You know that summer is here when:
— the kids come to visit for Memorial Day weekend! Nick and Rachel were here, bringing sweetness and light and laundry to our doorstep. And they took away . . . the Passat! OK, that was my idea. Those of you who have been reading this blog for years upon years will remember that back in 2006, my first two posts dealt with the Saga of the 1998 Subaru, which turned inside out and then exploded as Nick was taking care of Jamie while their parents attended the 2005 MLA convention. So of course we bought a new car, and . . . refused to accept the ridiculously low trade-in offered on the Subaru (meaning, of course, that Janet refused to accept the ridiculously low trade-in offered on the Subaru), so we kept the Subaru in the spare parking space for a few months, which was a bad idea, since Firestone had screwed up the seal on the rear left tire, leaving it with a slow leak, so that by April I had to get out the bicycle pump just to fill the tire enough to get it to the nearest gas station and fill it with a real air hose. Eventually, we got the tire all fixed, and then we sold the car. No, wait, we didn’t. We gave it to Nick for his final year of college, and he drove the wheezing, rattling old thing around St. Louis until we showed up for his commencement last May and sold the car. No, wait, we didn’t. We piled all of Nick’s belongings into two cars and strapped his bicycle to the back of the Subaru, thinking that Nick and Jamie would drive that car while Janet and I luxuriated in the Toyota for the 800-mile drive home. Except that when I took the Subaru down the road apiece for gas and (of course) air, I realized there was no way I was going to let both my offspring drive this wheezing, rattling thing across one-third of the continent, so I volunteered to drive it solo while the other three luxuriated in the Toyota, since Nick had to get back to State College the next day for a Crucial Appointment and I didn’t think the Subaru would be able to go more than 45 mph. The good news is that the Subaru performed wonderfully at 70 mph the whole way and we made it back that night; the bad news is that this performance convinced Janet that Nick should take the Subaru with him to New Haven, where it has lived these past twelve months. But the wheezing, rattling old thing needs all kinds of work, and we can’t ask Nick to spend that kind of money on car repair, so we sold it. No, wait, we didn’t. First we thought about getting Nick a new car, and then we thought about getting Nick a used car, and then a few weeks ago as I was spring-cleaning the Passat I realized we should simply give it to him. So even though I dearly love that car, I took it to the local Deeply Incompetent Dealership, where they fixed the routine trouble with the rear left door and replaced a headlight while somehow killing the battery, so then we got a new battery, so Nick and Rachel drove off yesterday in a seven-year-old Passat with only 60,000 miles on it and a brand new battery, and we kept the Subaru, which we’re going to donate to charity. No, wait, we’re not. Even though that was the plan up to about 4 pm yesterday afternoon. Now, apparently, we’re going to keep the wheezing, rattling thing for one more winter because it’s such a good snow car. Even though Janet has been saying for two years that we have to get a Prius because otherwise the Earth will die, and even though I finally agreed and began checking out hybrids a few weeks ago.
So: Nick has the Passat, and I will not worry about his safety anymore because he is not driving a wheezing, rattling old thing. And I wind up with the Subaru I’ve been trying to get rid of for three and a half years now. To sum up:
Sometimes I think back to the years I lived in an urban hell hole and owned no car, and I say to myself, you know where you stand in a hell hole.
