As Monty Python once said, “and now for something completely different,” we are including a series of blog posts originally posted on either Views from Eagle Peak or on John Maberry’s Writing. Some are from as long ago as 2008; others are as recent as 2015. Eventually, these and more will be included in a giveaway for subscribers to the latter website. In the meantime, here’s a sampling to warm the heart and lighten the spirits as we await winter’s exit.
Off the road and back to the home PC. Stopped at an outlet mall along I-95 on the way home from Florida. Instead of regular coffee, all they had was irregular. Goes with the clothes offered for sale at the outlet stores I guess.
Competitive Yoga or Resistance Training
In a recent special to the Washington Post, I found this interesting tidbit:
Once upon a time, people did yoga to relax. But closer to home, Type A’s . . . are squeezing an adrenaline rush out of their ohm (sic) time.
This is shocking news, given that ohm is a measure of electrical resistance. Perhaps the writer or the post copy editor meant om time–as in “Om mani padme hum” a Tibetan Buddhist mantra referring to the jewel in the Lotus. Which in itself has no necessary correlation with Yoga either. In its various forms stemming from India, I don’t believe Yoga is directly or integrally associated with Buddhism. Oh well. It was enough for a good laugh reading the otherwise dreary political news on Sunday.
Be the Talk of the Neighborhood on Halloween
That’s what the guy on the radio said, promoting giving trick-or-treaters Trader Joe’s own brand of chicken broth in resealable containers. Can’t argue with that. I almost ran off the road laughing when I heard this ad yesterday while driving. He started out saying how “last year” it is giving out pre-packaged Halloween candies. He went on to describe how great the broth is in making rice dishes and other recipes. Okay, so you get the organic mom vote. But can you imagine the look on a kid’s face when he or she pulls this out of the bag of treats? Can you imagine the look on mom’s face if, while banging around with all the other stuff in the bag, the broth container leaks all over everything else? This has to rank among the top non-sequitur ads I have ever seen or heard. Yes, you can be assured of being the talk of the neighborhood. Or maybe it was supposed to be funny, just to give you a friendly feeling for the store. That must be it. It sure gave me a laugh, even if I never shop there.
More food humor; see a trend here? C’mon, doesn’t Rugula sound like the name of a college in Upstate New York? Maybe with a rugby team called the Rhinos? Otherwise, the pastry does taste good. It just has that odd name.
Pope on a Rope
No offense to Catholics, but “Pope on a rope?” Yes, the Pontiff is coming to the DC Metro area and vendors are stocking up on such memorabilia as bobblehead Popes and “Pope on a rope.” (Seriously, these are real products). Perhaps this is a way to wash away your sins? Not a “Midnight Confession” but a “Bathtub Confession.”
“An Idiot’s Guide to” Writing a “For Dummies” Book
It could be vice versa, but haven’t you been waiting for this one to come out in print or eBook, too? OK, this could just as well be a tweet, but tweeting is something I refuse to indulge. So who knows the relative market shares of these two competing book series? Anyone? Your name will go down in book marketing statistics history if you have the verifiable answer. (Nah, probably not.)
CNN or OCCN (Obsessive Compulsive Cable News)
Hey, I like to get all the news, just like anyone else. But it strikes me that CNN is just too obsessive. I suppose that their market research tells them they are meeting the preferences of their target audience–otherwise why would it be so? How many hours did they spend on missing flight MH370? Donald Sterling? The Jodi Arias trial? (almost seems like Oscar Pistorius got short-shrifted here). Analysts, guest “experts”, etc. must incessantly be asked for their opinions on the most minute “new” information. For Donald Sterling it’s every retired NBA star that ever lived. Lawyers. Sports writers/commentators. Spokespersons for minority groups. Let’s interview anyone who could possibly have an opinion and who has some gravitas. It goes on and on like this with one topic or another. It’s not like beating a dead horse, it’s way more intensely obsessive like beating, drawing and quartering, burning and drowning. But from my perspective, a name change to OCCN or maybe just OCN is in order. After one never ending coverage saga I noticed poor Don Lemon getting bags under his eyes!
Where to Find Sorts When You Are Out of Them?
We are all mad here, said the Cheshire Cat. I am not mad, but my wife thinks and often points out that there is a strangeness about me. I do not protest, but rejoice in her assessment. At times, like most people, she can be out of sorts. I offer to get some at the store when I go out, if only she would tell me in what aisle to find them. She is my muse of course, offering up gems that I freely use in my writing such as this one: “Without my knowledge, someone has signed me up for the falling apart club.” Ah, the accompaniments of aging.
The Serial Killer
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any company, product or person is not intended to reflect any actual events past or present. No such events have occurred in any town or company to the author’s knowledge nor are they intended as a commentary on such.
The serial killer awoke before dawn, as was his custom. He indulged his passion once a year on that awful anniversary—the year of the family vacation through the Upper Midwest. The trip began well enough. The Wisconsin woods gave way to the Dells, those meandering waterways through canyons of colorful cliffs. On to Chicago they went, where they walked along the lakefront holding their hats against the wind that gave the city its nickname. A busy place, full of busy people. Loud people. Pushy people. People in a hurry that scowled at children in their way, slowing their progress to destinations they deemed important. On they went around Lake Michigan to Battle Creek. The vacation part of the trip neared its end, with father considering whether the town might be a nice place for the family to live, should he get the job he sought. His mother, his younger sister and himself waited in the car for a time, expecting father to return at any moment with good news. As the car heated up in the summer sun, they got out to sit on the nearby benches of the little company park around a pond. Finally a man came running out instead to tell them of the terrible accident on the packaging line. After the interview, father had been touring there when it happened. No job for father. No father.
Now, years later, he still observed the occasion. He went to a local market where he bought every box on the shelves in the breakfast aisle. He took them all to an empty lot at the edge of town where he pierced each one, spilling its contents on the ground. He emptied a gas can over the boxes and the dry piles of wheat, corn, oats and bran. He dropped the match then, burning it all. He never hit the same town twice, only now and then did he see a news report about the unknown cereal killer that had struck again in another small, Midwestern town.
Love (Marriage) and Politics
There are some (you know, those other people, the social scientist type researchers) who say that arranged marriages common in some cultures (not America) actually can result in more successful long-term relationships and that the individuals involved wind up loving one another over time as they experience life together. On the other hand, there are those who say that familiarity breeds contempt. Now for the big metaphorical/analytical leap to politics, I offer this observation: We have candidates courting us, the electorate, asking us to (figuratively speaking) fall in love with them as our next president. Much like the arranged marriage, we really don’t have much say about choosing the prospective suitor. You doubt that? A few states have primaries and caucuses early on, in which the prospective presidents for each major (and not so major) political parties strut their stuff for the news media and assorted pundits–along with the locals who actually get a say in which of them moves along in this beauty contest. By the time most people in America get an opportunity to make their choice on which one to hook up with for the next four years (a term-marriage, if you will), only two major party candidates (and typically a variety of minor party candidates which few people know or care anything about) remain in the running. I am not at all confident that this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind, but I am not sure what we can really do about it now. I can offer my opinion that sometimes the love does seem to grow over the four years but just as often it seems, the familiarity breeds.