Sports and science … miles apart

Humor column
By: By Jack Fabian Special to The News Messenger
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The only thing Super about that Bowl on Feb. 2 was the lady who sang the National Anthem. It was so good to hear it sung as it should be sung, instead of some screamer going through a bunch of vocal calisthenics and destroying the melody and the words completely.

   As for the game itself, I had more fun when I had open heart surgery; the beer wasn’t as good but at least they knew what they were doing. I’ll bet my recovery was quicker. 

   Although television is direly lacking in good shows, there are some things that are better than football. 

Just a few weeks ago I watched a National Geographic show in which they sent a team of scientists to Antarctica to determine the effects of polar ice on Central Valley chardonnays. They had taken some cabernets and merlots but they had no way to keep them warm.  There were too few scientists on this trip to effectively use the old “armpit method.”

   Now, as you might suspect, you can’t travel to the Antarctic without becoming involved with the penguins, nature’s most formally dressed species. 

Fact is, if there’s a formal function, such as a wedding, all the guys need is a black bow tie.  If you don’t wear a bow tie, everyone will think you’re a girl.

Believe me, we humans won the toss in this game.

   I often wonder how penguins function.  For example, let’s suppose a family of these creatures loses one of their kids. They immediately report it to the penguin police and the officer in charge says, “What does he look like?  Do you have a recent picture?  Was he wearing a bow tie?”  Heck!  Just pick another one; who’s gonna know?

   You may or you may not know that penguins are very family and community-oriented. 

While sipping (or maybe even gulping) chardonnay, this group of scientists monitored the activities of these guys for several weeks and one of the significant things they noticed was the fact that you never see a dead penguin on the ice. 

After weeks of observation, they finally found out why.

   Ya’ see, when a penguin dies, the family, which can consist of a hundred or more, immediately form a tight ring around the deceased.

The community, which can number in the thousands, forms a large ring a little further out.

Then the male members of the family circle (no bow ties required) begin to peck at the ice with their beaks and brush away the chipped ice with their wings. 

Their beaks and wings were not made for this purpose so it takes considerable time to accomplish their objective of making a rectangular hole in the ice. During the process, one of the elders verifies the length, width and depth of this hole.

   Once the hole has reached the required dimensions, the community ring of thousands move in close to the family ring and they all join in singing, “Freeze a jolly good fellow.” 

And then they kick him in the ice hole.

   The wonders of science will never cease, as long as the chardonnay lasts.


 Jack Fabian is a Lincoln resident, writer and poet.