Driveway Moment

LA Wall Art

LA Wall Art

I had a cathartic experience this morning after listening to the weekly Story Corps segment on NPR. Frequently, these stories tug at my heartstrings and this morning’s episode was no different. In this instance, Bill Jones, the first single man to adopt a child in California, told the story of his adopted son, Aaron. The fact that Jones is gay was only incidental to the story and added little to the poignancy of the story, which revolved around the central axis of a parent and a child’s bond. He spoke of his great joy from Aaron’s adoption, the joys of fatherhood and then he told us of Aaron’s psychological problems, which eventually led to his early death from a drug overdose. In just a few minutes, Jones had touched the loftiest highs and the deepest lows of the human condition. It was a very touching story. Then a moment or two after the story had aired the host, Steve Inskeep, came back on the air and spoke in seeming confidence to the listening audience, “Go ahead and take a moment.” His statement was like an emotional exclamation point that doubled down on the story’s original impact. Hours later, still recalling that moment, I’m still feeling verklempt (Thank you Joanie) because of it.

NPR has coined the phrase, ‘Driveway Moment’ when speaking about their stories that are so compelling that listeners will sit in their parked cars, in their driveways after driving home, just to hear the end of a story. Technically, this wasn’t a driveway moment, because I was tearing down the highway at 60 MPH, while I was tearing up because of it. Maybe I was so moved by this story, because in part it is the dregs of February now, where not much happens except that it is cold outside. We get the paper and every Friday it publishes the Get Out section that lists things to do about town this weekend. Somehow fittingly, this week’s lead is the Ice Capades version of Disney’s Frozen. We are expecting a wintery-mix this evening. It looks bleak out, but I still have hope. The Saint Louis Cardinals began spring training yesterday.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing new rules that would require hybrid and electric vehicles to add artificial sounds. This proposal is designed to make these very quiet vehicles easier to detect by pedestrians, especially the visually impaired. DoT has proposed a dozen acceptable sounds here, but they are all pretty boring.

NPR’s “All Things Considered” crowdsourced its audience and came away with a number of better and more humorous examples. The favorite one came from the TV series “The Jetson”. The iconic sound of their flying car is found above.

Me, My Bicycle and My Shadow

Me, My Bicycle and My Shadow

The NPR article goes on to enumerate a number of their other candidate sounds. Including the sound of cards in the spokes of a bicycle wheel. It can be found below.

The article then goes on to suggest that what your silent electric car really needs is its own theme song. They even have a suggestion or two. The following YouTube video has Kermit the frog singing, “It’s not easy being green”.

Bad Day? Feeling Only 47%?

Renee Montagne, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition at KWMU

Yes dear readers it is that time of the week. “Already?”, I hear you regular readers moan. Sorry, but it is true, it is time for my weekly political rant. Personally, I think that I have been extremely well-behaved this election cycle. I have purposely limited myself to just one political rant a week. [This limit in no way precludes any additional rants on life, the universe and everything else not political.] Dressing this rant, I have included a photo of Renee Montagne, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition. We heard her speak in person, on Saturday morning. I thought her image lends an air of false objectivity to the following hopelessly partisan diatribe.

Poor Mittens has had a rough go the last few weeks. I’ll spare you the enumeration of his faults. Suffice to say that each of his campaign’s embarrassments is superseded only by the next one. Unfortunately, this rough patch is taking its toll in the polls. Every new poll reinforces its predecessors, Obama is in accent and Romney is in decline.

‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’ you say and you would be right. The lies and damn lies are the province of the politicians, while the statistics belong to their pollsters. Pollsters like politicians come in all stripes. The only real difference between the two is that pollsters have to show their work. This makes their lying more difficult. It can be checked. 

Barack was on David Letterman’s “Late Show”, Tuesday. I watched the show until there was one too many commercial breaks and then I bailed and went to bed, dragging sleepy Anne along with me. Maybe it was too much late night Obama, but I think that it was too much block party pot luck. Indigestion aside, when I slept, I dreamt of Obama.

Somehow I ended up with Barack Obama as my apartment roommate. He made the perfect roommate, because except at the beginning of the dream, he was always on the road campaigning. It was only a one bedroom apartment, so our two king-sized water-beds shared the same room. Yeah, I know, weird. I can’t explain my subconscious, maybe you can? Everything was copacetic until my nine-year-old son, Dave, appeared. He eschewed jumping on my water-bed and instead launched himself towards Barack’s. For some reason Barack’s bed was festooned with lit candles and plugged in lava lamps, disaster ensued. Dave was OK.

I then dream jumped to the next scene. I was in the shower, washing up, after cleaning up the mess. Unfortunately, the bathroom was in that 1982, Big Bike Trip, New Orleans hotel that we stayed in one night, just because it was near the rail station. After taking one look at the place, we moved all our luggage into a locker at the train station. I took a shower there, so it was part of my lexicon, but Anne would not go near it. This time around it was even groadier than I remember. Instead of placid groad, there were undulating filaments coating the shower’s walls.

I woke up at this point. I took an antacid and went back to a dreamless sleep. I got up in the morning, still feeling tired. I felt only about 47% today, which still felt better than 1%.