25

Job-Killing Regulations

We hear a lot about those pesky damned job-killing regulations these days. We’re constantly told that mean old gubmint is messing up everything when it comes to business in this country and getting in the way of honest people making an honest dollar. I don’t believe much of it, myself. I think people are looking for shortcuts again, and hoping we will all just look the other way when the inevitable happens. Water Crisis in Detroit Let’s ask the good people of Detroit what they think of the regulations surrounding the water that comes out of the tap, eh? Come in after mowing the lawn and pour yourself a good long glass with a few ice cubes in it and look forward to sitting back and relaxing for a moment or two, considering the job you’ve done and watching the rivulets of condensation join and run down the side of the glass. Refreshing? Could be… But what if the glass was full of brown water? Green water? Yellow water? It makes a difference, doesn’t it? Long after the Detroit water crisis left the headlines and the national TV news, it remains a problem. And it’s a problem a few Britta filters are not going to be able to solve. We used to have rules about this kind of thing. And […]

22

Uncle Frank…

The first experience with Death that I can remember was when my uncle Frank died. He’d been sick for a long time with some kind of a kidney ailment. The state of the medical arts was not as good back then as it is today. Today, they might have put him on a list for a transplant, or maybe by now there are medicines that would help, I don’t know—I was about seven or eight, I think. He’d gone from hospital to hospital, from doctor to doctor to specialist and specialist. Frank had a bit of money, but it didn’t help him. At some point, the medical people told his wife to take him home and make him as comfortable as she could and to… wait. We’d gone to visit him a couple of times. The first time he was just sleeping. He looked like Uncle Frank, only a little sallow, and a little thinner than I’d remembered him. He looked tired. The second time we went he scared me. He got out of bed and was hallucinating and yelling and cussing and wanted to pull at the various tubes and hoses. His wife and kids calmed him down and got him back into bed and made sure that everything was still connected. They scolded him for his outburst and he […]

06

And Again With the Losing

This week, I am wearing pants 4 inches smaller in the waist than I was a year ago. This keeps washing over me. Even my pants are lighter now, because there is less fabric in them! A little here, a little there. It all adds up. Or more properly, it all subtracts. Now I still enjoy a Jamocha shake now and then. I still enjoy a lot of things that made what I am today, or what I was yesterday, or however that best parses. But I’m a firm believer in the saying: Moderation in all things. Including Moderation.  I’m sure there will be setbacks. I’m sure there will be plateaus. I’m okay with that. I didn’t get here overnight. I’m not going to get back in a weekend or a week, either. But for now, I’m wearing pants that are 4″ tinier in the waistband than last week! Share This:

01

That One Magic… Thing

You have seen the ad, I’m sure, for Prevnar, that makes fun of people who might think a single sit-up or a single piece of kale is going to help them to live forever, right? There are a couple running now, here’s one: But I’ve always been impressed by this kind of thing because there is a magic sit-up. There is a magic piece of salad. There has to be. Think about it for a minute. Of course if you roll out your mat and do a single sit-up and then roll the mat up and never do another you are not going to get any healthier. But if you roll out your mat and do a hundred sit-ups a day, every day, for ten years, it’s going to have to have some kind of an effect on you, right? Well, somewhere between that first sit-up and that 365,000th one, is the one that’s going to make the difference. Twelve today? Thirty? Seventy? Hey, you’ve still got diabetes. You’ve still got all of the signs of heart trouble. You’ve still got a sixty-inch waist or whatever. And then somewhere along the line you pass that one individual sit-up that actually does make the difference. If you had quit that morning, at 357, or 1126, or 26417, you would still be […]

21

Mark Justifies a New Car

So I bought a new car a while back. It’s not a big deal—it’s actually the smallest car Honda imports into America, pardon the pun. But in keeping with my Hiatt-ness, I got the loaded-uped-est version I could find. I bought a 2016 Honda Fit, sight unseen, having never driven one, on the strength of the reputation of the brand, the dealership and the salesman and the recommendation of friends. Take that, Consumer Reports! The dealership had to trade with a dealer in another city to get it here because with gasoline trending comfortably under $1.70 at the time nobody was interested in a car that got 45 miles per gallon except for me and they had only two on the lot, neither of which I was interested in. Constant Lurker will remember I was embarked upon a journey to keep a 1995 Honda Accord forever. It had 176,000 miles on it and all of the old timers kept telling me, with a chuckle, it was just getting broken in. It was a simple car with automatic transmission, cruise control, electric windows that pissed me off, electric door locks that the original owner installed that pissed me off and anti-lock brakes that had given up a couple of years ago, reverting to, well, just brakes. I had always repaired and […]

