Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Eulogy.

Ed delivered the eulogy. His bright blue eyes peered at the mourners over his reading glasses.

"Everyone here today is asking themselves, 'Why?'

"When I was in college, I had a professor that challenged us to take a glass and fill it with water. Try to hold that glass straight out in front of you for twenty minutes. It's hard, isn't it? Try holding it in front of you for an hour. For a day. It gets harder and harder, and sometimes, it's just impossible to hold it there.

"Now, take that same glass of water and hold it out in front of you for five minutes. When it gets too heavy, put it down. Rest for awhile, then pick it back up. You can hold the glass of water again for five minutes. It's too heavy? Put it down again. You'll find that you can hold that glass of water out in front of you for as long as you want, as long as you put it down when you get too tired. You'll always be able to pick it back up and hold it again.

"It's the same with problems that life hands to you. Don't carry those problems with you all the time. Just put them down when you can't hold them anymore. Pick them up again when you can.

"There isn't a person here today who isn't asking themselves 'why?'. There isn't anyone here who could have said something, done anything, to stop what Brad did Monday morning. But I can tell you, here today, if it gets so bad, if it gets so hard, just put it down the glass for awhile. Pick it up again after you feel strong enough to do so.

"For us who are left behind, you know that life has great sorrows.

"I'll remind you, though, that life also holds great happiness. Do not lose sight of that."

He sighed deeply and said:

"Happiness and good things... well, folks, they just have a way of dropping out of the sky."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Nights.

On Sunday evenings, fresh out of the bath and in my nightgown, I'd saunter down to the basement and to Dad, who was usually hunched over his drafting table, measuring, drawing lines, writing meticulously on plans, whistling to music on the radio. A cigarette burned in the ashtray and a cup of tepid coffee was at arm's reach. I'd hover next to him and watch him work, hypnotized by his confidence and flair while working on drawings. He bristled with energy.

"You brush your teeth?" he'd ask without looking at me.

"Yeeeesssssss," I'd answer, sometimes lying, sometimes not.

He'd place his pencil on the table, turn to me and say, "Let's see."

I'd pull my lips back over my teeth, a rictus, and Dad would grip my chin firmly. With his thumbnail, he'd scrape my teeth and inspect his thumbnail. "Very good," he'd say, turning back to the drawing board. "Did you finish your homework?"

"Yeeeeessssss," I'd answer, dreading what came next.

He'd stand up and stomp up the stairs to the kitchen. I followed after him, bracing myself for the inspection. He'd sit down at the table and shuffle my papers, looking over my homework. I was always amazed at the speed with which he checked my work, which seemed so hard to me. He would grab a pencil and check the incorrect answers with a big, sharp checkmark that indented paper three pages underneath.

"Do those again," he'd order, and stomp downstairs.

I'd do them again.

Stomp, stomp, stomp. Shuffle, shuffle. "Okay. This looks good, except for the math. See this, this and this-- they're still wrong."


"Just do it. I'll stay here while you do."

He'd get up from the table, wander into another room or get a glass of water. He'd smoke. He'd pace. Minutes would pass while pressure built in my head, struggling to line up neat columns of numbers, nervous he'd catch me counting on my fingers. He'd stand behind my chair, arms stretched out on either side of my head, his palms pressed to the table. I could hear him breathing loudly through his nose. I was trapped under his blue gaze, adding numbers slowly, uncertainly, my writing shaky and sloppy and the paper bruised with the smeared erasures that had scrubbed the paper thin.

"Okay. That's good," he'd say, "But you need to recopy it. It needs to look neat."


"Just do it. I'll stay here while you do."

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Friday! Time for Limericks!

The Secret Service has given Sarah and Todd Palin "code names" (why are these code names leaked to the press?). Sarah has been given the moniker of "Denali" (the frozen National Park Wilderness in Alaska) and Todd was given the name "Driller".

After reading this news item, The Redhead sent me a limerick that I'm excited to share with you!

An Alaskan fish, moose, and wolf killer
Had five kids with a husband who'd fill her
With his supercharged stuff
(As if four weren't enough)
Who'd have blamed them for naming him "Driller"?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Notes on the RNC

Alrighty! So I was taking notes while watching the Republican National Convention last night. Here they are, along with some random thoughts.

Watching this event is like walking into K-Mart-- yellowish, unflattering lighting, NASCAR references, bad haircuts. Deeeeeeeeeeeeepressing.


"Cindy Lou"-- angelic music playing prior to her clip. Hm. Her Dad was a Budweiser distributor after WWII. Product placement? I'm so cynical.

Looking at Cindy and having once been on the brink of being an officer's wife myself, I can see that she is a machine. That woman is the PERFECT military wife (hence a perfect political wife). I like her! Can she run for President instead? I would vote for her. Empathic, calm, beautiful, reasonable, sensitive. Cindy gets this Democrat's vote.

Note: there's a guy in the delegate's section filming her with a laptop computer. Bet he goes to the hotel later and beats off on while watching it. Sorry, but there it is.

Question: where's their other East Indian daughter? This makes me worry.


I'm noticing a lot of twenty-something Young Republicans in the audience. Maybe they should join up and go to Iraq since they're so hot on the perceived necessity of this war.

Lots of bad dancing and white man's overbite during "Footloose", "Danger Zone", and "Rock This Town". I bet Brian Setzer wouldn't be too happy knowing his song was playing at the RNC!

Chant of the convention: "DRILL, BABY, DRILL". Oh boy.

Misspelled sign: "MAVRICK".

Ominous sign: "RAISING McCAIN".

Another sign: "COLLEGE REPUBLICAN'S FOR McCAIN". Phys Ed majors?

Yet another: "PEACE", then website address for John McCain's campaign. Did I miss something?!?


The voiceover intones, "Mother. Moosehunter. Maverick." I am not kidding.


Up in nosebleed, a guy holds a banner that reads "McCAIN VOTES AGAINST VETS". He's heckling McCain during his acceptance speech! Uh oh! He's still there!

Oops. Not anymore.

More hecklers-- a pair of them! Women. Dragged up the stairs and out of XCel. They must have been cheerleaders at one point, because you could hear their voices over the boos of the crowd. Thought: are there lots of hecklers planted in the crowd? I hope so! That would be exciting!


Observation: all politicians point at their friends before they give speeches.

Senator McCain quoted Thomas Jefferson:

"...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

-- except immigrants and folks like that who don't deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States. I wish McCain would quote this Jeffersonian jewel (but he never will!):

"My opinion on the right of expatriation... is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of Kings. If He has made it a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, he has left him free in the choice of place as well as mode, and we may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce the map on which nature has traced for each individual the geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of happiness." -- Thomas Jefferson to John Manners, 1817 (emphasis mine, o' course).

McCain on Palin: "I can't wait until I introduce her to Washington." Yeah, I can't either! It's gonna be hilarious.

McCain is opposed to state-run health care systems. Oooooo! Not those! Like those in Australia, England and Sweden? Where it doesn't cost anything to go to a doctor? Where everyone has healthcare? Where you can stay home with your newborn baby for months if you choose and not have to go back to work right away? Where birth control pills are free? Yeah, that's some evil stuff there-- healthcare. For free. Baaaad voodoo, man.

"I'm working for you," said McCain, pointing to the Republicans in front of him. He most certainly will.