Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My Horoscope

I don't believe in them ... I just read them out of amusement.  Still...
 
Today is a reality check for you as you look at your journey ahead and weigh it against what you already know. Your own feelings may have contributed to illusions within your psyche that are now manifesting out there in the real world. Still, it's difficult to distinguish fact from fancy. Don't let your own fears and insecurities paint clouds in an otherwise clear sky.

Solsbury Hill

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
(I) just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
"Son," he said "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho' my life was in a rut
"Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" he said "Grab your things
I've come to take you home."
(Back home.)

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
"Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
they've come to take me home."
 
-- Peter Gabriel

That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)

At that time of the night
When streetlights throw crosses through window frames
Paranoia roams where the shadows reign
Oh, at that time of the night

At that time of the night
Your senses tangled in some new perfume
Criticism triggers of a loaded room
Oh, at that time of the night

So if you ask me
How do I feel inside
I could honestly tell you
We've been taken on a very long ride
And if my owners let me have some free time some day
With all good intention I would probably run away
Clutching the short straw

At that time of the night
When questions rally in an open mind
Summon all your answers with an ice cubes chime
At that time of the night

At that time of the night
Pretend you're off the hook with the telephone
Your confidence wounded in a free fire zone
Oh, at that time of the night

So if you ask me
Where do I go from here
My next destination even isn't really that clear
So if you join me and get on your knees and prey
I'll show you salvation
We'll take the alternative way
Clutching the short straw

If I had enough money I'd buy a round for that boy over there
A companion in my madness in the mirror the one with the silvery hair
And if some kind soul could please pick up my tab
And while they're at it if they could pick up my broken heart.
 
-- Derek Dick

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday Talkback, or Not

Here is where I usually would go over the Monday Moaning from the Plain Dealer and talk back to it -- offering commentary, advice and ridicule to those anonymous moaners who phone in to complain about the mundane.

But not this week. The PD apparently never uploaded the feature to cleveland.com -- so no talkback this week.

I did read the moans in the print edition of the Monday paper. I know they ran the feature. I was all read to agree with one of them, about people who cruise in the passing lane on the highway.

But I didn't keep my paper. I always just copy the moans from cleveland.com, and then I link to it. But it isn't there this week. And even if I had kept my paper, frankly, I wouldn't want to have to retype all of those petty grievances.

So, no moaning or talkback this week, except to write:

What is it about the PD this week? They offer up this forum for foolishness called Monday Moaning, but they fail to put it online at cleveland.com. Is this going to be a print-edition only feature now? What about people who are allergic to newsprint? I think it is Cheney's fault.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

To Spite My Face

I was shaving this morning, and I slipped.  I don't cut myself shaving very often, but get this: I was careless, went too high with the razor while shaving above my upper lip, and I caught the outside bottom of my nostril.  It bled for almost a half an hour.  It still hurts too.  And it looks bad. 

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Unfortunate" Ads by Google

Ads by Goooooogle scans the text of your blog and then posts an ad that seems on point ... with mixed results.

Screenshot from Chasing Paper says it all.


And now a word from my sponsor:



Thanks, Mr. B!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

?

so...what's it all about, anyway?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Beer O'clock

After working very late on Tuesday, I blew out of work on Wednesday just a little after 6.  I was more than ready for a little liquid refreshment.  And MJ was in the mood for a steak wrap.  Together this means only one thing: The Winking Lizard.

Being on the World Tour, I knocked off two more, both Belgians.  Well, one was a real Belgian -- a Bangelijk Blonde. The other was a Dogfishhead Raison D'etre, a Belgian style of beer made in Delaware.  I liked the Bangelijk better but it may not be fair to compare them.  And the Bangelijk came in a stubby bottle shaped similarly to Duvel.  The Dogfishhead was certainly good as well and went down easy, even with 8% alcohol. 

MJ had her steak wrap.  I went with a spinach salad.  Mmmmm.  The Lizard's spinach salad puts Applebee's to shame.

