“I’ve never made spaghetti before in my life.”

That was a quote from one of the waitresses in The Smokehouse in Pine Apple, AL where I just finished dinner.

I’d like to take this opportunity to quote Bugs Bunny when he gets stranded on the moon after defeating Marvin the Martian, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!”

Because of “mistake” made by my travel agent, Ken and I, are staying 40 some miles south of Montgomery. To compound matters, because of an Air Force floorshow, there are no hotel rooms in the entire area, which means that we have to stay in the sticks. And even more fun, Ken and I have a white covertable Mustang. Nothing like a damned ferinner (say it out loud and you’ll figure out what it is) and a Jewboy with a goatee driving through the Deep frickin’ South!

By the way, the Montgomery Airport and Swimmin’ Hole does not exactly inspire confidence. It is a glorified high school gym with a small tower.

ARG!

I, presently, am here (http://www.mapquest.com/cgi-bin/ia_find?link=btwn%2Ftwn-map_results&random=565&event=find_search&SNVData=&address=&city=Greenville&State=AL&Zip=&Find+Map.x=18&Find+Map.y=9) I think that the aerial photo is a lot better (http://www.mapquest.com/cgi-bin/ia_find?link=btwn/twn-map_results&aerial_photo_tab.x=1&aphoto=1&uid=uexehbq8m105w6od:zwh01g5ar&SNVData=3mad3-g.fy%28a2g1fr_%29rz09zy%3bah7-%3d%3a%16%18JDLBK%12%13M%3d%17%13_%3dGG_luylhw%28.5yzn0r%28l%241w-u.wf7%3bxcx5sf7.grfe%7cs&pcat=)

Thankfully… wait, there is nothing to be thankful about on this trip.

Behind the scenes

(Okay, time to write a Tuesday night. Hmm, how to begin.)

All – (Good, stock beginning, low commital.)

(Need some standard idle banter to get things rolling. Um… let’s try
this.)

So I went tubing this weekend. There is something satisfying about
buying beer at 9:30am and drinking one of them by 10am. I thought that
car insurance was a racket, but this has got it beat. Basically, to run
a tubing company you need:
1) Nearby water
2) Tubes
3) A beat-up bus
4) A few stoners to run the operation
5) A really good liability waiver
With these things you can make a killing.

One note about tubing, make sure there is sufficient water in the river.
Or barring that, make sure you have double the amount of beer you
thought you’d need.

(Not too shabby. Little humor. Universal appeal. Now for the report
from last week… oh, this’ll be good.)

So I wasn’t in town last week. I was in Kentucky. Outside of
Louisville to be exact, at Fort Knox. Things that I saw near Fort Knox:
* The Armored Acres Mobile Home Park
* Big Pink Jerry’s Liquour Beer
* Thorobred (sic) 3 and 4 – I make it a practice never to go to a strip
club where the women are compared to livestock
* A sign that read “Your car won’t start, your wife is ugly, your dog
has fleas, come here and buy beer” – you can’t make this stuff up
* One simple white concrete building that had a sign that said “beer”
* A similar building that had a sign that read “girls”
* Oddly, there was no third building that with a sign that read “beer
and girls”
* The only traffic jam I saw was due to the first night of the Kentucky
state fair

(On to the main rant… oh, shit, I don’t have a rant. Damn. I mean,
ranting about KY is as fair as kicking a blind cripple. Until Chandra
is found there isn’t much to write about there. I’m a little tired of
the whole social capital thing right now. I must be tired, I can’t
think of a damned thing to rant about… well, here’s a desperation
shot.)

I hate the trend in websites to add javascript that causes their windows
to popup in front of everyone elses. It just bad design and quite
annoying.

(Quickly, end the email and hope that no one has gotten this far.)

I know this is late

Greetings from Kentucky. It is not too bad here. It very much reminds me of Vermont or even the drive along 70 from Baltimore to Harper’s Ferry. I have not seen identifiable Kentucky Blue Grass… it all seems pretty green to me. I have seen the gold depository at Fort Knox… from a distance. It is near the highway with some big fuck-you fences around it, but it doesn’t look that heavily patrolled… hmm, that could be worth investigating.

News from last week:
The big news was that Lisa was in town. Good job Lisa! The other big news was that Lisa blew up Toledo Lounge. Good job Lisa! She was sitting just a few feet away from the manhole cover that blew on 18th St.

This disturbing trend of exploding infrastructure is a bit concerning. It was all fine, well, and good when this was limited to Georgetown, because, really, who goes there anyway. But now it is striking 17th and 18th streets… not good. Joe’s theory is that it is some anarchist plot to undermine the government from the bottom, from below.

What I really did want to write about:
Bowling Alone. Go get this book: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam. This book is (so far, as I haven’t finished it yet) a summation of a lot of the themes that I have been trying to address through Tuesday Night, that Joe has been trying to address through 365 and the wine bar. Putnam is a professor of public policy at Harvard. He has researched the loss of social capital. He has studied how all major organizations: religious, professional, political have all suffered a massive loss of participants and that these losses effect society as a whole. This is a fascinating book. He makes the interesting point, for instance, that traditional religions, like Catholicism, are more likely to do community outreach work, while newer, evangelical religions, are more centered around the self and self-help and salvation. The overall trend has been for the last fifty years that American’s focus has shifted from the betterment of community to the betterment of self.

Putnam’s major point is that a well connected society, a society in which people of all kinds mix and mingle via organizations, is a stronger society. Sharing time with people different from you makes you better.

Now, I am only 90 pages into the 500+ page work, but I am blown away on several fronts. 1) The book is amazingly approachable. Yes, Putnam cites source after source and weeds through some heady sociology, but he does it in a simple and straightforward manner. 2) The overall decline in the American society community is staggering. Groups have shifted from things you serve on and work for to things you write checks to. AARP is not about making connections within the senior community but getting their lobbying voice heard on the Hill. We have turned inward and have used our checkbooks to act outward. 3) How simple a case this can make for Sunday night dinners with friends… or beers on Tuesdays.

You cannot escape the compassion of life

For those of you who missed last week’s Tuesday… which was most of you… it was, by far, one of the more bizarre evenings. Lemmie set the scene with Joe, myself, and a drunk and stone Rasta, who knew Joe via the taiji school.

Joe and I were just settling into a nice birthday beer, when Rasta man, let’s call him, Bob (which is not his name), says, “Hey, you’re Joe.”

And from then on, Bob did not shut up. First, it was stories and plans. He is planning on going to Prague, taking with him his sewing machine, his drill (he is a locksmith), and figuring it out there. Second, it is the discussion of intent versus intend. He intended to knock Joe’s lighter into his beer… this is where I started looking for an exist think that claret might ensue. Then, we moved on to religion. Faith is not belief according to Bob. He had faith that if he had one for Stella he would just up on the wall and rip off some of the knick-knacks thereon. It was in the religion discussion that the phrase, “You cannot escape the compassion of life,” was uttered. Finally, we closed out the evening with a discussion about butterflies, which Bob called flutterbyes, because in his word, “There’s no butter in those flies.”

See? See what you miss if you don’t come to Toledo?