Despite my love of big cities, I somehow didn’t make it to Chicago until I was 35 and then never made it back. So when Solar had a week long conference there—giving me a free place to stay right on the river—I decided to join. Why not? And when he suggested we extend the stay through the weekend since he has friends there we could stay with, again, why not? And so my United rewards ticket carried me off. With the exceptions of the view of Trump tower from my hotel and the weird sewage smells that hit my nostrils from time to time as I roamed the city, the trip was fantastic. Every day brought fun experiences, and here are the three best days.
So now that my big day is here (yay!!!) and now that you’ve read my thoughts on my life at its midpoint and who I am, what do the people in my life think about me? I asked them all to submit a statement for this final blog entry. No rules—could be funny, sad, irritating, scary, nostalgic—no word limit. Most of them wrote things that got me right in my 40-year-old ticker and brought this funny little prickly sensation to my eyes. Damn it, you guys! All of them wrote things that brought up fun memories and made me feel lucky to have them in my life. They inspire me every bit as much as I apparently inspire them and they make me want to be a better and better friend. If you guys are reading this, love you! Continue reading →
What sets me apart from most people in my life is that I was alive when Jimmy Carter was president. Then, when I was one, Ronald Reagan took office and we moved into the house my Republican parents live in to this day. I began a lifelong love of reading in that house by going through my father’s electronics catalogs and attempting to read the descriptions of the latest eight track and Betamax players. Continue reading →
There was an old woman had three sons,
Jerry and James and John,
Jerry was hanged, James was drowned,
John was lost and never was found;
And there was an end of her three sons,
Jerry and James and John!
Well, that’s damn depressing. I think I have a pretty good idea why this one never made it into any of my children’s books. I guess this is reality for some families, but yikes, it’s a harsh tale for little ears. Continue reading →
My little old man and I fell out;
I’ll tell you what ’twas all about,–
I had money and he had none,
And that’s the way the noise begun.
Love of money is the root of all evil, right? No, I’m not copping out with a cliché. Not when this rhyme brings up such an interesting question: What do children owe their parents for their upbringing? What does any family members owe another? It must be quite awkward when one family member becomes incredibly rich. But there are so many factors at play. Did the parents do their best at raising the child well or were they horrible? Are the other family members drug addicts and drunks, or have they simply fallen on hard times? Did he become rich through hard work or a stroke of luck, like winning the lottery? Maybe none of this matters at all, but the people in the rhyme are certainly not anomalies. Unlike the coffee and tea issue, this one is worth discussing. Continue reading →
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
Dame Jill had the job to plaister his knob,
With vinegar and brown paper.
Jill came in and she did grin
To see his paper plaister,
Mother vex’d did whip her next,
For causing Jack’s disaster.
I think it’s obvious why most of us only heard the first verse of this rhyme when we were kids. Why on earth did Jill have to take care of Jack, and more to the point, why did she get in trouble for what happened to him? I see nothing in the verse that implies Jill caused his disaster. Was she much older than him and supposed to be in charge of his well-being? I don’t know. Either part of the story is missing, or the mother is just a horrible witch who is playing favorites with her children. I’m really starting to think Mother Goose was quite the sexist.
Verdict: Use the paper this rhyme is written on to plaster Jack’s head and then kick him down the well. Continue reading →
Or at least my brother may have a better memory for the geographical history of our family vacations than I do. When I went to Idaho over the July 4th holiday, I believed that I had stepped foot into the one state I had never been to. But that might not have been true. While I was in Kansas last week for Thanksgiving, my brother and I were discussing the places we had been to in the Kansas City area as children…which according to him, were none. I distinctly remember being in Missouri and visiting the Jesse James house, but my brother says that never happened. According to him, we visited a bank in Minnesota that James had robbed.
Then I thought about it some more and realized yes, it’s quite possible that I never did make it to the Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas quartet. Well, shoot. But if that’s true, at least Kansas and Missouri are now knocked off the list for real.
And I mean, I’ve really done Kansas. All the way from the border with Colorado 424 miles across I-70 to Kansas City and back. I left the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and took two days for the eastbound trip. My plan was to stop and see all the kitsch sites along the way, because there are many: a giant Van Gogh painting, truckhenge, world’s largest collection of the smallest versions of the largest things…need I go on? A collection of Americana perfect for the ultimate Heartland road trip. Continue reading →
It’s Throwback Thursday, something I have never participated in – until now. But I was feeling kind of bad about letting this blog languish with nothing but my horrible haikus to entertain my few faithful readers, so I thought I should put something up today. I found this piece that I wrote exactly 3 years and 1 day ago for the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices (if anyone remembers that). Enjoy!
Good gas mileage, expensive options, and a sleek exterior aren’t always what make a car great. For those of us who bought our first cars during our dramatic teenage years, the memories that we made with those cars can be far more important. Continue reading →