New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jumps off a cliff and people in the greater Boston area freak out. He's supposed to be in cryogenic freeze until halfway through practice camp. But they shouldn't have worried. Look closely. That waterfall is aerating the water. Making it bubbly. Ariel skiers use the same technique in pools when they're training. It makes the water softer.
Brady made sure some air was added to the water to make his jump easier. Which is nothing like taking air out of something to make it easier.
And no, I will never let it go. I ain't no Disney princess.
I had to clear ice off my roof last Saturday. There must have been half a ton. Yes, I am highly prone to exaggeration. It is, in fact, both my vocation AND avocation, but this is the truth. My estimate put the ice at over 1,000 pounds. (450 kilos for my foreign friends.)
The first monstrous chunk I dislodged landed in the snow pack and looked a lot like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I told Max (the nine-year-old) to grab an action figure so I could take a picture. (Ex. 1). I returned to the roof to chip more.
Nina (the 14-year-old) saw me through the skylight and ran to get her mother. “He’s going to die,” she said. Sarah explained that the snow was five feet thick. I could, and probably would, fall off and survive.
Nina pointed to the ice sculpture I had position for better light. Right in my landing spot. Rock-hard, spear-tip ice. (Ex. 2)
“What a moron,” Sarah said as she returned to her business. Max and Nina sat staring through a window at the ice. Waiting for the whoosh, crunch and scream.
Which never came, I’m proud to say. Not despite the danger, but because of it. The spikes below made me better above. I think I’m going to start taking this approach with everything I do. Starting with my writing. If this piece is not well liked, I’m going to put a hole-punch to my left nostril.
There. That upped the ante. I’m going to put a shark in my pool before my next novel comes out.
I need a utility belt. Like Batman’s, only not so yellow. I don’t have the cache to make this a big fashion movement, but necessity is nudging my sense of style. The fact is I’ve got to carry too much crap with me all the time. Like Batman. Hence, my gravitation to his innovation.
While I’d love to carry shark repellent, 300 feet of Kevlar line and a smoke bomb with me wherever I went. Sadly, my life requires a different set of tools: Chapstick, reading glasses, an iPhone and car keys. That last one is the straw the broke my pockets. My new car key is bigger than a Phaser 1. Starfleet Velcroed those things to a belt because they don’t fit in your freakin’ pockets. Again with the utility belt.
I’m thinking something tasteful. Black leather. Not some SWAT team web system. Something that almost looks like it belongs. For all the stuff that belongs.
Because I can’t carry a purse. I’ve had my eye on a Coach clutch for some time, but no. Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jacque Cousteau – they didn’t carry purses. Belts all the way. I’m starting my hunt now.
. . . week. Random acts of kindness are great. Let’s have more of them. It’s the nationally designated week I dislike almost as much as World Kindness Day (Nov. 13). My problem: we should be nice all the time, not loading it up on one day or one week. What, so we can be jerk-wads the rest of the year? So we can say, ‘hey, I was nice to you all back in February!’ Doesn’t work that way.
Not all designated time periods are stupid. It’s good to draw attention to breast cancer, fire safety or black history. But being nice doesn’t need any press. It’s a default position. Putting a spotlight on it creates the opposite effect – it makes niceness look unusual. Special. Like we’re not nice all the time when most of us are – at least more than 50%, if you don’t count your time in the car.
Kill kindness day and its random acts week. Kill them so we can let kindness live.
Whatever. A game that ends in a virtual coin toss - two crazy plays making the game a near toss up - features an embarrassing brawl. Seriously. This is how millionaires chose to end America’s premier sporting event.
Sport can create great stories, though. And this one has a moral. Cheaters win. Cheat often, without remorse and cheat whether you need to or not. Cheat for that feeling that you took something from someone else. That makes you feel extra clever. In end, to the winners go the spoils, or get spoiled, or simply spoil. Can’t remember. One of those is right.
Even if you don’t care about football, the newest scandal matters. The England Patriots stand accused of deflating their footballs in last week’s playoff game. It made their footballs easier to pass and catch than the ones they supplied to the Baltimore Ravens. It’s cheating. When Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about it, he giggled. Which is worse than cheating. Brady’s giggle is bad for America.
Football is a game and a game is nothing but a set of rules. You have four tries to move a ball 10 yards. Move it one hundred yards and you get six points. The team with the most points wins. Rules. There is simply no game without them. That the rules are minor or frivolous or technical doesn’t matter. They are the structure. The purpose is not to get around the rules. The praise, if any is to be deserved, is from achieving despite the rules.
The National Football League doesn’t share this believe. The fine for tampering with game balls is $25 grand, which is like asking me for $3. To gain a little advantage in a playoff game I would’ve paid $6 up front. Maybe even $9.
The NFL is also dumb and short-sighted. Poor referees, criminals on the field, a disregard for the very make-up of the game – football is number one in America right now, but each degradation threatens that perch. If you don’t believe go ask someone at the boxing commission.
All of which is bad for America. Because a nation is nothing but a set of rules, too. You’ve got to respect the little rules if you don’t want a culture that ignores the big ones.
Attacking cartoonists with guns? Really? I didn’t want to write about this, but it keeps reentering my brain space. It’s too stupid. I’m glad others have called the slaughter of staff at Charlie Hebdo heinous and barbaric. It is those things. It’s also dumb and counterproductive and I wish I could explain that to extremists before they’re gunned down.
I understand the Quran says those who insult Islam shall be seized and slain without mercy. (33:61) Aside from the fact that it was 1,000 years ago and the world was different – and skipping over the fact that these morons forgot to seize before the slaying – you’ve still got to define the insult. That is neither easy, nor full proof. Satire is both irreverent AND elevating. Any celebrity will tell you, you know you’ve made when you’re being made fun of.
What did the extremists accomplish? Killing, in the end, leaves you not with new converts, but new enemies. So it’s not a good growth strategy. As far as image goes, gunning down unarmed jokesters makes you look pathetic. “We have avenged the Prophet,” they shouted. What arrogance. To think Muhammad ever needed the help of these cowards.