Thursday, January 24, 2008

you know you're lame when...

your submissions to CU30S aren't even posted. and you know you're really lame... when you post said losers on your own blog...

(the dolly/rick pic was photoshopped by Dann the Man, the dog drawing came about while tuning my ukelele and asking myself the ageold question, "why are a dog's knees put on backwards," and the captioned photo is just too dumb to even be corny.)

dangit. i sure do miss goofin' around on the computer.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HOTD and miscellaneous mom stuff...

i think these two of mom cutting out snowflake decorations kinda nicely complement the videos below of the lovely josephine. (long-time readers have or may have already seen the videos. well, that's tough.)

Jo vid

Jo funny vid

this is the lobby i mentioned a few posts back. that's mom's apartment door across the way and to the right.

joe and mary anne circa 1944...

hey! so what happened with the pants story? meh...maybe another time. in the meantime, check out the NEXT BIG THING in internet fun - brought to you by sean the magnificent.
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Monday, January 21, 2008

proud papa

shakin' it up in east texas. (*edited 1-22 )

in my imagination, it's kinda like that DJ on Northern Exposure. remember that show? he always talked it up. he always kept it real. but this is no tv or movie star...

this is my son, sean. he's 23 years old.
he works in a university library.
i'm always very proud of him, but never moreso than i am today.

today he went to work, wrote an email to his boss, the library, and the board of regents, and then he went home.

before sending it out he showed it to his boss who said something like, "but you have an awful lot of work to get done today."
"i'll get it done later," he replied.

(* i didn't show it to my boss, but she did say that i had a lot of work. and i said "want me to do anything really important before i leave?" she said no.)

he told me about this on the phone before i read his email. i have to admit, as a parent i couldn't help but worry a little about *job security.*

after i read his articulate, heartfelt missive, any silly worries i may have had immediately evaporated. i was left with nothing but a sense of overwhelming pride and admiration.
thanks, sean. you're an awesome man.

i've posted his email after the cut.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day which commemorates a man and a legacy that still resides within the people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement. Yesterday, I spoke to a man who said he would be volunteering at his church today, because that is what he was doing 40 years ago. I was almost ashamed to tell him that I would be at work. Today is not a day to be belabored in work, nor is it a day to sleep in and watch the Price Is Right. Today is a day when we should remember good people and their sacrifices, a day every American should hold on to, lest we all forget how important our individual choices are.

Today is not just about celebrating Dr. King's life, but about reflecting on the entirety of the Civil Rights movement. Beginning in the early 1900's with the Jim Crow laws and then in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, we as a nation began to grapple not just with the blatant and vigorous racism in the south, but with the illegitimacy of the system of institutionalized racism across the entire country.

Since that time, we've certainly come a long way, but not yet long enough. The Movement is not dead, and work continues to be done in the name of equality and tolerance. Recently, Emmit Till's murder case was reopened, and similar cases are being examined to this day. Last year Corretta Scott King died. Two years ago Rosa Parks died. What are we telling our family, children, friends and the rest of the community by working today instead of commemorating, celebrating, or even discussing why Martin Luther King Jr. is a "national holiday"? What happens when no one remembers? When holidays become nothing but symbolic gestures, stripped of actual meaning and purpose? It is our responsibility to treat this day with the respect it deserves. I am going home because I will not disrespect this day and I think it is contemptible for the library to be one of the few institutions to remain open.

On April 3rd, Dr. King gave a speech entitled "I've Been to the Mountaintop." I encourage you to visit

and either read or listen to Dr. King's speech. If you don't have 45 minutes to listen to one of the greatest speeches in American history, at least spend two minutes reading the end. Dr. King told that congregation in Memphis that he "Like anybody would like to live a long life" and that the "Promised Land" was closer than it had ever been. He said:

"I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"

He knew that the promised land wouldn't come overnight. He knew that people had tried to kill him, and would try again and again. He knew that "we as a people" didn't mean just black people or white people, and he knew that the promised land would only open it's doors when we as a nation knocked loudly on the gates of justice with respect and unity. This is a message that all Americans, regardless of race, class, religion or gender should be able to support and honor, and that is how I intend to spend this Martin Luther King Jr. day. Dr. King was killed the day after his Mountaintop speech.

I know that a lot of offices are open today, but many more are closed. If you have information on how to make MLK day a non working holiday, or want to get involved, please contact me.

Sean B****

Digital Projects Specialist


R.W. Steen Library


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Saga of the Pants (part II)

Brought to you Live! from Vickery Towers...that's right folks, still no internet at home, but a friend did send me her old laptop yesterday, so i have a word processor. pretty awesome generous, huh? thanks a million, Annie. i checked on getting it adapted to access the net, but apparently no one supports windows 98 anymore.

