Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She bought Mom a VW bug

Mom has such good friends. One of them is Lennie who is very ill now. Mom did tell me that Lennie bought Mom a VW bug way back when. That's a pretty cool friend. That was the car I learned how to drive in. One day when shopping in the VW, I clipped the car next to me. It left a big dent on the VW. Naturally, I was scared to death. I was thinking of hitting and running but I thought I spotted a trucker watching me. So I stayed in the car and waited for the owner to show up. I also noted I had knocked his front bumper off. The man showed up. I expressed my sorrow for hitting his car. Darn if the guy went inch by inch examining the side of his car. It took forever. He finally said it was OK and he didn't want me to get in any trouble. He never noticed his bumper sitting on the ground. I got the hell out of there.
One time, my friend Al and I, stayed overnight at Lennie's house. We were stuck with Lennie's creepy dog, Charley. I'm glad no one was watching because we tormented that dog that night. Believe it or not, we set off a firecracker in Lennie's house and watched Charley chase us around before slamming the door in the dog's face. Now wait a minute, animal lovers. I admitted this tale of abuse years later and Mr. Lind gave me this quote: "Charley had only one problem,'' he said. "He just didn't like people."
We taught him a lesson that night.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The death of newspapers

The Washington Post was delivered to our house in Northern Virginia every day. I read all of the box scores for the baseball teams. My brother cut out all of the John Kennedy headlines out of the Washington Post. One time when we visited Aunt Judy in New York, I can recall seeing the headlines of the New York Post. But it was upside down in the window. And there it was how Bob Clemente died in a plane crash. Sure, I was mad at him when he helped beat the Orioles in the 1971 Series but I felt badly he died that way.
When I was a little older, I began to notice how Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell made the Orioles games worth reading. I would listen to another great Orioles win and then couldn't wait for the paper to come to house in the morning to see how he described the latest win. And then I made a career out of writing for a newspaper.
So how many years are left for newspapers to come to our door? Five? 10 at the most. Newspaper owners are to blame mostly. They gave their product away for free on the internet. That cost jobs and careers including mine. But who needs to go to the driveway every morning when it's written up on the computer almost as soon as it happens.
I think it's just our generation that needs to have the feeling of a newspaper in our hands. Our children don't care that much to sit a read a paper. It will be interesting to see how our kids explain to their kids what newspapers actually were.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Love those IPA's

I think my first India Pale Ale was Ballentine Ale. I read the fine print on the label and it said something to the effect that while bringing their beer from England on ship, it was shaken up. When they tapped it in America, they were pleasantly surprised with the taste. I bet that was true.
When microbrewery fever took over in this country (Budweiser and Miller drinkers can stop reading now), I entered the field with great enthusiasm. But now, years and years later, I'm fully a member of the I love IPA's unofficial club. And I can tell a very good one from an OK one. I've posted photos of six fine IPA's sitting in my fridge. They probably will be consumed when the best men from the weddings, Dan and Dave, arrive here for a shrine session come Dec. 8. I can taste that fine ale now. Oh, thank you micro brewers of America. You have provided an invaluable service.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What a great photo

Can you imagine? You arrange a blind date and the girl shows up with an automatic machine gun. Here's the H-Man on his recent trip to Israel. I showed the boys this picture and they howled. Young girls walking around armed to the max. What if he brought one of these girls to meet his Mom? Come to think of it, there would never be any trouble on any outings. These girls would simply blow away the bad guys. In H-Man news, my friend Ann is trying to arrange a date with him with a relative of hers. We'll see. I doubt she will show up like these girls did.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That's her wife

It caught me by surprise. It's the excellent chef Cat Cora prepping for Thanksgiving with her family. And her wife, Jennifer. Of course it's none of my business but it's just odd to see two women married.
OK, enough innocence. I did discuss this with my neighbor. She liked Mrs. Cora but did not approve of her choice in spouse. She said it sets a bad example for the family. That's the big question. Is homosexuality a learned behavior or does it come from birth? And is it a bad example? Will that couple's four children grow up to be homosexual? That would make for a wonderful study. I personally doubt they would all be gay.
And how about a mixed race couple? Or a mixed religion one? Are they poor examples as well? I showed the pictures to my oldest boy and he wondered where the husband was. That's natural I suppose. The best part of America is people can pursue happiness in their own way. They should be respected for their choices. I would like to say though that Chef Cora's corn bread recipe wasn't that good. That probably made a bigger impression to her children.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Am I fired?

It must have been an omen. My last assignment for Pioneer Press came on Tuesday night. A milk shake I ordered after a volleyball match fell on the floor where I was typing. And then the call came in the morning. I needed to come to the office at 11 a.m. Heck the boys were home from school. And then I asked if I was fired. The answer was yes. I threw my cell phone on the bed. I was prepared to defend my positions all day long. But it was a massive layoff instead. They are killing my favorite newspaper. But what about me? Look at all the stuff I had done in 20 years. It's all down the drain now.
I'll always have the stories. How I was banned at two high schools for writing they didn't like. That was a badge of honor. Heck, I had my own golf tournament with all those great players and people.
There were so many emails and phone calls to make to all the great folks in Pioneer Press land. Heck, I hadn't been out work since 1987 when I moved to the Chicago area. This was the best job I ever had. And a few days later, folks were again offering me a chance to work in my chosen field. I love covering high school sports. The coaches are great. The kids are great. It's just fun. Did I have a chance to grieve? Not a chance. I was let go on Wednesday and Saturday I covered an exciting high school football game. Still, it's no fun to lose your job but everyone knows that.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

9.5 pounds to be exact

Another Halloween has come and gone. And like most, we could open a candy store. I stayed home and handed out the stuff but most kids were too busy for conversation because they are working. Simply getting as much sugar as they can get in one day. Brady made a few neighborhoods and came home with nearly 10 pounds of candy. Riley was steady most the day. The brothers here made deals after the work day as Riley compiled nearly 100 Reese's peanut butter cups. You would think since I'm at home with the stuff all day long that I might fill my face as well. I must have candy burnout or something. I did have one little Milky Way yesterday.
That reminds me of a story I read in the Washington Post when I was a kid. A lady decided to go trick or treating for drinks. Pretty clever or so she thought. On someone's lawn she tripped on a railroad track and the glass she was holding cut her throat. She was dead. I imagine she didn't feel much except stupid.
Speaking of stupid deaths. How about that poor teacher from Crete who went to a fancy Halloween ball in Chicago. She wasn't drunk but decided to slide down a stairway banister. Instead, she fell four floors to her death. The fancy party was supposed to run until 2 a.m. Instead, her untimely death postponed the darn thing. Now that's a bad day.