The Last Great Day

 Featured, Friends, Fun Stuff  Comments Off on The Last Great Day
May 312013
 

Several days ago, I was running to pick up lunch. In the car, I heard a very brief part of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. The host was interviewing Greta Gerwig  who plays the title character of the film Frances Ha.  I believe Gerwig co-wrote the screenplay with director Noah Baumbach.

I only caught a small part of the interview, and am not really interested in the movie, but Gerwig made an interesting statement that’s stuck with me. She said:

“You don’t know when the last time of something happening is. You don’t know what the last great day you’ll spend with your best friend is. You’ll just know when you’ve never had that day again.”

This sentiment struck me, and I got a melancholy feeling thinking of times and people past. Many still a part of my life, but many cast to the distance of time, geography, or life’s natural momentum.

I started thinking of some of these great days. Some were shared with or created by people who are still very much a part of my life, and so I’m not ready to believe we’ve had our last great day.

These times include visits to the North Carolina mountains with my friend Glenda. We visit often one of the days before Thanksgiving. I remember one year meeting on the Tuesday before the holiday, and basically having run of downtown Boone, and the little business district of Blowing Rock. It was a misty cool day.  While some might prefer a bright sunny day, I enjoyed the muffled sounds and soft outlines of the foggy mist. We laughed and joked, and just enjoyed the slow easy pace. There will be other trips and other great times.

I remember frequent Sunday afternoons here in Tampa at the home of our friends Jeff and Mike. Mike would cook dinner, and we’d play Shanghai. This even included a hurricane evacuation to Orlando from Tampa in 2004, right into the eventual path of Hurricane Charlie. We spent the afternoon playing cards. I’d get picked on the entire game for being slow in my decisions for my next move. We’re still friends with both,  but they parted ways, so we  no longer have those Sunday afternoons.

However, there are experiences which I have strong reason to suspect fit within this category of “last great days.” Continue reading »

A Late Birthday Greeting

 Gadget, Technology  Comments Off on A Late Birthday Greeting
Aug 012011
 

Despite what many of you may believe, there was a time before computers, tablets, laptops and smartphones. This was a time when we had to actually T Y P E our term papers. The single biggest selling typewriter of all time was the IBM Selectric. It was introduced on July 31, 1961, making it now 50 years old.

My Mom insisted on me taking a typing class in high school, and I remember learning in a classroom full of Selectrics under the eye of Mrs. Sheila Sisk. Boy, am I glad I took that class. Back in those days one could pay people to type a term paper for one, and lots of college students made extra money because they could type, and owned a typewriter. But I can’t imagine life today without knowing how to type, and at a decent pace.

Those Selectrics were marvels in their day. You could actually change fonts and type faces…admittedly you had to change the little typing ball to do that, but how cool was that. IBM also built them so they could be used as an interface device for the IBM / 360. (Read More)

I haven’t seen one in a long time, and I don’t even know if they are still manufactured, but here’s to that one on the second row in from the courtyard windows about three desks from the back of the room in Mrs. Sisk’s “Office Technologies Class,” and to Mrs. Sisk for making my life livable in today’s computer age.

Nothing Wrong With a Little Hating in Ponce De Leon

 Featured, Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Nothing Wrong With a Little Hating in Ponce De Leon
Aug 262008
 

Some months back, a high school senior in Holmes County, Florida (up in the Pan Handle) went to her high school principal to report that she was being harassed by some other students. Now, most of us would expect the principal to take some action against the young lady’s tormentors, no? Well, that would not be the correct assumption in Holmes County.

An AP story on TBO.com tells a different story. Principal David Davis got severely reprimanded by a federal judge for conducting a “witch hunt” against gays. Davis was demoted, and school employees must now go through sensitivity training. And the school district had to pay a little over $300k in legal fees. It seems that Davis, rather than offering help to the young woman told her homosexuality was wrong, outed her to her parents, and then, when some supportive students started wearing gay pride t-shirts and rainbow clothing, Davis’ head apparently exploded.

Good ole Principal Davis started questioning them about their sexuality, questioning if they associated with gay people, and even suspended some of them. One of the girls Davis harassed in this way told her mother, who, to set the proper example, contacted the ACLU. The ACLU brought the suit resulting in Davis’ admonishment by the court.

One might also think that, having brought such disrepute on the school, Davis might be sent packing. Up in the pan handle, one would be wrong again. Steve Griffin, Holmes County’s school superintendent, who keeps a Bible on his desk and framed Scriptures on his office walls said, “We are a small, rural district in the Bible Belt with strong Christian beliefs and feel like homosexuality is wrong.” So, Davis was just demoted, and is still teaching at the school.