— I go out golfing with the Bérubé Boys and shoot a 38 for nine holes! Yes, nothing says “summer” like pampered, golf-playing college professors bragging about the 20-foot par-saving putt they holed on 2, followed by the 15-foot birdie putt on 6 and the insane, steeply-downhill par-saving 25-footer on 9, unless it’s pampered, golf-playing college professors complaining that they would have shot even par 36 if they’d hit the six-footer on 5 after nicely blasting out of sand with an impossible downhill/sidehill lie and the steeply-downhill-and-sliding-right five-footer on 7 after nicely chipping from that impossible place where the first cut of greenside rough meets the second and you can’t get your clubface on the ball. OK, well, at Nick’s suggestion, Jamie, Nick and I took a couple of hours on Sunday at Ye Olde Penn State white course. Nick managed a crafty scrambling par on nine by driving well right, hacking an iron to within 50 yards, then bumping-and-running a difficult pitch to six feet and hitting the putt; Jamie outdrove us both on nine, hitting his best shot of the day, and also picked up a very nice bogey on five by lacing a drive into a greenside bunker, then using his brand-new sand wedge to pop the ball within 20, whence he two-putted. Have I mentioned that Jamie is doing Special Olympics golf as well as swimming and basketball? And that Special Olympics golf practices are Wednesdays at 5:30, just before our Tang Soo Do classes at 8? And that Jamie got his brown belt in Tang Soo Do last week? Well, now I have. Maybe I’ll remember to put up a pic of Jamie in his brown belt uniform.
Anyway, this reminded me that (a) I last shot a 38 about 24 years ago, and (b) the last time Nick and Jamie and I all played together, Nick holed an insane 60-footer for birdie from the fringe on the first hole. “You bum,” I cried. “Thirty-something years I’ve been playing this game and I’ve never been under par. Not once. And you just show up and drain a putt that changed time zones on its way to the hole. What is this, the first hole you’ve played all year?” Yes, it was the first hole he’d played all year. He then proceeded to par number two, which made him an extra extra bum (and led Jamie to claim, erroneously but understandably, that he himself had eagled number three).
— we see a Very Silly Movie! After Nick and Rachel left, Janet, Jamie and I took ourselves to Ye Olde Moving-Pictures Emporium to see Angels and Demons (Jamie’s insistence). I have two things to say about Angels and Demons. Thing one: it may be the finest film ever made, if by “the finest film” you mean “the only film that features both a professor of religious symbology and an expert in bioentanglement physics.” And what’s not to like about a movie whose thriller/suspense scenes are drawn from a famous Monty Python bit?
Ah, I see commenter “Zelo77” on Ye Olde You Tube Threade had precisely the same thought I did! Now that’s bioentanglement.
Thing two: it occurs to me that I have actually mentioned Angels and Demons on this blog before, in the seventh paragraph of this post about more serious matters:
Though Jimmy was barely able to walk, he and his brother Martin were bantering hilariously about the novels he’d been sent to keep him “occupied” during his hospitalization: someone had given him Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, apparently unaware that the Crofts family is ridiculously well-read, having memorized most of everything from Spenser to Flann O’Brien, and Jimmy and Martin had us howling about the Dan Brown Howlers. At one point the two brothers decided that the books were so bad that, on some level, they were aware of how bad they were, and had to be watched lest they slip off the shelf, wander into the back yard, and shoot themselves.
— I get tired of blogging alla time! Sometimes that’s a sign that my appendix is about to burst, and sometimes it’s a sign that can only be read properly by a professor of religious symbology. Anyway, I’m taking the rest of the week off. I might be back on Friday with a song, but if I’m not, just remember this: it’s been 25 years since the Stanley Cup finals consisted of a rematch. The Oilers crushed the Islanders in five after having been swept the previous year. Go Pens!
With that I can heartily agree.Posted by on 05/26 at 11:05 AM
Cars! My Passat is nine years old and has only 56,000 miles on it. The dealership likes to call me periodically and beg me to trade it in so they can sell it. As for hybrids, I’d been wanting a Prius but I think it’s ugly and I do not like the chopped-up back end, blunt-edged and interrupting the view through the back window. I think my next car will be the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It’s cute, and it comes with a heated-seats-for-winter-coziness option: Want.Posted by Orange on 05/26 at 11:05 AM
What’s this about the Ford Fusion getting 23 city/ 34 highway? I mean, I thought the idea was to get 50 mpg with these things. Which reminds me: I just gave up a 30 mpg Passat for a 22 mpg Subaru. See first YouTube clip, above.Posted by Michael on 05/26 at 11:17 AM
First off, still two more weeks until summer. Dang quarters system. Also, Dan Brown: Oy. Didn’t even get Paris train stations right. The books are boring, too. How people could buy them and re-elect Bush I’ll never understand.Posted by on 05/26 at 11:40 AM
an expert in bioentanglement physics
I hope I was properly credited at the end for my jargonized version of “foot-in-mouth” from 1995.
