stuff to finish the job.
I know (?) believe (?) that with all my heart. The reason I'm not sure, stuff keeps getting in the way.
Virgil Adams is a former owner-editor of The Jackson Herald.

Column
By Charlie Broadwell
The Jackson Herald
July 25, 2001


Some thoughts on PETA
Most people are aware of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the animal rights group which I believe to be filthy, illogical communists. Their off-the-wall ideas and practices will make the average person wonder if there is any sanity left in the world.
I began researching at www.peta.org to find out how ignorant these people actually are. Within 30 seconds, I was enraged.
Since I am a fisherman myself, I first noticed a link about how the Boy Scouts should de-merit the fishing badge. I found an article featuring a boy by the name of Justin Aligata who is a vegetarian, animal rights activist and the star of PETA's anti-fishing commercial. He believes that fishing (one of many techniques for survival) is wrong because it harms the fish within the environment. He also believes that when someone fishes, it must deaden a piece of his or her heart.
First off, if this boy had any common sense, he would realize that humans are omnivores and eat meat. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with catching fish and putting them back. Also, if the angler chooses to harvest the fish to eat, then that's fine. After all, fish can be quite tasty.
PETA also claimed that fishing and hunting may lead to violence later in life. They're basically saying that participating in outdoor sportsmanship will put you on the path to homicide. I gladly admit that if someone deliberately sets a cat ablaze for a good laugh, they might end up harming or killing another human being. But if fishing and hunting secretly taught people to kill fellow human beings, then I would have been in jail a long time ago.
Fishing and hunting aren't PETA's only concerns. This group is attacking fast food restaurants all over the country. There was a case in Ohio a few days ago where a lady stripped naked, painted herself pink and laid like a sow outside a Wendy's. She refused to move until they agreed to quit abusing the animals they use for their food. The article made the lady out to be a hero, who probably is spending some quality time in jail right now.
Last year, PETA actually got McDonalds to agree to change a few of their techniques they use to slaughter animals. Why McDonalds agreed to terms made up by these maniacs is beyond me.
The truth is that PETA members have no biological background. When reading their articles, I noticed things like "common sense tells us that these fish feel pain." If they were trying to convince me that fish feel pain, they should at least try to give me some facts rather than trying to sell me an opinion.
PETA claims to have gained the support of the ever-so-famous communist Alec Baldwin, James Cromwell and the disease-stricken Richard Pryor. The last I heard about Richard Pryor is that he can't think for himself, much like other PETA members.
Radio talk show host Neal Boortz has a hypothesis that PETA is a huge joke put on by masterminds who wear fur and meets at a steakhouse once a week discussing what ludicrous scheme to come up with next. With group as unbelievably stupid as PETA, who knows?
Charlie Broadwell is a staff member for MainStreet Newspapers.

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