D. None of the above

friend recently told me she’s pregnant with her first child. She sounded thrilled and anxious. She is, as I’ve known for years, incredibly organized and efficient. She has been a standout in her job for several years.

“What’s the concern?” I asked.

“Everything,” she giggled.

As my children take one standardized test after another, I thought perhaps I would share a test-format version of what to expect when you’re expecting. No. 2 pencils ready? OK, let’s begin:

Question 1: Before the baby is born, you should:

a. Panic buy everything, including a crib and six months worth of food and clothing. You never know if you’ll be trapped in your house without access to the outside world.

b. Sleep as much as you can because the days of sleeping at your leisure are over.

c. Read everything you can about parenting and the delivery, and then realize that every process, including childbirth, can go off script.

d. Don’t tell anyone because people will write about you.

Question 2: When people give you advice, you should:

a. Write everything down because friends, family and strangers always know better and will enlighten you with wisdom that far exceeds that which you’d get on a fortune cookie.

b. Nod politely, say, “That’s a great idea,” and wonder what to eat for dinner.

c. Pretend your phone is ringing.

d. Ask them how many Nobel prizes their children have won.

Question 3: Taking Lamaze classes can be helpful because:

a. It allows you to meet parents who are older than you.

b. It allows you to practice breathing together because sometimes parents forget to breathe.

c. It’s so relaxing that you can doze off without punishment.

d. It gives you a sense of control that you’re unlikely to have in the actual moment.

Question 4: People generally love other people’s children unless:

a. They are sitting on a plane near them.

b. They have to do something for them.

c. The children are crying constantly and they don’t know why.

d. The children have dropped or broken something.

Question 5: Parents can be so tired in the early stage that they forget:

a. To take pictures of everything.

b. To feed themselves.

c. To go to the bathroom when they need to.

d. To revel in a new baby smell that will change into something much more challenging to the nose within a year.

Question 6: When you have a baby, it’s a great idea to:

a. Change jobs.

b. Move to a new city.

c. Start attending a new and rigorous educational course.

d. All of the above, because you’ll never have a chance to juggle more challenges at the same time than when a baby is born.

Question 7: The families of the father and mother are likely to:

a. Always agree on everything you should do for the child.

b. Never agree on anything you should do for a child.

c. See evidence of their family’s genes in the child.

d. Put small differences aside and enjoy the moment when they share a new relative.

Question 8: Once you have a child, you will:

a. Be thrilled when young children come over to play with your child.

b. Be worried that the young children who come over are sniffling.

c. Want everyone to bathe in Purell sanitizer before coming near your child.

d. Not be like me and will relax when people sneeze across the room.

Question 9: You know you’ve had a great day with your child when:

a. You keep replaying something he or she said or did as you’re preparing to sleep.

b. You actually go to sleep instead of passing out with Oreo cookie crumbs in your mouth.

c. You and your spouse are laughing, quietly, for hours before you go to sleep.

d. You can’t wait to start the next day.

Question 10: Parenting is:

a. Awesome.

b. Terrifying.

c. Exhausting.

d. All of the above.

Hello, my name is Dan and I’m a … journalist.

It’s been a few days since my last meeting and a lot has happened since then.

For starters, I’ve decided to hate myself. I’m coming to grips with the idea that, as a journalist, I am detested and detestable.

I ask questions. All the time. Just ask my wife and kids, although they’re too annoyed with my questions to entertain yours.

I have this insane urge to understand and appreciate the nuance of a word or phrase. I even have a dictionary. Didn’t we burn those long ago? Aren’t we supposed to look for the underlined red words in a document?

My editors and I also change my words. What you see doesn’t just leap from my fingers onto the page. How are you supposed to know what I’m thinking if I let my ideas develop before shouting them at you?

I don’t have a specific character limit. Oh, and I only use hashtags when I’m pushing the button on my phone. Sacrebleu! And I write foreign phrases like “sacrebleu” to express my surprise.

Additionally, I absolutely adore alliteration. I can’t help smiling when I think about the movie “Broadcast News.” I know, I know, we’re supposed to hate everything with the word “news” in it, but I grin when I hear Albert Brooks asking, “Pretty peppy party, isn’t it, pal?”