We were just paying the bill when Kristen called.  She and Ray were also having dinner nearby, so we met them for a drink on the way home.  I had the Boddington's.  Two of them.  Marquise had the original Atlantan refreshment, Diet Coke.  Ray was celebrating the news from his cardiologist that he need not live like a monk to be good to his heart.  And that was reason to celebrate as well. 



Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Waterboarding

Andrew Sullivan writes again about waterboarding.  I agree that it is torture.  And Sullivan located a transcript from a post-WWII trial of Japanese Interrogators who did the same thing to American captives. 

Money quote:

It's worth placing in the public record that the Bush administration's torture policies are, in this specific respect, the same as the Japanese dictatorship's in World War II. ...  How far we've sunk. And it took a Christian president, supported by Christian voters, to take us there.


good work is the key to good fortune...

I just choked on my fortune cookie.  Is that bad luck?  Granted, I didn't die.

My fortune was:

"Love is a present that can be given every single day you live."

I guess I live to love another day, this time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

More talkback to the anonymous moaners at Monday Moaning.

"Last month my checking account earned 63 cents interest, and the bank sent me a birthday postcard. My birthday wish is that the bank would add four cents a month to my account and forget the card." - Cleveland

They sent you a postcard for your birthday? Wow, how sincere. I get a birthday postcard from my insurance agent every year, but it entitles me to a free pizza, so I don't complain! But I hear you -- you'd rather have 4 more cents than get birthday greetings from the bank. Scrooge.


"Why is it, after a good movie on TV, they split the screen so you can't read who played in it?" - No city

Because they want to let you know what's coming up next -- isn't that thoughtful of them??? And those ads they run, it is all a service meant to help you make informed choices as a consumer. Keep on bleating, sheep.


"I ride the RTA. People are con stantly on their cell phones waiting for, and then getting on, the bus and are very loud and annoying. Also, there are several women who bring a lot of 'stuff' with them on a trolley, like they are going on a trip and take up two seats. And then they get on their cell phone and loudly say, "I can't hear, the bus is way too loud!" - No city

Your problem is summed up in the first sentence: "I ride the RTA." The rest of your moan is just further proof that, despite slightly more noble goals, that RTA just shuffles undesirables from one part of town to another. And Kristen...the RTA shufffles her around too. Yay, RTA.


"What's up with the radio stations? If a singer dies, the music seems to die with them. Where, oh, where is Barry White and Luther Vandros' music? Please bring them back." - Parma Heights

Uh, when the singer dies, the music DOES die with them. Didn't you ever listen to the lyrics to "American Pie"?


But sometimes dying is a great career move. Just ask Jimi Hendrix. Well, I guess you can't really ask him.


Isaac Hayes is dead to me, thanks to his scientology nonsense and his so-called stand against intolerance by quitting South Park. Chef who?

But for the most part, radio is a dead format. It is a wasteland of programming intended to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And Barry White fans from Parma Heights (who knew?) just don't fit the business model. Sorry!


"Come on all you Rockers fans. Get yourselves down to the Q for the NCAA women's regional tourney. These are possibly future WBNA stars. See you there." - Cleveland

Rockers fans? What Rockers fans? Does Cleveland still have a WNBA team? Uh, didn't they fold? Yes, they did.


"The Seven Hills community center can be a great place for the public. Unfortunately, few people actually stop at the stop signs, including the police." - Seven Hills

Here we go, defaming the police again. For all this talk about illegal wire-tapping, this hasn't stopped people from ratting on the police. "Hi, we're here on behalf of the Seven Hills Police Department, and we are ready to begin your reeducation so you will be goodthinkful in the future."

But really, the community center would be a great place, except for a few morons in the parking lot? I guess it can't be that good.

"In response to the smoker who thinks the world has taken away their ashtrays and therefore they have a right to be pigs: Smokers think they have a right to burn fabrics, dump their ashes, leave butts anywhere, stink up your clothes, blow smoke in your face and expect you to be understanding. The meek have finally spoken in the form of legislation. I am tired of your dirty habit and selfish, pretentious claim to having a right to smoke. Smoke all you want, just don't exhale."

