A Love Unnamed

1 comment

I’ve begun flying on business fairly regularly in the last several years, and aside from the “perks” of being away from home and collecting points to spend more time away from home, it’s been interesting to drive other cars.  National Car Rental, if you join their club, let’s you choose from any car on the member aisle – or Executive aisle if you rent frequently enough.

Hyundai Sonata, with a mid-level trim, nice.  Kia Sorento, just feels cheap.  VW Passat – kind of sporty with a unique and not unpleasant odor.  Toyota Rav 4 – kind of stiff.  Jeep Patriot – a shell of a SUV.  Ford Fusion – acceptable, but the same as our company car fleet.  Ford Edge – surprisingly nice.   Nissan Rogue – an okay version of its larger brother, the Murano.  And so it goes.  Temporary rides for temporary needs.  So, I return to the airport parking lot, get within sight of my car, and think, far more often than not, “Hello, baby.”  It’s good to be home, or, if not quite that, to my home car. 

It’s a 2006 Nissan Murano.  It has fit me like a glove for over 11 years and 182,000 miles.  Eleven years is a long time in a corporate life.  There are numerous coworkers who know me by my car and no other.  Elegant in its simplicity, the SUV moniker was originally advertised as a Smooth Utility Vehicle.  And it was, with it’s then fairly novel continuously variable transmission.  Substantial in feel, nimble enough, a great ride, a worthy ride (zipping by a Land Rover spinning its wheels in one of Atlanta’s deadlocking ice storms, for example), and a surprisingly good sound system (as proven by comparison to the many rental cars).  Mediocre gas mileage, so there’s that.


My mom once named her 1970 blue Dodge Dart Swinger, “Betsy.”  I hated Betsy.  It lacked air-conditioned (or A/C and gas shortages = no A/C), the blue faded quickly over time, and it became over time an artifact from a prior civilization, at least in kid years.  I’ve resisted naming any of my, let’s see, two vehicles that I’ve owned, due to my distaste for Betsy (and refused blue cars for the same reason).  There was my short-term college car, a 1980 Pontiac Sunbird, which was a (censored) excuse for a car,  and the Murano.  In between were at least 8 company cars that don’t count. 

So, “Hello, baby.”   That’s not really a name, but after driving rental cars, the stitched leather steering wheel provided a tactile enjoyment to driving that every company car or rental lacked.  Plastic steering wheels just don’t cut it.   My car was a home away from home, a personal space, a theater for probably a thousand CD hearings.  Or more.  I’m speaking in past tense.  It’s sad, I know.


Despite an ambitious goal for two more years of faithful service, the car’s moans and groans, or more specifically, its leaks and transmission roar, summed to triple the remaining cash value of “Hello, baby’s” remaining cash value to repair, with no certain guarantee in life expectancy.  Suddenly, I’m the solo member of an health insurer death panel.  Live or let die.  Well, living doesn’t come cheap, so…

Where to do that, exactly?  Well, the place it entered my life, of course, the same place that pronounced its pending medical bill had I opted in.  So, if you’re the unfortunate soul who buys it next, long may she run.  But she won’t.  (But, in the meantime, don’t tell her I’m cheating on her, or about the new 11 speaker Bose sound system that makes parting, shall I say, so much easier?)


1 comment :

Post a Comment

Dixie Dregs–Live at Center Stage

No comments
They’re back.  And thank goodness.  It’s only been since March 6, 2000, so 18 years.  Or… 40 years since this lineup that made their first recording in 1977, Free Fall


A high school buddy introduced me to the Dregs around 1981.  I hadn’t heard anything like them before or since.   Part country, jazz, fusion, rock, classical – they could play anything they wanted, and they did just that, mixing in the genres from album to album.  You can’t really say too much about Steve Morse, the band’s leader and guitarist.  Despite the bright lights with which he surrounds himself, he’s the calling for the fans.

As might be expected, those fans are young guys, or, well, young enough to have been deprived of living foolishly in the 60’s, though I’m sure there were some of those in the crowd, too.   Music has no age limit.


It’s hard to pinpoint musical highlights for a show like this.  The songs were well-known, as people don’t just stumble into a Dixie Dregs concert.  It’s all instrumental, with ace musicians at every spot – drums, bass, keyboards, violin, and keyboard.  At times simple, at times complicated, the between song jest of “we can’t agree on what the time signature of this song is” speaks to 1) the sophistication of some of the pieces and 2) to hell with musical expectations.


Speaking of being unconventional, the Dixie Dregs renamed themselves in the early 80’s as The Dregs as a (failed) gesture to find a mainstream audience, not withstanding a handful of Grammy nominations for Best Instrumental Performance.  That lasted a couple of albums before later regroupings reclaimed the fuller name.  So, it’s of interest, if not admiration, that they raised a middle finger to political correctness and kept the Dixie in their name, given the vitriol of the times.


The question arises, after such a band layoff, how do the members keep their talents up to the level that we were witnessing?  Answer, they never quit.  For example, this article about Steve Davidowski.


Or, bassist Andy West, at least a part-time VP for Analytics and Adaptive Learning at Pearson Education.  He kept playing too, with or without this band.


And, if there was a disappointment, well, there would be two.  One would be that, despite covering everyone’s favorite Dregs songs, they didn’t do a cover version of somebody else’s, something always fun and surprising in past tours.  Second, the Setlist taped to the stage indicated “Gina Lola Breakdown” would be the second song of the encore. which would have been a fun send-off.  But, who’s counting?  Well, dang it.  I did.

Hey, look! Here they are now!

Keep scrolling for the many faces of Steve Morse, plus other photos.
  1. Divided We Stand
  2. Free Fall
  3. Holiday
  4. Assembly Line
  5. Twiggs Approved
  6. Take it Off the Top
  7. What If
  8. Rock ‘n’ Roll Park
  9. Moe Down
  10. Odyssey
Set 2:
  1. Allen’s Violin solo
  2. Northern Lights
  3. Go for Baroque
  4. Country House Shuffle
  5. Day 444
  6. Leprechaun Promenade
  7. Refried Funky Chicken
  8. Wages of Weirdness
  9. The Bash / Drum Solo
  10. Cruise Control
Bloodsucking Leeches

Click on any photo for larger views.






















No comments :

Post a Comment