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February 25, 2024, 12:33:45 PM
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Latest Member: nunya Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  25 nostalgic things you remember from a specific year or decade! « previous next »
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Author Topic: 25 nostalgic things you remember from a specific year or decade!  (Read 34281 times)
B-Movie Kraken

Karma: 1746
Posts: 13257

The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #120 on: August 22, 2022, 07:00:55 AM »

1. We watched the Challenger explosion in Oceanography class.  My teacher (Mr. Hadder) was deeply saddened by the death of teacher Christa McAuliffe who was of course the first teacher in space (recruited as a payloader).  I remember the explosion looking like rabbit ears due to the structural breakup.  My stepdad (who I would move in with the following year) was fond of the joke "What does NASA stand for?  Answer: Need Another Seven Astronauts".  Too soon..
2. 15 years before 9/11, a DIFFERENT Twin Towers was getting notice: (H)Akeen Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson for the Houston Rockets!  They reached the franchise's first NBA Finals, but lost to Bird and the Celtics in 6.
3. This was my first year of high school.  One major improvement over grade/jr. high school I noticed was the quality of the cafeteria food was MUCH improved.  They even had milkshakes!  The cafeteria was ENORMOUS and fortunately I was able to sit far away from everyone else except for maybe a few people I could actually carry on a conversation with.  I liked visiting the Student Store for a few snacky things, and using my student ID for discounts at various places.
4. Halley's Comet is the closest it has been to the sun in 76 years.  This was especially a big deal in science classes and science fairs, where we'd try to create our own comet or a somewhat reasonable fascimile.
5. The MIR Space Station is first launched.
6. Ferdinand Marcos is ousted as President of the Philippines and is replaced by a first-time female President-- Corazon Aquino. 
7. Prime Minister of Sweden Olaf Palme is shot to death.
8. OUT OF AFRICA wins Best Picture Oscar (and best Director).  Still haven't seen it.
9. I remember the big news about the discotheque bombing in Berlin, and the US claiming Libya was responsible   We strike at Benghazi and Tripoli though most were skeptical of either Libya or despot Gaddafi having ordered/carried out the bombing.
10. PLATOON gets the major buzz at the box office.  The image of Willem Dafoe falling to his knees with his arms open wide as he dies is truly iconic.

11. One of the better arcade games of the 80s is released-- the epically cool BUBBLE BOBBLE!  What a cute, fun game.. I saw this at all the arcades and though the gameplay was hella fun, the music was quite impressive too.  And 2 could play at the same time!

13. I've never really seen the major appeal of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF.  I guess it was because of all the direct-to-camera dialogue from Matthew Broderick that I found annoying.  And that to me at least the movie didn't really have a whole lot to say.  Plus, the principal (the actor that played him, anyway) went on to be a pederast creep.
14. Ugh.. the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine kills over 4,000 with a failed safety test releasing radiation.
15. The IMHO stupid and overtly jingoistic TOP GUN is released.  But it helped Tom Cruise's star power soar and gave rise to this rather good pop tune:
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16. From NYC to Long Beach CA a human chain is formed as "Hands Across America" raises money to fight hunger and homelessness.
17. The Statue Of Liberty gets a grand re-opening after a long refurbishment. 
18. Typhoon Wayne strikes China, killing almost 500.
19. A weird naturally occurring eruption of CO2 gas emerges from Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing nearly 2,000.
20. Disaster for Beantown!  The Red Sox blow a likely World Series win in game 6; and a routine ground ball gets through Bill Buckner to give the Mets the win in game 6, and they win game 7 too.
21. Reagan and Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik to discuss scaling back missile stocks in Europe.
22. Oh boy.. a NYC traffic chopper crashes into the Hudson River, killing on-the-spot reporter Jane Dornacker.  Haunting..
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23. IRAN CONTRA AFFAIR:  It is first reported that the US sold weapons to Iran to secure the release of US hostages in Lebanon.  Though Reagan initially denies this he later states that after researching the facts that it is true after all.  This video is a long documentary but certainly interesting, especially since Elizabeth Montgomery narrates!
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24. Sports news: DA BEARS win Da Super Bowl in a legendary defensive performance against the Patriots (decades before a certain Tom Brady would surface)-- they even had their own song "The Super Bowl Shuffle"!  Also, Mike Tyson becomes the youngest heavyweight champ in history with a brutal KO of Trevor Berbick.  Tyson is 20 years and 4 months old.  Kid was damn scary.
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Jack Nicklaus is the oldest Masters winner at 46.  And the Montreal Canadiens hoist the Stanley Cup for approximately the 100th million time.

Odd, I think it was just before Thanksgiving that same year a traffic helicopter for a local AM station crashed in the woods near my grandparents' house, killing the pilot and a popular reporter named Nancy McCormick, just minutes after her last traffic check-in. People had really liked her. Strange how certain events happen in clusters.

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
B-Movie Kraken

Karma: 1746
Posts: 13257

The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #121 on: August 23, 2022, 09:04:18 AM »

Memories of 2019 Part One: Normal Abnormal Life.

1.   Tyler, who was still living with us part of the time, went to work at a library for the blind, and I was proud of him for that. And of course within weeks he was hooking up with a blind man there.

2.   The seventy-eight-year-old cardiologist in Egypt with whom my dad had played chess online for many years, died suddenly. He had been one of the few people able to give my dad a challenging match. (I have never been able to; doubt you could either.)

3.   I watched an episode of the Magnum PI revival wherein Magnum and Higgins invaded a foreign consulate, kidnapped diplomats, and got away by stealing police cars, all with zero legal consequences. Forget Game of Thrones, Magnum was TV’s biggest fantasy.

4.   The coolest intern ever was a girl that year named Livvy, who was like a cross between Lydia Deetz and April Ludgate, and one degree removed from my platonic soul mate. There was not a day that girl did not give me a morbid chuckle or raise my eyebrows. One afternoon playing hackey sack at lunch I told her I could sexually harass her and no one would ever believe it. She said, “No, I record all my conversations because I’m waiting for lawsuit material.” Ha!

When an intern from 2015 brought by her baby by to show us, Livvy found out she delivered him at Jewish Hospital and asked, “Did a rabbi have to certify your breast milk kosher? And if so, is that done by taste?”

The other intern stared blankly at her and said, “Well, we’re Presbyterians.”

Livvy did do one thing too far out there even for me, she’d go to funerals “for fun” but “only funerals of attractive people.”

She also had a sister who was trying for a baby, and she’d text her sister every month at three in the morning to wish her “a successful ovulation.”

I took her to a Halloween event called Chocolate in the Crypt, where internationally-famous chocolatiers gave out samples in the Gothic revival chapel of the area’s most famously sprawling 19th century cemetery and arboretum, and Livvy said she felt completely at home there. I said, “Yeah, me, too, in the ‘90s I had sex on that hilltop by General Hooker’s grave.” She turned around without missing a beat and said, “Small world!”

Yeah, if among interns Mattie had been fun and Sunny awesome, Livvy was a trip.

5.   Another intern I was fond of that year was from Alabama and in a pageant in her home town she’d been Miss Sweet Potato Queen. (Pronounced Sweet Buh-tay-tuh.) She was the anti-Livvy and I liked her for many reasons, including her determination to remain a virgin til marriage. (Go for it, girl!) I took her to lunch one day and she told me her father and her uncle were once best friends, til they fell out because her uncle held salvation was only “through and after” baptism, and her father said it arrived only through faith in Jesus, and that was what divided them. The Deep South really is like a different country, you know it?

6.   I got back into yoga, at home because I hated yoga culture, and after weeks spent trying I finally got the Destroyer of the Universe pose down according to my dancer friend Clare. It’s harder than it looks! THEN she introduced me to the nearly-impossible savasana position (i.e. “the corpse pose”), which notoriously takes “at least” a lifetime to master.

7.   Continuing on the subject of my second favorite family, Clare’s dad got her and me tickets to see Hamilton off Broadway, and seeing it I was bored to a listless stupor and p**sed about the cultural appropriation, but in time the show grew on me and today it’s in my top five musicals ever. I’d list them but I suspect you’d rather I did not. (And I’m sorry about the same names of friends recurring in these lists, but I live my private life in an admittedly tight circle, having a handful of those I’m close to instead of a broader base of semi-friends I just “kinda like.”)

8.   My dad asked me to renegotiate the lease on the building where his office was, and I was worried I may not pull it off, til I remembered my almost father in law’s super power was sales, and when he came with me he ended up getting three-hundred bucks a month knocked off our lease, plus new carpet, plus I think one of the realtors threw in her immortal soul. He’s that good!

He said, “Just let your dad think it was all you.” But I couldn’t do that, so when I told Dad about Joe’s part he said quietly, “Then-I-guess-I-owe-him-lunch.”

At lunch my dad sat there like the whole thing was some sort of head-on challenge to intimidate Joe, who sidestepped my dad’s stoical intensity toward him in a sort of “irresistible force meets immovable object” contest, and I swear sitting through an hour with those two masters of their respective arts was like watching a cobra and a mongoose in a lethal dance.

I’ve learned a lot from those two….

9.   Did the “Fight for Air” climb downtown for the American Lung Association, wherein participants get sponsors and then run up the stairs of the half-scale prototype for the Empire State Building ten times to make a vertical mile. It was the most hell-ish run of my life, but since I was doing it with a sixty-two year old, I couldn’t exactly drop out if he was finishing it. I got a side splint that hurt for days though and I think my internal organs shifted a little, but I raised a couple hundred for charity.

10.   While we were looking for ferns in the woods, Tyler told me going out with a girl wasn’t the same. I said, “Oh, yeah?” He said, “Nah, it’s more dangerous.” I kind of choked and thought, oh really, more dangerous than random sex with bunches of guys? But he wasn’t done. “Girls are like playing with loaded guns,” he said, rhapsodizing philosophically, leaving me shaking my head. I guess maybe he was onto something since later in the year he found out to his dismay he was going to be a father. (Ha-ha, Dana’s a grandma!) A baby on the way forced him to leave the library for the blind and he hired on with his grandpa, my Uncle Lark’s, company. Despite the full life I’ve described my spiritual son living, I will note Tyler was still not quite twenty years old at the time.

11.   I told my dad I was going to give him a present of learning German, something he’d always wanted me to do. I tried, I failed, he still loved me. Dad’s cool like that.

12.   My friend Tara sent me links to porn videos she shot in her bedroom and was actually making some pocket money off of from those who liked the sub-genre BBW---Big Beautiful Women. Could’ve lived without seeing those, to be honest, though I did compliment her breasts, as there is no American woman alive who is not obsessed with her own breasts.

13.   A small plane crashed into a house near my in-laws, when my children were there at the time, scaring me half to death when the news broke, though Daikeagity were all fine, unlike the poor pilot.

14.   Gina, my best friend from 1989 til…. moved away, to Los Angeles. Sad, angry, I asked Joe what exactly was so blasted special about LA that it seemed to draw off half the people I knew, and he said it had more energy than any other city on earth. Yeah, well, I never felt it the times I’ve been there. We visited her that summer after her family’d settled into that stupid Gina-stealing mega-city, and I told her I unless she moved back I was going to promote Clare to my best friend. Gina sadly said, “I think you already did that long ago.” I hate the City of the Angels. And mayonnaise.

15.   We adopted a little gray teenaged feline my youngest, Trinity, named Princess. One morning before school Trinity was playing rough with Princess, who scratched a little blood out of her forearm, and Chocolate, our sometimes over-protective old lab, who at best tolerated Princess, saw this happen, and went over and smelled the blood on Trinnie’s arm, and I think she thought, “You’ll pay for this, cat.” Sad-story-short, when my mother in law brought the children home that afternoon, they walked into the terrible sight of Princess chewed up, lying like a rag on the floor. I know Chocolate thought she was getting rid of something that had hurt her little girl, but it was such a sad day.

16.   Sadder though was when Chocolate herself passed on in September, at age nearly fourteen. I’d had her since Gina and I shared a house in early 2006, and I buried her on our overlook that rises above a river in the distance: it’s where I’d like to be buried myself someday. Unannounced, Landon and Daisy drove to Pittsburgh the same week and brought back two black lab brothers, Skipper and Bojack, getting them I felt too soon, but they were great boys, all long legs and giant paws, and we loved them, even if the first time I met Skipper he had poop between his toes and smeared it all over my slacks.

17.   Random 2019 stuff…. I tried rum-infused ice cream, and actually got buzzed…. I started seeing more middle-class suburban families needing help at the food pantry where I volunteered…. My Fallout 76 character was a butchy killing machine named Muffy Muncher, and surprisingly few people got that name…. I somehow acquired a scratched retina…. It was the second rainiest year in area history, and by June we were fifteen inches above average.

18.   I stood horrified along with half the western world and watched Notre Dame burning. I’d been there and found it oddly dark inside (before it was on fire) but it oozed so much history that I felt like I wanted to be very still in there. I can only hope that treasure is rebuilt as close as possible to the way it was.

19.   Celia reared her ugly---OK, actually pretty, albeit evil---head. Years after abandoning her son up here, she sued his father for custody because she claimed she’d reformed and wanted the baby she was pregnant with in Florida to have his older brother with him. She also hooked a rich forty-something man who funded her lawsuit, and in a terrible injustice, she got custody of the three-year-old she’d walked away from in his infancy. She asked me to meet her that summer and she was absolutely disgusting, gloating and glaring at me and basically threatening me stay out of her way or else. In return I told her that unlike her I didn’t believe in shedding family blood, but I could call in a favor in five minutes and f**k her life up in ways she couldn’t begin to imagine, so she shouldn’t make threats. She was too proud to be scared, and we parted on almost the worst possible terms we could have, which continues today. Never have I gone from loving someone so much to such negative feelings.

