Roadhouse blues (and rock, country and hoops)

February 27, 2013 

I drive, therefore I am.

Drive time is think time. Over the last two weeks, I thought a lot because I drove a lot. To Gray and back four times. To Illinois and back. To Athens and back.

Equipped with a full tank of gas and satellite radio, I thought about some of the country’s most significant problems while appreciating its most mundane attributes.

Where have all the hippies gone?

Thanks to satellite radio, I heard more than a few classic counter-culture songs from the 60s and 70s. Buffalo Springfield. Moody Blues. Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Their lyrics stirred the pot of anti-establishment thought, decrying “lies by the people for the people who are only destroying themselves.” Neil Young wrote about “four dead in Ohio” after the 1970 Kent State shootings. Is anyone recording songs about predator drones?

Left-leaning Baby Boomers questioned authority then. Now they run the country. Sellouts.

Winter can be beautiful

Dormant foliage creates better sight lines along Southern interstates. There’s not the sense of claustrophobia so pervasive in summer.

I saw frozen rivulets of water formed as icicles in the carved lanes of the Smoky Mountains. I saw barren fields stretching to a short horizon under heavy midwestern clouds.

Winter can be a beast

I drove through falling ice at the eastern edge of winter storm “Q.” Fortunately, I stayed in front of the front for most of the trip back to Georgia.

Music seems less the shared experience

Ironic, given our modern-day ability to share mp3 files via social media. But people pick and choose tunes so as to create a personal sound track for their lives.

It’s nice to have all A-sides playing on your Beats, but listening to a Jimmy Hendrix album with friends is, well, an experience.

Rutland basketball

I jumped on the bandwagon of the Rutland boys basketball team (satellite radio also offers college basketball broadcasts) after it posted back-to-back 100-point games in December. I also saw the Hurricanes drop 40 on Northside in the fourth quarter of a game that same month.

But it wasn’t until returning from Rutland’s second-round playoff win over Monroe that I figured out why the team appeals to me so much. It just does so much right. The guards penetrate and make plays for the forwards. The Hurricanes rebound and they defend. They host Statesboro (27-3) tonight in a game worth seeing.

Bed by the window

I can’t claim to be a fan of bluegrass, but listening seemed appropriate while motoring through Kentucky. James King’s “Bed by the Window,” set in a long-term care facility, is the saddest song ever.

The primary building block to Obamacare -- the law of large numbers -- is sound, but it can’t reduce cost on its own. That won’t happen unless benefits are restricted.

The government can dictate prices, but that’s an arbitrary and dangerous solution. The market works more efficiently as a price gauge so long as health care beneficiaries are diligent consumers.

Give them a stake in the process by eliminating employer-, union-, government-provided insurance plans. Put cash in consumers’ pockets and let them pick plans that best fit their needs. They’ll demand less in services. Prices will fall.

Scheduling

The rain is ridiculous, although it did wash the Illinois road salt off my car. I complain about scheduling issues when trying to assemble games for the Sacred Heart basketball program, but it’s as nothing compared with the mayhem with which coaches of spring sports contend. With respects to the Fab Four, I do mind.

Contact Chris Deighan at cdeighan@cox.net.

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