Last week's headline news:
~Premature Attackulation in the Persian Gulf Avoided (phew!)
~Presidential Debates Continue (to make few proud to be americans)

and after the break, our lead story...
~Rick Goes Shopping Again

"excuse me, ma'am, i'm looking for some pants for my mom. can you help me?"
"sure, what size does she wear?"
i circle my arms in front of myself, fingertips 8 or 9 inches apart. "Big," i say. "i think she's pregnant."
the sales girl looks at me funny - i'm 56 years old myself - and asks, "have you tried the maternity department?"
"great idea! thanks. where is it?"
"we don't have one."

as patiently as i can muster, "just show me what you've got in size 20 - 24, please."

nearly an hour later i left with the only two pair in the entire store that might possibly fit and went to another store where i wandered around for at least an hour without ever seeing a sales person. the pants there were randomly placed in racks with jackets and shirts all over the place. i felt like a rat in a maze, a fish out of water...choose your own cliché. i imagined i was in a foreign land doomed to roam hopelessly, lost without any way to communicate with the natives (who were apparently invisible) for the rest of my life. at this point i was hoping the rest of my life would be a mercifully short time.

on my way out i passed the underwear department. AHA! maybe i won't have to leave empty handed after all.

30 minutes later i had achieved nothing - other than arrouse the suspicion of the other shoppers. all ladies, of course. i finally got up the nerve to ask one of them where i might find size 20 or so underpants, quickly adding "for my mom."
she was sorting through a rack of really large bras (my favorite) which were clearly too big for her and i was hopeful that she was shopping for her mother, too, and would take pity on me. maybe even offer to be my guide through the jungle of womens' undergarments.

"they don't sell panties that large in a store like this. you'll have to go to a Lane Brant."
"oh. where do i find Elaine?"
"no, Lane Bryant. it's a store that caters to plus size women. there's one in valley view shopping mall."
"thank you ma'am."

i left not only empty handed, but with dread in my gut. Valley View worst nightmare - the suburban mall.

to be continued... (probably 2 or 3 installments to go, but it does have a happy ending. well, sort of.)

p.s. you may be wondering why i don't take mom with me to try stuff on. well, i'll tell you why. the last time my daughter, the lovely josephine, and her mom took her shopping it was for shirts. they were mortified when mom came out of the dressing room with no shirt on to look for something else to try on.
and that was 3 years ago! her condition has "progressed" immeasurably since then and besides...i'm talking pants and underpants here, not shirts.
sonny boy ain't goin' there. capiche?
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Saga of the Pants (part I)

i think mom's pregnant. no, really. she's HUGE. one look at her wardrobe and my suspicion is confirmed. a 1/2 dozen size 14 and 16 pants that fit her just fine a few months ago are now WAY too small for her.

she cut the waistband of one pair of black ones and that's what she wears every single day. when it's time to wash them she has nothing else to wear, so she just doesn't wash them. my formerly fastidious mother says, "oh.? do you wash pants?"


the other day i discovered she's snipped the waist of her underpants, too. all of them.

but i guess there's nothin' to worry about really. i mean, any day now i'm sure she'll give birth and then all those 14s and 16s will be back in service again. right? (please tell me i'm right.)

i know you've heard it before: i am not a shopper. so it seemed like a pretty big deal, to me at least, to go to a department store and shop for ladies pants. i came back with every style and color from size 18 to 24 they had. mom was confused as to why she was being asked to try on 8 billion pairs of pants, but she did it. an hour later i was proud of both of us and she had 2 new pairs of pants thet fit her. in the waist, that is. they were still 6" too long. one was made of cotton and had to be washed before being hemmed...

unfortunately, somewhere in "the land of the missing laundry sock" now walks a size 20 pair of lady's pants. i kid you not. gone. poof. just flat disappeared.

no problem. still got the other new ones. she tries 'em on for me to mark the hem for length...
"these are too tight in the waist."
"what!? no way! they fit fine last week." (i'm tellin' ya, she's gotta be preggers.)
"i'll just cut a slit in the waist. that's what i always do."
"no, mom. you're NOT cutting those pants. i'll just go shopping again."

to be continued...panties and all.
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define irony.

of course mom's unable to understand why the elevators are keyed ("i should know that code by now." yeah, riiight...), why she needs an escort to go anywhere, and doesn't remember her dining room is not still downstairs (she's been going to this one 3 times a day for meals and at least once more for some activity or another for 6 months). she has no idea how to get to any of the places we go to downstairs several times a week. she can get lost just thinking about leaving her room, but she still can't get over how dumb it was to have been talked out of having a car. when i came home from austin last week she got a little perturbed, saying, "i'd like to go to austin. if i had my car i'd just drive myself."

