Kish and I decided to walk to the library this morning, and when we got to Market Street we saw that there was another festival of some kind going on. (Another weekend, another festival.) Today it is the Classic Car, Cycle & Truck show.
If you like chrome — and what red-blooded American doesn’t really? — this is a show to see. All of the parking spots around the library, and on Market Street itself, are filled with tricked-out, candy-colored cars and motorcycles of all kinds. You can listen to some loud rock music as you walk among the rows of lovingly restored, flame-sided, overpowered, hoods-up tributes to the glory years of Detroit and the American auto industry. In today’s bright sunshine the glint of chrome is blinding and a bit intoxicating.
Social scientists seem to conduct more provocative (yet still ultimately useless) studies in Great Britain than in the United States. The latest example is research that concludes that people pretty much lose their sense of humor at age 52, become grumpy, and laugh less and less. By the time they are in their 60s, most Brits apparently can barely manage a mild chortle once in a while, even when viewing the subtle comedic offerings of Benny Hill. And with the grey, rainy weather that is characteristic of that Sceptred Isle, who can blame them?
As a 53-year-old American, I like to think I still have a pretty good sense of humor and ability to laugh. In fact, I don’t think certain baseline characteristics of my sense of humor have changed much since I was a kid. I’ll always laugh at physical comedy and sophomoric stuff like the Three Stooges. I’ve just built on that solid foundation of pie-in-the-face, shot-to-the-groin yucks to incorporate an appreciation of irony, sarcasm, and more highbrow comedic stylings.
I don’t have any doubt that laughter makes you feel better and more youthful in outlook. My grandmother loved to laugh — at herself and others — and she was a delight to be around. Mom will still laugh hard at, say, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The key, I think, is to reserve some time to do those things that make you chuckle. Maybe it’s time to make a date with a DVD of Animal House?
The structure, located in the Mojave Desert in California, was constructed by AT&T in 1965 to protect the telecommunications infrastructure from nuclear attack. And it has just about all the disaster scenario bases covered, too. It was “built to withstand a 50-megaton nuclear blast 10 miles away, 450mph winds, a magnitude-10 earthquake, 10 days of 1,250°F surface fires, and three weeks beneath any flood.”
The promoter of the project also knows his end-of-days stuff. He notes that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world on December 21, 2012. Other possible cataclysms include solar flares with electromagnetic pulses that pulverize the power grid and lead to social anarchy, direct asteroid hits, and plagues.
Yes, but would it protect us against zombie attacks?