Undemic - We've all been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the post-pandemic era. I don't want to jinx anything, but the time may be upon us. Many of us are unwinding all of the strange habits we've gotten into since the days in which we had to travel to work in business attire and spend time with groups of other people outside our cloistered social media cocoons. There are some nice side-affectes of pandemic life, though. I used to live in DC in a house that is mere blocks from my office. Never worked from home. Since then I've gotten used to remote working thanks to a very effective technology deployment by our IT department. Only need to show up in the office once or twice a week. Bought a house about an hour away and have lived there happily since. So the post-pandemic days have come with an ironic hangover, like Momo's odd "virgin" birth, which turned out to be a phenomenon much closer to earth. Good news for me - lots of other people are reaching for Tylenol in the post-pandemic days, gathering pitchforks and torches and ready to storm corporate bureaucracies demanding more telework flexibility. Happy ending (fingers crossed).
Zookeepers in Japan have been pondering the origin of a particular new species - the appearance of a strange arrival born of a momma gibbon, Momo, who lives in isolation within a cage at Kujukushima Zoo and Botanical Garden. No daddies were anywhere to be found nor did any have the benefit of proximity that usually accompanies fertization. How convenient for them. An ironclad excuse for dad to leave the scene with clean hands. The zookeepers are wringing their hands, wondering how the chimp could appear withouth the benefit of a romantic encounter.
This has happened before. On a night a little over 2000 years ago, lit by a single glowing star, a child was born to the virgin Mary. Unlike Momo, Mary mingled with her friends in Palestine. So the imaculateness of her condition was open to scrutiny and raised eyebrows by her contemporaries, perhaps most of all by her new husband Joseph. The book of Matthew abbreviates the story through Joseph's eyes, saying only that “He had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25). Joseph was Jewish. The mystical elements of Christianity were not part of his tradition. The Old Testament is filled with examples of the Jewish people questioning God's authority, something I respect. So Joseph may have been skeptical, but he got over it. Maybe. Joseph seems to fade from the scene after the arrival of Jesus. Sort of like the imaginary daddies at Kujukushima Zoo and Botanical Garden.
Imaculate Reception - OK, so I'm kind of a crappy sports fan. Wasn't always that way. Used to be a loyal season ticket holder for the Nationals, but I lost interest in the years before the pandemic and my move out of DC. So I'm a fan of convenience. Opportunistic. Not reliable. Hey, "a man's gotta know his limitations" (Clint Eastwood, "Magnum Force"). Anyway, I've taken a renewed interest in the Eagles. They're the team of my formative years and they're really good these days. Dominantly so. Just look at that 49ers linebacker to the right - as if to say "OK, just go ahead. You know you're gonna do it anyway." The Eagles have their ups and downs, though. And they're playing against Andy Reid's team next Sunday, which will bring back bittersweet memories of Reid as the Eagles head coach. I'm holding my breath. The Eagles have been rolling over teams lately, but next Sunday is shaping up to be a bloodbath. I will watch. Eagles by 3.
"Just Don't Dance in the Endzone"
Sure enough, there is a practical explanation for the enigma. The zookeepers, scientistists that they are and not prone to the whimsical, "collected enough stool and excrement samples from the mother and baby" to perform DNA testing. Daddy was found to be Itou, a 34-year-old "agile" gibbon. Turns out Itou was in the habit of wandering in the exhibit next to Momo's, which "had a perforated board with holes about 9 millimeters (.35 inches) in diameter". Itou was something more than "agile". He had damn good aim.
"The board has now been replaced by a solid steel plate" to interup any future coitus attemptus. Bummer. But the zoo is now planning to introduce Itou and Momo officially so they and their child can live as a family. Happy ending, so to speak.
This anecdote sets my mind spinning:
JUST IN!- The Washington Post reported today that "The balloon, spotted earlier this week over the western United States, was brought down when an F-22 fighter jet fired an air-to-air missile at it off the coast of South Carolina." Surely you've heard about the nefarious Chinese spy balloon collecting intelligences as it drifts over the continental United States. The Chinese say it was a harmless weather balloon that just drifted off course. But why are the Chinese so interested in weather in the US? The President wanted to shoot it down on Wednesday but was waved off by his generals, who suggested that the people living below wouldn't apprecieate having the debris rained upon them. And those people are still pissed about being thought of as "flyover states". Well, they are and they need to get over it. Still, they don't deserve to be dumped on by metal falling from high altitude.
The zookeepers at Kujukushima dealt with the situation as if it was the return of Godzilla. Not knowing that Godzilla has reappeared several times in Hollywood (see Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, etc.) they donned protective gear, decorated the zoo with crime scene tape, gathered nets, and marched out to confront the mysterious gibbon child. Naturally they got confused in their ardor and captured a faux unicorn instread. Or this may have been a drill. My confidence in the future of Japenese society depends on the "drill" interpretation. If it was a drill, couldn't they have dressed the target in something other than a silly unicorm outfit? Maybe not. Even Godzilla earned some comic relief.