Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dan Aykroyd Was Wrong (and Other Anecdotal Nonsense)

At a filling station in Terre Haute, Indiana recently, I observed an employee using a pair of mini-binoculars to make out the license plate number of a vehicle; she promptly wrote down the information on a notepad. I wondered what it meant. Most likely, it was a measure designed to catch gasoline thieves, the "pump and run" types. But had she decided to do this on her own accord or was it behavior the company encouraged? It doesn't seem entirely right to ask a store clerk to act as a security guard as well, at least not without paying her more. Plus, I was curious if she had attempted to take down my license number as well. But I parked with the plate facing the street; she would have needed a periscope! (ha ha, nosy suckas!)

I'm curious if this practice is unique to Terre Haute (town motto: "The Muncie of West Central Indiana") or if it goes on everywhere; I'm guessing the latter. But I'll be watching the clerks next time I go to, say, Muncie (town motto: "Don't Even Think About Calling Us the Terre Haute of East Central Indiana"). Perhaps this problem could be allayed by roving security guards in the lots of filling stations, at least during peak hours. If pump and runs are costing retailers as much as they claim, it would probably be worth the trouble and it beats turning cashiers into cops.

If you thought the name Barack Obama might sound strange when describing the President of the United States, what about one of the latest Presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney? Does anyone named after a baseball glove have a realistic chance of leading the nation? If he selects Basketball Jones as his running mate, I'm moving to Namibia! Senator Bill Frist has joined the fray, too. His surname sounds like an obscure culinary verb. "Did you frist all them wafers, Bill?"

And Another Thing...
What's the deal with these billboards from God? They say things like "All I know is... everything" and "Keep taking my name in vain and I'll make rush hour longer". And then they're signed by "God." How am I supposed to interpret these? Do the producers of these messages intend for readers to find a grain of humor along with a bit more sober pondering of religion? Or am I really supposed to believe God has the mentality of a six year old child and would force me to wait in traffic longer if I said something he didn't like? Seems a bit presumptuous to sign a billboard "God". Mind you, it's not that I can't take a joke; I just don't know if I'm supposed to be taking one or not. It's hard to imagine the intent is one entirely of levity or solemnity, so I guess it's somewhere in between. Maybe their primary goal was to get people talking about it. If so, mission accomplished. And next time I want to use traffic as an excuse for not getting some place, I'll just start swearing.

The Good News Is...
Optimism is generally a good quality but sometimes people can take a sunny disposition overboard. For example, if you've ever told a victim of sickle cell anemia, "Look on the bright side, at least you're less likely to catch malaria" then you're the type of person I'm talking about!

New Year Blues
2006 has come and it appears Dan Aykroyd's nearly three decade old prediction was inaccurate. Speaking as Elwood Blues on a 1978 recording, he presaged that blues music would by now only be available in the classical section of libraries. Observe the scant blues sections in most retail outlets and you might conclude his half-mocking prognostication hit the mark; luckily, there's the Internet and material by just about any blues artist from the legendary to the obscure can be obtained provided one has the necessary patience and capital. Except Little Johnny Jones! I've been looking for a song by him called "Up the Line" for ages.


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