How people could buy them and re-elect Bush I’ll never understand.
Somehow, I don’t think these are independent variables.Posted by on 05/26 at 11:49 AM
And the Spouse Who Is Not Chris Clarke and I were just talking about the new Priori yesterday. Wanna buy a 2004 Prius, cheap? Only mumble miles on it, and has occasionally been driven to a church. It’s also a great snow car*.
*Should not be taken as a suggestion that a Prius is in any way a good snow car.Posted by on 05/26 at 11:54 AM
No, no! The Ford Fusion Hybrid: 41 city, 36 highway. The bulk of my miles are short trips of city driving (where my Passat gets a lousy 8 to 13 mpg). Even on the highway, my Passat (a V6) doesn’t top 28 mpg. The Fusion Hybrid will kick its ass, mileage-wise.Posted by Orange on 05/26 at 12:06 PM
La Gauche ala Monty Python, eh Lord MB? Phunny for at least a minute or so--graphics, and Peter Gunn sorta snazzy--yet mostly zany tory-lib-rawlism. Touchstone works for La Reina, man.Posted by Ezra Hound on 05/26 at 12:21 PM
We are all zany tory-librawls now.
And mds @ 6: only mumble miles, you say? I’ll take it! I don’t need to see it—I’ll send you the $$ via Paypal right now.
Why, yes, I did start saving for retirement just after Nick’s commencement. Why do you ask?Posted by Michael on 05/26 at 02:48 PM
and our from our new SCOTUS nominee:
In Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, Sotomayor upheld the Bush administration’s implementation of the “Mexico City Policy” which requires foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”. Sotomayor held that the policy did not constitute a violation of equal protection, as the government “is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds”.
Is Roe v. Wade safe? You be the judge. No I guess she will be the judge.Posted by on 05/26 at 03:00 PM
it’s been 25 years since the Stanley Cup finals consisted of a rematch. The Oilers crushed the Islanders in five after having been swept the previous year.
It would suck so, so badly if the Penguins were to crush the Red Wings in five. Or six, or seven.
Have a restful summer week, in preparation for being deeply disappointed by yr Pens.Posted by Nell on 05/26 at 03:44 PM
you know where you stand in a hell hole
A stealth Spinal Tap reference is always welcome!Posted by on 05/26 at 03:55 PM
in preparation for being deeply disappointed by yr Pens.
Be Disappointed by the Same Team as Last Year ‘09!
Is Roe v. Wade safe? You be the judge. No I guess she will be the judge.
Or by Brand New Disappointments!
No, I hear Sotomayor is pretty solid. But that’s only because I’m reading Scott Lemieux and not Jeffrey Rosen.Posted by Michael on 05/26 at 04:11 PM
Since you like the Passat, you should look at the Jetta TDI diesel,which gets mileage in the same range as a hybrid, is a simpler and time-tested technology, and is cheaper. Hybrids make sense for people who send a lot of time stuck in traffic, but if you’re actually moving most of the time you’re in the car, a diesel might be a better choice.Posted by on 05/26 at 04:15 PM
Never having owned a car before moving to LA, I’m not sure what a “good snow car” is. I assume it’s a car you can drive safely while high on cocaine? But then, how does Winter come into it?Posted by on 05/26 at 04:47 PM
I assume it’s a car you can drive safely while high on cocaine?
