It is college graduation season. On a local radio news show, they mentioned some speakers who were giving graduates their send off speech. Traditionally, politicians would have littered any list of graduation speakers. The list I heard was trending away from the political realm. Among the speakers mentioned were a retired NFL kicker and Darius Rucker, the singer from the band Hootie and the Blowfish.
I like Rucker. He comes across as a personable guy and he co-wrote “Only Wanna Be With You.” He and Hootie also recorded an absolutely wicked version of the Bill Withers hit “Use Me.” I would invite Darius to speak based solely on how hard he rocked “Use Me.”
But the bigger news is that if singers and NFL kickers have wrested control of the graduation speaker market from politicians, it is only a matter of time until obscure bloggers are holding forth before graduates. Once obscure bloggers get their chance, it is a short drop to me. Read the rest of this entry »
It seemed to me that I ought to write something for Mothers Day, but that wasn’t going so well.
I took a break from being frustrated and remembered, mid-break, that I ought to call my Mom and let her know when I would stop by for a Mother’s Day visit. We talked about our days, and then she remembered that she had something she wanted to talk to me about.
On the way in to where she’d left herself a note, she asked if I’d ever seen Antiques Roadshow. I told her I had, but not today. “Someone was on with what looked like pencil drawings, but they were done by Picasso and …oh here’s my note…Picasso and Matisse. You know about them, right?” Read the rest of this entry »
The Wolf was a block and a half away when I turned toward the coffee shop. There’s a sunny spot on the street where I see him on cool mornings. That’s where he was, sitting on his walker, soaking up a little extra warmth.
I make a point of not driving up to him in a police car when I spot him. Back in the day, me pulling up in a police car was often the start of a bad evening for at least one of us. It just works out better now to let him come around on his own.
When I walked out of the shop with my hot chocolate (with blackberry syrup, trust me on this one) he was out near the driveway. “Good morning, Sarge, God bless you.” I returned the blessing and he turned back toward the street.
I walked toward him. As I got close I spoke quietly – “coming up behind you.” He laughed and asked why I didn’t warn him like that twenty years ago. “You know damned well why I didn’t” I said. He grinned and admitted that he did. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, I was at my parents place for dinner.
Here is where the story goes back in time to the part that is spookily like the movie A Christmas Story.
Lets Go Back To 1969
When I was in third grade, my dad got a new job. His first assignment was in Charleston, West Virginia. There were a lot of differences between Charleston and my previous home, Hoboken, New Jersey. Differences like I could play outside and I couldn’t see Manhattan. I was a kid, so I adapted and made friends.
One of the friends I made had a bb gun. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. What’s the best way to get the coolest stuff when you’re a kid? Ask for it for Christmas.
Well, that worked. My dad bought me a bb gun and put it under the tree. I later learned he did it over the objection of my mom and grandparents. It wasn’t just any bb gun, it was a double barrel gun. Even the coolest kid in the neighborhood had never heard of such a thing until I showed him my Daisy Model 21 Double Barrel bb gun.
My father showed me how to use it in the back yard. I used it to knock over cans and bottles across the yard. I never fired it toward any animals and I did not shoot my eye out.
Here comes the part where the story returns to yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
A few days ago, I saw the Harlem Globetrotters play. It had been quite a while since I’d seen them last, but they are still fun to watch. In case you’re wondering, the Trotters won.
At one point, the Globetrotters’ mascot, Globie, performed. He had a child from the audience with him, dressed just like him. I thought about what a fun opportunity that would be for a child. A child, or anyone else. Anyone else, for instance, me.
“Why not me?” I thought. I’ve got experience as a costumed mascot character person. Not enough experience to come up with a better job title than “costumed mascot character person”, but I’ve got some mascot street cred. Perhaps enough credibility to land a mascot job when I retire.
I put some thought into the applicable experiences that I’ve had and could list on my mascot resume. Here is what I came up with.
McGruff, The Crime Dog
You remember McGruff, right? He reminded us to “take a bite out of crime” by following his crime prevention and safety tips. I work for a police department, we had our own McGruff costume, so my first mascot experience was as the crime dog.
McGruff was the best of my mascot gigs in many ways. The costume wasn’t very complex: a big dog head, matching gloves and booties and a heavily lined tan trench coat. It was by far the cleanest costume I wore. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems fashionable, in these trying times, to publish a manifesto online. While it is true that most of these documents come to our attention when their author goes around the bend, I don’t think anti-social behavior is a pre-requisite for a person to publish their “intentions, motives or views”.
So many of my fellow manifesto authors have given our form of literature a bad name. Their ramblings about people and institutions who have wronged them do not play well to a mass audience. I have no such grievances. I am pretty well treated. Most institutions never get around to hassling me because they don’t know I exist.
There is not a lot of sense in waiting until the last bit of my life, or until I am a raving madman, to get my manifesto out. I am so committed to not waiting that the last sentence actually contains intent, motivation and my view. Thus, my explanation of what I’m doing here is also the first sentence of my manifesto.
Maybe I’ll write a longer manifesto one day, but here’s what I think now, a little of why I think it, and what I’m going to do about it. Read the rest of this entry »
The fans were streaming toward the exit after another loss by the home team. I wasn’t paying attention to anyone in particular, just watching the wave of disappointed humanity go by. Then, without warning, it happened.
A man came out of the crowd. He yelled over all the other voices around us…
I haven’t seen you in forever, what’s up man? Read the rest of this entry »
So, I’m getting older. I’m older, but I’m not ninety-one. Not yet. I’m just practicing being ninety-one.
My day-to-day job involves working with a partner. Together, we supervise a shift. I’ve been fortunate to have my two best partners as I approach the end of my first career.
Seeing The Line
My old partner retired at the end of 2011. He earned the reputation of being a no-nonsense guy, but the great secret that so many missed about him was that he cared about our work, those who did it, and the good folks in the neighborhoods we worked. Somehow, those he worked for never saw those qualities in him. The people who worked for him are wiser, they miss Curt. I do too.
Bill took Curt’s place on the job, but brought his own style. He is smart. Smart enough to be himself. He will earn the same respect his predecessor did.
Like I said, Curt had a no-nonsense reputation. He didn’t mind disagreeing with management when he decided it was important that they hear from him. But in his last year, something changed.