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Showing posts from July, 2011

Lies My Father Told Me

Parents and dictators frequently create myths to justify their authority. Similar methods that belie vastly different motives. The tin-horn, in his military finery and listing to port under the weight of self-awarded medals, concocts fantastic tales of glory hoping to bamboozle the unfortunate masses into accepting his overblown opinion of himself.

Parents have a more modest purpose. They rely on myths to convince themselves of their fitness for the job.

The parental duty, after all, is to teach the young to face the cruel, uncaring world with courage and elan. A daunting task for those who have stumbled through life, botching up most of what they have tried and regretting all the things they have not.

Hopelessly lost themselves, many parents lack the requisite confidence to be intrepid guides for their children. Confidence is best fostered by success, but when success proves elusive a good dose of malarkey helps. Hence, the prevalence of parental myths.

The myths serve to assure parents …

Gray Area

The clippers buzz from my nape to my crown,
clearing a path through the tangle of hair,
and the hair as it falls brings on a frown.

Whence cometh the gray that is falling down?
I shouldn't be vain, and I shouldn't care.
The clippers buzz from my nape to my crown,

and the shorn gray hair piles up all around.
I'm sure all this gray was not always there,
and the hair as it falls brings on a frown.

The gray has won; it's overwhelmed the brown.
I bet it cheated, just never played fair.
The clippers buzz from my nape to my crown.

It's best, I guess, that I am sitting down;
a good thing the barber has a nice chair.
And the hair as it falls brings on a frown.

Gray once bestowed dignity to my hair,
back before it became all that is there.
The clippers buzz from my nape to my crown,
and the hair as it falls brings on a frown.

The Google Effect

Far be it from me to argue with the brilliant men and women of science who crowd the halls of academia, running into each other as they madly dash about in the pursuit of knowledge. But there are times their discoveries leave me scowling dubiously at the newspaper, television or computer screen. For instance, the recent item headlined, "Does Google make your memory weaker?" Researchers at Columbia University, according to the article, have found that Google and other search engines have changed the way we remember things. A person doing a computer search for a piece of information, the researchers claim, is less likely than a person poring over a book to remember what he found out. Although, the googler is more likely to remember where he found the information he has since forgotten. This might explain the whoppers certain Republican presidential hopefuls have been trying to pass off as history. If the liberal media would allow politicians to use their laptops during intervi…

Extra! Extra!

A year or two ago, Russell told me I ought to read Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy. I did, and I enjoyed it. Yesterday, July 17, 2011, with the Pirates and Indians atop their respective divisions, I thought about that book and a column I wrote after reading it that appeared in the Star Beacon.

There was a time when the only way to see a ballgame was to go to the ballpark. Why, there was even time when there weren't any radio broadcasts to listen to. To find out how his team did, the fan had to wait for the newspaper.After reading Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History by Cait Murphy, I've decided the wait would have been worth it. Whatever their failings, the writers of that era churned out some interesting copy. Murphy's primary focus is the battle for the 1908 National League pennant between the Giants of John McGraw and Christy Mathewson, and the Cubs of Tinker, Evers, Chance and "Three Finger&…

Caught in the Web

I have a problem with the Internet: there's just too much there. To be honest, the problem is my lack of focus. I don't do well with an endless array of choices. I can sit down with the newspaper, read what interests me and ignore what doesn't. Later in the day, I might go back and read something I skipped earlier, or I might throw the paper away. When I was a teenager, my parents subscribed to The Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated and Reader's Digest. On the day a magazine appeared in our mailbox, I took it into the living room and read whatever seemed interesting. Sometimes that was nothing more than the cartoons and fillers, and sometimes it was an article or two. When I was done, I threw the magazine on the end table. In those days the standard household allotment of televisions was one, so there were evenings when the TV was in the hands of a relative who did not share my refined tastes and preferred to watch something other than The Flintstones or The Bev…

Safe Sex in Ohio

Dear Male Politician,It is a sad day in America when a member of Congress is castigated and forced to resign his office for sending sexually explicit photographs of himself to a woman. We at Have A Drink in Ohio believe it is shameful that so many people are up in arms over Congressman Weiner's understandable behavior.According to recent studies, when it comes to the size of procreative organs, males who list their occupation as "politician" are the most generously endowed of any vocational group. And the difference in size is sizable, indeed. Truck drivers and athletes are tied for second in the survey, but comparing them to politicians is like comparing redwoods and bonsai trees. Politicians also score highest in pride and conceit. That is not a bad thing. A grandiose self-image is imperative when you are a sleazy, oily character who spends his days toadying up to unimaginably rich sleazy, oily characters and their lobbyists.During the few hours of the day when a polit…

Aging Gracelessly

The change was correct; it was the receipt that bothered me. I couldn't understand why I had been given the senior discount at the fast-food place. In some narrow chronological sense, of course, I qualified for it. But I was in the drive-through, and the lady with the garbled voice who took my order was somewhere inside. How ever did she know? Age has its privileges, mostly in the form of discounts. Discounts are wonderful things, and I am not too proud to avail myself of them. But I thought it would be a while before sales clerks could take one look at me - or simply hear my voice - and pronounce me deserving of them. Given my well-preserved features and immature demeanor, I assumed I'd have to fight for discounts until I was well into my 70s. And I was gleefully girding myself for battle. A few years ago, in the weeks leading up to one of those birthdays that end in zero, I received a Golden Buckeye Card. The State of Ohio had given me a powerful identification tool I could …