Archive for the ‘memory lane’ Tag

bad movies

Before I get to typing: Holy smokes, but how about this Edward Snowden character? Check your six, bud. Thanks for the greatest week of national security news in the last few years.

Lets get to typing

Yes, lets! Yesterday, I dug The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on DVD out of a bargain bin at a Best Buy. And I bought it, naturally.

See, I rode my bike up to a sporting goods store to buy socks, and there’s a Best Buy right next door. Whenever I find myself within 100 yards of that Best Buy and having purchased some sort of material good – anything, gum, you name it — I always think to myself:

“While I’m here: Why not go to Best Buy and dig through the bargain bin for a movie?

“Treat yourself right.

“It’s been a long week.

“You’ve earned it.”

And usually I haven’t. It’s been just any other week, you understand. But it’s this kind of thinking that’s gained me copies of Beetlejuice and Enter the Dragon.

Continue reading


you’re still okay in my book, Charlie Brown

the other night I found myself in a conversation that touched on astronomy.

for as much as I like science fiction, I really don’t know much about astronomy. I recognize those subjects don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but all the same I think that’s telling.

anyway, I digress. Jupiter brought it up. Jupiter was very high in the sky early this week, and the sky was clear on Monday night. and there it was, a very bright dot right next to the moon, almost straight up above. I had to lean out of my window to see it. and it was something else!

and so I found myself saying, “I don’t know the first thing about astrology.” but I had misspoken. “or astronomy, I mean. or either.” and this is true.

and then I was saying, “I’d like to know more about both, though.” but this is not true, upon reflection! I had opened my mouth, and this terrible lie had fallen out. so I have to take responsibility for this.

because, what the hell was I talking about? I have a deep skepticism of astrology borne of experience! professional experience. professional astrological experience …

Continue reading

I have terrible taste in music

that’s what everybody says, anyway. but I’m calling bullshit. I’m calling it! no. despite my documented enthusiasm for punk rock, I’ve got great taste in music, you don’t even know. for instance: at one point, I had the entire Bjork catalog (best album: Debut). and that’s classy! everyone likes Bjork. what kind of person doesn’t like Bjork? assholes, that’s who.

Continue reading

the Bears lost in December again

I just watched the Bears lose in stupendous fashion to their rival Green Bay on my little computer here. their eighth loss to the Packers in their last nine attempts. and their loss was terrible and awesome.

they went up early. and then they went down fast. and then they were hopelessly incompetent on offense in the second half, but they played some solid D and stayed in the game. and then, ultimately, they lost, in a flurry of offensive pass interference penalties and last-gasp hail marys. and it was legit.

keep on heading through the woods, man

keep on heading through the woods, man

a big chunk of America watches football, but something tells me that you aren’t especially a fan. I think this is a good thing; I’m telling you, staying away from this bullshit will save you a lot of grief.

Continue reading

more biting on grandma, who is a pro

I got some serious writer’s block. it’ll pass, it always does.

in the meantime, I’m gonna share more of what my grandmother has written. I just said I wouldn’t, a few weeks ago, the last time I published something on this blog. and here I am, breaking the rule already.

Continue reading

grandma writes some more

I grew up with my grandmother in the house. she is in her (early!) nineties, stays up til 2 am, sleeps til 11 am, argues with my mom like its a sport, and collects coins. to that end, mom has $40 dedicated to the bank, purely in quarters, to feed this habit.

what they did, see, is took that $40 over to the bank and had it changed out. so they’ve always got about $40 worth of quarters at home and grandma goes through all of them with a magnifying glass and picks out the ones with the hard-to-find states and territories — your American Samoas, Northern Mariana Islands, your Guams. she is making nine or ten complete sets, one each for all of her kids and grandkids, and that means a coin each from both the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

so they go through a lot of quarters. they take back the duds to the bank, and come back with $40 — or $39.50, or whatever — worth of new ones. and if I come across a Guam quarter with a little ‘D’ on it that shows it’s from the Denver mint, I put in an envelope and mail it out to her.

