Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Sunday Feeling-Mailing It In

After Miracle League and horsing around last night at a swanky party I am not at the height of my powers today. So I will instead share a link to a piece that ran on Mother's Day in the local paper.

I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to get some coffee.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kris Stole It Fair And Square

The New York Times reports that Kris Allen's victory over the guy with the nail polish and eye liner may have been tainted by voting practices that violated the rules of the show.

After all, Kris got 38 million votes out of Arkansas. Last time I looked, the Natural State only had a population of 4 million or so.

This is ballot stuffing that would shame politicians in Louisiana and Illinois even.

Hit the link:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just When You Think You Have Seen It All-Joe Mauer of the Twins

I have been watching baseball all of my life. This is the damndest play I think I have ever seen a catcher make.

My Sunday Feeling

"Where are you?" was the peevish message that popped up on the cellphone. National Velvet had locked her keys in the Mommyvan after running to the store to-no lie-buy cigarettes for her sister who is in town. I was dispatched to the store to pick her up. Guess I wasn't making sufficient time.

I found her van and pulled in next to it. She was sitting in a lawn chair staring into her IPhone. She was pissed. Not at me particularly, or so I surmised being the narcissist that I am. But she was pissed. That much I could tell from 50 paces.

" Right next to your goddamned Chrysler product," I typed back, trying to be helpful. I saw her pull the IPhone closer to her face. She then looked up toward me with a sheepish look on her face and started walking toward my car.

If you are anything like me, you send and receive text messages constantly. Between my law school buddies, my brothers and nephews, not to mention a certain forgetful Episcopalian lawyer I bet I get 25 or 30 a day. Occasionally, I get useful information even. But then again, my brother Bob's messages, sent when he is bored over at the Nervous Hospital, the intellectual equivalent of a monkey flinging his own shit. Today he sent me a picture of our Uncle Ralph.

Thanks, Bob.

Due to this proliferation of messages, pushed over the edge by Bob and NV, I had to go to the AT&T store to get my rate changed. It was either that or file a Chapter 13. The kid at the store needed to take my phone away to perform some ministration to it. He invited me to go look at an IPhone for myself in the meantime.

My buddy Chris showed me all the stuff his IPhone will do and it is pretty amazing. I think that he and NV would both cease to exist without the goddamned things attached to them. Indeed, I have said repeatedly that NV likes me OK, or she does so far. But she loves her I Phone.

Who can blame her? The IPhone has more apps than I do.

But my God. Do I need a dictionary on my cellphone? Do I need the instant ability to find a sushi restaurant in the proximity of wherever I am? Do I need to play Internet Poker on the damn thing? Do I need 2/3 of the crap Chris and NV have loaded on their IPhones?

No. Hell, I didn't even know how to text until 5 years ago or so. The first text message I ever got was from my brother John. We were playing golf at the family reunion. I was in the first foursome and evidently was being coached on some fine point by other brother Dave. John must have noticed this from way back on the tee box. My cellphone beeped. I looked at it. There was a message.

"Don't listen to a word he says."

Not exactly, "What hath God wrought." But it was a seminal moment in my development.

The kid came back with my humble little Samsung as I was standing there shaking the display IPhone next to my ear to see if I could make it work. He said I am eligible for an upgrade. He says I can get an IPhone.

I don't think so. I am sufficiently wired up. I have all of the technology I can stand.

Back to the parking lot. My phone buzzed as NV got in the car.


"Couldn't that have waited?" I asked. "Did you have to send a text?"

She kissed me on the cheek.

"My IPhone will never be able to do that, buddy" she said.

Not yet it can't. But give Apple time. Give the clever bastards time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vox Populi: The Man At The Music Store

MR: You know, if you had told me this morning that a man would come in off the street on Memorial Day weekend and buy a capo, a pitch pipe and a Korg tuner I would not have believed you.

tmfw: You might as well go home.

MR: I'm marking this day down, that's for sure. Now, the odds are that just as soon as you get home you will find your old capo and pitch pipe. You can just bring them back.

tmfw: I think my brother Bob stole my capo and the former choirmaster at St. Andrew's stole my pitch pipe. You know how musicians are.

MR: I do indeed. How about a guitar to go with that capo?

tmfw: Don't push your luck Marty.

MR: Good point. It's already a red letter day. Come on back if you need me to walk you through the Korg.

tmfw: I will. See ya.

MR: See ya.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Replacements - Talent Show

The hell of it is that real talent like Paul Westerberg would never make the cut on the rigged game that is the national "talent" show known as American Idol.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

There will be no MSF unless later today due to family issues. Will try to do better next week.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

My Mother's Day Feeling

Not too long ago I was cleaning out a desk drawer when I ran across a birthday note from Mother. Mom was always big on writing notes back when she was at the height of her powers. Most of the time it was to get in the last word after arguments during which I either walked away or hung up the phone.

Most of them concerned the morbid obsessions about mostly imagined trouble facing her sons. There was the letter to me in which she offered me 500 bucks if I wouldn't run a Marathon. She should have saved the postage. I got hurt while training and playing tennis at the time. No marathon. She would have done better if she had written about what an idiot I was.

There were many letters about a certain girlfriend of John's that she thought was leading him to perdition. She was and he enjoyed it. She thought David was poor. David isn't poor. Unlike his profligate older brother Dave is a tightwad. Bob, well, Bob needed to finish college and stop tending bar.

I don't know if my brothers got these letters as well. But I guess she wrote me thinking that I would go talk with them about these largely manufactured difficulties. And of course I never did. But these items were typical of my poor Mother's obsessive discourse after I moved back to Little Rock. Thank God e-mail and texting had not been invented by then. I would have never gotten a moment's peace.

