Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is South Korea INSANE?

Why haven't they capitalized on this yet? All they have to do is announce that they've demolished the imaginary wall (maybe release some pictures of something concrete being destroyed) and then sell the pieces! Imagine being able to say that you own a genuine piece of an imaginary wall! Not only is there a fortune to be made here, but wouldn't it be fun to see what North Korea would say then?

I think I've got a New Year's resolution after all

Interesting article at the New York Times today. I can especially relate to this part:

. . . when people were asked to anticipate how much extra money and time they would have in the future, they realistically assumed that money would be tight, but they expected free time to magically materialize.

Hence you’re more likely to agree to a commitment next year, like giving a speech, that you would turn down if asked to find time for it in the next month. This produces what researchers call the “Yes ... Damn!” effect: when the speech comes due next year, you bitterly discover you’re still as busy as ever.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Star Trek Redux

Having gotten the fangirl out of my system (at least for the moment), I wanted to go back and comment on the new Star Trek movie again in writer mode. Normally, when they make a movie from an old TV show, old enough that they're not using the original actors, it (to put it not too delicately) stinks up the theaters and quickly fades into the oblivion of the $5 DVD rack at Walmart. This, in my opinion, is why:

You get Hollywood making a movie about an old TV show, they tend to think it's all about the machinery or the special effects or the concept. So they go, "Oh, Dukes of Hazzard, it's all about the car!" or "Oh, Starsky and Hutch, it's all about the car AND, boy can we have fun ridiculing the clothes and hairdos!" or, "Oh, I Spy, it's all about the gadgets!" Then they cast Owen Wilson and a guy with a darker complexion (don't get me wrong, I *like* Owen Wilson), give them some wacky dialogue and big WOW special effects and go, "Voila!"

Then they wonder why the movie sucked.

What could have gone wrong? You've got the car! You've got stuff blowing up! You've got Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller! What happened?

What happened is simple. It's NOT about the car! Every story -- EVERY story! -- is about the characters. Even the most iconic *things* in television history -- The General Lee, Maxwell Smart's shoe phone, even the starship Enterprise -- are only accessories for the characters. That's why the Star Trek franchise was able to blow up the original Enterprise and go on to make eight more movies (and counting).

The reason they make classic TV shows into movies in the first place is to capitalize on all the fans who still fondly remember the original show. Then, the first thing they do, is alienate them by blowing off the most important PART of that show. It's like you've been invited home for a visit and when you get there, everything's brighter and shinier than you remember, which is probably cool, but then you realize you don't know anybody. And, seriously! If they're not going to bother with the original characters, why not just go wild and shoot an entirely *original* movie? It's really not necessary to rape a classic TV show, even on the rare occasions when the bastard version is profitable (see Mission: Impossible).

That's where the new Star Trek movie got it right. They got the CHARACTERS right. If you grew up watching these people "boldly go", you can put in this movie and you will RECOGNIZE them. That's why fans are so enthused about it, and that's why it's made something like three times its operating budget.

As a writer, I think this is a strong validation of something we've all heard time and time again. In order to hold the hearts and minds of the reader, every story --EVERY STORY -- has to be character driven. Nifty concepts and shiny exposition is never enough. It takes more than Owen Wilson, charming though he is.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Star Trek

Okay, so I finally got around to watching the new Star Trek movie and I just have one little comment to make:


I'm ready for the sequel now.

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging. /fangirl)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holy Cow?

Some people are claiming this newborn calf is a sign from God. Only, no one's sure what, exactly, it's a sign of.

Personally, I don't see a cross on it's forehead. I see a ballerina. Her hair is in a bun and she's standing on tiptoe (would that be en pointe?) on her left foot, facing the calf's right ear, with her right leg pointed back and to the right (away from the viewer). Oh, and her arms are circled around in front of her. I know there's a name for that pose, but I don't know enough about ballet to know what it is.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I have a problem

A couple of weeks ago I finally found a refrigerator small enough to fit in my little house. It's adorable, a Frigidaire that's old enough, probably, to count as an antique. I got it at a used furniture store in Warsaw and last Friday morning, before I went to work, my nephew Joe and I took his truck over and picked it up. We brought it home, wrestled it into the house (it's really heavy!) plugged it in and then I had to run to get to work on time.