but I digress (man, can I digress with the best of them). coin collection is only one of her hobbies. grandma writes a lot. and for years now she’s been writing what’s best described as a personal history, with each chapter dedicated to a different subject — a job she had, an important event like a death or birth or wedding, or a biography of a relative. she writes all of these out in cursive longhand, and my mom then types it up, and then sends these chapters to me to edit “because you’re an editor, right?” so I get to read them as they come in. they are packed with dates and memories, some specific and some vague, and a lot of them are loaded with her personal opinion. because grandma airs her grievances.

so while it’s not necessarily a comprehensive record of her entire life — there are a lot of gray areas and uncompleted memories, and huge time swaths of time get glossed over — I find that these chapters make for fascinating reading. maybe this is because her history is a big part of my history, and so I can understand that casual readers aren’t gonna find this stuff nearly as interesting as I do. but grandma has a distinctive voice that comes through in these things: they read like grandma, they sound like grandma. and they will be here post-grandma. and I think it’s pretty awesome that she’s doing this, so that I can have an idea of what it was like to grow up in a dirt-poor immigrant community in a Midwest industrial boomtown in the 20th century. if you’ve got an older relative, you should encourage them to do this. or at least stick a mic and a tape recorder in front of them for an afternoon.

I wonder if this is where I got it from, this writing bug. from grandma. maybe it’s genetic.


Continue reading

summertime blues

I read a story recently about a tough job market for unemployed teenagers.

can you believe that shit?

I blame it not on the lousy economy, but on the kids. goddamn kids. back in my day (five mile walk to school in the snow! each way! no shoes!), you got up off the couch and found yourself a terrible waste of time that would pay minimum wage, take twenty-five to thirty hours of your week, and leave you with no discernable work skills — save for an introductory understanding of the American work ethic.  Continue reading

on memorial day

I am a day early with this, but it is on my mind and I shouldn’t let it go to waste.

memorial day is coming up in a few hours. memorial day means a lot of things to a lot of people. the neighborhood pool is opening up down near my dad’s in Alexandria. someone will pay attention to the Indianapolis 500. many hot dogs and much watermelon will be eaten. the summer unofficially arrives. and on monday, mom will drive around Indiana and visit the family graves.

Continue reading

baloney roll-ups

I’m watching a hockey game.

Rangers v Capitals, game seven from Madison Square Garden. the Caps beat the Boston Bruins in seven in their last series, and now they’ve got the number-one seed on its home ice, and I know nothing about hockey save the Stanley Cup playoffs are always entertaining, and the Caps being a game away from the conference finals is enough to get me to stream game seven online on the other busted-ass laptop that I own. it’s through a website with an .eu fix. it’s buggy as hell, and regularly brings the broadcast in via Sweden — at least I think they’re speaking Swedish … or some sort of Scandinavian nonsense. yeah, that’s right, nonsense.

but tonight’s broadcast is brought to you by CBC, and that means lots of Tim Horton’s ads, Hockey Night in Canada, and yes, Coach’s Corner. most of what I know of Don Cherry comes from a Propagandhi song that describes him a war-mongering, nationalist nutjob. and whiel I can’t speak to that, he’s a pretty strange lookin’ son of a bitch regardless. I guess dressing like a carnival barker is his thing. and hey, everybody needs a thing.

Continue reading

candy nostalgia

I keep a bag of Werther’s candies in my desk.

I just popped one; I didn’t even take my goddamn eyes off the computer screen. the motion of doing so has been engrained. pick up my right hand, drop it to my side, feel for the drawer grip, pull, dig inside, locate bag, extract single piece of candy, unwrap, partake. that’s execution.

it seems that, whenever my affection for this candy comes up — and it has once or twice in the last few months, usually when I’m walking back from CVS with a fresh bag of these dressed-up dollops of corn syrup — the observation is made: my grandmother used to have these all the time!

yeah, mine did too.

Continue reading