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Opinion Editorial

This nation is going to the dogs but in a good way. From pet-friendly businesses to municipal dog-parks, the great canine awakening is upon us. With an estimated 80 million hounds, the U.S. has the largest dog population in the world, both in raw numbers and ratio to people. We are The Dog-Nation.

It’s been said that dogs prefer human companionship to their own species. I have to believe that there is no small number of humans as well who prefer their four-legged friends to the two-legged variety. A person with a dog, by association, is often seen as more trustworthy and accessible.

I am far more likely to be engaged by a stranger while walking my dog Max than walking by myself. Sometimes my name is relevant but Max’s name always is. His breed, age, and how he came into the family is also often asked. The wall of social separation comes down when a canine is a conduit for conversation.



Apparently, it's Scotland, the not-so-brave. Last week, the Scots had their big chance to vote for independence but punted instead. The theme of the anti-independence campaign was "Better Together." The concept didn't fly in America back in 1776 but King George III wasn't particularly good at marketing.

This opportunity for independence represented the “easy button” to revolution. No claymores to swing or evil English nobleman sending bands of marauders to pillage your village. A paper cut from a ballot was about the extent of the risk of bodily harm in this freedom quest. Even a pro-independence endorsement from Sir Sean Connery wasn't enough to persuade his fellow countrymen. I mean, who can say no to James Bond? Well, 55 percent of the Scottish voting population with a special inclusion for 16- and 17-year-olds, said no. Maybe independence isn't the greatest thing since sliced haggis, but the Scots may never know.


Every once in a while I have a ’70s flashback and this time around it's about signs. It's not that I don't like signs, it's that I'm not a big fan of “no” signs and “do not” signs. Information and directional signs are great. It's good to know what you are looking at or where you're headed. However, a constant stream of forbidding messages is a drag. The Canadian group, Five Man Electrical Band whose name is now only mentioned at trivia nights, had a 1971 hit song, “Signs” that is still spinning in a few craniums out there.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

Yep, leave it to the Canukes for cutting-edge social commentary. Just as the styles of that era have made a comeback, so has the proliferation of signage.



One of my goals in life, other than riding in a blimp, is to coin an expression. My original catchphrase du jour is “science of the sinkholes.” It's a companion concept to go along with “God of the gaps.” The premise on “gaps” is that as science expands, religion is forced to claim less as miraculous, retreating to areas of scientific gaps in knowledge. On the flip side, science sinkholes continually expand, revealing more mysteries.

Science mines information but the knowledge hole keeps expanding, exposing ever-increasing layers to explore and explain. One such layer is the current hypothesis that most of the universe (95 percent) is made up of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” Dark matter has a gravitational effect but neither emits nor absorbs light - a big goose egg on the electromagnetic spectrum. It's like all that unlabeled stuff you got in the fridge. Yeah, it's there, but what is it? It was tough enough when I learned that Pluto wasn't really a planet, but this 95 percent mystery-meat thing is even harder to stomach.


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