From Hockey Goons to Banana Ripeners

There was a minor series of Looney Tunes cartoons starring a wolf (who looked a lot like the not-yet-created Wile Y. Coyote) and a sheep dog. One of the running gags was that the two adversaries would greet each other at the time clock at the beginning of each cartoon. “Morning, Ralph,” the wolf would say. “Morning, Fred,” replied the sheepdog.* And then they’d go at it, with Ralph getting the better of Fred time after time, until the whistle would blow signaling the end of their shift. Then it’d be, “Evening, Ralph.” “Night, Fred,” and the cartoon was over.

In Punched Out, the New York Times’ incredible three-part series about the life and tragic early death of big time hockey enforcer Derek Boogard, we learn that NHL goons pretty much follow the wolf-sheep dog code. As you may have suspected, hockey enforcers more or less pre-arrange their set-tos before they begin. Essentially the only thing that’s real is the extreme physical and psychological damage these guys endure. Boogard died of a drug and alcohol overdose at 28. After his death, it was found his brain was already degenerating from traumatic head injuries. Compelling reading.

On a completely different tack, Spaces of Banana Control is a post from Edible Geography about a banana ripening facility in the Bronx. Who knew there were banana ripening facilities? Among that and the many other things you will learn in this story are the seven stages of banana ripeness. I like fives and sixes. Mrs. Oblogatory hates anything riper than a four. Major challenge in our household. Interesting story. Link via Kottke.

*Names may be changed due to memory loss.