Showing 1 - 10 of 258 posts found matching keyword: family

About a week ago, I took the boys for our usual walkies. It was unusually blustery, and I stopped to check the weather radar on my phone. At exactly that moment, a golf carts drove by.

Despite the fact that we live just across the highway from our local country club, golf carts used to be rare in my neighborhood. Back when I started walking the girls, there were only two carts on my street. The gas-powered one belonged to the people who teach horseback riding and use the cart to ride along the street and collect the horse droppings, like a motorized version of the street sweeper at the end of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. I only saw the batter-powered one occasionally when the kids got bored and took it for joyrides, doing donuts in their yard.

(Side note: I personally don't think golf carts are more fun than watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I doubt those kids have ever seen it. Back in the day, there really wasn't that much to watch or that many channels to watch them on, so everyone knew everything on television, making pop culture references the coin of the realm. You made friends in school by quoting reruns of shows that had been first runs for our parents' generation: Leave it to Beaver or Gilligan's Island or Monty Python's Flying Circus. I have no idea what tweens watch these days after school, but if I threatened a kid today with a loaded banana, they'd think I was brain damaged.)

There are lots of golf carts in the 'hood now. The boys love 'em. They go crazy when they see one. I don't know why. So long as I've had the boys, they've never been within five feet of a golf cart. A golf cart has never brought them a treat. But I guess they do drive by slower than cars, making them easier to chase, and the ones in my neighborhood often have other dogs on board, making the chase worthwhile.

Anyway, as I was saying, the golf cart drove by while I was half paying attention, and Henry and Louis went berserk, and their leashes damn near pulled off the fingernail on my left index finger. Not totally. It just bent it back halfway. It hurt a lot the first few days, but it's gotten better. Or at least I thought it was getting better. I showed it to Mom earlier today, and she nearly swooned. So maybe not all better. I'm just taking it one day at a time. (Boy, that Schneider was a card.)

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I've been so tired all day. I can barely keep my eyes open, but I've had to run a bunch of errands and I had a meeting, and every time I've tried to take a nap in between, Henry has demanded something new: outside, walkies, dinner. Why are we supposed to let sleeping dogs lie if they won't return the favor?

I'm just not getting enough sleep. On Monday, Mom woke me early to pick up Audrey, who I was dog sitting. On Tuesday, I had to get up early to take Louis to the vet to have the lump on his back inspected. Today, Dad woke me up early when he called in a panic because the installer of his new washing machine could not attach it to the hot water line as plumbed.

I swear, it's getting to where a fellow just can't sleep until 2PM anymore.

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Google has added an "AI Overview" to the top of its search results, and I don't like it. It's not that I don't like having a quick response for queries likes "define calumnies" or "weather radar newnan ga," it's that I don't trust the AI's fact checking abilities yet. And I especially don't like any response that starts "According to a Facebook post,...".

In my high school history classes, when I wasn't being told that I would fail Georgia's statewide standardized tests if I didn't say that the South fought the Civil War over "States Rights," I was taught to consult primary sources for accurate answers. (In hindsight, I'm sure this was the teacher's way of telling me the whole "States Rights" thing was bullshit, but we didn't have easy access to actual historical transcripts of the South Carolina Declaration of Secession in the days before the Internet.)

I've played around with Chat GPT enough to know that it is less reliable than a Wikipedia page. So when I already have to Google at least 6 different variations of "lg washer inlet valve" to find the correct replacement part number, I'm not inclined to believe whatever word salad response the AI scrapes from untrustworthy websites in response to even my casual queries asking for things like "children's television hosts atlanta 1950s 60s" or "who wrote transformers tv episodes."

I know that I'm in the minority here. I don't like explainer YouTube or TikTok videos, either. I happen to enjoy research. I grew up with libraries and printed periodicals, and I can read pretty quickly. Just give me a list of links, Google, and let me do the hard work of finding the right answers. I'd much rather have open questions than wrong answers.

If I have to get my mother to fact check all of Google's responses, I might as well start my own website called Ask My Mom. I don't want to have to do that if I can avoid it. Mom's smart, but there are definitely some queries I'd just never ask her, if you know what I mean. (I'm looking at you, "dua lipa acm awards dress.")