WAAAAAAAAAAH you hate smoke so much you won't even eat smoked salmon. You don't exactly sound meek to me. If only people still got this worked up about al-Qaida. Somebody needs to report that Osama is not only sitting in a cave, but that he is smoking inside of it! And that he is contemplating marrying a man. That might get someone's attention.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

All that is Old and New Again -- the Northcoast Conference

Jamie won't be there -- but he's got a good reason.  And Pirooz has family business to take care of overseas.  Brian McWha will be the acting SG in his absence.
 
But not only am I going to be back after some time away, but MJ is too.  Imagine that!
 
And while it won't be the same without Pirooz, I am certain there will be punch. 
 

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm wearing green and I am sitting here at work. Too much to do to be out running in the streets drunk at sunrise.

I remember my first St. Patrick's Day parade here in Cleveland. I began drinking around 11:00am. I "crashed" the parade, and ended up marching with the Irish Cultural Society or some other such group. After a stop at Becky's over on East 18th, I then ended up at some house party over at Payne, playing quarters with people I did not know -- at least at that time (one of them is now an attorney here in town, and James knows him well.)

But today, I'm working. Though I may be meeting Haves for a beer around 430... We are thinking trying the new Scorchers at Reserve Square. It is supposedly just opening today. We'll see. I don't have the time or the inclination to get sloppy drunk. Though a little corned beef and a pint would be nice. I'll have a better idea of what's going on this afternoon.

Anyone else have any plans or ideas for what to do with this day?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Christianist Socialism

Andrew Sullivan hits the nail on the head, once again.  When that tax hike comes, it is the legacy of George W. Bush.  Who knew that "Compassionate Conservatism" wasn't conservatism at all, but was big government spending consistent with radical-fundamentalist Christian values coupled with spending that rewards his largest corporate donors?  I think "Christianist Socialism" is an appropriate and descriptive term to describe Bush's collection of policies, I just wish it would roll of the tongue better.  (And I thought "Islamofascism" was a mouthful.)

Licensed to Kill


LeCharles Bentley, at Saturday's press conference announcing his signing to the Browns.

I give the Browns an "A" so far on the free agency signings -- but I'm looking to see them sign one more guy ... either Willie McGinest or Kimba Edwards.

Chef Quits

 
Turns out Isaac Hayes is a Scientologist.  And making fun of Christians and Mormons and Jesus and Christmas and Jews etc etc was all ok -- till Parker and Stone took aim at Scientology.   

Tuesday Talkback

This week's Monday Morning was both wee and twee, but I still talkback to them.

"People who mumble or speak quickly into answering machines. Please speak slowly and distinctly and repeat name and phone number at least once." - Lorain

And when they do that, next week you will moan about people who leave long messages and don't get to the point -- and who repeat themselves.

"Politicians are selling out America." - Cleveland

You're kidding, right? You came up with this by yourself? Damn. I can't believe this unoriginal observation merited the phone call to moan about it, or the effort to print it, because it doesn't deserve any further effort to talk back to to it.

"In response to the Motor Mouth Award for Monday Moaning. Smokers aren't pigs. It's just that smoking nazis . . . have taken away all the ashtrays for us to use." - Hinckley

First, an explanation ... a few weeks ago, the PD started designating the top moan as the "Motor Mouth Award." It doesn't make much sense, and I don't even both copying that over when I do the Talkback. It is just part of the foolishness the PD implemented when it made the Monday paper smaller -- it merged the Metro section into the main section of the Monday edition -- on the stated grounds that there just isn't that much local news to report after the weekend (I am not making that up.)

Anyway, I have no pity for this mofo. What, you have no ashtray in your car? As for everywhere else, perhaps you should take that as a hint. The absence of an ashtray is not a license to litter.

"Why does it always take the death of someone before they get tough on drunk drivers? If this was someone from a judge's family who was killed, maybe then they would get tough on them." - Aurora

Because killing someone merits a tougher punishment, duh. As for your second statement, it doesn't even make sense after your first statement. If it "always take[s] the death of SOMEONE," then it doesn't matter whether it was a relative of a judge.