No, no, there is no such car. Not even the DeLorean! A “snow car” is simply a vehicle that allows one to go around town trying to convince people that voting for Democrats will save democracy.Posted by Michael on 05/26 at 05:13 PM
As opposed to a “Snowe car”, which is a vehicle used to convince people there’s such a thing as a moderate Republican.Posted by on 05/26 at 05:45 PM
From the size of the repair costs, I assume this is a post-head-gasket-replaced-or-blown Subaru of that vintage rather than a pre-head-gasket-replaced-or-blown one. More Subaru love/hate available upon request but I’ll mention these two items:
1) As the owner of a 2001 pre-replaced-or-blown-but-leaky-head-gasket Subaru I am in the throes of a drawn out fix or bail “discussion” with my wife. New data arrived this weekend in the form of a friend driving up in his new car purchased, as he helpfully explained, after his similarly-aged Subaru very inconveniently blew its head gasket. (Mega-negative points assigned to the guy who assured his wife that there was no problem taking ours to Long Island and back and, worse, for her to take it to pick up our daughter from college a few weeks back.)*
2) I had a 1983 Subaru that I held on to for several extra years because it was such a good “snow” car. However, by the end the heater knob was duct-taped permanently to “defrost”, the suspension was shot, many other systems sucked in one way or another, and on cold mornings I had to use the (often icy or snowy, because why else would I be using the “snow” car?)steep hill down from my house to pop the clutch as it invariably stalled once or twice. Somewhere in there it finally dawned on me that making it up a hill in snow was not the final word in safe winter driving.Posted by on 05/26 at 06:59 PM
I get tired of blogging alla time!
Says the man who unexpectedly laid down two holiday weekend posts. But do take a break, the Glengarry leads all suck anyway.Posted by on 05/26 at 07:04 PM
while I am no professor of religious symbology I am at least a PhD student in comparative religion
I just hit my first Birdie on a par 4 two days ago…
so I am positive this sign can only mean you will have a greatly deserved week off from blogging, will finally play the 36 this summer, and most importantly will be back to glorious blogging next week…
seriously, there is no way I am reading this wrong...and all the buddhist monks speaking from the pages of my dissertation agree.Posted by on 05/26 at 07:07 PM
I would have liked Angels & Demons much better if it hadn’t been so gory and bloody and nasty. But then, I’m just a pussy left-winger. Give me cartoon violence any day over torn-out, dripping eyeballs.Posted by on 05/26 at 10:26 PM
And mds @ 6: only mumble miles, you say? I’ll take it! I don’t need to see it—I’ll send you the $$ via Paypal right now.
I understand the son of the king of Nigeria wants to give you a Prius! I’ll ask him to email you.Posted by on 05/27 at 12:47 AM
Since the captcha is “street” and that used to mean great-american-muscle-car street drag car, then i suppose a Passat is no different than the Subaru with that “symbology.” But, just as a thought, i did spend too much of this afternoon in my office looking out the window at a smart-looking Smart Car. i really got a rush when one of the high school students i mentor asked if that was my new car. Sadly No.Posted by on 05/27 at 02:49 AM
all the buddhist monks speaking from the pages of my dissertation agree
Yes, but which way are the statues pointing? That determines everything! Except, of course, when we realize that we are standing on the very symbol we need to read! That only happens four or five times in the movie.
JP @ 18: interesting point(s). I don’t recall whether we’re post- or pre-head-gasket-blown-or-replaced, and will look through our service records. Because Janet does keep impressively complete service records.
As for the weekend blogging, eh, I couldn’t help myself. I thought of those koans while I was setting up the backyard tent for Jamie.Posted by on 05/27 at 01:13 PM
"What is the true nature of right-wing asshattery?” asked Michael.
“Set up the backyard tent”, replied Master Jamie.Posted by on 05/27 at 08:30 PM
Hey if the Redwings win, the “wingnuts” will have finally have something to cheer about.
And our new Chavezian overlord has declared the Cubs the winners of the 2009 World Series in advance to honor their native son Carlos Zambrano.
e.Posted by on 05/27 at 09:59 PM
Did you know that Dan Brown, before he was the perpetrator of <blink>Act Now! Umberto Eco Lite++! As Seen on TV! And In A Theatre Near You! With Tom Hanks! But Wait! There’s More!</blink> was in fact a songwriter? And that his pop songs included titles such as “976-LOVE”? And that he secretly snogged and later ran off with the head of the National Academy of Songwriters, who promoted his songs before revealing their relationship?