08

I Loves Me Some John Henry

I loves me some John Henry. That’s an unusual thing to read, or to write, about your plumber. I know. But they have been a great comfort, pardon the pun, to me and my family through the years. When Kathie and I first bought Castle Pretentious, five years ago as I write this, we were scared. We had both lived in some kind of rental housing the whole of our adult lives. If anything ever broke, we sent a note to the landlord or called the manager and it got fixed within a day or so. We went on vacation and found our refrigerator had given up when we walked in the door with our luggage. One phone call and we had a new one—with an ice maker that worked, too! The semi-convenient laundry facilities would cash-out from time to time and a quick call would bring a trained professional with a box full of tools and ideas to monkey with it for a while and then it would be fixed. But we had no idea how to do most everything involved in home ownership. How much is a toilet seat, anyway? How much is a really good one? How much is a, pardon me, crappy one? What if we needed a new window, or a new water heater? How […]

28

Class Reunion

Or, How Did We Get So Damned Old? So, I went to my high school reunion a couple of weeks ago. I never saw so many damned old people. Bald heads and bellies and wrinkles and old hair styles as far as the eye could see. I fit right in. One thing I noticed right away was the hotties back in high school are hot grammas, now. I see the gray hair. I see the wrinkles. But when I look at these ladies, I still them as seventeen years old! It was great to reconnect with old friends. Some of them I keep up with almost daily, via Facebook. But some I hadn’t seen for years and years. We picked up like we’d never been apart. I love that. I love them. Someone once told me that you don’t go to reunions for yourself. You go for the others. Someone there will be glad to see you; they’ll come up and tell you something about a time you shared, something you said that meant a lot to them through the years, they’ll want to apologize for something they said or did. I’m always glad I went, when I get home. One thing that struck me was the list of classmates who were gone. I came from a big school, and […]

18

I Want A Car, Damnit!

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a cool car. And for as long as I can remember, the definition of cool car has shifted (pardon the expression) and changed depending upon what I have seen last. One of my earliest memories is of riding with my Dad in an Austin-Healey BugEyed Sprite. I can remember “helping” Dad work on this little car out in the garage one evening, holding and handing him tools. It was a cool car, no doubt. But Dad sold it when it was modernized with sleek new headlights and roll-up windows and… well, things were never the same after that. The first I remember falling in love with was a Triumph Spitfire. There was one on Michigan Avenue in Norfolk and when I would be out riding my bike I always made a point to cruise past. It was so low, and the whole front end lifted up from the windshield like one of those LeMans racers. You could see nearly every mechanical component and work on all of it if you had to (and you had to, given the state of the British car building art in that day). I considered the MGB for a good long while. It was slightly bigger (safer?) and the originals had that perfect proportion and […]

18

Martin’s New Nails

This is what has been taking up so much of my time, recently. I never really knew that having a dog would be so fun, so rewarding, so much work, or so much comfort. But it is and I am glad for all of that, and more. About the time that we start to call Martin “Stink Dog!” we start thinking of taking him in for a shower and a pedi-pedi. I clipped a dog’s toenails as a child and hurt the animal and scared myself to death. I clipped my own nails short—right up at the finger. So that must be the way you do a dog’s nails, too, right? Uh, no. So since I am deathly afraid of hurting Martin, we take him to PetSmart and have Alysson or Nathan work him over.  A pedi-pedi is about $10 or $12, I think. For that kind of money, I’d just as soon not have to worry about it. I mean, even when you’re dead broke you have $12, so let a professional do it. Share This:

23

I Loves Me Some Dog

I have wanted a dog for years. Dozens of years. I always knew that one day I would have an animal of my own. I never knew it would be so fun, so rewarding or so much work. Share This: