February 17, 2010
I hate the Olympics. I once watched it with fascination and enjoyment, but when I see Olympia walk into the bar, I feel like getting up and walking out. Except, I was at the gym, and the event went a little differently than I expected.
George: “Greetings! This is George Snow Snorkle broadcasting from British Columbia for the all-commercials Winter Olympics/Global Warming/Canada has egg all over its face/British Columbia declares bankruptcy/Olympic coverage. We have a remote broadcast from our remote location correspondent, Eman Modnar. Eman, please come in and describe your environment.”
Eman: “It’s a pleasant spring day at my gym, George. I am watching the Spring Olympics on two monitors while I work out on the cross-trainer.”
George: “What event are you watching right now, Eman?”
Eman: “I am watching a commercial. Isn’t this the all-commercial Olympics? Drink beer and stay in shape? No, wait…I think they are showing a few seconds of an event. A bunch of cross-country skiers are throwing themselves down in the snow and shooting! This is exciting!
“It looks like the leading competitor is a Swede. Well,Sweden is famous for being neutral and peace-loving, so it makes sense that a shooting Swede on skis is winning.”
George: “What are they shooting at?”
Eman: “It looks as if they are shooting at a hockey game. Why not? Who cares about a bunch of brutes skating around and crashing into each other and pummeling each other with sticks? Some of the hockey players are dressed in red—they seem to be Russians. And some of them are in red, white, and blue—I bet those are Yankees. Look at that! Look at how they are crashing into each other—looks like the cold war isn’t really over. [Camera cuts away and mike is cut off until remote correspondent gets control of himself and his excessive mirthiness.]
“Wait! Wait! These are women! Who knew? Who knew there were female hockey players? Are they all butch or something! Hey, the biatholonners might as well shoot them. I don’t want to see a female athlete unless she is in a bikini and dancing on ice.
“OK, they’ve switched from the biathlon to the down-hill racers, Here they come! Well, at least here come some body parts. OK, they’re back to commercials. And counting countries and medals. I must say, the modern winter Olympics aren’t anything like the ancient Viking winter Olympics. Give me a Norseman with an ice ax in his hand any time. As I always say, give me a lunge rather than a luge.
George: “Thank you, Eman. Don’t call us; we’ll call you…for the global warming Olympics.”
February 8, 2010
The older I get, the more certain I am that a) truth is difficult to determine and b) the best way to proceed is difficult to determine in issues of dealing with our lives, whether we are 66 years old, as am I, or 6 years old, as RG will be in about a week. It’s all a perplexity.
As Norwichrocks said, a lot of the children’s books are twaddle, perhaps including the ones I described in the previous post. Yet, the mommies’ rather bowdlerized approach to Random Granddaughter’s reading matter seems to work fairly well. And the Rhianna and Jamaica books that RG picked out (and they were picked out by her and are unknown to her mommies) seemed to be of interest to her and discussed issues and concerns of interest and concern to RG. I only summarized one of the books, but RG enjoyed all three books we read and each led to interesting conversations and observations by her. I think she should indeed learn the word “twaddle,” but I should be respectful that what might seem to be twaddle to me may not be to her. Or she may someday get a PhD in twaddle.
However, I will indeed investigate the the curious books blog woo mentioned to me. Carefully and cautiously.
By the age of 3, Random Granddaughter had decided (an interest continuing up until the age of 5) on a career as a fire captain, today somewhat replaced by teaching and art. She never mentioned wanting to go into police work. However, being a police officer may have been added to her career horizon.
As we left the library and headed back toward themommies’ house, we heard a siren. Ahead of us, we saw two motorcycle policemen at an intersection, stopping a few cars as they came toward them through the traffic light. After they stopped a couple of cars, they would look at ID, examine the driver, and let him proceed.
