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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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Mother's Day means more Renaissance Festival. We went last year and had a good time. The weather was nice, so we went again this year. It's a tradition now. I suspect Christmas started much the same way.
Not much has changed. Just the important things.
See what this sign looked like last year here.
You could still see the imprint of the word "Coke" underneath the new vinyl letters. Was the festival no longer serving Coca-Cola products? What did they drink now? Pepsi? That's not the Renaissance. That's hell!
I shouldn't have worried. They still sell Coke. It is the Georgia Renaissance Festival, after all. What else are they going to sell? Dasani?
Maybe we'll find out next year. We have a tradition to keep now.
Mom dragged me out of bed Sunday to attend the 86th Cotton Pickin' Fair in Gay, Georgia. I was not enthusiastic about this.
Gay's twice-a-year Meriwether County "fair" is very similar to what Coweta County's Powers Crossroads Festival used to be, with arts and crafts vendors vying for attention and dollars. The Cotton Pickin' Fair supplements this with some antique dealers and a touch of history and civic pride. Bully for Gay! However, I wouldn't put it on my list of reasons to wake up early.
I've lived to be 41 years old without ever attending this semi-famous event. I wasn't interested in breaking that streak, but mothers never care about personal-best records. So one hour later, I was standing in front of a stage watching the Sole Momentum Cloggers and Rachel's Line Dancers amid the smells of cotton candy and barbecue.
We strolled through the fair for a few hours in perfect (unseasonably cool) weather. Mom bought a pair of carpenter bee traps, a $3 sausage biscuit, and a collar tag for Audrey's harness. I had a $5 helping of boiled peanuts from the Greenville Lions Club and a good time. Thanks, Mom!
In the end, the Cotton Pickin' Fair turned out to be way more fun than Mom's Saturday surprise: the "opportunity" to help pick-up and deliver two overstuffed sofas that she purchased at an estate sale. (The next person who tells me that I have it easy living in my mother's basement gets a punch in the teeth. Assuming I can raise my arms again by then.)
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to catch up on some sleep.
About a zillion posts ago, I posted a pic of my grandmother's newspaper wedding announcement. At the time, Cam asked for a pic of my grandfather to accompany it. Never let it be said that Walter doesn't follow through! (Eventually.)
Okay, I confess. That's not just my grandfather, and this certainly isn't his wedding photo. This is three generations of his family circa 1979. From left to right, that's my grandmother, my mother, Trey, my grandfather, and my aunt Kelley standing in the backyard of my grandparent's house. I still haven't identified the dapper little member of the Lollipop Guild in the front row.
(This reminds me of a true story: not too many years after this, I attended a Georgia State University initiative for "gifted" children on Saturday mornings. A local magazine ran an article on the class. I was mentioned, described as a snaggletoothed youngster who wore a fake watch. I cannot deny that I had snaggleteeth, but my Mickey Mouse watch worked just fine, thank you!)
I'm guessing that my father was the cameraman. He was big into photography back in the day. I have no idea why the family was framed so far to the right. That's bad composition technique. Visual scanning tendency in Western culture leads the eye naturally to the bottom right of an image, so you should balance the composition by keeping focus away from that edge. Sorry, Dad, but not everyone is cut out for art school.
Mom went out of town for the week and left me in care of her two-and-a-half-months-old puppy, Audrey, who has been conditioned to Mom's 9 to 5 schedule. I also work 9 to 5. However, my 9-5 is on the other side of the clock. As you can guess, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep.
As much as I love dogs, I'm not big on puppies. Audrey is no exception. She's cute and all, but I'm not sure it's worth the trade off in trouble. For example, the first thing she did on the first day Mom was out of town was start digging into a fire ant pile. I grabbed her and tried to brush off the ants. So far as I can tell, puppy went unscathed. I got bit. A lot.
While I was treating my wounds, puppy turned her demonic path of destruction on my geriatric poodle. July's no fan of puppy, but that never detours Audrey. She nips and nips and nips until July finds a safe hiding place. That day, there were no places safe from puppy. Through the use of either her needle sharp teeth or razor sharp claws, Audrey cut open the sebaceous cyst under July's right eye. I left the bathroom to find blood everywhere. The house looked like a war zone.
Since then, Audrey has spent a lot of time in her kennel.
Mom came back yesterday, which is good. If she'd waited much longer, there wouldn't have been much of a home to come back to. The little devil is her problem now.
Maybe because the United States government has devolved to a Marx Brothers comedy, it seems I've been watching more movies in 2017. Frankly, I think we can all use the distraction.
15. (1074.) Cannery Row (1982)
I'm no fan of Nick Nolte, but I still enjoyed his take on the stereotypical genius-hiding-from-the-terror-he-created. Even better was Debra Winger in the stereotypical part of the prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold. And keep your eyes peeled for the well-intentioned-but-dangerous-giant-retard! This feels too lighthearted to be an adaptation of a Steinbeck novel, but I still enjoyed it.
16. (1075.) A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
Seth MacFarlane has built a cottage industry on a very particular style of non sequitur nostalgia comedy. He tones it down a bit in this live-action western that strives to be a 21st-century Blazing Saddles. What can I say? I laughed.
17. (1076.) Brute Force (1947)
Burt Lancaster leads a prison break in this incredibly violent (but well named) film. It's a slow build, but totally worth it.
18. (1077.) Snowden (2016)
Mom said, "Let's see Snowden." I said, "I don't like Oliver Stone films." She said, "Tough." So we watched Snowden. It does go a bit too far out of its own way to deify the guy, but otherwise does a pretty good job of explaining what he did and why he felt it was necessary to do it. Why are men like Snowden treated like traitors while men like Trump are elected president?
19. (1078.) Storks (2016)
Mom said, "Let's see Storks." I said, "Sure." Now I know where babies come from. Thanks for nothing, 6th grade sex education class!
More to come.
Everyone say hello to Mom's new dog.
Audrey is an 8 week old Havanese parti-colored puppy. She already likes to chew and nap. If she grows to enjoy a glass of wine, she and Mom will be best friends forever.
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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