Last House

Tonight Fox will air the last episode of House.  It will be a two-hour finale, and then the show will be relegated to The Happy Land of Perpetual TV Reruns.

Kish and I have watched House, faithfully, from the beginning of the first season until tonight’s end.  I don’t know how many TV shows I can say that about.  Cheers was one; I’m not sure there have been any others.  Not many long-running shows can hold my interest from beginning to end.  Often they become rote and predictable, or they take a turn for the worse, or I just lose interest.

One reason House is the rare exception is that the show has maintained a high quality level throughout its run while at the same time staying true to its core premise and themes.  Dr. Gregory House, that brilliant diagnostician who has a predictable “Eureka!” moment just about every episode, has remained a broken, deeply disturbed, drug-popping jerk who can’t maintain a normal human relationship.  The show’s creators haven’t married him off, or had him adopt a child, or required him to take some other out-of-character step to try to boost ratings or keep the show “fresh.”  I respect that, and I also respect that star Hugh Laurie and the creative brain trust of House have decided to call it quits while the show is still on top.  There is nothing more painful than a TV show — or a professional athlete — that stays on until it is well past its prime.

I’ll miss House, but I’ll look forward to seeing the awesomely talented Hugh Laurie in other roles that allow him to stretch his acting abilities.  Right now, I’m just hoping that the last show of this terrific series doesn’t fall prey to the disastrous finale syndrome that has caused other legendary shows to end with an embarrassing whimper rather than a well-deserved bang.

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Duckling Season

There is a new brace of ducklings — six in all — in the pond on number 5 North.  They were on the boardwalk as we approached on Saturday.  The sight of the dogs caused their mother to herd them, waddling all the way, to the edge of the planks, where they leaped into the water and paddled briskly away.

Why Must Angela Merkel Always Be Kissed?

Why is it that, whenever you see a photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting with other world leaders, she’s always being kissed on the cheek or even on the lips?

It’s interesting that, even as they talk about gender equality, our world leaders still cling to old-fashioned, sex-specific forms of greetings.  Angela Merkel leads an economic powerhouse that props up countries like Greece and is supposed to figure out a way to bring fiscal sanity to the Eurozone, yet every time she goes to a summit meeting she’s got to put up with getting smacked on the cheek by every head of state in attendance, like she’s their favorite granddaughter.

Merkel’s got to be a tough individual to steel herself to the constant kissing, and she must not be a germaphobe.  Nevertheless, I’ll bet she dreads going to the really big gatherings, like the start of the UN General Assembly, and coming away with chapped cheeks from all of the slobbery pecks she gets.  For every suave kisser on the world stage there have got to be some third-world potentates whose smooching technique closely resembles a dog lick.  Imagine how she feels when she sees Hugo Chavez advancing, with that glint in his eye and his lips pursed for a big smackeroo.

I think it’s high time that the women leaders of the world get a firm handshake, like everybody else.  Let’s give their lips and cheeks a break.