Frisbeetarianism

When Your Beliefs Are Not Open to Change

George Carlin defines Frisbeetarianism as the belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there. But there is a version of Frisbeetarianism that affects us while we are still alive. All too many of us treat our values as fixed in place, impervious to all attempts to change them. Are facts contrary to your values? Well, then, adhere to “alternative facts,” or, as I call them, lies.

I remember years ago going to a coffee shop in Cambria, California, for lunch. At the next table were a couple of ranchers discussing how Rush Limbaugh was such a God-fearing man. Did these ranchers care to know that their beloved Rushbo goes to the Dominican Republic loaded with Viagra to have his way with loose women? Or that he has had problems of addiction to Oxycontin, the so-called “Hillbilly Heroin” that is an opioid? And that’s only the beginning.

These men would be offended if I brought up any of these points. Why? Because they conflict with their beliefs and values.

We all have beliefs that affect our behavior. That’s why I get my news from CNN and NBC rather than Breitbart. Oh, occasionally I look at Breitbart.Com, though it fails to move me in any positive way. But I have changed my political affiliation lately to Independent, because the last several elections have soured me on the Democrats, thus changing voting behavior that goes back to the election of 1968. I also look warily at Progressives of the “Brie and Chablis” variety that populate West Los Angeles.

The point is that my beliefs are still in flux. What used to be a wide paved road has become for me a pitted dirt path that can lead me into making horrendous and immoral decisions. I consider myself a person who is still evolving.

And by no means do I wish to sail onto the roof and get stuck there.

New Wheels

2018 Subaru Forester

Today I picked up my new Subaru Forester. Inasmuch as I loved my old Nissan, there were a lot of things it didn’t have, or which no longer worked. It’s nice once again to have a radio which I can tune visually: The light on the Nissan radio had burned out years ago. And I would much rather play CDs than tape cassettes anytime. On the other hand, there are ever so many more controls with which I have to familiarize myself. It will take a while before I am altogether at home driving it.

As you can probably tell, I did not take the picture above. It looks, however, just like mine, except that mine is white. The funny thing is that the basic configuration of the Forester is what I wanted: no moon roof, no GPS, no phone.

I’ll take some pictures of me with my new car in a week or two. Right now, I am still trying to cope with Martine leaving me; and that’s what occupies my waking (and sleeping) thoughts. Life is a mixed bag.

Last Look at an Old Beauty

My 1994 Nissan Pathfinder: A Last Look

It doesn’t look its age at all, does it. (Of course, the accident marred the other side only.) As my vehicle was insured with Mercury Insurance, and they declared it a total loss, I was faced with a difficult choice. Before long, I would have to start spending big bucks on a new engine, new automatic transmission, and so on. Or I could take what Mercury offered me and lease a new car. I chose to do the latter. Already, I would rent a car every time I took a longer field trip, to Santa Barbara or the Desert or other point farther afield. The combination of impending repairs and car rentals would soon begin to weigh heavily on my finances.

So … sniff … good-bye.

This afternoon, I leased a 2018 Subaru Forester for 36 months.

Double Whammy

Martine at Captain Kidd’s Fish Market in 2006

Troubles, when they occur, rarely occur in isolation. Today, I was inundated. First of all, Martine has decided to leave me two weeks from today. We have been together for thirty years—not actually married—but man and wife for all intents and purposes. My little French girl, like her mother before her, has a tête Normande, a so-called “Norman head,” famous for stubbornness. Around the same time, she got tired of Los Angeles, my apartment in Los Angeles, and me. I know she is initially headed for Sacramento, where she lived when I first met her, but where she goes from there is anyone’s guess.

I still love her and would give anything to continue our relationship, but that does not seem to be enough for her at this point. Once before, in 2005, she left me for several months. But that was to take care of her mother, who was not being well cared for in the institution where she was housed. She came back then; and I hope she will come back again. If not, my life must go on.

Every day, I see large numbers of crumpled-looking old people who can barely get around to do the basic chores of their life. I have no intention of succumbing to that condition. As Dylan Thomas wrote:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I still have places to go and things to do. And books to read.