20.   My near-lifelong obsession is the idea of God, yet a question posed by the late “anti-theist” Christopher Hitchens seemed one of the most insightful ever raised into God’s nature. Hitchens said that for God to be the creator, the arbiter, and the source of mercy struck him as illogical, as why would a benign being create both morality and a nature to oppose that morality, then punish its creation for obeying a directive it had implanted within it? And if God did not create that nature, then either God did not create everything, or was not all-powerful. Wow. My husband said me tacitly agreeing with Hitchens was evidence that I only used God as a feel-good drug, and I kidded back that, nah, I was the future Saint Evelyn the Pure, Patroness of the Improbable Redemption. But dammit I spent weeks tripping more over what Landon said than I did Hitchens. Conclusion? Whatever is, is, be a good person despite your lack of understanding.

21.   At age ten and two-thirds, Daisy spent part of the summer visiting her family in Ireland, like I used to do. Been some tough money times lately, and my pay is also slashed after retiring, so I don’t know if we’ll be financially able to send her brother and sister over to do that anytime soon, but I’m glad Daisy got to go.

22.   The Big Bang Theory ending bummed me out, but it went off with a good episode, unlike Game of Thrones, the conclusion of which left practically every fan on earth feeling like sticking a cactus down the producers’ britches.

23.   T’was a rough year for Dayton, where I worked at least a couple days a week. For starters thirteen tornadoes (13,13,13,13) hit the city on Memorial Day. Since he was born there, Rob Lowe came and raised relief funds. No sooner had Dayton recovered from that than it had the worst spree-shooting incident in its history.

24.   As mentioned, this was the summer when Clare’s mom asked to meet me before work, then punched me in the face and told me not to pretend I didn’t know why she did it. Because she was also Brian’s mom, I didn’t file charges or do anything to her at all, just let her get away with it, but whatever the reason she sucker punched me, I hope it resolved things for her. And she gets a terrible disease.

25.   On their last day that academic quarter I took the interns to the art museum to see an exhibit about Belle Epoch Paris, and we all went out for ice cream. Though I did not know it, that afternoon marked “almost” the end of my five years spent working with interns, since in the fall my other job unexpectedly took me out of the country for the rest of the year (hence this being a two-parter), and when I got back Covid hit, the office closed, and so far my father has never re-opened it. I miss those times, they seem golden now with all that college-age energy, even if the interns did disabuse me of my ideas that I was still young by reminding me that River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, the golden age of The Simpsons, even Y2K, were all before their time.

And that was the first half of 2019…

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #122 on: August 23, 2022, 03:40:27 PM »

1976: I was pretty damn young to remember terribly much but I do have mild inklings of the following events:
1. Another milestone in video games is released in arcades: BREAKOUT.  It took the concept of PONG and took out the 2nd player, then put a row of blocks to bust with the ball and shifted the action focus to vertical.  Great idea!  There were still a lot of pinball machines in the arcades, but that was set to change come the end of the decade.

2. One of the more notable genres in arcade video games was the fixed first person perspective shooter.  SEA WOLF was one I'd see everywhere.  Great design-- the cabinet had a nice big periscope to look through and twist left and right to move where you fire your torpedoes from.  Sound effects included a sonar "ping", the "whoosh" of the torpedoes, explosions and the emergence of high-scoring targets.

I would play this at the riverside amusement park OAKS PARK in SE Portland.  They had a great roller coaster called the Mad Mouse, and a roller skating rink.  The place is surprisingly still there.
3. Another one I almost forgot that I played a lot as a kid: SPRINT 2.  Racing games were all the rage in the early generally black and white arcade video game library.  This featured up to two simultaneous racers doing laps around fixed courses, which would change partway through your lap!  Something about the cabinet I really liked.

4. Other new arcade games that were big that year: 280 ZZZAP, NIGHT DRIVER, BLOCKADE (the first "snake" game), F-1, INDY 4, LeMans, Stunt Cycle, Tank 8 and Tornado Baseball.
5. I remember the Pittsburgh Steelers being a big thing with their first Super Bowl win.  I had no idea what football was at the time but I remember my dad watching it.  We still had a B&W tv but it was pretty big.  I remember when I got to visit my grandma she had a nice big COLOR tv to watch cartoons on!  And she was a pretty damn good cook.
6. A violent earthquake hits Honduras and Guatemala, leaving around 25,000 dead.  Another in Tangshan, China claims several hundred thousand!
7. Actor Sal Mineo ("Plato" from REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, "Dov Landau" from EXODUS) is stabbed to death outside his West Hollywood apartment.
8. One of the more famous "Greatest Hits" albums, THE EAGLES GREATEST HITS '71-'75, with the iconic eagle skull on the cover, is released.  We had that on tape forever, which my mom held on to long after her divorce with my dad.  The Eagles' album HOTEL CALIFORNIA is released at the end of the year.
9. Boxer "Hurricane" Rubin Carter appears in court for a murder re-trial; it is upheld.  It will be overturned in 1985.
10. Patty Hearst is found guilty of armed robbery of a San Francisco bank 2 years prior during her time with the Symbionese Liberation Army.  Boy, did everyone hate her (even though she testified she was raped/threated with death by them)!
11. My sisters were big fans of the song SAVE YOUR KISSES FOR ME by The Brotherhood Of Man, which won the Eurovision Song Contest that year.  Cutesy little tune.
12. FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE!  This album is notable for being one of the most famous live albums of all time, and also for showing Frampton back when he had hair.
13. The Boston Celtics defeat the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals.  Game 5's triple overtime victory by the Celtics is one of the most memorable Finals games ever.
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14. The ABA is dissolved and 4 of its teams join the NBA.
15. The CN Tower is unveiled in Toronto!  I been there!
16. The US Bicentennial is celebrated all over the country.  The way I remember best was on the kids show MAKE A WISH.  "Anything you want to try.. just let go, fly hiiiiiigh.. and make a wish!"
17. Nadia Comaneci's 7 perfect 10s in gymnastics are the big story in the Montreal Summer Olympics.
18. The "Son Of Sam" (David Berkowitz) begins his murder spree.
19. At a Jerry Lewis MDA telethon, Frank Sinatra visits with a surprise friend: Lewis' old partner Dean Martin.  They had not been together in over 20 years.
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20. Jimmy Carter wins the Presidential election; the first Deep South President since the Civil War.
21. North and South Vietnam are joined as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  The Viet Cong are disbanded.
22. TV show debuts: THE MUPPET SHOW, FAMILY FEUD, BIONIC WOMAN, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!), THE GONG SHOW, WHAT'S HAPPENING, ALICE, IN SEARCH OF, TARZAN, JABBERJAW, THE KROFFT SUPERSHOW, DYNOMUTT, BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON, CHARLIE'S ANGELS, QUINCY M.E. and the unusual game shows 50 GRAND SLAM, STUMPERS and DOUBLE DARE (not related to the 80s kids game show, but one I liked).
24. Other sports: The Montreal Canadiens prevent the Philadelphia Flyers from 3-peating in the Stanley Cup.  The Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds, repeat as World Series champs and do not lose a single game in the postseason, a feat still not matched.
25. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form Apple.  The first Apple computers debut.  The first commercial Concorde flights debut. 


"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

Karma: 1189
Posts: 9526

Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #123 on: August 25, 2022, 01:15:02 AM »

1. Still living with my stepdad, having just moved into our new digs in Auburn/Federal Way WA.  Beautiful 2 story house with pretty much everything brand spanking new (carpet, flooring, everything).  Very spacious.  Kind of a gravelly pit for a back yard though, leading down to the street behind us below.  Had my Sega Genesis to keep me busy.  Still working at Pizza Hut; usually worked mornings making the dough, and sometimes closed the place with an assistant supervisor, often getting home with fairly wet pants from dishwashing.  Probably should have brought spare pants..
2. The first NEO GEO arcade game on their MVS cabinet I noticed was FATAL FURY.  Boy did I love that one-- not as polished as another fighting game that debuted that same year but I loved it all the same.

 Speaking of which..
3. STREET FIGHTER II is the latest arcade smash hit.  Very nice graphics courtesy of Capcom, and it re-defines the vs. fighting game genre.  That Bison-- what a cheap bastard, though not as bad as Geese Howard (!) from FATAL FURY.

4. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY destroys the box office.  Special effects standards jumped like crazy with the awesome T-1000 (Robert Patrick) made of liquid metal.  Looking back on it, I don't like it nearly as much now as I did then and think the original was much better.  But those SFX were pretty damn cool, and the action scenes certainly delivered.  I just didn't like very many characters in the movie at all.
5. Nirvana's seminal grunge album NEVERMIND is released.
6. A major earthquake in Afghanistan kills nearly 850.
7. Iraqi troops leave Kuwait, but burn oil fields on their way out.
8. US troops begin to leave the Persian Gulf as President Bush declares victory over Iraq.
9. The Soviet Union begins to dissolve as several countries claim independence.
10. Rodney King is beaten by 4 Los Angeles police officers.
11. After a franchise record-setting 63 wins is set by my Portland Trailblazers, they make it to the Western Conference Finals and.. poop themselves against the inferior LA Lakers in 6 games.  One of the bigger heartbreaking moments in the franchise's history.  At least we beat my stepdad's team (Sonics) on the way.  Watched that series on his giant screen tv (with a smartwindow); both parents worked at Boeing so they could afford some nice things.
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12. A disarmament resolution passed by the UN is accepted by Iraq.
13. A major tropical cyclone hits Bangladesh and kills over 100,000.
14. Mt. Pinatubo's eruption in the Philippines kills over 800.
15. Lt. Col. Oliver North is acquitted on all charges in the Iran-Contra Affair.
16. Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson is arrested and charged with the rape of Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington.
17. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested in Milwaukee after the remains of 11 victims are found in his apartment.
18. An earthquake in Uttarkashi, India claims nearly 800.
19. Queen frontman Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS in London.
20. The last of American hostages in Lebanon is released.
21. 450 die in the Red Sea when an Egyptian ferry sinks.
22. More heartbreak for me.. my Buffalo Bills get to their first Super Bowl and lose by the slimmest of margins, 20-19 as their field goal attempt at the end misses.
23. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls win their first NBA title.  Also, the Minnesota Twins win a 7-game World Series against the Braves.
24. Mike Tyson faces Ramon "Razor" Ruddock twice (we watched both bouts on Pay-Per-View, I think) and wins both.  But the World Heavyweight Champ is Evander Holyfield, who retains his title by defeating George Foreman.
25. "Hello, Clarisse..."

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is released, and Anthony Hopkins gives an electrifying performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  Other movies: HOOK (sucked), BOYZ N THE HOOD, BACKDRAFT, ADDAMS FAMILY, CAPE FEAR, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, JFK, THE FISHER KING, BARTON FINK, CITY SLICKERS, TMNT 2.
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"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
B-Movie Kraken

Karma: 1746
Posts: 13257

The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #124 on: August 25, 2022, 08:47:52 AM »

Memories of 2019 Part Two: Life Disrupted.

1.   At the annual Lunken Air Show there was one of only twenty WWII B-17s still flying, and you could buy a ride on it, which part of me wanted to do, but something held me back. Well, the plane went up, landed fine, all was well, and I felt like kicking myself for missing a chance at experiencing history. A few weeks later however a B-17 owned by the same group was giving rides at an air show in Connecticut and crashed amid much death, so maybe my instincts hadn’t been that far off after all.

2.   Events… My parents vacationed in Egypt, where my father paid a condolence call on the family of his chess friend…. My son started going to work with his dad, which was not completely legal, but sweet…. We watched a taping of American Ninja Warrior downtown, and that obstacle course looked so fun I wanted to try it…. I loved Fleabag, the smartest dark comedy of the decade…. I let almost-eleven year old Daisy read some of the safer, younger years of my diary, which felt like “the other day” to me but which were ancient history to her…. On the 25th anniversary of the time I nearly died in 1994, she also made me a surprise cake.

3.   Whereas when he was younger my son was terrified of aliens, in ’19 he was obsessed with them, especially after the Navy first hinted they were real; he and I sat out late many a summer night scanning the sky for any signs of them. Alas (?), no luck.

4.   I was only at Dad’s work about one day a week for a month among the new/last crop of interns, so felt not as much a part of things as I had. Among that bunch was Leigh, who was born Lee, a biological male, but who self-identified with and tried to live life as, a female. I don’t think I treated Leigh differently from anyone, something that surprised some of the interns, who did treat Leigh differently, but the impression I got was that poor Leigh was a deeply unhappy person.

5.   When I took it in for a cleaning, I was jolted to find out my grandma’s beautiful blue Isfahani Persian rug, which I inherited and which had been on the floor for fifty years, was worth twenty thousand dollars! I’d thought maybe a few hundred…? The Azarbajani-born rug merchant urged me to insure it separately. Know what, though? I left it on the parlor floor where my grandma had always had it.

6.   I noticed in 2019 that wherever I went teenaged girls seemed to have quit holding their stomachs in and many went around with poochy bellies. I couldn’t decide if that was a sign of liberation from excess body consciousness, or lazy slovenliness.

7.   I went with Edie to hear David Sedaris speak, and what I remember most about that night was I had an ingrown hair bugging me the entire event, and when I mentioned it to my third favorite Jew, she capped on me for all the times I said shaving caused ingrown hairs, but waxing didn’t and that’s why I liked it better. “Guess waxing’s not foolproof, huh?” she taunted. I’ll tell you, her capacity for such altruistic sympathy is what keeps our friendship afloat.