I frequently read. Sometimes, I’ll be in a room with a television and I’ll have a book or a, gasp, newspaper in my hands with the TV off. How am I supposed to relate to everyone when I’m not watching TV?

And deadlines? They’re so real for me that I sometimes don’t talk to my wife and kids just before they arrive. I used to work for Bloomberg News — the fastest twitch environment I’d ever experienced. An editor once followed me into the bathroom to find out how long I would be in there because I had a story to write. When I was on deadline at Bloomberg, particularly around earnings season, I would give my wife all of five seconds to share whatever she needed to communicate before I raced to the next story.

Oh, and I sometimes make mistakes. That’s horrific, especially when I have to explain how I could have erred. I used to have to write letters reviewing how I blundered; I called them the “I suck because …” letters. I periodically imagined weaseling my way out of trouble by claiming how tired I was from getting up at 4 a.m. when I learned of a story I’d missed in Europe.

That, however, would never fly, because a mistake has no defense; it requires a correction. I also use semi-colons and colons, which have nothing to do with my bathroom habits.

Sure, there are times when someone claimed I made a mistake when, in fact, the mistake was not agreeing with their opinion. That’s not a mistake — a difference of opinion.

But, hey, that’s another reason to hate me. I think about whether something is an opinion or a fact. An opinion lives in a realm where people need to repeat it to make sure everyone agrees. A fact can and should stand on its own.

It’s hard, when we’re all human, to ignore the pleas of people in power who want journalists and their stories to go away. One of my journalism professors said he tried to limit his friendships so they wouldn’t prevent him from doing his job.

That’s tough because I enjoy interacting, even with people who don’t share the same viewpoint. But, wait, I hate that because, ultimately, I’m loathsome and detestable.

I looked around the packed

Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia this past weekend. Let’s face it, I and — more importantly — my genes, fell short.

It’s not necessarily a character flaw, but it’s not exactly the kind of advantage I’d want to give my children.

There I was, cheering on my vertically challenged daughter in a game where height matters. Despite her stature, she has developed a royal passion for volleyball. The perpetual smile that crosses her face when she steps across the lines makes it all worthwhile, despite the effort, the expense, the endless attempts to get the stink out of her knee pads — and the driving through horrific traffic.

She couldn’t be happier than when she’s throwing her small body around the floor, trying to get to some giant’s smash that seemed only a moment earlier out of her reach.

When you have children, you want them to find their way, to develop outlets that they find rewarding and to contribute to something bigger than they are.

Sports, I know, don’t cure disease. And yet, somehow, it’s become part of the American way, with people flying, driving and caravanning from all over the country to play in competitive tournaments where, if they succeed, they can get enough points to make it to nationals.

So, there we were, listening to whistle after whistle at this volleyball attention-deficit-disorder factory when it occurred to me how my genes did my daughter no great favors. Many of the fathers towered over me. If I lived in a land where food were placed near the ceiling, I and my offspring would starve.

My mother played volleyball when she was younger. She was tallish for her generation. I played volleyball as well, although not nearly at the competitive level that has taken my daughter to places around the area, including Penn State.

While my daughter is involved in numerous activities inside and outside school, it is volleyball that tops the list. When we go on vacation anywhere, the first thing she looks for is a place to play volleyball.

As I watched her warm up for the third match of the day, I chatted with some of the parents from Virginia, Texas and Arizona that we met this past weekend. After some pleasantries about the event, the conversation inevitably turned toward the identity of our daughters.

I could see the satisfaction they felt at pointing out their children from across the convention center floor. “My daughter is the one ducking her head down to walk under the exit sign over there.” “My daughter? She’s just a hair over 6 feet tall, but she’s still growing. How about you?”

I’d smile sheepishly. “My daughter is in the middle of her teammates over there.”

“Where?” they’d ask politely.

“She’s No. 9.”

They’d squint into the group. Just then, my daughter would laugh her way to the outside of a circle of girls that looked like a group of gnats, diving in and out of the center of a circle of joy.

Then again, as I watched her throw herself across the floor, I thought about the match between her personality and the role she plays in this sport. Sure, it’d be easier for her to stand out if she were taller. But, given her need to defy expectations, she’d probably want to be a jockey if she were 6 feet tall.

