Showing 1 - 10 of 50 posts found matching keyword: dad
One week ago today, a small wildfire approached my father's house in Fountain, Florida. (It's an ironic name in hindsight.) The fire ignited several bales of hay he had just that morning stored in his pole barn. The barn stood no more than 20 yards from his house and no more than 100 yards from the entrance to his cattle pen. Naturally, Dad called the fire department then jumped into action with a garden hose.
How's that for the start of a dramatic story? I'll go ahead and tell you up front that the fire department put out the fire, and the house was saved. That's not what this blog post is about.
I wasn't there at the time, but as I hear it, armed agents of the Bay County Emergency Department arrived before the fire trucks did. And the officers, rather than jump in and help, ordered Dad to put down his hose and let the fire burn. I'll give them the benefit of doubt and assume that they wanted to "protect" Dad, not "serve" the fire. Dad didn't see it that way. He had called for help to extinguish the flames not for a group of spectators to the destruction of his property. So he refused to comply.
You can see where this is going now, can't you?
When father, who moved to middle-of-nowhere Florida to get away from authority figures, said he wouldn't put his hose down until the firemen arrived, the police attempted to arrest him. Note the use of the word "attempted" in the previous sentence. Dad didn't make it easy for them. For what it's worth, I'm led to believe no actual punches were thrown, but there was certainly something of a scuffle as the police tried to drag a 72-year-old man away from a fire.
Personally, I think Dad's reaction was understandable. After all, he believed his property and his livelihood was being threatened. Understandable, I say, but also unwise. Sometimes your best option is to let the world burn.
When the Bay County fire department finally arrived, Dad was unable to see it. He was sitting far away, handcuffed, in the back of a police cruiser. And he stayed in the back of that police cruiser for the five or so hours it took them to put the fire out. (I should say put it *mostly* out. It would flare up again the next day on the neighbor's property and the fire department would be called back to complete the job.)
As I already said, the house was fine. The animals were fine. And Dad was released from the police car eventually and allowed to go home where he was now, presumably, safe. An inconvenience, sure, but at least a happy ending. Right? Wrong.
Four days later, the Bay County Sheriff's Department returned and served a warrant their fellow officer had sworn out against my father for the crimes of Preventing or Obstructing Extinguishment of Fire (Florida Code Chapter 806.10) and Resisting Arrest with Violence (843.01), both Third Degree Felonies. They served the warrant one hour after court closed for the day, ensuring he would spend at least one night in jail until bond could be set the next afternoon. What nice guys, I say sarcastically.
Dad is now home — again — after paying a non-refundable 10% of the $6,500 bond to a bail bondsman. He's facing considerably more in lawyers fees to argue against a 10 year prison sentence. All because he panicked when the cops he didn't call demanded that he not try to save his own house from a wildfire.
If there's a lesson here, it's don't ask for help in Bay County, Florida. Either way, you're going to get burned.
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In 2005, I watched Super Bowl 39 between the Eagles and Patriots at my father's house in Buford, Georgia, with my father and brother on Dad's large (26") CRT TV. We were cheering for the Eagles because they were Trey's favorite team (and, so far as I know, still are).
I don't recall feeling much drama in that game. I was confident that the Patriots would find a way to repeat as Super Bowl champions. (This would be their 3rd win in 4 years.) After the game, Trey claimed that he also expected the loss to the reigning champions, and that it didn't bother him to come so close to winning a Super Bowl only to lose to a great team.
I think he was lying.
Tonight, in the Super Bowl 52 rematch, the Eagles were finally the better team. Congratulations, Trey. You don't have to lie anymore.
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Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.
167. (1226.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
I asked Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday yesterday, and to my horror he said "I want to see Star Wars." So I took him to see it. (A child's job is never done.) Dad may not be, but I'm getting too old for this shit.
The original Star Wars wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but neither was it insulting. By comparison, The Last Jedi begs its audience to forget everything it knows about science and society, physics and psychology. I guess that's why it's marketed as a kid's movie — a kid's movie supersaturated with graphic violence, copious death, and a PG-13 rating. Say, if you're going to remake Empire Strikes Back, can you at least keep it under 2.5 hours, please? Sorry, but I can't suspend my disbelief long enough for this level of stupidity anymore.