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Three things:

Thing One: Coca-Cola's summer promotion involves decorating their cans and bottles with pictures of Marvel Comics super heroes. I bought a 24 pack expecting an assortment of heroes, but no, all 24 cans were the same picture of Electra. Very disappointing. I've now drunk more cans of Coca-Cola with Electra's picture on them than I have bought comic books with Electra pictured in them. Meanwhile, my aunt bought me a 20-oz bottle of Coke Classic because she saw a picture on it of some guy in tights on it and thought I would like it even though she had no idea who it was or which characters I liked. It was Wolverine. To be fair to my aunt, even though I haven't bought a single Wolverine comic in decades, I have definitely bought more Wolverine comics in my lifetime than I have bought Elektra comics.

Thing Two: When I composed this post in my head while walking the dogs, I knew there were three things. However, I don't currently remember what thing two is. Give me a minute. I'll come back to this one.

Thing Three: I wore a kilt for the first time yesterday. I'd been saying for years that I was going to shop for one at the annual Georgia Renaissance Fair, but haven't, in part because it seems a little like cultural appropriation to me, even though Mom can trace her (and therefore mine) very WASPy ancestry well back to Scottish Clan Napier in the 18th century. I ended up buying one online, a modern cotton twill utility kilt instead of the traditional wool tartan because the whole point of wearing one was to stay cooler in the long Georgia summer. To my surprise, I liked it. I liked it a lot, especially while walking the dogs. I might buy another.

Thing Two Again: Hmm. I recently broke a part on our washing machine, but I don't think that was it. And my car was in the shop again, but that's not it either. Shit. What was I going to say here?

You know what? Never mind. It couldn't have been that important. So just two things, then.

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My father is enthusiastically following all the news stories about American college campus protests against Israel's ongoing campaign against Gaza. I'm not sure what the appeal of that story is for him other than the fact that's what Fox News is broadcasting all day to distract its viewers from the ongoing trial of The People of the State of New York v. some guy who used to be president. (According to Dad, those damn Yankees are being very unfair to that nice, smart man.)

When I think of college protests, the first thing that comes to mind are the protesters who stood just outside The Arch of my (not particularly liberal) college campus decrying Bush Junior's invasion of Iraq in 2003. I seem to recall no one was particularly kind to them at the time, the prevailing general sentiment being "how dare they stand up for those bastards after what they did on 9/11." To hear the locals talk about it, the only rational explanation for the protesters' behavior was that they hated America.

That's my father's stance on pretty much all protests. To hear him complain about Colin Kaepernick kneeling or Occupy Wall Street, there's nothing less American than protesting. (To be fair, he thinks events in, outside, and around the Capitol on January 6 were also wrong; he just thinks that unjustly persecuted fellow facing a kangaroo court in New York didn't have anything directly to do with them.)

I hate to be inconvenienced as much as the next guy, but I respect nonviolent, peaceful acts of civil disobedience in the style of Gandhi and MLK, even when I'm not particularly sympathetic to the protesters' cause, like that guy who stands on Gillis Bridge overlooking Sanford Stadium on game days yelling through a bullhorn that everyone in the crowd is going to Hell for worshipping a football instead of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, you've got to do what it takes to make people aware of your opinion.

It would be great if the kids camping on their college quads could restrain themselves from graffiti and spitting in the faces of the men who have come to arrest them, but it would also be great if Arabs and Jews could find a way to stop indiscriminately killing one another in ever increasing numbers. As Dad tells me a great man once said, "there are very fine people on both sides."

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As is usual this time of year, our power went out in yesterday's storm at 10:12PM. The first notice from the power company estimated a restoration by 1:15AM. After they missed that deadline, they said 4:30. Then they said 6:30. They did finally get it back on... at 11:30AM.

I get it; they were busy. It was a blustery night, after all. And mine was the only outage in my county, whereas there were many counties to my north fairing much, much worse. But if you know you're going to be busy helping others, can you at least give me better estimates, Georgia Power?

I've gotten used to these sorts of long-duration springtime power outages over the years. What made this one a little more annoying than usual was that I had just made the mistake of putting all my pillowcases in the washing machine just before the power failure, so I didn't have any pillows to sleep on during the long, dark night. (You don't think I'm going to put my head on a pillow without a case, do you? Ye, gods!)

Dad said that the lesson I should take away from this experience is that from now on, I should never wash all of my pillowcases in one load. I hate to say it, but he's probably right.

Don't expect me to say that again, Dad.

