Judge: Dr. Gillson, please explain to the Court why your last post appeared over a month ago. How do you expect to keep your following in the face of such an erratic schedule?
Me: I apologize Your Honor. There are just too many things going on these days. I can’t seem to focus.
Judge: Please clarify. You can’t seem to focus or you actually can’t focus?
Me: I actually can’t focus. What is Twitter going to look like with Musk at the helm? What will happen in the Ukraine? What about current and impending shortages in just about everything including common sense? And why won’t my dog, Sarge, make friends with his talk-buttons? Not only that, he recently nibbled the white tuft (aka “flag”) on his tail down to its nub for the second time. Anyway, I’m swamped.
Judge: Whatever. All that aside, I find you guilty of lacking clarity of speech and I hereby sentence you to get on with this post. And I’m sorry to hear about Sarge’s tuft. Why don’t you try some more niacinamide?
I was sitting here trying to think of something to write about this month when I suddenly started puzzling over the structures of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (aka NAD) and nicotinamide riboside (aka NR), a couple of molecules people routinely ingest for purposes including but not limited to hair regrowth and anti-aging. I swear on Vidal Sassoon’s hair clippers that I am not making this up.
I don’t know why NAD and NR popped into my head. But I thought ‘maybe I can work this into a column’. After that I thought, ‘well first of all, almost nobody knows what a “column” is any more because columns are what people write in newspapers and secondly almost nobody knows what a newspaper is any more.’ Finally I thought, ‘What the heck? This is a totally stupid, boring idea.’ In fact, it was so boring that I fell asleep at the keyboard. But while I was sleeping I had this dream…
My last post ended with an open question: Who is Ogden Nash? His name came up in one of the lines in the poem that was featured in that post : “…Rugged individualists trying to mimic Ogden Nash, the only difference being: he traded words for cash…”.
The Department of Rugged Individualists, consisting primarily of me and Spencer (a stuffed plush seal) hates leaving alert readers dangling, so as threatened, I’ll give you the scoop on Ogden Nash. But first, another poem:
Spencer If he weren’t stuffed with foam, Spencer would be denser.
I was hanging out with my soon-to-be four year old granddaughter recently and at a couple of points during the visit, when she was confronted by something novel or funny , she earnestly exclaimed, “What da heck?” I snorted back a guffaw the first time I heard her say it, trying to guess which immediate/extended family member she could have picked it up from. A parent? A grandparent? An aunt or uncle? And could this person possibly have a propensity for the French language?
Fast forward a few days to where I caught myself saying “What da heck?” when I ran across stuff that was novel, puzzling or just plain goofy. This is the great thing about little kids: they remind you that the world can be a pretty fascinating and amusing place if you just start paying attention and look at the world through their eyes.
OK-admit it. You reflexively started to softly sing “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” but substituted “AAC devices” for “Front Teeth” and now it’s stuck in your head. You also said, “What IS an AAC device even?”. Then you wondered who Donald Yetter Gardner is. Now you’re wondering how I know that you thought/did all this stuff and you’re also wondering if maybe I’m psychic. Yes, I am psychic. Tell no one. I’ll know if you do.
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and being Canadian (Motto: Thanksgiving is NOT celebrated on Thursday up here) I feel compelled to relate some tales about the happy times I spent on a turkey farm with my cousin “Harold” (name changed to protect the innocent).
Ed. note: The author has nothing against the name Harold. Harold is an excellent moniker, mostly because it can be shortened to Hal. And who among us doesn’t remember the fact that rugged test pilot Hal Jordan was eventually recruited to become the intergalactic superhero Green Lantern. Hal, equipped with his impressive array of green weaponry, was charged with protecting all of Cosmic Sector 2814, including but not limited to the State of Nevada.
OK, how is everybody doing? I’m hanging in there thank you very much. The last couple of months have been action-packed and since I don’t have anything else to write about currently except the trend to go to wider skis and just kind of GS the runs instead of doing a bunch of nice linked turns, I’ll tell you about my July and August.
My ski epiphany was in March anyway so it’s old news and I haven’t made any turns since then, so I’ll leave all that for another day. Besides, where would I have gone skiing this summer without flying there and probably winding up duct-taped to my seat at some point? Life is complicated these days.
Anyway…where was I? Yes! Two months ago I found a 500-ton boulder that I had managed to lose at some point in the last forty years. We got a puppy five weeks ago. Shortly after that I had an unusual experience while unicycling. While all this was going on, I also began to learn some self-defense techniques. Last but not least we got a new vacuum cleaner. So basically, I’ve been swamped.
My challenge now is to weave all these threads into a semi-coherent narrative. Don’t hold your breath though.
This brief post has nothing to do with alien monsters. It may have something to do with Dave Barry and his dog Lucy. Time will tell.
The topic of this post is actually a freshly-minted canine classification known as the Giant Suck-Lump. The Suck-Lump moniker was invented in my back yard two days ago by my daughter Alex. Last summer I thought she might also have invented another canine classification: the Giant Floof. However, in the course of due diligence, I Googled “giant floof” and found this photo:
So I have to admit, I feel like the Giant Floof might already have been a thing last summer before Alex mentioned it. You never know though. Newton and Leibniz are reputed to have independently discovered Calculus a few centuries ago. So Alex may have independently coined Giant Floof. Questions remain though. Is that a smallish man surrounded by smallish furniture hoisting an average-sized dog or a large, burly man in a room full of normal-sized furniture hoisting a freakishly large dog? Is that just one of those camera angle tricks? Sometimes I think that searching the Internet raises more questions than it answers.