I bet he knew where he stood in a hellhole.Posted by Amanda French on 05/27 at 10:08 PM
Amanda: no, I did not know that! But yes, Dan Brown knew where he stood in a hellhole—on the very symbol of “wind” that would lead him to the murderer!
Elliot: the wingnuts are not, in fact, happy. On the contrary, they’re claiming that Detroit’s defeat of the Black Hawks tonight is racist.Posted by Michael on 05/27 at 10:24 PM
JP Stormcrow @ 24 is superb.Posted by John Protevi on 05/28 at 12:14 AM
There is only one car for the intelligensia of the new Chávezian Airspace The Smart One.
This car just seemed (captcha) the right choice in the en-light-ened age of listening to different drummers in the summertime. As for that, is this the Eddie Cochran Who done the Blue Cheer bluez, or the Sublime Billie Holidaze Sam Cooke the fish lullaby???Posted by on 05/28 at 06:15 AM
JP Stormcrow @ 24 is superb.
And historically accurate, too.Posted by Michael on 05/28 at 07:32 AM
and it will be a “big tent” to be sure.Posted by on 05/28 at 09:11 AM
So, this “take the rest of the week off” thing applies only to blog posts, eh? Perhaps you could write a juicy miniblog-in-a-comment about McLemee vs. Kass. Or are you just sitting back and eating popcorn*?
*Since it’s Kass, this should probably have been “ice cream.” But who would be so decadent as to sit back with ice cream?Posted by on 05/28 at 09:19 AM
Slumbertime, and the livin’ is eazy. Goishwin first jingleheimed that, did he not. Speaking of g’s, golfing rates fairly close to right-wing asshattery , or at least to the jackbooted booj-wah, man. Pebble Beach: that be the Oppressor itself.Posted by Ezra Hound on 05/28 at 09:45 AM
Speaking of g’s, golfing rates fairly close to right-wing asshattery
All hockey players play golf. Besides, you just wish you could shoot a 38. Nyah nyah nyah.
mds, vas ist das “McLemee v. Kass”? And what’s this about ice cream? Is it something about eating ice cream in public, as in 2:09-2:19 of this clip?Posted by Michael on 05/28 at 10:02 AM
As long as there are a few a castles, gnomes, water-wheels, carpeted greens, plenty o’ brew & chronic, and mujeres baratas I am alright. The other sort--squareski, if not outright sinister, like Wilshire-mafia style. The public courses an improvement, perhaps.
captcha “game” as in yo, he gotPosted by Ezra Hound on 05/28 at 10:17 AM
Hound, I’m with you. I can do 38 blindfolded for 9 blindfolded on the mini-version. PLUS the agricultural footprint that full size golf courses take up is supposed to be used for planting rice or more corn for (your choice) 1)bio-fuel 2)high fructose corn syrup.Posted by on 05/28 at 11:02 AM
Scarily enough, I share M. Hound’s strong preference for miniature golf over the real thing. Perhaps EH really is myself, forced to walk back the long way from the end of time, and no longer thinking in, er, restrictive linear fashion due to the experience. That would also explain the sudden retroactive appearance of my comment on the Bolton / Miso thread, a la “Bad Wolf."*
mds, vas ist das “McLemee v. Kass”?
I thought that you had the contents of Inside Higher Ed beamed directly into your brain, but apparently not. Another illusion shattered. Anyway, they’re making light of it over at the weblog of Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the name of which I can never remember.
*Two moderately-obscure speculative fiction nerd references in one rambling paragraph… at a literary blog. Dear God, what have I become?**
**This is rhetorical. Please don’t kick me when I’m already down..Posted by on 05/28 at 11:11 AM
you obviously are “entangled” in various memes from Sean Carroll’s forthcoming book.
