Travel on Foot

In 2010, Mark Baumer crossed America on foot in 81 days. While my research isn’t extensive (or exhaustive), I’m not sure anyone’s completed a coast-to-coast journey across the U.S. sans gasoline any faster than he did six years ago.

Mark is a writer and poet. He chronicled that first trek in a new book that has a very limited print run. The book, I am a Road, will be available to purchase for another week in print form, so don’t miss out.

Two weeks ago, Mary and I learned that our only son was being beckoned by the road once again. This time, his latest cross-country trip will be done for something larger than what motivated Mark during his first walk. Oh, and he’ll be doing this without shoes, too.

Since Mark’s taken the time to articulate and frame it in narrative form (much better than I can), I’ll send you directly to him, so he can explain the “why” of his latest journey.

Mark Baumer will cross America on foot, once again.

Mark Baumer will cross America on foot, once again.

The Last Righteous Man

Righteousness has entered an anachronistic phase. Duplicity seems all the rage at the moment.

I have been watching reruns of CSI Miami. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced show, which had a successful 10-year run on network television, is now in syndication on WE tv every weekend. It’s been my summer guilty pleasure.

If you remember the series, or have watched more than a smattering of episodes, you’ll be familiar with the show’s protagonist, Lieutenant Horatio Caine. Caine, played by veteran actor, David Caruso, is the rare alpha male on television these days. During our season of conflict and ambivalence regarding wrong and right, there’s little doubt where Caine comes down on any issue during the series’ hour-long story line.

Give 'em an hour and the CSI Miami team will always get the bad guy.

Give ’em an hour and the CSI Miami team will always get the bad guy.

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Backseat Reminders

How did we function before “smart” technology smoothed over all of the rough edges of living? If you spend 5-10 minutes watching the opening segment of your local newscast, you are excused for believing that humans were once more intelligent than we are now, even possessing a modicum of common sense.

Apparently our cluttered lives have become so disorienting that we need the government (and car companies) to rescue us, and prevent us from leaving our kids in the backseat while we’re at work. Seriously, I guess dads everywhere are forgetting to leave junior off at the daycare, forcing him to fend for himself in the overheated car, while dad’s earning his daily bread working for Whitey the Man. Poor dad (and mom).

According to Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 29 children have died in hot cars this year.

“These deaths are happening year round. Even in mild temperatures, children unknowingly left in cars can quickly be in danger of death or serious injury,” said Gillan. Continue reading

New Kid in Town

Living in the football-mad region of New England, Monday morning quarterbacking is legion. Of course, those Monday morning discussions soon turn into Tuesday and Wednesday discussions extending throughout the day on Boston radio stations, all revolving around the QB position. That’s because in New England, football talk centers on one of the best in the history of the game.

To top it all off, starting last season, with all the hoopla about ball inflation and the National Football League’s “gotcha’” approach towards that quarterback—and this year’s continuation—as Tom Brady begins the 2016 season serving a four-game suspension, there’s no backing off discussions about the quarterback. The wrinkle this year is that in addition to Brady, we’re now talking Garoppolo, too.

Run, Jimmy, run.

Run, Jimmy, run.

Across the NFL, you won’t get much of an argument from the 31 other places outside of New England that the Patriots are not well-liked—and articles like this one, and this one (and a host of others) intimate that the team is hated by just about everyone else save those of us who love the red, white, and blue. So be it. Continue reading

Too Many Things

Is it possible to reach a mark where you are trying to juggle more balls than your juggling talent allows?

People who study these types of things will tell you that multitasking is like a mirage—or better, the benefits of multitasking are all a myth–designed to extend us far beyond our functionality. Basically, the more that you have to do, and try to do in combination with something (or somethings) else, your effectiveness diminishes—often exponentially with each successive spinning plate that you add.

For the first time since God knows when, I felt overwhelmed this week. I just have too many damn tasks cluttering my to-do checklist. It’s possible that launching my volleyball officiating trial balloon while working four days in the financial services arena, being on-call at the funeral home 2-3 nights each week, and also driving a few shifts for the Uber have pushed me beyond my capabilities. And then, where the hell does writing fit into this patchwork quilt?

Do you ever feel like a juggling clown?

Do you ever feel like a juggling clown?

My long drive home from Standish after my first JV and varsity volleyball matches last night had me feeling wrung out and wondering, what’s next? Or better, thinking that maybe I could exercise some measure of control over my life, at least for one weekend. Continue reading

Read a Book

Did you know that today is National Read a Book Day? I happened to catch a segment on the morning news about it and that print books still outsell books downloaded to digital devices.

The key to reading for me has always been having a book worth reading. When you have “that special book,” time stands still and the cares of the world often seem further away.

Being Mortal-Gawande

I spent my Labor Day reading Atul Gawande’s marvelous book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. This was the book everyone was talking about in the senior/aging in place world I inhabited back in 2014. Thanks to Miss Mary (who had the book because of her book club), I started flipping through Gawande’s bestseller and before I knew it, I found the book nearly impossible to put down. Continue reading

Jamming About Traffic

I consider reading important—enough so that I’ve remained committed to reading three or four books a month for the past decade or so. It occurred to me recently that being smart and well-informed doesn’t really matter. That’s probably one reason why my reading has fallen off the cliff in August.

Discussions with other readers about books we like and how it sucks when a great book is nearing an end is also part of that reading drop-off—I just haven’t been able to find anything that resonates with how I’m feeling this summer. That was until I stumbled upon a book about traffic.

Since I wrote “traffic” with a “small t,” you’re sharp to recognize that the traffic I’m talking about isn’t the Traffic of “John Barleycorn Must Die,” or “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” although it’s mighty tempting to keep the music blogging going with ruminations about “Little” Stevie Winwood and a post about WBLM that takes me back to the halcyon days at Lisbon High—that’s for another time and another post.

The traffic I’m anxious to riff on today is the story of traffic courtesy of a writer that I sadly just found out about, Tom Vanderbilt, and his wonderful book, Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (and What It Says About Us). Vanderbilt’s type of traffic is the kind we’re all intimately familiar with, whether we like it or not. Because save for a few of us, our lives intertwine with cars, Happy Motoring, and the carpet-like mass of vehicles crisscrossing America at any given time.

The joys of sitting in traffic on American roadways.

The joys of sitting in traffic on American roadways.

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