Monday, October 29, 2018

Mass isn't weight, but it might as well be.

Here’s the thing about gravity; it’s nothing personal. You and the world are simply strongly attracted to one another and pound for pound you’re pulling on the planet just as hard as it’s pulling on you. If you should happen to tumble down a flight of stairs or go flying over your handlebars,  remember that the floorboards or asphalt are absorbing exactly the same punishment as you are. Everything’s in perfect balance. Equilibrium is preserved. That’s how I can accept that bad things happen to good people. What still irks me is how often good things happen to really rotten people.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The name is Boyd. Potsch Boyd.

In case you’ve wondered: J.D. Power is a consumer research firm. They don’t have labs, or test tracks, or any of the other stuff you might want to have when making qualitative judgments about motor vehicles. What they do is take surveys. They do this for their clients, by whom they are paid and to whom they issue their prestigious awards. Their clients then present these awards as evidence of their products’ quality. I may not be the sharpest taco in this bag of hammers, but don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes and tell me it’s sweat.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Lone Ranger. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

As a boy I assumed that Zorro, Superman, and Sky King were all one guy, who also sold everything from watchbands to refrigerators. This authoritative Brylcreemed baritone didn’t look like anybody I knew in real life, so I guess it never occurred to me that there might be duplicates. After peaking with the election of Ronald Reagan, that square-jawed broad-shouldered American male archetype is pretty much passé now, supplanted by a different standard spokesman – hipper, self-effacing, way more woke. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t miss the old model. I just wonder if little Beardy McTightsuit is really any improvement.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Take a whiff on me

The woman behind the counter at the Quality Inn is a serious contender for the coveted title of World’s Oldest Desk Clerk and as a result we’ve spent the night in a handicapped room which is also a smoking room. So the bathroom is unusually spacious and everything smells of stale tobacco smoke. Back when people smoked indoors, everywhere smelled like this, including airplanes, libraries, and hospital rooms. In winter, there was also a pervasive funk of wet wool and Hall’s Mentholyptus. And I think people were stinkier too– didn’t they sell something called 5-day deodorant? How did that work?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Spirit and image

I often go for weeks without spitting. My salivary glands are in no way deficient, I just don’t spit all that much. Baseball players, on the other hand, spit all the time. Some of them project neat photogenic spheroids, some scatter a fine aerosol spray, and some (my least favorite) lean forward and just sort of drool. Is this required? Do they practice? Do they remember not to do it at home or in church? People with much nastier jobs (football, legislation) seem to keep their expectorations largely in check, but America’s pastime is soaked in something more than tradition.