8.   That same week that I went with Daisy to a ceremony where a century-dead Belgian-born bishop was reburied in an elaborate tomb in the gloriously grand cathedral in Kentucky whose construction he oversaw. It was more hip than it sounds: the cathedral has the largest stained-glass window in the world. It was said the bishop’s last words before he died were, “I believe I have done good work, and will rest now before I go to be with the Lord.” How do people come up with all these great last words? It’s like they have a speechwriter whispering in their ears. I’m convinced my last words before I keel over will be something banal like, “I need to pick up dog food at Krog….arrrrgh.”

9.   From the depths of unpleasantness came someone’s strange….prank?... and I started getting vicious emails that claimed to be from my late one-time fiancé Brian, nineteen years dead. I believe it was his hate-filled mother sending them, part of her morbid obsession with me, and concluded she was honestly no longer sane, but I never acknowledged them enough to confront her, and eventually they stopped. You gotta beware of insane folk in this life, and was glad when she moved far away that year.

10.   I took Daikeagity clothes shopping for school, and my son came out of the dressing room at Target and said, “Somebody left a Pepsi can full of pee in there.” I went in and sure enough, he was right, a can of pee. The restrooms were fifty feet away too.

11.   Landon and I generally get along well, we’re nicely-matched, we understand one another and form a solid team, but it seemed like in the early fall of 2019, even as it was unfolding, I was aware that he and I were having a stretch of truly wonderful days together, feeling happy in the moment, the children’s lives playing out in that high summer that lies between babyhood and adolescence, his business was going well, it was like we never disagreed or quarreled…. We were experiencing one of the golden times that if you’re lucky you get in marriage.

12.   I did a rare Saturday volunteer session at the food pantry and a crazy homeless man kept coming over and loudly saying he was going to marry Daisy. Yep, said it over and over. It was nearly cute the first time, annoying the second time, creepy after that. One lady there said that man’s name was Dan and he was harmless, but there was a disturbing mania in his focus on my fifth-grader.

13.   Life. Can. Change. One week I was home being a suburban mom, the next, with only days’ notice, I was abruptly working on an inconvenient assignment in Adana, Turkey that took me away from mid-November on into 2020. I remember lying in bed on my last night home telling myself, “I should have become a college professor instead. I should have become a biologist instead. I should have flipped burgers instead. I should have done almost anything else instead.”

14.   I was scared at first to be in this foreign city, with a civil war being fought over the horizon and Syrian refugees living pitifully on the sidewalks. (“Don’t give the refugees money,” we were told. “Desperate people will attack them for it.”)  One afternoon, though, I went into downtown Adana with two coworkers after being assured it was statistically safer than most comparable-size US cities. Plus we were told: “Turks despise thieves, and think of them like you Americans think of sexual deviants. Polls show even secular people have sympathy with the idea of cutting off thieves’ hands, so you’ll be safe.”

I asked if hand-chopping would ever become Turkish law, and the local who worked with us as a translator said, “Nah, it would torpedo our EU membership hopes.”

It ended up being a fun day and when we went down the coast to the port by the river mouth, we saw a Russian merchant ship come in and Russian sailors mill about, drunk in daytime and looking very happy.

“It’s illegal to trade with Russian sailors,” our local friend said. “But people do it all the time, and those sailors are probably trying to unload vodka and caviar to get counterfeit iPhones to take home.”

“Why is bartering illegal?” I asked.

“It’s not,” she said, “but circumventing tariffs is.”

We went to a restaurant, my first time in one since I got here. The food was heavily fried in olive oil but the spices were great and a little like Indian. Adana, being in the conservative south, the custom was families sat in the middle of the restaurant, single men went to the right, and women without men (with or without children) sat to the left, though all the sections were equally nice. We four sat by a window and the server was attentive and friendly and the food was the best I’d had in weeks.

Our local friend said nowhere in the world is a diner treated better than in a Turkish restaurant, since it is a matter of pride for a restaurateur to honor customers as personal guests. That was the feeling I got, like extending courtesy was a point of pride. They could have taught US servers many things.

15.   On the sidewalks though a lot of Turkish men saw nothing wrong with casting lingering, lascivious stares at women, foreign or domestic. Most western men, including hard-hatted construction workers, don’t openly do that and even men in Latin countries don’t with quite the unashamed enjoyment that Turkish men did.

16.   I noticed things were secular six days a week, not a lot different from being in, say Italy (Turkey got compared to Italy a lot), with Gaps and Starbucks and Apple stores dotting the cityscape, bike riders everywhere, but on Fridays it was like huge parts of the population took on the behavior of revival season in the Deep South. Calls to Prayer were more heeded those days, and many streets actually looked like ghost towns because so many people went to mosques, many men wearing lace caps (the name of which escapes me). More than once I was cordially invited to go into services, but didn’t. One man there said something that humbled me, since I doubt many Christians back home would have said anything similar to him. He told me, “Never doubt that Allah loves you, for as a Christian you are a person of the book and you will be received into Allah’s love, in Heaven.”

17.   I kept telling myself to appreciate where I was, getting paid to experience a different nation and culture, a couple years from retiring and never having to leave my family again, but I was too upset about being away from home to let that happen. With me away, Daisy’s soccer team played in the semis, our puppies were growing into dogs, Thanksgiving happened, and of course ushered in the onset of the Christmas season. And if I had only known, those weeks in Adana were the good times, since after the new year things would go crazy and my assignment would get far worse.

18.   Some Turkish I picked up, (spelled the way I heard them): evet (yes); hayur (no); memnunietel (you’re welcome); muhaba (hello); gurusurooz (goodbye); iutfen (please); tessukur edium (thanks); iui gecorlor (goodnight); uzgunum (sorry----I said “sorry” a lot there); benim adam…. (my name is….); and most useful of all: Turkce konusamiyorum (I don’t speak Turkish). I'm probably butchering a few of those but that's close enough to have been mostly understood.

19.   Turks as a rule seemed exuberantly friendly, almost Ned Flanders-ish, but stood close when speaking to you, violating my comfort zone. When I’d back up, they’d advance, and it occurred to me I was being rude, so I learned to have conversations from a distance of inches. I wished they were less heavy on scents though, colognes, perfumes, body sprays, they tended to overdo them all by American standards. I also found they openly loved a good laugh but their sense of humor ran toward absurdities, rather like that of French people I’ve known, and sometimes these absurdities seemed irritating, like Turks seemed to have a thing for pretending to hand you something, and then jerking their hands back and laughing before finally giving it to you. And my goodness did Turkish men love their mustaches! Think Freddie Mercury at Live Aid and add a week’s growth to that.

20.   Because my job had often put me around military bases and personnel, as it did there, I became friends with a Royal Marine named Tim, who liked many of the same books I did, and I gave him A.S. Byatt’s Possession when I finished re-re-reading it. Tim would use this same (I thought hilarious) expression whenever anything negative happened. He’d, go: “Right buzz-kill, wunnit then?” He taught me how to speak Mancunian, like his former northern girlfriend used to, and I told him how to sound Texan, which was by substituting the letter e for i. “Tixas.” (Not that I’m Texan, just been there a lot.)

21.   I had to leave Adana and briefly go to Ankara, which was a startling clean city, like no one littered and everything was ultra-modern: not what I’d expected. I’ve only been one mile into Germany before we turned around, just to say we’d technically been there, but Ankara reminded me Germany was like that, ultra-efficient, ultra-tidy. Under my homesickness I began to realize I admired many things about Turkish people, and only hope the ardent desire of a growing minority of Turks to form an Islamic republic never happens, though there are definitely some unfortunate fault lines forming in that nation and I don’t know how Turkey will end up by mid-century. When I talked about this with locals they said, “Oh, no, our version of an Islamic nation wouldn’t be like the Taliban or Iran, it’d be a kinder place.” But I don’t know…

22.   After Ankara I went to Istanbul for two days off, and actually did get to sightsee. The cherry on top of that was my dad flew over to see me. We went into Hagia Sophia, among the last weeks it was open for visitors, I believe, and to the historic Eyup Cemetery, which was filled with the tombs of sultans, and, alas, also gangs of present-day heroin addicts who rather strongly demanded money but otherwise left us alone.

Strangest part of Eyup was the collected graves of the Ottoman Sultans’ court torturers, honored men who were given status burials. One such man there had ritually strangled all of Suleiman the Magnificent’s many brothers, an Ottoman policy to prevent civil war among claimants to the throne, leaving the strangler seen as a man of peace, and almost holy. When he died in old age he was buried in a silk shroud and Suleiman personally kissed the gold coins he himself placed above the old executioner’s eyes, and those coins are still apparently buried there with him, worth many thousands of dollars apiece.

I told my dad about a Kurdish graveyard I’d heard about near Adana, and of the superstitious terror of the place many Kurds had, and how at night the cemetery was scrupulously avoided. The Kurdish word for a ghost is ruh, and they said ruh entered the orifices of the unwary or the sleeping, causing nightmares, so when near a graveyard at night one was not supposed to speak or yawn or even look right at it lest the eyes become doorways, and to cover one’s nose with a hand just to be safe, as is sneezing when finally past a burial place. Most importantly, though, Kurds say never sleep in a cemetery.

I left it out, since I was talking to my dad, but it’s said ruh particularly delighted in entering through the sexual organs if one urinated or copulated in a graveyard, causing insatiable madness.

23.   That same night in Istanbul my dad and I had dinner in the Sultanahmet District, where Dad got by fine speaking German, which seemed a second language to a lot of Turks. In fact German companies seemed all over the city, and there was at least one German radio station. There were also many resident Sephardic Jewish people in that part of the city, descended from those given asylum after they were expelled from Spain in 1492. From what I saw they were treated as well as Jews in America, no discrimination.

24.   When my dad left the second evening and I had to go back to my job, it was painfully depressing. I didn’t feel like a “professional” I felt like a homesick mother missing her kids. I was a legacy and had gotten hired-in at seventeen years of age, and used to delight in working overseas in my teens and twenties but in 2019 I was forty and hated the assignment. If ever I’d entertained the slightest thought of not putting in for retirement when it became available in 2021, those ideas left me then. I knew I was done, and never vacillated on the subject.

25.   Later that month I spent and unmarked Christmas Eve turning forty-one, then came Christmas day, still down, still wanting my family, and I had nothing better to do than join in drinking bitter Turkish beer with equally depressed co-workers who also wanted to be back home in the US and UK.

When I guess I b***hed too much, Tim, who told me he was surprised I wasn’t a funnier drunk (usually I am), told me he’d been in Afghanistan a few Christmases before, stuck behind sandbags on a hill, snipers scattered throughout the valley below them, with his friend in a body bag, his days-old corpse making sounds (God!), and all of his unit waiting to be pulled out, barely thinking about the fact it was Christmas.

He had a point, that absolutely would’ve been worse than doing what amounted to office work in a modern city like I was (and he was too by then). 

We kind of teased and picked on each other to feel better and drank beers til my ears rang. I got drunker than I had been in literally years, and then he and I staggered down to a basketball court at sunset and I showed him how to play HORSE like I used to with my dad, though being that drunk most shots were misses. When we were done he took a paperback copy of Gone Girl out of his bag and said, “Merry Christmas.”

I was moved by this kindness, and still have that book.

When I headed back though I noticed he was walking with me, and somewhere under the beery slushiness inside me it clicked, “Oh! He thinks something’s going to happen….”

Duh, maybe I should have caught that sooner but after having spent most of my time since the mid-‘90s in committed relationships, I was inexperienced at pick-ups and all that, preferring to go for one person maybe a little too intensely rather than playing the field. (Plus I was, yeah, drunk.) So I gave Tim what I hope was the proper version of the “you’re nice, I’m flattered, but no thank you” speech, then went back to my room feeling like an idiot, and read Gone Girl in one lie-down while my head began to feel split open from what was by my standards a lot of drinking.

It was as good a Christmas as it could be stuck far from home in a place no one wanted to be, not sure what was coming next, and making the best of life’s many s**t-storms. I vowed when I got home I’d never ever again complain about having a normal Christmas, and I never have.

About a week later I’d get sent to the first of several rural hellholes and realized I should never have complained about how good I had it in Adana. But that’s 2020’s tale.

And that was the rest of 2019.

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #125 on: August 26, 2022, 01:06:04 AM »

1. My first apartment!  Outstanding location-- right by Hwy 99 in Tigard OR, with absolutely everything you could want within a handful of blocks.  Cinemas, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.  But being on the 2nd floor it got BRUTALLY hot in the summertime.  And I got ants.. not the tiny sugar ants, but big black ones.  Landlord/handyman were about worthless too.
2. This may have been the first year I switched to a different location for my job, within the same department store chain.  About 10-15 miles from my place; I had to catch a last bus to make it (the train from the Transit Center wasn't quite yet completed).  Not overly demanding.  I got along with the supervisor at the time.  She seemed to like me.  We sometimes grabbed a bite after work.
3. One of the first things about 1997 I think about is this great song:
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4. Also, one of the big events of 1997:
James Cameron's box-office haul is unprecedented until AVATAR the following decade.

