Archives for December 2013

I Am Grieving So Hard Right Now

They say that famous people always die in sets of three, and the last couple of weeks have sadly provided more grim support for that theory. I want to take a moment to reflect on each of these great men, as each of their deaths taken separately would have been a severe blow — taken together, in such a short time, they have left me utterly devastated.


Nelson Mandela

The loss of Nelson Mandela, of course, was a total, terrible shock. I am still trying to make sense of it. What a great, great man. You can tell by all the other great people who are mourning him on Twitter how great he was. He fought for peace, and through nonviolence was able to make his country accept minorities like himself, so that he was eventually able to become president of Africa. Remember that song “Sun City”? The video was on MTV all the time in the ’80s, and they were talking about Mandela and apartheid. Stringer Bell from “The Wire” is playing Mandela in a movie coming out soon, and he is awesome, so I am looking forward to learning more about this great man, taken from us far too soon. Who knows what else he might have achieved?


Lou Reed

Lou Reed obviously needs no introduction. I never actually listened to any of his records, but I love the Tribe Called Quest song that uses that one bass line of his. And his contribution to the art of wearing sunglasses cannot be overstated. They say that only a few people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but all of them went out and started bands. Well, to this day I have never listened to the first Velvet Underground album, but I started a few bands anyway — that’s how huge Lou Reed’s influence has been on my life. I am absolutely gutted that he’s gone, because now I’ll never get the chance to understand his genius.

That guy from the car movies

Finally and most painfully, the tragic death of that guy from the car movies. I only saw the first one, where he’s still a super handsome cop, but he gave a layered, subtle performance, with the fast driving and the hooking up with Jordana Brewster. I hear the later ones where he becomes a super handsome crook who drives fast and marries Jordana Brewster are even better. I tried to get some time off from work so I could fly out to Los Angeles and visit the crash site, but the jerks I work for didn’t see it as a valid emergency, so I was stuck in my cubicle watching YouTube videos of people grieving at the crash site. He touched so many lives.

I appreciate all of your support over the last few weeks, it’s meant so much to me. I may never be whole again, but I owe it to these great men — Nelson Mandela, Lou Reed, and the guy from the car movies — to try to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Cardboard Christmas

the cardboard christmas tree

My six-year-old son has made his Christmas list. Actually, he’s made a few of them, because like everything else he claims to value, he loses each of them shortly after he’s made them. He started working on it right after Halloween, thanks to Christmas’ pre-emptive (and nearly uncontested) War On Thanksgiving, and has been counting the days ever since.

Among his requests to Santa/Grandma/his Mom and me: a full-size catapult; a suit of armor; a BB gun (because I made the mistake of telling him about the movie A Christmas Story); a halfpipe in the back yard; and of course, and most contentiously, a drum set. (As much as I want to encourage the boy’s interest in music, the plain fact is that at present, he has an alarming rhythm deficiency, and I’d just as soon develop those skills on a quieter instrument.)

I believe he was on his fifth draft when a catalog called Smart Kids arrived in the mail (must have been a mixup at the post office), and he spent the rest of the day circling nine out of ten items in the calendar, and then listing each of them in his Christmas list in his mangled, vowel-deficient version of English. (They supposedly call it “emergent literacy.”)

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