"South Pointe Hospital, Building B on Warrensville Center Road. They do not care about the handicapped. They took away valet parking. Also, the seats in the waiting area are too small for large people, making them stand." - Bedford

Wait -- any place that does not offer valet parking does not care about the handicapped? When did valet parking become the standard for servicing the handicapped? I am reminded of that line from the movie Clueless, why do you have to learn how to parallel park when everywhere you go, there is valet parking? But everywhere I go, there are huge parking spaces right up front for the disabled -- and while I certainly do not begrudge that -- you are moaning about valet parking? And how about these small seats. What, do you want La-Z-Boy recliners in all the waiting rooms? Maybe you'd like some ashtrays, so you don't have to get your fat ass up and waddle out the door before you smoke? How about a bed pan as well -- you know hospitals have them! Maybe what they need in the waiting room is a set of treadmills. Because maybe the reason you are so large is because you cannot even ambulate from the closest parking spot in the lot without whining.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Crapplebee's

Saturday night after MJ got home from work, she suggested a trip to Applebee's.  I am not a fan of Applebee's, but I thought we could give it a shot. 

We went to the Applebee's at University Square.  You know, that giant Borg cube they built a couple of years ago that somehow contains a Kaufman's, a Target, a Topps, a TJMaxx and More, a Pier One and a JoAnn Fabrics.  We park the car and go inside.

We were seated immediately.  Bad sign.  At 7:25 on a Saturday night, there ought to be a wait for a table.   My side of the booth had a slice on the seat cushion and the stuffing was falling out.  Another bad sign.

We fiddle around with the menus.  I took a long time with the menu because, frankly, there is nothing in particular at Applebee's that appeals to me.  But I finally select the spinach salad and close the menu.  That's when I realize, we've been seated for almost 10 minutes, and no one has even taken our beverage order. 

MJ and I looked at each other.  We counted off one more minute.  And we headed for the door. 

As we approached the door, we walked past the guy that seated us.  Did he stop us?  No.  Instead, he said, "Thanks for stopping in, have a nice night!"  Idiot!  You just seated us ten minutes ago!

So, we went to Applebee's in Lyndhurst.  And sat at the bar so as not to have to wait a half hour for a table.  And Mick the bartender was perfectly attentive and we never had to wait for anything.  And he saw my Marillion hoodie and asked if that was Marillion the band, because his buddy from Liverpool is a big fan.  It was about as nice an Applebee's experience as one can hope for, I think. 

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Spirit of Radio

Riding in the car with MJ today, for some odd reason we had the radio on.  I say that because we were in MJ's car, and usually, that means she is playing the iPod.  But for some reason, we had the radio tuned in to 92.3 WXRK, and something very strange happened.
 
The strum of some familiar chords ... and I froze.  We are listening to the RADIO right?  Terrestrial radio, not satellite?  We didn't just switch to a CD?
 
 
I have been listening to Porcupine Tree for over five years... and I have NEVER EVER heard one of their songs on the radio.  
 
I couldn't believe it!  I didn't know what came over me!  I started banging my head and singing along.  And smiling!  I could not believe that I was actually listening to Porcupine Tree on the radio.  I was giddy!  I felt like a kid.  There is something magical about hearing a favorite song on the radio -- it was a feeling I don't think I've felt in years. 
 
When the song ended, the DJ mentioned Porcupine Tree by name, and thanked his buddy Chris for turning him on to them. 
 
Steven Wilson once called Shallow a "big dumb rock song."  That it may be, but it is a big dumb rock song by Porcupine Tree.
 
Shallow was the single for American release off of Deadwing.  But I didn't think anyone actually played it!  And I don't listen to the radio a lot, so perhaps this is not the first time it has been played on 92.3 -- but it was the first time I heard it on the radio, and damn, it was sweet.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I am sitting here at the bar at dewey's pizza on lee road, drinking a
bell's, and waiting for my 13 inch half wild mushroom, half bbq
chicken pizza. it is a pretty cool little joint, and while I still
prefer geraci's for pepperoni pizza, I am really liking the specialty
pizzas here. the "green lantern" is especially good here. also I
enjoy talking with mike, the manager, or "cincinnati mike" as I like
to think of him... he has that unmistakable cincinnati accent that I
can place anywhere.