I remember laughing out loud when the people fell from the ship and struck their head as it tilted.   BONGGG!
5. Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.  I remember thinking "Hale-Bopp!  Bop-bop-doo-wop, yeah yeah.."
6. In a big deal involving man vs. computer, Computer wins!  "Big Blue" defeats Garry Kasparov in a famed chess match.
7. World famous fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot to death outside Miami Beach.
8. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas complete an expensive merger.
9. Diana, Princess of Wales dies at a Paris hospital after a car crash.  Her close friend Dodi Fayed and her driver are also killed.  Very pretty lady, very sad..
10. Elton John's "Candle In The Wind '97" is dedicated to her.  It is a worldwide smash hit.
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11. Iraqi guards are seen burning documents, moving files, etc. by UNSCOM inspectors in the ongoing disarmament crisis.
12. An episode of the Japanese animated series POKEMON triggers epileptic reactions from 700 children in Japan.
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13. The Chicago Bulls win their 5th of 6 titles in the 90s, with this being the first matchup with Karl Malone/John Stockton and the Utah Jazz.  Michael Jordan is dangerously ill but still gets MVP honors.
14. Watched Super Bowl XXXI at my bowling league captain's house with all my teammates.  His house was adjoined to a convenience store a quarter mile from my folks' house.  There was also a little barbershop where his wife cut hair (poorly).  Brett Favre won his only Super Bowl title, over Drew Bledsoe (not Tom Brady) and the Patriots.
15. On my way out to work (graveyard shift) I would sometimes stop by G.I. JOE'S (sporting goods/outdoors store and also sold sports/concert tickets) and get Blazers tickets.  Or I would stop by the McMenamins pub and grab a pint of ruby and a house special (steak sandwich).  On one such instance I watched the exciting game 7 of the World Series between the Florida Marlins and the Cleveland Indians..
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16. I nearly crapped myself when they put a Burger King right inside my work building.  I would often grab a burger or two if I had a little extra cash right before work.  Some time later they put in a BIG TOWN HERO sandwich place.  Never got into that-- too much bread.
17. I had a lot of hate for my division rivals the Philadelphia Flyers, so I was thrilled when they got swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals.
18. BITE NIGHT!  I watched this at work (they had cable).  Mike Tyson's 2nd fight against Heavyweight Champ Evander Holyfield is stopped when Tyson bites a chunk out of Holyfield's ear!  Tyson is disqualified, and his boxing license is suspended a year and he is fined 3 million.  Tyson claims he was headbutted repeatedly by Holyfield.  I claim that Tyson was a butthead.
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21. SOUTH PARK debuts!
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23. This may have been the last year I took karate lessons, as the sensei got busted on molestation charges and went on the lam.  He eventually did get caught and served time.  As of 2008 he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Yuck.  Never took any more lessons again; don't know that I really need to.  Not that I'm a particularly tough guy but I just do quite well in avoiding dangerous situations.
24. TIM DUNCAN is picked #1 overall in the NBA Draft.  2 years later he would win the Finals and MVP honors.
25. This was famed coach Marv Levy's last season with the Bills.  And the first season in the post-Jim Kelly era.  Todd Collins was given the keys to the team, and he was not the answer at QB as the team just went 6-10.  He did however have an incredible comeback against the Colts:
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"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

Karma: 1189
Posts: 9526

Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #126 on: August 27, 2022, 05:03:45 AM »

1. I remember vacationing in Reno with my folks this year and my Aunt went with us-- God, she was such a dipstick and it annoyed us all to the limit of our patience.  My dad even had to unload on her at one point.  I remember her trying to talk at length to someone sitting with me on the plane even though it was obvious she didn't speak any English.  I get annoyed with my mom on occasion when she tries to talk at length to total strangers but my Aunt Virginia is miles worse.
2. While in Reno I watched game 6 of the NBA Finals-- the mighty Bulls actually didn't have home court advantage!  But Utah still couldn't pull it off, especially with a horrid game 3 blowout loss (the other games were pretty close).  This is the last title for Jordan and the Bulls, as they lose many key players (including Jordan when he eventually announces his retirement, lasting until 2001 when he returns with the Washington Wizards).
3. Perhaps the most embarrassing Presidential scandal occurs when it is revealed that President Clinton engaged in sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky.  He is impeached after lying under oath, stating that he did not have sexual relations with her.  He does finish his 2nd term to 2001, but his law license is suspended for 5 years.
4. Several thousand are killed in multiple Afghanistan earthquakes.
5. Saddam Hussein agrees to a deal with the UN to allow weapon inspectors back into Iraq.
6. Roberto Begnini makes a bit of a scene with his hyperactive Oscar acceptance for LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.  Titanic wins ELEVEN Oscars!
7. My Buffalo Bills found an instant savior in diminutive QB Doug Flutie, who just finished his CFL tour.  His gutsy play propels the team to the playoffs and gets him a breakfast cereal "Flutie Flakes".  Though they lost to the Dolphins in the playoffs in early 1999, it was still a kind of magical season.  This late play to beat the undefeated Jaguars was truly iconic:
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8. Super Bowl XXXII finds the beleaguered franchise the Denver Broncos  and their QB John Elway finally winning a title, over Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
9. Unrest in Indonesia erupts with around 1,000 of Chinese Indonesians being killed by riots.
10. The Second Congo War begins.  By its end in 2003, millions will be killed.
11. China's Yangtze River floods, killing over 12,000.
12. US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya are bombed.  Hundreds die; this activity is linked to Osama bin Laden.
13. Swissair Flight 111 crashes in Nova Scotia en route to Geneva; all 229 die.
14. Google is founded in Menlo Park, CA.
15. Gay U of Wisconsin student Matthew Shepard is beaten and left for dead outside Laramie, WI and dies 6 days later.  The media coverage brings focus on homophobia issues.
16. A pipeline explodes in Nigeria, killing over 1,000.
17. The first DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION game is released by Konami in Japan.  The interactive dance game becomes a worldwide smash, and reaches North America and Europe in 1999.

18. The Yankees sweep the San Diego Padres 4-0 in the World Series.
19. Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris's old home runs in a season record (61), and goes on to notch 70, with Sammy Sosa finishing at 66.  McGwire and Sosa would both later be found to have taken steroids, as did Barry Bonds, who later broke McGwire's record (Bonds hit 73 HRs in 2001).
20. Yuck.. my New Jersey Devils, who were the #1 seed in the West, lose to the #8 seed Ottawa Senators 4 games to 2.  The eventual Stanley Cup champions are the Detroit Red Wings in a sweep of the Washington Capitals.
21. The awesome RESIDENT EVIL 2 is released, introducing Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield!  I had this for the Playstation, and found massive replay value with all the unlockables and different scenarios.  I can still play this today (when I pick up a used PS2 sometime).
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22. Lotta other great games of 1998, including HALF-LIFE, ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME, BANJO KAZOOIE, XENOGEARS, BALDUR'S GATE, SPYRO, RAINBOW SIX, and..
the awesome METAL GEAR SOLID.  I could not get enough of this-- and when I got the stealth suit with one ending completed, I would sneak up on the soldiers and put C4 on their back and push the button.. XD
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"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
B-Movie Kraken

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Posts: 13257

The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #127 on: August 27, 2022, 12:25:52 PM »

Memories of 2020 Part One: From Turkey To Covid.

Read at your own risk.

1.   On New Year’s Day I could say I had been alive in six different decades, the 1970s to the 2020s. That week the US embassy in Iraq was attacked, and Iran was fanning the flames of a regional conflict by posturing in the face of a megalomaniac President who seemed to want any excuse to escalate. I’m not sure how things were reported at home, but in early 2020 troops flooded from elsewhere into Turkey, and the last time there had been a buildup like that, the US invaded Iraq. The region was on high alert, as Iran had just seen its spymaster assassinated by the US, and wanted revenge. Incirlik AFB, outside Adana, was in range of Iran’s missiles and a presumed high-priority target. Then came intelligence that Russia and China were backing Iran, and it was thought by many that the probability of a regional war had morphed into the possibility of a world war. How bad was it? Well, we had to surrender all our phones and devices, a protocol reserved for the most extreme times. Then we were told to call home and talk to our families on monitored lines, given three minutes, and specifically instructed not to make it sound like we were saying goodbye.

2.   I talked to Tim, the Royal Marine, still my friend even though I shot down his amorous hopes at Christmas, and it was reflective of our mindset that we didn’t discuss books, we talked about bombs. He said he grew up amid IRA bombings, and asked when I’d heard about the Oklahoma City blast, so I told him that story, but I said I’d look at McVeigh and through his hard stare it was like I could see a confused, scared boy, underneath his anger. Tim asked if I felt sorry for McVeigh and I said no, he was our country’s worst-ever murderer, but somehow it was like I felt what McVeigh was feeling, trying to be stoical but knowing he was doomed. Tim looked at me like I was surely kidding, but, no, I remembered feeling that about him.

3.   Without warning, my department found itself appropriated by those who disregarded title, position, job description, and put a number of us on a truck and drove us to what looked like a construction site possibly near the Turkish-Iranian border, I still don’t know exactly where it was. In about two days a bare plot of ground in an extremely rural location was turned into an armed camp. Being there combined the worst involuntary living conditions of my life with the most helpless feeling of my career.

4.   As other trucks came in a co-worker and I were assigned menial tasks like unpacking boxes. She asked me if I’d seen any authorization for sending us there, and like her, I had not. “They just did this on their own, didn’t they?” she said. While we were discussing how we could get a call back to Adana, a hot-headed army officer, maybe twenty-five, sunburned, unpleasant, yelled at us to quit jawing and work. Something drilled into us was that when you were on the clock you had a reputation to uphold, so you did not let outsiders push you around. (Those who were higher-ups of our employers could and frequently did, however, s**t on us all they wanted and we had to take it, just not from outsiders.) So my co-worker and I informed the officer we were not under his command, he told us we most definitely were, and when we began to quote the law, this “officer and gentleman” blew up and said he was going to kick us in our….well, lady parts….if we didn’t get back to work. (I don’t think this guy liked women.) The matter called for a ruling from a higher-up, which came down on our side and we were told this would be sorted out, but that however long we were there we should lend what aid we could. An annoying compromise, yet even then the officer, this man from Georgia with one of the worst hick accents I’d ever heard, screamed that he refused to work if he did not have complete authority. Fool, as a soldier, he had to obey any lawful order he was given.

5.   I ended up spending longer in that hellhole than I’d have thought, doing grunt work, and then things got still worse, though I won’t write about that. I hated the officer in charge but admired the soldiers for keeping up spirits and finding a semblance of normality in tense times when I think all of us believed we were in the start of a war. (One big black guy whose job was to mount a huge machine gun used to bellow out hip-hop songs and about half the guys nearby would beat-box in time.) One thing that puzzled me was how hostile the Turkish army, our NATO ally, was to our presence out in the wilds. Turkish soldiers came at one point and semi-surrounded the place. I don’t know what that was about; never asked, was never told. Playing dumb and keeping my eyes open was SOP for half my career anyway. The Turks departed one morning, but that situation left me thinking if war did come, the US might not get the support from Turkey it thought it would. Maybe that helped de-escalate what was looking like a rush into war.

6.   We finally did get back to Adana (the long way), and there my co-worker and I filed grievances protesting the fact we were ever grouped-in with the army, something contrary to our stated assignment, and to the departmental separations mandated by federal law. Our highest-up on-site boss met with us and heard what we had to say about the officer, and though his expression did not change, something in his eyes did, and my co-worker and I agreed that officer from Georgia made himself a marked man, and I imagine his career was a mess from that point on.

7.   In Adana, I took it as an ominous sign that Syrian refugees were fleeing the city, meaning they felt it was more dangerous there than back home? Talk was still about Iran having stockpiles of missiles to fling at Incirlik, though I couldn’t figure out why they would want to start a war, until it was explained to me that “Iranians treasure martyrdom.” How, I thought, could you reason with someone who wished for that? There was a feeling of a breakdown somewhere on our side, and talk began to swirl that people at the top were acting like amateurs moving everyone around a chess board without knowing the rules of the game. Morale was low. Anger was high. In all my years of working around members of the military I never saw so much rage against those back in Washington. Crazy things were going on, like someone had tossed away all the rulebooks, and inmates were running the asylum.

8.   Abruptly, in the middle of all this, I was summoned in to see my immediate supervisor, who asked if I wanted to go home. I said, uh, yeah, thinking it was a shell game, but he said with the buildup they now had others on hand who could do the jobs I and some others had been temporarily called up to do. My two months in Turkey ended, but it cemented my admiration for all the super-humans in the service who bravely do an almost impossible job to keep us safe. From the bottom of my heart I say they are heroes. (It also convinced me there were people high-up in government who didn’t have the beginning of an idea how to do their jobs.)

9.   I ended up outside Washington, attending meetings and giving reports about the state of things observed overseas, and when I saw myself on a security monitor as I walked into a building, I thought…I looked rough. I saw an Air Force doctor who told me I had adrenal depletion, and I went, yeah, wonder why?  (TMI, maybe, but I had no sexual desires and no appetite for the next couple months.) I was in the DC area for a week and a half, during which President Trump’s impeachment trial was being held, and when I read what the charges were, I thought his enemies calling him out for his recent Mid-East micro-mismanagement would have made for a better case. Though I wanted to go home, at least I was in a place where I could order pizza and watch Jeopardy’s Greatest of All Time tournament, which Ken Jennings won.

10.   I went home, and it was like no time had passed, and like I’d been gone a year. We had a makeup birthday and Christmas, and I was given a lovely 1960s coffee table book with beautiful Kodachromes of Canada’s wilderness called The Great Green North. I caught up on things and gave my friend Mark the complete Arkham collection on PS4 for his birthday I’d missed. I looked at Tyler’s ultrasound pictures of his unborn son. Yet I knew I didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to have sex, didn’t want to go places, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to hang out with my friends or listen to music or do much except stay home in the quiet. There were some unpleasant things I saw over there, and I found myself thinking about them. Yet if soldiers could go through experiences infinitely worse, who was I to complain about being shaken up just because I’d wet the merest tip of my baby toe in choppy waters? So I bottled it up and let things keep bothering me, which wasn’t a good policy.

