Friday, September 22, 2006

Wait 'til you see the action figures!

A week or so ago, Minnesota Public Radio hired a fine photographer to snap some "publicity" photos of people who are on the air. Since I'm occasionally on the air, I was on the list.

Now keep in mind, I still have almost all of the business cards MPR gave me 10 years ago, so I don't exactly rip through the outside world, handing out cards and photos. But since they went to the trouble of putting on make-up, well...

Anyway, he took three. One I really liked, but nobody else did. I won't tell you which. You'll just have to vote. The winner replaces that one over on the left there.

But, you know, I look at these and think: I should run for something.

Any openings that you know of?

Here we go:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Space cowboy

I've always been interested in the space program. When I was a kid, my folks gave me a Panasonic reel-to-reel recorder and I'd stay home (maybe I was faking, I forget) and watch Frank McGee on NBC or Walter Cronkite on CBS broadcast the various Gemini missions and I'd turn down the sound and talk into the thing. I figured I'd end up being an astronaut. I ended up instead being the guy who "talks into the thing." Go figure.

Anyway, here's a story I wrote about an aquaintance of mine, who has built the same kind of plane that I'm building. If you've been following the current Atlantis flight, maybe you've seen him on the TV. His name is Paul Dye. He's the lead flight director for the shuttle.

Now, this picture below is really cool. It was taken from France and, yeah, that's the sun. But check out the spots (click the image for a larger view). Unbelievable.

That's the shuttle on the left, after undocking with the space station on the right.

My mother had a beauty shop in our basement and, of course, it had a sink she'd wash customers' hair in and it had a chair that would lean back. It was a good place to play "spaceshot." So I'd take my brothers football helmet, put Saran wrap around the front and that was my space helmet. Then I'd wear a big heavy red parka and that was my spaceshuit. I'd get in the chair and that was my capsule.

I built a flimsy cardboard "control panel" of a capsule that had a bunch of paper switches that did nothing but light the stick of dynamite I was sitting on. And I'd turn on the tape recorder, on which I'd taped mission control. And then I'd "lift off."

It's a wonder I didn't suffocate.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Just wondering

How many churches do Islamists have to firebomb in order to make their point that the Pope was wrong to have quoted 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus who said everything the criticism of the Prophet Mohammad brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached"?

OK, so may be not everything. Is that the point?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It could be worse; you could've been born on February 29th

Today was my wife's birthday. She needs a break; bad things tend to happen on her birthday. In 1986, my grandmother died on her birthday. Then in 2001, well, you know. It wasn't a very good time.

We had a nice dinner at the Afton House, but earlier in the day, son Patrick left a frantic message that he pulled into a gas station on his motorcyle last night, took his backpack off and filled up with gas. But when he went in to pay, he forgot to take his backpack with him and when he returned it was gone.

It included all his text books, his homework, his cellphone, his PS2 and a key... an important key; an important master key to one of the facilities where he works part-time.

Things have always gone well for Patrick, so this has given him a punch in the gut and he really doesn't nkow where to start. It's one of those things where you can only take one thing at a time. But he hasn't calmed down enough to start. Maybe tomorrow.

My oldest son Sean, Carolie says, talked to her today and assured her that he and roomate Nick -- who we consider our son too -- will take care of roomate Patrick and "he'll be fine."

Good kids.

Happy birthday, Carolie.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Waiting to exhale

I come from a long line of worriers. Or maybe it's a short line. And maybe it's not "worrying," per se. Maybe it's just the inability to exhale.

I was at a get-together in Minneapolis last night for Minnesota bloggers and was talking to Gary Miller, who is one of the writers at the Kennedy vs. the Machine blog when the subject turned to kids -- my kids, of course -- and when I mentioned that both of my kids are now out of the house, Gary said "it must be nice to sit back and relax and say "yeah, we did a good job" ?

Yes, it must be. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I wouldn't know and, frankly, I'd be scared to find out. "Exhaling" is destined to invoke karma. I've done that exhaling thing a couple of times and the results are not pretty. Back in 1986, I remember sitting on the couch in Belmont thinking, "living in Boston, working in radio, there's food in the 'fridge and money in the bank. Ahh, this is living."

A couple of months later, WHDH ran into budget problems and I was on the street. No more of that, even if it gets me a reputation at my current employer of being a pessimist, since they're unable to distinguish the difference between a pessimist and someone who knows disaster is just around the corner. It doesn't mean I think it'll come. It means I don't think it can't. One must not, I figure, tempt the gods with the awesome power of contentment.

In one tortured paradox, I realized the other night that while I always hope the kids will stay in touch, when the phone actually rings and the caller ID indicates it's either Sean or Patrick calling, Carolie and I always have the same reaction. We say "oh,no" out loud.

Carolie and I were both going to go to the pub last night for the bloggers' event, but at the last minute Patrick called and invited her to dinner with him and his ex (I guess) girlfriend, Pam. He called in the afternoon looking for her, too (she was in St. Cloud trying to get the Department of Human Services to get its bureacratic head out of its bureacratic ass), and it sure sounded important that they have dinner together and fast!

This is not normal, I thought. A kid who a few months ago started every sentence with "I'm 18 now..." desperately trying to have dinner with his mother. I could only reach one conclusion: someone's pregnant. But, no, it was just dinner.

Life is good. I guess.