Sep 112017

I had a hard time writing a Facebook status about 9/11 today. I wanted to be accurate, but I didn’t want to invite argumentative nonsense. I finally went with

Renewed anger and sadness as I remember 9/11 and its aftermath.

I am sad. Almost 3,000 innocents said goodbye to their loved ones that morning for the last time. Hundreds more died in heroic rescue efforts. Thousands more were injured, many permanently.

I am angry. Whatever else is true of President Trump, I am confident from his words and actions that the United States is again at war with radical Islamists who lust for American blood. We must continue working to make the punishment for spilling it in the name of Allah so severe that no one would dare it.

And, your bonus, emotion—I am irritated. Too many of us now hem and haw and fret and fuss about what happened that terrible Tuesday morning, particularly in the context of how to explain/teach it to those who weren’t alive or are too young to remember. Our children are among those. Lea was seven months’ pregnant with our first.

It’s not a pretty story, but neither is it a complex one. And I can assure you that both of our sons have a clear understanding of what happened the morning of September 11, 2001.

 Posted by at 1:48 pm
Aug 282017

When I was a little boy, we had a Hamilton Beach popcorn popper. It had an electric base, shaped like a shallow wok on top. You filled up the middle with kernels, then covered them with oil. Finally, you put the bowl on top. It was transparent yellow-orange plastic, shaped something like a broader-than-normal top hat, with two handles. Then you plugged it in. Over about five minutes, the oil would sizzle, and then all of the popcorn would pop. When it slowed down considerably, you unplugged it, turned the whole thing upside down (making sure to hold the handles!), and now all of your popcorn was in the bowl, ready to be salted.

(I didn’t remember it being endorsed by Broadway Joe, but there you go. Ours was “Avocado Green,” by the way.)

I’m pleased to see there is still something similar available. This is the right form factor, though ours didn’t have a “stirring rod,” and it looks much lighter than ours was. You could have cracked someone’s skull with the base from the one we had.

Thinking of that old popcorn popper makes me happy. I was always having a really good time whenever it made an appearance. David from up the street was spending the night, and we were playing Atari and trying to sneak a glimpse of flesh on HBO. Or Dad just decided it was a popcorn night, and got up and made some. (He didn’t really do that unless we were all into something on TV, so it was good family time. We loved Real People.) I remember the salt would stick to the thin film of oil around the side of the bowl, so you could get a really salty and greasy piece by rubbing a kernel around and mopping it up.

That popper made great popcorn, but I don’t want to get one like it today. For one thing, apart from a perhaps-quarterly trip to the movies, I don’t eat super-oily popcorn like that anymore. We have an air popper that I use, or we have lighter varieties of microwave popcorn. For another, Lea would kill me if I came home with another countertop appliance, because countertop appliances must be stored.

Mostly I wonder whether my children will have any comparable items in their childhood memories; seemingly trivial things around which a halo of joy forms for them. I have such stark delineation between what I remember pre-divorce and post-divorce, and they won’t have that.

It’s hard for me to tell just how much I’ve “supercharged” the pre-divorce memories, but I’m not sure that imprecision bothers me. However they are in my heart is exactly as accurate as they need to be.

 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Aug 202017

The best advice on viewing the August 21 solar eclipse is to do it. Watch the eclipse. Experience it first. Document it second. Guess what? It’s going to be cool. Guess what else? Many millions of people will be consuming the experience at the same time you are. Everyone will have remarkably similar photos and […]

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Aug 182017

I stalked a woman once. Well, not really. That sounds like I followed her around and took photos or something, and I didn’t. I spooked her, though (regrettably). She was a regular customer in the service department at Madison Books & Computers, bringing machines in for her employer. She was an attractive blonde, maybe a […]

 Posted by at 10:02 am is using WP-Gravatar