As I put these words onto page (or electrons onto screen), the news is full of news that I consider pretty good. The states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have all certified the results of the election. Our president-elect Joe Biden has selected cabinet members and senior aides who appear reasonable, competent, and capable. John Kerry will be spearheading efforts to combat climate change. Vaccines appear to be in the offing for 2021. Thanksgiving is two days away.
My wife has been researching new refrigerators, and so informs me that the latest models are now equipped with Internet access.
“Not a chance!” I holler, feeling very snarky and full of myself. “Food is expensive enough as it is. I’m not paying extra so the sour cream can surf websites and instant-message with the bratwurst back at Market Basket. And don’t get me started on liability. Tiger Woods got collared for raunchy texts to his girlfriend, I wouldn’t put it past the Hellman’s mayonnaise to be just as stupid.”
My wife continues to discuss. My reply, without giving an inch:
“Oh yeah, checking on the fridge remotely, that’s really useful. We’re enjoying ourselves at Niagara Falls, or Yellowstone, or the Jamboree with Yo-Yo Ma and his orchestra, and all of a sudden we’re like ‘Oh no, maybe the lettuce is wilting! Is the margarine getting all funky from the nearby pickle jar? Is the orange juice feeling lonely or depressed?’ So quick, we call up the refrigerator on our iPhones and make sure everything is hunky dory. Hey, maybe Fridge-cam will go viral! It’s own YouTube channel, thousands of hits a day, everyone checking out all the low-temperature action. I can link to it from the Fergus Falls Review, that’ll drive up subscriptions.”
I remain thankful for all sorts of blessings, such as good health for myself and household, and for my parents and other family. My father and mother are both in their 80s and living in Minnesota, and I plan to honor them this holiday season by sending some photos of the kids and some fresh fruit and phone calls, and not visiting in person. The goal is to neither contract nor spread the epidemic this year, thank you very much.
One of the combined curses and blessings of the Internet is that a lot of the past remains readily accessible. If you are interested in the wiles and antics of Eric Idle (to pick an entertainer not completely at random, because Eric Idle is awesome) then you can find examples from almost all of Mr. Idle’s lifetime, beginning with his Flying Circus days in the 60s and 70s, and then the movies and stage shows, and lots of talk show appearances and sing-alongs and that routine at the London Olympics of 2012. You can watch him get progressively older or make him young again. I suspect that not even the lovely Mrs. Idle does that, unless she’s feeling vindictive for whatever reason.
George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Eric Idle, and John Candy appear, with many others, in the music video for “The Wilbury Twist”, which is a lot of fun, and only slightly sad because of the departures from this world of many of the participants.
Ain’t ever been nothin’ quite like this.
It’s a magical thing called the Wilbury Twist.
Nathen, our three-year old, has been enjoying the game of “Hide the Sock Puppet.” One of us leaves the room and counts to ten, while the other hides the sock puppet in some findable location. Nathen is very good at counting, even if he does mix up the numbers and mispronounce most of them. As for the task of hiding the sock puppet, he tends to place it in the same locations over and over again, such as on a bookcase or chair, or smack dab in the middle of the floor. Also, when I come into the room to search, he gleefully points to wherever the sock puppet is. I put horizontal palm to eyebrows (the official naval “searching the sea” pose) and describe my challenging quest of sock-puppet finding, which Nathen finds entertaining.
I’ll save the adventures in toilet training for another time.
George Harrison was one of the treasures of the world. He died at the too-young age of 58.
My older boy, now a sophomore in high school, is studying biology from a textbook that I happened to have contributed to. This is the first time that has happened. So far, levels on the being-impressed-with-dad-o-meter remain fairly moderate, but do go up temporarily when I help him with homework. That I can rattle off the names and chemical compositions of the four major classes of biomolecules seems to be particularly noteworthy. Which geez, I can do in my sleep.
Another question that came up is why gas and fluid exchange occurs so efficiently in the capillaries. The reason is that there’s this tug of war between blood pressure and osmotic pressure. Blood pressure wins at first, which throws the water out the front end of the capillary. Then the osmotic pressure takes over to bring the water back in at the rear end of the capillary. In between, the two pressures are equal, allowing gases and nutrients and ammonia to cross back and forth. Pretty damn good system.
My wife suggested I take an online quiz to find out which character from “The Good Place” I most resemble. Interesting question, because I might have been Chidi in my younger days, but now seem to have acquired lots of Jason tendencies. The verdict came back as…..Janet. OK, yeah, sure.
The neighbors across the street from us had lots of yard signs promoting their favorite candidates for office, all Republicans, but excluding the soon-to-be-former President, praise the Lord. All of those signs have come down, except for the one that reads “Proud to Be American.” I can live with that.