Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Outta my mind on a Wednesday moanin'

Yet another tribute to the late Bob Talbert of Detroit Free Press fame (1936-1999) - a Southern boy whose accent translated "morning" into moanin' and whose book, Good Moanin', is one of the unsung classics of life in Detroit (along with Richard Guindon's cartoons).

So today I divide my early-morning thoughts into Good moanin' and Jus' moanin':

Good moanin' - there is nothing like having a cat jump into your lap and start to purr and knead your tummy to prevent you from throwing a misbehaving laptop through a window. The wee beastie surely calms the savage beast.

Good moanin' - there is also nothing like having factory-service-critters come out and fix aforementioned laptop to cut off the savage beast at the pass.

(Helpful PC tip: if your laptop is a couple years old, and seems to be losing connections or periodically slowing down drastically or shutting down for seemingly no reason at all, it may just be (as it was with me) that the internal heat-sink vents had become clogged with dust, and the system is overheating just enough to make it "hinky." It also would have helped if my company's support center might have suggested the upgrade from BIOS 4.0 to 15.0... but my friendly service guy did that, too.)

Jus' moanin' - The silence remains deafening on the shortage of bankers' and investment-brokers' heads on pikes in the town square. This irks me more than the lack of progress on health-care, more than the partisan BS that passes for business as usual in DC, more than the war,l more than almost anything. These bastards helped eliminate multiple generations of savings and investment, and not one of them has been punished.

- My favorite quote on this topic comes from the sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, where Vir is asked by the evil Mr. Morden that favorite Shadow question, "What do you want?" Vir's response is exactly what I'd say to most people in the financial sector today:
I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike - as a warning to the next 10 generations that some favors come with too high a price. I want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave like this [waves at Morden]. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?
(But then, I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet, either. I'm sure I'll be better later on.)

Jus' moanin' - for the same reason, anyone who is thinking that we brought ourselves into this economic meltdown on $25-an-hour auto jobs but we will somehow bring ourselves out of the disaster on $7-an-hour McService jobs is on drugs. People who are struggling to keep their homes and buy needed medicines are not buying $25,000 cars.

Good moanin' - my family's '76 Chevette, my former wife's '82 Monte Carlo, and my '83 Celebrity broke me of ever wanting to drive a Chevrolet product - ever, ever again (the same way my '92 Ford Probe and my '95 Mercury Sable broke me of Ford ownership and sold me on extended factory warranties). The 2010 Malibu and Camaro make me want to be a believer again. I wish GM well; I really do.

Good moanin' - But if I won the lottery, and wanted to redeem my high-school muscle-car dreams with a 2010 model, a hot contender would be the Dodge Challenger SRT8 6.1. In either Hemi Orange (shown) or Detonator Yellow.

(And yes, I know exactly what a 6.1-liter Hemi engine would do to the environment, and how much I should be choosing some plain-vanilla hybrid. And yes, I know that I'd probably have my license for about, oh, 8 minutes with a 6.1 under the hood. Blah blah blah. It's MY dream, and I'll dream what I want to. I may be gettin' old, but I still have what the Top Gun boys called "the NEED for SPEED.")

Jus' moanin' - but the bottom line is that given the current jobs environment, I will be pretty unlikely to purchase any car except the ones with the "Hyundai Assurance Plan."

Good moanin' - After a long absence from reading non-fiction about faith, I have three titles on my desk: Bulletproof Faith by Candace Chellew-Hodge, A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren, and Losing Your Religion, Finding Your Faith by Brett Hoover. I've found good bits in the early going on all three.

- But I have to admit that I learned a lot of what I'm seeing in Hoover's book 15 years ago from Jesus for A New Generation by Kevin Ford, which I still believe ought to be required reading for all seminarians and people involved in ministry.

Jus' moanin' - and I'm not sure how much I'm really called to finish these books, to be honest. I find the ideas in each book interesting, but I am so post-church-and-denominations that I could almost hurl at the thought of getting-back-into-it. When it comes to organized religion, I have become the "Anti-Tareyton Man" - I'd much rather switch than fight.

Good moanin' - I love our church; I really do. But whenever I hear my recording of Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer, my eyes tear up, and I am transported to a more naive, simpler time when I was surrounded by friends and family in a beautiful, simple worship service. I want to hear my friend Natalie playing the piano, I want to hear "Friends of Faith" leading the service, and I so very much wish I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor. Not to stay, of course - but it would be so very cool to visit.

That's all for now. Let's all be careful out there, and try to play nice with each other. I'll try to do the same.