Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dreaming Again

October 2016: We spent a weekend this fall hiking in Bishop. The scenic forested hikes and talk of possible wild animal sightings seem to have prompted the following dream:

Dream: I emerged from a rustic hotel, stepped outside into a sunny day and took several steps into the parking lot as my eyeballs adjusted to the brightness of the morning. Just then I spotted a momma bear 40 feet away. Luckily she wasn’t interested in me, she was watching her bear cub, and it was getting dangerously close to a pair of hotel patrons. I wanted to call out warning them to back away, but I didn’t want to rile up momma bear with my wailing, so I turned to return to the safety of my hotel room. But now I noticed two juvenile bears, not exactly cubs, between me and the hotel room door. One bear was sitting on the ground eating something and was, thankfully, ignoring me. Then there was the second juvenile bear, this one was walking upright wearing pajama pants! It, too, was ignoring me, walking away. Digesting the confusion of the pajama bottom-wearing bear I took a few steps in the direction of the hotel’s door. I turned back to check on momma bear’s status, am I going to make it to the safety of the room? Sadly, no, she was upon me with a vicious snarling mouth. I awakened while she was in mid-leap nearly upon me before her abuse could commence.

November 2016: We spent a long weekend in Death Valley last month hiking its interesting terrain in the absence of the peak summer heat. When we travel I share a bed with my son. It was under these circumstances the following dream transpired.

Dream: My son and I were enjoying the afternoon walking on a sidewalk in a tree-shaded residential neighborhood. A dog arrived on the scene, not vicious, but was vigorously sniffing at my feet. So vigorous, in fact, was the dog’s snuffling that I had to stop walking so as to avoid kicking the noble beast’s snout. I noticed then that I wasn’t just stopped, my feet were effectively anchored to the sidewalk. Were my feet frozen to the ground?

At this point I woke up to find that my slumbering son was lying diagonally in bed and his feet had jammed my feet firmly into the tightly bound bed sheets. My feet in real life, to match the dream, were actually immovable. They were stuck between his feet and the tucked in bed sheets to such effect that my dreaming self had to stop his own feet from moving. It was with much chuckling I recounted this dream to the family during breakfast. By then my feet had regained the ability to move.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fake News

Since the election of President Trump there have been media articles raging about fake news websites. My initial thought was that this might be a revolt against the considerable number of Hillary puff pieces emanating from the New York Times and its ilk leading up to the election. After a brief bit of spelunking I find those were not the target of rage. There is discussion at Facebook of possibly banning articles that are deemed to be from fake news sites. Google is also discussing disallowing its ad services from fake news sites. The concern is that if war were to be waged against fake news, then there would be a group of people deciding and enforcing what news is fake and what is real. Who would be these deciders and what of their qualifications?

I vote against this prospective censorship and banning of websites. In a light-hearted example, let’s say a sports writer thinks the Cleveland Browns have a chance of reaching the playoffs next season [this season is already shot for this perennially damaged sports franchise]. As far as I’m concerned that’s not real news and such silly opinions would be worthy of ridicule. But just because I disagree with it doesn’t mean it should be banned from a public that is willing to consume it. Certainly we can all agree that the Browns footballers playing well enough to reach the playoffs is a comical idea, but there really is a serious issue at stake.

The greater issue is that if censorship comes to fruition, a news article or opinion piece putting forth a challenging idea might be deemed inedible for public consumption. If a journalist challenges global warming or is perceived to slight a favored demographic, for example, these articles might be deemed to have run afoul of an enforcer’s threshold of fake news. Ignorance prevails every time only a single side of an issue is put forth with the other perspective being suppressed. Such suppression would be a significant barrier to fostering an educated informed populace.

Of course fake news is problematic, so is dumbed down journalism written to navigate within the barriers of approved talking points. The truth is there are dubious websites, they are deserving of their freedom and our derision. Just as importantly, serious people should consider sources before ingesting their news. So let's be serious.


