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Posts Tagged ‘Dad’

We had guests this last week.  It was the first time my dad (Sparky) ever came to Michigan and he brought my stepmom (AngelHeart), with him.  Now, AngelHeart is quite possibly one of the ten most kind people I know.  At first I could not believe that she was for real and in the last year to year and a half I have come to realize that she is truly that kind.

So they came and we visited.

We had a blast.

We BBQ’ed, we went to Henry Ford Museum (Greenfield Village), we got pizza (which dad said was the best pizza he’s had in his entire 80 years of existence), we raided an estate sale, we took walks down the bike path nearby, we caught fireflies (you should have seen my 80 year old stepmom outside running after fireflies),  we took them out for their first coney island grub, we talked, we laughed, and then we parted ways.  I dropped them off at the airport around 1pm today, which was kind of hard because we know that they’ll never be able to come this way again and they do, too.  There’s even a possibility that I might never see him again but then again we may be able to – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The kids absolutely adored AngelHeart and Sparky.  They were showing them things, chattering at them, saying all kinds of silly things, and whenever I told them to stop playing video games, watch tv, or get off the computer because they really ought to go hang out with their grandma and granddad they simply said “OK” and did it.  No hassle or complaints at all.

My dad assured me that my liberal stepmom was slowly but surely becoming conservative after a year of living with him – and I rejoiced.  Sparky did worry me a bit last night when he said he didn’t like Sean Hannity so very much and they asked to surf down to the CNN channel where we got to see Beyonce.  I said “Oh yeah, right – like you want to watch this.”

Then AngelHeart says “we’ve seen her on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and like we like her”.  And they were content to leave the channel there.  Yes, she said “we like her”.  No, I’m not sure if it was DwtS, but it was either that or something of similar ilk.

Honestly I would not know Beyonce if she walked up and gnawed on my butt – I couldn’t even pronounce her name correctly – but the show and format immediately told me that it just isn’t the type of entertainment that I have the patience for (I prefer less ‘I’m a superstar lookit me’ kind of fare).

As I got up in confusion after plummeting to the ground after this world-rocking news my stepmom said “Your brother loves American Idol… he really loves J-Lo”.

In deepest distress I said to Cruel Wife “Yeahbut J-Lo has this HUGE a…. … … nevermind.”   I was shocked.  My brother, SuperTrooper, likes American Idol.  My vision contracted to a point and there was a dull roaring sound in my ears.  I couldn’t feel my extremities and I began to gag on my tongue.  My father likes Beyonce and my brother likes American Idol.

What next?  Mary Poppins becomes a porn star?   Dr. Lector goes vegan?  Cotton candy is made with Splenda™?  Cats become humble?

They saw I was becoming quite agitated and switched the TV back to Hannity.

I will write more later on this post but for now, I’ll end it by saying:

The last four days have been the best present I’ve gotten since Cruel Wife and I were married – when I got a blow-up sheep, the “I Luv Ewe”, at my bachelor party.

I just added the “Luv Ewe” thing to get your attention.  And no, “best present” does not include my kids because they weren’t given to us by a person.  Yes, having my dad come and visit trumped material goods by far.

Yes, I did get an “I Luv Ewe” from my buddies at my bachelor party – the sickos.  It had lipstick, even.  It was revolting.

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Yet again, someone takes humor meant for adults and manages to totally miss the context and humor because she’s too preoccupied with herself.

Subtitled “Wherein I Prove that I Need to Get Laid and Chill the F*** Out”.  (Hopefully Samuel L. Jackson can do a reading of another book addressing her issues.

Author Adam Mansbach is undoubtedly the kind of father who heaps love, affection and attention upon his daughter.  [I don’t think she believes that for a second.  – LK]  (He reportedly had the idea to write the book because of his exasperation with her at bedtime.) But sadly, his book accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.

For far too many kids, the obscenities found in Mansbach’s book are a common, everyday household language. Swearing is how parents across the social, educational and economic strata express their disappointments or anxieties, their frustrations and outright anger at their children. Sometimes the biggest bully in the neighborhood lives in the same house you do. Sometimes it’s your parent.

I’m having a hard time seeing how “Go the **** to Sleep” even remotely comes near the ills of child abuse.

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If you missed the awesome tempura food pic over at Soylent Green you should run right over there now and catch it.

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My father and stepmom flew out this last Thursday.  It’s the first time he’s been to Michigan.

Today we went to an estate sale (I got books and a cane, more on that later) and then to our favorite coffee shop to visit with Spaced Diode and his wife and son.  I was finally able to prove to my dad, as I put it to him:  “See Dad, I do have friends!  Gosh darn it, people like me!”

He said “Yep.  At least one.”

In my family dry sarcastic humor is an art form.

Then we came home and I continued to watch over the ribs I had put in the smoker this morning around 10AM.  We let them go until 6pm and I pulled them and the smoked chicken legs out and we all stuffed ourselves silly on ribs, legs, macaroni salad, and awesome bread from Zingerman’s deli (yes, the world-famous Zingerman’s that we visited on Friday).