As the weekend came to a close, I asked her if she wished she could play volleyball every day. “Of course,” she said.

“Can you imagine having a job one day that made you feel that way?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she smiled, trying to imagine a job that fits her interests as well as volleyball.

We’ve reached a period of outrageous outrageousness. Or maybe extremes of extremism.

I read recently about an advertisement by a beer company that seems overtly racist.

Now, I’m not going to name the company because that might accomplish what it could have been attempting in the first place, which is to get its brand name in front of people.

This company has caused quite a stir by linking the color of beer to its quality, which in turn is linked to race in the ad.

What’s happening in the country? Have we reached the stage where all news is good news?

We live in a world of such polarization, so many shrill messages and such a rapid news cycle that you almost have to be outrageous and ridiculous to get attention and to remain in the public’s eye for more than just a moment.

It’s not an unprecedented phenomenon. Borrowing from the fictional world, poor Roxie Hart from the show “Chicago” is “the name on everyone’s lips,” as the song goes. But then, once the gripping trial ends, the newest crime of passion captivates the city’s attention, relegating Roxie to a less prominent place in the
dramas of the Windy City.

In our real world, which sometimes seems to require a reality check, people doubt everything. Why, just the other year, the current president questioned the national origin of the previous one.

Doubt and cynicism are all by-products of a shrill time where people shout alternative facts from
the rooftops.

And to bring matters up to speed, current politicians are questioning the motives of the Parkland
shooting survivors. Some suggest that left-leaning people who want to take away everyone’s guns are manipulating America’s youth. These students are not too young to die, but are somehow considered too young to have formed such an energized national movement.

Are people becoming more extreme with their time, with their emotions and with their donations? Yes, without a doubt. As the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates suggested, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” He was describing the response to life-threatening diseases and not to people who feel their lives are threatened leaving their homes.

As Long Island native Billy Joel sang in 1989, “we didn’t start the fire.” While that’s true, and people have lived through periods of considerable instability and uncertainty, we are living in a time defined by extremes.

At some point, We the People have to decide what we can accept and what we can’t. That beer advertisement seems to be a cheap ploy put together by a cynical advertising executive, who has now pulled the ad after it may have served its purpose.

Maybe this executive got his or her wish and more. Not only are people talking about it, but the company may also not have to pay as much for the ad, because now they’re not running it anymore.

How do we combat such unacceptable messages and decide when a company has crossed the red line? One possible solution is to follow the example of the United States government. When other countries create intolerable situations for their citizens or our citizens or the world, we start by hitting these nations in their wallets and refuse to buy their products.

Maybe a decline in sales at a company would send the kind of message that defeats the notion that all press is good press. Other cynical executives might get the message if the stock price or sales fell after such an advertisement polluted the company’s image. With our consumer decisions, we can send messages that it’s not OK to be offensive and outrageous just to sell another product or a toxic idea.

The following dialogue was inspired by an actual conversation. No friendships ended as a result of this interaction.

Joe: That’s interesting.

Aaron: What made it interesting?

Joe: It held my interest.

Aaron: That’s tautological.

Joe: What does tautological mean?

Aaron: It’s a kind of circular argument, like something is interesting because it held your interest. So, what’s interesting about what I said?

Joe: No, you see, it’s not what you said, so much as the way you said it and, of course, the fact that it was, indeed, you who said it. Like, remember that time you said that our boss was having an affair with the man she kept insulting at work and then, lo and behold, she was?

Aaron: Yes, I remember that was because she was having an affair with you.

Joe: Oh, right. Good times.

Aaron: Can you tell me how what I said interested you?

Joe: But, first, did you read the latest thing about Donald Trump?

Aaron: Which one?

Joe: The one where he’s mad at the media and the media is reporting about stuff he says isn’t true.

Aaron: You’re going to have to be more specific than that.

Joe: You want specifics? How about Russia?

Aaron: What about it? It’s a country.

Joe: You’re funny.

Aaron: Stop calling me funny and tell me what Trump and the media are disagreeing about.

Joe: Are you angry?

Aaron: I’m trying to have a conversation.

