The Curmudgeon’s Stream

My age is showing. As opinions and expectations calcify with age, I complain and whine about the changes, irritated with myself for doing it but unable to stem the tide. Writing about them might help ameliorate their frequency.

  • Why the hell do smoke alarm batteries chirp and squeal at night to tell us we need to replace the battery? We need a smart detector that does not awake us at dark AM to tell us the batteries need replaced. I’m fortunate that I had a new one on hand and could immediately hunt down the offending detector and mollify the device.
  • Reminder: stop by the store and buy a nine volt battery to have on hand. Just in case.
  • Does anyone curb their wheels any longer? My information guesstimate puts the percentage of those curbing their wheels at less than ten percent. The observation and math process is simple, basically the product of scanning a line of ten cars and noting that none or one is curbed. Most have pulled over to one side and are rarely within two feet of the curb. It’s like they just pulled to one side, stopped, and left, and are not ‘parked’. That really annoys the curmudgeon.
  • Sling TV irks the curmudgeon. I pay the most for it, twenty dollars a month. It’s by far the most expensive of my streaming subscriptions. Yet, its controls and layouts smack me as the worse, and it’s the one most likely to freeze and fail to stream. When I press the button to do something on Sling, I count to ten while waiting for it to respond. That doesn’t happen with Fandango, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, and didn’t happen with HBO or Showtime. The second worse behind Sling is Acorn, but its reaction time is half of Sling’s. Sling easily wins the ‘worst of’ award.
  • BBC America on Sling is really strange. It’s all about Star Trek. Seriously.
  • Snow has found us again in southern Oregon. A winter storm warning has been issued. It’s a fly on my nose kind of problem for me. I worry about the homeless and poor. Churches have formed an alliance to provide shelter on cold nights. Shelter is just a fraction of the problem. Food, hygiene, health, employment…sigh. Some I meet seem violently, defiantly insane. Others are struggling against poor decisions or fates’ whims. So many roam the streets, sit on benches and huddle beside buildings, and we keep asking, “What can we do? What can we do?”
  • Why can’t our cats get along? Meep and Boo both seem territorial and leery of each other, like the other is the instigator, and they’re only protecting themselves. Tucker is another matter, a cat bred by the stars to fight. He doesn’t posture; he stalks, ambushes and attacks. It’s exhausting dealing with separating and segregating them. The situation does not seem to be improving.
  • I’m pleased that our neighbors adopted Princess. A young gray and white cat, Princess began keeping on eye out for me. Whenever I left the house, she raced to me and begged for food. This, I was told, was because of her experiences as a kitten. I didn’t see her for most of the winter and wondered about her status. But when it warmed and dried, here she was again, alive and healthy, begging for food.
  • Our neighbors have now adopted Princess. They had a dog and cat when we moved in ten years ago. Each died. They replaced the cat, and when a car hit and killed him within six months, they swore, enough. And even though I’m a curmudgeon, I understand. Enduring the emotional loss is daunting. But I’m pleased that they decided Princess should move in with them, and that Princess’ original people agreed.
  • Princess certainly seemed happy. On the day I was told of her new arrangement, Princess was sitting in the neighbor’s yard a short distance from the neighbor. Princess didn’t race to me this day. After a few minutes, she wandered over for a visit but didn’t beg to eat. And when the neighbor retreated to her house, Princess headed in there with her. Seems like a good match, which pleases the curmudgeon.

Today’s Theme Music

I know I’ve posted this song before. I’m being indulgent. It’s a song I enjoy, a product of talented people who I admire. A couple of them have passed away so the song returns with a patina of bittersweet nostalgia.

‘Under Pressure’, created by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Queen, came out in 1981. I was stationed on Okinawa, Japan, when it did. Armed Forces Radio and Television Services provided us with our television and radio entertainment while providing time for the Armed Forces Network Okinawa to provide us with news and weather. Air time was divided among multiple needs and demands as the outlet strove to provide everything to everyone.

I didn’t hear much of ‘Under Pressure’ on the radio because of all this, but I liked it. Most of my friends had no idea what song I was talking about whenever I mentioned it. Years later, it was included in the movie, ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’. GPB, starring Minnie Driver, John Cusack and his sister, Joan, Alan Arkin and Dan Ackroyd, only receives 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s one of those movies that I stay to watch when I encounter it, one of my secret vices.

‘Under Pressure’ has been used in other movies, sports events, commercials and trailers. Others have covered it, so most people know it, even if this isn’t their style of music or if they were born decades after 1981.

I believe the last time I posted this, I may have used the Annie Lennox and David Bowie cover. I’m going with the originals recorded performing live this time.

Those Exciting Moments

when you achieve a goal

reach a destination

or the day has come


Or when you sit down to write the next piece, a section that’s been growing in your head like a burst of spring on a time-elapsed film.

Reading, observing others, walking, thinking and watching television, scenes keep building. Small details are added to earlier chapters as the novel expands to fullness and nears its end. Epiphanies strike about cause and effect, action and reaction, directions and decisions, and revelations and choices.I didn’t know some of it. My inner writer has been waiting to spring it on me. His cleverness astonishes me once again.

Bring on the mocha. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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