A second trouble also hit me between the eyes today. You may recall I wrote about an accident I had last Saturday. Today, Mercury Insurance declared my car a total loss, which it really isn’t. Although my 1994 Nissan Pathfinder is twenty-three years old, it is still a gem of a car, with relatively new tires. But I may have to give it up, because, once it is declared a total loss, I get nothing but Blue Book value (plus or minus). Perhaps it would be cheaper to lease a new car than to deal with upcoming major repairs, such as a replacement engine or transmission. So it goes.

I loved both my girl and my car and must say good-bye to both of them around the same time.

 

 

It Eventually Had to Happen

My Right Front Headlight

I have been twenty-two years without an auto accident. It had to happen eventually, and fortunately no one was hurt.

On Saturday, Martine and I went to the Greek Festival at Santa Sophia Cathedral near downtown. It was a hot day with temperatures going up to 90° (32º Celsius) or more. We spent most of the time in their air-conditioned parish hall sampling the Greek goodies. When it was time to go, we went to our car, which was parked at Saint Ignatius High School’s parking lot and headed north on Dewey Street. Just as we approached Pico Boulevard, a driver in a parked car opened his door, which my Nissan slammed into, wedging his driver’s side door hard against my passenger side door. Martine was seated about three inches from the impact.

My Nissan Pathfinder is now having some body work done. It appears that I will have no blame in this particular incident, as my car was parallel to his when I hit his car door.

The driver was a Latino who didn’t quite understand how accidents are handled in the United States. I felt sorry for him. Luckily, he was insured. He wanted to call the police in. I encouraged him to and offered to wait. He was disappointed when, upon calling them a second time, they told him they weren’t coming out unless someone was injured. He shook his head and said he didn’t understand how this country worked. That’s OK: Neither do I. In the end, we wound up shaking hands. I didn’t turn out to be the Gringo pig he expected (at least I hope).

Damaged were to my front bumper, right headlight, a gash on the panel to the right of the engine, and my right rear-view mirror, which hangs on two thin wires.

Why I’m Such a Lousy Chess Player

White to Move and Mate in 2

Actually, I do not know the solution to the above chess problem, although it is a famous one by fellow Hungarian György Bakcsi. I suppose, given a large expanse of time, I could figure it out. (My source is here, but no solution is given.)

I probably would never have gotten into this position. You see, I am an odd sort of chess player. Instead of seeking unbalanced positions that lead to a win, I seek balanced positions that have a high aesthetic value. And that’s when I lose. I have frequently lost to people who learned the moves from me. I’m very good at teaching people how to play chess; but I’m not very good at teaching people how to win at chess. Oh, I can go over the corridor mate, the fool’s mate, and various other typical positions as samples; but I am useless at showing how to set up the position.

And yet I love chess. If I could, I wouldn’t mind traveling with a chess set and chessboard, setting it up in a public place, and going over the moves of such great players as Capablanca, Alekhine, and Keres. You know what would happen, though? Someone would come up and offer to play chess with me. I would invariably turn my would-be opponent down, because I am more interested in studying chess than playing, especially with strangers.

No matter, I still love the game. When the children of my friends try to interest me in their computer games, I always tell them there is only one game for me, and that is chess. It is infinite. The different combinations of the first 10 moves by white and black alone is a number larger than the number of atoms in the universe.

Could You Spare a Crust of Bread for a Hungry Peacock?

Where’s His Cardboard Sign?

Today I took Martine to the Los Angeles Arboretum. There we ate at the Peacock Café, where various peacock moochers attempted to cadge some treats from us. Martine was good (the Arboretum doesn’t want visitors to feed their wildlife), but I couldn’t help leaving a few crumbs of bread on the side of the table, which were voraciously accepted.

Martine and I are going through a difficult period. She still wants to leave Los Angeles. Not being married, I could not stop her. All I could do is keep the welcome mat out for her at all times. If she left, she would probably go back to Sacramento, where pretty much the only people she knows are in the cemetery. I feel sometimes as if I were treading barefoot on broken glass. Still, the way things are, I prefer being with her than without her. We have been together for almost thirty years, and I like being with her, even during difficult times.

Martine at the L.A. Arboretum

No, I am not interested in looking for someone else at this point so that I can celebrate Martine’s attempts to live alone without friends or funds. Some people are difficult, but if they are at the same time gentle and kind, they are worth their weight in gold.

Afterwards, we went to the China Islamic Restaurant in Rosemead, where I ordered lamb chow mein with fresh dough-cut noodles and sesame green onion bread.