11.   Stuff: Right when I got back Kobe Bryant was among those killed in a helicopter crash, and that news was jarring…. I met Edie for the Israeli Film Festival, and saw The Spy Behind Home Plate, about Moe Berg, a baseball catcher and OSS agent…. A doctor gave my friend Rob a pedometer and told him to go for 5,000 steps a day, and at the end of the first week it showed he had a total of 1,136 steps. How was that humanly possible? His insane, self-destroying laziness gave me my first real laugh in a long time.

12.   I finally told my husband about the unsigned, accusatory, from-beyond-the-grave emails from last fall that someone had signed “Brian,” and he said, “Sounds like you’ve ruled out everyone but one person as the author.” I said, “I have? Who?” Landon looked at me and said, “You.” OK, that was funny at first and then eerie, as he colorfully ventured into a backstory of me having a dark-side personality writing dreadful accusations and sending them to myself, and it got full-on Jekyll and Hyde, even if he was never serious about it. (I hope.)

13.   Starting in February I began to hear solid warnings about covid-19 being an impending global pandemic. I had been saying for years we were due for one, and it felt peculiar to know this plague was out there, that its arrival into our country, our state, our hometown, was unavoidable. Whether it was overreaction or not, the local news showed the National Guard mobilized and clearing out the local convention center, a two-block 750,000-square foot area, and setting up cots and quarantine zones, to treat the “estimated 350,000 area people projected to come down with the coronavirus by summer.” Yes, that got my attention.

14.   I felt bad for Tyler and Kylie, having a baby in the midst of an impending pandemic, and just before stay-at-home orders came down, their son Giovanni was born, one of the most beautiful babies I’d ever seen, though I only saw him in pictures, not in person and wouldn’t for weeks. Daisy went over to help with the new baby and got stuck there for a month after shelter-in-place became law. We talked daily but I couldn’t see her in person, yet another separation. She had fun, though, being with the new baby and living like she was older than her years. (Living with a couple kids who themselves now had a kid.)

15.   I donated money to a group that relocates endangered African wild dogs (painted wolves would be a better name) and got to see a private live event where the dogs were released into a preserve after nearly being poisoned by a rancher whose herds they had been feeding on. If you look around you might find even your micro-donations can add up to help a lot of good causes out there. If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.

16.   My almost father in law came back from visiting Los Angeles barely ahead of covid, and said his longtime friend at ABC told him Roseanne Barr secretly orchestrated her firing from her show, cooked up as a stunt to get publicity for the launch of the continuation without her, since she was tired of doing TV. I didn’t know what to think about that but that’s what he told me.

17.   Out of nowhere, just when he got done telling me about Roseanne, I told him some bad things that’d happened in Turkey, including seeing a woman and her husband die in front of their children in an awful, unnecessary incident of violence. It felt like vomiting up poison to relate some of it, and he asked why I’d kept that to myself. I explained one way I had gotten by in life was by compartmentalizing things, telling myself someone else, not me, had seen and done things I found unpleasant, when of course that wasn’t reality. He told me, “I think you’ve run out of compartments, Evelyn.” He was all about 12-step groups and told me I needed to talk to someone. Since I first met him when I was sixteen he’d told me I had bright eyes, but that day he said my eyes looked “lightless.” In my life I’ve hated that man and I’ve loved him but I’ve had to acknowledge he’s usually been right, so I listened.

18.   In late March I was heading to the store and saw the parking lot was overfilled, cars were parked in the road and in the lanes between the parking spaces, and police were directing traffic. I spotted someone I knew walking to her car and asked what was up. She said, “Don’t go in there. Not only is there probably covid in the air but you’d wait in line for an hour to check out. It’s a mob inside and it’s scary, plus there’s nothing left to buy. Canned goods are gone and so is toilet paper, bottled water, bleach, and hand sanitizer.” I turned around and went home, glad we had six-week supplies of most staples.

19.   On March 13th the President officially declared a nationwide state of disaster. Covid hit, we stayed home and didn’t get sick, and were able to go outside and into the woods and have places in the house to go to be alone while the whole world turned upside down in a time like no other. Yes, 9-11 may have been more of a staggering gut punch of horror, but this was like a flood that reached out to cover everything for months, changing the tiniest parts of life you’d always taken for granted.

20.   I slept more than usual during lockdown and had strong dreams. I dreamed I was having dinner with Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson, and ate with my hands, like they were doing. And I had a clear dream that seemed as real as life. My grandma was standing by my bed stroking my hair and telling me, “Don’t come to Heaven, Dollbaby, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Just a dream, yes, but it stuck with me. To have something to do, I took a lot of online quizzes, including a Myers-Briggs personality test, which said I was an INTJ, or an “architect.”

21.   My husband perhaps took the isolation worse than I did and one day griped at me about my online friendship with a man I’d known since 2000, and asked me in what way it was not a symbiotic relationship. I asked if he wasn’t thinking of parasitic? He normally had a good vocabulary, he was a published writer, and I wondered if him messing up that word was a sign of strain, and contemplated how soon he’d be chopping through the bathroom door with an ax, quoting lines from 1970s late-night TV.

22.   I heard some good coronavirus jokes, and appreciated the gallows humor. One of my favorites was: What’s the difference in a naked woman and covid-19? (Nine out of 10 nerds will have contact with one of these this year.)

23.   During the pandemic our local archbishop emeritus died, yet his funeral was held in an empty cathedral. Another noted local death was a longtime on-air personality who had been the weatherman on the NBC affiliate where Jerry Springer anchored after getting dumped as the city’s mayor following his dalliance with a prostitute. You know the weatherman’s type, someone you’ve never met but feel you’ve known for years, so his dying hit home? It began to feel like things were going to be as bad as the pessimists said. My next door neighbor from my teen years in Mason, a down-home West Virginian, died of covid before summer, as did others I knew, two elderly, one in his forties and HIV-positive. And many got sick. My extended family stayed healthy, but there was constant worry. Many people weren’t working, and I wondered how long society could endure all this before the economy collapsed along with collective sanity.

24.   Amid this Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Boris Johnson, and Donald Trump all tested positive. So did Tom Hanks. It was a dismal Easter. Charles, my cousin Dana’s second son, Tyler’s brother, turned eighteen and had a humble party at his house, just parents and two siblings, not the blowout he’d planned for months. He graduated from high school that spring and got no prom, no cap and gown ceremony, and never saw some of his classmates again as life dispersed them without celebratory hookups or even goodbyes.

25.   By May the area opened up a little and stay-at-home orders ended, though many restrictions blossomed, including face masks, which I think will go down as an ecological disaster based on how many I still see littering streets and waterways. Postponed by the lockdown, I finally got out to have my “witch’s mark” removed, because it was decided it might be showing signs of becoming cancerous, and I asked for no local anesthetic during the procedure, freaking out the doctor how much pain this presumed east side princess could take while a one-inch circle of flesh was deeply sliced from my shoulder. I missed the little diamond witch-mark so much I looked into having it recreated by tattooing over the scar, even though I have an almost pathological distaste for tattoos.

And thus ends the first part of 2020.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2022, 11:18:04 PM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #128 on: August 27, 2022, 12:43:27 PM »

1. The 1998-99 NBA season is shortened drastically due to a lockout over a disagreement between the owners and NBA Players Association.  It is shortened to 50 games starting in early 1999, but does continue on with a postseason as usual.
2. The NBA Finals does not feature the Bulls, Rockets or Pistons as champs for the first time in the decade.  Instead, the San Antonio Spurs hoist their first championship trophy with longtime center David Robinson and young star (and finals MVP) Tim Duncan knocking off Latrell Sprewell (my sister called him "Latrine") and the Knicks in 5.
3. My Blazers would reach the Western Conference Finals two years in a row, starting with this year.  There was a great mix of vets and young talent, including Arvydas Sabonis, Bonzi Wells, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Brian Grant, the talented but brain-dead JR Rider, and coach Mike Dunleavy.  I remember Sabonis being a kind of quiet guy but occasionally he would show emotion like when the streamers came down after a playoff series win over the Jazz, and Sabonis looked up and busted out a wide grin.  It was wonderful!  Unfortunately we got swept by the Spurs and lost game 2 by a MIRACLE 3 shot by Sean Elliot-- so heartbreaking.
4. John Elway and the Denver Broncos repeat in the Super Bowl, earning Elway MVP honors in a rousting of the Atlanta Falcons, who surprised with a big upset over 15-1 Minnesota in the NFC Championship.  Usually reliable Gary Anderson misses a field goal and Atlanta drives late to score a tying TD.  In overtime, MORTEN Andersen of the Falcons boots a game winner to send Atlanta to their first Super Bowl appearance.
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5. The Dallas Stars (formerly Minnesota North Stars) win their first Stanley Cup, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4 games to 2.  The final game was mired in controversy, with Brett Hull's skate in the crease not called at the end and the winning goal being allowed.  I remember watching this from a hotel room as my brothers and I were staying somewhere near Puyallup where my Aunt was getting married.  I hadn't slept for 24 hours at least and was absolutely bushed but still watched the game.
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6. I believe it was this year that I became a night shift manager at the department store I worked at.  Okay money for the time kept a roof over my head.  Seldom took time off.  Had a weight bench in my living room and I was still fit as a fiddle.  Sprung for a laptop and brought it in to work with me to watch funny stuff on the net during lunch break.
7. I remember all the hype leading up to the new millennium being of course all for naught.  I knew it wasn't that big a deal and Nostradamus could kiss my butt from beyond the grave.
8. The movie MYSTERY MEN was dumb but had this cool song:
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11. Clinton is acquitted in impeachment proceedings by the US Senate.
12. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE wins Best Picture at the Oscars.
13. WORLD SERIES: The Yankees win another title with their very talented lineup, this one a rematch of the 1996 series with the Braves, beating them again in a sweep.
14. Cyclist Lance Armstrong admits to doping.  His Tour de France wins are all disqualified. 
15. Fashionable PGA golfer Payne Stewart dies in a plane crash.
16. NATO bombs Albanian refugee convoys, mistaking them for Yugoslav military trucks; around 75 die.
17. COLOMBINE MASSACRE: 2 Littleton CO high school students open fire at their school, killing 12 students and one teacher and then themselves, sparking a national outcry over shootings in schools becoming an ongoing problem in the US.
18. British TV newswoman Jill Dando is shot to death on the steps of her home in Fulham, London.
19. John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn and her sister all die in a plane crash near Martha's Vineyard. 
20. A violent earthquake hits NW Turkey, killing over 17,000.
21. Around 2,400 die in a Taiwan earthquake and around 10,000 die in a cyclonic storm in India.
22. EgyptAir Flight 990 from NY to Cairo crashes near Nantucket, MA; all 217 die.
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24. The not-really-a-big-hit-then-but-gained-a-following-later SEGA DREAMCAST debuts:
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As does NEO GEO Pocket Color.
25. The ball drop to lead into the new millennium:
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"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
B-Movie Kraken

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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #129 on: August 28, 2022, 01:20:31 PM »

Memories of 2020 Part Two: My Year-Long Half-Year

1.   By summer, though people were still dying of covid and it was scary, life had loosened up. It was possible to go out and pick up food and go into stores as long as you wore a mask and stayed apart via “social distancing” guidelines. Conspiracy theories ran amok, as did misinformation based in both over-reaction and denial, but most people stayed sensible and life resumed at least a little bit of normality.

2.   I danced around when I heard Neil Gaiman was finally liberating himself from Amanda Palmer, but when it turned out to be a rumor I stress-read Sandman #12 to commune with the classic-era Gaiman, in spirit.

3.   I drove by a Catholic cemetery off a major road, and saw a new burial there had a poster board hand by the grave and on the hand it said, “Hi, I’m Glen!” I was incredibly impressed with Glen for giving post-life chuckles.

4.   My job sent me to Colorado, where I worked as an instructor teaching some brief courses, and I enjoyed doing that enough to ask for another such assignment, so was later sent to San Diego to do the same, then Wyoming beyond that. I always said I never wanted to do what my dad did and be gone from my family for stretches of time, yet there I was doing the same thing, though in smaller chunks, and I wasn’t as out of communication with home as he had been. Still, I knew I was separating myself from my loved ones and I vowed that in a year I’d take retirement and be there for them, but more and more I realized the sad truth was….their lives were going on fine without me.

5.   In Colorado I took part in an infamous multi-day outdoor physical challenge I first entered at eighteen and had participated in several times since as well. It’s nowhere near the Marine Corp’s Crucible, not at all, Marines set a standard for hard-core, but it does share that name, the Crucible, which when Marines gripe about, they are informed this Crucible pre-dates their more rigorous one by a generation. I have repeated this event mainly because I like messing with people’s expectations and perceptions of me. I can no longer run a 5 ½ minute mile like I used to be able to do when I was playing tennis, but at forty-one I was proud to see my scores did fall in the 93rd percentile among participants who completed the event. I also busted up my knee pretty spectacularly on the last day, then limped for a couple weeks, only to come home to my mother in law having her knee replaced altogether, so I couldn’t even have the satisfaction of bellyaching about my injury for sympathy.

6.   Rob and Tara were expecting a son they named Tolkien Bluejoe for his first and middle names. I wonder if in life Tolkien will tell of being part of that club Giovanni is also in known as “pandemic babies?” Meanwhile their other son, thirteen-year-old Draven, lived out every teenage boy’s fantasy but was likely ruined for life when he got a girlfriend who was---wait for it!—a nudist!!! Yes, a nudist. Let that sink in a second….

