Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

I’m in Ponoka, which looks the way you’d imagine it does, and I’m in a hotel that’s across from a cattle auction. Rural Alberta, ladies and gentleman! I’ve been here before, most recently on my way back to Calgary from the Leafs/Oilers game in November, but I’ve never actually stayed here. There’s a restaurant nearby called the Blue Ox; the Minnesotan in me feels obligated to eat there.

I’m parked next to a pick-up truck which, when I arrived at the hotel, had an old man sleeping in the cab. As I was unloading he stirred, and we had the following exchange:

Him: “You’re not Richard by any chance, are you?”

Me: “Uh…not today, no.”

Him: “I’m supposed to meet a guy named Richard.”

Me: “Uh…well, I have an uncle Richard.”

And so we parted, while I contemplated what sequence of events could possibly culminate with two men meeting in the Ponoka Super 8 parking lot. But ANYWAY, today was also drop day for the new Bob Dylan album, Together Through Life. Dylan’s been on a major roll of late: Modern Times was a masterpiece, yet nonetheless paled in comparison to last year’s Tell Tale Signs. Together Through Life, meanwhile, dares to wonder what Dylan would sound like with the Preservation Hall Jazz Society as his backing band. It’s promising so far.

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