But the letter I found in the desk drawer was different. I remember it well. It is undated but it had to have been written in the last years of her stay in assisted living. By the time she was writing this note she had started the decline that led to her current confinement in the nursing home. Some of it is illegible and it is written at an upward slant across the page. Here's what it said:

"Oct 24 (my birthday)

A few years (sic) the first snowflakes were falling and I could see them through (the) hospital window.

Inside a beloved 9 1/2 lb son was being born.

Your dad walked up and down (the) street spreading the word.

What a beautiful son you are.



As many folks know, my mother and I have had a difficult relationship. For much of the last 11 or 12 years I have been as much of a parental figure as I have been a son. It was a difficult balancing act. As one author of a book on the subject said you really aren't a parent. The person in your care is an adult with a lifetime worth of habits and baggage. She didn't use the word "parenting" under the circumstances in her book. She preferred "childing." And so I have been childing all of these years. You would have thought I would have gotten better at it by now.

Intellectually I know that, although God will take her in his time as the Catholics say, surely that time is not far off. And intellectually I know that I will take a measure of peace at her passing because her current station in life is absolutely wretched despite the best care money can buy.

A buddy of mine in Baton Rouge who has listened to me talk about my mother for 25 years lost his Dad recently. He told me to consider something.

"It is going to be harder on you than you think," Jim Nelson said. " Trust me. It will be hard."

I will go up to Conway on Mother's Day to have lunch with Mom. The dementia has rendered her virtually incoherent so we won't talk much. I will cut her food for her and hold her hand.

And I will once again marvel at our sad common human condition when I remember that 53 years ago in Indiana my Mother watched the snow fall outside the hospital window while my Father walked around probably passing out cigars and slapping backs the way men do at these times.

Back when they were both young. Back when I was just a little baby.

God will take her in his time. But this is one hell of a way to play out the string.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Vox Populi: My Friend Barbara

I ran into Barbara at the pharmacy the other day. I hadn't seen her in awhile what with one thing and the other going on. We actually dated a little after I moved back to Little Rock. Despite that fact, she always is glad to see me and gives me a big hug. Yesterday was no different.

tmfw: So what's new with you?

MFB: Actually, I have gone back to school.

tmfw: No kidding? What are you studying?

MFB: I am in my last year of a 3 year program to get a degree in Speech Pathology.

tmfw: Wow! That's great! How's it going?

MFB: It's going really well. I just love it.

tmfw: Lord, I could never go back to school.

MFB: You'd be surprised. Before long that little brain of yours would kick right on in again just as good as new. If mine did yours would.

tmfw: Yeah, but you haven't fucked yours up through years of practicing law.

A serious look clouded her pretty face. She put her hand on my shoulder.

MFB: Excellent point. Forget everything I just said.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

It happened so fast. I couldn't really believe what I was seeing.

I was sitting at the light at the corner of Cantrell and Kavanaugh Friday afternoon. I was proceeding East on Kavanaugh back to the house. For those of you that aren't from around here Kavanaugh and Cantrell are two major arteries here in Little Rock. Indeed, Cantrell Road is actually a state highway.

I first saw him as I went through the intersection after the light changed. A little boy-he couldn't have been older than a year and a half- was standing in the front yard of a house on Kavanaugh. As I got closer I started looking around.

"There's bound to be an adult around here somewhere," I thought to myself. Unfortunately, there was not.

And to my horror, the little guy took off across the neighbor's yard to Cantrell where rush hour traffic was sitting at the light.

The lady in the Mercedes ahead of me hit the brakes and she got out as I was slamming the gearshift into park. She was clicking down Kavanaugh after him as I ran in front of the cars parked at the light holding my hands out.

"Don't move!" I yelled. "Don't move!"

By that time the well dressed lady in the Mercedes snatched the boy up and pulled him up to her, pressing his little head against her lips as she carried him back to the car. From there she drove the Mercedes into the closest driveway with the boy in her lap.

As I left the scene she had the boy on her hip outside her vehicle. She was pointing to the houses in front of her in order to find out from which house the child exited from.

Still no sign of any adult apart from the lady from the Mercedes.

God Almighty.

Parents don't have a worse nightmare. They have dozens of them. And this was one of them. Imagine the ways this could have turned out.

The little boy could have been struck by a car. He could have been killed or disabled. The lady that grabbed him up could have kidnapped him. He could have headed the other way and gotten lost. What if I had hit the kid? How could I have lived with myself after that?

All because some fool forgot to pay attention.

Later that evening I told a friend about what I had seen earlier that day. She has boys and her reaction was the same as any other Mom's would have been. She gasped. She covered her mouth with her hands. Tears came to her eyes.

" I feel sick," she said. "And I wasn't even there."

I didn't feel sick afterwards. But my hands didn't quit shaking for a good ten minutes.

I had to drive past that spot the next afternoon. I slowed down. I looked hard into the yard where I last saw that baby head for freedom. And I felt my hands tremble again as I held the wheel.

Some young mother on a house on Kavanaugh got really lucky Friday afternoon.

And I hope the lady in the Mercedes let her know about it when she restored her kid to her safe and sound.

And I wonder if I'll ever quit looking for him whenever I cross the intersection to get back to Hillcrest.

Something tells me that I won't.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Vox Populi: The Crazy Street Person

"Excuse me sir! Excuse me!"

I turned to notice a street person a block or so from my building yesterday.

" Great," I thought. "I'm about to be hit up for money."

He pointed at the purple "N" with the little wildcat on the front of my black golf shirt.

"You go to Northwestern?" he asked.

"Yes I did," I lied back.

" Cool." he said. And he walked off.

You cannot make these things up.