I step into the shower this morning, turn the hot water all the way on, open the cold ever so slightly and move the knob incrementally back and forth with little success. That perfect temperature is frustratingly elusive. But I keep pursuing “the green light, the orgiastic future” by turning the knob left and right and right and left until… I hear my beautiful wife in the kitchen, smell the chorizo cooking with eggs and feel gratitude wash over me as I realize I’m no longer turning the knob and the water is just right.
Later I head over to Livengood Feeds to pick up 5 bails of coastal. I walk into the store for the purchase, then drive over to the trailer where they keep the hay. The employees are always friendly but today even more so. I start to feel as though I’m on a float in the Chisholm Trail Roundup Parade, waving from my elbow and smiling with my eyes. I finally look down, wondering if someone slipped a CTR Queen sash around my shoulder. But no, just an old snap shirt and worn out Vans.
Before long I’m downtown picking up Jana Horn’s LP at Bluebonnet Records. The gentleman behind the counter is kind enough to play Jana’s album in the store, while I shop a bit. He seems genuinely interested in what I have to say about music, even though he’s the professional musician, not me. It’s a nice feeling.
“Passengers” (1968) by Robert Silverberg is disturbing. Both in content and in what is left out. Questions bludgeon until the futility of solving is accepted. Who/What are these Passengers? From where do they come? Why are they performing these atrocities? Only the last question can be approached. Passengers commit horrors because they can. They have the ability to wreck the lives of others for their own pleasure but even though you learn of this wreckage, nothing of the Passengers themselves is shared. I tend to imagine they are rogue angels rather than aliens, demi-gods rather than time travelers but nothing is revealed. This story is tightly drawn, even loving until, abruptly, characters and reader alike are left with the effects of manipulation and impotence. Those violations paired with the lingering ambiguousness of the oppressors make “Passengers” a powerful and lasting force for evil. Score: 936
In December 2020, I picked up a six pack of Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Magic Brine Pickle Hard Seltzer. It’s made with all natural pickle brine from Lockhart’s own Willigan’s Island and is 90 calories per can with an ABV of 4.6%. I took a whiff (as I always do) before tasting and the aroma is full of pickleness. I wondered if the drink would be overpowering but no, it went smoothly down while keeping that great Magic Brine flavor intact.