Joe: Conversation. That’s interesting.

Aaron: What’s interesting?

Joe: It’s like the way you’re looking at me right now. You know what I mean?

Aaron: Nope.

Joe: You have your eyes open and your eyebrows are up, like you’re expecting me to say something interesting, when, you know, you’re the one who always says interesting things. I read interesting things. This
morning, I read something compelling about Trump and the media.

Aaron: OK, let’s go with that. What was compelling about it?

Joe: It was just, you know, well, maybe you wouldn’t think it’s compelling and maybe you knew it already, which means I probably don’t have to tell you.

Aaron: I want to talk about something.

Joe: We are talking about something. We’re talking about me and you and this weather. You know what I’m saying?

Aaron: Not really.

Joe: The weather is all around us, right? And, it’s all around everyone else. Except that, when people are somewhere else, the weather around them isn’t the same as it is here. So, to experience weather, you really have to be here.

Aaron: Right, uh huh. Go on.

Joe: Now you’re looking at me differently. You’re frowning. You need to laugh more often. That’s your problem.

Aaron: I don’t have a problem. I’m trying to have a conversation.

Joe: About what?

Aaron: Well, a few minutes ago, you said what I said was interesting and I’ve been waiting patiently to find out what you thought was interesting about it.

Joe: Oh. Let me think. I’m going to replay the entire conversation in my head and then I’ll let you know.

Aaron: Right, sure.

Joe: No, really. Was it before or after the conversation about the weather?

Aaron: Before.

Joe: See, I was listening. I remembered that we talked about the weather.

Aaron: You weren’t listening to me. You were listening to you. You brought up the weather.

Joe: Right, OK, I have a confession to make. I wasn’t listening to what you said all that closely, but I know it was interesting.

Aaron: What part? Do you remember any of the conversation?

Joe: Not really. I have to go. It’s been nice chatting with you.

It’s got great pictures and is good news. As a result, it’s a story heard around the world.

Back in 2015, Heather Lynch, an associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, started the tedious yet important job of counting Adélie penguins in a place with a well-earned name: the Danger Islands. This chain of nine Antarctic islands is surrounded by rocks and potentially ship-trapping ice.

These parameters present a picture-perfect paradise for Adélie penguins, who live, breed, eat, squawk and poop there — more on that in a moment. Armed with drones that fly over these islands and working with collaborators from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Oxford University in England and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Lynch and others counted these flightless birds. The final number came to an astounding 1.5 million.

Wait, but how could a planet so well covered by satellite imagery, where you can see your car in your driveway through online apps, not know about a colony so large that it’s called a supercolony?

We kind of knew that they lived there, although not in such staggering numbers, when a plane flew overhead in 1957. It wasn’t until more recently, however, that Lynch and Mathew Schwaller from NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, studied satellite images from guano stains — this is where the poop comes in — that they had an idea of the enormity of a population of penguins that would make Mr. Popper proud.

News outlets, including TBR News Media, couldn’t get enough of the story, grabbing the pictures, getting Lynch and her colleagues on the phone and learning about the creatures.

Publications of all political stripes, from The New York Times to CNN, to The Wall Street Journal to Breitbart News have all covered it.

“It’s a good news story,” said Lynch. “People latched onto that.”

Lynch said she spoke directly with 12 or more journalists. At the same time, about 360 stories mentioned Stony Brook and penguins.

Some of the coverage has included mistakes. One report, for example, had spectacular visuals. The narrative, however, suggested the Danger Islands was a hotspot for penguins because the location has been left undisturbed by people.

“That’s not what I said,” she said. “The question was, ‘Why hadn’t we discovered them before?’ The answer was because this is not an area where people go.”

That, she said, is not the same as suggesting that the penguins flourished because humans haven’t been there. It only means we didn’t know about them because visiting the islands is so hazardous.

Another outlet suggested that the Adélie penguins were on the verge of extinction. Not only is that inaccurate, but the population has been growing, as previous research from Lynch indicated.

While that may not fit a simple climate-change narrative, it supports the concept of a warming world.

To simplify the message, the climate-change community has made a link between population and climate, which is “impossible to break,” she said, even though it’s also inaccurate.

