Just how personal do we really need to be with each other?

 

Check out this verbatim friendly(?) message… courtesy(?) of a well-known website, that’s been skulking off in the shadows… creeping around… sticking its collective nose into our business…

See our Privacy Policy to learn about the types of data we collect and how we use and share it. We collect data from your browser to personalize your weather and the ads you see. Review Privacy and Advertising Settings.”

Yep… you read that right. We ARE talking about the weather… i.e., the Weather Channel.

Nope… I didn’t bother to “Review Privacy and Advertising Settings”. Why not?

Firstly… there is no such thing as privacy… either in the real world or online.

Nextly… life is too damned short to be constantly slogging thru such arcane, verbose legalese. Hell, an A to Z read thru my entire Funk & Wagnalls, 25 volume Encyclopedia set would probably take less time (and, in doing the latter, I would wind up a far smarter man).

Lastly… seeing how I have no say-so, whatsoever… can only say “NO” by never visiting their website again… they’ll always have the upper hand… no matter what. Moving on to the specifics…

RE Personalized Advertisements… when it takes less than a minute for each typical visitor to check out a weather report / forecast, is there even sufficient time to notice them?

RE Personalized Weather Reports… how much more than the zip code (which, btw, we’ve already keyed into the Google search) would they ever need to personalize our weather?

Is that not as personal as we ever need to be with each other?

If the Weather Channel truly wants to be my dear, personal friend, why wouldn’t they… oh… say… (once each winter?) send someone by to prepare my breakfast while I’m out shoveling the snow off my sidewalks and driveway?

Or better yet… why not do the shoveling for me?

That should pose no problem… after all… they already know where I live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 5 / Denouement)

Here are the links to parts ONETWOTHREEFOUR

My conflicting emotions go to war on the battlefield of the mind, as I soldier onward, on my December 25th walk at dawn. One faction symbolizes fond memories of hometown Christmases past… the other cabal represents the unmemorable hometown of Christmas present.

In the scant hour, since this all began, the still unseen, rising sun has gradually, somewhat lightened up the blue / gray overcast… driven off a bit of the misty swirling fog.

My observations inspired, recurring question:

“What the hell good is change within a community when there’s no apparent, appreciable betterment of society?

This brings to mind the recent bulldozing of, yet, another Elementary school. That I had never set foot within it, is really not the issue. What is, is what eventually got built in its bulldozer leveled footprint… how the city fathers and mothers had thumbs upped a crass, subdivision developer’s master plan / plot to construct dozens of butt ugly, gargantuan, too cookie cutter and closely spaced, boxy, monstrosity “mansions”.

They remind me of Star Trekian Borg Cubes with tacked on aluminum siding. True, that’s an exaggeration… the siding is not aluminum.

I’m now free associating Malvina Reynolds’ song, Little Boxes, and suspect this will become an all walk long… maybe even all Christmas Day long earworm.

• Why couldn’t the locally empowered have opted, instead, for more affordable and aesthetically pleasing housing?

• How could they justify the negative impact of too damned much, rich, arable soil getting paved over… how that can only worsen world hunger and global warming… the one-two punch that threatens the very extinction of humanity!

Far be it from me to fault folks who are successful beyond their wildest dreams. However, their dreams become our nightmares when high elective office morphs them into the high and mighty. This, for the most part, is what draws the new town vs. old town battle-lines.

And what’ll be next? Gated communities with posted signs warning the commoners to KEEP OUT? Will the mayor wind up in his UnWelcome Wagon’s driver’s seat? Hanging his head out the window to blast over a bullhorn, his bullcrap, “GET OUT” message to the masses? Will he be presenting the key to the city to some vigilante (such as George Zimmerman)?

If any town buys into “of, by and ONLY for the wealthiest of the wealthy”, then commoners, such as I, become class war casualties.

And what then would become of my Chrismases, yet to come? Might one of those walks… uh… the final one… find me outward bound from the main drag’s City Limits sign… unjustly banished… forever run out of town by well-heeled heels?

Well… at least for the time being… my Christmas walk now sends me seeking out the comfort of hearth and home… the house I had inherited from my folks. I’ll soon be scaring up some comfort food, too. Instantly coming to mind is a stack of mouth watering, made from scratch, fresh off the griddle pancakes… all doused with maple syrup and washed down with fragrant, freshly brewed coffee.

All the more reason to pick up my pace. And an even better reason… to leave the new town reality behind me.

No truer words were ever committed to paper than lyricist Kim Gannon’s “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams” and author Thomas Wolfe’s adage, “You can’t go home again.”

The poignancy of it all can easily well up tears in the eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 4)

 

While Part 4 can stand on its own two feet, here are the links to Part 1Part 2Part 3

My at the crack of dawn, Christmas walk keeps me advancing through my lifelong hometown… the dreary, grayish blue cloud deck above… the chilly, misty fog swirling at street level. At this hour, most of the townies are either still abed or about to break bread… maybe even don their Sunday best to attend midweek mass at their chosen Houses of Worship.

