Monday, January 20, 2003

Kind of a bummer to read that Richard Crenna had died. My childhood memories of enjoying his TV performances had nothing at all to do with The Real McCoys, which I don't remember ever watching with any enthusiasm; what I do remember watching is Slattery's People as an eight-year-old offbeat-series hound. Still remembered the voice-over intro to the show: "Democracy is a very bad form of government, but I ask you never to forget -- all the others are so much worse." Where are you now, James Slattery? We need you.

I'm always amazed at what's considered offbeat anyway. Played at the Ann B. Davis, Michigan's trash tournament, over the weekend, and discovered that young undergrads are more likely to remember Ratt than to have ever heard of "Making Plans for Nigel". The latter was not only one of the more creative singles of 1979 (and I can't imagine that XTC's Drums and Wires is a totally obscure album), but in certain circles it became something of an anthem. (Then again, I may simply have moved in strange circles, in more ways than one.)

The tournament went pretty well, although Gladys was needy and the drive back through drifting snow was less than fun. The high point for me was beating not only the Gerbils, but my teammate Dave Thorsley, to a classic baseball question. (If you read enough books of colorful baseball anecdotes, you're bound to encounter Pepper Martin somewhere.) My team finished, I think, sixth out of 21; not bad at all in that field. Congrats to Craig and crew for their stunning, ultra-close win over the Gerbs in the final. Mike, you've outdone yourself too; no one else would ever think of playing "Hungry Hungry Hippos" as a tossup.

Oh, and as for making plans for my own little Nigel: He's been relocated to Lansing, where with luck he'll go on display this spring at the Young Entomologists' Society Minibeast Zooseum. This has led to many silly remarks about Nigel's "moving to a farm where there are lots of other centipedes to play with". This would not be a workable euphemism in Nigel's case. You put a bunch of little (?) centipedes together to play, you wind up with one big centipede and damned little playing. Just one of the basic lessons of Myriapodology 101.


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