Wednesday, June 18, 2008

#411 Off The Page

#411 Off The Page

When there's heavy pollen or mold in the air, some people without allergies get itchy eyes or a runny nose or a scratchy throat. The explanation is completely logical. Irritants irritate. But allergies are so off the radar for most people without any, that they feel the symptoms but don't connect with the reason.

There's something else that can affect us with similar itchiness, and the stimulus check is a perfect example.

People look at these things and get uncomfortable. It's not because they're too small, or to late, or to meaningless. It's for a completely different reason.

There's a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the left side of the check, and she's looking left -- she's looking off the page, instead of looking right, or having a spot on the right side of the check, where looking left would signify balance.

It's not something that people pick up on easily -- but pick up on it they do, and it seems wrong.

Check out any major magazine. If a portrait is on the right side of the page, the person will be looking toward the fold in the middle. If the portrait is on the left side of a page, it'll be looking at the opposite border. Even in a group shot, the people on the right will be looking toward your left most of the time. No one looks off the page in Newsweek or Time or Forbes or Fortune or Sports Illustrated or People.

Same thing with over the shoulder graphic still shots on television. It took some doing, but the NBC graphics people, absolutely the best in the business had to be reminded for awhile. Now they don't. If the picture is on screen left, it looks at screen right. And vice-versa.

Admittedly, this is a small asteroid in the current galaxy of world problems. But it makes people itchy -- like ragweed in August, even people without hay fever or people without training in newspaper layout or television graphics.

Solving this problem won't make the check any bigger. And it won't end the war, lower unemployment, raise interest rates in the savings account or lower them on the credit card. It won't reduce our dependence on foreign oil, stop poisoned toys from entering the country or ease worries over global warming.

But it WILL help reduce the mental pollen and that's at least a small step.


--Pennsylvania retracted its motorcycle helmet law a few years back. A new study says biker head injuries have skyrocketed. Are you surprised?

--If you don't want to wear a helmet, don't. If you splatter what little brain you have all over the highway, go right ahead. Just don't do it when I'm behind you in traffic and the rest of us have to pay for your bravado and stupidity in lost time.

--A fairly good sized Harley gets about 50 mpg. They're not working on a hybrid. That they no longer leak even when empty is high tech enough.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(r)
(C)2008 WJR

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