Just finished the terrific biography of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout entitled Pops. It paints an image of the jazz trumpet master as a man of great emotional, artistic and intellectual complexity. That might be surprising to many who only knew him as a clownish, gravelly-voiced pop vocalist with an outrageous ear-to-ear grin.
For an old guy, I’ve managed to keep up fairly well with the fickle, ever-changing winds of technology. I can get around on a computer handily enough. I’ve done the iPod thing, the Skype thing and the Facebook thing. (Though I refuse to Tweet.) I even managed with only a minimum of cuss words to set up the new TV and DVR system, though it took me quite a while.
It’s a funny thing about Christmas music. Just about the time when I feel like I’ll lose my Christmas cookies if I hear one more “Fa-la-la-la-la,” the season peaks and all those songs go away for another 11 or so months. It’s kind of nice, really.
This Christmas season we found that some of our big, bright C9 multicolored light strings weren’t working so well. So, I decided to try to be a little greener this year and bought some strings of the new low-voltage LED lights. I climbed up on the roof, attached them and plugged them in. Then, I had to check the connection to see why they weren’t lit up, and I realized that they were, indeed, lit up. (I’m making little quotation marks with my fingers when I use the term, “lit.”) They are about 1/5 of the brightness level of the old incandescent lights.
There’s no way I could not take a walk this morning. Aside from the intensive lobbying of my Airedale friend Ollie, the blue Kansas sky and ruby leaves of our pin oaks overpowered me. So I hitched Ollie to the leash and out we went, fully engulfed in another splendid crispy November autumn morning.
How exactly do robo-calls help politicians? You know what I’m talking about—those automated, prerecorded phone messages we get on our landlines (those of us who still have landlines).
I don’t know anyone who ever says, “Wow, I got the nicest, most informative robo-call the other day. The information was so pertinent and it really convinced me that that person was the right one for the job!”
I lost a good friend last week and, in a way, so did you. His name was Arthur Schuetz. He died six days from his 99th birthday.
He was my neighbor for years in the College Hill area. Art lived a quiet life, to my knowledge never making any newscast, never getting his photo and name splashed across the newspapers, never running for public office, never having streets or schools or businesses named for himself.
Greetings from The Land That Time Forgot, also known as Wichita, Kansas. We’ve been a little slow to accept some of them new-fangled things that other towns have had for years. Take bicycles, for instance. We weren’t too sure they’d catch on so we waited a while. Then the other day I noticed an actual bike lane on First Street in the College Hill area. Right there against the curb was the white outline of a bicycle indicating a bike lane. At first I thought it was a crime scene. Like on TV where the police draw a chalk outline around the victim, in this case a bicycle.