Ugh. Every time I think about it, I find something new to irritate me. Unjustifiably incompetent Hux. Edsel bumper Phasma. Smug cartoon Snoke. Topless emo Kylo Ren. Horny Rey. Pointless Finn. Stalker Rose. Traitorous mass murderer Po. Atmosphere in space. Gravity-assisted bombers. Belated use of indefensible hyperspace missiles. Not enough Threepio! Aargh!
Was it all bad? No. Mark Hamill steals every scene he's in as Mirror Universe Luke Skywalker. Dead Yoda is the best Yoda. And I particularly enjoyed Benicio Del Toro's parting "maybe." But then how did Del Toro's DJ know the crucial piece of information that led there? Damn it! It's impossible to even praise this movie without tripping into another of its innumerable flaws.
There were parts where I think I could see where director Rian Johnson wanted to take the movie's theme of loss and transcendence. These themes would sit much better in the third act of a trilogy than the second, so why here and now? How much of a role did Disney's executives play in distorting that vision to keep its golden goose laying? I don't know. At this point, I don't care.
The worst of it is that I'm afraid this isn't the last Star Wars film I'll have to see. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to me being in the theater for whatever dreck Disney cranks out next Christmas. Let the past die, Dad!
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For no good reason, I bought a Wilton gingerbread house kit from Michaels earlier this month with the plan that Mom and I would build it together. That plan was somewhat spoiled when my father interrupted our house raising. (He needed tech support for the Kindle I bought him last Christmas that he just now decided to activate for the first time.) Mom went to bed while I was on the phone, and I finished our house without her.
We went shopping for a do-over replacement kit, but Michaels was sold out. Rather than give up, I doubled down. I found a recipe and made enough gingerbread for two more houses, one for Mom to decorate and one for me. (No tech support call could defeat this plan!)
In the photo above, the shared kit house is on the left with the rainbow roof. Mom's greenhouse is in the middle. My sloppy icicle house is on the right.
For my standalone house, I decided I was only going to use candy accessories that I would eat. Turns out, I don't like the taste of rainbows. Who knew?
Though I'm reasonably satisfied with the final results, the best part wasn't decorating but baking the gingerbread. (The house smelled so good!) Therefore, next year I think we'll just decorate homemade gingerbread men. And we'll turn off our cellphones, just in case.
In 1977, my father took me to see Star Wars after he had already seen it once. He loved it and wanted me to love it too. I don't remember anything about that experience. I was only 2. However, we did have a VCR — it was huge with faux wood paneling — and I would watch the movie over and over and over again in the years following. We also recorded and rewatched the infamous Holiday Special.
In 1981, my father took me to see Empire Strikes Back in a theater after it had been playing a few weeks. I can't tell you exactly where. All I remember was that it had red walls in the lobby. Though at the time I was disappointed by the cliffhanger ending, I wasn't disappointed enough not to love all the cool new toys. Not long afterwards, my brother accidentally decapitated my original black-vested Han Solo figure, and my parents replaced him with a Han in Hoth gear. What a downgrade. (I retaliated by running over Trey's sensorscope R2-D2 with my bicycle.)
In 1983, my friend Greg Owens saw Return of the Jedi before I did. He complained the movie had too many purple-lipped talking dogs in it. Their catchphrase, Greg said, was "Eat your momma." When I finally saw it (again with my family, again theater unknown though probably in Stone Mountain, GA), his review was borne out. By Christmas, I had all the available Ewok action figures and a Wicket doll.
In 1999, I saw The Phantom Menace at the new Hollywood 24 theater in Atlanta with friends. The movie was fine enough — in fact I think I continue to like it more than many — but I was disappointed by how many people I spoke to seemed to love it for what they put into it, not what it was. Darth Maul, like Boba Fett before him, particularly irked me. Fans decided he was cool because he looked cool. Their love was for a thing they had created in their heads, not a character that had appeared on screen. This realization that fans loved the franchise not for what it was but for what they wanted it to be was the beginning of the end of my love affair with Star Wars. I have a hard time associating with people who worship style over substance.
In 2002, I watched Attack of the Clones at the United Artists Scottsdale Pavilions theater in Arizona with my brother. We both agreed the movie was terrible. Bad acting, worse writing. Between the forced romance and that CGI Artoo video game sequence, this film is almost unwatchable. I distinctly remember saying that the only reason anyone should pay money to see such a thing was to get out of the desert sun.