There is this “kind of tug of war between the scientists dealing with nuance and detail, and the conversation community,” she said. They don’t need to be at odds, she added.

Indeed, this colony thrives because the Danger Islands hasn’t increased in temperature at the same rate as other parts of the Antarctic.

The media spotlight taught her a few lessons.

For starters, in addition to the talking points she had during her interactions, she would include bullet points in the negative, to make it clear what the researchers aren’t saying.

Ultimately, however, Lynch recognizes the value of the photos.

“The drone footage is amazing and stunning,” she said. She gives credit to the Woods Hole staff. “If we didn’t have pictures” the story would likely not have received such extensive coverage.

What’s the lesson? From now on, she said, “I’ll think about the visuals in advance, if I want the attention.”

If parts of the body could talk, I wonder what they’d say. To that end, I imagined the following dialogue among mostly facial features.

Teeth: Hey, look at me. Something’s changed. You’re going to like it.

Ears: What? You’re talking again? Seriously. Can’t you give it a rest, just for a few moments? Here’s a news flash: You don’t have to eat crunchy food all the time. How about eating something soft once in a while?

Teeth: Crunchy food tastes good.

Tongue: Yes, but the ears have a point. That crunchy stuff scratches me.

Eyes: Keep it down. I’m surfing the net and you’re distracting me.

Nose: Oh, how wonderful. You get to look for stuff all day long, while I’m sitting here waiting for Eileen to share perfume that smells like flowers.

Ears: So, you like Eileen?

Nose: No, but she smells a lot better than we do. Our armpits leave something to be desired at the end of the day. It’s amazing we’re still married.

Armpit: You wouldn’t smell so great either if you got damp every time the stress level started to rise. Besides, with all that running, nose, I’d think you’d be in better shape.

Nose: Is that supposed to be funny?

Armpit: I’m sorry. I know it’s not your fault. Maybe my stress would be lower if the eyes didn’t spend so much time reading about politics.

Teeth: Wait, guys. Come on, I want to tell you something. You’re going to like it.

Ears: Oh, please. Are you going to tell us that you have a few more thoughts you’d like to share about a way to smile so we look better in selfies? Forget it. Haven’t you heard? Your daughter said you’re incapable of taking a good selfie. She’s probably right. Selfie’s were made for people much younger than we are. They’re a tool to even out the generational power struggle.

Cheeks: We’re as young as we feel, right?

Eyes: Have you looked in the mirror lately? Cheeks, you’re showing our age.

Cheeks: Wait, what’s wrong with me?

Eyes: Nothing’s wrong. It’s just that gravity seems to have caught up with you.

Chin: Gravity, that’s funny.

Eyes: You haven’t looked in the mirror either, have you chin?

Chin: Why?

Eyes: Are you trying to clone yourself?

Nose: Ignore them, cheeks and chin. They’re just jealous.

Eyes: Jealous? What? Let’s just say that the new hairs coming out of you, my little nose friend, aren’t winning admirers.

Nose: Hairs? Where?

Ears: Can we keep it down? I’m trying to enjoy the few moments of silence before the phone rings or
someone else has to share thoughts about a better way to do something.

Eyes: We noticed the extra hairs growing on you, too, ears.

Ears: You’re in a bad mood today, eyes. What’s wrong?

Eyes: Nothing.

Teeth: No, you can tell us.

Eyes: I need to wear close glasses for the computer and distance glasses for driving. I hate having two pairs and it takes me a minute to adjust.

Nose: Tell me about it. The computer glasses are pinching me.

Ears: Yeah, and they’re irritating me, too.

Teeth: Come on. I have something to say.

Ears; Of course you do. That’s all you do. Blah, blah, blah. Would it hurt you to listen?

Teeth: I am part of the mouth, you know. That’s what I do.

Ears: Yes, but silence can be good for all of us, you know?

Eyes: OK, tell us this important news that you’re so eager to share.

Teeth: After all these years, my teeth are straight. See? My smile isn’t crooked anymore.

Eyes: Let me see.

Teeth: Aah.

Eyes: Hmm, they are straighter. What do you know? Now, what can you do about your breath?