Thankfully, the provenance of the Giant Suck-Lump (GSL) is undisputed. I was there.
The GSL is noted primarily for its ability to elicit a stream of baby talk from even the most stoic individual-male or female- and also for its tendency to induce a state of bliss, calmness and possibly profound hypotension.
This Suck-Lump is technically a 9-week old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Sarge. He has frightening large paws. Frankly speaking, he is a huge suck. There’s no other way to put it. In the two days since he came to live with my wife Jeanette and me he has rarely strayed more than 15-20 cM away from either one of us. In fact his right ear is touching my left shoe as I type this.
The following photo shows Jeanette and Sarge on the day he was extracted from the Suck-Lumpaculum where he was hatched.
Did I mention that Suck-Lumps have frighteningly large paws?
Our Suck-Lump likes to sleep with his head underneath something, this case, a table.
Here he is, fresh from a fierce battle with his current nemesis, the dreaded Alberta forked tongue lizard-snake.
Below we have our Suck-Lump, fully recovered and proudly dominating his vanquished foe.
And finally, here are Dave and Lucy, looking somewhat perplexed:
People are talking a lot about UFOs again lately although our heads of state don’t usually join the conversation. Trudeau has been silent but I’m sure that if he ever managed to get his hands on an extraterrestrial he would threaten to grab it with both hands and stuff it into one of his nasty quarantine hotels faster than you can say Avro Arrow.
Trump didn’t give UFOs much airtime(!) when he was in office although he is the first US President to admit that he had been briefed on UFOs. Reportedly he was skeptical of the whole business.
Biden is apparently under a gag order and ducked questions about the topic last month. He simply told the press to ask Obama.
Obama is the exception: seems he can’t keep his mouth shut, holding forth about UFOs recently on the CBS Late Late Show with James Corden (aka The Early Early Show with James Corden) and also on The Ezra Klein Show (aka The Ezra Klein Show).
He had this to say:
“We’re just a bunch of humans with doubts and confusion. We do the best we can. And the best thing we can do is treat each other better because we’re all we’ve got. And so I would hope that the knowledge that there were aliens out there would solidify people’s sense that what we have in common is a little more important. Plus, there are also a whole bunch of us here who think cats are actually an alien species sent to Earth to spy on us and report back to their home planet.“
Full disclosure: I probably made up that last bit.
What Obama really said was that he had no doubt that were aliens to be proven real, it would impact the political and social climate on Earth and he also noted that: “there would be immediate arguments about like, well, we need to spend a lot more money on weapons systems to defend ourselves. New religions would pop up. And who knows what kind of arguments we’d get into? Besides the cat thing, I mean.“
I don’t know why Obama would be so fixated on this Unidentified Flying Felines issue. He’s not into cats. In fact, he owns two Portugese Water Dogs named Bo and Sunny. Incidentally, and in the interests of inclusiveness, Bo and Sunny can be arranged to: “and Boy Nuns”. But I digress.
Here’s how to estimate the probability that you or someone you know (such as your daughter, hypothetically) believes the “cats are alien spies” narrative:
<1 (aka zero) cats in house: Person probably doesn’t believe cats are not of Earth
1 or 2 cats in house: Person sometimes entertains thoughts about alien cat spies. But not very often.
3-12 cats in house: Person is totally down with Obama’s narrative. Said person also invests heavily in pulverized walnut shell litter futures and options. You know who you are and you know what I’m talking about.
>12 cats in house: Person is an alien recruit facilitating transfer of cat-sourced data back to home planet. (This begs the question why a species advanced enough to have mastered interstellar travel would send out spies lacking opposable thumbs.)
Are Cats Spies Sent by Aliens? A Deep Examination of One of the Internet’s Best Conspiracy Theories
The author cites various observations in support of the theory including ancient Egyptian cat references, our inability to understand how cats purr, the uncanny similarity between cats and “grey aliens”, their superior vision, hairballs, their habit of suddenly darting out of a room (presumably to give report) and their ability to defy gravity and always land on their feet after falling out of a window or a hot air balloon.
Indeed, these are compelling observations.
Here is another compelling observation found on the THINK website:
“Mind you, it’s hardly clear why extraterrestrials would travel many trillions of miles through the dangerous voids of space simply to pirouette above our heads and occasionally play cat-and-mouse (emphasis mine) with the Navy. But — full disclosure — we really don’t know what the aliens find interesting to do. Maybe they have their reasons.”
Yah. Their reasons are that their ships are piloted by alien feline spies. Duh.
And if you’re still not convinced, check this out:
This is an actual unretouched photo of a new spy which has just touched down in its landing pod. It is already hard at work, gathering information.
I rest my case.
P.S. Another full disclosure: I have two cats. My daughter has three
Many people have already been through one or more quarantines since this Covid business started more than a year ago. It can be very challenging to be cooped up alone indoors for two weeks, especially if you don’t like the company. Fortunately there are loads of sites you can go to for help. As VP of the Altruism and Trivia Division of the Lateral Thinking Department, I decided to make a contribution to the Covid cause, so I thought up some suggestions to help people avoid going stark raving bonkers while quarantining.