Now, I have three cats, two queens and a tom. And, because I always try to be a basically kind person, I'm not going to say Blondie, the tom, is an abject coward. Let us say, instead, that he is cautious and discrete. Discrete as in, at the first sign of anyone but me on the property, he bolts for the bed, slithers under the covers, and cowers at the foot until they are gone and it's safe to come out. So, as you might expect, while Joe and I were fighting with the refrigerator, Blondie was keeping his head down.

I wasn't surprised that the move was traumatic for him, but I was dismayed to realize, when I got home, that he was still afraid of the refrigerator! (And he still is.) Every time I go anywhere near it, he panics and hides. Finally I figured out, I think, what he's thinking. I just don't know what to do about it. See, with his head under the covers, he never saw my nephew leave.

So, how do I convince him that I'm not keeping Joe in the refrigerator, waiting to get him? :-/

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Attention Detroiters and Ontarions

Ontarioites Ontarioninos people who live in Windsor, Ontario!

I bear sad news with a silver lining. Inklings Bookshop in Windsor, Ontario, very near the tunnel from Detroit, is closing. The silver lining is, the owner is having a massive book sale. A bag of books -- that's a BAG of BOOKS!!! -- is only $5! If you live in the vicinity, check it out! And if you don't, like me, and can only drool wistfully from afar, please consider passing the message on about the sale? The owner is a heck of a nice guy whose wit and wisdom you may have seen in comments on The Rejectionist's blog, where he posts as Ink. Here is the address of his shop:

Inklings Bookshop
470 Ouellette Ave.
Windsor, ON

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I Have Trouble Getting Ready For Work

So I laid out my work clothes and turned my back for a minute . . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

My beautiful, darling niece Sarah

I have been telling Ghost Folk that two of the people in the very old picture he has at the top of his blog resemble relatives of mine. I wish I had a picture of my sister Bev to put here, as the resemblance (I think) between her and the older woman in his photo is striking. I did find (on MySpace) a picture of my niece Sarah, who I think looks a bit like the girl with the guitar. I'm posting it here so he can see what he thinks.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Few Words About Christmas

Ah, Christmas. That wonderful, humanitarian holiday that arrives every year on the last day of the third week of December. 'Tis the season to be jolly. A time to eat, drink, and be merrry. As the muppets sang in "A Muppet Christmas Carol" (which I swear is one of the most faithful to the spirit of the book of all the various movie adaptations) "it is the season of the heart" and "the summer of the soul in December". Even as a not-particularly-religious individual, it is one of my favorite times of the year for its emphasis on joy, fellowship, peace of Earth, pecan pie, peanut butter fudge . . . .

Did I mention that this was on the LAST day of the THIRD week of DECEMBER? And NOT the FIRST day of the LAST week of OCTOBER? Or even the first day of the second week of November, which is today, and that therefore right now is NOT the season to be jolly? It is, in fact, the season to hunt down anyone singing, "fa-la-la-la-la" and beat them about the head with last year's fruitcake until they damn well STOP!

I swear! It's turning into a sort of zombie B horror movie: "THE HOLIDAY THAT ATE THE CALENDAR!"

When I was a kid my dad and I would go out sometime during the week before Christmas, sometimes even on Christmas Eve, and cut a Christmas tree. (My mom would always say, "well, if you have to bring a tree in the house, at least get a little one!". We'd come home with a monster that we had to cut three feet off of to get it in the living room and then tie to the wall with hay-baling twine and Dad would say, "you know, that looked a lot smaller in the field.") We'd decorate the tree and bake cookies and read "A Christmas Carol" and Mom would bake pies and relatives would start showing up so that, by bedtime, the living room would be wall-to-wall with spare mattresses and people in sleeping bags and people would be sleeping at both ends of all the beds. The next morning there'd be presents and stockings (our stockings always had apples, oranges, walnuts, candy canes and chocolate candy). Then us kids and the younger men would sit around and watch parades and football on TV while Mom and Dad and the women fixed a big dinner. By evening everyone would be gone except for maybe three or four of my oldest nieces and nephews, who were in my age range. We'd leave the tree up until New Year's Day and then the holiday season would be over for another 350-odd days.

