Sunday, February 20, 2005

Random Thoughts On The Passing Scene

With apologies to Thomas Sowell, the conservative columnist and one of my favorite writers, who starts his newspaper columns off with the same phrase. I hope it isn't copyrighted.

--- It's raining again. It's... raining... again. It's raining again. According to the Collin County Regional Airport's Automated Surface Observation System, or ASOS, it has been raining all morning up in McKinney, with a dense fog layer 100 feet above the ground and broken-to-overcast cloud cover at 1000. Second verse, same as the first, and it has been that way for the past five weekends--- except for last Sunday, when it was absolutely gorgeous weather, sunny and clear, but too windy.

This is starting to wear on me a little.

I find that I'm mentally flying patterns in my head, running through all items on the landing checklist, and doing perfect full-stall landings at 65 knots in my mind--- only to realize that I forgot to pull out the carb heat on downwind. I'm making putt-putt sounds as I hold onto an imaginary yoke at my desk at work, practicing slips, my feet working rudder pedals that aren't there. I accidentally pulled off the temperature knob in my car, because I mistook it for the throttle vernier lever.
I'm only partially joking.

---I've become a music-download junkie. It makes too much sense to be able to download only the songs you like (versus taking a chance with an entire album that usually doesn't live up to the promise of the one or two decent songs that get airplay) and then burning them onto a CD. This has introduced me to The Killers ("Mr. Brightside"), Finley Quaye ("Dice"), and Franz Ferdinand ("Take Me Out"), among others.  One more reluctant step into the 21st century for Rob...

--- Without being able to fly, I've settled into something of a routine on Sunday mornings.  Wake up before seven, watch the Top 20 video countdown on VH1, followed by "Best Week Ever."  Brew a pot of coffee, drink a cup or three from my Abby coffee mug and read the Sunday paper. 

At 9:30, I change gears and switch over to "This Week" on ABC. I'm not a big George Stephanopoulos fan (yes, I had to Google the correct spelling) but I think, from a production standpoint, this is the best Sunday morning news program on television.  It also usually has the best guests and the most interesting commentators.  And George Will. 

But it's the final segment that always gets to me: "In Memoriam," the rundown of famous figures who have passed away in the past seven days.  There are usually four or so, and each is given about twenty seconds of recognition for what they were known for.  It's all set to a mournful variation of the "This Week" theme music that I find very haunting.  Watch it once.  You'll see what I mean...
But it's the end of the piece that gets to me.  The names of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan are listed, four names per page, often at least four pages worth.  There are always too goddamn many of them.

And here I sit, bitching that I can't fly.  "In Memoriam" is my weekly dose of perspective.  Really, it's about as much as I can take. 

---And, finally...

English is not known throughout the world as a particularly beautiful or melodic language.  Not nearly as harsh or gutteral as German, of course, but certainly lacking the songful quality of Spanish or French.  But still, there are some words that rise above the language, although invariably they are words derived from other languages.

Take the word truce, for exampleDerived from the Middle English trewes, "a respite especially from a disagreeable or painful state or action."  And when spoken quietly, hesitantly, as a single-word question... it's as beautiful a word as any that exists in our known world.

There are a handful of people out there who know exactly what I'm speaking of.

No comments:

Post a Comment