Category Archives: Surreal

Surreal is 2016 Word of the Year

“Marked by the intense irrationality of a dream.”

Surreal is Word of the Year

Meriam-Webster names Surreal as Word of the Year.

Yes, 2016 was most certainly that. And that is why dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster has named “surreal” the word of the year.

Alert readers of this blog, and I know there are a few (well, actually, very few), will note that I am dedicated here to commenting on the surreal. Riffing on what is real and what is unreal is fairly easy. It either is or it isn’t. But capturing the surreal is more elusive – the intense irrationality of a dream. So elusive that I’ve been tongue-tied and writer-blocked – mouth shaped in an OMG and hands frozen above the keyboard. With the surreal election of donald trump, this year has devolved not into an irrational dream but more like a nightmare. And not one from which we will quickly wake, shower off the dried sweat of anxiety and get on with our day. No, this nightmare has only begun and I anticipate that surreal will most certainly become real and, in doing so, spiral into the unreal. Surreal indeed.


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Living Large in Munising

Between the 4th of July falling on a Wednesday, bracketed by 2 weekends, I knew it might be hard getting a room at times. That’s why I had packed prepared to camp or even sleep in my car if it came to that. Well, the campsites have been about as full as the motels but I’ve threaded the room-availability needle and haven’t had to sleep in my car. At least not yet, anyway.

By the time I got to Paradise (I just love writing that), I had some clarity of my trip.  So it seemed like a good time to make some reservations. I nailed Newberry on my first call and first choice which was good news as well as told me something about the appeal of Newberry on a Saturday night at the top of the tourist season.  But Munising was a different story.

I started calling optimistically my first choice. Traveling by myself, I prefer the independent owners who offer properties with a little personality. While sometimes that personality is mold and odor and really thin towels, more often than not it’s a comfortable room in a quirky building. The owner has trophies of his daughter’s cart racing championships.

So that’s where I started with my Munising investigation. By my 9th call I had worked my way through all the independents. Even the one called by one TripAdvisor reviewer, “full of parolees and convicts”. So now I looked at the handful of Econo-Comfort-DaysInn-Super8 motel options.  These are usually options with predictable but mediocre rooms and free waffle breakfasts with bad coffee. I reserved 2 nights at the Super 8.

My layover room would be a box inside a box. No lapping water against the shore, only the swoosh of passing cars, grind of trucks and roar of motorcycles. I checked in and was provided my card key without comment.  After all, about what should they comment? Nothing had prepared me for this room. I entered.

Only one bed. In the place where the second bed should have been was nothing less than a red heart-shaped Jacuzzi. I mean, I understand the heart-shaped Jacuzzi at that over-priced Inn in Galena. But I was at the Super 8 in the Upper Peninsula outside Munising, Michigan.

Yes, there’s traffic outside my open window. But you can’t hear it over the roar of the Jacuzzi jets.

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Suicide Is Not Painless for Chicago Metra and Old Navy

In what is most certainly surreal if not loaded with irony, the executive director of Metrarail threw himself in front of a Metra train not only killing himself but endangering passengers and disrupting rail services and schedules.  This remarkably self-centered and selfish executive, Phil Pagano, was being investigated for financial improprieties and was to appear before the Metra board today.  We suppose this answers the question of did he do it. Metrarail is networked throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. It is the Jack Kevorkian of commuter railroads.

While this train goon was being flattened by the  commuter train, just hours later the reality of domestic violence exposed itself at an Old Navy store in Chicago’s Loop. There a seriously out of control 20 something with easy access to a gun blew away his girlfriend and further exhibited his cowardice by deep sixing himself.

Not a happy day in the Windy City

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Buff by 60

It was my goal to be buff by 60.

What I don't look like.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. But I’m not without commitment.  One thing I committed to a number of years ago was simply staying in shape.  Well, not exactly just staying in shape but actually buffing up. I’ve always been reasonably athletic. And one summer not too long ago I became so enthusiastically involved in outdoor inline street skating that I slimmed down and lost about 2 inches off my waist.  But that was then.  I still take some amount of pride in that I’m still within shooting distance of my high school graduation weight. Unfortunately, however, that weight has redistributed itself around my body.

Lately I’ve become painfully aware that the effects of gravity were causing my chest to cave into my belly, sagging one and enlarging the other.  Moreover, chronic desk work and inconsistent activity was making me feel like the Tin Man, requiring lubrication of the joints to achieve flexibility. None of this was good and it wasn’t going to get better. So I made a resolution. Become buff by 60.

Technically, I’ve missed that date, having already blown past 60. And I am most assuredly not buff.  It’s true, when I remove my shirt on the beach, heads turn. But mostly away from the sight. But I’ve developed a nice positive addiction to my visits to my municipal recreation center health club. I am consistently (albeit slowly) adding weights, reps and distance to my routine. If I can just avoid injury and stay off the disabled list, I might get to buff yet.  Jack Lalanne, are you hearing my footsteps?

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