New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 10, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
Dave Kramer. Editor and Publisher Jim Wcbre. Managing Editor
Page 4A Herald-Ze/fung, New Braunfels, Texas Tuesday. February 10.1987
Editorial_Let's get it right this time, New Braunfels
New Braunfels City Council is once again considering a draft sign ordinance, maybe just a not-quite-a-draft ordinance. But sign control nonetheless is once again before our city fathers and mothers.
Prepared by city staff, which means the city attorney, planning director and city manager, the measure is sure to raise the ire of those who didn’t like the idea that last three or four times it has come up. Tough.
New Braunfels needs some sort of sign control, and even if the proposed ordinance turns out to be merely a codification or fine tuning of what we have at present, that is better than nothing.
lf dangerous kinds of signs, such as unanchored portable ones, are banned, or if useless and heavily damaged signs are amortized out of existence, some people will be against such “government interference” and will threaten suit.
We suggest the council tell these people, “Go for it.” There is no restraint of trade involved in protecting the health and safety of the citizenry, and zoning ordinances were devised to allow such amortizations under recognized and standing law.
The last proposed ordinance was excessively restrictive, no question, but this town is too nice a place to let it fall into utter tourist cheap-chic on the basis of malignant signage.
Whatever measure we might end up with should be enforceable and easily understood by a majority of people. The erstwhile committees that, if nothing else, raised public consciousness about sign control also brought out the opposition to any sort of control, constructive and otherwise. Now is the time for fortitude on the part of the council and a spirit of compromise on the part of the business community that thinks only its ox and its alone will get gored in the process.Andy Roonev
Atom smashers and other useless stuff
The administration is asking Congress (or $fi billion to build a 52-mile tunnel in which to shoot atoms at each other Two atoms < this is how I understand it > would be started from opposite ends of the tunnel. When they collided somewhere in the middle, the atoms would break apart and scientists would be able to find out what’s inside. It seems like a lot of money to spend to break something.
Secretary of Energy John S. Herrington said the invention and construction of the world's largest research machine would be as scientifically significant as the manned landing on the moon in 1969.
This would be damning a project with faint praise to a lot of Americans who can’t remember exactly what practical results came from man s walk on the moon
i'm reluctant to say this $6 billion project is a mistake because I don’t understand its implications, but you always have to be suspicious of the people who are coming up with new things The fact of the matter is, scientists and inventors invent a lot of things the world be just as well off without and a better machine with which to break atoms might be one of them For my own amusement. I’ve been making a list of unnecessary inventions that I’ve seen in my lifetime:
- Designer telephones in bright colors and strange shapes. Telephones don’t seem to work noticeably better since they stopped making them all black and white and one style
- Elevator music. It suggests all of us have to be entertained, amused or diverted from our own thoughts every minute of the day no matter what we're doing.
- Push button controls on car radios Turning two dials, one to find the station and a second to control the volume, was all we ever needed
• Newspapers printed In color. Headlines are a way of getting us to
Gov. Bill Clements Governor's Office State Capital Austin, Texas rani U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith United States House of Representatives SO* Cannon House Washington, O.C. tOSIS U.S. Son. Lloyd Benison United States Senate Room sea, Russell Bldg. jiVashington, OX. Mf IS State. Sen. William Sims Capitol Station P.O. Box IWM Austin, Texas rant State San. Judith Seffirtni Capital Station P.O. Baa IWM Austin, Taxes ram
U.S. Rep. Mac Sweeney (Guadalupe County)
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U.S. San. Phil Oramm United States Senate Washington, OX. WSIS
State Rm- Rdmund Kuempei Texas House af Representatives p.o. Box atta Austin, Texas rara*
The President af the United States The White House IIM Pennsylvania Ave.
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read a story by telling us, briefly, what it's about in an interesting may. It shouldn’t be necessary to add color to the pictures or the type. “There it is, in black and white "
Fruit Loops, bubble gun, cran-apple juice, frozen waffles, Diet 7-UP.
- Spray paint in pressurized cans represents very little advance over a can of paint you pry the lid off and spread with a brush.
• Digital watches that can only tell us that it's 8:50, not ten of nine.