7.   More on Rob. I played MTG with him one night that fall when people started being able to go to each other’s houses again, and he told me he dreamed the Night Stalker was telling him, “Go to Disneyland!” I reassured him that was just Disney’s new subliminal sleep ad campaign. That night he also told me he planned to join the Satanic Temple. Yeah, um, that man ain’t right.

8.   After months off, my husband and his crew went back to work restoring an 1850s row house they’d let sit in April. Since it was summer he let our son go with them, and nearly their first day back our son saw some men outside trying to break into a truck and take tools, so he ran at them, a nine year old berserker, and the crew and his dad came out and incredibly, rather than run, the two thieves, total junkies, real bad neighborhood, stood their ground with pieces of rebar in hand, and it was a mess. Cops came and rather than seeing it as a straightforward robbery-prevention, the police, timid after nationwide protests galore about discrimination, seemed to want to arrest everyone, and while my husband wasn’t taken in, he had to bail his guys out, and one of the cops shouted at my son. Then the junkies hired an ambulance chaser to come after us for assault, and that was an expensive legal quagmire, all rising from the fact they were prevented from carrying out a burglary. Not done yet: to save their own skins, some of the crew, who’d worked for my husband since the ‘00s, who’d been paid out of his pocket while they were off work due to covid shutdowns, turned on him in court. It was a hard betrayal for Landon to handle, and a lesson in why ultimately employees and bosses are never really friends.

9.   My second-favorite Mythbuster, Grant Imahara, died, but at least his robotic creation Geoff Peterson lives on. Oh, wait, CBS disassembled Geoff to get back at Craig Ferguson. Damn this list is getting dark. Another non-covid death from 2020 was the lovely Kelly Preston, who died of cancer, even though she was a Level-Eight Scientologist, and L. Ron Hubbard promised those who went “clear” they’d never experience disease.

10.   Dying remained on the minds of many, putting them into territory it feels like I’ve walked half my life. A dear author friend asked this of me should he pass away: “Don’t forget me when I'm gone. Tell people about me, and my stories, and my books. Tell them I was your friend.” Man. I promised I would, but I’m glad he’s still alive and well.

11.   Daisy, almost twelve, started hanging out with my cousin Dana’s youngest daughter, Tyler’s sister, Bethany Brooke, who was fifteen, almost the same difference in ages between Dana and me when we did all the stuff we did together long ago. I liked the inter-generational continuity, though the situation also scared me, since a tween hanging with a teen? What could go wrong?

12.   My dad, who has a pilot’s license, took my youngest, Trinity, flying with him in a little plane above the city, showing her what things look like from the sky, and in mid-flight Trinity hurled up her milkshake, leaving her and her grandpa in a tiny cockpit bedazzled with yakk. Dad found it amusing.

13.   After many years of him not knowing who his biological father was, my husband’s birth mother across the state finally told him who this man had been, and it was a shock. It was no one famous, and thankfully he was not conceived in rape or parental incest, but it was the kind of information that leaves you stopping in your tracks as the sentiment, “Oh my God…” slides past your lips. He could have taken the news better, to be honest. “Hey, at least it wasn’t Ted Bundy like Mandy used to say,” I told him. Within a couple days he came full circle and said it didn’t matter because: “The man who raised me is my dad.” He was right.

14.   On The Weather Channel we watched a derecho ravage Iowa with 112 MPH winds, and move down across the country straight toward us, hammering all points in between. Isn’t life in the Midwest in storm season fun? When it finally got to us after dark it was only gusting at twenty-five but waiting for it to get here was really something.

15.   I downloaded Randonautica, an app that claims it will fulfill your wishes by leading you to a place where that fulfillment may be found. Honestly, it mostly led us nowhere, except one day Daisy asked to be taken to something nice, and the GPS coordinates guided us to a little wooden book exchange outside a school, where sat a Shel Silverstein title she’d been wanting to read. After that impressive bit of…chance…I stated my intention as taking me to someplace that’d make me happy, and the next coordinates took us to a street nearby and in front of a house was a wooden sign that said HOME. I had to laugh, because gone as much as I’d been in 2020, HOME was certainly the place that made me happiest.

16.   My mom left my father for the second time in her life, though less dramatically than she had in 1995 when she went back to Ireland in a breakdown. I couldn’t help but wonder---amidst my total sympathy of course---if my father ever regretted divorcing his perfectly nice, though utterly staid, second wife so he could re-marry my ever-fluttery mom.

17.   On August 28th my cousin Magda died of cardiac arrest, in London Her husband came home and found her half slumped over their bed, knees on the floor, her phone just out of reach. Always a big-boned sort, Mags had gained a massive amount of weight in the 2000s and that and her smoking and excessive social drinking did her in. Her sister Eonne said to me, “That makes you oldest, doesn’t it?” I hadn’t thought of it yet, but it did. Magda was a loud, exuberant person, rough on me sometimes growing up (she was the one I got in a fight with that Easter over my dress), but we also had many fun moments, and I loved her and I mourned her and I miss her. Incidentally, I was making a post in here when I was told she’d died, so, reeling from shock, I mentioned the news in real time.

18.   I had an amusing, irritating episode of “how stupid can some people be” when a woman in an upstate  Meijer store argued with me that the Scottish flag was another form of Confederate flag, and when I tried to show her online that it wasn’t, she said she didn’t want to see my “misinformation.” Don’t you sometimes wish ignorance was painful?

19.   McKenna, Dana’s daughter, Tyler’s sister, was living in Busan, South Korea when a major typhoon hit, and she called it “thrilling” to feel the high-rise building sway in the wind. Her relocation there came after she’d also lived in Argentina and Mexico, and she is preparing now to go live in either Melbourne or Sydney Australia, depending on which strikes her fancy most when she visits. Interesting girl. Brave.

20.   On a whim I located Paige, whom I equally liked and wished death on as a lovesick teenager. She was in Hawaii, had a university-age son, and had divorced a well-off husband with connections to a professional sports team. She was surprised to hear from me, remembered me well, and was as friendly and polite as ever, but though we talked a couple times about the mid-'90s, after the early buzz of reconnecting, we didn’t have much to say. Also a shark ate her three days later. Yeah, OK, it didn’t, darnit.

21.   If I didn’t hate covid before (I hate it so much I don’t even capitalize its name) I did after November, when I had to spend time in quarantine in Utah, with my family, who were miffed at me for my bright idea that they come along with me to San Diego, so we wouldn’t have to keep getting separated, resulting in them being quarantined too. I guess I should be glad it was for no good reason and none of us caught the covid we were exposed to out west, but I think it was also about this time that my twice-vaccinated father actually did get covid, scaring me very much, though he’d be fine.

22.   One other thing covid did kill was the Ohio State-Michigan game that fall. For anyone who says covid isn’t real, think what it took to bring the cancellation of the biggest football game on Earth. (Of course it’s also possible “B itchagain” was afraid to show up and lose again for the sixteenth time in seventeen years…)

23.   My youngest and I repeated an experiment my oldest and I once did, where you boil rice, place an equal amount in two containers, seal them up, and then set them a few feet apart on a counter. For the next two weeks you say kind things to one container, and mean things to the other. This was the second time we did this and each time the result was the same: the rice we spoke badly to got moldy much faster than the one that had kind words said to it. I have no explanation except maybe negative and positive emotions give off real energy? Try it yourself and let me know.

24.   One rainy pre-Christmas afternoon I was telling my daughters about my wedding dress, and they wanted to see it, so I dug it out and put it on for the second time in ten years. I thought it was a nice thing to do, however, about fifteen minutes later, I heard a crash and lots of yelling, and I found my ever-spirited eight-year-old atop my scholarly twelve-year-old, pulling her hair and yelling, while my twelve-year-old fended her off. I separated them, and you know what they were fighting about? Which of them would get the dress when I was dead. Good grief, way to make me feel wanted, huh? Well they kept bickering so much about the dress, who would own it, who would wear it to her wedding, I finally had perhaps one of my less bright ideas as a mom, and told them if they didn’t stop I’d go out back and burn the dress. In about one second my two combatants forgot their fight and spun around on me shouting together, “You are not going to burn our dress!!!!” Sigh, someone send me back to Turkey.

25.   And finally, speaking of Turkey, late in the year, my co-workers and I received an apology and financial compensation for our unauthorized reassignment. The conclusion was people made mistakes when it came to assigning personnel during those tense weeks in early 2020 when I truly believe the nation was closer to entering into a global war than it had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And that was the second part of 2020.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2022, 11:14:43 PM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
B-Movie Kraken

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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #130 on: August 30, 2022, 08:27:44 AM »

Memories of 2021, Part One: “Ave Atque Vale.”

1.   It was quite a year! On New Year’s Day it was remarked with double-meaning: “Hindsight is 2020.”…. In 2021, mostly on the twenty-eighth of each month, I started meeting and having deep conversations with a fifteen-year-old who, well, let’s just say she was a lot like me at her age…. On the heels of all-time low temperatures, Superstorm Christoph hit Ireland with disastrous flooding…. That year I saw the most impressive magic act ever, like Chinese face changing, but involving the whole body…. And for a few Sundays, Daisy and I went to a megachurch that was 98% African American. It was considerably different from a Latin Mass.

2.   The news reported a nearly $100,000,000 office and housing complex was going up on prime south-of-the-river real estate on a hilltop that featured an excellent view of the city skyline. The catch was the project was to sit atop land unoccupied since Memorial Day 1977, when 165 people died there piled atop one another in one of the worst fires in US history.

3.   Greg, my “nice boy from college,” told me his son collected ‘90s Goosebumps books, so I sent him all my old ones, making Daisy have a fit, saying she loved those books. I told her I never saw her reading them, and she answered: “I liked to read them in private, OK?” Uh, sorry?

4.   When it came empty, I rented an apartment I’d spent a lot of time hanging out in in 1995, the apartment where among other things, I first had sex. I thought it’d be a nice reconnection with personal nostalgia to have that apartment as my secret hideout when I wanted time to myself, but it wasn’t like that, the past was JUST TOO LOUD there! And sometimes the apartment itself felt wrong and it wasn’t pleasant being there, especially alone, and particularly at night. I can joke and say hey, who needs a ghost, I can apparently haunt myself, but a few times I felt like I should stand up and walk out very quickly. I eventually did take a few others inside and they felt fine, with Daisy begging me to let her have a party there. Yeah, it was just me, I know, but that doesn’t mean what I felt there wasn’t in some fashion “real.” Incidentally, when the lease came due, I renewed it, I just don’t spend much time inside what was once my favorite place in the world.

5.   On February 9th eleven inches of snow fell from dusk to dawn, the deepest one-day snowfall since 2008. I think it was the same system that put half a foot of white on Dallas, then sent temperatures there plunging, freezing water pipes and in general causing havoc on Texan snow virgins.

6.   My godson spent the night with us and he and Daisy and I started playing MTG around 6:30 and stayed up til after three playing about a dozen duels in all. And they say that game isn’t addictive?

7.   Because he kept asking me, I went with Tyler to gay clubs downtown, something we hadn’t done together since he turned twenty-one. The first bar was Rambone’s, which was leatherman sleazy and didn’t pretend not to be, though the semi-erotic paintings of Sylvester Stallone in full ‘80s Rambo mode---plus motorcycle chaps---were pretty hilarious. The second club was The Birdcage, yes, like that movie, a trendier, flashier place. It’s always dicey going out into the gay scene because I know many gays feel like they’re being made into a tourist attraction when straight people go for a novelty experience, but when you’re invited, it’s usually cool. Well funny story, but this more than decent-looking gay man young enough to be my…. ahem, little brother, asked me to dance with him, so I said OK, feeling silly and flattered, and the thing was, while he was behind me grooving to neo-techo beats, that guy humped on me almost enough to count as a notch on the bedpost. Jeeeez! I halfway think Tyler put him up to the whole thing.

8.   A soldier friend was in a plane crash where two died, eight lived, but all were badly injured. The plane hit the ground and rolled for almost a hundred yards. Among other things my friend’s hip was shattered like ice chips, and he would spend fourteen months in surgery and therapy. Yet when I went to see him at a VA facility, how did he describe the crash? “Yeah, almost ruined my day.”

9.   I heard The Cure’s Lovecats playing on an FM-Oldies station, and felt like crying. That song can never be an Oldie. It was just out the other day!

10.   While wrapping up work in a supposedly secure facility an hour from home, almost ready to call it a day, I heard yelling outside, and an on-site Active Shooter Warning sounded, telling us to go into lockdown mode in designated safe spaces. I kept thinking I’d been ten minutes from getting out of there too…. As everyone marched down the halls in line like it was a school fire drill, I turned around to gripe to a co-worker, but instead of her there was a uniformed man holding an assault rifle motioning me toward a room. Whoa! Thankfully he was a security agent, and in still better news it turned out it was all a false alarm triggered by an overly-zealous gate guard.

11.   I was sitting on my car around sunset, the window down and my left arm out when a spider about as big as a popcorn kernel bit my wrist. It stung like crazy and a tiny red bump formed before my eyes. I walked into the house and proclaimed, "Guys, I just got bitten by a spider!” This inspired nine-year-old Trinity to show where her sympathies lay by asking: “Aw, did you hurt the spider?"

