Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Which Jazz Gets the Mail

I've always hated the Post Office. Not just because they are part of a an outmoded system which stretches back past the Pony Express to wandering tinsmiths who took missives scratched out with quills from people who never knew if their message would ever reach the intended recipient, up through a time when ARPANET would spell out a death they never accepted. No. And it's not that they don't provide a valuable service. It still amazes me that you can stick a four bit piece of pre-glued paper on an envelope and have someone take it across the country in a few days. It's none of that. It's just the crappy, horrid, world ending things which the postman delivers to you every once in a while, with or without ringing twice.

Obviously not all the news is like this. You certainly enjoy the occasional birthday card from gram gram with a twenty slipped inside. You like it when your next DVD arrives from Netflix. But most of the movies are mediocre at best. And I guarantee you can't recite any of the Americanized Hallmark haiku from any of your grandmother's cards. These are not the ones that lodge in your brain.

What you remember is the day your draft card arrived. More to the point, the letter saying that your number had come up and you were to report for duty. Your mom certainly remembers that letter which began, "We regret to inform you.."

The postman arrived at my place today with a letter. It wasn't from the military or the attorney of some scorned business partner. It was from the AARP and it had my membership card. There's a smack in the kisser for you. The major problem with this is that I immediately thought of my wife. She's married to an old guy.

It's not like I totally robbed the cradle. I was married to her a bit later in life than the old Romeo and Juliet story. But the fact remains that - given the genes in her family - she still has a great likelihood of a full half of her life or more in front of her. Her old man is... well... an old man. I normally don't think of it much. I try my best to be youthful and energetic. I try to service her in the boudoir at a satisfactory level. But that's the point, which this poison pen missive brought home. There are times when I try. Young men don't try. They just do. It doesn't require any thought.

And then, one day, the mail comes. And you're old. I really hate the mail.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In My Inbox Paradox

From my MSNBC Daily Headlines email:

Candlelit dinners spark romance - and toxins You may be ingesting more during those romantic, candlelit dinners than a nice cabernet and a lamb chop. Side of benzene, anyone?

Life expectancy reaches all-time high in U.S.
U.S. life expectancy has risen to a new high, now standing at nearly 78 years, the government reported Wednesday.
So which is it? Will candles cause my early death, or will I live extra-long? Will having candlelight dinners bring down the national average. I'm confused, here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Busy Weekend

(meatloaf mix-meat, 1 egg, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, prosciutto, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme)
Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes
(baby red potatoes, butter, cream, salt, gorgonzola, parsley)
Roasted Fennel
(fennel, olive oil, salt, pepper)
Roasted Asparagus
(asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper)
Roasted Chicken
(chicken leg quarters, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, oregano, olive oil)
White Peach and Apricot Pie
(pie crust, white peaches, apricots, vanilla vodka, honey, cinnamon, butter, sugar)

All fresh herbs are from my tiny container garden on my deck. That makes me happy, too. Any or all recipes available upon request.

When I asked myself the question, "What can I do with a free Saturday afternoon that would make me the most happy?", the answer in my head was "Cook enough for 10 meals". Now, on Monday, with meatloaf and roasted fennel in my lunchbox, I feel the full effects of that happiness.

Tonight there's a town hall meeting with a Congressman whose district I no longer live in. I may go anyway. My father thinks it will be fun to go and see people yell at him.

I wonder if he'd write me back now that he no longer represents me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Favorite Example

Songwriters: Hamilton, Nancy; Lewis, Morgan

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
When love is far away too
Till it comes true
That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there's music
How near, how far
Somewhere there's heaven
It's where you are
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

[Guitar Solo]

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Which Jazz Notes That You Never Write Anymore

You don't write. You don't call. Are we breaking up?

No. We're not. But it's summer time, and for reasons I can't adequately explain for you, my online activity always seems to take a bit of a downward turn, and my creative writing juices don't flow quite as quickly. It's not as if I'm just hibernating, though. So what's up with me in the summer?

Well, I've been doing some reading. I just finished Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford, which I highly recommend to anyone, particularly all of us who work in the "knowledge economy" rather than making or fixing actual things with our bare hands. We also dug up a few more of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries which we'd previously missed, including The Rubber Band, The Red Box and Curtains for Three. Stout wrote a ton of them, but I fear we're finally getting to the end of the list.

I've also been out working on my yard and in the garden. My tomatoes have grown like trees, producing dozens of big toms, not one of which has turned red and ready to pick yet. The weather has been unusually wet, cloudy and cool this year and it's really slowed things down. I also went on a few really anal retentive jags about my lawn, mowing it too often, trimming the edges and digging dirt out of the cracks in the sidewalk so weeds won't grow there. Fascinating, I know.

When I do feel the need to be online, I've spent far more time than is good for me playing the best game in the world. I don't care what anybody says, a one time payment of ten bucks by Pay Pal is a small investment for the many, many hours of fun I've had with Fantastic Contraption.

I also had some dental work done which turned into an even bigger pain than I had first imagined, but I don't really want to talk about that right now.

Anyway, I suppose that sums up most of it. So... what have you been up to this summer?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Man, I'm Spoiled

I was seriously annoyed when I read the condition that Homestead rebates are only available to those who earned 75,000 dollars or less (if under 65) last year.

I am so spoiled. I don't get one of those because others need it more than I do. That doesn't mean I wouldn't take it, though.