The buzzers in cars that inform you that you haven’t fastened your seatbealt. What we need in a car is a buzzer that tells us where we put the keys.
• Designer jeans. Designers have added very little but price to blue jeans.
• Homogenized milk. There is a whole generation of people who don’t know that, left alone, cream rises to the top.
• Cute sayings on license plates put there by state governments for promotion purposes. Maine is "vacationland.’’ Maine is also very cold in the winter but the license plates don't say so.
• Remote control television. The necessity for having to get out of your chair and walk across the room to the television set made it more likely that you’d turn the thing off instead of switching from station to station all night, looking for something good which doesn't exist.
• Instant tea. All you do to make instant tea is put a spoonful in a cup and add hot water. All you do to make tea of tea that isn’t instant, is put a teabag in a cup and add hot water.
All we can do is hope that this new 86 billion atom breaker-uper is more help to mankind than these items have been. If it's successful, maybe they could develop a machine that would hurl two Twinkles at each other at a billion miles an hour
Intellectual's proclivity for confusion
Writing not long ago In The New York Time Book Review, William F. Buckley Jr. defended "a outrance" his proclivity toward eristic engagements. The is to say, my beloved friend, the editor of National Review, defended to the bitter end his delight in sophisticated disputation. Bill will argue till the cows come home.
My brother’s theme was "hard words." Two editors had challenged him for using "a outrance" and "eristic" in his columns. A reader had complained about "lapidary." They asked. in the fashion of Harlod Ross at The New Yorker, "Wassat?"
Bill responded with a writer’s response. The challenged words may have been unfamiliar to some editors and some readers, he agreed, but they were not unfamiliar to him. And this Is what matters. He does not write for the benefit of every newspaper reader. He writes rather for the discriminating ear and the fastidious eye. He writes for those who happily encounter "word that says exactly what the writer wished not only said but conveyed." As for "lapidary," he does not regard the word as so unrecognizable "as to interrupt the reading flow of the average collage graduate."
Suppose the reader does not comprehend this exact word? That reader, says the ineffable BUI, "has the usual choices: He can ignore the word; attempt, from the context, to divine its meaning precisely or roughly; or he can look It up." Is this an imposition on the reader? Maybe, he con
cedes, but in their choice of features, newspapers should hire a writer or cartoonist expecting that the author "should use the full range of his relevant skills, even if the percentage of readers who turn to that feature is reduced." Surely, he adds, in a newspaper that carries five pages of sports, there should be some comer for Addison or Steele.
My brother's theories and my own are not far apart, though we have broken a dozen lances in jousting over the use of hard words. My own theory is that writing has one purpose above all others: it is to convey an idea from the mind of Ute writer to the mind of the reader. This is what writing is all about. If an idea is transmitted but not received, the piece of writing fails of that purpose.
lf we are to have effective transmission and reception, a writer must make some guess at the vocabulary of his audience. Bill aims at college graduates who won’t be floored by "lapidary." My own aim is a bit lower on the slopes of Olympus. I try to aim at high school graduates in their most literate moments. Such gifted writers as Jimmy Brest in aim farther south. And then there are the tabloids one buys at the checkout counter. Their reporters write prose to chew gum by.
Know your audience, or at least hazard a good guess at your audience. Then, without compromising exactitude or style, write for your unseen but omnipresent body of readers. Every writer will miss his target now and then. Recent
ly I got in trouble with my editors when I wrote of something "ensorceled." The devil made me do it. My brother Buckley, adhering absolutely to his standards, not long ago wrote of a "Cartesian gelandesprung." It must have been a superlative image, if you know something of skiing and something of Bene Descartes. I had to look it up.
Some writers have an odd hunger not for hard words, but for wrong words. A writer for the Portland Oregonian produced a feature story on an immigrant who had "Jettisoned his family from the fields of Mexico to a prominent place In Immigration law." In The Miami Herald, a writer discussed what goes on behind the scenes of coal mining: "Those scenes are far larger than any one person can apprehend."
Well, the family hadn’t bwwn jettisoned; to jettison something Is to toss it overboard. As for "apprehend," it can mean to understand, but it also means to catch, to dread, to fear." "Comprehend" would have been clearer.