We watched as after a while, the turned around and moved methodically up the street ahead of us. Although RG does not watch television or read the newspaper, and lives in a very mellow and PC urban neighborhood, she seems to be getting sophisticated about modern life. RG speculated that the motorcycle officers were “looking for crooks.” I agreed this was a real possibility, and briefly to related to her a story from 30 years ago when I “helped” the police look for a crook.
Many years ago when I was teaching high school in Seattle’s semi-ghetto, I asked students in one of my classes to participate in some kind of experience in the community (outside of school). Several chose to do “ride-alongs” with the Seattle Police Department. If a young lady wanted to do such an activity, the Police Department required her to bring along an adult male [presumably to protect her against the police abusing or taking advantage of her].
One female student, Linda, came to me in some distress. She was going to ride with the police with her brother as the duenna/observer. When they arrived at the police station, the police promptly arrested her brother for having a long collection of unpaid traffic tickets. The next day, Linda approached me in with great worry about doing her homework assignment. I had to admit that “The police arrested my male duenna,” far surpassed, “The dog ate my homework,” as an excuse, so I was a pushover for her request that I join her for a ride to fight crime.
On the appointed night, after they had checked my name for outstanding or inferior warrants, Linda and I climbed into the back seat of a police car. The two officers in the front seat were very friendly and professional—I was sure they had been carefully vetted to be presentable to the public. Although the first hour of the evening was fairly routine, a couple of calls by the dispatcher alerted us to look for a stolen car. Driven by an escaped convict. Who had already mugged a woman earlier that day.
As we came out of a bar, where the officers had calmly and politely calmed a disturbance, one of the cops exclaimed, “There he is!” I was immensely impressed with his vision and alertness. From the merest glance of his peripheral vision, he had identified the vehicle, read the license plate, and ID’d the driver as the wanted prison escapee as the car sped by.
We leaped into the police car, radioed the dispatcher, turned on the sirens and set off in pursuit. Soon joined by at least half a dozen other squad cars, we raced up and down the Southeast end of Seattle in pursuit of the fleeing felon. Eventually, he was cornered and herded into a McDonald’s parking lot. Cops surrounded his car, yanked him out of the car, threw him on the ground, and handcuffed him.
The two officers apologetically explained the rest of the evening would be taken up with paperwork and our ride along would be cut short. Linda, my student, assured me it was the best homework assignment she had ever had. I don’t know if she went into a career in law enforcement, in crime, or in television. I related a simplified version of this story to RG, who in turn told it to the mommies. It seems clear that police work has been added to her list of careers to evaluate.
Perhaps she will be an undercover cop who drives ferryboats while teaching classes and drawing sketches of felons from witness descriptions. And putting out fires as a hobby.
February 3, 2010
After the mommies and RG and I had lunch, Mama went back to studying her calculus and statistics, and Mommy went to the hardware store, and Random Granddaughter and I went to the library.
She selected some books, and then asked me to read them to her. Several of the books were about two little girls. One, named Brianna, is Asian, and the other, whose name is Jamaica, is black. RG is being raised to value diversity, living in a multi-racial urban neighborhood, having two mommies and two daddies (none of whom is married to any of the others), and having a crazy Grandpa. So don’t tell RG about your diversity because you don’t know diversity unless you are a science fiction child like RG.
The two girls seemed to be in kindergarten and always seemed to be having little human relations problems. If Oprah Winfrey wrote books for kindergarteners, these would be the books.
As RG is seriously considering being an artist, even though she is not allowed to send pictures to Auntie Woo in Australia, and is afraid to, because she is an introvert, she was interested in one of the stories. Jamaica is making a picture with marker pens. It is a very nice picture of a tree (brown pen) with leaves (green pen). The teacher brings over a little boy—I forget his name so I will call him Dudley Dingbat—and explains he doesn’t have any markers and asks Jamaica to lend him one. She lends him one, a blue one, with somewhat bad grace.
