Comments & Curiosities: Of graduations and pregnant goldfish

May 07, 2011|By Peter Buffa

It is time, once again. Time for the commencement address that no one has asked for and no one will ever hear, packed with topics that are weird, questionable and above all, meaningless.

As the school year draws to a close, thousands of young people are about to step through another of life's turnstiles — brimming with enthusiasm, bad skin and most important, a marginal education. I am so proud of them. And so, we begin.

Graduates, faculty, Dean Dedlydul and, least of all, parents. It all comes down to this … first you're born, life is hard, then you die. Is that so hard to remember? Of course not. We could go on about values and ethics and making this world a better place, but you're already bored silly and I have to go by Costco and Trader Joe's after this and one more place that I can't remember, which is pathetic. Does that ever happen to you? Probably not. It will though. But there are some things you should know…wait, was it Ralph's? No, that's not it.


Anyway, the air from a sneeze travels about 100 mph, a cough at 60 mph. So if you want them to arrive at the same time, you could cough earlier or hold off on your sneeze. Either one will work. Reminds me of the question about "two trains leave for Chicago at the same time. One is going this fast and the other is going that fast." I could never do those, but here is my question — why were they always going to Chicago? I don't get it. Are there no other cities?

Speaking of trains, as I write this, I'm sitting in Grand Central Terminal in New York waiting for the 9:15 to Scarsdale to pull out. Aside from being the all-time coolest train station in the world, most of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is set in and around Grand Central. Did you know that? Not that you read "Atlas Shrugged," or anything else, but it's true.

If you chew gum while you're peeling an onion you won't cry.

The protagonist of Rand's epic novel is Dagny Taggart, a smart, hard-charging woman who runs the Taggart Transcontinental Railroad Co. along with her loser brother, John, who couldn't run a bath.

The Transcontinental Railroad was modeled after the New York Central Railway, the predecessor of the Metro North Railroad in whose train I'm sitting right now, clacking away on my little iPad.

The dot over the letter "i" is called a tittle.

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