As you may have noticed, the blog factory has, at times, depended heavily on articles in The Times and The New Yorker. And now, as my interactions in the real world seem to be becoming more and more limited, I’m increasingly relying on these sources for stories that will be fun to write about. So when I come across one that I think is interesting, I tear it out and ordinarily file it on the floor of my living room. Usually in a random pattern. However, not every story that catches my eye can be spun into the gold we’ve all become used to.
A while back I came upon a small piece about a fire in Norway. It seems a truckload of burning cheese had closed a road tunnel to Arctic Norway for almost a week. Since I love cheese and because no one was actually hurt in the fire, this seemed like it would be an entertaining incident to write about. And it was. For about a sentence or two. (Which you’ve just read.)
And then there was an article in The Times about yet another new movement afoot in the never-ending quest in New York to raise the perfect child. It seems that a segment of the population here has adopted the practice of raising their children without using diapers. Apparently, this method is a draw for some because of its environmentally friendly nature. Also, for preventing diaper rash. (Duh!) And, as the article states, ”Many parents like the thought that they are rediscovering an ancient practice used in other cultures. But mostly, they say, they like feeling more in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.” Ordinarily, this would be an ideal piece to write a blog about. It hits the perfect sweet spot of my general misanthropy and my specific antipathy towards the quest to raise the perfect child. But because writing about this without crossing the line into mean-spiritness would probably be near impossible and because I will, at times, leave the house and run into other people, I think it’s best to leave this one alone. (But the truth is, I feel like Odysseus being called by The Sirens; so I reserve the right to re-visit this topic.)
Very occasionally a story that I come across on-line attracts me. This happened recently when I noticed a headline that read: “New app helps Icelanders avoid accidental incest.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading! I thought this would be blog post gold. (Different yet very similar to Acapulco gold…you can get high from either.) It seems that Iceland is such a small country (population: 320,000) and so homogeneous that nearly everyone is related. So if you’re at a party and hook up with someone, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll be having sex with one of your cousins. The purpose of the app, as I understand it, is to let you know just how close a cousin she is. All you have to do is touch phones to see how closely related you are. (Talk about things that go “bump” in the night!) And–you’ll be glad to hear this–there’s an additional menu option that enables your phone to have an “incest prevention alarm”. I guess the way it works is that just before you get too far along, you touch phones and if the alarm goes off, you make your apologies and head back to the party hoping this time, to meet a second cousin, at least once or twice removed. Proving, yet again, that necessity is indeed, the mother of invention.