Saturday, April 05, 2008

Litle soccer players

All photos by Dylan.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bad News Bearers

Everywhere you turn these days, another journalism outfit announces bad news.

Newspaper lay-offs, TV lay-offs, radio cuts.

The extent of the crisis facing my chosen profession is beginning to become apparent to those beyond the relatively small circle of us who have been writing and speaking about it for years.

Journalists are not very popular; we never have been. In fact, poll after poll indicates our approval ratings are lower than those for lawyers, or (gasp) politicians.

Nobody can ever be well-liked when (s)he is the bearer of bad news.

America may be the kind of society today that collectively thinks it would be better off not knowing, i.e., See No Evil...

Maybe so, or maybe my pain medication is wearing off just now, still three days out from a date for a root canal.


p.s. I will try to keep blogging, dear readers, but I'm in and out of a Vicodin-induced state that probably will not yield much mental clarity.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What else matters?

A lovely woman with black, black hair and a beautiful cat with yellow, yellow hair in the late afternoon sun.

We're all the same under our skins, even though we look so different on the surface.

And I'm not just talking about humans.

My two youngest kids (11 and 9) announced they want to be vegetarians.

What am I to do about that? I don't know how to prepare well-balanced, protein-rich meals, which growing organisms need in order to thrive.

It's just too early, that's all, to be vegetarians, IMHO.

That can come later, when they can regulate the proper balance of nutrients into their bodies themselves.

For now, Dad's house serves meat, sorry, for the simple reason that this is the healthiest way to grow healthy children.


Unprecedented Successes (Los éxitos sin precedentes)

First, from our sports desk, this just in:

Major Leagues
1. Movin on Upton 108.00
2. Minnesota Fats 103.50
3. Mud Lake Mafia 100.50
4. Wrecking Balls 97.00
5. Wandering Rentboys 88.50
6. Farm Town Ratz 84.00
7. Beviers Johnnies 81.00
8. Dearborn Docs 78.00
9. Jamestown Morgellons 77.50
10. For Sale By Owner 76.50
11. LeFlore Mats 69.00
12. Leylanders LLC 59.00
13. The Laggards 54.50
14. Grand Rapids Fanboys 51.00

Minor Leagues

1. El Matate Burritos 167.5
2. nanosquad 167
3. MICROCUTS= 161.5
4. Bluecrew 08 149
5. Pocket Pool 146
6. Liars and Cheats 145
7. The Untouchables 141.5
8. MinnesotaMongols 139
9. The Twinkies 136.5
10. Face Eaters 127.5
11. Mulato Dolls 122.5
12. Black Sox II 117.5
13. Purple Hazers 110.5
14. BALCO 107.5
15. Ya know! 101.5

Mi equipo de béisbol de fantasía, El Matate Burritos, hoy es en lugar primer in the standings ! Yea!

Given the way real life has been going lately, this morning's report from my two fantasy baseball teams was a welcome relief, indeed!

And, cross your fingers, because the news has only gotten better as the day progressed. As of this hour, for the first time ever, my beloved Mud Lake Mafia is tied for first place, also!

Of course, it is very early in the baseball season, not to mention its fantasy shadow, so we're not exactly popping sparkling apple juice bottles just yet!


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Boys & Girls Through Time

There's something I've never told you.

When my family relocated from Royal Oak to Bay City, Michigan in 1957, I was the consummate outsider in my new school.

Somehow, I was chosen by the girls in my fifth grade class as the "King of Hearts." I concluded, logically, that it was simply because I was the new guy on the block. My neighbor, the gorgeous Vicky Steadman, was chosen as Queen of Hearts. She didn't need to be new or old, she was simply the prettiest girl imaginable.

Today, when I picked my kids up from school, my (not quite yet) 12-year-old had a heart drawn on his cheek. Turns out three eighth grade girls drew it with eye shadow because they think he is "cool."

I am quite sure he is as clueless today, in 2008, as I was 51 years ago. But I'm happy for him, and hopeful that he finds out earlier than I did how attractive he really is to girls.


p.s. He's decided that whenever people ask about his hat that he will say he's a "Communist." That's bound to be cool if any girls even know what a Communist is!

April "Fool's" Day (Emphasis Added)

Last year, on April 1st, I wrote a little spoof. This year, I'm not in a joking mood. This economic down-slide is starting to bury some of my normal resiliency. Lots and lots of time in my life I've made difficult transitions. But this time feels different.

For a lot of the Baby Boomers, we've been working for four decades now. We've watched previous generations retire and life off their pensions and social security. Increasingly, however, those kinds of options seem to be evaporating for our generation.

We've made choices, such as family and lifestyle decisions, that have not always proved sustainable.

Here, in the richest land on earth, we feel squeezed on all sides. You can cut the economic data any way your want to -- the mortgage crisis, the health care crisis, the job crisis, the high cost of education, the increasing cost of getting around, the decaying infrastructure, the unwise national policy choices of starting wars and ignoring the poor; subsidizing huge corporations, while hampering the ability of small businesses to keep costs down and generate new jobs.

It all boils down to a vice tightening around what politicians like to call the "middle class."

The only thing "middle" about our class is that we are in the middle of crisis with no apparent way out.

The quiet desperation growing inside household by household is often invisible to outsiders viewing in. But if look carefully enough, you'll see the tell-tale signs.

So, it's not that I've lost my sense of humor in te past year. It's still ever so easy to be funny by wallowing in self deprecation.

But after that bit of laughter subsides, there's no contesting the fact that this joke is on you.


Monday, March 31, 2008

When Water Boils

Bubble by bubble, a pot of water churns itself near the boiling point, whereupon I will deposit the macaroni in the first step of creating macaroni and cheese for lunch.

If you think this sounds boring, you should have seen my last job.

Sometimes, I enjoy just observing little everyday things.

The pigeon couple who live nearby, and share whatever yummies they find on our sidewalks hereabouts.

The hummingbirds and butterflies that hover high, low, and over the sweet nectars they find in my backyard.

My housemate working her hands in the dirt, creating a larger garden. Tomatoes now are growing here.

The mysterious neighbor smoking, wearing only a robe, at all hours of the day. She's quite young and pretty...why is she so rarely dressed? What is her profession?

The half dozen cats that come and go along my back fence. I know them all by their distinctive coats and habits, but only one, Oliver, has ever trusted me enough to enter my yard, run up against me purring, and even entered my house.

The other neighbors who become visible now and again, hanging laundry, cutting weeds, painting their houses, or calling to their pets or children.

It's odd how you can live in an urban space for years, seeing these same people and animals and trees, and never knowing much at all about what is going on, except in your own life -- and only then if you are lucky.

Children's pursuits are often less opaque. There's building a family out of modeling clay.

There's Club Penguin, one of the fastest-growing websites in the world.

There is the result of the modeling work. (Yes, they have names.)

There's this year's science project by my youngest son. "Will pigeons, with their superior ability to see color, be more attracted to ordinary birdseed of orange-colored birdseed?" (Check back for the answer.)

And there's ps2, land of fantasy for boys.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Night Stories

Who needs words?