My wife, always the thoughtful one, bought me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas. Her name is Alexa — the Echo Dot, not my wife.
If you posed a question to her, Alexa was supposed to give such answers as how far Jesse Owens long jumped in the 1936 Olympics … who were the original members of Gerry and the Pacemakers … and how many calories are in a banana split.
But, of course, we couldn’t get her to work. Both my wife and I would probably fare better as rodeo clowns than we do as users of modern technology.
So Alexa — a little blue ball whose underbelly lights up when engaged — found herself stuck on a shelf and forgotten about for the last eight months.
Until a few days ago.
My daughter, who lives more in the 21st century than we do, happened to see Alexa sitting by herself and brought her to life. I don’t know if she used magic or a manual.
As a test, I asked Alexa to play some ‘60s songs from one-hit wonders with fruity names — the Lemon Pipers (playing “Green Tambourine”), Strawberry Alarm Clock (“Incense and Peppermints”) and The Electric Prunes (“I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night’). She found them in seconds. I was impressed.
She was even able to locate “Eat It” by Weird Al Yankovic after she played “Beat It” by Michael Jackson.
Our first date went smashingly well.
But then the next day, she quit talking to me. I asked her question after question and she just ignored me. Nothing. Not even a “Buzz off, buddy.”
I figured I had somehow offended her. I asked my wife what she thought I had done wrong since I have a way of offending her, too.
“Try again while I listen,” my wife said.
I did. “Siri, when did the Cubs last win the World Series?”
“You knucklehead,” came the answer — from my wife, not from Siri. “You’re calling her by the wrong name. She’s Alexa, not Siri. Siri is on my phone. It’s Alexa who is on your Echo Dot.”
Geez, all these women.
“Alexa,” I said, “I’m sorry I called you by the wrong name.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she answered.
I couldn’t stop myself. “”Alexa, do you know Siri?”
“Only by reputation,” she replied.
I went over and rubbed her like she was a magic lamp. “Alexa, when will the Cubs win their next World Series?”
“Sorry, I don’t have an answer for that,” she said.
“Neither do I, Alexa. Neither do I.”
We listened to the South Bend Symphony Orchestra play at Potawatomi Park last Saturday. It was a great crowd, a great night and great entertainment.
But as the sun started to set and conductor Alistair Willis and his orchestra were winding down, Mother Nature decided to join in.
I don’t know if it was locusts, cicadas, crickets, tree frogs or a combination of all of them but they started up their own brand of music. And when the orchestra members played louder, it seemed like Mother Nature’s musical talents upped their game, too.
It was delightful competition — with neither side probably aware of the other.
I’ll give the nod to the orchestra but Jiminy Cricket and his gang put on a nice show, too.
My wife and I have been to two of the South Bend Civic Theatre’s outside performances — well, sort of two.
Our first attempt at “Xanadu: The Musical” at Howard Park was postponed due to inclement weather. A couple days later, we went back and loved the show despite a 20-minute delay because of thunder in the vicinity.
Then we went to “Cry It Out,” at Leeper Park only to have the Civic’s executive director, Aaron Nichols, wisely call it off 15 minutes into the performance when rain started falling from a mostly sunny sky. I’m guessing it was only coincidence that one of the actresses had shouted a four-letter word (actually a 10-letter word) into the heavens just before the storm erupted.
Aaron was nice enough to come over to our car and say that our tickets were good for any later performance. That was a Thursday evening. We went back Sunday evening. The park was empty.
“Matinee?” I asked.
“Yep, matinee,” my wife answered.
“I guess I should have checked the schedule with Alexa.”