We can thank the Heavenly Father that the city fathers have yet to conspire with their like-minded counterparts… the evil, anything for a buck, wrecking ball oriented, developers who likely lust to either reduce the three churches near the town square to ground zero rubble… or, perhaps, re-purpose them… oh… say… as a chain of Pancake House / Houses of Worship?

WOW! What a time saver, huh? Hmm… might the phrase that pays soon become…

“Would you like to wash down your little cookie / communion wafer
with some Coffee? A Frappuccino? Cafe Latte? Milk? Chalice of Wine?

My sarcastic streak leaves me (ever so slightly) chuckling. With nary a soul in sight, my thoughts are free to wander back to where I’ve been wandering off to this very day… my boyhood home and hood, the town square and my folks’ rented domiciles… backdating to their earliest days as newcomer settlers of this Smalltown, Michigan community.

Then I wonder… where to wander next?

At the moment I’m outward bound from the very schoolhouse where my parents, both teachers, had educated young minds… where, later on, as a tween and teen, I had matriculated.

A vehicle whooshing by on the wet pavement disrupts my reveries… heightens the sense of my being afloat in a sea of rudderless, mixed emotions. My decades-old, old town warm memories, constantly clashing with the cold, new town reality, is not unlike the stormy collision of meteorological fronts. To acquiesce to my community’s evolution is proving difficult. After all, what the hell good is change when there’s no apparent, appreciable betterment of society?

Such thoughts bring to mind the bulldozing of, yet, another Elementary school. That I had never set foot within it, is really not the issue. What is? Well… a flood of melancholy, momentarily, tables that thought…

I realize that no amount of wishful thinking could ever, possibly, overcome the inescapable truths my walk is revealing to me… my yearnings echoed by lyricist Kim Gannon’s reminder: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams” and author Thomas Wolfe’s adage: “You can’t go home again.”

I exhale my low, long sigh…

 

“Stay Tuned” for Part 5…

 

 

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 3)

 

While Part 3 can stand on its own two feet, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2.

My at daybreak, Christmas walk through my lifelong hometown now finds me outward bound from the town square… feeling just as blue as the dismal, grayish blue overcast above… just as dispirited as when I had exited my boyhood neighborhood scant moments ago.

Hmm… where next? Seeing how the house my parents had rented… my very first home… was a mere thirty seconds down the main drag, I figured why not?

Of course, there’d be some unavoidable issues. Firstly, my having resided there for only two months, as a newborn, meant any recollections, at best, would be as hazy as this a.m.’s chilly, misty fog. Lastly, only family photo album pics can attest to the existence of this neighborhood… i.e., since that era’s city fathers wound up rezoning the bulk of that city block… thereby clearing the way for a wrecking ball crew to raze a row of homes, houses of historical significance, just to make way for a factory. An ugly factory so close to the town square? YIKES! What were they thinking? Were they thinking?

With really nothing to see, here, I move onward, my “last man on Earth” delusion getting debunked, momentarily, by the sound of two yackety-yakking guys tanking up their SUVs at the Speedway convenience store / gas station.

My next stop finds me admiring the very first house my newlywed folks had rented. Both being public school teachers, they could not have chosen a better locale. They enjoyed a walking distance “commute” to/from the town’s (then) high school.

For a fleeting moment I consider a mid-course correction to reconnect to my old Elementary School… to revive / relive my kindergarten days … but… due to yet another wrecking ball crew… well… why even bother actually visiting a place that only virtually exists?

And so, onward I hike, along the very path my folks had traveled to get to work… simultaneously passing by the school I attended from grades 5 thru 8… where my 7th grade English class had convened in the very same classroom that an old yearbook photo shows my own mother teaching in… five years before I was born.

Alas… long sigh… while this school still stands, it is no longer what it used to be. Nearly a decade ago, the school board opted to auction it off to the highest bidder (the bulding is now repurposed as a Big Biz’s HQ).

And so… here I am, yet again, stuck within this new town reality clashes with old town memories… where these inescapable truths rule…

Lyricist Kim Gannon’s reminder: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams.”

Author Thomas Wolfe’s adage: “You can’t go home again.”

 

“Stay Tuned” for Part 4…

 

 

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 2)

 

While Part 2 can stand on its own two feet, for anyone who may be curious, I’m linking to Part 1.

My early daybreak, Christmas walk through my lifelong hometown now finds me leaving my boyhood neighborhood behind… with heavy heart… soldiering onward… beneath the widespread, dismal, grayish blue overcast and amidst the enshrouding, chilly, misty light fog… the vehicular traffic is still sparse… the pedestrian traffic… uh… not another soul in sight…

Redirecting my attention to the displayed, residential outdoor Christmas decorations, for the most part, they appear as artistically unimaginative, disappointing afterthoughts… as if each weekend warrior residents’ ‘tude had been…

“Eh, what the hell, I’ll just toss on and tack up these damned things so
I can get ‘er done before the ‘big game’ comes on the big screen TV.”

Soon nearing the town square, my “what is” and “what was” comparative study conjures up a whole new meaning to the phrase “The Main Drag”… with emphasis on “Drag”. My yesteryear eyes become further saddened upon witnessing the results of multiple generations of poor planning by our city fathers. Submitted for disapproval, their aesthetically barren / artistically unimaginative afterthoughts.

