1. I had a whim to watch some Youtube videos of stand-up comedy this evening, as I was making dinner. Being a lover of the seventies, I typed in a random year from that decade, reckoning that would get me past all the "trending" stand-up routines of the moment.
It brought me to this 1976 performance from Steve Martin. It's amusing that, about one minute and fifteen seconds into the act, he brings up the (then) novelty of hand dryers in airport bathrooms, complaining how long they take to dry your hands and how paper towels (which had apparently been removed in favour of the automatic driers) are infinitely superior.
Isn't it funny that, more than my whole lifetime later, hand dryers are still terrible? I mean, truly terrible? I've never used one that was a fifth as good as a paper towel. And few public bathrooms wouldn't give you the choice of a towel now. I take considerable satisfaction in the fact that the boffins haven't been able to make a machine that dries your hand better than paper in all these years. The breakneck pace of technological progress, my eye.
2. Tonight I also found myself asking my father what card games we had played in our house when I was a child. I was told that one of them was Twenty-Fives, which the online Encyclopedia Brittanica lists as "Ireland's national card game". I never suspected we had a national card game, but the fact delights me. And it occurred to me that someone should try to compile an absolutely exhaustive list of all the things that are unique or distinctive to Ireland-- especially little things like that, things that are usually forgotten when we come to listing the things that make our country different from the rest of the world.