Mexico isn’t known particularly for its ultra-fast Wi-Fi.
At least, not in room 101 of the Fiestamericana Resort, and it’s 4 a.m., and you’ve just questioned the wisdom of having just called room service for a bacon cheeseburger. You root around your email and answer blog comments, but not much more.
Not at the end of a day that you’d kind of wish would never end.
Some moments in life can become transformative before you even realize there’s room to transform. During our company trip, leaders challenged us to #challengewhatspossible. Although that sounds an awful lot like business speak, there’s more to it than that.
Probably the lack of decent Wi-Fi helped me to walk out onto the market and into the sun and navigate a world outside this screen.
I’m glad to be back, though. Changed, for sure. Appreciative, aware. A friend cut off a bracelet I’d worn for more than a year. I knew the time would come when it would no longer remind me of where I’d been. When a new chapter would start. And it has.
1. Where will the Summer Olympics be next time?
They’re headed for Tokyo, in 2020. This Japanese city beat out the likes of Istanbul and Madrid. No city on earth has more people, so I hope they’ll buy a crypt-ton of tickets. Nothing’s worse than empty seats in the Olympics. Not even crappy resort Wi-Fi.
We love the Summer games, about as much as the Winter games when they’re going on. If we had a vote we’d make a motion to include Spring and Fall games, too. Why not? The allure of every-four-years games is that the absence makes us fonder, though.
2. What are Donald Trump’s supporters called?
It depends on who’s doing the calling. Some words probably don’t belong on a (mostly) family-friendly blog such as this. It’s too bad it’s this way. In the end, left, right or like me, somewhere in the middle, we’re all Americans.
Yet, we treat party affiliation with the ragged disdain of a sports rivalry.
Half of them were deemed deplorable. They never really seemed to pick up a nickname, not like the Killer Bs or Purple People Eaters or even Dirty Birds. Or Swifties. Isn’t that what they call Taylor Swift fans? Imagine the right name, the right brand.
This is something we need to work on for the next election cycle, isn’t it? I pray for the day we can all be regarded as Americans again.
3. How do they do taxidermy?
First, take the animal out of the freezer and add salt …
No, really. Look, this whole concept? It’s going to sound gross to some. It kind of is. If I was a red fox or a quail or common prairie dog, I’d rather die under a tree and become the circle of life than being prepped for a permanent pose.
It’s an art, to create the plaster cast of the animal that will serve as skeleton and guts. But most of it sounds gruesome. You know it’s just someone’s job to be a mortician or the one who does autopsies? Taxidermists are their cousins. Close cousins.
When Elise was little, I took her to the York County Museum. They have exhibits from around the world, stuffed animals (not teddy bears) in replicated environments, doing things such as grazing or herding or attacking wildebeests (if they’re so inclined.)
It kind of freaked her out.
When I took Marie, she took a different approach. She asked how they did it. That’s how I learned about the wire cage taxidermists sometimes stuff in there as ribs, and how they can pick out the eyes that look most natural and everything.
Still, even with the best skills in the trade, they still looked … stuffed.
4. What words end in Z?
Now, that’s a question with pizzazz.
Pizzazz is an interesting case because it’s the word pizza and double Zs. There’s usually nothing ZZ about pizza. Unless, of course, it’s California style or has dumb toppings such as huge slices of tomato or spinach or anything not on the list of original pizza toppings.
Not that I believe you guys, especially libs, shouldn’t top a pizza with tofu or quinoa or other foods preposterous and profane. Or that I wish to deny those who top ‘za with barbecue or chicken or chicken barbecue as you republicans might. I’m just a purist.
I found a word finder on a site called Your Dictionary. You know how there are sites with cheats for Mario Cart? Well, this one’s old school. It contains cheats for Scrabble. As a struggling wordsmith (more like a wordsanchez), I’m appalled.
I’m not easily appalled. I wrote about politics in this post and I’m a Colorado Rockies fan. And I just read the fine details of taxidermy. And a site that helps you cheat at words offends me? Yep.
Let’s get real. I like to kibbitz as much as the next guy. Usually not about the Utah Jazz or showbiz. I don’t stick my schnoz into conversations I can’t contribute to. I’m a whizz at important things, such as Kesha lyrics and the proper usage of cheez. I mean, cheese.
5. What’s good horsepower?
Just like politics, taxidermy or the unethical use of the Internet to win at Scrabble, the answer lies in the conscious of the beholder. (I think Gandhi might have said that first.)
We men tend to adhere to the concept of more is better. (This goes for fried food, college football and updates from our favorite TV meteorologist.) The low end is about 50 hp for tiny cars that skitter about and save gas but look like they fell out of a LEGO box.
We say horsepower, rather than wildebeestpower, because of steam engines. When steam engines took jobs from horses early in the 1800s, foremen needed to know how many horses the steam engine would replace.
(To see how many fewer carrots and sugar cubes they needed to order.)
James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, formulated a formula to determine how many horses a steam engine could replace. You can imagine 50 horses pulling a little smart car that you have to step out of to scratch your backside.
Gabi, my battered-yet-beautiful Pontiac Grand-Am, carries the power of 170 horses, which would leave a considerable mess on Interstate 485 on my commute. Some cars can get 600-700 horses, which works beautifully on car commercials with wide, open roads.
In Charlotte traffic? Not so much. Gabi – who, like her owner, has lost a dozen or two horses through wear and tear – sits next to slick monsters with way more horsepower at stoplights all over time. Your best bet at the open road is at 4 a.m., probably.
But that’s also prime time for Wi-Fi at your Mexican resort. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?