It’s clear the modern-day president that Donald Trump has become has defied all conventions, including words. We just don’t have enough terms for all the ways he runs the White House and for the sparks that are flying out of Washington.

It seems that we need a new vocabulary to keep up with the approach Trump has taken. To that end, I’d like to suggest some new terms.

Hypothebrag: When you’re absolutely convinced you would have done something better than the person you’re skewering, you hypothebrag. You might be meeting with other leaders and hypothebrag that you feel strongly that, had you been there, you would have been so much braver than everyone else.

Twitterbolt: When someone is bothering you, like a politician from another party, you reach into your bag of thunderbolts, akin to the ones Zeus used to have at the ready on Mount Olympus, and you attack that person or organization, without mercy, with your twitterbolts.

Russiabscess: A tooth abscess is a painful, festering process. Well, when you’ve won the election and a continuing concern about Russia’s meddling hovers over you, you begin to feel as if Russia is an abscess. Your presidency lives with the pain of Russiabscess.

Russiobsess: For those hoping for relief from Trump, the obsession about Russia can take on a life of its own, leading to a daily collection of information about the Mueller probe and investigations by other political bodies intent on exonerating or excoriating the president and/or Russia. These folks are Russiobsessing.

Demonacrat: Trump isn’t a fan of the Democrats. Merely agreeing to disagree doesn’t seem sufficient. He often needs to suggest how evil they are, preventing him from getting the tax breaks he believes everyone in the nation covets or from doing what he knows is best for the country. When you demonize the Democrats, you are turning them into Demonacrats.

Mediaphobe: In case you missed it, the president doesn’t generally like the media. He feels that the coverage is unfair. He believes that fly-by-night organizations like The New York Times and The Washington Post make up “fake news” about him. He has become a mediaphobe, preferring to share Trump Truths.

Foxophile: The lone exception to the media hatred seems to be the Fox network, which finds favor with a president it lavishes with praise. The president has become a foxophile, enjoying pundits who patiently applaud the president for his policies.

Wallobeauty: Well before the president took office, he made it clear that Mexicans — well, the bad ones anyway — weren’t welcome. Convinced they were coming through unguarded borders, he promised a wall. It’s not the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem or the Great Wall of China, but Trump would like to create the Wallobeauty that will be a hallmark of his presidential career.

Intelladump: Rarely has a president shown such disdain for his own intelligence services. The FBI, CIA and others all appear out to get him. He spends a good deal of his time criticizing and second-guessing them, even as he reportedly doesn’t read their reports. When the president criticizes this community, he is taking an intelladump on them.

Presidentice: The former leader of the TV show “The Apprentice” — whose catchphrase is “You’re fired!” — seems to enjoy the ongoing threat of firing someone. The White House has become a reality show: “The Presidentice.”

Detestsabranch: Trump has made it clear that legislative and judicial branches of government annoy him. When he’s frustrated enough with them, his ire can transform into something deeper as he detestsabranch.

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They grew up an ocean, and a few months, apart. They spoke different languages, lived in families of different sizes, and competed at high levels in sports from different seasons.

And yet Huntington Station’s Sgt. Matt Mortensen, a Winter Olympic soldier-athlete with Team USA who competes in the luge, and Alex Duma, a sports chiropractor in New York, have been dating for close to two years.

The world of sports provides common ground for these two 32-year-olds. Duma grew up to become a Romanian women’s national swimming champion and an All-American swimmer.

Mortensen, despite living his early years on the relatively flat terrain of Long Island, dedicated his considerable athletic energy to a sport his father Jerry introduced him to when the company where he worked, Verizon, was sponsoring a luge event.

Mortensen and Duma met when she was on volunteering at Lake Placid Olympic Training Center.

He tried to ask her out for a drink and she turned him down because she didn’t want to consider dating someone she might treat as a patient.

Several months later, however, she relented when she knew he wouldn’t consult her professionally.

Once they started dating in earnest, her experience as an athlete helped prepare her for the travels, the dedication to training — and the competition.

“I understand him really well,” she said. “I’ve been an athlete myself and I do travel with athletes. I understand his lifestyle.”

That lifestyle brings challenges that would be difficult for people who weren’t born some 5,000 miles apart. Indeed, as a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program, Mortensen ventures around the globe routinely, competing in World Cup competitions.

