A Moment of S̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ Life

A Moment of S̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶e̶  Life

Not to lessen anyone's efforts to honor or recognize someone who has fallen in service to other people...

But I have a more interesting take on a way to celebrate someone. Since life is about movement, voices and action, instead of a moment of silence, I propose that we start observing a Moment of Life, instead. We can stand up, applaud, roar with our voices, or take a minute to say something about the person that we like or identify with.

Let's fill the void emptied by someone who has left us - for one brief moment.

Christmas, Frankenstein, Springdale History and Dawn’s Birthday

Aeons ago in the 70s, me, my brother and cousin Jimmy wanted to see a movie on Xmas Eve. The “new” Springdale Malco Twin theater was opening that night. Since my cousin Jimmy almost always got his way, all it took to implant the certainty of it was for him to mention it to his mom – about 100 times in an hour. I’m fairly certain that my Aunt Ardith gladly drove us to the new theater to get rid of us for a couple of hours. She barely slowed down as she drove up to the new theater as she handed my cousin unlimited candy money and lit a new cigarette for herself.

It didn’t hurt that the theater was up the road from Jimmy’s house. In those days, 412 was a 2-lane highway 68 and Carley Road was barren of most development. It was “about 1/2 a cigarette of driving” away from Jimmy’s house. (Our mothers smoked like chimneys. Everything could be measured in “cigarette increments.”)

Of all possible movies, we decided to see “Young Frankenstein.” It wasn’t exactly the most yule-spirited of movies. There were very few people at the theater. I’m not sure that the theater had publicized the soft opening that much. Not even all the seats had been installed, supplies were stacked everywhere, and the place felt like it had been opened on a dare.Even eating the popcorn, as delicious as it was to us as young kids, reminded us of fresh plastic.

Despite there being few people at the theater, it turns out that my wife Dawn and her father were two of the other handful of people in the theater that night, probably wondering why three goofy young boys were in the theater with them causing a commotion. As for why a dad would think a young girl would be a great audience for Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder causing their mayhem? Who knows. Let’s face it, for rambunctious boys,  though, “Young Frankenstein” is definitely an excuse for a lot of exchanged whispers and laughs. Madeline Kahn and Gene Wilder exchanging hilariously and minimally-concealed risque references only fueled the muffled laughter.

Did I mention that Christmas Eve is Dawn’s birthday and that she was there in part to celebrate her birthday? It was one of those strange serendipitous convergences for Dawn and I to figure out that we were both in the same place at the same time when we were both considerably younger. (Everyone can easily imagine me being at “Young Frankenstein,” but almost no one could picture Dawn being there.)

Coincidences happen. It’s just refreshing to know that we share not only the opening of the Springdale Malco theater, but also this crazy movie on one of the most unlikely nights of the year. My wife doesn’t have any other birthday memories from that day, so it’s reassuring to think that we share such an outlandish memory in common on her birthday from so long ago.

I can’t think of “Young Frankenstein” without thinking of my cousin Jimmy or my wife, who had the misfortune of being saddled with a holiday birthday.

Update: Now that Gene Wilder has sauntered off, smiling like only he can, I’m glad that serendipity prevailed on that Xmas Eve decades ago.


Free Public Eduation For Everyone?

Free Public Education For Everyone?

I know I mention this idea frequently, or a version of it. But it’s an ongoing smack-my-forehead obvious thing to me. 

Financing one’s education is ridiculous in a county with so much wealth. We can and should revamp our entire system to encourage free access. Extraneous programs should be eliminated; private schools should be available to compete with subsidized education.

05052014 Aliens !

Playing the game of “what if” for a moment. What is one of my most-anticipated things to see happen outside of my personal life?

Aliens. Seriously. Not the redneck anal-probe-in-the-deep-woods aliens, but bona fide aliens.

Whether through undeniable communications or appearance, I would love to live long enough to to know that alien life capable of communication exists. I don’t have to see them, just evidence of their existence, communications, etc.

Not just because every aspect of our society would be called into question, not to add novelty to our lives, not to render pointless much of politics, economy, education or beliefs…

But to know that we have been living in a fishbowl of isolation, letting our narrow, horrible ideas slowly poison us. Knowing that we aren’t alone, even if we are still unable to directly communicate, will transform everything about our culture and planet. It’s time for something to shake us out of our isolationist stupidity.

I think confirmation of alien life would be the single best thing to happen to humanity since… humanity. Our illusions of self-importance would vanish. Maybe it would cause a ripple of destructive effects here. Maybe not.

Originally, I had included Fermi, Sagan and other people’s views and arguments in this blog post. I edited all that content out as it detracts from the optimism.

