Merry Christmas from The Sly One

Bacon Explosions and Rats 018

Yeah, I got out finally.  So, the Reverend Mother is making this bacon thingy and she sends the new guy out for barbecue sauce which she conveniently forgot to buy. Sounds like a fool’s errand to me. Where’s he gonna get barbecue sauce on Christmas day. Yeah, cause everyone celebrates their savior’s birth by barbecuing something. He’ll probably be gone the rest of the day searching for that. That Rev. Mother is really smart. She effectively eliminated him from the day’s festivities. I like the way she thinks.

Many are Called, Few are Chosen


Sly the rat

Listen up, you humans. I don’t have much time because when they find me up here they’re gonna put me back in that cage. I doooooooooon’t wanna go!  Yeah, that’s right, it’s Sly. Yes, rats know how to type and use the intertube, but most of us can’t get access. Anyway, the deal is I’m gonna tell you what’s really goes on around here. I admit this is a pretty good gig but they could feed me more. What do they think? Like I can’t smell all those things they’re eating when my cage is right inside the door from the kitchen. Why don’t they just hand some over who cares how much the rat weighs! Come on I’m a rat!  What else do I have to live for. I happen to know that aren’t any boys around because when I manage to get out I run all over looking for some and I’ve never found one no not one. It’s probably for the best because there’s barely enough food for me.

So here’s the deal. There’s a bunch of people living here and most of em are OK. There are two ugly birds also in a cage, on the other side of the room, and when they manage to get out all heck breaks loose. They go everywhere and by go you know what I mean. Anyway most of the human are like I said, OK. There’s a new guy who used to only be here once in a while and now they can’t seem to get rid of him. I don’t like him he swats at me and doesn’t give me any treats. I chew his clothes when I manage to get time on the outside. There’s lots of girl humans and they like me. Human girl 1 gives me warm oatmeal almost every morning but not enough and then most days she leaves the house. Human girl 2 who looks almost like girl 1 go figure, she likes me a lot and takes me out ocassionally and compliments me but she could give me more treats. Human girl 3 has the weirdest hair and acts really funny and pretends to be a ninja at least I think she’s pretending, but I like her because she gives me food and takes me out and lets me chew run around on the couch. Then there’s this really big human who’s not here much which is too bad because even though he’s really scary he gives me food. So like I said it’s a pretty good gig at least when I’m not fasting but I overhear some crazy stuff sometimes and noooooooooo, I’m not finished  ..    .    .    .  …   .   .

They reportedly like Obama, too…

The new fashion statement from Europe is…

Men In Skirts (story and photos)…

How do you know men’s lib is in full swing? When men start wearing skirts. On the street. In everyday life. The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, snapped two men wearing skirts on the streets of Europe, and it caught us off guard — it’s not like these guys were heading to a Scottish wedding in ritual dress. No, they evidently woke up that morning and decided that instead of putting their pants on one leg at a time, they’d slip a skirt over both legs. We thought we weren’t ready for mirdles, but this is a whole new level.

We admit, we find the looks Schumann shot stylish. But we can’t get past the fact that they’re men wearing skirts, and something about that trend catching on just doesn’t look or feel right. Don’t get us wrong — we’re all for equality of the sexes, and if Yves Saint Laurent can put women in pantsuits, there’s no reason other designers can’t put men in skirts. We expect to see them on the men’s runways from time to time. And we find it delightful when we do, but in a non-serious way. But now that it may be getting serious, we’re a bit unsettled. We don’t know if America is ready for her men to be traipsing around the streets in skirts. And if they’re just barely catching on in Europe now, how long before they’re popular here? Five to ten years?

Commenters on the Sartorialist are smitten by these men in their skirts. One writes, “I’d do it myself (in ten years maybe).” Another writes, “There was a great Met Costume Institute show of men in skirts a few years ago — it took about 5 seconds inside to realize that the West has missed an opportunity for beautiful tailoring and sexy knees.” And yet another writes, “I love both looks — I was struck by the usage of the belt on the guy with the tie — these looks are hot.”

Hot? As in, Damn, that outfit compels me to get that guy’s number? Hm. Dunno. But that’s not to say that in several years we won’t find a hot man in a hot skirt to be the sexiest thing since Brangelina. For now, though, so long as they’re off the runway, we can’t help but prefer to see guys with that extra bit of fabric between their thighs. But maybe we’re just behind. So we’ll ask you: How do you feel about men in skirts? Is the world ready for it? Or do you think it will take another decade or so for the planet to prepare?

Ere the “surly bonds” were slipped…

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

Today is the birthday of the man who wrote the most famous inspirational poem about aviation — a sonnet about aviation — John Gillespie Magee Jr., born in Shanghai, China, in 1922, the son of missionaries. He was an American, but like thousands of other young Americans he served with the Royal Canadian Air Force before the United States officially entered WWII. He had a scholarship to Yale, but after high school he enlisted in the air force, and he was sent to combat duty in England. A month or maybe two months later, he wrote a sonnet, “High Flight,” and sent it to his parents on the back of a letter, saying “I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed.” Three months later, the U.S. entered the war, and just three days after that Magee died in a plane crash. The sonnet was widely copied and distributed, and it is still referenced in novels, television shows, and political speeches. All first-year cadets at the United States Air Force Academy are required to memorize and recite it.

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

“High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., Public Domain.

