Wednesday, May 31, 2017
For several months I have been a part of a planning committee that is planning The Wheeler High School Class of '77 (Class Motto: "Gimme Three Steps, Gimme Three Steps, Mister") Forty Year Class Reunion.
Forty years. Boy, that sounded like a longer period of time back in 1977 than it does now.
Back in 1977, here's how backward we were.
We had to get up off our butts and change the channel on our TV. Yes, I said it, butts (in 1977, butts was a semi-cuss word.). In the Atlanta area, your choices were channels 2, 5, 11, and 17. If you were some kind of nerdish-hippie-pinko, you also had channel 8, which featured shows where everybody sounded British.
Chances are you found something to watch. It may have not been very good, like "Ironside" which was about a disabled chief of police in San Francisco who bore a strange resemblance to Perry Mason. Or you happened upon "Cannon" which was about a fat private detective who really didn't do too much except eat and kind of jog after the bad guys.
Back in 1977, your phone was on the wall at home and not in your pocket. People used to travel, believe it or not, without having a phone on them. People just assumed you would call when you got there.
Your phone at home was not a camera. Your camera was your camera and it used "film". Once the film was used, you took it to the drug store and the drug store would send the film off to be "developed". Most of these pictures you took were horrible. Out of focus, heads cut off.
If you did have a picture that was in focus with good lighting, someone always had their eyes closed.
Computers took up city blocks. The thought never crossed your mind that you would have a "personal" computer. Now, you can carry one around in your pocket.
In 1977, "vinyls" were called "records". "Records" were sold in "record stores". "Record stores" were all over the place and not just in Seattle. You did not know when your favorite band or singer was going to release a record unless you worked at the record store, which you didn't because a) you were not cool enough and/or b) you didn't take drugs.
Just imagine the excitement. Mom is at Penny's scoping out the latest fashion and you're at the record store and you see the just released "Captain and Tennille" album. Your month is made right there. (Of course, I'm joking. I would have never bought a Captain and Tennille album.)
Now I bought plenty of Neil Diamond records. Something about a Jewish guy from Brooklyn singing "L.A.'s fine the sunshines most of the time. And the feeling is lay back. Palm Trees grows, rents are low, but you know I keep thinking about making my way back" spoke to a pimply seventh-grade southerner. I blame my mom.
The music of the '70's taught me many things.
For instance, if you are running down the road and you're trying to loosen your load, it is good to have seven women on your mind. The two that want to own you. The two that want to stone you. The one that is your friend. This is important because you have to find a lover who won't blow your cover.
Facts are fact: our music was just better back then. Hands down. No contest. Our music didn't suck.
Until disco, of course. For that, we apologize.
Suck. There's another 70's cuss word except is was spelled "sux". You could get detention for saying "that sucks" in school. Your mother would have gladly come down to the school and sign a permission slip allowing the Assistant Principal (in my case Mr. Hipsher) to poke you with a cattle prod. ("Nah, ah'm gonna poek ewe wid dis here cattle prod and mahbay ewe want cuss no mo".)
Now you have a Carvana commercial which shows people singing and dancing about buying a car through Carvana and "it doesn't suck". Mr. Hipsher needs to poke them with a cattle prod.
Our plans with the reunion committee are coming along nicely, thank you.
We hope our fellow classmates will come, October 14 at The Marietta Conference and rock and roll all night. And we'll party every day.
In reality, we will party every other day. Okay, maybe we will party every other week.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
For those of you that don't live in the Atlanta area, there is a special election to fill the seat of former Representative current Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price. Aren't we lucky? We get to see all of the commercials!
The following is a transcript of my day in front of the TV Set trying to find something to watch.
"Hello, I'm Jon Ossoff. I'm running for the seat in whatever district this is to make a difference. Also a change. I'm willing to work with anyone, including all Democrats and maybe some of those stinky Republicans that want children to starve. I'm Jon Ossoff, and I approved this message because I want to make a difference. Also, a change."
"My name is Karen Handle and you have got to elect me to something, OK?! OMG, I lost to Nathan Deal who has the personality of a tree stump. OMG. Give me a break, will ya. I'm Karen Handle and I approved this message because-OMG- I need a break."
"Karen Handle has expensive tastes. She won't buy the store brands. NO! She has to buy the name brands. Karen Handle thinks she is sooooooooo much better than us. Paid for by the Committee That Thinks Karen Handle is Stuck Up."
"Jon Ossoff. He is about 14 years old and doesn't even have a driver's license. He's thinks he's so cool 'cause he made of movie. He's also is in an inappropriate intimate relationship with Nancy Pelosi. Doesn't that make your flesh crawl? Nancy Pelosi. Intimate relationship. Jon Ossoff. Doesn't it make you sick? Paid for by Georgians Against Nancy Pelosi Having Intimate Relationships With Skinny Young Men".
