Ramblings of the Mule, Volume 3

Welcome to Ramblings of the Mule, Volume 3. This edition is heavy on thoughts about the recent solar eclipse, which I was lucky enough to experience in full totality here in Nashville. It was a seminal event in my life, one I’ll never forget. Additional topics include boxing, Rhys Hoskins, homemade submarines, the confederate flag, and the best bourbon I’ve ever had.

  1. The eclipse. I’m lucky to live in a city that fell directly in the path of totality. Being a bit of a science nerd, this was an event I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. And it did not disappoint. In fact, it was far greater than I expected. I’m not sure what I really did expect, but what I got was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
  2. The word “awesome” has become commonplace in most of our lives, but we really overuse it. Very few things actually warrant use of the word. The eclipse was one of them. It was simply awesome.
  3. People say science is cold and unfeeling, but if you experienced the eclipse, then you know that’s wrong. The eclipse provided a moment of true spirituality—one that no religion can possibly come close to duplicating.
  4. I’ve heard a few people complain about being tired of hearing everyone talking about the eclipse. Obviously these people did not actually experience the eclipse in full totality. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to stop talking about it, like those of us that did. As I said before, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life—easily in my top three.
  5. If you did experience the totality and weren’t amazed, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. But there is something seriously wrong with you.
  6. Some people in the path of totality, probably mostly here in the South, decided to celebrate the eclipse by setting off fireworks, including during the brief period of totality. Look, I like setting off explosions as much as the next guy, but setting them off during an event like the eclipse is just moronic. What’s the point? Are you going to watch the fireworks instead of the eclipse? Some of my friends’ eclipse experience was ruined because their neighbors set off fireworks during totality. I can’t imagine how pissed I would have been had that happened to me. Violence would have ensued.
  7. I was lucky to find a perfect spot to view the eclipse, in a small park down the street from my house. It wasn’t too crowded, there was plenty of room to relax, and the clouds stayed away during the two minutes of totality (barely).
  8. I’ve been wondering what must have gone through the heads of our ancestors who witnessed an eclipse without the help of science to explain what it was. I could understand it being either celebrated or feared. It’s no wonder that many societies worshipped the sun and the moon. It’s easy to see how it (and other natural wonders) led them to believe in a god or gods. Thank goodness we have science to explain these things now. Too bad most people don’t seem to care and still stick to our old fears.
  9. The next solar eclipse will be on April 8, 2024. I’m already making plans to be sure I’m in the path of totality.
  10. Other than the eclipse, the other top three moments in my life? The Phillies winning the World Series in 2008, and the moment I got off a train in Salzburg, Switzerland, and experienced the beauty of the Swiss Alps.
  11. Strange homicide case out of Denmark: A local inventor builds a homemade submarine—invites a journalist on board—the homemade submarine sinks (shocker)—journalist goes missing—inventor claims the journalist died at sea (after originally claiming he had dropped her off after visiting the sub)—a torso, minus its arms, legs, and head, is found by a bicyclist and later identified as the missing journalist—the torso was found with metal intended to weigh it down—police believe the submarine was deliberately sunk. I think there’s a bad made-for-TV movie in there somewhere.
  12. “Homemade submarine” is not a phrase you expect to hear very often. Or ever.
  13. It’s taken me 14 years to acclimate to the heat of a Tennessee summer, but I’ve finally learned to tolerate it. I’ve always preferred cold weather, but for the first time in my life, I’m not ready for summer to end.
  14. The first time I drove past Robert E. Lee Drive after moving to Nashville, I was stunned. I turned around to look at the street sign as I drove past to make sure I saw it correctly, nearly driving off the road. When the very next street was named Jefferson Davis Drive, I nearly had a stroke. Why in the world were there streets named after traitors to this country? I was furious. Last time I checked, there aren’t any streets named after Benedict Arnold in the North. I was a neophyte to the South at that point in time, but my outrage was justified. And still is.
  15. Regardless of whether or not the confederate flag is a racist symbol (it is—learn history), it is the most deeply unpatriotic and un-American symbol in the world. It’s the symbol of traitors to the United States of America.
  16. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batch 12 (136 proof) is probably the best bourbon I’ve ever had. Huge flavor with a wonderful mouthfeel. Although I generally prefer single malt scotch over bourbon, this particular batch of ECBP is as delicious as just about any scotch I’ve ever had.
  17. Being a lover of both science and whisky, it’s exciting to see a scientific study about the effects of adding water to whisky. I’ve always endorsed the idea of water bringing out the flavors in a high ABV dram, and now I have science to back me up.
  18. This has been an entirely forgettable season of baseball for my beloved Phillies. At least it was forgettable until a few weeks ago, when Rhys Hoskins made his Major League debut. Since then, the kid they call “Rhys Lightning” has hit 11 home runs in his first 18 games, a Major League record. No other player had previously hit 10 home runs in his first 20 games. Hoskins did it in only 17. And on top of that, today he started a triple play from left field (which is not even his natural position—he played 1B in the minors). They’re still the worst team in baseball, but Hoskins has made Phillies games a must watch event. The kid’s going to be a star.
  19. When boxing went to a pay-per-view model for big fights, they ruined the sport. I love boxing, but there’s no way I’m going to pay $90 to watch a marquee fight like last night’s Mayweather vs. McGregor bout. Seriously, that’s what it would have cost you to watch it at home. $90. Boxing used to be the second biggest sport in the US behind baseball. Now it’s an afterthought. The top boxers and promoters might make more money using the current model (although I’m not convinced that’s actually true), but the sport is now irrelevant to most Americans.
  20. Although I love boxing, I find MMA/UFC to be boring as hell and mostly unwatchable. I just don’t get it.
  21. We Americans tend to take pride in our military, understandably so. We like to think we have the best military in the world, and we very well may. And that’s why prohibiting a specific group of people from serving in the military is so strange to me. Why would we ever turn an entire group away from serving our country? Doing so makes us weak. This is what happens when ideology and religion trump common sense and rational thought.
  22. I wonder if I’m going to get sued for putting a Hitler mustache on Dilbert.
  23. There are a lot of good restaurants in Nashville, but I’d trade them all for one good (fresh) seafood place.

Eclipse 2017

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