Sunday, November 6, 2016


I’ve lately been enjoying a number of silly dreams, too silly, in fact, to keep to myself so I share two of them here from a recent vacation. To set the stage, when we travel I share a bed with our son, Wife Klem shares a bed with our daughter.

Night #1
In my dream I’m walking through the streets of a foreign city at night. I know it’s a foreign city because in Spanish I’m asking pedestrians and passersby ‘Donde esta me chaqueta?’ [‘Where is my jacket’]. Why I’m speaking in Spanish in my dream I know not. [I’m not a Spanish speaker although I have made an effort over the years to learn the language to some minor effect. Clearly my subconscious has been paying attention.] None of the pedestrians knows the whereabouts of my jacket. They walk briskly past me not even slowing down to acknowledge me. It’s a chilly night in the dream and my jacket would increase my comfort level. I woke up in the middle of the night to find that my son, with whom I’d been sharing a bed, has rolled over and taken all the covers. In my dream I’m looking for my jacket, but in real life my slumbering self is cold and merely wants a blanket.

Night #2
The second dream, though far less detailed, carries the same them. I’m a spectator in an ice rink watching an amateur hockey game. Sure is chilly in an ice rink and I had forgotten to layer on the clothing. I woke up to, again, find that my son had rolled over and taken the bed covers with him.

Hopefully Sigmund Freud or one of his ilk does not find any more embarrassing meaning hidden deeply within these subconscious thoughts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Me and Pistachio Ice Cream

I’ve never eaten pistachio ice cream. True, never even a sampling. Not that I have an aversion to pistachios, in fact, my taste buds and I find the nuts to be delectable. As a youngster I do recall thinking such a flavor of ice cream was someone’s joke and, if it were real, it would stink, in kids’ parlance. But what did I know, I was a kid. Despite having heard intermittently over the years that this variety of ice cream is actually delicious, I have remained unintentionally without. Here, then, is why.

If I were at an ice cream store, and I have been many times, how could I take a chance on such an unknown as pistachio when so much in the way of known quantities of delight are available and ready to be dispensed at the asking? With so much at stake, do I take a chance on this nut ice cream or do I order the surety? If I were to request a single scoop of pistachio ice cream and it fell short of expectations, it would be a crushing blow in that moment knowing that I could have had mint chocolate chip or rocky road, but instead willingly subjected myself to consuming the pistachio. That’s it. That’s the main reason it hasn’t crossed these lips, the competition is too great!

My lack of pistachio is not a purposeful avoidance, you see. This is not an active abstinence to stubbornly remain free of pistachio. It is merely that I have not had a captive opportunity. What do I mean by captive? If I were at someone’s home [a voluntarily captive audience, as it were] and the pistachio were offered, I would refrain no longer. But really, what are the odds? So many super flavors of ice cream available for purchase at a grocery store, who would buy pistachio in a size as vast as a quart to have in the freezer in a time of need? A scoop of pistachio, I can imagine that happening, but a whole quart of the stuff? Come on.

Next hurdle, should I just by chance happen to be in an abode that just happened to have a quart of pistachio ice cream on hand, how would I know that’s it’s on tap? Or how would the host know to offer? I might actually have been in a home with pistachio available for the asking, but the infinitesimal chance of the topic arising and the pistachio ice cream coming to light had never come to fruition! I could have at some point even been standing next to a refrigerator bearing the ice cream, but there was no conjoining between me and pistachio.

Anyway, pistachio ice cream. I’ve never had the stuff. I will, however, knock back a cone of chocolate chip at my earliest convenience.


Friday, July 1, 2016

A Victory For Patience

After much discussion my son’s room has finally been painted by the effort of my own hands. Patient Wife Klem has been planning this paint job and considering a spectrum of colors since last summer. My son has been living with a good swath of his possessions in boxes for a year. Me? This monkey of a chore is no longer on my back, it has been exorcised through the patient process of priming and painting.


Team Klem is now unhindered to engage the 4th of July weekend in full force with traditional celebratory root beer floats!