"While the state of Georgia was undergoing a budget crisis, Karen Handle was buying expensive chairs and lighting cigars with one hundred dollar bills given to her by the taxpayers. She was laughing with that awful laugh of hers, enjoying every second of wasting your hard earned taxpayer money. Karen Handle. My mother won't let me use the word that describes her".
"I'm Jon Ossoff and I'm sitting on a porch of a house that may or may not be in whatever district this is and I want to tell you my plan. 1) Buy a house in whatever district I represent in Congress. 2) Deal with the fraud and waste in government by telling the government not to waste money. I would tell people that want to defraud the government they can't do it. 3) Switch all government cell phones to Sprint."
"My name is Dr Gyno and I'm real concerned about Karen Handle because she wants to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. You can't argue with me because I'm a doctor. Also, I had breast cancer. Boo-Ya!"
"Jon Ossoff.Look at him. Has he worked a day in his life? Honestly?
"Karen Handle. The most dangerous place on earth is standing between Karen Handle and a box of donuts."
"Jon Ossoff not only watches 'Twin Peaks' but he enjoys and understands it. What a weirdo!"
"Karen Handle likes expensive cars so she can run over kittens. Is that the type of person we want in Washington? A kitten killer? Paid for by The People Against Kitten Killers in Congress"
"You know what Jon Ossoff needs? A good sock in the snoot to wipe that Georgetown smirk off of his face".
"Karen Handle. My God"
Sunday, May 14, 2017
When you marry somebody, you really do marry into their family.
For example, when Lori and I got married, she married into a family with an Uncle Jimmy. My Uncle Jimmy was a Dust Bowl survivor who somehow met and married my Aunt Elizabeth (who he called "Lizbeth"). He took a job in Atlanta, Georgia. He got a small house in Marietta. They had a son, James, Jr. (Sonny). World War II came and Uncle Jimmy went off to war. He came back and soon Jimmy, Elizabeth, and Sonny welcomed into the world, Linda and Brenda. Elizabeth's younger sister moved from Mississippi to Marietta to help with the twins. The sister met my Dad.
I married into a family with an Uncle Andy and Aunt Peggie.
They did not have any children. Aunt Peggie's only blood nieces and nephew was my wife's family.
Uncle Andy was a banker who was a proud graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech. He said he majored in "Jewish Engineering" (Business).
He was pretty high up in the bank. He handled a lot of important clients, including James Brown. I always laugh thinking about Andy giving his advice to The Godfather of Soul.
He was offered a job by Ted Turner. Really. This was right after Ted bought a tiny TV station in Atlanta. Andy said Turner really laid it thick, begging Andy to work for him.
One important note of Andy. He was the son of Greek immigrants. Andy had one Greek stereotype: he was tight with his money. He told Turner, "Ted, you know I'm real conservative. What would you do if I advised against something because I didn't think it was the right financial move?"
Turner said, "I'd fire you".
Andy always had a great story. He was somehow involved with loaning the money to launch the Hooters restaurant chain. Just when Hooters went national, one of the founders' girlfriends was that particular month's centerfold in Playboy magazine. Andy had to escort her around the bank for a meet and greet. He said she was really good looking but was as dumb as a box of rocks.
Peggie was the sister of my father in law. She had one of those lilting Southern accents you never hear anymore. I would answer the phone and hear: "Ae-lynn. Is yore luvlay wife Low-ray theah? May ah spake to herr" (translation: "Alan, is your lovely wife Lori there? May I speak with her?)
She played golf. She was always participating in a "turnnament" (tournament). Peggie and Andy would travel all over the world to go "burd wachin" (bird watching).
The lady could make a quilt. We have, by a conservative estimate, about 400 Peggie quilts around the house. You can't buy quilts made any better.
They lived in a nice house near Chastain Park in Atlanta. It wasn't gaudy or snooty. It was just classy, in the understated Old Atlanta way. They decided to cash out the house and sold it to a couple who built a McMansion on it.
They moved to Smyrna, Georgia. One of their next-door neighbors was a former major league baseball player estranged from his wife. The wife showed up at his door one day armed and threating violence. The Washington Post called Peggie and Andy for their comment. They didn't have any.
Soon the house in Smyrna became too much to take care off. They sold it and moved to a senior living apartment in Buckhead.
Andy was in his 90's and his health was beginning to fail. But his mind was sharp. Peggie was declining too. She often stayed confused. They had to hire a team of caretakers to help them around the little apartment.
Then one day, the caretaker took Andy to the doctor for a scheduled appointment. When they returned to the apartment, Andy asked the caretaker to get the mail. The caretaker left. Andy locked the door. He walked into the bedroom where Peggie was lying in bed. He took his gun and shot Peggie. He turn the gun on himself and pulled the trigger again.
Even though it was on the news, we didn't find out until the next day. We don't watch a lot of local news during the week. Our housekeeper (yes, we have a housekeeper, shut up), who was their housekeeper for 30 years, sent my wife a text offering her condolences. That's how she learned what happened to Aunt Peggie and Uncle Andy.
