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AROUND THE NABERHOOD: The obvious and not-so-obvious

It’s pretty common to get asked how journalists come up with stories and the truth is that we don’t — you guys come up with them and we just write them down.

Watching what’s happening and then asking people who know the most about it is pretty much how news works. (Celebrity and talking-head commentary is never part of the process.)

It requires spending a lot of time observing, thinking and asking questions. Not all of these observations are noteworthy; some may even go as far as having a few interviews or time gets spent researching it only to toss it out or set it aside for months or even years at a time before revisiting the topic.

That being said, I sort my observations into two categories — things I don’t understand and things that are extremely obvious but nobody notices.

Seeing as everyone is too busy camping, grilling and chasing the ever-elusive Jackalope and Yeti around the mountains to write us a guest column or letter to the editor as the Fourth of July holiday approached, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from both categories.

Here are some of the things that are accepted as completely normal but make no sense to me.

I don't get it

• How we use the internet and smartphones. We have access to all of mankind’s knowledge and can contact anyone in the world with something small enough to fit in our pockets, but it’s mostly just used for arguing with strangers and watching cats overreact to cucumbers.

• Snapchat — why? Seriously, why? Just send me a photo message. I don’t want a special app to do something my phone has been able to do since 2003.

• Photo apps in general — It has taken us centuries to get to the point where we can take high- definition photos with something that fits in our pockets ... but for only $1.99 we can distort those photos to look like they were taken with a camera that’s been sitting in grandma’s attic since the 1950s.

• Watering the lawn so it will grow and then you can mow it all over again. Why bother? Less mowing means less work and more time for anything other than mowing. It’s like shoveling the sidewalk, then blasting a snow machine.

• Manbuns — unless you’re a samurai, or paying homage to your ancestors who were samurai, just cut it out (literally).

• How come ghost sightings are always of people from the Victorian Era? Why not cavemen or pirates or hippies?

• Body wraps — How is crushing your organs with a gigantic rubber band a more appealing alternative to going for a jog?

• “News” sources that pander to select groups with specific beliefs — i.e. liberal news, right-wing news, etc. I’d rather be given the facts as they actually are instead of being catered to with a skewed presentation that spins the subject to suit my personal beliefs.

• Why does anyone care what celebrities think about political issues? It doesn’t matter what any celebrity thinks, because they specialize in entertainment and aren’t experts in anything other than looking good on camera.

• SUVs are the most useless vehicle in the world. All the low miles per gallon that come with driving a truck, with none of the benefits of having a truck bed. Also, they’re top-heavy, rollover easily and are basically mini vans on steroids.

But, for real though

Meanwhile, other things are completely obvious but nobody really seems to notice.

• It’s pretty obvious professional athletes use steroids, so why not just make a steroid league? I’d watch the heck out of a baseball game where ‘roided up dudes launch baseballs into the stratosphere and then rage-smash their bats afterward. (What has science done!? Something awesome, that’s what.)

• People who play fantasy football and sports enthusiasts in general are identical to the fans of comic books and fictional works such as “Lord of the Rings.” Both groups dress up like their favorite characters, obsess over all the details and spend countless hours watching it — and their parties have excellent snacks.

• Cowboys and hipsters are a lot alike. Both don’t care about social norms, they hate shaving, and they love nostalgia and dressing like their grandpas. (I’m guilty of all of these things.)

• “The Lion King” is literally just Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” but with singing cartoon animals.

• Parmesan cheese is basically the dairy equivalent of beef jerky.

• Has anyone ever actually gotten salmonella from eating raw cookie dough, or is it all just a conspiracy to stop me from living my life?

The world may never know — just like how the world may never know whatever happened to those awesome letters to the editor we used to get on an almost weekly basis.

For real though, please send us your thoughts and opinions for us to share with our readers. This page is literally your chance to have your voice heard, so use it and reach an audience bigger than your Facebook friends list.

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