When I got to college, there was a tradition called "Hanging of the Greens" on the first Friday of December, when we made wreaths for all the buildings on campus and hung them while caroling, before going to the dining hall for a big feast. It seemed a bit early to me, but then we weren't going to be there for the actual Christmas season, and everyone wanted a chance to celebrate the holiday with our school friends, so it was okay.

I don't know how long retailers have been doing the whole "Black Friday blitz" thing, but I became aware of it sometime after I got out of college. I thought, "good grief! It's only the day after Thanksgiving and they're already talking about Christmas! Can't they let us get done with one holiday before they start the next?" Then the sales and decorations started showing up before Thanksgiving. Slowly but relentlessly they supplanted the weaker holiday. I can't even remember the last time I saw an historically inaccurate and politically incorrect "Indians and Pilgrims" display or a crepe paper turkey!

Then last year Walmart started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. The DAY after HALLOWEEN! And now this year there was Christmas merchandise in the same aisle as the Halloween merchandise the week BEFORE Halloween.

Labor Day's next! And after that it's only a matter of time before the Fourth of July gets it. As far as I can see, it's not going to end until Christmas has worked its way clear around the calendar and devoured itself.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I've got a weird one

Last week I found a beautiful clock for only five dollars at a flea market. It was made of polished wood with a brass pendulum and glass covering the entire face and it plays the Westminster chimes and chimes the hour. I brought it home and hung it up in the cottage I'm working on, on a screw that was already in the wall.

The cottage is small, but Amish-built and set and very sturdy. The clock has a heavy metal hanging tab on the back with a keyhole-shaped hole in it, so it has to be lifted up before it can be taken off the screw.

Today I went in and the clock had fallen and the glass is broken out. It still works, though the chimes sound a bit like they're underwater now. The thing is, how/why did it fall? The hanging tab is still firmly attached to the back of the clock and the screw is still solidly in the wall. The door was locked and there's no sign of anyone messing around. There was a storm night before last (I wasn't in the cottage yesterday so I'm not sure when it fell) and there was a window open across the room, but nothing on the sill of the open window had been blown off and nothing else was disturbed.

So what happened?

And, by the way, anyone know where I can get a clock fixed cheap? :-/

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rude Awakening

Yesterday my kitten, Portia, got hold of one of those plastic rings that come off of gallon water jugs. She played with it for hours, tossing it up in the air and jumping after it, pouncing on it, throwing it across the room and chasing it, etc. It was adorable.

So this morning, when I was still barely awake, I didn't think much of it when she was playing the same way on the bed. I just figured she had that plastic ring again and was having herself a ball with it. And then her toy landed on my neck.

Yes, it was a dead mouse. :-/

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Night at the Operation

Jeffrey Cohen nearly made me embarrass myself at Mazzio's. (Which would have been really sad after I spent all day yesterday embarrassing myself at Casey's and Walmart!)

I'd been wanting to read his Double Features Mysteries for quite some time, but I hadn't seen any of them in local bookstores and I rarely buy online anymore. Well, today I was lucky enough to find a copy of his latest, A Night at the Operation, in Sedalia Books and Toys so I snatched it up and took it with me to read while I was eating. I made it to page six before one of his off-the-cuff one-liners caught me by surprise. I was just glancing away from the book for a second to look at my plate and I literally did a double-take. And I had a mouth full of salad, so it was almost a spit take!

I haven't finished the book yet. I'm at chapter nine and saving it for the laundromat tomorrow. It's a fun book, well-written and I'm enjoying the main character's sense of humor. It's also fun reading a book by an author I've seen often on the Dorothy L list and I enjoyed finding my own agent, the fabulously sharky Janet Reid, listed in the acknowledgements as a bad influence blogging buddy.

No more spit takes, but I'm warned now and enjoying this immensely. Now I'm going to have to get my hands on the rest of the series!

Unarmed and yet dangerous

I think the lesson here is: never volunteer. NEV-ER VOL-UN-TEER!

