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Elliot: Same river, same river

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JANUARY 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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Things to do while forgetting anything involving the New England Patriots.

• Watching the river freeze over. No, really — it’s exciting watching those electrons slowing and slowing and slowing, kind of like figure skaters twirling and twirling slower and slower in the Olympics. Pop quiz: When we say Sochi security, do you immediately think Social Security? (Thought so.)

Of course, all that is merely in my imagination, because it’s so much easier to haul around my imagination than it is to haul around an electron microscope.

The great thing about a frozen river is that for once, you can step in the same river twice. So there you go, Heraclitus.

• Wondering if Lance Armstrong is a cycle-path. The great thing about wondering is that it doesn’t cost you anything. The downside is that it doesn’t pay anything, either; how often life turns out to be a zero-sum game.

Which is not to say life is a game; just ask the Patriots. What say you, Heraclitus? Heraclitus mum. Hum. Maybe life is a zero-mum game.

• The polar vortex is coming to kill us all, or at least kill our memories of “global warming.”

First, there is no “global warming”; there is global climate change, as scientists say. Second, there has been a polar vortex for as long as human beings can remember — which these days seems to be last week, give or take a minute.

Third,  the polar vortex does not move, much, in a north/south way; it is a revolving wind that blows west to east around the Arctic.

Some of our quite-conservative cousins seem to live on one of Jupiter’s moons; they spot an Arctic clipper (as if we’ve never had one of those before), and say, See, there’s no global warming. Then they make Al Gore jokes, as if that’s a difficult, clever thing to do. (I mean, even I can go on for hours about Al Gore-rhythms.)

Meanwhile, back on this planet, such as we know it, what happens is this (according to many sources, including Scientific American): Global climate change warms the Arctic enough to melt the ice in the summer; the heat thus generated weakens the polar vortex enough that Arctic air previously contained by the vortex swarms south like Vikings into Ireland back in the day (hello, birth of Dublin), and we in the States get an Arctic clipper.

Hello, quite conservative cousins, Mother Nature says. Remember me? You will.

• President Obama reins in the NSA. Or rains in. Or reigns in. Whatever.

That’s OK; most Americans, from what I can tell, William, don’t know the difference between “reining in” and “reigning in.” I’m not exactly sure what “reigning in” might mean, but I kind of like the Dada-ness surrounding it. Not that “Dada-ness” is a word, but if it were, I suspect it would mean something akin to “Loch Ness.” Or maybe that’s “Lock Ness.”

So many Nesses, so little time. Where have you gone, Eliot Ness, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Oh, you’re with the NSA now. Suddenly,  somehow, a nation’s eyes are not so lonely. If you know what I mean.

• Patriots? What Patriots? Oh, well, the George W. Bush administration did craft the Patriot Act, which meant the Patriots win the Super Bowl enough times to nauseate the football world.

But, the Patriot Act is long gone. Isn’t it? Hello, NSA, I’m talking to you.

But you knew that already, didn’t you. Lonely eyes and all.


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