Archive for August, 2011

The Grandfather Parallax

August 31, 2011

Yesterday would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday.

It’s kind of a sobering thought. Although he passed many years ago, he’s still a part of my life in many ways, which is surprising. It’s not that we weren’t close when he was alive, it’s that – on the face of it – we didn’t seem to have much of anything in common. He came of age during the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression; I came of age during the Reagan administration. He quit school after the sixth grade and grew up to be a truck driver and custodian, among other blue-collar jobs; I was the first in my family to graduate college, studying drama and film & TV – far artsier than I’m sure he was ever inclined. But now that I look back I regret the time we didn’t spend together and the things I never thought to ask. What must he have seen and done that I was clueless about? The history alone. I know he served in World War II, but I’ve no idea if he saw any overseas action. He lived through the Civil Rights movement in the South and although he was a product of his time he adapted better than many I knew. If I could go back and sit down with him I’d certainly, thanks to years of hindsight, have plenty to discuss.  I think the most interesting thing about this man whom I shared blood but seeming little else is that we are alike in more ways than I ever realized when he was around.  We have the same sense of humor.  That’s something I came to realize only a few years ago.  Being of disparate backgrounds and generations, we expressed it quite differently but there are things I recall where I go, “Yeah. That’s me.” Which is pretty cool.  I also got his hairline, of which I’m less than appreciative, and a few of his foibles as well.  Not to suggest I’m bitter about that – just aware.  It’s a connection to the past and we are all connected to our past in some way. Being aware of it just makes it more poignant, I guess.

My grandfather wasn’t a perfect man. He made more mistakes than many, less than some. But he seemed genuinely contrite about them, even if he never spoke of it. Knowing him primarily in the later, declining years of his life, I was presented with a man who perhaps was not at his best, but a man who had learned from his past and chose to be a better man, even if he didn’t always succeed.  In the end, he was a father figure to me, one of the few, and for that I am grateful.  And for all his flaws, I look back at his life and know there wasn’t a time when I didn’t feel that he cared for me or that he was proud of me.  That’s what I’ll remember most about him.

You Can Call Me AI

August 30, 2011

Still not 100% certain what’s going on here but this is what you get when two bots have a conversation.

Look Back In Anguish

August 29, 2011

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I’m really regretting cashing in all my gold to buy stock in Geocities when it went public back in 1998.  Turns out voting for Perot and not getting my ex-wife to sign a pre-nup were not my biggest mistakes of that decade.

If Wishes Were Hippies

August 28, 2011

There was a time when everything was groovy and people thought it was a nifty idea to encourage kids to grow up to be redwood trees. Many people were high and most of them were full of themselves and lava lamps and love beads and waterbeds were used without irony in this magical time. This was the 1970s, an era that gave us the SuperFriends and H. R. Pufnstuf and Hong Kong Phooey and stream of consciousness fare like this – Make A Wish. Seriously, this was a show. And it was wonderful!


August 27, 2011

Five Most Embarrassing Charges on My Credit Card

Disposable Enemas, value size

American Idol 2011 Tour Tickets, floor seats

Marie Claire subscription, renewal

Hello Kitty Navy Blue Drawstring Shorts

Extended Warranty, Walkman


Five Made Up Distance Measurements

A fawahl (Olde English) – approximately 14 inches

A barklong – length one dog can paddle in pool in 10 seconds

A blurgum (used in sanitation) – depth of port-a-john filth

A nrewth (D&D term) – distance a drunken ogre can throw an elf

An op – one-third of a croop, the average stride of one zombie


Five Meat-Related Phobias

Fear deviled ham is actually possessed

Fear of inadequacy involving salami

Fear of mispronouncing the word gyro

Fear the gelatinous glaze on SPAM is toxic

Fear that olive loaf is staring at you


Five Personal Scars (And Their Origins)

Left knee; cut on buried glass when I fell in hole I dug in 2nd grade

Appendectomy scar; appendectomy, high school

Right thumb base; Calliope nail trim, 2002

Left thigh; guy stabbed me with protractor between classes, 8th grade

Right Foot; where I tried to kick the guy who stabbed me with protractor between classes, 8th grade, missed and hit edge of open locker


Five Beliefs Borne of Ignorance

Climate change isn’t real

The moon landing was faked

Soccer is exciting

Your ex really wants to still be friends

Everybody Loves Raymond


Sparky MacMillan is switchin’ sides like a Gemini.


August 26, 2011

OK Go and the Muppets? What’s not to like.

The Only Elvis That Matters

August 25, 2011

Had front row tickets for Elvis Costello in the mid-90s but gave them away for some inexplicable reason. I’ve regretted it ever since.

But today it’s his birthday so I gotta celebrate!

No Play Rule

August 24, 2011

Just read that China has banned songs by artists like Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys. While I’m not a fan of censorship myself, if they throw in Nickelback, Bieber and Train I just might move there.

If It Looks Like A Tired Internet Meme…

August 23, 2011

A great ad, really, but does it make you want to go buy Duck tape … or just wonder how the dumpy Tron guy got the hot wife?

Blow Out the Candles!

August 22, 2011

The first birthday was brought over from Europe in 1860. It was caught in the wild and transported via steamer to New York City where it was put on display for throngs of curiosity-seekers. After decades of captivity, it broke free during a citywide power failure and later bred with feral anniversaries. The modern-day birthdays are all the progeny of this original European escapee.