In 2005, I have no memory of watching Revenge of the Sith. My friend Keith has told me he remembers my laughter at the final reveal of Darth Vader, so I assume I watched it in Atlanta, presumably back at the Hollywood 24. It was awful. How could any so-called fans of the older Star Wars films still love this franchise after old Ben Kenobi was revealed as the kind of man who turned his back on his friends and his responsibilities, "master" Yoda was an isolationist failure, or Vader himself was a tantrum-throwing idiot? Weren't these supposed to be kids movies? Yuck! If this was the Star Wars Universe, I wanted no more part of it.
In 2015, I watched The Force Awakens at some theater on the north side of Atlanta with reserved seating in recliners that kept my feet from touching the ground. I didn't want to see it, but I'd made the mistake of saying I'd watch it if they found a way to bring Han Solo back. They did. I watched. I found it an insulting exercise in nostalgia. (Hey, guys, let's forget all that prequel nonsense. Remember what you liked about Star Wars? Here it is again!) It's now the highest grossing film of all time.
In 2016, I watched Rogue One at Regal Cinemas 11 in Panama City, Florida. It was my father's birthday present. It was a bad present. The movie was yet another excuse for brand reinforcement, a short story intended to fill gaps in the original Star Wars backstory with stereotypical yet well-costumed characters that would make good action figures.
In 2017, Disney released The Last Jedi. A new one already? As if I wasn't burnt out enough. I hear it's different. I hear this one will change everything I've ever thought about Star Wars. I feel like I've heard that before. Maybe I'll see it one day when it comes on television. Maybe. I'm not in any hurry anymore.
Another year in the books!
Today's Kentucky/UGA football game was the last home game for outgoing seniors Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, who combined for 238 yards and 5 touchdowns on the way to a 42-13 win.
(It wasn't really as close as the lopsided score indicates. By the end of the game, Kentucky players were gassed, and Georgia's second line of running backs kept gashing them. UGA had 381 rushing yards overall on the day.)
The win doesn't exactly make up for last week's collapse at Auburn, but it does inspire confidence going forward to Georgia Tech and the SEC Championship. Go Dawgs!
Transcript of actual telephone conversation between father and son:
I'm just calling to remind you that Battle Bots is coming on television tonight on the Science Channel.
I did not know that. I don't get the Science Channel.
Of course you do. You've seen Battle Bots before.
Yes, I have. And I liked it. But it didn't used to come on the Science Channel.
Do you get the National Geographic Channel?
The Science Channel is right next to that.
I don't have the same cable provider you do. We're not even in the same state.
Science Channel is 244 on DirecTV.
I don't have DirecTV.
Oh, well. I was just trying to help. You know intention is what counts.
Are you saying that if the son of the President of the United States intended to collude with Russia, he's guilty even if he didn't successfully collude with Russia?
Well, Hillary Clinton —
What does Hillary Clinton have to do with any of this?
What can I say? Some people are brainwashed.
. . .
One of the two of us should be committed. I'm still not sure which.
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If you post on the Internet enough, you'll eventually attract the occasional negative comment. Check out these gems left here on Wriphe.com in the past week:
RE: 2012-12-26 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 09:22:59 PM
"Just Mom and me" speaks volumes about your existence.
RE: 2012-12-08 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 09:35:29 PM
Re-read this post and ask yourself why Trey, and I, am no longer a part of your Mom's life. What 42 year old man says to his mother, upon hearing she is going to be married, "I guess you are choosing him over me." Maybe a 10 year old. You said essentially the same thing about Trey's fiancé, "I resented her taking my time away from my brother." In neither case was there any expression of happiness and joy for your mother or your brother. For you, it was all about you. Sad. Really sad. Grow up.
RE: 2015-08-29 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 10:10:42 PM
You say that "Mom and I" attended a Newnan High School football game, accompanied by " her friend Bill." In fact, Nevelle and I made plans to attend the game, and, as we were leaving the house, she asked if you wanted to go WITH US. Again, it's all about you and your needy relationship with your mother. Grow up. Be an adult. Look in the mirror. Do you like what you see?
