The Mirror Lake Jump

What’s Michigan Week without a jump into Mirror Lake — the scenic little puddle that OSU students jump into every year before The Game against That Team Up North?  Tonight’s the night for the traditional Mirror Lake Jump.

This year participants will have information their predecessors didn’t:  OSU science students have tested Mirror Lake and determined that the waters are packed with microorganisms, animal dung, urine, sweat, and God knows what else.

Ah, what’s some garbage water between drunken friends, anyway?  The important thing isn’t the risk of disease, it’s recognizing the need to Beat Michigan!

Cribbage Converts

When I went to Canada for a fishing trip recently, I took along a cribbage board.  As I’ve noted before, I think cribbage is the best card game ever invented, and I thought it would be a perfect way to spend some time with my friends.

I’m happy to report that the cribbage effort was a great success.  We played for hours, my friends learned the rules, and for the most part we joshed good-naturedly about the cards and the state of play.

Even better, I’m happy to report that one of my fellow fishermen, The Sage, became an enthusiastic convert to the world of cribbage.  Since his return from Canada he’s purchased a board, read up on the history of the game, and taught his wife and daughter how to play.  I’m pleased that he has acknowledged the obvious merit of cribbage and become a member of the ever-increasing Cribbage Kingdom.

Of course, for every convert to cribbage, there is a sore loser who cannot gracefully accept a serious thumping — as the unfortunate photo accompanying this posting confirms.

Pumpkins On The Porch

When family members come to our house on Thursday for Thanksgiving dinner, they will be greeted by pumpkins on our front step.  We try to keep pumpkins by the front door from Halloween through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

I like having pumpkins around, and not just because they scream “autumn.”  I like the shape and color of them, their plumpness and grooves and bumps and shiny brightness.  When I pull into the driveway after work and the headlights reveal the pumpkins, in all their orange rotundity, I can’t help but smile.

Apes And Their Mid-Life Crises

Scientists have completed a study that suggests that great apes, like their human cousins, have “mid-life crises.”  The study found that well-being in orangutans and chimpanzees follows a U-shaped curve also found in humans, starting high in youth, dipping low during middle age, and then climbing again in old age.

Researchers decided to test the primate mid-life crisis hypothesis when Las Vegas residents reported seeing large gangs of paunchy orangutans, sporting bad toupees and tight Hawaiian shirts, prowling the Strip and attempting to convince female bar patrons that they really liked hip-hop music.  At the same time, shopkeepers in Rwanda disclosed a spike in sales of Clairol, while observers of gorilla groups in the Congo described male apes determinedly hunting for purple bananas and male and female chimps inexplicably lounging in hillside bathtubs.

In a ground-breaking effort, researchers were able to interview middle-aged apes who had learned American sign language in an attempt to determine the cause of their vague feelings of dissatisfaction.  One fidgety female chimp, for example, complained incessantly of feeling bloated and repeatedly adjusted the thermostat in the room during the interview process.

A Silverback with poorly dyed back fur explained that, after years of rooting for grubs and berries and grooming other members of his gorilla community, he was seeing no end in sight.  He had grown tired of constantly having to establish his dominance over younger apes, he added, was bored with his daily routine, and had begun to wonder whether there was anything else to his life. The revealing interview was cut short when another researcher mistakenly brought a young female gorilla into the room, causing the Silverback to suck in his gut, beat his chest, and lose interest in further communications.