Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Sticker!

We're in Ohio, visiting Andy and family. And lo, there is jubilation in the house of Granddaughter. She (proudly sporting the sticker Daddy has just placed on her left cheek) emerges from the downstairs bathroom with the musical potty tinkling her triumph. We (Mommy, Granny and Granddad) enthusiastically celebrate as she announces, "I sticker!"

Daddy's right cheek also has a sticker, one which was lovingly bestowed by Granddaughter. He's a good dad. That sticker is well deserved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dueling Granddaughters

I recently commented on Galdys's blog (upon seeing pics of her newly three-year-old granddaughter) that the darling thing is almost as cute as our granddaughter. Of course, Gladys fired back (in essence), "Put up or shut up." As luck would have it, Joyce's computer chose right then to go belly up -- taking with it all the pics of our cute little one. We've managed to recover the data off Joyce's old hard drive, so here finally is our amazing grandchild.

As I understand it, this was the photo that won her the role of flower girl at James and Amber's upcoming wedding.

Top that, Gladys!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lounging Around

Yesterday was an amazing day -- odd in the extreme. It began well enough, with an exceptionally good Bible lesson in Sunday school, but it quickly progressed from the sublime to the ridiculous. Our first hint of things heading south was that the usual suspects weren't standing around behind the pulpit before the service -- you know, Steve (the guy with the bass guitar), Tyler (the kid with the long hair and drumsticks) and Janet (the cheerful lady on the piano). When the service commenced, Gary (a former preacher, now investment salesman convert) walked up to the pulpit and began introducing a fellow salesman, who also happened to be "a phenomenal musician".

On cue this guy (who I swear is Tennessee Ernie Ford's doppleganger) strode up to the piano and slid onto the bench.

When Gary's five-minute intro had ended, Tennessee Ernie (without a word) instantly morphed into Liberace and began tinkling his syncopated medley of hymns and praise songs. Ten minutes into our non-singing song service, Tennessee burst into song -- not the basso profundo who snaps his fingers to "Fifteen Tons" -- but Bill Murray as the lounge singer from hell.

As God is my witness, the only thing missing was the brandy snifter full of one dollar bills. Thus it was, for a surreal 25-minutes we were witness to Tennessee Ernie Ford impersonating Liberace manning up as Bill Murray's Nick Winters, the nearly on-key lounge singer.

After this amazing musical performance, the preacher (he also being a pinch hitter) held forth on Romans chapter 8. As always, the Bible was good -- the exposition, well ... it was better than the song service.

After church we went to fetch Joyce's new computer (which had been promised be done with its software load on Saturday afternoon). So we spent an enjoyable lunch hour watching the "Geek Squad" feeding DVDs into Joyce's new machine. (It seems things had taken longer than the salesman had prognosticated -- go figure.) Actually, it was time well spent, as we could watch Joyce's new computer and I was able to redirect the computer technician's attention each time the process stopped to ask for user input. Eventually, the "Geek Squad" declared Joyce's new computer "very good" and we were allowed to proceed to the from door of the electronics store so we could be frisked for our receipt.

We grabbed burgers at McDonald's and went straight home so I could crawl on the floor routing cables from box to box. I'm not as spry as I used to be (though just as anal retentive as ever), so by the time Joyce's computer sprang to life we had only a couple of hours before the thunderstorm knocked out the B-phase of the primary fuse on the pole just down the block. Again, fate smiled upon us -- we're on the B-phase -- so we lit candles and waited. A trip to Walmart and a little more sitting in the dark later (one hour and 43 minutes later if you must know), a lineman had shoved the new fuse into the housing and we were again cooking. It was bedtime.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Magical Sky

Joyce sent me a link to this time-lapse video.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

The site I lifted the embed code from is here.

Day of Infamy

I just received an email update from the Obama campaign that begins:

Remember this date: Saturday, June 6th, 2009. We will look back on that day as the moment when the fight for real health care reform began in your neighborhood -- perhaps even in your own living room.

On June 6th, in thousands of homes across the country, we'll gather to launch our grassroots campaign for health care. We'll watch a special message from the President. We'll build the teams and draw up the plans for winning health care reform the same way we won the election: Building support one block, one neighbor, one conversation at a time. And we'll put those plans into action.

These kickoffs are so crucial that President Obama will join confirmed hosts and attendees on a live conference call.

Personally, I just don't see June 6th ever becoming a memorable date. Maybe they ought to wait until December 7th.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Other Brother Darrel (er ... Charlie)

In this journal I've often mentioned my older brothers Joel and Roy, but I also have a younger brother Charlie. This weekend Charlie's in the Dallas area on business, so tonight we're getting together at Roy's. Charlie, like the rest of the family, has inherited Mom's meticulous ways. Though I myself freely admit to being anal retentive, I hesitate to bring such a charge against my little brother. Let's just say Charlie is very attentive to detail and his nitpicking ways are nothing new.

Perhaps a anecdote best illustrates what I'm talking about. Back in the mid-1960s Charlie's fifth-grade teacher had given him, as homework, an English composition assignment, and (as chance would have it) I came upon his unfinished manuscript on the desk in his room. Charlie had composed (with his perfect penmanship) an unfinished tale about a boy who takes the family cow into town as barter for things the family needs at the market. It's the old "Jack and the Beanstalk" story, but with a twist. In Charlie's account the boy finds that he's being followed by a mongrel dog.