The Small Stuff

My problems are small.  Small compared to the tragedies that surround me.  Small compared with the tragedies I try to fix on a day to day basis.  But there is just some shit I cannot tolerate.
 
I just got a call from the salon down in Tremont where I was to get my hair cut this evening.  I've had this appointment for over a month.  Apparently my stylist "is on leave of absence."  WTF?  I ask, is everything ok?  They can't/won't say.  I ask, is there a certain date for his return?  No, there isn't.  But they only figured this out today???
 
I have places to be, I have a hearing tomorrow, and more.  I need a hair cut -- my hair today looks like Tim Russert's -- meaning overgrown and flabby.  If you watch Meet the Press, you know what I'm talking about. 
 
And the showerhead broke this morning at home, so I went to Home Depot on my way to work to buy a new showerhead.  Don't even get me started about that bucket of shit.
 
So now added to my short list of bullshit things I need to do today distracting me from the things I must really get done today is find someone to cut my hair immediately.  And whenever this has happened, when I've needed to get a haircut from whomever was available that day, that has ALWAYS turned out badly.  I might as well just have Tim Russert hair, and forget the whole damn thing. 

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Opposition?

The Democrats lack courage.  The aren't putting up any alternative.  They aren't even offering decent platitudes -- Howard Dean says "We can do better."  That's not saying much.
 
Take a look at the senate roll call vote on the reauthoriation of the Patriot Act.  Reid, Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy -- all voting FOR it.  It passed 89-10.  Only nine Democrats and one Independent voted against it.   
 
For as terrible as this president is, for as far as he and the Republican leadership have strayed from Goldwater-Reagan conservatism, broken the budget, destroyed our credibility abroad, executed the war and disaster relief incompetently, outed CIA operatives for political retribution, conducted illegal spying, vanquished civil liberties, and implemented the Christianist agenda ... the Democrats have offered nothing.  And in 2008, when the Democrats finally put something together, we're all supposed to believe it?  Where are they now?  In 2008, the Democrats will offer empty rhetoric, and today they are not even offering that. 
 
It seems to me we are now seeing nationally what Ohioans have seen in this state since the early 90s.  The Democrats are weak and directionless.  As a result, the Republicans are able to elect idiots like Taft.  In the absence of a strong (or how about just coherent and competent) Democratic party, the Republicans can run a slate of fools and get them elected.  It is a matter as simple as market forces.  Where is the incentive for the Republicans to select better candidates when lousy candidates can still win elections?
 

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Consanguinity II


For MDC, ESC and family.

Tuesday Talkback

I talkback to Monday Moaners -- it is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

"Butts in the parking lot; butts on the sidewalk; butts on the tree lawn; butts at the office door; butts at the drive-through; butts on the highway; butts everywhere! Why are smokers such pigs?!" - North Olmsted

So ... the thing that bothers you about the smoking isn't the second-hand smoke, it isn't the toll on public health, it isn't the cancer or the premature deaths ... it is the litter?

"It would be sensible for big businesses to employ a few qualified persons to answer phones rather than incur huge amounts of monies for lengthy menus that annoy, infuriate and confuse many callers, while the phone company gleefully piles it up in the Bank of Overflowing Wealth. Whatever happened to, 'Good morning, may I help you?' " - Euclid

It would be sensible? What do you mean by sensible? By sensible, you mean, they should hire a crew of extra people to take your silly phone call? What's that really worth to you? That cost gets passed on to YOU of course. Would you be willing to pay more for whatever that business sells so they can hire the people to answer your phone call? You realize that most businesses will need several, some might need hundreds of extra employees. More, if they go outside to smoke. And while I hate being on hold with the automated attendant, isn't that still just a little better than getting a constant busy signal? Now, that said, anytime you are on hold for more than five minutes and the recording advises "your call is very important to us" -- bullshit.

"The local female newscasters desperately need to have their hair styled professionally." - Beachwood

Fashion advice coming at us from Beachwood -- tell me dear, have your ears met at the top of your head yet? Are you still able to blink and smile?

