Sunday, January 23, 2022

News and Updates

1. One of the many joys of wrapping up my mother’s estate is that the rules for doing so are written for much broader cases than my own specific situation, which is how I found myself at the post office on Friday, sending a letter to an officer of the court to let them know that I had – just that day – formally notified myself that I might in fact be involved in this. I notified my brother too, just in case he wasn’t aware of something that HAS OCCUPIED US BOTH FOR MUCH OF LAST SEVERAL MONTHS, not that I am complaining about the ridiculousness of the whole thing in any actionable way whatsoever. But now we’re up to date with the bureaucracy for the time being and that has to count for something.

2. My dad always hated the Los Angeles Rams. “Biggest waste of talent in the world,” he’d say of them as they lost yet another football game on a sunny 1970s fall afternoon. I was never sure why he felt so strongly about a team that played three thousand miles away in a different division from our hometown Eagles, but I couldn’t say he was wrong and so I inherited this particular prejudice full blown. This is why I was slightly amazed to find myself rooting for them in today’s playoff game. Because Tom Brady has won enough and should take his vague scent of corruption and go home now.

3. On the one hand, Brady and his team lost today and the Cowboys lost last week, so they’re gone. On the other hand, the Eagles got blown out of the water last week and the Packers choked up a terrible loss yesterday, so they are also gone. I have nobody left to root against or for in this year’s NFL playoffs and I can now ignore the whole thing entirely, and I will call that a win.

4. It's amazing what you can find in the darker corners of American television. This morning I found myself watching a soccer game between RUSG Brussels and Gent, two teams in the Belgian league. It was a well-played and entertaining game, one that was not decided until the very last instant, but mostly what I found myself looking at was RUSG's stadium, which was apparently built inside of a sinkhole. The entire thing was ringed by forest where the crowd - which was apparently banned from the stadium, whether for covid or disciplinary reasons was not made clear - gathered to look down on the pitch and light their flares, much to the concern of the announcers who were clearly worried that the whole thing would burn down. The announcers also kept referring to a "stump" somewhere that could support precisely one person who wanted to peer over the walls to watch the game below. The seating at one end of the stadium was nearly vertical, which is not an exaggeration - I genuinely couldn't tell if there were stairs or ladders to get you from one row to the next. It was the most amazing stadium I have ever seen.

5. Are we absolutely sure that “Tucker Carlson” is not a Max-Headroom-style AI programmed to spew out nonsense at regular intervals to see who is stupid enough to listen to it? Has anyone actually seen him in person? Anyone? I spent a wholly inordinate amount of time this weekend marveling at his M&M fetish, which he was generous enough to share with an unsuspecting world who, frankly, didn’t ask to be informed of that at all. There is not enough whiskey in the barrel to think about that as long as I did, but so it went. Everyone should call him “Candyman” from now on, even in formal legal documents.

6. Semester break is now well and truly over and I got nothing at all done on most of the projects I had hoped to do this January. I am not sure why this surprised me as much as it did, but there you have it.

7. Although I did get a few things done, for all that. One of the joys of accepting that you will never get a tenure-track job is that it simplifies your record-keeping requirements considerably. A great deal of paper that was being saved because it might be useful someday suddenly became not useful at all and therefore could be removed from both office and house without concern. The recycling truck crew earned their money at my house this week, let’s just say that.

8. Kim and I spent a chunk of today at the nearest Costco because reasons. We don’t really need anything. We don’t really have room for anything. But sometimes you just have to get out of the house and experience some retail therapy, especially the kind that leaves you with tasty food.

9. Yes, I too have discovered Wordle. It’s fun, it’s quick, it’s free, and it has no data-mining (yet), so I’m all for it. Plus “Mastermind” was one of my favorite games back when, and this is just an updated version of it. So far my record is getting it in two tries (today’s word), though I have sometimes needed all six. I’ve always gotten the word, though. I don’t post it to social media every day, though, as that seems excessive to me. I am clearly in the minority on that, but as things flooding my feeds go it’s pretty benign.

10. My “drink more Italian wines” project has also stalled, which anyone who knows me could have predicted from the get go. Perhaps I will get back to that soon.

11. We’re down to just the two of us now. Oliver went back to Small Liberal Arts College a couple of weeks ago. Lauren (and Maxim, who was staying with us for a few days) went back to Main Campus University yesterday. You get used to having your kids around surprisingly quickly and then they’re gone again, back to where they need to be even if that isn’t here.

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