The last time I heard Taps was at my grandfather’s funeral three years ago. As an Air Force veteran, he was afforded military rites, which were performed by two extremely young recruits on a freezing January morning. They folded an American flag, handed it to my mother, saluted and, of course, played Taps. It’s a simple melody that nearly everyone knows, but it still has the power to stir strong feelings in a listener. The lyrics in today’s Arlo & Janis only amplify that emotion. I defy anyone to hum Taps while reading those lyrics and not feel something for the servicemen and women who’ve lost their lives fighting America’s wars.
Archive for the ‘Arlo & Janis’ Category
A few months ago, I watched whatever Netflix movies were sitting on my end table, sealed them in the accompanying red envelopes, and dropped them in the nearest mailbox. Then I examined my queue and placed two movies at the top: Inglorious Basterds and The Best Years of Our Lives. I thought those World War II flicks – one a grotesque fantasy made in 2009, the other a somber melodrama made in 1946 – would make for an interesting double feature. The thing is, I haven’t gotten around to watching them. For months (years?) they’ve sat on my end table, promising me quite the experience if I could only set aside four hours to watch them. Someday…
My cat is getting up there in years (15 to be exact), and he’s having trouble jumping up on the bed. Every once in a while, he leaps from the floor in the dark, fails to grab hold of anything with his claws, and then tumbles back to the hardwood with a giant thud. Every time he does this, I laugh. Then, of course, I feel bad about laughing, lean over to scoop him up, and sit him down at the edge of the mattress. In recent weeks, he’s started to take stock of his declining abilities, and has taken to using a small chest at the foot of the bed so he won’t have to jump so high. My wife wants to get him a set of kitty stairs to make the trek even easier for him, but I can’t support that. Our cat still knows how to jump, and the more he does it, the better he’ll be at it. Maybe if we left a piece of steak on the blanket…
Sometime Tuesday night, as the great big honkin’ blizzard of 2011 was gathering strength, a big chunk of Wrigley Field blew away in the wind. Some people might see a 98-year-old stadium with serious maintenance issues and say, “junk it,” but the Chicago Cubs will never be part of that crowd. As owners and primary tenants of Wrigley Field, the team would gain very little (and would perhaps lose quite a bit) by building a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium. If fans want electronic scoreboards (or even roofs that don’t crumble), they can go to any other major league ballpark. If they want nostalgia, they’ll need to visit the north side of Chicago.
Earlier this winter, when my boiler conked out, a repairman suggested that I have one of my pipes replaced. He pointed out the fact that it had been leaking, as evidenced by corrosion on a piece of metal directly below. He also noted that the leak had been plugged with what appeared to be a combination of electrical tape, plumber’s putty, and prayer; a combination that was bound to fail sooner or later. Once the weather gets warm and the boiler can be turned off, I’ll have this guy back out to replace the faulty pipe because, boy howdy, am I ever not qualified to do it myself.
Somebody likes wine. And you know what? I can’t say I blame him. A glass of room temperature red complements even the chewiest of steaks (or the saltiest of chocolate chip cookies) while a glass of chilled white makes even the fishiest of fish palatable. But as with all good things, some people take their love of wine to excess. Large bottles are one thing, but large boxes? That’s something else. Pretty soon we’ll be buying wine by the crate and uncorking bottles as tall as our torsos. Either that or we’ll install vats in our front yards and hire deliverymen to refill them on a regular basis.
Most of the time, Arlo & Janis presents itself as a regular ol’ comic strip about a middle-aged couple. But every once in a while it gets gloriously weird. Today’s installment is one such instance; it’s compelling and surreal and baffling, all at the same time. Is Arlo concentrating on a football game with such intensity that his head mimics the arc of a field goal attempt? Or is his mind drifting with such carelessness that his head floats toward the ceiling like a helium balloon? Either way, it’s a neat effect.