Saturday’s Theme Music

Into Saturday’s bloom of light we go! Despite the bloom, the 38 degrees F has the cats saying, give me a little warmth, sugar.

Today is November 12, 2022. We were out shopping yesterday. High inflation didn’t seem to keep anyone home on this holiday. Stores and restaurants were as filled as unopened cans of beer. Masks were worn by relatively few. We felt special having them on. We’re due for our next boosters next Friday. Looking forward to the happening.

Meanwhile, though we’re speeding toward Thanksgiving in the U.S., stores looked like Christmas exploded all over them. Other pieces of the holiday season such as Kwanza and Hanukkah were missing. As the wife noted, “Looks like they’re betting big on Christmas spending this year.”

Despite forecasts to the contrary, the sun got comfortable behind a fortress of clouds and let rain soak us. Good to have rain but snow on the mountains are what we need. Today again looks mostly sunny. 47 is the expected high, in Fahrenheit. The sun conducted its dawn blooming at 6:57 AM. The sun will close up shop and take away its light and heat bonanza at 4:52 PM, when the Earth spins our area away, crying as it does, “Away! Away with thee.”

Although sleep delivered a plethora of dreams, several of which involved bars, computers, and beer, I have a song called “I Wish You Love” inhabiting the morning mental music stream. Its presence flabbergasts me and The Neurons, technically referred to as satanistic boogerheads, are being surly and silent about it. I don’t know which version is in my head. I mean, yeah, it’s the English language version, but which performer? I know it’s female and a rendition as old as me. This is one of those songs that often turned up on Mom’s turntable during the winter season. Yes, we’re not in the winter season yet, and no snowflakes are falling. So, why dear Neurons, why?

Someday, perhaps technology will emerge with the means to tell us what our neurons are thinking.

Stay positive and test negative. I’m going for a coffee topoff, as there are mini cranberry cherry scones in the kitchen whispering invitations to eat them up. Here’s the music. Hope you know the song. If you don’t, let me introduce you. I ended up with the Judy Garland version, as I think it’s closest to the one in my head.

Cheers

Worth Repeating

In other news, those high gas prices — you know, the ones that everyone says President Biden caused — are killing the fossil fuel companies.

That’s snark, ya know.

$2,245.62 a second: ExxonMobil scores enormous profit on record gas prices

Corporations will be corporations. They’re formed to make money, no matter what the fuck is going on around them. We need some kind of governor for their greed.

Of course, this is CNN reporting what they ‘claimed’ the companies reported, so it’s probably fake news, right?

Right.

The Haircut

I received a haircut today, the first in two months. It was a few weeks overdue. My hair is losing its presence on top and my forehead keeps pushing my hair line back. Hair grows thick and heavy on my sides and back, and still falls in waves of curls. The whole thing can become an unmanageable beast, fighting me about what I want it to do. It won a few times this week. I finally acquiesced to a growing need to deal with it.

Part of my reluctance is the pandemic protocols. We’re in a small town. Not many barber shops, salons, and stylists are among the businesses. Our town is oriented toward college students and tourists, translating business needs into drinking and eating establishments – pizza, restaurants, and beer, wine, coffee, and pastries. Scattered among them are gas stations, grocery stores, clothing boutiques, and bookstores.

Places catering to hair are less frequent. Almost all closed on Sunday and Monday. Most close early on Saturdays. The windows to get a haircut get perilously small. Pandemic closures meant less people working in these places. Appointments are the norm, and they’re precious. I was turned away because nothing was available at three locations in the course of five attempts spent over three days.

An appointment for a haircut. That blows away my youthful memories of walking into quiet establishments, taking a number, and waiting ten to fifteen minutes. In my military days, aka my youth, I had more hair to cut and more frequent needs to cut it to meet regulations. But the prices were better. In the beginning, we’re talking $1.10 for a haircut. Slowly it went to two dollars…five…ten…

Today, I spent $30 with a tip to trim my silvery locks and tame my curls. But I put the $30 haircut into context with coffee. I used to spend fifty cents to a dollar for a cup of coffee. I spent $4 on a cuppa today. Filling my car with gas cost six dollars for a time back then, compared to the fifty I just put out. Yeah, bread was two dollars a loaf, and it now runs $7. It was white bread back then, and now it’s multigrain, and I buy it cheaper at Costco, which wasn’t around back in those days. Cat food was a quarter a tin. Now it hits a dollar each. Hell, I remember spending $7,000 to buy a new Firebird, an expense that took a deep breath to decide after hours of calculations and days of mental wrestling. Good luck finding a new car, loaded, for seven grand these days.

I’ll just put in a mention about real estate. We bought our first place for half a million dollars. Family, still used to lower prices, were stunned. It wasn’t a large place, a sixteen hundred square foot condo, three bedrooms, three baths, two car garage, three stories. My family was more astonished when we sold that place after a few years for three hundred grand more than we paid. I was astonished, too. That was almost twenty years ago.

Context. It all costs more now — houses, cars, air fare, food, clothing, and yeah, haircuts. I look good, though. Young Megan, probably in her twenties, did a good job.

I think.

Out Shopping

Get ready for an old man rant. That’s how it sounds in retrospect. Let it fly.

“Let’s go shopping,” my wife said. “Plan a day when we go out so I can get new exercise clothes. I want to go to my exercise class in person on April first, and I’d like to do it in something other than the clothes I was wearing two years ago.”

