This is a post that might not see the light of day.
Imagine this scene: Me, standing in a cabin no more than three large pizzas long, two large pizzas wide, in a white-sand outpost down east in North Carolina. My hint of web access hinges on the tortoise-quick and ‘possum-smart network called “tengointernet13.”
“Tengo” means “I have in Spanish. Un mentira (a lie), if I’ve ever heard one.
This Internet connection is doing a great job of keeping me outternet.
I’m here in Jacksonville, N.C., home of the military base and large alligators with a taste for domesticated dogs, in town for a coaching certification course.
It’s a rustic existence. I’m pretty much Ralph Waldo Emerson, or maybe Diane Fossey, or at least Jed Clampett (before he struck Texas Tea). So as the hum of Marine helicopters rumbles in the distance beyond the aromas of the grills of seasoned grillers in campsites around me, I want you to picture this:
Me, with a lightbulb that hangs lazily from a crooked wire. I scribble furiously on a field notebook the contents of this blog, my thoughts – my last thoughts? – scrawled on yellowing parchment.
Imagine me wearing a weather-beaten bucket hat, my hair grown wayward and my beard like a salt-and-pepper thicket on my face. Mosquito netting surrounds my humble bunk, and I must sharpen my only pencil with a pocket knife. If I don’t survive, this blog post, at least, will endure.
(Try to forget that I’ll probably hit “publish” while I nosh on sweet donuts and Diet Mountain Dew in the Great Wall Chinese food while riding their free wi-fi.)
1. What do fireflies eat?
Anything, with Frank’s Red hot. They put that sh*t on everything.
Fireflies are actually beetles, which is why we like to catch them in jars and not fly paper. Lightning bugs, as we sometimes call them, eat more when they’re glow-in-the-dark larvae known as glowworms – other bugs, slugs, and snails. Sometimes, grown-up fireflies don’t eat at all.
Which makes them kind of like supermodels or rock stars, and not just because someone’s always looking at their tail.
2. Do they have batting helmets with the flap on the other side, too?
They go on the right for Republicans, the left for Democrats. Libertarians have them on both sides.
Right-handers have the flap on the left side of the helmet, and left-handed batters, on the right. Switch hitters use helmets with flaps on both sides. They weren’t made mandatory until the 1960s. The Phillies’ Tony Gonzalez, oft taking one off the noggin, had a special helmet made just to protect his melon.
The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prefers a helmet without one ear flap so that he can hear the mating call of the single New York female among the thousands in the Yankees stadium crowd.
3. Can you go anywhere in space on a spacewalk?
Yes, and during the Obama administration, you don’t even have to show ID.
Astronauts on a spacewalk can move anywhere in space, although the modern term is “extra-veh
icular activity,” which I’m pretty sure is illegal in 17 states. Astronauts have gone untethered since 1984, and usually go out to repair space stations. Untethered astronauts carry life support in a backpack.
They should go no further than their mothers can see them. Just like you, Grace.
4. Is ich just bubbles?
It’s not just acne for goldfish.
The full word for the disease that produces white spots on fish is ichthyophthiriasis, but it’s also called the ‘white spot’ by civilians. It’s an infectious parasite that makes aquarium fish look salted. We’ve had decent success squirting our ichy fish with stress coat, and it goes away.
Wearing a batting helmet apparently doesn’t protect a fish for ich, either.
5. Have they invented the touch computer yet?
Just think, Grace – your grandkids might stumble upon a keyboard and say, “What’s this, gramma?”
Microsoft’s Windows XP tablet was the first of its kind for touch technology. The actual technology emerged in 1971, when Doctor Sam Hurst developed the touch sensor. That was in 1971, when someone you know just might have been born. It took a while for him to become mainstream, too.
Your question explains why there’s so many tiny fingerprints on my laptop screen, Grace. And I’m hungrier than a firefly after answering all these!