About a month ago one of the managers asked me if I could work yesterday, Sunday being my regular day off. I said sure, but then all the managers got moved around and we got a new manager from another store and in all the confusion I didn't get scheduled, so I volunteered and they scheduled me. They scheduled me, in fact, at eight o'clock in the morning, which is five hours earlier than I usually work

To console myself for having to drag my sorry self out of bed at six A.M., I stopped off at Casey's for a nice cappucino and that's where it all started. One of the clerks came up behind me quietly while I was looking in the donut case and when I turned around I elbowed her in the small of the back. Hard. She said she was okay but it had to have hurt her. It hurt me!

Embarrassed and appalled, I paid for my donut and cappucino and started to leave. As I was making my exit a nicely-dressed elderly gentleman approached, so I tried to hold the door for him. The lid came off the cappucino, it hit the ground and spattered all over the poor man's pants!

All I could do was apologize and leave before I hurt anyone else. As I backed out, the clerk I'd elbowed was helping wipe English toffee spatters from the gentleman's shoes with a napkin.

Turning into the Walmart lot, I almost dropped my donut. Twice.

I finally made it work, where everyone was gathered around the front windows watching two or three young men getting arrested and having their car searched. (Nothing like being drunk and disordely on the Walmart parking lot at 8:00 Sunday morning!) Then, let's see . . . . I almost hit Shelena with the produce cart. Then I almost hit Keith with the produce cart. I dropped about a half a dozen boxes of cookies, kept sticking sell-by labels to each other instead of to the product, and paged for a manager when, as it happened, I didn't really need one. Oh, and the vending machine ate my change but kept my corn chips.

I also discovered that we got in the first shipment of cider this season, but I didn't spill any which, under the circumstances, probably counts as a minor miracle. By the time I got off work I was almost afraid to drive home, but at least I've learned my lesson.

Never. Volunteer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Okay, be honest

DO I have a sign on my forehead that says, "crazy people come talk to me!"?? Do I? I do, don't I?

Saturday it was the Angry Onion Lady, tonight it was Crazy Laundromat Man.

I was in the laundromat waiting on my laundry. Normally I'd do that sitting in my car reading, but one of my dryers sounded like it was getting ready for lift-off and I wanted to keep an eye on it for possible trajectory in case I had to chase it down with my car and retrieve my unmentionables. So here I am, sitting quietly on a bench watching the dryer vibrate, when this large, spry old man comes up and starts talking at me.

It seems he had to get insurance to get his red truck licensed so he could carry "fast freight" because he already had his CDL and someone waved their hand in his direction so he got an American flag and put that on his truck and we'll just see how they like that because he's been serving this country his whole life ever since he was just a little boy when he was a G-man decoding secret files that somebody put in a suitcase and threw off a train and because of that 50,000 people died in one day. One day! (The suitcase/train/secret documents makes me think of something I once heard or read somewhere but I have no idea what or where.)

I smiled and nodded and very carefully avoided eye contact and the minute my dryers stopped I grabbed my slightly damp clothes and made a hasty exit.

Why me? One of the managers at Walmart says I look "sympathetic" and seem "nice" and "approachable". I have GOT to stop that!

Ziss Boom Bah!

Also POW, BAM, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Definitely Snap, Crackle, and Pop.

Yes, I finally got that pesky electricity hooked up in my new house. The smoke has cleared, there doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to the breaker box and my heart beat has returned to something approaching normal.

Next: Plumbing! :D

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Perils of Produce

Yesterday I had a run in with an Angry Onion Lady. She came up while I was scraping old PLU stickers out of a bin liner with my fingernails and announced that "we have some questions about these onions back here!"

As near as I could tell she was alone, so I must assume she was either using the royal "we" or suffering some form of multiple personality disorder. Anyway . . . .

Answering questions about all things producian being part of my job, I followed her politely in spite of her agressive manner. She stopped in front of a display of bulk yellow onions and asked what kind they were. I told her they were yellow onions and she spun around and literally snarled at me. "I can see that!"

So why did you ask . . . ?

"That's what they are," I said, trying to pacify her. "They don't have another name. They're just yellow onions."

"Are they hot?"

"No, ma'am. The yellow onions are the mildest variety."

"I hate mild onions!"

At this point, I realize in retrospect, I should have said, 'Oh, in that case, they're hot. Thanks for asking. Have a nice day.' and gone back to my PLU stickers. But no! I stick around to try to be helpful.

