Christmas shopping

Went down to Fargo to see what I could see. The hoards had descended upon West Acres, and there I was, lost amongst them. For some reason, the experience felt like some disaster out of the Old Testament, thus the King James language.

As I walked down the mall, I heard live guitar music. I was shocked to see my friend from high school, Darren Skanson with his cellist Kevin playing his music and selling CDs. Darren centers his growing music empire out of Denver, so seeing him in Fargo was novel.

Eventually, we went out for a bite to eat and caught up. We haven't had a good debate about music for several years, so when I slipped in a comment to the effect that Beethoven is a demogogic hack, Darren lit up in old Ludwig's defense, and we were off and running.

Beethoven is, of course, a hack, but he had his moments of brilliance. Such moments are simply too infrequent, and to get to them you have to sit through so much chawing and sawing and just plain noise. Darren thinks the brilliant moments are worth the wait; I don't.

Darren responded by assaulting Mozart. I think he believes Mozart is too dippy, too predictable. I agreed that I can't listen to Mozart much more than five days per year.

We're getting old. The argument was civil and quickly reached agreement.

We both agreed that Haydn should have been a ditch-digger or something to save us all the trouble of listening to his 100 symphonies, or however many he wrote.

We agree on the genius of Bach. However, Darren plays professionally for audiences and he says if you get into anything real complicated by Bach, the people turn off. Unfortunate! Darren's cellist plays the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Bach--you can't be a cellist unless you take a crack at those masterpieces.

Although high school and college seem like yesterday, we did take some time to catch up on some sad news concerning old schoolmates. Age is setting in, even at 40 yrs. old.

SHOPPING was the usual stree. Now they have taken to adding dollars to your purchase for undeniably good causes like Make A Wish Foundation. Or, you can round up to the nearest dollar and give the change to some charity. Just out of sheer crankiness, I refused. I also refused two "frequent customer" cards from stores I know I will never enter again if I can help it.

Just ring me up and let me go.

And, how much tapping on a computer can possibly be required by a single purchase of a single item? Five-hundred taps per purchase? I think it is approaching that. Man, would it be fun to see a good old cha-ching cash register sometime instead of some teenie-bopper staring into a computer screen as if she's never seen one before, and then tap, tap, tapping for at least five minutes before finally generating about six receipts, the top one which I am to sign, and the bottom five which are for my records.

My records? What records? Am I supposed to be keeping records?