now, that's a SCARY thought...

we were sitting on the couch in the 4th floor lobby the other day when Oleta wandered by again. up and down the hallway she walks, always carrying her baby doll close to her chest, often carrying a few random objects she's pilferred on her never ending trek.
i think she's cute. mom thinks she's weird. the truth is she just has alzheimer's.

anyway, Oleta came over and stood behind the couch. we turned to look at her, saying hello. she started speaking unintelligbly, but with apparent purpose. it sounded like she was sharing something important, secret, almost wise - but only in tone. the words weren't exactly gibberish, but they were incoherent and disjointed. mom and i looked at each other bewildered. Oleta walked away.

a slight smile crossed mom's face and she said, "i'm not so sure she should be wandering around."

i smiled back, "oh, i think she's safe here, but i'm sure glad she doesn't have a car."

mom laughed uproariously and said, "now THAT'S a scary thought!"

p.s. if that's not ironic to you, how 'bout this one:
yesterday was martin luther king's birthday. here at vickery towers the evening program was "a tribute to the king." yep, you guessed was all about that other king. elvis.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

thanks for the computer troubleshooting sugesstions annie, joanne, rick (are you the rick who comments on the xword blogs?) and ld, but i'm afraid my computer is toast.

i still hope to someday be able to retrieve at least some of the over 6000 pictures and some of the several dozen word docs of stories and snippets of stories i've written.

probably a third of the photos are irreplacable, having been taken by myself, family or friends. a few dozen more were tediously removed from old (real old) family frames or culled from messy boxes full of old family photos and then scanned. the rest were all just pics i've collected off of the interwebs over the last few years. i'm kicking myself now for not at least using the picassa feature that allows you to post photos to a website. DOH!

the word docs were the few i felt were too good to trash the last time i purged my various attempts at writing fiction. no great loss, but it still hurts.

ah well...maybe the dreaded BSOD is tryin' to tell me to get out in the real world for a change. ya think?

(that image is one i got off the web. i have no idea what the specific whatevers were in the one i actually received.)

more rambles after the jump...

speaking of real people as opposed to cyberpeople, i might have to break down and call an old girlfriend. no, it's not what you're thinkin'. get your mind outta the gutter. she plays in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and back when we were together i had free tickets to all of their concerts. i just read that tonight the DSO is adding a guitar and vocals to present "The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Music Symphony."
having missed the historic one-night reunion last month (i betcha you did, too), i'm kinda tempted to make that phonecall.

check out this review to find out more:

"Unfortunately, this preview isn't about a last-minute booking of the mighty Led Zeppelin mere weeks after its triumphant reunion gig in London. Still, if that event had you licking your lips for more from one of history's most important rock bands, this gig is for you. "The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony" isn't strictly a rock show, though; it's 18 of Zep's classics performed Trans-Siberian Orchestra-style with a 50-piece ensemble ( drawn from our own Dallas Symphony); a sultry female lead violin player (Allegra, a Trans-Siberian Orchestra veteran); and pedigreed stand-ins on guitar and vocals (Randy Jackson of underrated 1980s rock trio Zebra, which got its start in New Orleans in the late 1970s playing Zep and Rush covers). Would Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones approve of arranger-conductor Brent Havens' treatment of, say, "Immigrant Song," during which the French horns mirror Mr. Jackson's alto wailing as the violins follow along in a higher octave? Perhaps. No, it won't be like the historic Dec. 10 performance at O2 Arena, much less one of Led Zeppelin's legendary 1970s concerts. But it'll still be powerful."

why not just go buy a ticket, you ask? hahahaha. same reason i'm not gonna *just go out and buy* a new computer, silly.
in the meantime i'll see how long and i can get away with using this public computer at mom's residence. i'll blog a mom post later, but right now i'm feeling a little paranoid about being on it for so long. i'd like to try to catch up on some of y'alls' blogs, too...ok, the security guy just came in as i was typing those words. he didn't say anything, but gave me a funny look. maybe it's ok. we'll see.

oh & one last comment:
WELCOME BACK jon stewart and stephen colbert! i thought they were both hilarious last night. Read more!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

where is my magic wand?

dangnabit, i seem to have misplaced it.

if you can find a recording of Eva Cassidy singing this song, i dare say you'll be glad you did.

i'm at the public computer at VT where mom lives right now. sunday afternoon.
when i got home from austin last night i checked 2 or 3 blogs and then started this one about the song, "Oh Had I a Golden Thread." as i was searching for a video of the eva cassidy version my computer freaked out. blue screen with a warning to restart my computer to avoid further damage. yikes!

well, all i could do was shut it off completely as the mouse/keyboard didn't even function. when i turned it on again all i got was a red and white Compaq screen with something like this at the bottom: "esc=boot" (or something) and "F1=set up" (i think). needless to say, still no keyboard function. anyone have any suggestions?
no computer=no good in my book

how ironic is the title to this post considering my ornery computer? the craziest part is, i can't even remember what i was wishing for a magic wand or golden thread FOR.

i'll still have occassional access to this computer, but...what a bummer.

