Maybe it was because I didn’t sleep well last night, but I spent two-thirds of today in a vile mood. Nothing helped — walking the dog, cranking the iPod, surfing the web. Especially not surfing the web. I don’t want to know what everyone’s crazy about at any given moment, particularly Bill O’Reilly. I shut the laptop, read a little, did an interview, organized some notes, melted some blue cheese on Italian bread, sent some e-mail and reflected that what I really wanted was about three Marlboro Lights and a six-pack to go, but unfortunately it wasn’t 11 a.m. yet. Decided instead to go for a drive.
Well, it is the Motor City.
That helped — nothing like a relatively uncrowded freeway and Rodney Crowell very loud to lift one’s spirits.
Also this, which was cheering in a jet-black sort of way, a “there’s one for the Darwin awards” amusement. No link, just the facts, ma’am:
CHICAGO — A 23-year-old man suffered fatal injuries when he fell from his Mt. Prospect balcony during a spitting contest with his friends, police in northwest suburb said Tuesday. Bartosz Drobek was participating in a “spitting contest” with his friends at 12:35 a.m. Monday on the balcony of his apartment building at 1700 W. Palm Drive in the suburb, when he lost his balance and fell to the ground, according to a Mt. Prospect police news release. Drobek struck his head on the pavement two stories below, according to the release. He had earlier gone out onto the balcony to smoke cigarettes with two other people, according to the release. Drobek, his brother and a friend, were competing in a spitting-distance contest, according to Ollech. He said at one point, Drobek crouched down and sprung up to spit off the balcony and went over the railing. His brother and friend immediately called 911 following the accident Drobek had been consuming alcohol prior to the fall, Ollech said.
Of course that’s not cheering at all. Alcohol has a learning curve; sometimes I think the best argument for a walkable college campus with a strict no-cars policy for underclassmen is that it allows you to do at least some of that learning when you’re less likely to hurt yourself. Still.
So let’s move on. I loved the lead on this story:
The Roman Catholic Church is preparing to abolish limbo, the place between heaven and hell reserved for the souls of children who die before they have been baptised.
Isn’t that funny? “Preparing to abolish” limbo, but presumably, until that actually happens, when the Pope tears up the deed or whatever, a few more unbaptized babies will go there, as they’ve done since the 13th century. It’s like the Israelis leaving Gaza — the end in sight, the chaos of moving boxes being carried onto trucks, the tears of longtime residents. So much of Catholic dogma made little sense to me when I was learning it. Now I wonder how I kept a straight face.
Finally, another funny-ha-ha story, which you may have already heard about — the family in Novi who were told to remove their Nativity scene from the lawn, presumably by one of Bill O’Reilly’s anti-Christmas storm troopers, but no, actually by some prigs in the subdivision where they live. Within days, the subdivision mullahs had backed off and peace was back in the valley. But this is my favorite line from the story:
On Nov. 21 the family received a letter asking them to remove the nativity scene but said nothing about the other numerous figures on the lawn, including a holiday Minnie Mouse and Winnie the Pooh along with a Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Is this a great country, or what?