Thursday potpourri

Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve ended the last several posts looking back at where Deb and I were a year ago. I enjoy the remembering, especially at this point in our journey — everything was electric and new, and the feeling of freedom was intoxicating.

We knew where we were going. We had no idea where we’d end up.

I think it’s significant that on the Fifth of May last year we touched The Ozarks for the first time, just the northeast fringe of the region. We didn’t acknowledge it at the time because we didn’t have a good reason to. That’d change over the next couple of weeks.

There’s a good chance that I’ll keep dropping these year-ago memories — probably not every single day forever, but regularly for a while, anyway. It’s a pleasant way for me to measure how far we’ve come.

“This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history.”

the current occupant of the Oval Office, yesterday

“[Democrats are] the party of weak men and unhappy women…. Irrational and enraged and also, by the way, dangerous — because irrational, enraged people are, by definition, dangerous.”

“Weak men and unhappy women. That’s the party, right there — and also, by the way, people who commit violence. But when they commit violence, it’s not insurrection. It’s not ‘a threat to our democracy.’ It’s just taking to the streets and expressing yourself, even if you set fires and rush into state legislatures, into capitol buildings. Not insurrection because the new rules are if you agree with the regime, you can do whatever you want — and if you don’t, go to jail.”

Tucker Carlson, yesterday

Here’s a flashback of a different sort. If you don’t find it interesting — and it’s entirely possible you won’t — you can blame Kim Cattrall.

Thirty-plus years ago my corporate-communications career was hitting its stride. I was working for a small manufacturer of high-end audio products, a one-man comms shop doing everything myself — writing, illustrating, photo direction, advertising design and a little bit of marketing, even user-interface design and product labeling.

On my desk was a Mac, a 40MB hard drive, a flatbed scanner and a dot-matrix printer. My system was connected to the outside world via an analog phone line and a screamin’ 1200 baud (9600 bps) modem.

Yeah, it’s pretty crude by today’s standards but remember, this was 1990 and that, my geeky friends, was one hot setup (and an obscenely expensive one). It gave us total control over document design and production, however, and my employer judged that to benefit be worth the cost.

Speaking of expensive, the company’s products were pricey — $20,000 for a pair of 100W monaural power amplifiers, for example, or $25,000 for a two-chassis (DAC and transport) CD player. Our target market was audiophiles with money to burn.

One of my favorites was what we called the “CD Library.” (Think of it as a low-capacity iPod the size of a mini-fridge, with a remote control bigger than a Gideons bible.) No one else had dared to design and build such a thing, and although advancing technology (along with a $13,000 price tag) rendered it obsolete in less than two years, it was a hilariously fun project to work on.

The owner’s manual I designed, wrote and produced ran to 189 pages with over 400 original illustrations. My “Have you seen Elvis?” ad for the CD Library earned both an industry award and a certified letter from Elvis Presley Enterprises instructing us to cease and desist (lest we risk EPE suing us into bankruptcy).

I hadn’t thought about that job in a very long time — until today, that is, when I saw a link to a news story about Kim Cattrall. (You were wondering if I’d get back to that, weren’t you?) See, the Mannequin and Sex and The City actress was married to the guy who founded this particular audio company, gone before I arrived on the scene. Recalling that got me looking for info about my former employer (the company was acquired and dissolved in 2004, I discovered), and within five minutes I found an online archive containing much of the work I did.

It was filed under “vintage” audio equipment. Now that hurts.

One year ago today: We drove Ernie from Louisiana to Mexico, gliding across wide-open Missouri farmland and stopping for diesel along the way. Deb got to reunite with kin she hadn’t seen in decades. We ended that day boondocking at Point Labaddie Brewery, our first-ever Harvest Hosts stop.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

(Today’s header image is… well, let’s just say that it’s the rainy season in Harrison, Arkansas.)