I Drive. I Think. I Blog. I Am.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Three Eternal Questions of Our Age

Every age of mankind must grapple with the eternal questions. When I say 'eternal questions,' I don't mean the kind of questions that have been asked since the dawn of civilization, and have never been adequately answered. I mean the kind of questions that are asked and answered every day, but that doesn't stop those questions from being asked again. These questions are then, in effect, asked eternally. These eternal questions are asked of me quite often. In fact, these eternal questions are asked of me nearly every day.

There are three eternal questions of our age, and these questions are: "Do you have any spare change?" "Do you have a cigarette you can sell me?" and "Do you have a bus pass you are not using any more?" These questions are asked of me more than any other questions in existence. Some days I am asked one of various combinations of two of these questions, and sometimes even all three of these questions, multiple times.

Only now may I speak of eternal answers. Although there are three questions, I have found that there is only one eternal answer, at least in my case. Others may have eternal answers that are one of the possible combinations of 'yes' and 'no,' these eternal answers may change from time to time. Still others may have eternal answers that are etched in stone. I am one of the latter. Not only that, but my eternal answer is the same for each of the three eternal questions. It is a single two-letter word, the simplest eternal answer there ever could be. So I am certainly lucky in that regard.

My eternal answer is 'NO!!!.' That's 'NO' as in "No, I don't have any spare change," "No, I don't have any cigarettes," and "No, I don't have a bus pass that I'm not using."

Even though I have such a simple eternal answer, and even though I have offered it many, many times, I have found that I have, lately, been given fewer and fewer opportunities to offer it again. Most likely, this is due to the fact that I no longer answer to the word, 'hey.' If I am walking down the street and I hear 'hey,' I will assume that that 'hey' is meant for someone else, perhaps an invisible person, and not for me (the last time I checked, I was still visible). Every single time I have answered the call of 'hey' in the past, I have regretted it, because what always follows an answered 'hey' call is one, two, or all of the three eternal questions of our age. And what always follows the asking of any of the three eternal questions is my two-letter eternal answer.

Every time I offer my eternal answer to an eternal question, I know that it is hardly the last time I will do so.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Art Encounters

As I have explained in my profile, I have an art degree, and I have had a few encounters with the art of two of my former art teachers from college during my time on the road.

The first are outdoor paintings by Harry Ahysen, my former painting teacher. Through the internet, I had learned that he had retired in a city called Washington Courthouse, Ohio. I resolved to look for these murals next time I was in the area. I got my chance one day I stopped at the TA in nearby Jeffersonville, and to my shock and surprise, there was one right there next to it:

Later that day I was able to photograph other Ahysen murals around town:

Once, I had a breakdown in Oklahoma City, which required such extensive repair that I had to stay in a motel. I had plenty of time to visit the Oklahoma City Memorial. Much to my surprise, my former sculpture teacher, Charles Pebworth, had a sculpture in the Memorial's collection:

So I wrote in the guest register, alongside my name, "former student of Charles Pebworth"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Louisville, KY Mural

I see this building every time I go through Louisville, Kentucky by way of Interstate 64. I don't know what the building is, and I never have the time or place to stop and get a good picture of it. I had to get this photo while I was driving, so I apologize for not getting all of it, but I am still impressed with how well I did. On first glance, it looks like just a bunch of random stripes, as though it were just a modern painting (appealing enough to me), but if you let your eyes adjust, you may make out what appear to be three views of "The Louisville Lip."

See 'im?

Batman's Cave, Perhaps?

This is the weirdest place I've ever taken a load. It's in Carthage, Missouri. It's not a warehouse built on a traditional foundation; no, it's dug out of native limestone. I'm left wondering: was that easier to build, for some reason?

Friday, January 26, 2007

In Memorium

Even at this point in the month, I still see many flags at half-staff, and yes, it's because of the death of former president Gerald Ford. I thought now would be a good time to record my thoughts about him.

I am old enough to remember him, and though I wouldn't have voted for him now, I did vote for him in a mock election when I was in 6th grade. He won. We all liked him. And we were all surprised when we woke up the next day to find out that Jimmy Carter had won the real election.

And why did that happen? Let's all say it together, shall we?

"He pardoned Nixon, and that cost him the election."

This little historical mantra has been repeated a lot these days, and frankly, I'm tired of hearing it. I doubt there's any truth to it. So what if he was the incumbent? He was the only man in history to serve as both president and vice-president while having been elected for neither. Could anyone really leverage an electoral victory out of an incumbency like that?

Let's face it: he was still a Republican, and a hand-picked successor to a disgraced Republican presidency, and I think it's reasonable to suggest that the country had had just about enough of Republicans at that time. It didn't matter how nice a guy Ford was; his campaign was doomed from the start. "Our national nightmare is over" seems to be his most famous and most eloquent quote; but do any of you remember this one? "There is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe." Couldn't that one have cost him an election?

I think it's quite fitting for our current train-wreck of a president to eulogize Ford; after all, they both pronounced "nuclear" as "nucular."

The other notable recent death is that of Saddam Hussein. Although I adamantly oppose capital punishment in all cases, it's hard to feel sorry for him. Here was a man who took, in a twenty-five year period, a hundred times more than what the average person will earn in a lifetime. Certainly, Saddam knew that we all have to go sometime, and yet he tried to cling to his wealth indefinitely, as if he could take it with him. Didn't he refuse exile as well? I have to think that he must have wanted to get caught.