She goes from there to a side rack stocked with bagged yellow onions. "What are these?"

I cringe. "Yellow onions."

"Are they hot?"

Oddly enough, putting onions in mesh bags does not change the flavor. Still, I probably should have said yes.

"No, yellow onions are the mildest onion."

"I hate mild onions!" she announced, dropping the bag into her shopping cart.

So you're buying them why . . . ?

"Yellow onions are what you generally cook with," I began, trying to clear things up.

She spun towards me and howled, "NO! I cook with hot onions. They make everything else taste better too!"

"Well," I said hesitantly, "maybe you'd prefer red onions, like you put on hamburgers. They tend to have more of a bite."

Picture a mad witch queen in a fairy tale. Picture her at the point where she's just about to defeat the lovely princess, ensnare the handsome prince and enslave the kingdom. I'm not talking Disney here. I mean a real Grimm fairy tale, with blood and torture and stuff. Picture the evil witch queen leaning forward, eyes gleaming with avarice, gnarled old hands twisted into grasping claws before her face, mouth gaping in a half-grin of anticipation, strands of spittle clinging to her chin.

Can you picture her?

She looks just a little less crazy than the Angry Onion Lady did at the mention of red onions.

"Yes! You have red onions? Where are they?"

"Well, we don't have them in bags," I apologized. "Just in bulk. They're right there."

I pointed to the red onions, in the bin next to the bagged yellow onions, which were identifiable by the fact that they were, well, red.

She followed my gaze and her face fell. She glared at me in fury and disbelief. "Pah! I don't want those red onions! I tried those things. They don't have any flavor." She looked me up and down in contempt. "Those aren't red onions. They're just red onions. When I say I want red onions I don't mean I want red onions, I mean I want red onions!"

I backed away slowly, careful not to make eye contact, and returned to my empty bin. I'd left a cart full of oranges there and I figured I could hide behind it and even use them as projectiles if it became necessary to defend myself. The last I saw of the Angry Onion Lady, she was stomping off between the apples and the citrus fruit muttering to herself. "Can't get good-tasting vegetables anymore! It's all this damned organic crap!"

Nothing she'd been anywhere near was organic, but I sure as heck wasn't going to say anything.

Know what she was like? Do you remember The Waltons? Remember how Grandma Walton was always sharp-tongued and snippy? Kind of crotchety-yet-lovable? Well, this woman was sort of like that. She was kind of crotchety-yet-not-lovable. More like crotchety-yet-a-total-bitch. She was even scarier than Cranky Mr. Cauliflower or The Evil Culligan man!

But, here's the thing. Reading this now, you're probably thinking I've exaggerated. I haven't. If anything, I've played down her attitude and speech. She really was that angry. About onions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter and Verse

Mindy Tarquini keeps telling me I need to write a non-fiction book about my experiences converting an Amish-built shed into a liveable cottage (before winter!). I haven't taken too many notes, but I have started a list of chapter headings (in no particular order):

  • TRENCHES, and why you shouldn't dig them until you know for sure where they need to go.

  • Why planning is the second thing you should do.

  • TOOLS and how to lose them.

  • Why you should respect electricity and what happens when you don't.

  • The unfitness of wasps as subcontractors.

  • Why it is important to measure FIRST, cut SECOND.

  • 101 ways to hurt yourself without even trying.

  • Slip-sliding away, or What happens when you try to install a submersible pump without having a clue what you're doing. (I haven't actually gotten to that part yet, so consider this a prophecy.)

  • How many times do I have to give up before I can actually stop trying?

  • Why it is better to have a first-aid kit in advance, than wish you'd had one in retrospect.

  • The importance of clear-cut guidelines and why I wish I'd used some.

  • The folly of shopping for electrical supplies without knowing exactly what you need.

  • How to pretend it's someone else's fault when you're exchanging electrical supplies. ("I told the dog I thought I'd need a 100 amp breaker box, but he was just sure . . . .")

  • What to say when your friends laugh at you.

  • What to say when your cats laugh at you.
  • (Image from here.)

  • 1001 excuses you can use for still not having the electricity hooked up.
  • Power tools and how not to use them.

  • And, finally, a handy glossary of swear words.