Dudley starts to draw a picture and then crumples it up and throws it on the floor. Then he starts to scribble all over Jamaica’s picture. She takes the picture home to her black mother and black daddy [that’s OK, but a multi-racial family would be diverser] and is very sad. Eventually it all gets sorted out Oprah style—the boy’s dad is moving because his dad got a new family, etc—you can find the book if you really care.
The interesting part is that Random Granddaughter told me that her best friend—whom I call BIP [for bad influence peer, and is the daughter of a billionaire] sometimes crumples up her pictures and throws them on the floor. This is interesting, because the mommies are not too enthusiastic about RG’s close relationship with BIP, partly because I had not been digging for this or asking leading questions–perhaps because BIP is a bratty extrovert and RG is a bratty introvert sidekick, perhaps because the mommies don’t have a lot of money and are afraid that RG—a child genius—or perhaps just a very smart little girl—will start to place too much value on money—though if BIP is fairly messed up, and it sounds to me as if she is—then RG may draw the right conclusions, perhaps before her hormones kick in, which may not happen until she is seven or eight or so—the right conclusions being that money alone will not make you happy. Though it is hard to know. If nothing else, some day RG may write a brilliant, successful memoir titled something like I Had Two Mommies, Two Daddies, A Crazy Grandpa, and a Very Messed Up Heiress as a Best Friend in Kindergarten, and make a lot of money, appear on television to tell her story to Oprah’s god-granddaughter and be a messed up science fiction child. Your mileage may vary.
February 1, 2010
As we were getting ready to leave to see the mommies and Random Granddaughter, I noticed a distressed look on my wife’s face. When I queried her, she said, “I feel like I am going to throw up. I do not want to make anyone sick. You go. I will stay home.”
When I got to the mommies, RG was talking on the phone. Mommy (my daughter’s partner and RG’s birth mother) said, “She is talking to her dad. He is Amsterdam with his mom.”
RG has flown to Virginia and to Chicago, but not to Europe. Mommy said, “Dad keeps threatening to take her to Europe.” I am sure when that day occurs, RG will take Europe by storm as she has America.
Mama (my daughter) stayed upstairs and studied her calculus and statistics for her graduate school class. She explained what she is studying a little bit. I tried to look alert and comprehending, much as Sylvie, the mommies’ adorable cat, tries to loot alert and comprehending when we explain to her when she wants to go outside that she can’t because the raccoons and the coyotes who live in the city will eat her.
Mommy and RG and I went to the Arboretum to feed the ducks. The mommies are very nutrition conscious, so we didn’t bring stale white bread. RG had a bag of organic oats. RG threw oats at the ducks. It is hard to read the expression on a duck’s face, but I suspect the ducks’ faces said, “We would like stale white bread crumbs just as well, thank you.”
We then walked for a bit and then RG spied something interesting on the shore of a lagoon. We went to examine it. “That’s a dead beaver,” said Mommy.
RG stared at the dead beaver for quite a while with interest. I didn’t tell her that the dead beaver’s name, when alive, was “Existential Dilemma.” Or perhaps it was “I build dams, damn it!”
We then returned to the small house in the medium-sized city. As Mommy fixed us a nice lunch, she told me that her mother, who is 69, has arrhythmia in her heart. She is not in any danger of dying immediately, but the doctors have been inserting tubes up into her heart and trying to get it to beat in the proper rhythm. The process in very painful and uncomfortable.
My cousin Julie told me that my Aunt Henriette was told she needs an operation on her heart. Henriette has always believed that good nutrition and exercise would help her live forever, but she has agreed to have the operation. Her son Carl, who has been very estranged from his mother, is flying out to be with her. He has no money, so Julie is paying for his plane trip. (She calls it a loan, but I doubt that she is holding her breath waiting for repayment).
I try to be very nice to my daughter and her partner and that she will be able to afford the ferry trip to visit us when the time comes. At the moment, my blood sugar is at an acceptable level, and my blood pressure is at a good level as well, and my heart goes into the training level on the treadmill fairly readily, but one never knows.