Many in the community there are on Davis side. According to one 73 year old resident, “David Davis is a fine man and good principal, and we are a gentle, peaceful, Christian, family-oriented community. We aren’t out to tar and feather anyone.” of course the mother who filed the complaint might have a different perspective about the tar and feather thing. A Wal-Mart worker yelled at her, accusing her of trying to “bankrupt” the school district. One of her friends has refused to talk to her because the lawsuit conflicted with the woman’s religious beliefs.

Good gentle, peaceful, Christian, Family-oriented values.

Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season

 General, Weather  Comments Off on Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season
Oct 092005
 

Autumn has officially arrived. As usual it’s a little hard to tell here in Tampa. However, we got a couple of overcast rainy days this past week. That made it a little cooler, and made me think of Fall.

I think autumn is my favorite time of year. Coming from the western part of North Carolina, and having gone to college at Appalachian State University in the northwest corner of the corner, I have seen some beautiful shows of fall colors. I have literally had my breath taken away while driving up the mountains to Boone and Blowing Rock returning to school, or looking off some of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As stunning as the colors are, I think its much of the other things about this time of year that appeal to me. My mom was the school system nurse for thirty plus years in my home town, and at one point in my life, I worked for a few years as a representative for a yearbook publishing company. So for many years, that “school schedule” was an important part of life. It is a time of settling in and getting back to routine.

My granddaddy was a cotton farmer, so the cotton would be coming in, and my mom and grandmother would be “putting up” corn, green beans, and vegetable soup. I remember a few early Saturday mornings going with Granddaddy to the cotton gin. I’d dig a hole in the cotton in the front corner of the trailer, and off we’d go with the big red Farmall tractor chugging along down the road. And that old cotton gin was an amazing place for me. I especially love the big vacuum tube that sucked the cotton out of the trailer.

Even now I feel like the business environment changes around this time of year. People sort of get serious again, and start paying more attention. Vacations are over, budget time starts, and you’re in the last quarter of the year.

The days start getting shorter and the mornings a bit cooler (even here in Florida sometimes). Back in my hometown you’d step out in the evenings and often catch the smell of burning leaves. People outside the city limits raked their leaves to the side of the road, and burned them. Football season goes into full swing. I was in the band, so each Friday night was a big deal during high school. And there’s nothing more beautiful than the big mountain covered with hardwoods rising above the end of the stadium at ASU draped in Fall colors.

Even when I was in college I was a resident assistant in a freshman dormitory, so not only was it a time for me to start back to school, it was the time to help thirty plus freshmen get off to a good start at college, and experience all the excitement of meeting new people.

So fall is a time that brings back lots of nice memories for me. Part is that agrarian attitude of brining in the crops and preparing for winter; part is that getting back to school with friends and routine; and a lot is the beauty that I know is so much a part of fall in North Carolina. I can see it in my mind, even here in Tampa.

American Wedding

 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on American Wedding
Jul 252004
 

American Wedding (2003)

The third film in the American Pie series deals with the wedding of Jim and Michelle and the gathering of their families and friends, including Jim’s old friends from high school and Michelle’s little sister.

Directed by
Jesse Dylan

Genres
Comedy

Cast
Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, January Jones, Eugene Levy, Molly Cheek, Deborah Rush, Fred Willard, Angela Paton, Eric Allan Kramer, Amanda Swisten, Nikki Schieler Ziering, Lawrence Pressman

DVD

American Wedding is a little less funny than both ‘American Pie’ and ‘American Pie 2’ but still has the shameless charm of the first two. It still wants the best for the main characters and especially the final sequences show us that.

I can be very short on the story. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are about to get married and this movie shows us a lot of things that could go wrong. Jim’s best friends Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) show up and of course the movie could not do without Stifler (Seann William Scott) who is not very wanted. He and Finch like the same girl, Michelle’s sister Cadence (January Jones). Eugene Levy shows up again as Jim’s dad and together with Stifler he is the best thing in the movie once again.

Although the two movies before ‘American Wedding’ were a little more funny there are still enough shameless jokes to enjoy. Jason Biggs must have had so much humiliating moments that one more doesn’t really matter and the opening sequence here sets the tone for him. Almost painful to watch, but very funny. It was too bad regulars like Chris Klein, Mena Suvari and Tara Reid didn’t show up for this sequel, but it didn’t make it less funny. For a third part it is still very good.

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