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread

Oh, Had I a Golden Thread
(Pete Seeger)

Oh, had I a golden thread
And needle so fine
I've weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

In it I'd weave the bravery
Of women giving birth,
In it I would weave the innocence
Of children over all the earth,
Children of all earth.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
Through foreign cities,
To every single land,
To every land.

Show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design,
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind,
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
To every human being
So they would understand,
So they'd understand.

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1958)
(c) 1959 by Stormking Music Inc.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

less is more

i love it. in spite of myself, that non-post broke this silly blog's all time record for hits and comments. holy moses. go figger.
in the meantime so much has happened i have no idea where to start. heck, i can't even remember where or when i left off. maybe i should just begin with today and work backwards and then see what comes out.

t'day i checked my email for the 1st time in a while. lo and behold, i found 3 from the lovely josephine. apparently she lurked through the blog and found one she'd missed and then sent me a couple of cool youtube music videos she knew i'd like.

here ya go. check this one out. (john prine and iris demment singin' *in spite of ourselves*...

(psst. did i say thank you for all the comments and encouragement while i've been on hiatus? no?
well that won't do..."thanks friends.")
maybe i'll include the other video the most beautiful josephine sent me after i try to sketch out the last few days. then again, you know me...maybe i won't.

- last sunday my daughter, the forementioned, most premium and lovely josephine, and i, bid adieu to dallas and hit the road.

- we've been 6 days so far in austin, texas. my brother and his family live here. my sister, reen, too. she lives in the little house out behind theirs.

- new years eve day i went downtown with brother luke and his wife and kiddo to a really fun festival. (i'd bore you with a boatload of pictures, but this is tough. it takes me long enough to figure that stuff out on my own dang computer.) so anyway, my favorite thing was the web all us thousands of people wove from multicolored yarns and then added our hopes and dreams to on little 3x5 cards attached to our own individual strands. my wish simply read, "reen is healed."
if the photo posted, realize you're only seeing a fourth or less of it. it was truly awesome.

- there was street art in the making -- bein' made by us attendees. there were old lady dance teams and younger than i am acting troups. there was lots of live music. at one point we stopped to listen and before i recognized the song in their kid-friendly show, i recognized the faces of the musicians! it was none other than... the Asylum Street Spankers! i'd never seen 'em live before. i felt lucky to be in that place and time. (check out the song on OTIS' page to hear the asylum's kid-friendly booger song....)

- i only made a fool of myself once on new years eve. (well, i think it was only once.)

- at some point my sister, lynn anne the magnificent, showed up. and then the incomparably beautiful josephine's boyfriend arrived with his dog clementine in tow.

- mumblecrust started writin' again. he may post some of it on the mosaicist's blog. it's all hand written though. pen and paper, ya know. no secretary. no dictaphone or typin' skills either. but i'll tell ya one thing right now; it's good stuff. i read it.

-seems we had a family meltdown at some point in there. no details t' share with you other than t' say, "if all else fails, try yer best t' Understand one another. and don't never, ever be too shy or too ig-nernt to NOT offer *doghouse roses.*

-as the john prine song at the beginning of this says, "in spite of ouselves...against all odds... we're the big door prize."

- i think it was yesterday that i took my sisters to see the dr. seuss exhibit at a local gallery i really like. {it's a little known fact: one of my favorite things about austin, tx is that permanent exhibit at *art on 5th*. [my other favorites are my family (family rocks), the gagillion hole-in-the-wall restaurants, my brother's cooking, and triple elipses.]} anyway, did you know that theodore geisel, aka dr. seuss, had a whole private collection of drawings, paintings and SCULPTURES of the fantastic imaginary world we all know from his books? well here's another hollow promise directly from me to you; one o' these days i'll blog about it. maay-be...

- today was spent watching the sun rise, coffee drinking/crossword solving, 4 hours in the hospital with the 2 greatest sisters in the world for reen's *minor procedure*, more shopping than i've prob'ly done in a lifetime, with those same 2 people...and it's all been more than worth it.

-i'll head back to big d pretty soon i suppose. i'd much rather just stay here, though.

oh &, what was that other video the lovely jtb sent me? (you thought i forgot, didn't you?)
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