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.
When my wife read the last bit of “Yeah Nah” in which I said that I was laying on the references to Australia in a shameless bid to get more readers Down Under she was horrified and insisted I make amends.
I do want more Australian readers and I need to make sure that the good people of Australia know that I have the highest regard for them and I just want to make them laugh. Here are some of my reflections on Australia:
In 2006, I was invited to lecture about hormones at a conference on the Gold Coast. This allowed me to ignore signs and also work out from first principles how to swim out of a riptide. For this I am grateful.
My wife and I took our first and only (thus far) hot air balloon ride in Australia. We also went to an outback rodeo where I acquired an excellent authentic Bush Hat. I defiantly wear this hat during the Calgary Stampede. Note: I bear no particular malice toward the Calgary Stampede. Or its Chuckwagon Races. Or PETA.
Australian football players are tough as nails. They wear mouth guards but no padding. I don’t watch much football but I appreciate toughness when I see it.
There are some gracious and first rate thinkers in the field of Analytical Biochemistry in Australia. One is Peter O’Leary who was at the Biochemistry Department at the Royal Perth Hospital. He may still be there. I don’t know. A paper he wrote in 2000 challenged me to rethink everything I knew about testing of hormones in saliva. For this I am also grateful. He promptly wrote back to me when I emailed him years ago about that paper. This doesn’t always happen in the cutthroat world of Analytical Biochemistry.
I listened to ABC Melbourne whilst driving to and from work for several years. From this experience, I know that there are many, many goodhearted and witty people in Australia. I’m not holding any of them responsible for the rabbits and cane toads. Sometimes foolish decisions get made by well-meaning individuals who lack the common sense of a 6-week old puppy. Many of them are civil servants and/or wealthy aristocrats.
Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in the 1930’s by well-meaning government researchers at the Bureau of What Could Go Wrong?/Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations in an attempt to control the grey-backed cane beetle, detrimental to sugar cane agriculture. They (the toads, not the researchers) bred like rabbits and overran large tracts of Western Australia. It didn’t end well.
In 1859, an aristocratic English settler and hunting afficionado named Thomas Austin imported twenty or so English rabbits and plopped them on his private estate in order that he and his buddies could fire lead projectiles at them. (Note to all hunters: I have nothing against hunting!!) The rabbits bred like rabbits and overran other large parts of Australia. That too, didn’t end well.
I just hope that no one took me seriously when I mentioned culturo-linguistic appropriation. No offense was intended. You just never know how people are going to take things these days.
And I honestly do love the Australian accent.
I’ve said enough, I think. Aboot time I ended this post, eh?
The weather is a common topic of discussion here in Calgary. Calgary is near the Rocky Mountains and is conveniently located in Alberta, which-for the time being is conveniently located in Canada. Due to all this convenience and proximity, not to mention Chinook winds, the weather in Calgary can be erratic. You will often overhear people saying stuff like: “If you don’t like the weather in Calgary, wait five minutes.” or “It can snow any day of the year in Calgary.” You’re more likely to hear this if you actually live in Calgary but that’s a side issue. You shouldn’t be listening in on other people’s conversations either but that’s a different side issue.
If you are a Calgarian and if your spouse happens to have spent many years in a warmer climate whereas you -as it were- didn’t, the issue of when exactly Spring has arrived will come up fairly frequently: at least once a year and usually before Easter. Coincidence? I think not.
Full disclosure: I watch one Pro Football game a year. That would be the Super Bowl. This year, I was swept up in a tide of confusion trying to figure out if the NFL had missed the class on advanced Roman Numerals, back in Grade Whatever.
All of us who passed Grade Whatever know that LIV is fifty-four in Roman Numeralese, right? So why did the NFL make the Super Bowl Fifty-Five logo so that it looked like it was the logo for Super Bowl Fifty-Four? And since you brought it up, why did they go and stick that football-on-an-obelisk thing in the logos for Super Bowls Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three and Fifty-Four?
People have been walking around in early February for each of the last five years, scratching their heads and saying, “What the hell Super Bowl IS this, even? That dang logo doesn’t make any sense. Is that pedestal thing supposed to be the letter “I”? Is it one of the Silver Surfer’s high school football trophies? Or what?”
Mrs. Norrin Radd, spouse of Silver Surfer:
“Norrin! Put that trophy in the garage right this century! If I’ve asked you once I’ve asked you MMDLIX times! It’s been like 500 million years since you went to high school. Just because you’re an immortal humanoid alien who can throw a football several parsecs through space with pinpoint accuracy, it doesn’t mean you can leave your old crap lying around everywhere for the rest of eternity. And why are you even in the kitchen right now anyway?”
Here in the Department of Keeping Tabs On The Universe we note that there’s a lot of stuff going on: gravity waves, stars that explode and jet out opposing beams of pure iridium, planets moving in and out of conjunction and now, rays of light that are shooting up from the sides of the reflecting pool in the National Mall in D.C., rays that are regarded by at least one commentator as “extensions of President Joe Biden’s arms” shooting up to metaphorically embrace America.
Sadly, I immediately forgot all about answering that question. Months went by. But then, a few weeks ago, I ran across an unusual headline emanating from Florida. Happily, the headline jogged my memory about the Florida Man game. Sadly, I soon forgot all about the unusual headline and also my failure to write about the Florida Man game. A couple of weeks went by. I happened to gaze at a map of Florida. Happily, I suddenly remembered the unusual headline and my failure to write about the Florida Man game. But sadly, I had forgotten about an appointment I had to go to. Happily, I made it to the appointment, remembered where I lived, was able to return home where I immediately recalled the unusuaI headline, my inability to write about the Florida Man game and the fact that since my last post was on November third I needed to get my ass in gear. I began to type feverishly…