A writer for United Press International spoke of tales that are "obtuse." which means stuid or dull; he meant obscure." A writer for Biblical Archaeology Review wrote of the "tortuous" death of Jesus; he meant "torturous." In a West Coast Sunday supplement on recipes, a writer declares that "there Is a stigma about cooking wild rice." I have no idea what the author meant. She took a culinary gelandesprung, and missed.Mike Rovko
It's time for his nap
Since it came out that President Reagan keeps a personal diary, congressmen have suggested that he show it to investigators to help them unravel the Iran arms deal.
Now he has agreed to let them peek at certain parts. But I’m afraid they are going to be disappointed.
A White House source has shown me the diary. And it’s clear that the President was innocent of wrongdoing.
For example, there is the first mention of Iran and arms during August ISM:
"Poindexter came in and asked me what I thought of an idea to sell arms to Iran. I told him it was OK with me.
"Later, I told Nancy that I was surprised to lean) that there were Iranians who didn’t any have arms. It must have something to do with their diet and Is a terrible thing. Without arms, how do they eat or comb their hair or switch channels on the TV?
"Anyway, I called Poindexter and said: ‘I think it would show Ute world how compassionate we ars if we not only sell them arm but lf any of them need legs, we should make those available, too.’ He just laughed. He’s kind of a Strongs person."
Later in August, thoro was anothor entry on the subject:
• "Poindexter was in again and I asked him where he planned on gstttng the anno he woo going to sell to Iran.
"He said that our military had stockpiled spare parts of all kinds. I was amasod to hoar
that, and I asked where the Pentagon got them. He said that there are a lot of companies that manufacture them.
"That was a new one on me. I knew that we had made great advances in natural-looking hairpieces and even artificial hearts, but I didn’t know we were that far along in producing arms. Isn’t American technology amazing? I remember as a young man how hard it was for people to get a set of dentures that didn’t look like piano keys.
"Later, I mentioned this to Nancy and told her how far we’ve advanced since I starved in ’King’s Row’ and lost my legs. Nancy smiled and told me It was time for my nap."
Several months later, we find this entry:
"Ollie North came in to see me about the arms. I told him that if we’re going to sell them all thorn arms, It might be good for the economy if we offered thorn a deal on long-sleeved shirts, too, and maybe gloves. He just kind of nodded. I like somebody who is a good listener."
A few weeks later, the subject came up again: "Poindexter and North were here and they said tho plans to ship arms to Iran were going well. But I warned them about some things we must bo careful about.
"I told them that if somebody needs a right ann. we don’t want to make a mistake and give thorn a loft arm. Or if somebody needs two arms, we must be careful not to put them on the wrong sides. That could really reuse a person a lot of problems In tying his or sipping
up his fly. They Just nodded. That Poindexter is a good listener, too.
"Later, I mentioned this to Nancy. She told me it was time for my nap."
Then came an entry that said*
“The shipments have begun. I was really surprised at how many planeloads of arms we sent.
I hope those planes are well refrigerated. I also asked Poindexter and North: This Is amazing. Why do they need so many?’ They told me that it’s because of the war with Iraq. Of course. I should have known. There are always a lot of disabled vets in something like that.
"Later. I told Nancy that lf we ever get on friendly terms with Iran, and we visit there, a lot of Iranians would be at the airport waving at us with arms that are tattooed: ’Made in the U S A.’ She told me that it was time for my nap."
And there is this entry :
"North and Poindexter came In and naked me what I thought or their idea to take the money the Iranians gave us for the arms and pass it along to the contras. I asked them why, and they said the contras desperately need arms, too.
They said some contra groups out thoro In the jungle don’t have any arms.
"Well, that was a mal shocker. At least with one arm, a folia could UM a pistol. But no arms, about all he could do is bite. So I told thorn to ga ahead. How can somebody be expected to fight a war with just their tooth?
'’Later I told Nancy about it and asked hor how tho hock doM somebody with no arms In a jungle scratch a mosquito bite? Those contras must really be tough She told ma It was time for my nap."