Mazzuca: TSA pat-downs, split infinitives and other random thoughts (column) |

Mazzuca: TSA pat-downs, split infinitives and other random thoughts (column)

Butch Mazzuca
Butch Mazzuca

• If an individual cannot clearly explain or describe a problem in 25 words or fewer, then chances are the individual doesn’t fully understand the problem.

• We never really let go of the school-age notion of summer vacation; perhaps that’s why Labor Day “feels” like the end of summer when the season isn’t officially over for another three weeks. Perhaps, but I really think to a degree Labor Day is about “being bummed” for the fun stuff we didn’t get around to doing during the summer.

• The most obvious mistake the writers of the TV series “Star Trek” made (both the original and Next Gen) had nothing to do with warp drives, inertial dampeners or cloaking devices; any seventh-grade English teacher knows that even in the 24th century you can’t split the infinitive, “To boldly go …”

• If we reduce our caloric intake by 100 calories a day, then we’ll lose 10 pounds over the course of a year.

• Have you ever noticed when singing along to a favorite tune on your car radio how often the artists get the second verse wrong?

• Winners take a big problem and separate it into smaller parts; losers take a lot of little problems and roll them all together until they are unsolvable

• Life is about keeping agreements. Think about some of our everyday frustrations. How many problems in the workplace are due to someone failing to keep an agreement? And when our kids “get into trouble,” it usually involves a failed agreement, like being home by curfew.

And how many marriages are unsuccessful because one party or the other failed to keep the agreements made on their wedding day? Ninety-five percent of the problems we face as human beings could be eliminated if people only kept their agreements.

• When discussing political policy matters, it’s wise to keep in mind that consequences matter more than intentions and results are more important than rhetoric.

• Far too much of today’s political reporting and discourse makes use of what one might refer to as “bumper sticker mentality,” i.e., reporting or discussing complex matters through the use of catchphrases and broad statements. The sad part of this practice is that it precludes examining any issue in depth. And while these catchphrases may appear erudite or even profound, in reality this type of thinking does little more than close off other avenues of consideration.

• No one should question the First Amendment right of NFL players to protest by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. However, I’m not convinced they haven’t done more harm than good by sowing more racial divisions within the country.

• The law should mandate vigorous background checks before the sale of firearms; that said, shouldn’t the government view immigration and voter identification matters in a similar fashion?

• In the 2009 Hollywood hit movie “Up in the Air” George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingam explained why he follows Asians in the airport security line: “They pack light, travel efficiently and they have a thing for slip-on shoes — God love ’em.” Was that racism or humor?

• Transportation Security Administration pat-downs would be considered sexual assault if conducted anywhere else.

• Years ago, I learned that admiration and respect are the cornerstones of any successful relationship. Whether it’s between friends, parent-child, husband-wife, whatever — if those two elements are not present, then the relationship is not viable in the long-term.

• One of the greatest wisdoms I’ve ever heard comes from the Tin Man, who said, “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”

• After my last flight, the thought occurred to me the next time a flight attendant hands me a set of earbuds for my in-flight enjoyment, I’m going to wrap the cord around my ears similarly to the way hospitals do with oxygen cannulas — we’ll see if that holds them in place throughout the flight.

• There are only three rules for successful relationships between men and women; unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anyone willing to tell me what they are.

Quote of the day: “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once” — Theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler.

Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at

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