A Photo’s Worth Of Sunshine

One of Rodney Dangerfield’s memorable lines went that his family was so poor that for his tenth birthday his Dad showed Rodney a picture of a birthday cake. Rodney then tugged at his tie and admitted that he then spent the whole day trying to blow out the candles.

Like Rodney, I think a photo can make a difference. So in the midst of this latest Columbus winter, when the days are unrelentingly bleak and drab and cloud-covered and cold and dank, I’m going to look at this photograph I took last summer in Maine when we were on a boat ride leaving North Haven on a brilliantly sunny, warm day — and I’m going to remember that the winter will end one of these days, the temperatures will rise, and the sun will shine brightly again. Photographs can really be helpful in that way.

Just looking at this picture brings a smile to my face and retrieves a pleasant memory of a fun summer day and how that brilliant sunshine felt against my face. I hope it works for you, too. And if it doesn’t, consider going through those photos on your cell phone and finding a photo from a summer’s day that does.

The Buckeyes, And Rodney Dangerfield

Last night, Stanford beat Oregon.  That result caused the ESPN talking heads, and sports show commentators throughout the land, to start talking about whether Stanford should jump over undefeated Ohio State in the race to get to the BCS National Championship game.

Of course, such talk caused heads to explode throughout Buckeye Nation.  Loyal wearers of the Scarlet and Gray questioned how a one-loss team, which fell to 4-4 Utah, could possibly leap the undefeated Buckeyes.  They wondered why Ohio State — like Rodney Dangerfield — is getting no respect this year.

There are two obvious reasons.  First, everyone knows that the Big Ten, top to bottom, just isn’t that good.  Second — and at least equally important — the members of the sports talk show fraternity realize that controversy helps increase ratings.  They know that ardent Buckeye fans are easy to bait and quickly worked into a frenzy by the slightest sign of disrespect.  So, if you are a radio or TV sports show host who puts the two together, you know that dismissing the Buckeyes’ latest drubbing of a Big Ten opponent, followed by raves when Stanford beats Oregon or Baylor beats Oklahoma, is bound to get you some angry calls from loyal OSU fans.  And if you just want listeners, or readers, who cares whether they are agreeing with you or not?

I hope that the Buckeyes, unlike their fans, forget about the shows of disrespect and realize that there is nothing they can do other than win their game each week.  If Ohio State can beat Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, and then topple, say, Michigan State in the Big Ten Conference Championship game, they’ve done all that they can do.  I’m betting that, if that happens, the Buckeyes won’t have to worry about getting respect from the media.  Instead, they’ll be worrying about how they can win that National Championship game for a change.

The Blobfish Can’t Get No Respect

The blobfish is the Rodney Dangerfield of the animal kingdom — it just gets no respect.

The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is a deep-sea fish that lives off the coast of Australia.  The BBC reports that it has won a contest to be named the world’s ugliest creature and thereby became the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Protection Society.

There is no doubt that the humble blobfish is an exceptionally ugly thing.  It’s common name is totally accurate, and that doesn’t help.  It looks like a large, slimy phlegm wad, and it’s perpetually disgruntled expression even makes it resemble Rodney Dangerfield.  Not surprisingly, it’s not an edible fish.  Who would want to have one brought to them on a plate?

The Ugly Animal Protection Society makes a valid point.  It’s easy to gain public support for causes to preserve cute, cuddly, furry animals, but foul-looking, glum, gelatinous lumps are equally deserving of protection in order to maintain biodiversity.  And there is no doubt that the blobfish needs some preservation assistance, because deep-sea large-net fishing, in which the inedible blobfish is brought to the surface along with the rest of the catch, has left it on the verge of extinction.

The blobfish might not be eye candy, but a world without the blobfish — and other ill-favored critters — would be a less beautiful place.