"When you're at the self-checkout at the grocery, do not answer your cell phone and carry on a conversation while digging through your purse looking for your store card; then you cannot complete your transaction because you bought cigarettes and cannot call a worker over because you are still on the phone." - Brook Park

The problem here isn't the phone, and it isn't the cigarettes. It isn't even the store card, as much as I hate those. It is the self-checkout. You go to the store, and now they have one person overseeing 6 self-check registers. Sort of. Let me ask you -- if you choose a store because you can save .02 on a can of peaches, but then it takes 20 minutes to get out of the store because they are too cheap to have adequate staff to check you out -- was the savings worth it?

"The Cleveland city schools paid $50,000 for a firm to research candidates for a job. I can make $50,000 by just looking at Google, and I can do it from home." - Parma

Yeah, and if they did that and hired a total ass-clown for the next superintendent, can you imagine the news stories then? Important position filled based upon nothing more than a Google search done by some bimbo in Parma? Yeah right. Believe it or not, there is only so much you can find for free on the internet.

"I'm sick and tired of all the blame on President Bush for the goings on during Hurricane Katrina and its approach, even if he was warned. He's not Moses and could not turn back the waters. Just what was he supposed to do? People didn't want to leave anyway." - No City

I think it is funny that this person is listed as "No City", because that is exactly what New Orleans became after Katrina. And while Bush may not be Moses, he did have the power and the resources to do a lot more. A whole lot more. And while state and local politicians can take some of the blame too, it is for exactly this sort of situation that we have FEMA.

Let me put it like this, Mr. No City: if your house was on fire and you called 911, but the fire truck didn't arrive for three days, and then the mayor showed up and told the fire chief that he was doing a heck of a job, whose head would you want on a stick?

"Isn't it a shame that the poor, underprivileged, high-priced professors at CWRU don't like their boss? The inmates are trying to run the asylum." - Cleveland Heights

Who do you supposed called this one in? Ed Hunderd?

"To the radio stations, television stations, etc. that say 'for more information' log onto a Web site. Many of us who cannot afford computers or can't use them would like a number to call." - Brook Park

And for people who don't have phones either, what accommodation do you demand for them?

But it is an interesting point. I first noticed this occurrence regarding school closings following heavy snow. I thought it was strange that the radio station wouldn't read off the names of all of the schools anymore and would refer you to their website. What they are telling us: (1) we don't want to upset our regularly scheduled commercial breaks to take the time to read you this whole list; (2) increasing traffic on our website is more important than giving you the news you need. We haven't had a lot of snow this winter, so honestly, I don't know if the radio stations are still doing this.

But what would be cool would be if someone gave her a link to my blog to let her know that on the web all of the moaners' moans are addressed and replied to. Give her just one more thing to be bitter about.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Benjamin

I learned some news today and I wasn't sure how to feel about it.  My ex-wife and I don't talk or keep up with any regularity.  And when we went our separate ways, we stopped almost all contact.  Interestingly, many of our mutual friends went one way or the other.  There are very few people I keep in touch with who also keep in touch with her, and vice versa (at least I think).  But today I had occasion to see one of those people.  And I learned from him that my ex and her new husband had a baby in January.  I admitted I had not heard, and made the obligatory statements about how that is a wonderful thing and that I am happy for them. 
 
I cannot really think of any reason not to be happy for them.  It is not as if I wish we were still together.  But still.  It is strange somehow.  Married life with her seems like a distant dream now, like it almost didn't happen.  And surely as my life has gone on, hers has as well. 
 
I tend to think she will be a good mom.  I am sure her mom is loving having a grandchild.  I know how badly she wanted one when we married.
 
But I found myself wondering, since, she and her husband live in the house that she and I chose and bought back in 1998, which of the bedrooms did they convert into the nursery?  Isn't that a silly thing to wonder about?  I guess it shows some bizarre level of detachment or misplaced priorities on my part.  Perhaps one of the reasons why the marriage didn't work out.   

