Friday LENs

At the intersection of Likable + Enlightening + Nuts is none of the above, I’ll bet.

On the road. As Daniel Kay travels the planet, he also posts interestingly about his experiences.  In a recent post, one of his travel recommendations was to slow travel down. That advice resonated, not because I’m clocking my average MPH on a given day, but because so much of our travel is entirely functional. And the entirely functional is not particularly humanizing.   Functional travel is safe, routine, effective, and either boring or irritating. Who looks forward to a traffic-laden commute or body-contorting airplane ride?   We mentally disengage from these trips and just hope for the absence of problems.

With absolutely none of this in mind, I took up motorcycle riding again last year, after a long time off.  My friends responded in one of two ways: a) that’s cool, b) or that’s nuts – you will certainly die. While I thank my friends for their input, I don’t know that either applies.  Biking is safe when done properly.  As for cool, well… Perhaps the median biker, which is something like a middle-aged person who enjoys putting around on back roads, seeing beautiful scenery, and stopping at small-town ice cream stands is cool, but I suspect agreement on this point will be elusive. Regardless, biking is the antithesis of the purely functional, as anyone who has traveled on two or three motorized wheels can testify. Whether a biking destination is important or uninteresting, when you’ve arrived there remains the trip, engaging by necessity, and frequently memorable.

Along the road.  The Verse By The Side of The Road – The Story of the Burma-Shave Jingles   Somehow, the authors managed to dredge up the entire collection of these roadside jingles, which drivers would see as a sequence of simple roadside signs – one sign per line.  My favorite:  In This Vale  / Of Toil And Sin / Your Head Grows Bald / But Not Your Chin.  / Burma-Shave.  Now that’s poetry.

End of the road.   Like classic movie fans everywhere, my wife and I were saddened by the passing of Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.  From any film host, one might expect to hear interesting tidbits about great films.  Osborne was a host who could find something interesting, and gracious, to say about any film.   And about any person, from Hugh Hefner to Carrie Fisher.  If that skillful geniality made him – like his classical topic – a slight anachronism, it also made him invariably pleasing to see on TV over the last twenty years.

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