Yes, I agreed, because I knew what she was talking about. We’ve been strong isolationists, social distancing, zooming, vaccinated, masking, almost living like recluses. Well, recluses who have television and streaming services, computers, telephones, and safe friend pods. Maybe not quite recluses. Maybe, that’s an exaggeration. Maybe.

But we went through this before, where mandates were lifted, places partially opened. We took advantage of that. Our concern is that there will be some sort of new worrying spike and mandates and shutdowns will roll in anew. So we went out shopping and ate in a restaurant. Masks were worn while shopping. We wore masks until we were seated in our isolated, plastic walled table at the restaurant. We went early, to avoid crowds, but risks remain. The masked were the minority by far.

It’s been a while since I went shopping. I think it’s been a year. I saw some blue jeans. Levi’s. I thought, hey, they’re nice. Maybe I’ll buy a pair of denim pantaloons. The price stopped me: $69.50. For jeans? Off the shelf jeans? Levi’s? I remember when they were the jeans of the poor and downtrodden. And that at J.C. Penney’s.

Looking at shoes, I was appalled about how ugly and clunky men’s shoes have become during the pandemic. Lot of red, white, and blue stuff, too. I thought, I’ll have to watch people, see how many are actually wearing these. I suppose I’ll need to focus on the young, those who have not yet counted past forty years.

Wrigley’s gums come in Peppermint ‘Cobalt’ and Spearmint ‘Rain’. WTF? I read their ingredients: they looked like gum with a new name.

My superpower held solid, so I managed to find the worst checkout line possible at Target. It’s good to know that I can depend on that power. I perused magazines at hand. Know how much a magazine costs? $12.99 USD. What? Why, that’s how much a book used to cost. Now, of course, a book is $26.00 for a hardback, $16.00 for a softback. That’s why I buy used books or go to the library. Of course, many used books are now over $10.00

Then there was my beer: $7.25 for 16 ounces of Blue Moon. My entree was $11.99. My drink was over 50% of the price of my meal. That’s frigging stunning. They asked me if I wanted a 22 oz beer, but that would’ve probably topped my credit card’s limit. It only goes into five digits.

I guess it was all a shocker. I’ve seen food prices. We laughed about paying $50 at grocery stores and walking out with two light bags. Filling the gas tank on the Mazda was $45.

Stunning. I feel for the people on the edge. I remember when I had people working for me in the military thirty years ago, and the cost of childcare. It basically almost equaled those young people’s take home pay. I hear it’s become worse. Looking at the small sampling which I experienced, I believe it.

Changing Tastes

Perhaps, if you’re old enough, you remember having thirty-three and forty-five RPM records that you played on your phonograph.

Maybe you had eight-track or cassette tapes. Perhaps you had a VCR later, playing VHS tapes. Maybe you went with Beta.

Then you switched to Laser Discs, Blue Ray, CDs and DVDs before you started streaming.

You may have used a Walkman a couple decades ago, before changing to an iPod Shuffle. Maybe you use your phone now, downloading your songs from the Cloud.

It’s fun living through these changes. Now we’re embracing more changes. Ford and GM have both announced moves to curtail selling cars in the United States this year. The profit margins on manufacturing cars is small, and sales are down. People are buying more SUVs and pick-ups, if they’re buying a motor vehicle at all, because motor vehicles overall have declined. Young people aren’t buying cars as often.

Just curious, but do you remember talking about SUVs in your youth? I didn’t; we had utility vehicles then. The sports came later.

Do you remember the mini-van craze, or are you too young to remember that?

Young people are marrying less these days. The median age for a man in America to marry was twenty-nine point five years old, up from twenty-three in the early 1970s.

Young people are also dating less. They struggle with interpersonal relationships of romantic and sexual natures if they’re engaged face to face. It’s easier for them if there’s a cell phone involved.

Did you know what a Tinderella is?

Fun fact. My friend the professor struggles initiating class discussions in her class of twenty-somethings. Then she started posting texts, and the discourse began.

Ah, cell phones. Remember princess phones and wall phones, cordless phones? Remember pagers? Remember car phones?

Do you remember Instamatic cameras?

Meanwhile, NASCAR paid attendance is declining. Less people are watching the races on television, as well. That’s parallel to a trend of declining NFL paid attendance and television ratings.

Remember playing video games? Are you old enough to recall Pong? Did you ever think about playing a game on your phone? Did you ever believe that you would enjoy playing games on phones so much that you needed data plans to enable your habit?

Beer sales in America are declining. More people are drinking wine.

Over in the Olympics, snowboarding was a big draw in 2018 while the slalom was dropped. Word came out last week that the IOC is not planning to have boxing in the 2020 Olympics.

Went to the movies the other day. When I was young, over fifty years ago, we had a cartoon or short film before the feature. That’s been replaced with ads, trailers, and previews.

The movies cost thirteen dollars for two of us the other day, cheaper than many places, but do you remember paying less than a dollar for the movies? Mom remembers paying a nickel, but she’s over twenty years older than me.

A nickel to get into the movies was a long time ago, wasn’t it?

Shall we talk about the price of gasoline? How ’bout a quart of milk, a loaf of bread, or a cup of coffee?

Say, do you remember when you first thought about buying organic?

These times, they are a’changin’.

Inflooftion

Inflooftion (floofinition) – increasing the number of housepets in a household.

In use: “While economic experts worried about inflation, Miles worried about inflooftion. He’d begun by feeding one stray dog, and now here she was, leading a small pack of puppies. After seeing those faces, he dismisses his inflooftionary worries and invited them into his house.”

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