Charlie's narrative identifies this very large mutt as being short-haired, black and brown, with a varied pedigree: mother a Doberman/Labrador cross and father a German Shepherd/Airedale mix. Once in town the unnamed boy sells the cow to the butcher (for $32.78) and then proceeds to purchase: two pounds of linked sausage (for $1.83), a dozen eggs (for 39 cents), a new spatula for Momma (for $1.69), ten pounds of whole-wheat flour (for a riveting $2.42), etc. All throughout this litany of extraneous detail, Charlie continually reminds the reader that the big brown dog is following our protagonist.

I (having trudging through almost two pages of Charlie's literary laundry list) decided this fable needed a snappy ending. So with a fat felt-tip I wrote the surprise ending: "On the way home the dog ate him. The End."

Of course, the inevitable happened. That evening, just after supper, Charlie discovered my editorial addition. Enraged, he took his protest straight to the top. With his homework assignment clenched in his trembling fist, he marched into the den where the family had gathered to worship the glowing oracle that delivers Hollywood's sewage straight into America's living rooms. Charlie angrily declared, "Bobby ruined my story."

I was called before the Lay-Zee-Boy dais to face my accuser. Dad (reaching out his hand and laying hold of the evidence against me) calmly intoned, "Let's see."

As the old man's eyes scanned down the page, it began to occur to me that perhaps I had overstepped. But then (much to my relief and Charlie's consternation) when Dad got to the carnivorous ending of this "tale told by an idiot", he burst out laughing. Dad looked solidly into Charlie's angry eyes and said, "No Charlie, Bobby didn't ruin your story -- he just put it out of its misery."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Heck Hath No Fury ...

I married an evil woman. No, it's worse than that. I married an evil vengeful woman. You (my tiny readership) may remember how I stuck my foot in it the other day by inquiring about Joyce's hormonal issues and then blogging about it the next morning (last Monday). Well, you can save your pity. That woman I married has evened the score.

Later that day I got an email from Joyce that was supposed to contain a link to a photo of our future daughter-in-law's (Amber's) wedding dress. It didn't. So when I asked her to show me the dress, she said, "Oops, I deleted that email." And she then proceeded to tell me this big story about how she was worried that James might accidentally find the email if he borrowed her computer while home on the weekend.

So (and here's the juicy part) I told Joyce, "Well, then please have Amber email me a photo of the dress." Get it? My evil bride enticed me to order her to bait and set my own trap. So on Tuesday, I received an email from Amber with the subject line "The Dress" and this embedded image:

I asked Joyce, "Is that really the dress she's picked out? Is she pulling our leg?" And Joyce (as every dutiful wife should) gave me wise counsel, "No, Amber's not at all deceitful -- I think it's best if we just tell her how much we love everything." {Please note: Joyce spoke absolute truth. Amber wasn't trying to trick us; Joyce was tricking me. In fact, (just as Joyce said) Amber was very bothered that she had a part in deceiving me. Joyce? Bothered about deceiving the guy who blogs about her menopausal issues? Not so much.}

So as I was saying, I recognized the good sense of Joyce's advice and replied as tactfully and positively as I could to Amber's sharing her choice of wedding gown (as any good father-in-law-to-be should): "James will love it! I can't wait to see his face when you come down the aisle," which I thought sounded heaps better than, "Girl, you have got to be kidding!"

So here we were this afternoon gathered in the living room, honoring the mother of my children, when Amber commented to Joyce, "Don't you think it's time we explained?"

Joyce replied, "No, we don't want to spoil the surprise."

I asked, "What are you talking about?"

Joyce laughed, "The wedding dress."

So I immediately counseled, "No, it's bad luck for the groom to see the dress before the wedding."

For some odd reason, this particular pearl of wisdom only caused Joyce to laugh harder, a laugh that was so infectious that even Amber joined in.

Amber then insisted, "We really need to tell him."

I protested, "No, let James be surprised."

Joyce laughed all the harder and James asked, "What are you talking about?"

Sensing that the cat was just about out of the bag, I jumped in, "Nothing, James! Just ignore Mom." This caused Joyce to laugh even harder.

Finally, Amber could take no more and (looking straight at me) asked, "Did you you actually believe I'd wear a hideous dress like that?"

After my feeble brain sorted all this out (and Joyce made full confession that she, not Amber, had cooked this up), all I could say was, "Sweetheart, you got me good this time."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to ... Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

Since 1997 when TYCO was taken over by Mattel, it has never launched a blockbuster toy like its 1996 "Tickle Me Elmo". But all the buzz in the toy industry this year is that the TYCO Division of Mattel (in an attempt to take advantage of the election of America's first African-American president but still leverage the popularity of its perennial winner) is about to launch a new version of Elmo.

In homage to President Barack Obama's closing of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, TYCO (in time for this year's Christmas season) will be introducing its new "Water Me Elmo".

This version of the normally exuberant and talkative Sesame Street character is neither happy nor communicative. So to get him to talk, just add water.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It Goes Without Saying

Clearly (as you might note from my previous post) I don't always think before I speak, but I do have some judgment. Heck, every single day there are lots of things I don't say.

Such as ...
Cheer up, young man. Some day you'll grow into your big brother's pants.

That is soooo cool the way you've tattooed eyes on the back of your head like that, but have you ever considered letting your hair grow out?


Okay, so let's review the "doorway concept", shall we.

You know, most black folks I know don't have blond hair. Is that your natural color?

Like you know, duuuude! You girls like toadly put that dweeb down. ... Yeah right!

Jess, I woo lie shedder chiz on my samwish, but no ... I don' Juan ee toas-ed.

O, thank you for sharing your music! But I am curious, why do they drop the "c" and just call it "rap music"?

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Word to the Wise

When your wife asks you in an incredulous tone, "Are you cold?" hardly ever is the best response, "Are you menopausal?"