Neither the Atlanta Police or the senior living complex appear to have made an effort to contact any possible relatives on Peggie's side. My wife contacted the complex immediately ("Oh, I'm glad you called, we thought she had some nieces locally"). My wife, along with her sister and niece, were there the day before the incident for a visit and signed in noting she was seeing Andy and Peggie.
Apparently, nobody thought to check.
I always liked Andy. He was the original member of "I married a Stanley woman" club. He was always so sensible and thoughtful. He was absolutely the last person I would think would do something like this.
There was no note. My wife said he seemed like his old self the day before: sharp, didn't appear depressed or distracted.
Maybe he got some bad news at the doctor. Maybe they had a pact to go out together.
God knows why Andy decided to execute Peggie and then himself.
But I don't. I doubt if I ever will.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Lord have mercy, we have somehow survived the first one hundred days of the Donald J. Trump administration.
It has been interesting, to say the least.
Eight years ago, President Obama's first one hundred days was treated by the main-lame-stream media as The Dawning of The Age of Aquarius. The Moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. The string bean from Illinois via Hawaii would usher peace beyond understanding into the world.
Conservatives would drop their silly opinions and follow along with a President who was leading us to the right side of history. Our enemies, when confronted with a President of such charm, would immediately become our friends and work with us for the good of mankind. Dogs and cats would begin to get along. Stuff like that.
In contrast, President Trump's first one hundred days has been presented as APOCALYPSE NOW AND WE MEAN NOW! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! WOOP! WOOP! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Trump, who looks like one of Lex Luthor's experiments gone terribly wrong, somehow won the Presidency with help of the Russians and drug-addled white people from the Midwest. Instead of bringing out the best in people, he brings out the worst.
That is undoubtedly true. Have you heard some comedians talk about Trump? On Conan O'Brien, comedian Patton Oswalt said last year's election was a choice between an "insanely qualified woman and a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust." That's a real knee-slapper. I would have said, "a lying skunk and a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust" just so I wouldn't alienate half of my possibly paying customers. But, sometimes the jokes have to suffer when you are saving the world.
I know you are all wondering about my grade on the Trump's Presidency. I give it an "I" for "Incomplete". It is way too soon to critique his Presidency. It is definitely a work in progress.
The Tweets. Somebody. Some big rich millionaire President Trump golfs with ought to tell him to knock it off with the tweets. As much as it "connects" him to the American people, it causes him a ton of problems that he would be better to do without. SAD!
His tongue. Just when it seems like Trump has "pivoted" and will become Presidential, he says (or tweets) something that makes him appear like a baboon. Nobody wants to know your theory of Andrew Jackson and The Civil War. Trump needs to read James 3:1-12 in the Bible. He needs to tame his tongue and just shut up.
Steve Bannon. I know, I know. He is the whipping boy because of his supposed "Alt-Right" connections, but the guy doesn't know what he's doing and he's caused more problems than he's worth.
His Opposition. Has anybody benefited more from his opposition than Trump? From the asinine resistance march to the campus radicals who hate free speech, they make Trump sometimes seems reasonable compared to these people.
The Inauguration Address. It. Was. Horrible. Talk about a wasted opportunity. Former President Bush's review: "Now that was some weird shit".
Repeal and Replace Part One. He set up a false deadline without understanding the deep divisions within his own party about Obamacare. Guess what? He thought he could bully Congressmen like he bullied his employees. Guess what? It didn't work. Guess what? It made Obamacare seem like the Thing That Wouldn't Die.
The Ban. Ugh, talk about the Vigoro hitting the fan. It was something done in haste and allowed the Left to do what they do best: run to the courts and start dreaming of which actor is going to play them in the ten part movie on Netflix.
Neil Gorsuch. I don't think Trump would have been elected if he hadn't published a list of twenty judges he would select for The Supreme Court. Gorsuch is a slam dunk. The opposition to Gorsuch didn't make sense except he was nominated by Trump. Therefore, Chuck Schumer lead his party straight into the nuclear option and now he looks like an idiot He deserves it.
His foreign policy team. Trump has a pretty solid team with Mattis, McMaster, et.al. They seem mature with a clear understanding of the world. These are guys that could have served in any Republican or Democratic administrations. Anything is an upgrade from Ben Rhodes.
The Syria Bombing. No, it doesn't solve Syria, but it at least reinforces "the red line" President Obama talked about.
Some of The Executive Orders. My Lord, the Keystone Pipeline is a slam dunk. Obama could have done it, but he was so tied to the Environmental Lobby.
North Korea. Like a lot of people, I'm worried about North Korea. It seems like Trump has somehow roped the Chinese into helping out with that loon over there. Maybe. I don't know.
Repeal and Replace Two: Well, somehow, the President had to charm Republicans into doing what they said they would be doing for the past seven years. Of course, the left will have you believe the people will die in the streets just like they were doing in 2009. You remember stepping over all of those dead people on the sidewalks, don't you?