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Re-Development

From todays, PD: Showtime May Revive "Arrested Development"

Yes, we knew Showtime was considering it, but this is what caught my eye:

Reports published Tuesday have Showtime giving a 26-episode order for new episodes of the series about the wacky Bluth family of Orange County, Calif. That probably would translate into two Showtime seasons.
 
But then it states:
 
"Nothing has changed since Robert Greenblatt spoke to the critics in January," said Stuart Zakim, Showtime's vice president for corporate public relations.
 
Come on!
 

Consanguinity

I loved my grandparents. With the exception of Grandpa Flip, they all passed away while I was in college. Grandpa Flip died when I was 7, and his was the first funeral I ever attended. I am glad my parents had me go, glad they did not try to soften what had happened.

But as for Grandma Lucy, Grandpa Francis, and Grandma Mary -- and yes, I count Sara's parents too, so Grandpa and Grandma Brunell -- I lost my remaining five grandparents while in college. I lost Uncle David while in law school, but that is a different story.

The strange thing is, and it seems strange to write this, but I lost these five grandparents at "the right time." I say that because I was away, I was in college, and they were no longer a part of my day to day life. Growing up, I saw them a lot. On my mom's side, I was the first grandchild, and that probably resulted in extra attention. And on my dad's side, I got all the attention and love a grandchild could ever want as well.

But I was in college. And I had hit a point in my life where it was as if I went away for school and just hadn't seen them in such a long time -- even after they were gone. I could rationalize it that way, since it was not as if I saw they every day before, so how was this any different? But the truth is, I loved them, I missed them, and this was just a way of dealing with it.

I wish I had had them longer. They never knew me as a lawyer. They never saw me get married (or divorced -- and perhaps it is better than Fran never saw that). When I have children, they will never know each other.

My own father never knew his father's father, Philip Sheridan. He was a nurseryman, a man of average height and stout build -- or so says his WWI draft registration card. A man born in Conneautville, his parents the children of Irish immigrants. For some reason, Phillip moved to Chicago and married a lovely woman there, Mildred (her, I knew). They had two children (Philip Michael "Flip" and Agnus), and lived in a house that is now a vacant lot. And for reasons just as mysterious, they moved from Chicago to Girard, PA. And he died before my father was born. I have no idea where he is buried, but if I had to guess, I would suspect somewhere in Crawford County, PA.

But I never knew him. I just find him curious. I saw a picture of him once, when Grandma Mary was still alive. He looked like a shorter, fatter version of me. He had a twin brother named Stu. Or so states the old census records for Conneautville.

I can only dream what he might have been like. But I knew the others. I knew Fran and Lucy, Flip and Mary, Wilbert and Margaret. I made the mistake of calling Lucy right before she died. I was in college in Toledo, and Lucy was in the hospital. I called her room phone, and she was heavily medicated, disoriented, and she barely sounded like herself. She did not know who I was. And when I tried to explain, she only got confused, and then she hung up. This last memory of her is not one I remember fondly. No, when I think of Lucy, I think of her penchant for crossword puzzles and word games, her wicked sense of humor, her card playing skills, her hands-off fatalism and ambivilence toward a world over which she had no control, and yes, her smoking and drinking. I remember she never learned to drive a car, and as a young lad, I so helpfully informed her that she ought to learn because grandpa might not always be around. She took one look at me and said rather matter-of-factly that she didn't think that it would be a problem. And as it turned out, she was right, as she passed away first.

During the first year of my life, Lucy had a huge role in raising me, as my parents were finishing college. Of course, I have no memory of that.

But you see, when I left for college, I never saw Lucy again.

For whatever it is worth, I have been fortunate in this sense. I have not yet lost someone with whom I was in constant contact while I was in constant contact. If I lost someone while I was living with them, or at a time when I saw them frequently, even once a month, that would be a lot harder. That has never happened to me. And I keep this mind when I see others take their losses so hard. For while I have known death, I have somehow managed to keep it distant. It has helped me deal. And I wish I could offer advice to those who have lost someone closer, or are watching firsthand someone who is close to them go through what may be their final days. I can offer my heart, my shoulder, my sympathy. But I suspect I do not entirely know how they must feel. And because of that, sometimes I am at a loss to know what to say.