I’m fairly certain that we will soon have alien contact. It is going to be interesting, watching the unexpected consequences ripple across our world’s cultures, economies, and religions.

P.S. I’m not referring to the kind of aliens portrayed on the “History Channel” or late-night sci-fi television.  

01012012 One Less Gift – a Xmas Alternative!

I ran across this again recently while catching up on missminimalist.com.
Missminimalist Post

Everything about it is awesome.

It speaks to the heart of what makes the holiday season so difficult for many people.

Can we keep it simple? Can it really be about the spirit and not the stuff? Probably not, but it is a noble inspiration and reminder.

For people who know me well, my minimalist side should be self-evident. To be contradictory, I love wrapping presents creatively. I don’t like the obligatory nature of gift exchanges, though. I’m not free to be weird and make it spontaneous and off-the-cuff.

And I enjoy the clutter aspect of it even less. I don’t need anything to remind me that you like or love me. Surprise me during the year or do something unexpected.  Get me a book that you know will tickle my fancy.  I have more or less everything I need.

But for many people, we need a way to let people know that we don’t expect or even want more stuff. It should be okay to be honest with people without your honest desire being turned into a character flaw, or worse- an accusation.

Who wouldn’t prefer time over trinkets? Shared laughter over obligation? I know that I am simplifying the issue too much so you over there with the scowl on your face can forget about pointing that out to me.
Maybe you could meet someone you cherish and go buy a gift together for someone who needs a gift or someone who needs a visit, a surprise or a word of encouragement? Wouldn’t this be a great memory to share with your friends and loved ones?
I’m still not expressing well enough that it isn’t the idea of gifts that I’m not too fond of – what fool doesn’t like gifts? I dislike the reciprocity and etiquette of it all. It fatigues me.
(Note: seeing someone truly in need, lonely and without one bit of anything to call his own or anyone to love him back in this life, this post almost equates to a stupid waste of time.)

“Be known what you are for, not what you are against.”

“Be known what you are for, not what you are against.”

Reading the title of this post, I’d like to go on record as saying that this makes sense to me. It doesn’t make me happy, however, as I’m failing at meeting the goal it states.
I’m quick to point out that most of my environment is equally guilty of not meeting it, either. That probably doesn’t mitigate my guilt, though, does it?
There’s one person in my life in particular who is almost consumed by his insistence of categorizing the world in 2 columns: For / Against. I laugh when I hear him talk, sometimes. He would be furious at me if he knew that I was privately not only noting this tendency but laughing about it. He probably doesn’t realize that he does this so pervasively. I’m sure, too, that he doesn’t see that people often delegate him to the “crackpot” status due to the vehemence of his opinion.
Having said that, I wonder how often I’m guilty of the same and don’t notice that people are placing me in the same “negative” group?  Hmmm… (But blogging or anything worthwhile is almost impossible to do well without sounding like you oppose everything.)


In the past, I’ve sometimes used the word “revisionist” to describe people who vainly try to rewrite personal history. I can understand the need to do it, as many people have some fairly terrible stories in their past. The way I’m using the word, though, isn’t in regards to someone concealing specific secrets; rather, it encompasses attempts to minimize, gloss over or call into question another person’s detailed memory of an event. For those people like me that don’t fee ashamed about family history beyond our control, it is a constant pull to avoid getting sucked in by those who fight against even the most basic truths.

A revisionist to me is someone who can’t help but to rewrite history to change the perception of what happened. Dad beat your mom constantly? “No, it was only every once and a while, and nothing like what you say.” Did someone do a lot of drugs? “Well, it was that boyfriend’s fault, not really hers. It was all a big misunderstanding.

I think using the word “revisionist” as a short code for “not quite telling the truth” could be very useful. 

Having a Birthday on or Near Xmas?

Don’t you feel badly for those unfortunate souls whose birthdays are around the holiday?

Especially when they are younger and don’t understand why they don’t get the extra parties, gifts, and hoopla about their birth like the other kids?

Lucky for me, my wife’s birthday is on Xmas Eve. Unlike most people, she doesn’t stress over her birthday. She’s like me in that regard – birthdays are mostly for children. A celebration every once and a while is great for adults, but the obligatory celebration/cake/big to-do over it every year is a little…. unnecessary might be the word I’m looking for.

Her birthday falling on Xmas also gives me an out. If we don’t want to make a big deal out of Xmas, I can disguise any of my gifts as a birthday gift and she’s left with no possible complaint.

I wouldn’t respect her less if she was like so many other people in regards to birthdays. But I do love her more because she says it’s no big deal – and means it when she says it. That’s not true for a lot of people.