So, how's the project going? Uh, kind of like the search for Bin Laden. Nothing yet, but I keep hoping. :-/

Monday, June 22, 2009

Random Weirdness

I need to write Miss Manners and ask her how you can ask someone if they're an idiot without being rude. Walking down the Walmart lot to go to work last week I passed a truck with a logo which read "Signs Excetera". Seriously. Excetera. So, how far does one trust a sign company that can't spell its own name? But it occurred to me, wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt, that maybe in some way that I can't figure, it's not a misspelling but rather a clever play on words. Maybe the owner's name is Excet? Or something. I'd ask, but I just don't know how to phrase the question.

In a book of ghost stories I came across a description of Block Island (extra points if you know what famous ghost story is connected with Block Island!) as looking like "an inverted pork chop". There's a right way up and a wrong way up for a pork chop?

I'm still working on getting my little cabin ready to move into. My various nephews' promised assistance has not materialized and I'm pretty much doing it all by myself. I am slowly accumulating things I need, though (got a good, slightly-used submersible pump last week!) and I figure every little bit of progress counts. I'm almost ready to finally look up the electricity. Little worried, though. My friend Chris explained exactly what I need to do and it sounds easy enough. But then he immediately launched into a story about how he almost electrocuted himself with a welder and a brush hog. :-[

This is the same guy who impaled himself on a tractor, took out the inseam of his jeans with a chainsaw, ran over his car with a skid loader and sank his truck. I swear I could write a book about the guys I work with! I'd call it, Fools Rush In With Power Tools Where Angels Fear To Tread.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Sometime about 1959 or '60 my mother was living in Eugene, Oregon with her older half-brother. After twenty years of marriage, she'd finally left her abusive prick of a husband down in the Deep South, taken their eight children and moved away. Two decades of physical and emotional abuse had left her disillusioned with marriage and with men in general and she had determined that she was finished with the whole mess.

My uncle (whom I never met) was working as a mechanic at a shop that serviced the big logging trucks and one day he told her, "that logger I told you about, the one with the great big hands, lost his wife and now he's raising all those kids alone." Mom didn't remember him ever mentioning a logger with big hands, but she recalled this conversation later.

Some time after that (I'm not too clear on the timeline) Mom had moved into a house of her own. A couple named Harold and Margie lived up the street from her. Harold's sister had died of cancer and they kept her kids a lot while their father was working. Margie constantly sang the praises of her widowered brother-in-law, but Mom wasn't buying. Still, after a while she got curious enough to want to meet him. One day when she saw his car parked in front of their house she took a cup of sugar she'd never borrowed over to "return it" to Margie. That was the day my parents met.

Daddy was a big man, in every way: Physically big, big-hearted, great of spirit. Standing six foot two, he had to turn his shoulders to go through an ordinary doorway. You could drop a quarter through his wedding ring. And he was the kindest person I've ever met.

Children and animals adored him. Most of the pictures we have of him show him with a baby in his arms, a child on his lap, a cat on his shoulders and/or a dog at his feet. At one point we acquired a Shetland mare who'd come to us from an abusive home and had lost one eye. Dad was the only person who was ever able to approach her.

Though he'd never gone beyond the eighth grade, he was an intelligent person with a quick wit and an unexpectedly sharp sense of humor. (My mother told him once she was going to town to get bread. He replied, "okay, but don't hang my name on it.") He loved Louis L'Amour books and John Wayne movies (people have told me John Wayne reminds them of Dad), and hated cruelty, bigotry and injustice. He appreciated good comedy and was sucker for a happy ending, where the good guy gets the girl and the bad guy gets what's coming to him. I can still see him in his late seventies, when he was in the thrall of his last illness, sitting in his old recliner, bright eyes faded to a watery China blue, chuckling his deep, gentle chuckle at the end of some movie and surreptitiously wiping away tears.

If it sounds like I'm describing a saint, that's because in my mind, I am. I know he had flaws; that he wasn't perfect. He was human and never claimed to be anything else. But, whatever there was to detract from his sterling character, I cannot call it to mind, nor do I want to. In my memories he was all the best that a person can be: Kind, gentle, warm, wise, strong, safe, funny. Good. He died in April, 1991, after a lingering illness, at the age of 78.

I miss him still.