Your daily dose of sunshine* (*not available during the eclipse)

Today is the Great American Eclipse.

(Because apparently every semi-major event needs an official name…. and logo too!)

It’s exactly as the prophet Roger Waters foretold in Floyd 73, Chapter 10, verse 6: “Everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

The official ISO-certified Great American Eclipse viewing glasses are sold out. You can probably still get some counterfeit versions that’ll fry your retinas (not recommended), or you can make your own pinhole projector.

I think I’ll try to dig up my welding mask from when I failed shop class in high school. Damn you, Mr. Nicholls… damn you to hell!

You’ll also need some sort of safety eyewear to view this piece of dazzling brilliance from several years ago:

Happy viewing!

 

How my mind works… or doesn’t work

When I’m taking my afternoon walk at work, and I see a license plate that reads TSE…

… I immediately think of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Never heard of them? You’re not alone. We played a few of their songs when I was a DJ at 97X back in the early 90s, and while I’m not much of a hip hop guy, I did like their tunes. One of the founders of that band was a dude named Rono Tse.

So now can you see (or Tse) why I think of them when I see that license plate? You more literary types can conjure up thoughts of T.S. Eliot when you see “TSE” but I’ll stick with Rono.

The other founder, Michael Franti, has gone on to bigger things, and has had a few hits performing as Michael Franti & Spearhead. And jazz guitar great Charlie Hunter made his debut with DH of H. But what about Mr. Tse? I can’t find any recording info on him past 1995. And I miss him.

I just wish the license plate were from California.

 

Back to school, so uncool

If you believe the funny Staples commercial from the 90s, back-to-school time is fun for parents.

Obviously the dad in that commercial wasn’t the one responsible for waking up two teenagers and a twelve year old every school morning… at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. They have to be at the bus stop at the end of our street by 6:30, which seems like it could qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment” for kids who, at their current ages, are biologically wired to stay up later and wake later.

During the summer, I can “sleep in” until about 5:50 a.m. That gives me enough time to do a bit of morning exercise (love those kettlebell swings), eat breakfast (it involves sauerkraut – don’t judge), take a shower and maybe check email before my bus to work arrives at 6:45. But the school schedule is a game-changer. Now every morning becomes a fire drill. Especially with our youngest starting junior high – so he’s now on the same wake-up schedule as his older siblings. And we only have two showers in our house. I figure I’ll have to start getting up at 5:15 or so in order to keep up with my exercise regimen, wake the kids (it takes a few tries), make them breakfast (it ain’t gourmet) and get them to the bus stop (a.k.a. the 100-yard mad dash).

On a couple of weekdays, my wife can drop the kids off at school on her way to work. Which seems great in theory, but in reality it just makes “bus days” that much more painful… because when mom drives they get to sleep in an extra 15 minutes, so she’s a hero, and when dad wakes them for the bus he’s a zero.

How many days until Thanksgiving break?

Sunday morning scripture… #millennialstyle

This is one of the funniest pieces I’ve read in a long time, a Millennial version of the creation story by Sara K. Runnels

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/and-god-created-millennial-earth

And thanks to my daily interaction with my teenage kids (which is admittedly limited – they are in their rooms most of the time), I actually got most of the references.

Happy Sunday!

The end of June = the end of an era

No, I don’t have a faulty calendar. I’m talking about June Foray, who passed away recently at the age of 99. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps this will help:

She was a flying squirrel.

She was an Eastern European spy.

She was Dudley Do-Right’s girl.

She was Mr. Magoo’s mom.

She was Tweety Bird’s owner, Granny.

She was the cutest Christmas kid ever.

And she was the scariest talking doll ever. Just ask Telly Savalas.

June Foray was a voice actor extraordinaire. One of the best… in fact, the late great animator Chuck Jones, who did the Grinch work you see above and worked with Mel “Man of 1,000 Voices” Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, et al.) on hundreds of classic Warner Brothers cartoons once said:

“June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”  

High praise indeed for a voice actor. And June deserved it. I’ve always admired folks who can bring multiple characters to life with just their voice. When I grow up, I want to be Harry Shearer, or Hank Azaria, or Billy West, or Seth MacFarlane, or Mike Judge. But even in my wildest dreams I could never be as good as June.