Since he was 12, Mortensen learned most of his middle school and high school lessons from work sent from St. Dominic’s in Oyster Bay. He often missed celebrating his December birthday with his family because it fell during the winter luge season.

The time on the road, however, helped him grow up more rapidly and, as it turned out, gave him the opportunity to learn other cultures earlier than many of his American contemporaries.

The months he spent in Europe “helped bridge the cultural gap,” Duma said. It helped him “understand my European culture.”

At the same time, Duma came to the United States when she was 19, so she feels that “a lot of what I am is due to the American culture.”

Duma admires Mortensen’s relentless efforts to improve and compete. She has watched how he continues to work out after the season ends, even when the workouts are not required.

“He’ll go above and beyond the extra step,” she said.

As for their families, Duma grew up as an only child. On another continent, Mortensen grew up with four brothers and two sisters, in a family of nine.

“They are an amazing big family,” Duma said. “I feel so blessed to have been invited to family events,” which include Christmas and Easter.

Duma appreciates the noise, the dogs, little kids and the constant commotion, which is a marked contrast from her life in a small family, where it was “too quiet.”

Borrowing an oft-quoted line from the movie “Jerry Maguire,” Mortensen said Duma “really completes me.”

Mortensen suggested that Duma stay behind and continue to work while he was in PyeongChang. In South Korea, he finished fourth in the luge team relay, a tenth of a second behind the Austrian team for bronze. He wanted her to save up her vacation time so the athletic couple could travel on a planned trip to Hawaii. During the games, the two of them speak by FaceTime and Whatsapp.

Ultimately, what makes the relationship work, Duma said, is that her Olympic boyfriend is “such a good communicator. He’s amazing at that.”

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To mark Presidents Day, here are some bits of information about our favorite president, Abe Lincoln, as culled from the internet, with thanks to Jeff Crilley at The Rundown daily email newsletter:

• First, our 16th president hated to be called Abe. He preferred being called by his last name.

• Lincoln practiced law without a degree.

He had only 18 months of formal schooling.

• He wanted women to have the vote in 1836.

• Lincoln read the Bible every day but never belonged to an organized church.

• He was an enthusiastic wrestler and took part in bouts.

• He defended the son of his most famous wrestling opponent against murder charge.

• Lincoln was known to battle depression most of his life.

• He was the first president:

— born outside the original 13 states, on Feb. 12, 1809;

— to use the telegraph and
communicated with his generals as if it were the internet;

— to have a beard;

— to be assassinated.

• Lincoln was the only president to have a patent. It was for a device that freed steamboats run aground.

• He had no middle name.

• He loved eating oysters.

• He didn’t drink, smoke or chew tobacco.

• Lincoln was a big animal lover. He wouldn’t hunt or fish.

• His favorite food was fruit. He was also fond of chicken casserole.

• His cat, named Tabby, supposedly ate with him at the White House dinner table.

• His dog was named Fido.

• Lincoln didn’t play any musical instrument.

• He almost fought a duel that was canceled at the last second.

• Lincoln was a circuit court judge in Illinois.

• He served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran for the U.S. Senate and lost both times, although once he won the popular vote but lost the election to Sen. Stephen Douglas.

• Lincoln lost his bid for vice president at the GOP convention in 1856.

• He argued a case before the Supreme Court in 1849 and lost.

• His first business failed.

• His shoe size was 12-14.

His coffin was opened five times, although grave robbers failed in 1876.

• Lincoln’s life was saved twice when he was young.

• Lincoln has no direct living descendants.

• Lincoln was estranged from his father and didn’t attend his father’s funeral.

• His animals died in a White House stable fire.

• Lincoln was shot on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.

• Lincoln was photographed with his assassin John Wilkes Booth at his second inauguration.

• Booth’s brother saved the life of Lincoln’s son on a New Jersey train platform.

• Lincoln was shot at in 1864, and the bullet put a hole in his stovepipe hat.

• Lincoln kept his important papers inside his hat.

• Lincoln’s guest at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who canceled at the last moment.

• Fido was killed by a drunken assailant a year after Lincoln died.

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