Here are two random, unrelated thoughts. One is about KU basketball, and the other is about going green. Neither is likely productive, or even sensible.
1. I’ve been playing a decent amount of FIFA lately for XBOX 360. Those who follow soccer casually know there is a famous player named Thierry Henry.
Henry plays on the French national team and for Barcelona. He’s known as a superstar, even a French legend. Of course, he’s also known as the guy whose handball cheated Ireland out of a possible berth in this year’s World Cup.
Americans unfamiliar with Henry probably don’t correctly pronounce his last name. It is not “Hen-ree.” It is “On-ree.”
Kansas has a basketball player whose name causes great mispronunciations as well. That player is Xavier Henry.
People not familiar with Kansas basketball or college basketball in general often call him “Zavier,” using the common American pronunciation. In fact, he is “Zauv-e-ay.”
That pronunciation comes from Belgium. During the early years of his childhood, his parents lived there. The natives called him “Zauv-e-ay,” and his parents liked the way it sounded. So “Zavier” became “Zauv-e-ay.”
His last name, though, is normal. It is “Hen-ree.”
But here comes the random thought. Henry should start pronouncing his name in the European way, a la Thierry Henry.
His first name is pronounced in the European way, so too should his last. It would also sound more cool, and more natural for that matter. And it would invite comparisons to Thierry Henry.
Henry is a legend, a spokesman for Gillette and a guy so good that apparently referees don’t even call handballs against him. Who wouldn’t want to be more like him?
2. I came home to my apartment complex the other day and saw shiny orange plastic bags sitting in front of everyone’s front door. At first, I thought it might be a gift. Maybe our rent money isn’t just for rent. Maybe the pirates who run the woefully corporate-sounding Jefferson at the North End actually do care.
I wasn’t completely off base. Without picking the bag off the ground, I peered inside and saw it did contain something. Each one stored a brand new phonebook.
Once I saw the phonebook, I closed the bag, not brining it inside the house or throwing it away. I left it there. My roommates did the same. They left it there.
The next day, when walked out of the apartment for work, the majority of the orange bags still rested in front of everyone’s doors. No one wanted their phone book. No one cared.
Because, really, who uses a phone book? And here comes the random thought. Let’s get rid of them.
Think about it. Every metropolitan area in the country releases a white-pages phonebook and a yellow-pages phonebook once a year. These contain thousands and thousands of pieces of paper. A study, by the online phonebook service WhitePages, showed that five million trees are cut down every year for this worthless endeavor.
Every single of one those phonebooks is also placed in a plastic bag. As we all know, plastic bags will never ever ever decompose. When we leave this planet for Mars, the moon, or high-tech spaceships with powerful laser guns in 500 years and robots like WALL-E are the only things left, he’ll be puttering around on his robotic legs picking up those damn plastic orange bags.
And all of this is done, once a year, so we can leave the phonebooks on our front stoop until finally someone yells at us to bring it inside where it can waste away in that cupboard in our house we never open.
At best, a family with young children might use the phonebook as a booster seat for dinner time. But that’s it. People look up numbers on the Internet nowadays.
Look, phonebooks aren’t completely evil. Opt-in movements are gaining steam, meaning that phonebooks might soon be delivered only to those who request them.
They can be recycled – although the previously stated study suggested that only 16 percent of Americans do it – but why not just get rid of them altogether.
This move wouldn’t save the environment. It wouldn’t even come close. But it would be a start. We have the technology to move beyond the phonebooks’ perilous paper trail; let’s do it.
Then again, I do work for a newspaper, so maybe someone else should write this letter to their local congressman.