Hoosier Daddy

So, our road trip has begun. We left Connecticut, drove through Pennsylvania and Ohio and are now in Indiana on the way to Chicago, Illinois. I’m not a big fan of Indiana. maybe it’s the Mike Pence connection or maybe it’s the large sums of money I shelled out for my other kid to go to Indiana University. Don’t know, but what I do know is that as soon as we crossed into Indiana, traffic became ridiculous and we lost over an hour just sitting there. Also, it began to rain, even though the sun was blindingly out. We pulled into a gas station to fill up the car’s tank, empty ours, and caffeinate ourselves. No one was wearing a mask. Not one. I thought, wow they disappeared overnight but in reality I’m pretty sure they weren’t too plentiful to begin with, what with this being a very red state, after all. Fuck you Mike Pence. As we left the station the last thing I saw was some genius smoking while pumping gas into his motorcycle. No helmet either. C’mon Darwin work your magic.

Kvetching Kross Kountry

So, I’m taking a road trip with my adult daughter later this week. Ten days driving from Connecticut to Colorado. Along the way we will be stopping in Chicago, Mt Rushmore and The Badlands of South Dakota, Sioux City Iowa, and anything interesting that presents itself along the way. If I see a sign for The Worlds Biggest Ball of String-10 Miles, I’m in. Anyway, I’ll be checking in here along the way and reporting on our adventures. It should be cool and a bonding experience with my kid. As always, I will be casting a judgmental eye on my surroundings and social interactions. Stay tuned.

Written—a poem

A heaviness
A tightness in the chest
that is relieved
with the transcribing
onto paper.
A purging
A downloading
of an idea
A releasing
A venting
Leaving an inner space
to be refilled.

A channel, a tether
connecting mind
and hand, a stylus.
The gnaw of. . . something
spit out and alive
that blips into existence.

Mental clay
shaped and worked
adding, subtracting, refining
till a form emerges
as if always there.
Now looking back
in judgment.

Sun Dog

So, I was walking the beach in Cape Cod and happened to look up and saw this. This is referred to as a Sun Halo, a circular rainbow around the sun created by sun rays reflecting off ice crystals in the atmosphere. I had actually never seen or even heard of such a thing but thanks to my friends at Google I was able to research it right there on the sand. I first thought it to be a Sun Dog, a slightly different phenomenon and a name I personally like better but we do need to be correct here in the Void, so Halo it is. It lasted all of ten minutes and then started to dissipate and I couldn’t believe my luck at having been there looking up at exactly the right moment. My first reaction, being a science fiction geek, was that the sky was opening and a light beam would lift me up to an awaiting alien spacecraft, but no such luck. I mean, it looks otherworldly doesn’t it?

After Googling and thinking it was a Sun Dog my mind then went to Moon Dog. Sure enough a similar event involving the moon is also a thing, though rarer. Who knew? So, standing there on the beach at high sun looking at this cosmic solar event, I started free associating on Moon Dog. Moon Dance, Moon Shadow, Moonstruck, Moon River, Moonlight, Moonwalking, Dark Side of the Moon, Bad Moon Rising and back to Moon Dog. Moon Dog then triggered thoughts of Moondog. Moondog was an eccentric artist who I first met in the late Sixties early Seventies on the corner of 54th St and Sixth Avenue in New York City. He stood there, a blind giant of a man, full white beard, dressed as a Viking. He would sell his poetry for any amount you wanted to give him ( I wish I had kept those small scraps of paper that held his thoughts). He was, of course, adopted by the counter culture of the time and the artist community of the city. Years later I realized that he was also an accomplished composer and musician as well as a writer. He wrote books, composed hundreds of symphonies, movie scores, and actually invented a few instruments. Befriended by the likes of Alan Ginsburg, Frank Zappa and William Burroughs he never the less died a pauper at the age of 83.

Why I suddenly thought of this man as I stood looking up at this heavenly occurrence, I can’t say, but that anticipated light beam did pull something out of me. Maybe it was this memory, maybe it was a renewed sense of wonder, maybe it was the affirmation of our transitory time here and life’s brief imprint. That imprint is the memory we leave, sometimes with people we didn’t even know we impacted.

Maybe it was just sunstroke.

Let Me Sleep On It

So, let’s talk mattresses. Yeah, I know, not the most thrilling of topics but an item we do spend about one third of our lives on and in some cases even create life on (not speaking to you @BackSeatRomeo).

I need a new mattress, mine being about fifteen years old. I describe it like others might describe me; lumpy, sags in the middle, and of course decrepit.

