And A Dog Picture To Boot.

I’d like to start the day out with a link to a great blogger, James R. Lileks. I’ve been reading Lileks since the 1980s when we were both students at the University of Minnesota. Over the many years I grew to feel like I knew him personally. Heck, probably ran across him now and again and didn’t even know it at the time.

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I mention him today as his blog post is about the death of his dog, Jasper. In a strange twist of fate I spent my morning writing a chapter about the death of a dog and how it impacted the character. The dog in my book was modeled on my dog Edzell. Over the past few years I read Lilek’s blog and his anticipation of Jasper’s demise. It was similar to what I was witnessing in Edzell’s life. So, I started the day out crying over a dog in a book and finished it with crying over a dog in a blog.

Go take a minute to read James Lileks write about his struggle with the death of Jasper. I know it’s bad form to ship your readers off somewhere else, especially when the writer is that good, but I feel like I owe it to him in solidarity on the loss of his dog. Then come back, below the picture of my friend Edzell, and read some of those traffic tips I promised you yesterday.

James, if you stumble across this, thank you for a beautiful tribute to your friend. The pain lessens with time but the tears threaten to emerge without warning for as long as that memory remains. I’ve got a collection of collars in the garage that I could really do without myself. And I still look for all of their owners on occasion.

My boy, Eddie

My boy, Eddie

Cold Weather Traffic Tips, Continued… (This may never end given the ding-dongs on the road…)

A. Your rearview mirror is just that, for looking to your rear. It is not a makeup mirror. So, to the thousands of self-stylists applying lipstick, mascara, eye-liner, moustache wax, and picking at pimples while attempting to drive – save it for your dressing room.

B. Stop signs actually have a purpose. You get one pass on sliding through an intersection because it’s really slippery out there today. After that, you are expected to anticipate the next intersection will be the same. Stop. Not just slow down, but actually stop. Some serious study has gone into traffic flow over the past century. Some of those signs are there to make sure that traffic reaches the next intersection in an orderly manner. When the guy in front of you stops at the stop sign, you are supposed to move up one car length and repeat. Not just tail him through the intersection because nobody is at odds with you. You are actually intended to space out the flow by this method of fully stopping. It allows others to enter the roadway. Duh. So, try actually stopping.

C. “Jesus, take the wheel” is the title of a song by Carry Underwood. It is not an approved method of dealing with icy roads. I have it on relatively good authority that He’s too busy to help you navigate when you’re distracted by the cell phone, the laptop next to you, the youtube video on your cell phone (mounted on the dashboard where a gps should be,) or as you chastise the children in the back seat. If God wants to drive, he’ll do better than your 2006 Prius.

D. Turtles don’t drive cars. It is cold. It is not acceptable to pull your head down inside your coat to the point where only the eyes peer out at the world and you don’t move your head for fear of cold air coming down your collar. Either warm your car up longer or wear a scarf.

E. Bad things happen when you pass plows who are working the road surface. Same applies for trying to “get around” the fellows with the giant bulldozer and the dumptrucks. They are removing snow from the roadside. They sometimes miss the truck with a ton or two of snow. It is fun to watch you swerve to avoide that rolling boulder of snow, but dangerous. Cut the road crews some slack and stay back.

I think that’s enough for today. I’ll now go warm my car up in anticipation of driving somewhere sometime this week. It’s still below zero. Is it wrong to fantasize about Iowa? It is to the south, after all…

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