GLOBAL BRIEFING
Flabbergastation

Oct. 19 - You're probably sitting in front of a computer as you read this, so try this experiment: sitting upright, lift your chin upwards as high as you can—until you're staring straight at the ceiling. Then swivel your head from side to side. Okay, that's it. On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate the difficulty of this maneuver? Unless you've broken your neck recently, I'm guessing your score would be somewhere between 0 and 1 (or between 9 and 10 if you inverted your scoring system).

This is something we've been trying to get Molli to do for weeks, if not longer. (Lifting her head like that, I mean, not assigning it a level of difficulty.) For the past month or so, she's been pretty good about holding her head upright when we carry her. And for the past few weeks, whenever we hold her in a sitting-up position on the floor or in our laps, she's kept her head mostly upright—though it wobbles a lot and sometimes crashes down. She's like a bobble-head doll.

When we lay her on her stomach, however, she can't do much more than lift her cheek a centimeter or two off the floor for a few seconds, then whump!

We do everything we can to encourage her. We stand or sit right in front of her head so she can hear us but has to lift her head to see us.

"Look up, Molli! Look at mommy and daddy! We're right here! Lift your head, lift your head!"

Cry! Simper! Grunt!

"C'mon baby, we're right here, just lift your head little and you'll see us..."

Simper! Grunt! Cry!

And so on.

It's been discouraging for all three of us—until Sunday night.

That evening, just an hour or so before the Patriots won their twentieth consecutive game, Trine was setting Molli down on the playmat and telling me to get around in front of the child to start encouraging her.

Before I could even get myself in position I heard Trine gasp in astonishment (a sentence that requires these parentheses to prevent its being taken out of context).

"Look! Look!"

I glanced down at Molli and was stunned by what I saw. She lay flat on her belly as always, but her head was already fully upright. Without any coaxing at all she'd lifted it completely off the floor and was scanning the room from side to side.

I realize now that historically I've been too liberal in my use of the word flabbergasted. I realize that because it's the only word that seems appropriate to how I felt, and it doesn't come anywhere near to doing the feeling justice. I was knocked beyond myself.

And that's apparently that. It's already history. Molli was craning her neck around maniacally all day yesterday (though only when being held or sat up; when lying on her back she shows no inclination to lift her head up at all). And she'll be craning her neck around the rest of her life, just like you and me and every other human being who hasn't sustained a neck injury. And she won't think twice about it. I probably won't either.

But my God... when this girl takes her first step or says her first word, I'm probably gonna have a freaking aneurysm.

* * *

If they haven't already lost it by the time you read this, it's still inevitable that the Boston Red Sox will have lost the ALCS to the New York Yankees (again) by the end of the week.

And I'm glad.

I'm glad because the undefeated New England Patriots, who happen to be the defending champions and the first team in NFL history to win (a) 20 consecutive games and (b) 17 consecutive regular season games, will be hosting the New York Jets in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.

The New York Jets, more than mere divisional rivals, are also undefeated. That means that when the final whistle blows on Sunday, there'll only be one undefeated team in the NFL East.

And it ain't gonna be the New York Goddam Jets.

True, Week 7 of the NFL regular season doesn't have the same gravitas as the ALCS. The winner of Sunday's game won't automatically advance to the Super Bowl. But by God, a Boston team will have slapped a New York team down but hard, and that's going to put smiles on a lot of faces in the greater metropolitan Boston area.

Of course, if the Jets win, Bostonians had better start bracing for the locusts, famine, floods, and plagues that will surely follow.

* * *

Channel 3+ thrilled us a couple of weeks ago by introducing some new (2003+) Simpsons episodes into their daily lineup (two episodes beginning at 6pm each weeknight, rebroadcast in the middle of the night and on weekends). It was nice to see episodes we hadn't seen before—hadn't memorized. But they've already cycled through them and now they're showing episodes from the early 90s. It's unsettling. Half the characters, including Homer, have the wrong voices. Moe has a mop of thick, dark hair. Mr. Burns doesn't say "excellent" correctly. And so on.

If I seem a little off in the next few weeks, that's probably why.

* * *

I was going to wax ballistic on the Guardian's "Operation Clark County," but I've decided to keep my mouth shut. The whole idea is so stupid, its reasoning so full of holes, its presumption so awful in its arrogance and condescension, that the only rebuttal it requires is that which it will inevitably receive upon contact with reality.

[A few hours after I wrote that, I came across a link to this, which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.]

* * *

In the midst of the first world war, Salvation Army volunteers in France found themselves stymied by inadequate supplies and ovens for baking. Unable to prepare the cakes and and pies they so badly wanted to bake for the troops, they came up with the novel idea of frying rather than baking the dough.

This resulted in the appearance of the world's first donut on October 19, 1917.

The donut should not be confused with the bagel, despite their physical resemblance. The bagel is boiled and baked, whereas the donut is fried.

Bagels are found in varieties such as onion, garlic, salt, poppy-seed, and sesame-seed, and are frequently consumed with cheese and fish.

Donuts are found in varieties such as glazed, chocolate, chocolate-frosted, strawberry-frosted, powdered, jelly-filled, and sprinkled.

They are rarely consumed with cheese or fish, but they go pretty damn well with coffee.

* * *

Today is the birthday of Evander Holyfield (1962), Divine (1945), John Lithgow (1945), and John Le Carre (1931).

Happy Tuesday!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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