When I was a kid, I somehow ended up rooting for the Philadelphia Flyers. This was the height of the Broad Street Bullies era, the heady days between 1973 and 1976 when the team made it to the Stanley Cup finals three times and won twice.
I was such a big fan that I once staked out the Island Inn in Westbury to wait for the team as they departed for a game against the Islanders. In the lobby I got autographs from Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent and The Hammer Dave Schultz, whose number I wore on the back of my Flyers jersey.
Over the years I lost interest in hockey, but now the game seems interesting to me again. A big part of it is TV; brilliant widescreen HD has made hockey a spectacle to watch at home, compared to the awful wide angles and invisible puck that used to dominate hockey coverage.
Watching the Rangers and Canadiens the other night reminded me of this wonderful short film based on made Roch Carrier’s iconic story The Hockey Sweater. If you have ten minutes, it’s really worth the time; it’s a story of boyhood, but also a thinly veiled commentary on the tension between Quebec and English Canada.
The Sweater by Sheldon Cohen, National Film Board of Canada
There’s a world of difference between the lo-fi orbit of The Mountain Goats and big time rockers Green Day — but these are two songs meant to be played back to back.
The Mountain Goats, obscure by any standard, became much less so when this song showed up at the end of an episode of The Walking Dead. And Green Day? Nothing obscure about them, but it still impresses me that they made it big at a time when most mainstream music was pretty boring.
Now that the presents are unwrapped we can all take a deep breath and turn our attention to more important matters: the annual Grinch Report.
Every year during the month of December, journalists take to branding evil-doers with the Grinch label. I’ve pointed out here that the Grinch analogy is not merely lazy, but stupid.
Here’s why: if someone steals your Christmas presents and keeps them, they are not like the Grinch. If the gifts are later returned after a life-changing turn of heart, then yes, that is Grinch-like.
A small sample of current stories:
Bah, humbug: Grinch steals Iowa family’s gifts
Cherokee Co. Family Says ‘Grinch’ Stole Their Presents
Police hunt Grinch of a crook after Christmas crime spree
Grinch steals Christmas for Lancaster family
Grinch steals Tampa children’s presents, family dog
There’s another thing that sets real life crime stories apart from How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas: it’s very hard among the hundreds of Grinch tales — and believe me, there are hundreds — to find a single Grinch victim who takes their loss is stride, like the fine citizens of Whoville.
The Grinch railed against the excess of Christmas, and in the end learned a valuable lesson. The Whos, understanding the true meaning of the holiday, didn’t care that all their crap had been stolen. It’s a beautiful book — but maybe next year we could use a few more stories about people behaving like the Whos, and a few less about the Grinch.
On a recent ambulance call, we took care of a man who tumbled down a few steps after tripping over his dog. He dinged up his shoulder pretty well, but it could have been much worse. I resisted the temptation to ask, “Do you want us to have a look at the dog?” See, I’m getting better!
60% of my household’s pet contingent.
We’ve all read how pet ownership is good for your health, but according to a study by the CDC a few years ago, tripping over your pets poses a significant hazard — and all their toys and crap are trouble, too.
The biggest culprits? Dogs. From the report:
“Nearly 7.5 times as many injuries involved dogs (76,223 [88.0%]) compared with cats (10,130 [11.7%]).”
“The most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a dog (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by a dog (21.2%).”
I’m no stranger to the dangers posed by household
pests pets; living in a house teeming with furry animals who scurry about underfoot is risky business. It’s so bad at our house that when I get out of bed in the middle of the night, I sweep the floor with my foot to check for the presence of animals or sharp-edged bones and toys.
What I’d really like to see is a study of the relationship between stepping on cats and cardiac arrests. There’s nothing more startling than that — and speaking of cats, the study contains this odd tidbit:
“Most falls involving cats occurred at home (85.7%). Approximately 11.7% of injuries occurred while persons were chasing cats.”
To recap, a few safety tips: sweep the floor with your foot, limit the number of animals in your house, and never chase cats.
“Hey, WTF?! The cat’s eating my food. Somebody do something.”
I’m not in the habit of reposting things, but this In Praise of Older Women thing popped up again — this time on my Facebook feed. This is something I wrote in 2005:
Speaking of dopey internet stuff, folks, always check out the junk people send you before you forward it, even things from your friends.
How many bogus virus warning have you gotten from people you know? Or ridiculous urban legends? And it’s not just scary stuff. Yesterday, a woman I know quite well (who happens to share my house and parenting duties) sent me an essay called In Praise of Older Women, by Andy Rooney. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s a wry, self-deprecating appreciation of seasoned ladies that includes lines like this:
An older woman will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.
Shut your eyes and you can sort of imagine sitting at the Palmer House Cafe and hearing it come out of Andy Rooney’s mouth. But it didn’t.
Like the infamous Kurt Vonnegut Sunscreen Speech, it’s a case of misattribution gone wild. Baltimore Sun writer Susan Reimer asked Rooney about it in 2003:
“It just bugs me that anybody would put my name on something I didn’t write,” said Rooney from his New York office. He’s been the object of this kind of hoax before, and another, he said, had just crossed his desk. I asked him if he shared the author’s affection for older women, and he said, “Not particularly.”
Two years later I’m still getting the email…