by John Walters
Down With PPE
Let’s take a journey through the president’s thoughts as this nurse from Louisiana, during a National Nurses’ Day ceremony inside the Oval Office, responds to a reporter’s question about the availability of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in a way that he found unsatisfactory.
Wait, a woman is speaking? A woman I don’t find attractive is speaking? A woman I didn’t directly address is speaking…in my presence? A woman is contradicting me? If I were Vlad, I wouldn’t have to put up with this.
Nuuk What I Found
So we finally finished reading Underworld, Don DeLillo’s 827-page novel that sprawls across five decades (not in any chronological order) and is exactly the type of fiction that critics will praise not so much because they enjoyed it but because there is undeniable genius at work and they know they’ll never be able to write a novel that is so, well, novelly.
(And now we know why our talented writer friend Alexander Nazaryan hated The Goldfinch so much: because he thinks Underworld is the greatest American novel of the past 50 years and because The Goldfinch rips off many of its conceits, including childhood in NYC, parent lost way too early, relocation to an up-and-coming but soulless American southwest metropolis, a little delinquency, etc.). We also hated The Goldfinch, though we weren’t that much more crazy about Underworld.
What does any of this have to do with Nuuk, Greenland? Of the too-numerous-to-attempt-to-recount subplots and characters and ruminations that take place, one character wonders aloud about Greenland and asks how come no one knows anyone who’s been there (unless military) and that you never see flights to Nuuk, etc? His wife offers that it is the world’s biggest island, which it is only as a technicality because Australia is bigger but it’s so big they consider it a continent. Anyway…
…while Nuuk is very far north, it’s actually located at the same latitude (4/100s of a degree north of) as Reykjavik, Iceland. It also has about 1/7th the population of Iceland. Other stuff to know: Greenland is a territory under the domain of Denmark (though Trump wants to buy it from them) and 3/4 of it is covered by a permanent ice sheet (for now), the only such one outside Antarctica. Most of the population is Inuit, if you are into it.
So that’s your cousin Jeffrey.
Why I Really Left Twitter
More than six weeks after suspending my account, I have a little better perspective about why I left Twitter. At the time I wrote a long-ish blog item about it, but here it is in five words: To protect myself from myself.
So, yeah, I’m going to the meetings. Got a sponsor. I do miss Cecil Hurt, but not much else. I want to thank the colleagues who reached out and asked if I’m okay, the one or two who actually congratulated me. I appreciate it (and not in a false Curb way of using “appreciate” to fake sincerity).
Don’t know if I’ll ever be back. Maybe if there’s a Bubble Screen. But even then, I’ll mostly sit on the sidelines and observe. The truth? I miss it less than I expected I would.
Sports Year 1887
The University of Michigan football team, which was formed eight years earlier, makes a stop on its way to a Thanksgiving Day contest in Chicago the day before in South Bend. There, at the invitation of the newly formed Notre Dame football club, they become the small Catholic school’s first opponent.
The two sides actually play a mixed scrimmage first so that the Michigan team can teach their hosts the game. Then, on a field in poor condition due to melting snow and mud, and before 400 or so souls, Michigan and Notre Dame play a game lasting no more than half an hour. The visitors win 8-0 and then both sides retreat for lunch at the dining hall. Michigan’s team is promised it will always receive a warm welcome at Notre Dame. Ehhhhhhhhh.
Who was Michigan scheduled to play the following day in Chicago? Northwestern, but the game “could not be arranged” (NU wussed out, or so we’re going to choose to believe). So UM played the Chicago Harvard School and won 26-0.
More importantly, on that day in that city, George Hancock invented the game of softball. Yes, he did. A reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, Hancock had just watched a Yale alum toss a boxing glove at a Harvard alum, who swung at the glove with a bat (it had just been announced that the Elis had won The Big Game where they all were, at the Farragut Boat Club). Hancock yelled, “Let’s play ball!” and suddenly he’d created a milder version of baseball designed to be played indoors.
The city of Chicago then erected a 100-story tall building in his honor, on Michigan Ave., to commemorate the feat.
Richard Sears wins his 7th consecutive U.S. Open and then announces he’s retiring.
At Wimbledon, 15 year-old Lottie Dod, the daughter of a wealthy cotton trader who will never have to work a day in her life, wins the Ladies’ Singles title. She remains the youngest Ladies Singles champion at Wimbledon, though to be fair she only had to play two matches. In later years she’d be known as Annie Hall‘s favorite player, as fans of the eponymous film will note that right after Annie’s doubles match, she is heard to utter, “Lottie Dod, Lottie Dod, La La.”
Dod will win four more Wimbledon titles in the next six years and live to the ripe old age of 88.