Dad to the Bone, redux

So many thoughts this week leading up to Father’s Day. It was Father’s Day last year when we first faced the possibility of cancer coming back into my father’s life. This morning I spoke for awhile with a father of two young girls who is struggling with their discipline, taking me back to the early days with my own daughters…and then naturally to my oldest, now casting major plans of her own for adulthood. So many things, tumbling around, I’m not sure what will come out here in the coming week, but I think I’ll start things off with one of the first “fatherhood” posts I ever did here.

Dad to the Bone

Every parent either knows – or feels – by heart the words to the “Sunrise, Sunset” song in “Fiddler on the Roof”:

Is this the little girl I carried,
is this the little boy at play?

When I hear this the memory that flashes in my mind is not that of carrying either of my two daughters up to bed, or of piggyback rides. Instead I think of a family photo a few years ago. In it my girls – then about 10 and 5 – and I have been wrestling. I am standing and in each hand I’ve got an ankle of one of the girls and I’m holding them both upside down and off the ground, not unlike a proud poulterer holding up a couple of prizewinners at the State Fair. Imagining the picture now I can still hear the shrieks and giggles.

At this point in their lives – and for this moment now permanently frozen on film – I am Dad the Undefeated and, in their eyes, larger than life. Meanwhile, in the moments that I write this, the next line from that song is passing through my mind: “I don’t remember getting older, when did they?” If asked to reenact the scene today my response would have to be, “One at a time.”

As I flip through my mental photo album the girls seem to grow suddenly in a series of jerks and jumps. Of course I know they are really changing everyday, judging by the continuous trips to the shoe store and cries of, “But I just bought you those pants!” I also can’t help noticing in this album that as they are getting bigger, I seem to be getting – perhaps ever-so-slightly – smaller.

Once when my oldest was very little and concerned that we might be imminently attacked by bears in our own front yard, she was greatly comforted when I assured her that if any bears came near her I’d grab them and twist their noses. Today the same promise still stands regarding boys, not bears, but it’s clear that my powers are coming more into perspective. While there are times when it may seem, in my daughters’ eyes, that I can still rise up and blot out the sun, I cannot stop it from moving across the sky. I am shade, however, standing between them and the heat of the world. I will continue to do so as long as I can stand.

Of course, brute force has always been of limited application. To be a proper protector my defenses have had to be – and must remain – more subtle. Jesus once told his disciples that it was better for them that he go away. His meaning was that his power both in their lives and in the world would ultimately be much greater by his living in them rather than with them. I don’t construe this to mean my girls are better off without me, but rather that I must devote my time with them to preparing them to live on fruitfully, just as Jesus did in his three years with the disciples. The time together already seems all too short.

When they were little, their well-being depended on instant obedience to my authority and that of their mother. It was not expected or accepted of them to ponder whether or not we meant what we said or whether our instructions supported their personhood or hurt their self-esteem. “No,” “stop” and “don’t” could keep them from a boiling pot, a busy street or a strange dog. As they get older they are still at risk from natural forces, careless strangers and unpredictable animals interested only in their own gratification. “No,” “stop” and “don’t” might still have an effect, but it’s better to teach them the underlying reasons and standards for moral conduct so they can also work out the “Yeses,” “do’s” and “go-for-its.” In that way my influence can carry on a lot further than my authority will ever be able to.

For my influence to be effective, however, I have to keep learning and examining myself both for my own benefit as well as theirs. Like it or not, my life will be a standard that my daughters will use to judge men on in the future and I want to set the bar pretty high with no apologies to the young fellas coming along. Perfect or not, it is mine to carry. On one level my girls may see me as “Dad of Dads, Keeper of the Remote and King of Rude Noises,” but they should also know at a deeper level that I have laid and will lay down my life for them. As they grow older I hope that they will not settle for any man who will not do the same, even though the kind interested only in the “lay down” part may be all too common.

If you have daughters I think you know what I mean, and I hope you, too, are preparing yourself and them to live by your influence and that of Jesus while submitting to the authority of God. If you have sons, I pray that you are preparing them to a similar standard and helping them grow into their own responsibilities.

And if you have sons that may be hanging around my daughters, you might want to warn them about that nose thing.

Brothers in Arms

“Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits is one of the most haunting songs I’ve ever know. I bought the album because of the “Money for Nothing” song when it came out back in, what, 1985? I really liked the song, but it was cemented for me when it was used in a memorable episode of Miami Vice entitled “Out Where the Buses Don’t Run” (back when using popular songs to help illustrate a TV show was ground-breaking).

I’d never seen a video for “Brothers In Arms” until I stumbled across this. Today, the anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the tone and look of the video seem especially appropriate.

There must have been something in the airwaves

There’s a site called TV that has collected the top 20 music videos from every week starting when MTV debuted all the way through Napster. If you go to the site you can check out what the most popular videos were for any week of significance to you in this time period and click on the links to watch these.

For example, my wife and I were married on October 10, 1986 (the week of October 4), and by checking out that week I re-discovered that the number one video just so happened to be “Happy to Be Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis & the News.

Not only that, but the weekly top 20 also included “Friends & Lovers” by Gloria Long & Carl Anderson, “When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson, “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q, and “Love Zone” by Billy Ocean. There was also a song by my wife’s favorite actor at the time, “Heartbeat” from Don Johnson.

Also on the charts was “Heaven in Your Eyes” by the appropriately named Loverboy, “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin and “A Matter of Trust” by Billy Joel.

That was certainly an auspicious beginning for us, even if the list that week included “Throwing it all Away” by Genesis, “Walk This Way” by Run DMC/Aerosmith and “Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” by Robert Palmer!