Still, he had to be executed so we may all say, "He got what he deserved." But does anyone "deserve" death? We're all getting it whether we want it or not. I prefer to say that we deserve to live in a world without him; we got what we deserve.

And why all the fuss about the execution video? I've seen it, and the sickening feeling that I got when I saw the WTC collapse was absent when I saw Saddam hanging on a rope. I think he got the easy way out. Isn't it a privilege to be told when we will die? Really, how many of us get to choose when, or how? I saw no suffering in that video, and the calm, peaceful look on the dictator's face betrayed no pain whatsoever. There simply wasn't time for pain; it was all over, literally, in a snap. The Nicholas Berg beheading was far more gruesome.

Nevertheless, I will part company with nearly everyone and say that this was not an execution that needed to be carried out. We removed him from power; isn't that good enough? Can we bring back even one of his victims? When you really think about it, the message behind it seems to be this: "Hey kids, don't grow up to be a ruthless dictator, you might just get away with it until you're seventy years old."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Someone Has Some Explaining To Do

I know that I am not the first to notice this, but- since it is January, after all, and this is the traditional time to look back at the previous year- we actually made it through a year without a deadly hurricane making landfall in the United States!

So, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, why is this? Aren't hurricanes the Almighty's way of expressing His divine displeasure with abortion and homosexuality? Did both of these abhorrent practices miraculously end without the media taking notice? Wow, that's pretty impressive, I hadn't heard...

Well, perhaps that's not quite true- Rosie O'Donnell is still a lesbian, and she is still successful. As long as that's true, I'm sure that we, as a society, risk the incurrence of divine wrath. Plus, if I understand correctly, abortions are still available for those that want one...

Which gives me an idea. Next time a killer hurricane makes its way into the Gulf, I know a sure-fire way to prevent it from making landfall- and it works like this:

I say we forcibly compel a few hundred lesbians, fags, abortion doctors, stem-cell researchers, evolutionists, democrats, and anyone else that Pat Robertson thinks that God hates, onto a cruise ship and set them adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. I'd wager that within the hour, God will turn his divine eye towards this development, utter a mighty, "Hey, wait a minute," and divert the hurricane toward the ship and completely destroy it, sparing the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Great idea, isn't it? You may thank me later.

Maybe a lack of divine wrath can't explain our dearth of killer storms last year. Maybe Al Gore is right about global warming. Maybe we can expect an increase in the number of deadly hurricanes (just as the poster for his movie plainly suggeests), but we didn't witness such an increase last year because CO2 emissions finally went down! This is great news, isn't it?

Which gives me an idea. Whatever it is we are doing to stop CO2 emissions, we need to keep doing it. I don't know what it is we were doing, however, but keep it up. I do understand that a lot of people died last year, stopped breathing, and thus stopped emitting carbon dioxide from their lungs, so maybe that's what did it; if so, then I must say this- c'mon, folks, let's keep dying! Keep up the good work! If you didn't die last year and you would like to know what you can do to stop global warming, here it is- stop breathing. If you feel that you can't stop breathing, then try not breathing so often. I understand that on average, a human takes one breath for every four heartbeats, so I would sugest that we take one breath for every- oh, let's say eight heartbeats. If you see yourself turning blue, that means that you're still breathing too often.

Let's all work together folks, and we can assure that our future will be free of deadly hurricanes, and no presidential administration will ever be embarrassed again.

Oops- I don't know what we should do about earthquakes.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Visitors in Wyoming

Can you believe it? These guys interrupted their southerly flight to pay me a visit at the truck stop in Fort Bridger, Wyoming. They were not shy at all. They stayed long enough to figure out that I had no food to offer them, and to pose for this picture. Then they waddled away.

The Master has Arrived

A recent trip to the Denver area produced the following experience- I had just finished parking at a Flying J, a truck stop chain notorious for their cramped and almost-impossible-to-park-in parking lots. Another driver approached me, all the while with a big smile on his face. I was thinking, "Oh no, this can't be good...can it?" I reluctanctly opened my window to greet him; here is what he had to say-

"You're about the tenth guy to try that!"

"Well," I replied, "That doesn't mean I enjoyed it."

He was referring to the spot I just backed into. Yes, it was difficult, but not particularly so. Ten other drivers had tried and given up?

Well I guess, then, they weren't backing masters, like me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How I Knew I Was a Genius

I'm going to have to do some setting up for this one- Here it is at the beginning of winter, and the heater in my truck wasn't working. My remedy for the situation was a portable electric heater that connects through one of the cigarette lighter-style electrical outlets located throughout the interior. I was in Denver (cold), so naturally, I didn't want to freeze my ass off when I was sleeping, so I let the heater run all night. This saves fuel, obviously, but it also runs down the battery.

So I was ready to leave the next morning. I turn the key.


Great, now I have to get a jump. But then I thought- and here's the genius part- "Hey, wait a minute, don't I have a reefer? Isn't that a small deisel engine with a battery?"

Why, yes it is.

So I hook up the jumper cables and turn the key again.


Okay, so I have to let it charge a bit first. I let the reefer engine run for about a half hour and I turn the key again.


All right, so this isn't the first time that anyone has tried this. But no one had to suggest this to me- I figured it out on my own. I didn't have to bother anyone, and no one was the wiser.

Damn, I'm good.

Giant Cross

I recently visited one of the giant crosses I mentioned in an earlier post- this is the one near Amarillo, Texas. I hope these pictures will give you some idea of the scale of these things.

And here's what could be my best photo ever-

And lest we forget, this is near the "Leaning Tower of Texas-"