It’s Why He’s Han Solo

Harrison Ford is 71 years old.  In June, his ankle was broken by a door on the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo’s ship.

There’s some bittersweet humor in Ford’s injury, because in the original Star Wars trilogy the Millennium Falcon was viewed by everyone except Han Solo as a piece of intergalactic junk.  There was always a question about whether the light drive or the shields would work, and Solo and Chewbacca and R2D2 spent hours working on the ship and trying to tie down some loose circuit or faulty system.  The fact that a malfunctioning door in the Millennium Falcon broke the ankle of the actor who plays Han Solo therefore is ironic indeed.

But here’s the thing:  Ford is back on the set after only two months, and filming has resumed.  Ford was recently seen on the red carpet at some event and was walking without a limp or any assistance.

Speaking as a 50-something guy who is still somewhat gimpy after toe surgery six months ago, I’m stunned at what Ford has done.  For a 71-year-old guy to bounce back so quickly from a broken ankle is nothing short of amazing.  It just shows why Harrison Ford was the perfect Han Solo — and also the perfect Indiana Jones, for that matter.

The new Star Wars movie, featuring all three of the actors who created the iconic characters of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker, is set for release on December 18, 2015.  Mark your calendars!

 

A Vanity Plate I Can Get Behind

IMG_2944Most vanity plates seem like a waste of money to me.  If you’re going to use your vanity plate to make a public declaration about your support for the Greatest Sandwich Ever Conceived, however, I can definitely understand that — especially now, when my effort to avoid carbs means that the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is like the forbidden fruit.  But a man can dream, can’t he?  I’ll take mine with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jam and cut diagonally, thank you very much.

Suddenly, September Traffic

If Gershwin were a Midwestern commuter, he might have written: “Summertime, when the traffic is easy.”

That’s because, at any given point during June, July, and August, a good chunk of the population is on vacation. That means, in turn, a reduced number of cars crowding onto highways and byways at the peak hours. The result, typically, is a smooth and pleasant ride to work.

When school starts up again, though, everything changes — which is why it’s not only schoolchildren who dread the words “back to school.” Vacations are over. School buses and school speed zones are blinking their yellow lights. Everyone is back in town and — what’s worse — everyone is leaving for work at about the same time, after they’ve dropped their kid off at school or the bus stop. People who might have been leaving for work at 8 in July are now on the road at 7.

It’s like the Super Bowl, where everybody is watching the same TV channel and uses the bathroom at the same time, placing huge burdens on municipal sewer systems at the same moment in time. Roads that formerly ran free and easy are now clogged and filled to rank overflowing with traffic, and it stinks.

It’s why September driving is usually the worst and most congested of the year. This week, it was suddenly September traffic in Columbus.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

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I’ve always thought and hoped that I was a special dog.  I’ve tried to be good, I really have.  I’ve chewed a few things, sure, and sometimes the food I eat comes right back up again, but I can’t help that.  I protect our place when cats come around, and, unlike another dog whose name starts with K, I never have “accidents” in the house.

But I knew I was special when I saw my picture on the cover of a magazine.  And, at about the same time, the Leader started giving me wet food out of cans!  Food out of cans, can you imagine?  That’s when I knew how special I really am.

Now, when I was through the neighborhood, I know all eyes are on me.  “There she goes,” they are saying, “the special dog who was on the cover of a magazine.”. Other dogs in the neighborhood, like Sassy, act like nothing has changed, but they can’t fool me.  I’m famous!

If being famous means getting that wet food from the can, I like it!  Speaking of which . . . I am hungry!

P.S.  Don’t forget today is National Dog Day!

The Day Of Golfing Acceptance

When I got back from golf today Kish asked me, brightly, “How was golf today?”  “I sucked, but it was okay,” I replied . . . and it actually was true.  I really did suck — horribly, completely, irrefutably, from tee to green and every hazard in between — but it was okay.

IMG_1090That’s a big change for me.  I think I may have reached the fabled Day of Golfing Acceptance.

When I was younger, I hoped that one day I would be a good golfer who could regularly shoot rounds in the low 80s.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, and I realize I have neither the time, nor the talent, nor the temperament to devote the hours of practice needed to make a significant improvement in my game.  The difference now is that I’m not going to become infuriated at myself and the Golf Gods about the bad shots and the bad scores.  So I suck.  So what?  I’m reconciled to the fact that I’m always going to be a mediocre player who shoots in the 90s.

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the game.  In fact, I’d argue that it’s more enjoyable when you’re not blurting out awful curses at shots into the weeds or bad bounces on the green.  And who knows?  Maybe some day I’ll decide I do want to try to be a better player — but that day is not today.  Today I was awful, but I liked getting the exercise and sharing a few laughs with my golfing companions.  I’ll take it.

The Season Of Hand-Out-The-Window Drivers

The weather’s not bad right now, as we wait expectantly for the next Midwestern exposure to the dreaded Polar Vortex.  That means it’s the season of the hand-out-the-window drivers — that small fraction of motorists who like tooling down the road with their forearms and hands flapping in the breeze.

IMG_2905Of course, the HOTW drivers flout standard driving conventions.  Obviously, they aren’t keeping both hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock, as we were taught to do by our hectoring drivers’ ed instructors. And there has been no need for a driver’s hand to be out of the car since the hand-signaling Model T era, before automakers made the turn signal standard equipment.  In fact, air conditioning means there’s no need for the window to be open at all.

Yet still the HOTW drivers persist.  Some use the elbow on the door frame, hand clutching the edge of the roof approach, others extend the arm outward and hold the side-view mirror, and still others just let their hands wander free in the air stream, like a happy, tongue-lolling dog with its head outside the car.  But, why?  Why expose the arm to the outer elements?  Why have the forearm skin battered by the random insects that meet their fates mashed against a car windshield?  Why not experience the pristine wonder of the completely enclosed, carefully climate-controlled, fully interior driving experience?

I’m guessing the HOTWers have a bit of rebel in them.

Penny, The Cover Girl

In today’s mail we received Healthy Pet magazine.  Imagine our surprise, and double-take, when we saw our dog prominently featured on the front cover.

IMG_2906That’s right — that’s Penny, looking all noble, in the circle on the cover.  Sure, her name is misspelled, but that kind of publicity is priceless.

Upon close examination, we saw that it was, in fact, our Penny — but it’s not the actual, glossy cover of the magazine.  Instead, it’s a kind of add-on cover courtesy of the Animal Hospital of New Albany, where Penny’s veterinarian practices.  Presumably it was added specifically for our benefit, and the homes of other four-legged patients received special covers about their pets.

We’ll have to save the cover, because along with her brief brush with stardom Penny’s medical schedule is advertised for all the world to see.  There’s no federal law protecting the privacy of pooches, so there’s no problem with a magazine cover that embarrassingly discloses that Penny will be getting that heartworm/lyme/E/A test in a few weeks.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t come back positive, now that the mailman knows all about it.