Tonight I introduced my dad to the joys of lightning bugs.  Picture an 80 year old man with his forty-something son and eight and five year old grandkids, all out catching fireflies in the fading daylight.  Gosh it was fun.   Spent a bunch of time doing long-exposure photographs to cat lightning bug streaks.  I’ve also got roughly 30-40 mosquito bites so if West Hemorrhagic Listeria Nile Pox is a real phenomenon then we’re going to find out.

Tomorrow, we go to the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village.  We’ll visit the Wright Brother’s shop and Edison’s laboratory among other places.

The cane… no, I don’t need it to walk but after a while if I’m walking or standing it is nice to lean on it, straight-arm it, and lean my head on my shoulder to take a load off of my neck.  Yes, I know it makes me look crippled, but in a sense I am when the neck goes “tits up” on me.  It was funny but I saw it and did that w/o thinking and suddenly realized that it actually helped to do it so I willingly threw four bucks down on the table for it.

Plus now I can whack people with it.

The books… Statistical Methods in Engineering, Mechanisms, Electromagnetic Theory for Students, Marco Polo, The Heart of Darkness, Black Beauty, etc.   All with that musty old book smell, all hardcover, all of them with the woodcut graphics and illustrations, and all of them for $1 apiece.  The nice thing about the Mechanisms and EM Theory books was that when they were written, authors didn’t write it just to publish a book, they made the book to teach people who wanted to learn.  They didn’t set out under the premise that people knew Thing X and Principle Y just so they could get to Cool New Thing Z… they taught you Thing X, Principle Y, and gave you enough bedrock information so you could understand Cool New Thing Z on your own.   There is a vast difference between the mindset of stuff published before the mid-1950’s and stuff published now.   I draw the analogy that science and engineering “back then” is more like factual news reporting (minimum of bullshit) and science and engineering now is more like watching CNN/Time/Warner “news” – which is meant to puff itself up and provide puff-pastries rather than a basic diet.

Then  it was a relationship between teacher and student with the goal that the student should attain mastery alongside the teacher and hopefully surpass the teacher.  Now it is a relationship that seeks to dress the information up so it looks interesting and if a student learns the information it is really a secondary goal.   Before you had to already have the interest and then work to understand the principles before you could see the beauty, and now it is a matter of trying to present something that is visually interesting and maybe the student will want to work harder.

It has the effect of pulling more students in but also students who love the idea of where they think they want to go rather than students who want to go there for it’s own sake.  Engineering and science requires a burning need to understand, in my not-so-humble opinion.

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Update: Say what you will of Bush, but he does care.  Plus the WSJ had an article some time back that I saved, and I saved it so it could not be forgotten as he leaves office and the Obamessaiah moves in.  (PDF file below)  Don’t get me wrong, he’s done a lot of stuff that I could not and cannot agree with, but the general treatment of him has been pretty damn poor.

wsj-treatment-of-bush-has-been-a-disgrace

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Here’s Zoe… six months old and full of pee, vinegar, bad habits, and a ginormous big heart.  (All pics will grow if you click them.)

zoe-snowdog

Me and dog.   It has taken a lot of work to protect my Mr. Incredible secret identity, hence the black bar.

stranger-and-zoe

Yes, it’s a 4×4 Jeep.  Yes, I could have driven to work.  But why, when you can telecommute?  Actually, a huge amount of time was wasted trying to get dug out.

snowed-in

Physically, I paid for that.  Paid and paid and paid.  Am still paying.  My neck is out.  What else is new, right?  Damn it smarts tho!

Ah, another one of Zoe…

zoe-snowdog2

Now…  what to get Dad or the Husband for Christmas?

Hint:  Get him something that you already have the money budgeted and/or set aside already.  Just plunking down the credit card for a spendy toy is not doing him favors, it’s just aging him prematurely.  No wonder we die first.  We want to.

  1. Tools.  Give him an envelope with cash in it marked “For Tools Only”.
  2. Games (proof that this is necessary is shown  here)
  3. Toys that blur the line between “dad’s” and “the kids”
  4. If you can’t give him a teenager to mow the lawn in time for this upcoming spring, AND can afford it, this is pretty sweet. (look for the robotic lawn mower)
  5. A universal remote.  Like this sports-car of a remote.  Ooooh, sexy!
  6. Don’t take this one personally, but he doesn’t always want to listen to y’all babbling, the dog grunting as it craps on the floor, wife’s girlfriends griping about their husbands, the telephone, or the kids fighting.  Noise canceling headphones.
  7. Gift certificates!  Know a place he loves and get him a gift certificate.  Most dads/husbands/boyfriends/guys do not really talk about what they have been wanting.  They just don’t natter on like females!
  8. This might actually be useful
  9. Trust me.  We want one.

Ways to kill your dad faster with useless or really annoying gifts.  We’re talking a critical fail or fumble.  No saving throw.

  1. A deed to an acre of the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Michael Bolton CD’s.  Any of them.
  3. Extra-small condoms.
  4. Calendars with cats.  Unless he likes them.
  5. One of these.  Definitely an insult with a bow.
  6. Likewise

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