Brrr: stern Sunday. As is usual for our mood-swing meteorology, though, Saturday was almost hot – 73 degrees, perfect weather for sitting outside at an outdoor café eating a steak as thick as a biography of Methuselah, waiting for young idiots to drive by and shout obscenities at everyone. Which happened at 5:47. I recall the time exactly, because when the gentleman at the next table whipped out a long thin bamboo tube and shot what appeared to be a sharp dart into the rear right wheel of the vehicle, I got out my phone to take a picture, and I noted the time – but it might have been 5:48. I wasn’t really paying attention, since the POP of the tire’s explosion was followed by two more, each punctuated by a sharp concise exhalation from the man at the next table. Of course, he was unable to get the left front tire, it being on the other side of the vehicle, so when he rose and vaulted nimbly over the café’s railing, I actually thought he was going for the fourth tire. But the vehicle had come to a stop, its driver too stunned to proceed, and by the time the driver regained his composure the fellow had opened the door and removed he youth who had shouted the obscenities to the ladies. He marched the youth back, and with the slightest pressure on his upper ear – a gesture that seemed to inflict a great deal of discomfort – he compelled the youth to apologize to the ladies, and empty his pockets to pay for the meal he had sullied with his vulgarities. Then he dispatched him with a kick on the seat of his trousers, but you could tell it was intended more for show than the actual infliction of injury. We rose in a round of applause, and thereafter amused ourselves watching the youths push their vehicle off to the side of the road. Shouts of “Get a horse” and “that’s right, lads, get your back into it” were laughingly proffered.

It’s just grand when civilization asserts itself, isn’t it? I will admit that the steak wasn’t all I had hoped; I’d diner there before, and had one of those steaks so tender it emits the famous aria from Pagliacci when you put the knife to it, but this one had a thick vein of rubber running through it, one of those masticate-proof gristle-ribbons you can only expel. It was topped with a  delicate blend of herbs, and I watched in amusement as my dad applied about six pounds of pepper. Well, with enough effort, any steak is pepper steak.

We had met wife & (G)Nat at the restaurant, because Dad wanted to treat us all. He’d come down for the Bison game, something I detailed at here. Incredible game, and a wonderful time, to roll out the clichés. An iPhone photoview:

On the right of my dad were some young iron-livered fellows who’d been putting it away since sunup; one of them celebrated every first down by standing – he was very tall – and repeating the first-down ref gesture with a certain élan, like a minor god cleaving butter with his hand. I gathered that this was his signature move; it was understood in his circle that this gesture was reserved unto him. They got up three times in the first half to get beers. You could wait for the vendors to come up with the bottles, but the bottles had but 12 ounces; demi-hogsheads were sold below for six parts of a ten dollar bill. Lots of people were drinking early in the day. Outside the dome as we fought our way to the ramp we ploughed through a group of middle-aged Gopher boosters, all clutching plastic bottles of barley pop: finally! A place where you can drink at 10:30 AM, and it’s normal! We got stuck in a crowd, and I devised a way around which required leaping down a three-foot-high concrete wall. I was behind a largish woman in her 30s, beer in hand,  who complained about the height, and made her way down as though she was descending Everest with Faberge eggs under her armpits. My father, who is 81, hopped down like Jiminy Cricket.

I think he was pleased to see how much fun I had, and the fact that I rooted for the Bison from the start. It really wasn’t a choice for me; even when I was a Gopher, I couldn’t stand the Gophers. I had also forgotten how much football knowledge I’d forgotten. Turns out the Vikings didn’t sour me on the game after all – I just needed to see it in a purer state. After the game we went back to Jasperwood and sat out in the gazebo for a beer and some planespotting – my dad, being a former pilot, loves to watch planes come in. Jasperwood is the place for that; they come over every 90 seconds in the peak time. He said he could have sat there all day, and I believed him. I could have sat there all day too.      

He’d been pheasant hunting earlier this month, so I got out the laptop and google-earthed satellite photos of the place they’d gone. I love to do that. I hope when I’m 81 (G)nat will use GoogleHolo to reconstruct the U of M and the Valli restaurant and Ralph and Jerry’s, and I hope I’m as nonchalant about the Miracles of Technology as my father is. His vehicle pulls down Willie’s Place from an orbital bird; it has that OnStar system; he calls his wife from his little hip-mounted communication device; all very nice. But I do know that he’s happiest when he rides his Harley until he runs out of North Dakota, and can spend the evening watching the setting sun paint the Badlands. His might be the last generation that regards the words “NO SERVICE” with indifference. 

Other weekend entertainment: many movies. Watched “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” which generated an extreme ensuckenating field. I never thought I’d say this, but Stan Lee owes me a drink.  I watched “28 Weeks Later” – all of the shakycam spastic zombies, none of the bright panicked fear or end-of-the-world dread, plus kids plus an occupying US Army force as the bad guys, sort of. First movie: a horrible virus infects everyone and turns them into thrashy-handed blood-vomiting living zombies! Second movie: it turns out that the virus might possibly mutate and remain dormant if your retinas are different colors. They went right from “Alien” to “Alien 4.” I do expect there will be “28 Months Later” and “28 Years Later,” and if anyone has a sense of humor they’ll hand off the directorial duties to Michael Apted.

I also watched  “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which was one of the best war movies I’ve ever seen, and was far superior to “Flags of Our Fathers.” It also annoyed me from start to finish, because when taken with its companion film, they constitute a perfect example of Hollywood’s instinctive inability to raise a flag without pointing out that the pole is planted in mud. But that’s for tomorrow. New Match; see you at