WEEKEND BRIEFINGAn Uncertain Souper Sunday
Jan. 30 - It's Week 12 for our little bean. I'm excited about this for a couple of reasons—and for the first time, none of them has anything to do with flatulence.
According to all the literature, the DMG's fatigue and nausea should only diminish from this point forward. That's good.
The baby's brain will continue to grow, but it's structurally intact now. That's also good—assuming it took more genes from the DMG than from me in this area.
The baby has begun "passing excrement." I suppose that's good, but it's hard to get enthusiastic about someone taking a crap inside the only woman I can have sex with.
The DMG's abdomen may begin to swell, which is swell.
(Her breasts began to swell several weeks ago, which was superb.)
Best of all, at the end of this week we'll be done with the first trimester (I use we in the inaccurate sense). At that point, we'll actually be allowed to tell people that we're pregnant! At last!
But Week 12 has its down sides, too. For example, look at this "typical" ultrasound of a baby's face at Week 12. Get a load of that mug—if you can even call the geometrical aberration over on the right a mug. I'd call it a "Nightmare-Inducing Demonoid Horror." Any more pictures like that and I'm gonna start sleeping in another room—in another building. I mean, is that really a baby, or is this woman breeding a giant locust?
Speaking of sleeping in other rooms...
One symptom I haven't read a lot about is snoring. The DMG was never a big snorer, not when sober, so this leaves me with only two alternatives to choose from: either pregnancy makes women snore, or the DMG's been hitting the bottle behind my back. (It would certainly explain the hourly runs to the bathroom.)
I've always had a hard time falling asleep to the sound of snoring, lovely as the source may be. In the old days, on the few random occassions when the DMG started snoring, I could just poke her until she woke up, then pretend I was asleep. As she lay there wondering what the hell had awakened her, I'd have a five- or ten-minute window to fall asleep. But even I have my standards: I'm unwilling to wake a sleeping pregnant woman. So about three or four nights a week, lately, I've had slink out of bed and crash on the living room sofa. It's not very comfortable, it's two feet too short, and I think I'm allergic to whatever its made of, but I'm still able to fall asleep pretty quickly.
Invariably, the DMG gets up at 3 or 4 in the morning for one of her nocturnal bathroom runs, notices I'm not in bed, traipses sleepily out to the living room to call me back to bed, can't see in the darkness, bumps into one of my feet extending over the too-short end of the couch, jolting me awake, and mumbles something about what time it is.
I follow her back to the bedroom, throw the cats off my side of the bed, and pass right out.
Needless to say, this is disrupting my sleep patterns. If she snores through the second trimester, that'll be just in time for the endless daylight of spring and early summer to bring on my insomnia.
I complained about this the other day to a friend who's had a kid. I was hoping he'd have something comforting to say about the snoring winding down in, say, Week 12. He didn't.
"Just get used to it," he said. "You're not gonna get a full night's sleep for the next three years anyway."
Fair enough. But dammit, there's a night in early 2007 with my name all over it...
Weekend Mind Screw
Annoy your friends all weekend!
Presumably you're sitting at a computer reading this. Good. Lift your right foot off the floor and move it in clockwise circles. Excellent. Keep doing it. Now try to draw the number six in the air with your right hand.
Your foot's not going to like that. See? It's reversed direction, all on its own.
This is excellent. Make people do it all weekend. Get everyone doing it all at once at your Super Bowl party.
(Credit should go to someone named Lori Young, quoted on some website I visited but didn't bookmark.)
I piled on a lot of weight in my late twenties and early thirties, but a couple of years ago I lost it all on my own unpatented Moron Diet. Not only did I lose the weight, I also built up muscle, toned my body, increased my energy, became less uncoordinated (which isn't saying much), and probably added a couple of years to my pointless existence.
Everyone that knew me marvelled at the changes. They all wanted to know how I'd done it. Since the miracle Moron Diet is unpatented, I happily shared it with everyone who asked. Here's how it works: you eat less and exercise more. Believe it or not, that's all it takes. Results will be even better if you eat not only less, but healthier food, and if you don't interpret "more exercise" too literally. (As in, "I used to use the tv remote all the time... now I get up, cross the room, and change the channel by hand. That's more exercise than I used to get!")
I mention all this because I'm on the Moron Diet again, trying to shake off the ten pounds I've gained in Denmark. But I've encountered a problem. I'm experiencing a Soup Crisis.
They don't have canned soup in Denmark.
They've got Ramen noodles up the wazoo (an awkward place for noodles, but that's a story for another day). They've got frozen soup bases into which you can add frozen meatballs, frozen dumplings, or other frozen soup add-ins. But the concept of a can that you dump into a bowl and pop in the microwave doesn't seem to have occurred to them yet.
I'm not exaggerating. There's one brand, Beauvais, that puts out three types of canned, lard-enriched liquid that might conceivably be thought of as soup, but they're not especially appealling to this American palate. (And I'm actually a big fan of most of the food in Denmark.)
