Milk & Wine

This could take all night

Better the last word

Than be right

Get off the fence!

Turn off those lights!

Pointless restitution

One last cigarette

Before execution

The bland led the bland

Let go my shootin’ hand!

You’re not from around here

You wouldn’t understand

No social climbers here

Only pickup trucks

In a soulless, dark hole

Waited for the knock

On the door

Longed for

Better days

Of milk and wine



Traveled, marched

Moved, stood still

Chilling, willing

Oftentimes thrilling

Patiently waited

Hurriedly left


Heavy handed

Payment demanded

Keeper of gladness, sadness

Purveyor of madness

Persistent, rampant

Enemy and friend


Marked chronological

Beginnings and ends

Wisely spent

Carelessly wasted

Slipped away

Never to return

Searching For Relevance


Hidden in obliqueness

Far as the eye could see


Different drummers

Too many Indian summers


Closed rooms

Cuspidors, chamber pots

It was too much

Too soon

Intelligence, ambivalence

Searched for relevance


Blue eyes

Color of winter skies

Broken hearts

Stripped for parts


Hidden in witticisms


Leathery hands

Tried to understand

Blue chambray shirts

Smelled of sweat and dirt

Rusted old pump

Rested down by the barn


Not happy

Not sad


In between

Words void of feeling

Words with no meaning

“Discount Dan” (Thanks For Stopping)

If a joke needs explanation, it’s a failure.  For this reason, I’m somewhat hesitant to issue a follow-up to my last post.  Maybe I could dismiss my response as OCD?  Whatever happens, here are my thoughts.

If something doesn’t capture attention in the first few seconds, we turn away.  Everybody does it.  If that’s what it takes, picture me as “Discount Dan,” gray-haired, chubby superhero, dressed in red, white, blue spandex and cape jumping off a “tall building” screaming to the camera.  “Discount Dan, fighting for the American way, slaying evil high prices.” “Just off the turnpike at exit 32.” “Lowest prices in the tri-state area!” “Nobody beats Discount Dan, I guarantee it!”

Meanwhile, think for a moment about your weird “Uncle Larry” or someone like him.  You know, the guy that drove a Mercedes 240-D, (diesel car), that clattered and smoked–sounded like a bucket of marbles.  He always bragged about how far he could go on a tank of fuel.  Most people dismissed him as just another flake.  Uncle Larry’s old 1981 240-D, (300-D, or whatever), has its fifth or sixth owner and is still faithfully transporting someone, somewhere.

My point goes beyond bashing Prius and hybrid owners–which was not my intention.  High fuel costs affect everyone–that’s a given.  Budgets are strained to the breaking point.  I’m suggesting we think about the future–long-term solutions to high fuel prices, clearer national energy policies, availability of more economical modes of personal transportation.   To cope with ever-increasing fuel expenses, all options should be on the table–including best-practice of others.

Finally, enviromental responsibility is something I take seriously.  We’re recycled into the ground when we die.  I know, that’s a negative example–one “Discount Dan” would never use.  When the grim reaper comes calling, and our personal vehicles go to the car crusher, how much is recyclable?  It’s something to think about on every drive past the local landfill.  I’m done, my cape needs to be put in the wash.  I’m about to choke from the smell of stale cigar smoke.


Moter vehicle fuel economyI’m an automotive realist–former automotive enthusiast.  Fuel prices continue to climb.    There’s little the average consumer can do about it.  The most important thing, is to be informed, and make wise car buying decisions.  Federally mandated mileage standards help–although it seems we can’t make up our minds how far we want to go.  We’ve gone from crises to crises, and yet, there are no long-term solutions.  The latest shortages, in the  northeast, due to Hurricane Sandy.

It goes back to President Nixon‘s fifty-five miles per hour national speed limit, which conserved fuel, but did nothing to make cars more efficient.  We smugly drive our hybrids, content, that somehow we are saving the planet from destruction.  Meanwhile, I wonder what will happen when these vehicles go to salvage.  Are lithium-ion battery packs recyclable?  Achieving forty and fifty miles per gallon in highway driving is now reality.  That’s a step in the right direction.  Will that be good enough in the future?  There are electric cars–like the Nissan Leaf.  Are these the best, environmentally responsible, choices?

Taken from the current issue of “Car & Driver” magazine, a four-year wish list:  Pick a fuel-economy standard and stick with it.  Allow carmakers the time to reconcile the two.  That whole “54.5 by 2025, but we’ll take another look at it in 2018” thing?  Not helping.  It’s just creating more 5,000 pound, $60,000 hybrids. 

Admit that nearly half the energy powering EV’s comes from coal.

Consider lowering the tax on diesel: With their abundant low-down torque and state-spanning range, diesel-engineered vehicles suit how we Americans drive.  Because of diesel’s more efficient combustion and a 15-percent energy-density advantage over gasoline, diesel-powered cars go 30 percent farther on a gallon and emit roughly 25 percent less CO2.  Evaluate lowering the federal excise tax on the stuff from 24.4 cents per gallon to 18.4 per gallon, which is the same amount levied on gasoline.     

Why is diesel fuel taxed at a higher rate, in this country, than gasoline?  In Europe, diesel is priced about the same as gasoline.  Diesel automobiles offer superior mileage and aren’t considered a viable option in this country.  The US market share is a mere three percent.  In Europe, where fuel prices are traditionally higher, diesel automobiles account for about sixty percent of the market.

Diesels, the redheaded stepchildren of the automotive world.  …Dirty, smelly, noisy, slow-moving.  Not worth the additional investment?  Modern clean diesels are a far cry from your father’s Oldsmobile.  Maybe some have bad memories of unreliable GM diesel V6’s and V8’s in the eighties.  American tourists are pleasantly surprised by their rented European diesel versions of Ford Fiestas and Ford Transit Connects.  Ford and General Motors offer diesel cars in Europe that aren’t available here.  It’s a marketing decision.  Auto manufacturers still aren’t convinced the American public is ready to embrace diesel technology.

But, this isn’t Europe, this is America, land of the “Red, White, and Blue.”  We should be thankful for “lower” fuel prices.  What about freedom of choice?  Our choices are limited to offerings from Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.  Comparing, gas vs. diesel, there’s more cost difference at the luxury end of the market.  Volkswagen offerings are more comparably priced–for example, the Jetta.  In my opinion, modern diesel automobiles yield mileage figures comparable to and beyond hybrids.  High fuel prices drag down our economic recovery.  Why not follow the lead of European counterparts in fuel conservation?  Allow motorists more choices.  It couldn’t hurt, and could only help.

LONG AGO (A Cryptic Fairy Tale)

Not long ago

In a faraway land

Black of night

Bright sunlight


Black and white

Wrong and right

Winter and spring

No in between


No other way

No shades of gray

No one knew, what to do

On gloomy, cloudy days


Fools are fools

Rules were rules

So it stayed the same

To this very day