This Week’s Words

The Gamut

When I envisioned this weekly feature, I decided that I would feel free to use this space however I wanted.  After seven years of writing funny titles and captions for over a thousand of my photos at, I didn’t want to ever again be constrained by so narrow a format.

The writing here might be serious, light, topical, humorous, or maybe even profound.  This week’s topic could be accused of being borderline trivial.  But that’s OK.

Not Progress #1

Every once in a while I’m amazed at some new product development that is not progress.  A recent example: although they no longer do it, our local Walmart started using twisted tape closures on their loaves of bread and bags of baked goods.  What might have saved them millions of dollars annually resulted in a closure that could not be opened manually.  The only way to open the package was to get a pair of scissors and cut off the end of the bag, meaning that you had to end up using your own twist tie or clip to reclose the bag.

My current nominee for Not Progress is Men’s dress shirts.  Since the invention of the button-front shirt, it was a simple procedure to work your way down the row of buttons, using the same motions for each one.  Not anymore.  in recent years, shirt manufacturers have started making the bottom buttonhole horizontal, unlike the vertically oriented holes above it.

This change serves absolutely no useful purpose!  The bottom button is no more secure than the others, and the net effect is that the subconscious process of buttoning a shirt has a jarring end–the need to fasten the bottom button a different way.

I would like to sit down and talk to the designer who thought that this change was a good idea.  I would request, however that the person sit sideways in his/her chair the whole time.

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