0l' Morgan had a rather disheveling experience the other day. It was a day or two after the "storm that didn't fizzle' and ol' Morgan was on the turnpike, cruising along at 65 mph. Traffic was light and the morning was of the crisp, bracing winter variety.

All of a sudden, ol' Morgan was throttled out of his own solstice by an impact. After becoming more than just a bit alarmed, ol' Morgan began to giggle. The windshield was still in one piece; an the car's parts seemed present and accounted for.

However, he came to the realization that his vehicle, in particular the windshield, had been hit not by a flying toaster, but by flying ice. The ice in question had come loose from an area between the hood and the bumper of his trusty Olds, and, thanks to the laws of physics, followed a course right up and back at ol' Morgan.

A hazard of winter driving, you say? Well, yes and no. Yes, occasionally some ice or hardened snow will fall from an overpass, a tree, or will be blown back into the roadway by a high wind. So, we deal with it.

But what about the ice and packed snow that comes flying at the unsuspecting from the roof, hood, or trunk of a driver who has not totally freed his or her vehicle from the icy grasp of the last snow? No, that is not a natural hazard. That's a patent-applied-for manmade one. It's just as bad as when some folks find it easier to shovel snow out onto a cleared roadway instead of piling it up at the curb.

Do we need to deal with this? Follow ol' Morgan down off the soap box to the next exit and let's look at this situation rationally.

Folks who do not clear their vehicles' roofs, hoods, and trunks create a safety hazard, plain and simple. Depending on the thickness of the hardened snow or ice, the projectile impacting at the right angle could probably crack a windshield. Just as bad, its impact could startle the driver who might instinctively swerve to "get out of the way' or instinctively jam the brakes to avoid "hitting something.'

Get the picture? Here's the antidote for this thoughtless affliction: make a little more time to clear a vehicle of all snow and ice that could cause some serious repercussions for other drivers.

As he is wont to do, ol' Morgan ventured out into the supermarket universe and was shocked by a nova of color in the detergent aisle. A brilliant red and a brilliant yellow blinded ol' Morgan as he went looking for his favorite brand of soap suds, Arm and Hammer's powdered washing detergent.

Preferring powdered over liquid, ol' Morgan was alarmed to notice that those brilliant colors screaming at him were emanating from plastic bottles containing liquid, more plastic bottles than he would care to admit. What was going on here? Is soap powder an endangered species?

0l' Morgan just had to get to the bottom of this before he hit the spin cycle. So, he called the consumer affairs folks at Arm and Hammer and at Tide. Both service representatives with whom he chatted were courteous and helpful. The woman on the line at Arm and Hammer assured ol' Morgan that "the boxes will always remain" along with their precious powder. The reason why ol' Morgan sometimes sees more plastic containers rather than the cardboard boxes is, as she said, 'A function of the popularity of the package in a particular area.'

The fellow at Tide, Tim by name, also assured ol' Morgan, "The powders will not disappear!' He pointed out that Tide powder has been around for 50-odd years and that Procter and Gamble (they make the stuff) have no plans to phase it out.

Tim did say, much as the gal from Arm and Hammer, that what ol' Morgan sees on the shelf is a matter of regional preference, and that store managers adjust their ordering accordingly. He did say that he would report ol' Morgan's concerns to the "Tide Team.'

By the way, if you want to call either Arm and Hammer or the "Tide Team,' here are their numbers: Arm and Hammer - 1-800-524-1328; the "Tide Team' - 1-800-879-8433.

You might even snag a few coupons for your call.

Over the wireless came news that the U.S. Department of Transportation had recently conducted a survey and found that Americans are incapable of multitasking while they drive. We can't, say, surf the Internet via a cell phone, talk on one of those blasted things, and give full attention to what we're supposed to be doing, i.e. driving.

Hmmm. Wonder what would happen if someone were driving along, cell phone in one hand, some inane and "critically important' conversation in progress, and all of a sudden some flying ice unceremoniously interrupted his or her incessant babble?

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