12.   I had (my friends) Tara and Rob and their boys over to swim, and Rob filled me in on his life in 2021, saying the Satanic Temple proved to be "full of posers” and declaring he was back in Norse paganism. I’d had my fill of his epistemological flip-flopping and suggested that since by Norse custom the winner of a struggle for leadership became jarl, and since Jesus clearly conquered Odin in Norse hearts and minds, why not go Christian, as the Norse had for the last thousand years? Yeah, he didn’t like me saying Jesus beat Odin up.

13.   I learned the Japanese word yandere, which is when someone goes back and forth in treating a romantic interest with excessive sweetness and then equal cruelty, and I thought, yeah, that totally describes someone I knew in England in the ‘00s. This man used to go to great lengths to be delicately, bizarrely kind to me, then he’d suddenly show another side that was so far off the tracks I won’t EVEN begin to go into the worst parts, but if I said he fired a pistol point blank next to my face so I felt the bullet go hissing by my cheek on its way to his wall, that STILL wouldn’t be the worst of it. I just hadn’t known the concept actually had a word.

14.   I read The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, someone I have come to consider possibly the best writer of literary fiction to have debuted in the 21st century. Few authors create one “perfect” novel, but Towles has now penned three of them.

15.   Daisy started telling people her brother had autism, and when I asked why she was going around saying this, since no physician ever suggested it, she said she believed it. She wants to be a doctor and studies a lot, true, but that was the first time in her life she ever said something that registered strong real world disagreement in me. Others incidents soon serially followed, and I think at a certain stage in their lives, daughters exist to try to trip up their mothers.

16.   Speaking of my son, when I told him if he pulled up his math grades, I’d let him shoot an AK-47, his scores soared. Hey, I’m a certified marksman, have a license to carry, and have permits, so stop looking at me that way. Besides I once knew a dad in Provence who promised his kid if he made honor roll he’d take him to a brothel. Now that’s motivation!

17.   When Tyler took a drawing class, I told him about the Victorian illustrator and all-around Aesthetic poster-boy weirdo, Aubrey Beardsley, with whom he was completely unacquainted, but in whom he soon developed considerable interest. Really, the strange, doomed Beardsley should have made a bigger splash amid posterity, but is barely remember in his friend Oscar Wilde’s shadow.

18.   I watched Wandavision and at first liked the framing device of the TV sitcoms through the decades approach, but knew absolutely nothing about the characters and their stories and when the series moved off into that, it lost me.

19.   I heard this exchange: “Sex is the ultimate expression of attraction.”  “Nah, stalking is.”

20.   ‘80s sex kittens actresses Tawny Kitaen and Tanya Roberts both passed away in 2021, making a friend of mine confess amid his lamentations: “I went through so many Kleenexes watching their nude scenes in Witchboard and Beastmaster.”

21.   I bought my son a metal detector for his birthday and he and I went out detecting a lot that summer, including on a river bluff an old map showed Morgan’s Raiders used as a campsite during their raid in the summer of 1863. Didn’t find anything spectacular but it was always a thrill to get a beep and wonder what it was.

22.   My father in law was diagnosed with cancer, and as he wrestled his affliction, I spent time with him hearing funny stories he said no one else in the family knew, like when in the 1960s he got arrested for drag racing 100 MPH, and was more afraid of his dad taking away his hotrod than he was of the police, so he refused to ID himself, and sat in jail for five days til the cops finally said they figured he’d served his time, whoever he was, and let him go. Things were looser back then, he explained, and cops still had that kind of authority. I never would’ve guessed our family’s Master Freemason had been to jail, ha!

23.   I went bris-crashing with Edie for the first time since before covid, and at those a good time was always had by “almost” everybody there. Most goyim wouldn’t believe the after-parties that get thrown at those things. “Free food is very motivating to a Jewish person,” Edie assured me, and claimed she’d get alerts when a big bris-bash was scheduled somewhere among the local Tribe. In irony, though, the mom of the---ahem---guest of honor, said if it hadn’t been for staying home for covid, her son wouldn’t even exist. Life coming out of a time of sickness and death, it’s a nice thing.

24.   That year: Landon and I saw Brit Floyd, and it felt like we’d seen the real group…. We got all dressed up and I took my girls to high tea in a nearly 100-year-old tea room downtown…. I started collecting opals just because I think they’re pretty….. I got an 18th century cookbook and started messing around with making things from it, like buckwheat apple cider donuts, which were amazing…. My daughter asked why more freshwater sharks didn’t evolve, and  I told her God lets us have hurricanes and genocide, but he’s not cruel enough to throw freshwater sharks at us.

25.   In 2021 I mostly worked near our home but I was also sent out briefly to a lot of places. I worked in Seattle, and I worked back under the big empty skies of the Wyoming badlands at a hard-to-find facility where I’d been a few times over the years. In mid-January I also worked in Virginia on the most novel assignment of my career among some good-hearted, misguided people. Finally I was sent back to Wyoming again, and teaching a course there ended up being literally my final task for the employers I’d been with since I was seventeen. When that wrapped up, what a weak-kneed moment, realizing it was all over. I’d made it. I was done. The good, the bad, it was behind me, and with luck I still had half of my life to live. Compared to 2020, early 2021 was a very good time.

And that was my life in the first part of 2021…
« Last Edit: August 30, 2022, 08:41:25 AM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #131 on: August 31, 2022, 05:51:49 AM »

Y2K!  The world's gonna end!  Buy all kinds of supplies for your bomb shelter!  And other such nonsense.
1. Perhaps the biggest thing was the heavy heartbreak that befell me this year.. no, not relatives dying or anything like that.  Sports heartbreaks-- the kind that can hurt nearly as bad!  Oh man.. my Bills had the head coach pull a move that disgusted the team's fans and he switched out Doug Flutie  for Rob Johnson.  But somehow we were leading the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs on the road late in the game anyway.   Just a handful of seconds left; all the Titans could do was lateral several times on the return to have a chance.  And thanks to a missed flag on a forward-- not lateral-- pass, they did just that and won.  It was dubbed "The Music City Miracle" and it still rankles Bills fans' feathers to this day.  The Bills would fail to make the playoffs for the next 17 years!
2. Not to be outdone by the last tragedy, my Portland Trailblazers faced Shaq, Kobe and the mighty LA Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.  My team had a great mix of vets and young stars, including Scottie Pippen of the 6-time champion Bulls!  They stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the series, and game 7 was in LA.  Things were going great going into the 4th quarter-- we led by 15 at one point!  And then, of course, the wheels fall off and the refs accept LA's bribe money.. all thrown away in a year that would have seen us go against an inferior Pacers squad in the Finals that should have brought a 2nd title to Portland.  Alas..
3. Though that absolutely did suck, there was a beautiful moment in the series vs. Utah where Scottie Pippen helped close the door on the Jazz in game 5 with a 3.  I lost my s**t watching this!
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4. I don't remember if it was this year that we got him but I was getting at my wit's end with a really stupid employee who was brain-damaged from a car accident years back; he was stupid, couldn't focus, screwed off, etc.  He could do more heavy-duty work than the Hispanic gals that made up the rest of the crew, but man was he a handful.  I was far nicer to him than he deserved.  My ex-boss who I liked I think went funny from mixing pain pills (for her hip) with booze, and hit her head in a fall and lost her memory (or so she said).  By that time I was done with her and her b.s.  A lot of crap for a young manager to have to handle.
5. The St. Louis Rams (yeah, they moved from LA to St. Louis by this point) were earning their nickname "The Greatest Show On Turf", with a prolific offense led by QB Kurt Warner.  They won the Super Bowl by the skin of their teeth, over the same Tennessee squad my team "lost" to, with their final play coming up just short..
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6. WORLD SERIES: Or, should I say, SUBWAY SERIES!  The New York Yankees and the New York Mets meet in the big game for the first time (though New York area teams like the Brooklyn Dodgers and Yankees had met before in the Series).  Though the Yanks did not have a particularly impressive regular season they came alive in the postseason with that incredible team that won the previous 2 World Series, and a 4-1 series victory over the Mets made it a 3-peat.
7. To offset the heartbreaking losses by the Bills and Blazers, my hockey team won the Stanley Cup!  New Jersey's Jason Arnott scores the double-overtime goal to win the Devils their 2nd title, over the Dallas Stars.  Woot!
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8. America Online purchases Time Warner for a ridiculous $162 billion.
9. Windows 2000 startup and shutdown:
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10. Massive flooding in Mozambique kills several hundreds.
11. In a publicized custody battle, 6-year old Elian Gonzales is taken from his relatives' Miami home by federal agents to his Cuban father in Washington DC.  I remember seeing news reports of Hispanic people in Miami crying their eyes out over this kid that they didn't even know or were related to, and it kind of annoyed me.

12. A new computer virus is called the ILOVEYOU virus.  It instantly made me think of the "I LOVE YOU" ship from the movie The Naked Gun.
13. The artwork website DEVIANTART debuts.  I'm a membah!
14. The Summer Olympics are held in Sydney, Australia.  Several countries win either their first medals or first golds.
15. Over 11 years since the Exxon-Valdez disaster, 250 million gallons of coal sludge is spilled in Marin County, Kentucky.
16. A controversial end to the Bush v. Gore presidential race occurs when a recount is halted.  George W. Bush, the 2nd son of a US President to also become President, is elected (John Quincy Adams was the first).
17. A fire at a shopping center in China on Christmas Day kills 309.  ...Merry Christmas??
19. The Best Picture Oscar goes to AMERICAN BEAUTY.  I remember noting that the family's deterioration in that movie was anything but beautiful!
20. Evander Holyfield regains the WBA heavyweight title with a decision over John Ruiz, becoming the first boxer to win the world heavyweight title 4 times.
21. Tiger Woods wins 3 of the 4 major golf championships, winning the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship (Vijay Singh wins the Masters).  He sets or ties below par records in all 3 championships.
22. Oh brother.. back to the Olympics-- Vince Carter for the US team just EMBARRASSES French center Fredric Weiss.  They win the Gold Medal.
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24. And of course, this crazy show..
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"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
B-Movie Kraken

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The sleep of reasoner breeds monsters. (sic)

« Reply #132 on: August 31, 2022, 09:28:17 AM »

Memories of 2021, Part the Second: How Beautiful A Boring Life Can Be.

1.     It was strange to wake up one day and have nowhere I absolutely had to be, and to have no one in a position of authority telling me what I had to do. It was a new feeling in my life, since first there’d been my parents in that role, then my schools, then the deeply controlling force of my employer, all of them always to some degree above me, laying out an agenda. I’d retired, I was free, it was nice, yet it also felt like writing on an unlined piece of paper if you’re used to having margins. Ever dreamed of something for so long that when you get it, you stare at it and think….what now? That was me for months in late 2021.

2.   That summer it was time for the seventeen-year “Brood-X” cicada emergence. Billions of the red-eyed screeching bugs were everywhere, filling skies, covering trees, making the ground look like it was moving as they tunneled up from below. Most people hated cicadas but I loved the event and was always glad to see our homegrown version of the Maasai Mara wildebeest migration. My first Brood-X was 1987, then 2004, and 2021. I’ll be fifty-nine next time they come out. You know, if.

3.   After a business trip to Japan my almost father-in-law, knowing I have a collection of soils from around the world, brought me back a vial of earth from Aokigahara: the suicide forest. My friend Mitch, who lives in Spain and claims to be a trance medium, told me I was bringing terrible mojo into my home with that dirt, but what did he know? Not tomorrow’s lottery numbers, clearly.

4.   Donald Rumsfeld died. He was a man who did a great deal of harm to the very people he was meant to be looking out for, and I wish he’d had to face more consequences for his actions than he ever did. Colin Powell also died, and unlike Rumsfeld he was a good man who did right by those serving under him.

5.   In my copious free time I saw the most recent film version of Journey’s End, probably my favorite WWI tragedy. I also saw the excellent Hulu series, Only Murders in the Building. Lest I forget, to my surprise I got hooked on the Wonder Years remake, the best new show of the year.

6.   A philosophical discussion with my ultra-genius father saw him tell me about the German concept of ewige wiederkunft, or “eternal return” a fascinating idea which if my lesser brain understands, holds that all that exists in the universe remains caught up in an infinite cycle of repetition, including the echoing consciousness that constitutes our very selves. We think we’re living this life for the first time, but what if we’re not? This concept interested me because I was experiencing events that seemed to suggest other aspects of personal consciousness in some way existed outside myself, and I was seeking explanations for what I was experiencing. My father’s description of the idea also reminded me of the time I was given a theta-inducing IV drug to help me recall exact events that had transpired in an important matter, and one of the things I said was we keep re-living our lives. What if that’s the big secret? What if we do?

7.   I also spent time with a Taoist study group, and was told drinking a cold beverage in a cemetery was perilous to one’s spiritual well-being, since any coldness in the human body draws spirits. (Hence fevers burn away bad spirits that bring illness, Taoists say.) I did an experiment and chugged an Arctic Blast at a memorial park down the road at night while standing on the grave of a death row inmate named Jermaine Mitchell, and nothing dramatic happened, though I did get a headache. Score one for the scientific method. And ibuprofen.

8.   My husband got into the geothermal business. It was moderately successful but he allowed another man to buy in and their conflicting visions didn’t bring harmony, so in early 2022 he let his partner buy him out. And has done nothing since…. (Wait, as of press time he is thinking of studying to become an architect. Shrug.)