So, let’s go shopping. If you think your choices are simply between a firm or a soft mattress you’d be wrong. It’s like thinking Starbucks has only a choice of regular or decaffeinated but we all know that the simple cup of coffee has become a flowchart of possibilities. Ahh, come to think of it we shouldn’t really be discussing caffeine if we’re looking for a bed, so. . . . Upon entering the mattress store we’re greeted by a salesperson, iPad in hand, who explains that with a series of questions the program can reduce the myriad of choices to a few select ones, best for your style of sleep. I barely have style in my waking hours let alone when I’m zoned out, but we continue. Now, without getting too in the weeds here, the variations abound. Queen, King or Split-King. Cotton, latex, wool. Coil spring, memory foam, gel, hybrid. Cooling or non-cooling. 10 inch through 13inch. Box spring or articulated platform. Now let’s articulate about that last one. A lot of time is spent in describing the benefits and comfort of an adjustable bed frame. It can add up to $2000 to the total purchase depending on the bells and whistles you want. It’s like the comfort and performance packages tacked onto your basic car purchase. These bed frames can elevate your head and your legs and some have lumbar support. You can split it so your partner can be up while you’re down (sounds like they should coordinate their medication regimen). The top of the line frame has in addition to the basic features; massage, under-bed lighting, wireless remote (oh good, yet another remote to lose literally in the cushion), USB ports (because who would have an electrical outlet right behind their nightstand, right? Also, it reminds me of cup holders in sofas—not really my thing), voice control (“raise my legs” “I’m sorry I can’t make eggs”), snore control (which automatically raises your head if it detects that you are (my current mattress actually does have snore control, it’s called my wife’s elbow), Ambien or Propathol infusion devices—no, wait, that’s just my wish list. Bottom line? It makes me think of a hospital bed and at my tender age, well, let’s not push it, okay?

You get the idea. All the choices. All the permutations. It’s enough to make you lose sleep and I haven’t even talked about those mattresses-in-a-box. Again, not happy with thinking about sleeping in boxes. I guess that’s the next step after your articulated hospital bed.

Dog Gone Grooming

So, my 30 pound labradoodle had his first day of beauty in about a year. Oh, we managed to butcher his coat about 6 months ago in our attempt at self grooming but we tried. He kinda looked like he had mange, it wasn’t pretty. Now that life is coming back to some semblance of normality we brought him to his usual salon. I brought him in looking like a large, brown, and very overgrown Muppet and picked him up 4 hours later as this small, sleek, and coifed thing. I honestly wasn’t sure it was the same dog. It was as if a few outer layers of a nesting doll had been removed and this was what was left inside. But it was him, the same goofball I’ve loved for 8 years. He seemed happier, the mats in his fur had to have been bothering him and now he literally pranced and galloped around the house.

My dog is just a half a dog

Since coming from the spa.

My dog is just a half a dog

His bark is just a ba.

I haven’t seen his belly since

He grew his furry shell.

I rub it now and he delights

His kvetching now a kvell.

The Par Bar

So, I’ve reached 100 followers! Thank you one and all for helping me reach this milestone. It’s amazing when I see how many countries my 100 followers live in. This is truly a global experience. (C’mon Sri Lanka get in the game). Reading and being read by so many cultures elevates our collective understanding of each other and in the process brings us a bit closer together. I might be kvetching into the void but it’s comforting to know that some of you shout back with appreciated feedback.

Thank you, your humble Kvetcher.

Car-pe Dinner

So, I recently traded in my old car and purchased a new one. I can’t help but wonder how the antiquated system of buying a car is still, for the most part, the accepted way. Sure, there are new ways like Carvana (do they really have a car vending machine or is that just clever marketing and if they do why can’t they put a bag of chips in there that would dwarf a Costco bag?). I think Tesla’s price is Tesla’s price, no haggling. That would compromise the cache of the car. It’s like an iMac on wheels. But the standard experience is still one of sitting with a salesperson and negotiating. Cars have a price range spanning thousands, depending on which packages and options you’d like. Now, some packages have things you want and some you don’t but need to take to get the stuff you do want. Oh, you want the lane departure feature, well that’s in package-C which also has the moonroof and the beverage cooler. But I don’t want the beverage cooler. Well then you’d have to take package-D which has the lane departure feature but no navigation system. It does have an ejector seat though. Can we do better on this price? More for my trade in? Oh, I don’t know it’s already priced so low, I’m gonna lose money on this deal. Let me check with my manager. Then the dance begins. He goes to confer with his boss, which I’m sure is just the two of them talking about anything except my pending purchase. There is a bottom line number which we just need to get to and it’s the getting there that’s the challenge. I know, I know, this is a first world problem but still. . . .

Imagine if this same song and dance happened at, oh let’s say, your local restaurant. You come in, sit down and peruse the menu, checking all your available options. I’d like the meatloaf, please. Very good sir, that’s our basic meatloaf, would you like to accessorize it? Such as? Well, we can use premium breadcrumbs and free range eggs in our recipe. Sure. Now, let’s talk options. We have a package that includes roasted potatoes, broccoli and an artisan bread selection. I’d like mashed potatoes instead. Oh, that’s only available with Brussel sprouts and apple sauce. But I don’t like Brussel sprouts, can’t I have the broccoli? I’m afraid not sir, these are standard packages. What about the price? I see on the menu that it costs $45. Seems high. Any wiggle room in that price. Oh, I don’t know that’s pretty close to the bone. Let me check with my Chef. Ok, and ask if he can throw in a cool beverage.

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