The young princes, their parents, their uncle and his significant other were all with us for the holidays. It was, of course, chaotic, but that is what it is supposed to be.

What was a bit surprising was that, surrounded as we were by bicoastal liberals, there was little mention of politics, except for the universal sentiment that tweeting has got to stop.

This may simply have been out of respect for the ossified senior generation, but there seems to have been a limited acceptance of what has happened, and even a hint that all was not perfect before the election. This fit in well with my own suspicion that all is not perfect now. Agreement, sort of.

The young princes were oblivious to all of this. YP 1 sat slack-jawed as Errol Flynn and his band of merry men in green tights, in defiance of any historical accuracy, saved England for Richard II.

This was the same movie we showed him when he was 2. He loved it then, but his parents objected to all the bloodless violence. Now that he’s 7, it’s OK. YP 2, now 3, also attended, but was mostly oblivious.

The princes have very limited access to television, using iPads for alternate entertainment. This time, too, is highly regulated, which seems a good thing, though I have trouble making the distinction between i-things and TV.

TV was in play, however, when the parents went out and left the old(er) folks in charge; after all, what are grandparents for if not to break rules.

The problem was that, apart from the aforementioned Mr. Flynn, animation was the chosen medium, and face it, men in green tights is also basically animation.

It’s amazing how much awful stuff is made that never sees a theater screen, but lives on forever on Netflix.

Given my aversion to i-things and technology in general (never mind that I’m writing on my Mac), Elder Prince 2 (that would be the younger son) hit a home run.

After earlier Christmas gifts of a tiny helicopter and a small drone, neither of which could fly longer than a couple of minutes and both of which were violently buffeted by any sneeze from next door, I was presented this year with an Echo Dot.

This is a voice-recognition gizmo that accesses your Wi-Fi. Her name is Alexa.

“Alexa: Weather.”

“The temperature is 47 degrees with partly cloudy skies and a chance of golf.”

“Alexa: Tell a joke”

“Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.”

Her jokes are terrible and the punchline is immediate, but to her credit she hasn’t repeated one yet.

“Alexa: Play 20 questions.”

She actually does this, and figured out the answer a couple of times.

“Alexa: Name the starting lineup for the 1917 Phillies.”

“I’m sorry, I cannot access that information.”

Well, you can’t win them all.

Alexa is ensconced in the kitchen, and we are gradually learning to ask her any number of questions. She can also turn on the lights upstairs and tap an apparently unlimited music library.

She did have a few moments of confusion when the young princes simultaneously shouted nonstop demands at her in their high-pitched voices, but a simple moment of silence fixed her right up.


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