Just how many drink or drown nightclubs / swank eateries doth one small town ever really need? Unless one deems the neon hued night life to be the end-all to life, one could easily rank this downtown business district a dull, null and void dead zone.

Gone is that days of yore charm, best exemplified by the Mom and Pop grocery stores and the truly helpful hardware dealers who also did double duty as handymen… happily / helpfully toiling away in their backroom workshops. Also gone, the lunch counter drug store, five and dime and clothier. Hell, even the post office had relocated.

Urban sprawl had morphed within walking distance convenience into a many miles distant, pissing way gasoline road trip.

Alas… here I am, once more stuck within the new town reality… where no amount of wishful thinking could possibly overcome the inescapable truths hinted at / backed up by…

Lyricist Kim Gannon’s reminder: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams.”

Author Thomas Wolfe’s adage: “You can’t go home again.”

 

“Stay Tuned” for Part 3…

 

 

 

Then One Foggy Christmas Morn (Part 1)

 

Just before yesterday’s daybreak… my appetite for reconnecting with Christmases past… in a manner more tangible than mere memories… far outweighed my hunger for sustenance. Donning my jacket, I hit the trail for a short trek through my lifelong hometown.

Destination: My boyhood neighborhood.

My excessively sentimental… bordering on delusional… expectations were that, beneath the dismal, grayish blue overcast and amidst the enshrouding, chilly, misty light fog, I’d wind up…

• at the very least… getting a glimpse of the very home, which I had deemed the center of my universe (throughout the first seven years of my life) and, perhaps, even spotting a fully decorated, lit up Christmas tree in the living room window (right where I would’ve seen it through my 60 years younger eyes).

• at the very most… getting caught up in some sort of freakish, Stephen Hawking or Stephen King postulated cosmic vortex? A space/time rip, which would send me hurling back, Back, BACK? To start out my life, anew? My, perhaps, even retaining enough of my accrued wisdom / foreknowledge to alter my now younger self’s decisions… all leading up to a better life?

Alas… obviously… I’m still here… unchanged…

No window showcased Christmas tree. No window of opportunity time warp, either. No amount of wishful thinking could possibly overcome a known, orderly multiverse’s implacable reality. All of that even gets backed up by more down to Earth realities… namely…

• Lyricist Kim Gannon’s reminder: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams.”

• Author Thomas Wolfe’s adage: “You can’t go home again.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 46th Second Birthday to Me

 

“Eons” ago, on this very day, I was en route to my 20 kilometers / 12.5 miles distant Community College to attend my Friday broadcasting classes. Wintry precipitation was slightly complicating the flow of 8:45 a.m. rush-hour traffic.

Still harboring those foolish, “I’m invincible and immortal” delusions (like most teens do)… I didn’t deem this minor snowfall worthy of much concern.

Paying far more attention to my FM radio’s rock tunes than to my speedometer, I didn’t realize that the road conditions were deteriorating with each passing minute and mile. My collision with reality occurred upon my arrival at a freeway overpass, where a thin layer of ice had repurposed that bridge into a skating rink.

Starting to fishtail, I panicked and slammed on the brakes. As if that error hadn’t sufficiently complicated matters, there was also the prospect of the sea of oncoming headlights. Worse yet, leading that vehicular “parade” was a massive, take no prisoners, 18-wheeler.

To this very day, I still cannot fully recall the precise details to what turned out to be my “Hail Mary” / last ditch steering maneuver. Indeed, long before I had rattled off, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen,” something truly astounding occurred. Somehow, someway, I wound up back in my lane. Jumping the curb, I was now neatly “perpendicular parked” between two, closely spaced road signs.

Hell, only a veteran Hollywood stunt driver could’ve pulled that off in one “take”.

As my adrenaline level gradually ebbed, I realized [1] I had totally avoided a fatal head on crash, [2] all the other drivers, in the vicinity, were also totally unscathed and [3] I had emerged with nary a scratch to either my own body or my car’s.

The other motorists, out of consideration (or perhaps out of fear that I’d demonstrate some further boneheaded driving) had all brought their vehicles to a dead halt and were actually patiently waiting for me to shift into reverse to get back onto the highway.

Reentering the morning commute, with my newfound, heightened respect for the slippery conditions, the first song the FM DJ played was the aptly titled, inspirational Carry On Till Tomorrow.

Albeit with frayed nerves, bruised ego and my vehicle’s newly acquired, minor front-end wheel alignment problems, I did make it to my 9 a.m. class… mere minutes late.

Only after class, did the full impact of that morning’s events begin to fully sink in. This had been my first, ever, brush with death. If it hadn’t been dumb luck that had spared my life, who did? Whose hands, just in the nick of time, had guided my own on the steering wheel?

Had I collided my Chevy Nova with that massive gravel hauling truck, at the very least, I’d have come up with a whole new meaning to the phrase, “compact car”. At the very worst…

My tombstone’s date of death would’ve read November 9, 1973.