9.   One day driving in a car with Daisy right before she turned thirteen, she started picking a fight, saying, she was tired of the way I treated a particular person we both knew with “concealed animosity,” and demanding to know why I did. Yes, there was a degree of truth to her claim but it was more complicated than that, so I dismissively told her I didn’t have any antipathy for this person, and rather than have her insights slighted, she blindsided me by hitting the nail on the head with a theory as to why I felt as I did, and that caught me unready, making my throat go dry and my heart speed up, and showed me that I had raised a frighteningly insightful child. But did I admit she was right? No, I shamelessly lied and denied to my daughter like a politician caught in a burlesque house til I undermined her confidence, because I’m sorry but that was the pragmatic thing to do in a case with such big ramifications. Friends, your kids know more about you than you think they do.

10.   Trinity started riding horses on weekends. She loved them, but to me of course they remained long-faced devils out to kill. It’s been a nice event though, us all going out together while she rides on a farm in the shockingly flat country that lies only a few miles beyond our rolling river hills. Lots of variety in our terrain here. Lots and lots.

11.   Russian hackers held Sinclair Broadcasting’s channels, coast to coast, hostage, keeping them off the air for weeks, demanding millions in ransom to return services. I don’t know how this was resolved but I went through Big Bang Theory withdrawal while I waited.

12.   I was offered a very good job in Ireland, doing much the same as I had done here. “Help us stick it to the fookin’ Brits with their noses in our business,” I was cajoled. (I don’t know how much you heard but in 2021 the UK pulled some seriously low in-house shenanigans on the government of the Republic, and a lot of my mom’s native people were unhappy with their neighbors, saying nothing was ever going to change in British minds where Eire was concerned.) My mother had long wanted us over there and began sending links to houses, resulting in Daisy saying she wanted to move there. Still I never really considered it. I was done working, home is home, and in my life I’d been away far too much. Yes, I have Irish citizenship, but I’m incurably American, for all that claim carries with it, good and bad. Here I live. Here I will stay. I want to know just where my bones will rest, to dust, I guess, forgotten and absorbed into the earth….below. (Thank you, Mr. Corgan for that makeout song, and the sentiment.)

13.   Because I count his book The Case for Christ as one of the more persuasive arguments for the validity of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, I drove with Daisy, ever my partner in misadventures, to a megachurch in Louisville to hear author Lee Strobel speak about what I thought was going to be near death experiences as they related to his newest book, The Case for Heaven, but got there and found in the sports arena-like confines of the megamall-sized Southeast Christian Church, Strobel came off more as a huckster than a scholarly theologian, setting a countdown clock and offering 40% off his courses to everyone there who bought in the next few minutes. Je$u$.The mini road trip with my daughter was nice, the event was disillusioning.

14.   There was a stampede at a rock concert in Houston that resulted in crushing deaths (always avoid crowds!) that vaguely mirrored The Who tragedy of 1979 my father’d nearly attended, and the rumors that followed about the Houston concert got strange, with some saying a CERN device was involved in causing panic, and others claiming the performer invoked a Satanic incantation, and people dropped dead. No limit to how low the tin-foil mafia will stoop in its fake news, is there?

15.   Got up at 2:30 in the morning to see an entrancing blood moon accompany the longest lunar eclipse since the 1400s, and walked back in our woods to a clearing and watched the sky, only gradually becoming aware as the night wore on that a pack of coyotes was circling me in the darkness, neither getting too close nor retreating. I was in their territory, and they weren’t happy about it. I heard and sensed them more than saw them, but smelled them plainly, a sort of thick sweaty dog smell. I played it safe and walked out of the woods, and heard them trailing me, step for step. While I knew not to run, instinct wanted me to. They stayed maybe thirty feet off til I finally got out into the open of our yard. Not the most relaxing night outdoors I ever spent.

16.   It was shaping up to be a beautiful fall for colors but autumn leaves are always precariously-poised, and as Robert Frost said “….wind if it be wild, should waste them all….” A gusty storm blew through right at the color-peak and we woke up to bare branches except for those few rusty survivors clinging to the stoutest of oaks. Those colors come just once a year too…

17.   I took my son Keagan to Target, and he asked if he could look at toys on his own, and I said, “OK, just no taking candy from bare-legged strangers in trench coats.”

Before we left home he’d put on a jacket he used to love two years ago, but it barely fit him by then, and I almost told him to put on one of his new coats. Thing is, when I met up with Keagan a half-hour after we split up, he was wearing a brand new jacket, and being my quiet man, I don’t think he was even going to mention this til I pressed, then he said matter of factly, “Oh, yeah, some lady bought it for me.”


“I think she bought it for me because she felt sorry for me having to wear my old jacket that didn’t fit. I guess she thought I was a poor kid.”

Well, my hand went over my mouth in disbelief and I didn’t know whether to melt into the floor in embarrassment or laugh til I fell sideways as he described a white-haired lady who looked at his ill-fitting old jacket, shook her head and asked, “Would you like a new coat, young man?”

Keagan said he kind of shrugged and said, “I guess.”

So she picked him out a nice jacket, paid for it, put it on him and said if he ever needed warm winter clothes, to call a church.

He said, “OK, thanks.”

Oh my gosh, did my son look that needy? What he had on was a size too little for him and not new, he’d worn it on many an outdoor adventure that added wear and tear, but….

But what a nice lady, and let’s leave it at that!

18.   There are many weird ways to die, and after a diagnosis eluded the county coroner, the family of a woman I’d known in Texas hired a private pathologist that fall to determine what caused her to suddenly die in early middle age, seemingly in the best of health. The eminent pathologist’s report said she had a rare, undiagnosed condition that disabled proper utilization of vital minerals, which led to a chronic and eventually critical inability of electrical function in the nervous system which caused her brain to one day stop sending impulses to her heart, killing her almost instantly, no warning. She likely had no idea she was in any danger, just slid into blackness. Scary.

19.   I had it explained to me what a “brojob” was and was told the stigma for men who identified as straight to help one another out this way was eroding. Somehow that claim was too much, my brain leaked a little smoke and I said in effect: “Nuh-uh.” I still think it’s largely an inclusionary fantasy, since most men I know would cheerfully take a bullet before doing that to one of their buds.

20.   Now what did that topic remind me of? Oh, yes, American Crime Story: Impeachment ran a season on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of the ‘90s, and it remained a shock to see events I remembered happening in my lifetime depicted onscreen as history. Again, that was just the other day, wasn’t it? No, it was a third of a long human lifetime ago. Time blows my mind.  (Yes, that was on purpose.)

21.   For a minute or a couple months I was fascinated watching some girl named Marz play video games on her channel. Haven’t checked her out in a while, but during her run of the PS5 remake of Demon Souls, that foul-mouthed console jock was magnetic north to my compass.

22.   Heading to a state fair I ran into George Clooney’s dad Nick, a local broadcast legend, and told him I once attended a communications class he taught at a nearby university.

Mr. Clooney was cordial about that til I guess he did the math and said, “I haven’t taught a class in decades. When was this?”

I said, “When I was about eleven.”

His mouth fell open. “Eleven? Taking my class?”

“’Taking,’ no, I’d wander the campus while my mom did some art classes in evening, and I figured out I could slip into the big auditorium where you taught using a back door up by the projection booth, and could stay pretty inconspicuous there while I listened to my Walkman and paged through magazines. Hey, but sometimes I listened to you.”

Nick Clooney laughed big. Cool gentleman, him.

23         I took Daikeagity (my collective name for my kids) to this immense grocery store that sells almost literally anything that could possibly be eaten from anywhere in the world except for long-pig, and decided we should have a contest to see who could find the strangest thing there, which turned out to be butter made from the milk of Siberian reindeer. A contender, though, was my daughter turning up with a tub of frozen goat testicles, which made her brother turn red and walk away without a word.

24         Went to a concert to hear Alanis Morissette, my 1995 go-to for when I was feeling rebellious, play with Liz Phair, my one-time girl crush, but Liz backed out on the tour and that left us with Garbage doing the second set. Such a rip-off. To this day Miz Liz remains in the doghouse.

25      A co-worker of mine from an important, long ago time in my career died of testicular cancer. He was one of the bravest, most capable people I ever knew, and also the sort who tried to tough out everything, including apparently the presence of a lump on his body when it still could have been treated, leaving the cancer to spread and end his life far too early. For probably the last time I and the others from our old crew got together and remembered him and powerful times when we were younger. I doubt this group, D.F.W. (which doesn’t stand for Dallas Ft. Worth, by the way) will ever be in the same place at the same time again, and if our old bosses had known we were, they wouldn’t have liked it, but he was worth a final farewell. And though it’s of course none of my business, in closing I’d like to say to the men here that women are doing a much better job than your half of the world are at detecting and getting treatment with gender-specific cancers, so please choose life and go see a doctor if you ever feel anything could possibly be wrong, OK?

Now you know my entire life story. Curtsy.

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
B-Movie Kraken

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« Reply #133 on: August 31, 2022, 09:49:38 AM »

Memories of 2021, Part the Second: How Beautiful A Boring Life Can Be.

19.   I had it explained to me what a “brojob” was and was told the stigma for men who identified as straight to help one another out this way was eroding. Somehow that claim was too much, my brain leaked a little smoke and I said in effect: “Nuh-uh.” I still think it’s largely an inclusionary fantasy, since most men I know would cheerfully take a bullet before doing that to one of their buds.

Yeah, not happening ever.

But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
In the town of Valentine Bluffs, there are many ways to die. Take your pick.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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Hanniger! I'll be waiting in HELL for you!

« Reply #134 on: September 01, 2022, 01:12:59 AM »

Note: If we exhaust all the years we experienced or have memories of, we can add more entries for that same year.  It doesn't have to be 25 either.  It can just be bonus additions to that year.  Like 25 for a particular year, and then when you think of more you can add, say, maybe 7.

1. The obvious.. the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York are demolished by a terrorist attack never quite seen like this in the US, Pearl Harbor included.  Two airlines are hijacked and crashed into the Towers, one airline is flown into the Pentagon, and another airline crashes at Shanksville, PA.  In all almost 3,000 are killed.  My personal memory of this is coming home from work that morning to my friend leaving a message on my phone.  It said: "Turn on the news... it's bad."  Wow.  The next time I went to work I heard of a couple from the Middle East or thereabouts that went to buy groceries there and upon conversing about 9/11 they said we deserved it.  They were kicked out of the store.
2. Not long before (I think late July) I took a week's vacation (any time off was rare for me) to go to Slidell, LA with my mom.  We stayed at a condo and arrived super-late at night.  I had to go out and get the key from the key box with very little light.  But I could just make out enough to see.. BUGS of all different types that I'd never seen before, crawling ALL OVER IT.  It was just like a scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  So gross!  I managed to swat/brush away enough so I could get it.  But although the condo was nice enough, the electricity was TOTALLY out of code.. I nearly electrocuted myself when I plugged in out VCR to watch a rented movie-- the whole wall around the outlet went BLACK.  Holy f***!  We were otherwise happy with the trip.  Got a bayou in the back with an actual gator swimming around (we didn't go out to feed it or anything but took pics).  We went on a big ol' paddleboat down the Mississip' and visited the Battle of New Orleans site, went to New Orleans a few times and visited shops and restaurants in the French Quarter-- but pathetically we were happy enough with Popeye's!  Fun trip.
3. NBA FINALS: Shaq and Kobe and the Lakers have the most dominant playoffs run ever: they go 15-1 (!) on their way to a waxing of Allen Iverson and the 76ers in 5 games.  I watched this at home and was shocked that the 76ers won that first game in Los Angeles-- gave me hope that the Lakers might have trouble on their hands.. but no.  My team the Portland Trailblazers were the first doormat for the Lakers in the postseason.  We got a sliver of the player Shawn Kemp used to be, who was now fat and full of drugs.
4. Letters containing Anthrax are delivered from Princeton, NJ to ABC, CBS and NBC news, as well as the New York Post and National Enquirer.  22 are exposed and 5 die.
5. Western India is hit by a massive earthquake.  13,805–20,023 are killed.
6. Wikipedia and iTunes are launched.  So is the iPod.
7. An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurs in cattle across the UK.  Millions of sheep and cows are killed to curb the spread, which is successful.
8. Super Bowl XXXV: I saw this at my mom's house.  What a snoozefest: the Baltimore Ravens (who had spun off of the Cleveland Browns franchise much to the disgust of Browns fans back in 1995) win their first title with a ridiculous trouncing of the hapless New York Giants, in a 34-7 rout that really wasn't that close.  The Giants' only score was a return TD.  LB Ray Lewis wins the MVP.
9. World Series: The New York Yankees try to make it a four-peat, but the Arizona Diamondbacks have different plans and thanks to the brilliant pitching of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (co-MVPs) they win their first (and to date only) title in 7 games.
10. UGH.. my New Jersey Devils were so close to repeating as Stanley Cup champs, but blew a 3-2 lead and lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
11. The President of the Congo Laurent-Desire Kabila is shot and dies 2 days later.
12. Former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic is arrested and charged for war crimes.
13. The first space tourist, Dennis Tito, travels aboard the Soyuz TM-32.  Switching to the TM-31 at the International Space Station he returns 8 days later safely.
14. The Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal kills his father (the King), his mother (the Queen) and other members of the Royal Family with an assault rifle before killing himself.
15. The US Government takes Microsoft to court over monopoly charges.
16. The US invades Afghanistan to crush the Taliban in response to the 9/11 attacks.
17. The American company Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Towards the end of the year an accounting fraud scandal within the company is uncovered.
18. SHOE BOMBER!  British-Islamic terrorist Richard Reid has explosives hidden in his shoes and attempts to blow up American Airlines Flight 63; he fails.
19. The X-Box is released.
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20. Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS film saga begins with FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.
More to come later..

"O the legend they say, on a Valentine's Day, is a curse that'll live on and on.."
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