You'll see from the timestamp that those were all posted on one night. I was inclined to write the whole thing off as someone going on a bender, but then this showed up a week later:
RE: 2017-06-22 Posted Jun. 27, 2017 at 09:05:11 PM
Nice restorative n project. Good work. But "your" garage? "Your" mud room? Dream on....
So it seems this is going to be a thing now.
Obviously, these weren't posted by a random stranger. It seems my mother has been dating an Internet troll.
While the best thing to do with trolls is ignore them, he does make a few great points that deserve repetition. I've never claimed to be anything other than an over-sized child. I have always been overly attached to my mother — my father blames me for destroying their marriage. And I am keenly aware that my me-first behavior is responsible for driving my only brother, formerly my best friend, out of my life. (Really, you don't know the half of what I've done to deserve that.) I'm a shitty person and most of my behavior is indefensible.
He's right about all that. But he's wrong about one thing:
RE: 2012-10-23 Posted Jun. 21, 2017 at 01:23:24 AM
There's a hundred bucks I'll never see again..
You never contributed $100 towards the Dungeon Delver project in 2012, Bill. That Kickstarter was cancelled about 2 days after we started it. You meant to complain about this 2015 Kickstarter project. And you're not the only one who lost money over that thing. I still haven't seen a penny return on it, either, and I assure you I spent way more than $100.
We're both losers, I guess.
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MentalFloss.com has compiled a list of the most distinct last names by state. That's the name that appears most often in each state compared to the frequency of that name nationally. Imagine my surprise to discover that the name associated with Georgia is Stephens.
The Internet Surname Database says that Stephens means "the son of Stephen" and derives from the Greek "Stephanos," meaning "crown." It claims the name was popular in the Middle Ages because it was the name of the first Christian martyr (St. Stephen, who was stoned to death).
Maybe that's all true. Maybe Georgia is full of Greek Catholics who were named after saints. However, that has nothing to do with my last name.
Sometime in the late 19th century, probably around 1875, my great-great grandmother Rosa and her four children traveled from Lebanon to America. U.S. customs officials apparently misunderstood (or didn't care) when she told them she had come to meet her husband, Stephen Basil. No one in the family ever changed it back, so the family name has been Stephens instead of Basil ever since.
For the record, Rosa was a practicing Catholic, and most of her descendants remain so. However, you can see that my name has nothing to do with Catholic martyrs. I wonder how many of Georgia's other Stephens are descendants of my great-great grandfather?
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"Am I interrupting you? What are you doing right now?" my father asked when I answered the telephone.
"Nothing important. I was just reading an article from Ezra Klein about why Hillary Clinton's private reputation is so good but the American public hates her," I said. "He calls it The Gap."
Dad laughed. "Of course they'd publish that now. They just can't believe that the American public could be right about something."
I said, "Your response indicates that you believe there's no point in ever investigating this reputation gap. Don't you think there's value in examining the difference in someone's public and private personas?"
"I'm open-minded, but it's just election year spin. If they really wanted to investigate that gap, they'd do it next year."
I shook my head, though dad couldn't see this through the phone. "This is the ideal time, from the news industry's point-of-view. Capitalize on everyone talking about her during the Democratic National Convention."
"Have you been watching? There's been open revolt from the Sanders supporters. This party is tearing itself apart. I haven't seen anything like this since McGovern in 1972."
"What about last week? A week ago today, delegates at the RNC tried to pass a resolution to end-run Trump. Is this so different?"
"That's not the same thing," Dad harrumphed. "These people are angry at a party leadership that openly schemed to give their preferred candidate the nomination."
"What's new about that? Isn't that what the Republicans did in 2012 with Romney? That's what parties do, manipulate things to get their choice candidates elected."
"It's not fair! It's against the rules!"
I remained unswayed. "What rules? American political parties can do whatever they want with their candidates."
Dad practically growled. "Well, since we're not talking about facts, and I can see I interrupted you, I'll just let you go." Click.
I admit that I edited that conversation from my memory of the telephone call, but I think both Dad and I come out looking better in my version than reality. (He refuses to admit his own bias — he wants to Make America Great Again® — and I'm intentionally argumentative. About everything.) Frankly, we behave better when we don't talk about politics. Or government. Or sports. Come to think of it, maybe we never behave better.
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