capcha “areas” as the total quantity of information in various universes is constrained by their areas per the holographic principle.Posted by on 05/28 at 11:56 AM
Capcha = “summer”, I kid you not.Posted by Dave Maier on 05/28 at 12:11 PM
I am shocked beyond words that IHE printed Scott McLemee’s latest Islamic-Socialist diatribe. He failed even to mention Nancy Pelosi, and as for the baseless accusation that critics of deconstruction haven’t changed their sheets in years, I would direct his attention to Martha Nussbaum’s critique of Judith Butler, which was recently published in The New Republic.Posted by Impartial Observer on 05/28 at 01:33 PM
I feel compelled to report the outrageous fact that Scott McLemee - or someone of the same name, anyway - has published at least three articles on the EXTREME LEFT Socialist Worker. This proves my point that IHE is run by a secret cabal of communist infiltrators.Posted by on 05/28 at 01:49 PM
It has not escaped my attention that the noted bolshevik McLemee has defamed his betters in your pages. Are we to believe that you too defend the repugnant practice of public consumption of iced creams?
Augustus Fink-Nottle, Col. (ret.) 495th Hamphire Light Dragoonary HussarsPosted by Col. Augustus Fink-Nottle (ret.) on 05/28 at 02:44 PM
McLemee and his ilk (like the weblog pussays, jodi dean, zizekistas, etc) should pray that the authentic reds don’t suddenly reverse the polarity of the dialectic. It won’t be Zizekian bozos or Howie Zinn or some hip parisian pomo callin’ the shots: more likely Danny Ortega, Castro or senderos--or Ishmael Reed and crew-- and golfin’ days will be no mas.Posted by Ezra Hound on 05/28 at 03:11 PM
more likely Danny Ortega, Castro
State capitalists are more “authentic reds” than the ISO? Wotta world!
or Ishmael Reed and crew
Counterculture BAM poets are more “authentic reds” than the ISO? Wotta world!
I wouldn’t be so quick to write off golfing in the New Order, though. Chi-Chi Rodríguez is Puerto Rican, and hence a dangerous leftist by definition.Posted by on 05/28 at 03:47 PM
In fact, after the revolution everyone will be forced to golf.Posted by on 05/28 at 03:59 PM
In fact, after the revolution everyone will be forced to golf.
OK, I’ll start The Parade of Internet Traditions(tm): In Chávezistan, birdie shoots you!Posted by John Protevi on 05/28 at 05:09 PM
Monty Python! Hooray! I haven’t seen that sketch in ages and it’s still wonderful.Posted by on 05/28 at 06:34 PM
you know it’s summer in North Korea when Kim Jong Il shoots 38 UNDER PAR. Before breakfast.Posted by on 05/28 at 10:01 PM
And after swimming in the Yalu River.Posted by on 05/28 at 10:12 PM
I can only hope anon’s tag doesn’t have a stress on the second syllable. That would be un-American.Posted by on 05/28 at 10:32 PM
I have Subaru envy. I miss our wheezy clunky old Subaru. Those things are champs, and will bravely keep going until things literally fall off them. And sometimes even then.Posted by bitchphd on 05/28 at 10:40 PM
Dr. B.! So good to see you in Chávezian Airspace. But surely you have no need of a Mighty Wheezy Subaru snow-car now that you have fled the frozen North?
In North Korea, however, Subaru drives you until things literally fall off you. Win-win! Everyone is happy.Posted by Kim Jong Il on 05/28 at 11:33 PM
Christian K. I’m not American so it doesn’t count.Posted by on 05/29 at 12:07 AM
sorry Christian H - wasn’t wearing my bizarrely oversized spectacles.Posted by on 05/29 at 12:08 AM
I wouldn’t be so quick to write off golfing in the New Order, though. Chi-Chi Rodríguez is Puerto Rican, and hence a dangerous leftist by definition.
According to certain unbiased, but clearly righteously appointed, guardians of all that is right in the USofA, Chi-Chi was (as are all Puerto Ricans): the direct recipient of the benefits of affirmative action; a mediocre student; and a racist--all at the same time. Thus he, and all the rest of them, can’t really be that dangerous???Posted by on 05/29 at 04:44 AM
overheard at Kim L Jung’s country club…
“I love the smell of plutonium in the morning”Posted by on 05/29 at 09:47 AM