Now look at this site (scroll to the table on the bottom), which reviews some—but by no means all—of the canned soups available to the American consumer at the average supermarket. And that's just the "healthy" soups!
I hope someone from the Progresso or Campbell's organization is reading this. Or hell, even just someone who knows someone who works for them. I don't care how many degress of separation it takes to get to these people: there's a massive market for canned soups over here.
That's right, I'm just kidding. There's no sense trying to get American soupmakers to tap the European market, because they can't. The meat content in most American soups gets them classified as "meat" products, which are difficult to export into the EU. Or so the woman at the American Store told me last November. She may have been mistaken, or lying, or stupid, but I'm reluctant to doubt people. (After all, if you doubt people, who are you gonna believe?)
Anyway, if it's not the meat issue, maybe it's the GMO issue: remember, inferior means superior. (That link, by the way, ties right into the "take science back" phenomenon I've been writing about.)
I'm sure there are dozens of economic, social, political, and psychosexual reasons why canned soup hasn't penetrated the Scandinavian market yet. What I'm saying is, I don't care. I'm tired of cooking my own soups, but I need healthy soups for the Moron Diet.
Somebody do something.
My beloved Patriots take on the Panthers in the Super Bowl on Sunday. You'd hardly know it here. I've never seen such indifference to the Super Bowl, not even when I lived in Los Angeles. No canned soups, no Super Bowl hysteria. . . what the hell is going on here?
One thing that's going on is team handball. The Danish national team keeps steamrolling its way through the big European tournament that's underway right now. I think they qualified for the finals Wednesday night. The DMG is excited as hell. She's especially excited because Denmark's goalie is the brother of one of her best friends. I like team handball and I'm surprised it's not more popular in the states—fast pace, plenty of scoring, lots of gratuitous violence—but it's hard to be sitting here in late January looking at sports pages dominated by handball headlines.
We'll be watching the game at a Super Bowl party at a friend's apartment. (A Danish friend who's got his priorities straight.) The game kicks off at 12:25 am Monday morning, meaning it probably won't end until 3:30am at the earliest.
It's going to be very important to pace myself on the Carlsberg. I'm pretty good at that.
Really. Ask anyone.
It's the shots that get me. The secret to successful drinking in Denmark is to realize that all those little shots of schnapps add up. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and knock back a tiny shot of the sugary stuff, much of which is actually flavored with candy, every time someone raises a glass and says "Skål!" You barely even notice them. Like an old western posse, though, they always catch up with you in the end.
In my case, they not only catch up with me: they knock me down, beat me up, tapdance on my skull, and leave me for dead.
So no damn schnapps on Sunday.
* * *
Renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg reportedly died on February 1, 1976, but accounts of his death are shrouded in uncertainty.
(That was the one-liner. The extended cut follows.)
On February 1, 1976, Werner Heisenberg died in Munich. Mr. Heisenberg was one of the last century's foremost physicists, a reputation he earned primarily by having confused everybody so completely that most of us remain baffled to this very day.
The famous "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" states that the act of observation changes the state of the thing being observed. This principle is most vividly illustrated by the penis.
Mr. Heisenberg studied with Nils Bohr and Albert Einstein before finally branching out into his own area of highly specialized confusion, eventually dubbed "quantum physics."
He was particularly confused by his efforts to identify the exact location of a given particle while simultaneously identifying another of its characteristics (such as height, weight, or telephone number).
It was confusing mainly because he couldn't do it. Not only that, but he was also able to discover that no one else could do it, either. Ever. No matter how hard they tried. This suggested a disturbing level of certainty about the Uncertainy Principle, making it paradoxical, which finally put an end to such premodern notions as fixedness, regularity, dependability, and reliability. Thanks to Mr. Heisenberg, the world is now a volatile aggregation of baffling incompatibilities.
* * *
Perhaps anticipating Heisenberg, or a little overeager for Valentine's Day, the Soviet government declared on February 1, 1918, that it was actually February 14, 1918.
Birthdays, Holidays, Whatever
January 30 is the birthday of Phil Collins (1951), Vanessa Redgrave (1937), Boris Spassky (1937), Tammy Grimes (1934), Gene Hackman (1931), Harold Prince (1928), Dick Martin (1922), and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882).
January 31 is the birthday of Justin Timberlake (1981), Minnie Driver (1971), Nolan Ryan (1947), Richard Gephardt (1941), Suzanne Pleshette (1937), Ernie Banks (1931), Jean Simmons (1929), Carol Channing (1923), Norman Mailer (1923), and Jackie Robinson (1919).
February 1 is the birthday of Lisa Marie Presley (1968), Don Everly (1937), Garrett Morris (1937), Boris Yeltsin (1931), S.J. Perelman (1904), Langston Hughes (1902), and Clark Gable (1901).
January 31 is Independence Day in Nauru and the Queen's Birthday in the Netherlands.
February 1 is Independence Day in Honduras.
Enjoy the weekend!
© 2004, The Moron's Almanac