I Am Thankful For…

26 11 2013

…my family. My brother and sister-in-law have a blended family. I am learning how to connect with them, their kids, their grandkids. Sure, it’s been fifteen years of learning, but I’m a bit slow.

…chocolate and barbeque. Could someone make a barbeque beef wellington with chocolate babka?

…working with folks in their 20s. I am one of the oldest people working in Big Box Store in Newark. Working with the youngers is a lovely reality check, and I don’t have to worry that the world is turning into a bunch of Miley Cyruses who play “The Knockout Game.”

…my friends. You are the oddest, smartest, most eclectic, best-dressed people and I admire you all.

…being in my 50s. Now that I have some control over the level of testosterone in my body, life makes sense.

…air conditioning. Because it is air conditioning.

…sharing a house. Renting a room and living with two people keeps my sense of proportion.

…my parents. They were very sweet people and I wish you could have met them. In a way, through me, you have.

…the challenges of art. The Japanese word “do” has it right: a focused study does improve you as a person. Finding people who enjoy things I create is fulfilling.

…The Cramps. I did not start getting in touch with myself until about 1989, when I found Lux Interior and Poison Ivy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4yZLR-gKNA

Things I Learned In Boyhood…

23 10 2013

You could fit your cat in the vehicle bay of a Major Matt Mason Moon Base. Because the sides were clear plastic, it turns out the cat didn’t mind so much.

If mammals average 21 seconds per session of urination, it took 105 seconds worth of urine to put out the brush fire that got out of hand back in Boy Scouts.

Even as kids, you could tell who would end up in jail. The guys who shoplifted. The girls who got into fights. That guy who belched the alphabet and pretended to have sex with the Putman’s collie.

Old people didn’t think it was nice for a nine-year-old to call a girl “broad” or “wench.”

When you moved to a new town, no one was going to know you picked your nose up and ate it until seventh grade. But you’re still going to end up hanging out with nerds.

The kids on “Zoom”? Yeah, I could’ve done that.

For some reason, when Mrs. Mayberry did yardwork in her bikini, Mom didn’t want you to watch.

When you shot frogs with b-b guns? Or filled a cool whip container with grasshoppers and firecrackers? You had to be discrete.

Teachers called parents about weird stuff, like when my friend drew the story about the war between frogs and mice, and used up the red crayons.

Rubber cement was the most precious substance ever created. It helped build a model of a Panzer tank, and when set alight made that model into a glorious blaze. Rubber cement was the Alpha and the Omega.

Today is my late brother’s birthday, and talk about characters…

31 07 2013

…man, he was impressive.
As a boy, Mike wanted to know how things worked. He took apart our mom’s typewriter. Was very angry with himself when he couldn’t figure out how to put it back together.
When a fifth grade teacher told our mom that a fifth grader was not capable of the quality of work needed for an A+, Mike worked until he got an A+.
He worshiped General George Patton. Became an Eagle Scout and a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.
Played offensive line in football, because yes, he was big, but also because it was an essential and overlooked job.
Random things:
Liked women with “thick ankles”, meaning athletic.
Relaxed with a bowl of nachos, a diet coke, and the “Beastmaster” TV series.
Loved the music of Meat Loaf.
Swore by Subaru automobiles.
Coined the term “pioneerish”.
Fond of cats and horses.
Could not abide pocket change. Before getting married, his car and living spaces were strewn coins he dumped from his pockets.
A geek: Monty Python, D&D, painted soldiers.
Went on to be an expert in his field, which included study of HIV.
He did that while dealing with an ill wife and his own chronic hospitalizations (at one point, he had a hemoglobin count of “four”. He was up at midnight packing for a business trip when they notified him).
Mike was the toughest man I have ever met.

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