Thanks for all the great voices, and all the great memories, June. You gave us something we really did like.

 

 

Nailed it! Then caulked and painted it!

I’ve found a kindred spirit that abhors all those home improvement shows as much as I do. And he’s written a hilarious blog post about it.

Trust me, more than 12 people read his blog, unless there are only 11 other people besides me who appreciate well-crafted sarcastic humor.

The entire post is here. You won’t list it, you’ll love it. And the rest of his Hitting the Trifecta blog posts are well worth checking out as well.

If it’s free, it’s for thee

The Craigslist “free stuff” section is where dreams go to die. Several months ago, we had two trees cut down in our yard, and one was a black walnut tree, which according to the tree company is a coveted hardwood. They said they’d leave a couple of 10-foot trunk sections intact and we could probably sell them to a lumber yard to recoup some of the tree removal costs. Ever the optimistic cheapskate, I believed them. After dozens of calls to lumber folks, and even an email to the Cincinnati Woodworkers hobby group, the trunks were still stuck in our yard five months later.

So I posted them as freebies on Craigslist – with the major caveat that they’d have to haul them away – and got a dozen replies within minutes of the posting. The “first responder” came armed only with a regular pickup truck and some chains… I thought there was no way that he’d be able to move the gargantuan logs. But he and his son pushed, pulled and dragged them out of our back gate, then set up some crazy scaffolding and a chain hoist to lift the logs so they could back the truck up underneath and gently lower them into the pickup bed. You go, Log Man!

The next item up for bidding (minimum bid: $0, maximum bid: $0) was four 10-foot sections of old wrought iron railing that we had removed from our 2nd floor deck about a year ago. My wife and I thought we could use them for some sort of decorative yard/garden project… but after a year of them sitting near our fence, it was time to let the dream go.

Again, we got dozens of calls within minutes of posting. I’m sure someone drove them right to the scrapyard, but scrapyard is better than our yard.

And finally, the pièce de résistance… or rather pièces de crapola. A bunch of weather-beaten old windows and two French doors from our sunroom.

   

I was hanging on to them in hopes that the local community garden could use them to build a greenhouse. But after a year of staring at the eyesores and no response from the garden organizer, it was time to let them go. The good news is the gentleman who picked them up does plan to use them for a greenhouse. So I’m sure they’ll be happy in their new forever home.

Now if only I could list the dog poop in our yard on Craigslist…

Work feels too much like work

Today is the first day back to work after a vacation (heavy, audible sigh).

I was off for two weeks, so it’s especially tough to get back in gear.

I suppose I could make this photo from vacation my computer desktop pic:

But somehow it’s not the same as being there.

Oh well, only 350 more days until I get to do it again.

Welcome to the working week
Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you
Welcome to the working week
You gotta do it till you’re through it, so you better get to it

 

Cover band, uncovered!

Church festivals are a big deal in Cincinnati. Every Catholic church in the area has a weekend where they transform their parking lot into a mini state fair (minus the livestock), complete with games of chance, rides, food booths, bid-n-buy, etc. Many parishes will even set up a stage and book local bands too.

Our parish festival is a couple of weeks from now, so they posted the schedule for it in the church bulletin:

I love how they had to emphasize that the local cover band called “Naked Karate Girls” wasn’t actually naked.

Because we all know the church ladies would NOT approve if they were.

The Friday night band is called Devils Due. Maybe that one needs a disclaimer too:

*This band does NOT feature any devils. But they may play some INXS.

 

 

 

No cause for alarm(s)

Three of our kids wrapped up their school year yesterday. Our daughter Leah has a Latin exam today (sounds like fun!) and will be finished before noon. That means I’ll have three glorious months of no kiddie wake-up duty.

And if you’ve never tried to wake up a teenager, I suggest you go poke a rattlesnake nest with your bare hands, it’ll be less painful.

Oh sure, I’ll still get up at the crack of dawn. I’m a 52-year-old guy… nature calls early and often for me. But it’ll be nice to have just a few minutes to spare.

Now that the kiddies are ready to sleep in, I just need to work on the kitties

Enjoy your summer!