By Tim Hayes

Things I thought while thinking about other things (I think)…

Whatever happened to slow songs? At the past three wedding receptions we’ve attended, whether a DJ or a live band provided the music, not one slow song got played.  Just fast, frantic tunes, one after the next, for hours on end.  I was looking forward to taking my wife out onto the dance floor and spending a few minutes in each other’s arms.  But no.  Not unless I wanted to flail around like an octopus undergoing electrical shock therapy.  Which I didn’t.  My kids would tell me that at their high school proms, the same thing – no slow songs!  At the PROM, for Pete’s sake!  The one night when a “non-cool” guy might have stood a snowball’s chance of kissing a girl, while slowly maneuvering her around a dance floor.  Hey, you people being paid to supply music – play some slow songs!   Where’d the romance go?

The Zenith of Human Achievement (Third Place): The ‘70s Music Station on Satellite Radio (or Cable TV). Let’s face it – most stuff on TV stinks.  Commercial radio more than lives up to its name, since it’s full of commercials.  Even if a station actually plays music, so much of it strikes me as cacophonous noise anyway.  Where are the Eagles?  The Doobie Brothers?  John and Paul and George and Ringo, playing their own stuff?  Chicago, Boston, Kansas?  “Gonna Fly Now?”  When I need to decompress, or need background music I know I’ll enjoy, or need to mentally transport back to a time when somebody else was paying the bills, I go to the ‘70s music stations.  Hearing old “American Top 40” shows with Casey Kasem, from the same week back then, as our “classic hits” station does here?  Hard to think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning.

Sports-Appropriate Venues and Events. Florida and Phoenix and Los Angeles should not have professional hockey teams.  It’s too doggone hot.  Likewise, the World Series should be wrapped up by mid-October, like it used to be.  Chicago and Cleveland were unbelievably lucky that the weather remained relatively mild this year.  Otherwise, could you imagine?  The “Boys of Summer” playing baseball in two of the northernmost cities – both situated on lakefronts?  Pitchers losing feeling in their fingers, batters experiencing the sting all the way up their arms when connecting with the ball?  Fans shivering in the frosty frigid darkness?  Stupid.

The Zenith of Human Achievement (Second Place): Cursive Handwriting. In the olden days, teachers spent hours instructing their young charges how to write in cursive.  Large green-and-white alphabet guides, taped above the chalkboard, showed the proper formation of these letters that, when mastered, allowed you to write your thoughts in a continuous motion.  Some people had absolutely beautiful cursive handwriting, others not so much.  But look at the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution in their original forms – cursive.  Look at Lincoln’s draft of the Gettysburg Address – cursive.  Today cursive doesn’t even appear on the elementary school curriculum.  That means 99.999% of recorded human history will not be decipherable by people in high school today, who have typed everything into PCs, iPads, and smartphones.  Good grief.  Bring back cursive!

The Not-So EZ-Pass. Why do some states have mechanical arms in the EZ-Pass lane on their toll roads?  On a recent trip from Pennsylvania to Illinois and back, we almost drove through the first couple of toll booths at speed, until the sight of an arm across the lane shocked us into slowing down and nearly coming to a complete stop.  That’s not how the EZ-Pass works in PA.  You’re supposed to reduce speed somewhat, but it’s a clear shot through the toll lane.  They have all the electronics to “read” the pass device in the car, plus cameras taking pictures of license plates, so what the heck is the deal with the arm across the lane, Ohio and Indiana?  Doesn’t coming to a stop defeat the purpose of having an express lane?  The most astounding part of this item is that Pennsylvania is actually doing something right for a change, by the way.  We’re not used to that, trust me.

The Zenith of Human Achievement (First Place): The McDonald’s Hash Brown. Crunchy, greasy, salty – all the things the do-gooders tell you to flee.  Ha-ha!  That’s what makes it so damned delicious, killjoys!  Formed, fried, and fixed in its little paper sleeve, this golden oval of oral awesomeness is, without a doubt, the greatest thing our otherwise sorry human race has ever produced.  And now that they’re available ALL FREAKING DAY?  Forget milk and honey, Bub.  Heaven overflows with McDonald’s Hash Browns, and we get to sample a little taste of it here on Planet Earth.  You want proof there’s a God?  Hit the drive-thru, Mac.

Oh, and one more thing…VOTE ON TUESDAY. The fate of the Republic rests on your shoulders.  And that’s not meant to be funny.  Veterans Day also falls this week.  Think of all those who died to secure our right to vote.  Seriously – be sure to get to the polls, and don’t let anyone deny you this right.

That is all.  Aloha for now.

Copyright 2016 Timothy P. Hayes