I always check the back gate when we’re done with the walk. Ancient habits. Slam it, cinch it, check it. So I wasn’t worried when Birch went barking mad over the mail person’s daily appearance. Back and forth, front gate to back - but then I heard a high female voice, and I knew something was wrong. Ran to the back gate - it was ajar - Birch was furious -

And then the ear-splitting shriek of an air horn. One of those hand-held cans that emits a sound that would make the dead bleed. Birch ran straight back inside the gate. I apologized to the mail person, prostrating myself with mea culpas, but she was cheerful about it all. All the days when he’d run back and forth barking had steeled her to his ways, and she probably enjoyed this little instruction.

It’s one of those situations where some people get angry if strangers discipline your kid, aside from the fact that he’s not a child - either you’re happy someone laid down the Adult Rules, or you’re furious that someone hurt YOUR BABY. He got what he deserved. And he will learn nothing, but it’s hard to explain the whole purpose of the mailman to a dog.

These days it’s hard to explain it to a human, to be honest.

Car stuff, con't.

There was another car I liked. The salesman brought it around. The first thing I did was hook up the CarPlay interface, and the salesman said “wow, you’re fast.” It could have been an attempt at old-style buffing - as I tweeted out earlier, “I am in the mood for flattery and lies, and since there’s no brothel around I’m off to the car dealership.” It could have been honest surprise that Old Dude was digitally adept. Who cares.

Took the test drive, and was reminded again how I have been underwhelmed by the pick-up of every Honda I’ve ever bought, but A) my gold standard is the 1997 manual-transmission “turbo” Eclipse, aka the Defiant, which was just a fargin’ rocket. GOD I LOVED THAT CAR. My CR-V was a wagon, the Element is a happy dog that wants to do its best, and this car - well, it had pep enough.

To tell the truth, within two circuits of the highway I started to think:

I do believe I am falling in love -

But stay thy arm, Cupid.

Back at the dealership, another salesman wandered into the mix as I was walking around the car on the showroom floor. Big guy. Older. Older-schooler. I started to talking to him, but kept referencing things my salesman had said so it didn’t sound like I was shunting him off. The older guy knew how to get you into a car. To rephrase my tweets that day: when I asked Young Salesman how the car handled in the snow, he talked about the adaptive transmission framjazit recalibration traction sensors; when I asked the older salesman how it handled in the snow, he said “FanTAStic.” When I mentioned the shift paddles that let you override the computer’s decisions, he said “It’s great, but you’ll never use it.” When I mentioned previous cars I had known and loved to the young salesman, he had nothing to say; the older salesman talked up his faves.

My point being: we all hate the cliche of the fast-talking glad-handing car salesman, right? But when you encounter a new breed that seems to regard the car - THE CAR - as an appliance, something like a fridge or a Dyson vacuum, you miss the hard sell.

When I got back in my car, my old friend the Element, I felt a certain coolness towards it. I was pulling away. Something had changed. In me. Later at Home Depot, pulling out of a parking spot, a car zoomed by and I thought: if it had hit me, my trade-in value would have been crap.

The thought of selling it makes me want to give it a hug. It has no idea. God help me, I think I’m in love with another car.

An emotion! A new one, at that - well. It made me think back to the conversation I’d had with the salesman when he started calling up the vehicle options and styles and colors.

“The details don’t matter,” I’d said. “Of course they do, I want the complete illusion that this is being tailored to my exacting specs and individual preferences. But the very act of changing cars is significant in a metaphorical fashion, since I’ve been coasting for a year without direction or enthusiasm, merely stamping out the same rote ration day in and day out, week in and week out, because the most fundamental role I ever had ended. Hey, that’s part of life. It’s hardly unusual. Quite common. What’s left? Figured I’d drive the green car to the shrouded shore of Lethe, but here I am, considering the contours of a life that barrels on nonetheless. And it has Bluetooth connectivity, too. You know what? I have to live up to what this car represents, if I buy it. I think I can. I really do. But the car has to convince me that there are miles ahead I want to explore. I know that's a lot to ask, but this internal dialogue plays out in the hearts and minds of many people who come in here, and I wonder if you recognize that, and if so, whether you consider it fair to play upon it. Oh, it's tangled. I don't know. I just don't know. But, heated seats, or I walk."


I don't know how a Mumps Lawson slipped in, but we'll deal.

Solution is here.




We begin the 2019 review of the music at the Blue Note Cafe.


Just the barest number of notes to ID the pianist's tune.






Hugger-mugger music, then back to the Blue Note.


What the hell, I'll throw in an ad to show you how that worked. No Edna at the end this time.




2019 returns to the bins, and the records dumped back into the world when someone dies and the kids give the contents of Mom and Dad's entertainment system to the Goodwill.


Of course Oldsmobile would put out a record. Why wouldn't a car company put out a record of the New Stars?

Peter Nero. Set your stopwatch: how long to identify the tune?






1958: ad for CBS radio shows.

Soon to be gone, all of them.



That'll do - see you Monday! And some Bleat+ soap, believe it or not.

I have so much old hotel soap.



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