May 2007 issue
Has anybody else noticed the Jekyll and Hyde personalities of drivers on the road today?
There’s only a fine line between the courtesy of the “hey-were-all-in-this-together” guy in the approaching lane, who flashes his lights to let you know there's a speed trap ahead, and the road warriors who close up ranks and seal off the lane next to you as soon as you put on your directional signals!
If you obey the DOT’s official recommendation and stay one car length behind the guy in front of you for every 10 MPH of speed you are traveling, what’s going to happen? Everybody behind you will whip around and jump in front of you, slowing you down to maintain your distance. Eventually, you will be creeping along at half the speed limit with traffic weaving around you in a flurry of beeps and flipped fingers!
We all recognize the dangers of certain drivers: the speeder, the drunk, the NASCAR wannabe… But one of the most dangerous, in my book, is the timid, uncertain person who is afraid to do anything but roll in a straight line, precisely at the speed limit (or below!) You can count on the speeder to blast past anyone poking along near the speed limit. You expect the NASCAR wannabe to tailgate, corner hard, and cut you off getting back in the lane.
But the scaredy-cat is just as dangerous as the drunk because they are both unpredictable. Only the drunk has an excuse. A timid driver is the most dangerous at 4-way-stop intersection, breaking the easy rhythm of alternating rights of way set by more confidant drivers. Pretty soon, everyone is nervously wondering who gets to go next, as the overly cautious driver sits there trying to work up enough courage to creep into the intersection!
Then there’s the driver zipping down a 4-lane thoroughfare at rush hour with a newspaper or pocket novel propped up on the steering wheel! Yikes!! You wonder if there’s a cell phone in use behind that paper, too. Or the super-cool kid with the radio volume set to “arc weld”, flexing the sheet metal of his car with every bass beat. The dude will never hear the air-horn of that semi with brake failure coming up behind him!
So I guess what I’m saying is…. If you see me on the road, get the hell out of my way!
Sting 'N Garp
Looks like I've got a fairly regular gig doing promos for MGM Grand's events in Las Vegas. I'm voicing promos for Robin William's stand-up concert in a few days from now, and the return engagement of The Police in the Grand Garden Arena. I just wish I lived closer so I could try to schmooze some comp tickets!
I've been working for one of the leaders in the televangelism market for several years now, first as "INSP", a modest program of spiritual support on cable, to what is now called "The Inspiration Networks".
Many years ago, when Jim and Tammy
For years people had been jokingly referring to me as "The Voice of God". The Inspiration people meant it literally! My voice delivered the biblical text of God's word in dozens of productions. I was nervous, at first, wondering what would happen if the "original" didn't like my interpretation of His sound, but I haven't smelled any brimstone or had any close lightning hits yet!
Did you enjoy that nice mild stretch we had late in the winter? Well, we paid for it this Spring! That early warmth triggered the plants to start germinating, and the result amounted to a pollen count that went off the charts. Atlanta recorded 41 times more pollen in the air this year than previous records!
Thanks to all!!
The end of April and early May was a tough time for the Van Ripers! Irene gave us a scare when a growth was discovered! We opted for our old, familiar doctor back in Charlotte, NC. The growth, while benign, was pre-cancerous, prompting an immediate hysterectomy. Complications kept her in the hospital for more than a week, and it took days for her to gain enough strength for the ride back to PA.
There were other simultaneous complications as well, including flooding in our PA house (an incorrectly installed sump pump in the basement) causing thousands of dollars in damage, and the engine blew on our car which had just run out of warranty, but not out of payment coupons!
But good friends, family, well wishers, and the kindness of strangers, especially the staff at Carolina Medical Center's University complex, made it all bearable. We can always buy more stuff, but good health is our most important possession. Irene is now recovering her strength and feeling better with every day. Thanks to every one of you!