Cold weather makes for good small talk


Shawn Magrath

It’s funny how much easier small talk is when it’s unbearably cold outside. Almost every conversation I’ve had this week began with the same question: “Staying warm?” That gets the ball rolling, then those conversations run full circle. I’ll talk about the weather, my wife, the dog, my job, etc., and every small talk conversation ends with the same good advice: Stay warm.

The Norwich Diner officially opened… well, two weeks ago, but it’s great news for downtown Norwich. If you haven’t already been by the new eatery on East Main, it’s worth checking out. Good food. Good company. It may not quite the old Blue Bird (and it lacks the same diner charm as the Monk’s Cafe in Seinfeld) but who’s to complain about more variety downtown? Frankly, I’m relieved it’s not another pizza place.

Lately, it seems like the only news making the national spotlight has to do with gun policies, cold weather, and Beyonce’s lip-sinking (or not?) at the presidential inauguration. But I stumbled across another more interesting story this week. Researches at New York University are saying there are a great many number of myths about what – if anything – can be done in the first five years of a child’s life to make them more intelligent. Commonly, it’s believed that music, multi vitamins, and having books available for children boosts IQ. Not so, according to these researchers. While the study is open for debate, my general feeling is: if it doesn’t hurt, why not try it? Even if it doesn’t invoke brilliance, is there any harm in exposing a child to classical music, or good health?

With each new highly contested political debate, be it about health care, immigration reform, or the popular gun debate, I change my own thinking about the two party political system and this thinking seems to change on a weekly basis. Some days, I lean more liberal while other days, I’m more conservative. It all depends on the issue, I guess. This week, I’ve come to the unofficial conclusion that the difference between liberals and conservatives is simple. Conservatives are biased and don’t care that they’re biased. Liberals, on the other hand, are biased but don’t know they’re biased. It’s a philosophy I’m happy with this week. We’ll see how I feel next week.