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Today Mom declared that she had finally tired of our single Halloween decoration, so I moved it outside into the seasonally-appropriate shamrock patch.

Mom's sister gave us that pumpkin the first week in October because she liked the stem. I admit, it is handsome.

Rot in peace, uncarved 2023 pumpkin.

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As you can tell from the following numbering, we've rolled into a new year of movies!

1/2312. Fear of a Black Hat (1993)
I thought I'd seen this mockumentary years ago, but surely I would have remembered something this funny. This hews closely to the template laid down by Spinal Tap, but the song parodies and attacks on hip hop stereotypes make it fresh and unique.

2/2313. Where Danger Lives (1950)
I'm not going to lie, this title brought back no memories, so I had to look it up on imdb to refresh my memory. I know now why I forgot it. (Doctor Robert Mitchum falls for an insane patient!) The irony of my failing memory is that just yesterday I was thinking about Claude Rains' ridiculously small part herein as an accused abusive husband. When you only remember what a movie got wrong... well, that's your capsule review.

3/2314. You Can't Take It with You (1938)
If I'm so irritated by Frank Capra's trademark too-happy-to-be-possible endings, why do I keep watching his films? In this case, it was to see a Jimmy Stewart film I hadn't yet seen. And now I have. Bonus: appearance of Spring Byington, who is for my mother what Agnes Moorehead is for me, e.g. an actress we're always delighted to bump into in an unexpected supporting role.

4/2315. The Youngest Profession (1943)
This family melodrama in the "Andy Hardy" vein is about a girl autograph hound who thinks her father is cheating on her mother because of the evil machinations of... Agnes Moorehead! Seriously, I didn't know Moorehead was in this when I set my DVR to record it. No, that was because the poster promised me William Powell, who has one line at the very, very end of the movie. Still worth the wait. William Powell is the best.

5/2316. Barbie (2023)
Mom bought the DVD for herself for Christmas, and we watched it together. She was lukewarm -- it wasn't really to her taste -- but I had a blast. Greta Gerwig wins again! I've watched it twice more since. Honestly, my favorite part is that Ken was nominated for the Academy Award but not Barbie, which is exactly the very sharp point of the entire film. I hope he wins.

More to come.

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With football season over, one of the things I've been listening to while walking the dogs is the "Family Trips with the Meyers Brothers" podcast in which brothers Seth and Josh Meyers talk to their many, many celebrity friends about (surprise, surprise) trips they've taken with their families.

Yes, I have been very dismissive of podcasts in the past. And yes, I concede that listening to people I don't know talk about their fancy globetrotting is not always quite as endearing as they might think it is. But sometimes I need something in my ears between Louis' rabid barking at passing joggers, and this fits that bill.

Anyway, the point here isn't an endorsement of podcasting (or your judgement of my pastimes), but that I wanted to mention that apparently I have more in common with Seth Meyers than I previously realized.1

By way of explaining why his family calls him "Soofie," he mentioned that as a bookish youth in the 1980s, he frequently dressed in Ocean Pacific apparel when it was at the zenith of its popularity. Seth is only very slightly older than I am, so he was probably wearing OP t-shirts and board shorts in Connecticut about the same time I was in Georgia. I don't know what excuse Seth had for dressing like a fashion victim, but my attire came from my aunt, whom I believe worked sales for OP at the Atlanta Apparel Mart and had samples to spare.

As a result of Seth's beach bum wardrobe, it seems his Yankee friends called nicknamed him "Surfie" (eventually mangled into "Soofie"). Meanwhile, I was saddled with the Mayberry-eque "Opie." On what I am sure is a completely unrelated note, Seth appears to still talk to his childhood friends whereas I definitely do not.

And now, three-and-a-half decades removed from that childhood trauma, Seth's a famous comedian with his own talk show and podcast. And I have a blog! We're like twins!2

1 The Venn diagram intersection between us previously contained only "Caucasian American male," which, frankly, isn't all that exclusionary.

2 Of the Schwarzenegger / DeVito variety; I believe they're called "infernal" twins.

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Mom came down with a 24-hour stomach virus on Thursday. She's feeling much better today, but they say these things can continue to be contagious for a week or more, so I've been mostly hiding in the basement.

Will it work? Or will I be puking my guts out within the next few days? I think the anxiety might be worse than the illness; Mom assures me it's not.

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To be continued...

 

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