Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oooh, Look!

A new music player on my blog. I had to widen my columns a bit, so if you are visiting with 800x600 screen resolution, you are SOL, but there it is. Enjoy the playlist!

I Have Already Changed My Mind

Dogs by Pink Floyd is my new favorite, for a whole lot of different reasons. Who knows what it might be tomorrow.

My Favorite Song

One of these days, I'll add a player to this site, before it becomes illegal anyway. For now, I just want to tell you about my favorite song. It's nothing very inspirational or anything. For now, it is Voices Inside My Head by the Police.

Do you know vhy? Do you know vhy? I'll tell you vhy..... tell you vhy.

I love songs that are endlessly repetitive. That song goes on for three minutes with the same beat and bass line. But it also has a bit of crescendo: although the beat is steady, the percussion builds from beginning to end, and there are some surprises from the bass. Still, it's basically the same for four minutes. I wish it went on for forty.

My favorite song changes every few days, but this one always comes back to the top of the list.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Forest

We've been in a fog for the last several days. A forest of grief, friendship, faith, and hope. I spent a good bit of time today listening to The Cure. Not that the lyrics are particularly poignant, but the mood seems right. I listened to the Seventeen Seconds album, and the song A Forest over and over. This was almost a way to force myself into the darkness, because there was nothing dark about Granddaddy.

Granddaddy was put to rest in fine style and we had the appropriate celebration yesterday. It reminded us of his annual birthday party except that he wasn't there to thank everyone in that sincerely grateful way that cannot be faked. You can't be too sad after a life well led, but we are going to miss him forever.

Can you imagine? Living almost ninety-seven years, happy, healthy, and feisty, and then finding out only a few days before the end that you have cancer? I'm sure he decided, gracefully, to forgo the fight. That is not a bad coda.

We have some exceptional friends who have helped us through this. We love them all, and also those who have just met us by visiting the blog. Granddaddy never would have understood what a blog is all about, but had he been of this time, he would have been on everyone's blogroll.

To all my visitors, I thank you for your thoughts and support. Now we move on.

If we could all live our lives like G'diddy: Whoa! Wow! We could solve most of the problems we have in our lives, our city, and our world. Unfortunately, he was a rare breed: involved, positive, and tolerant. If only we could all be like that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This picture was taken only a few months ago.

Today, he is not G'diddy. He is Daddy to my wife and me. He is Granddaddy to my son, and to all of my son's friends.

He came to the world in 1910 in Richmond, VA. He lived every moment with a smile, a laugh, and the belief in the goodness of everyone. He would call you out, but in a way that made you know he was not sitting in judgment. He was just trying to keep the party rolling. He let you know what he believed, but made you feel welcome, whatever you may believe.

He was a man of simple needs. He loved the Atlanta Braves, but it didn't really matter what game was on. Any game is worth watching. He was frugal. He was generous. He was a friend to all ages. As a widower, he was chased by the ladies, but faithful to the end to his beloved wife, who left us ten years ago. He was a clown with the little ones, a companion to my generation, and an inspiration to his peers.

He had one daughter when he was 49, and one grandson when he was 90. There was so much before that, and so much else; but they were everything to him, and he wanted everyone in every room to meet them.

He would push the limits, but never break them. We would go to the grocery store together. More than once, he cornered an employee who was stocking shelves or loading the frozen food cases to ask, "Hey, how can I get a nice high paying job like yours?" He always got a laugh. I was always waiting for someone to take a swing at him.

There are so many stories. A week ago, before we knew all the facts, his nurse asked him the standard questions: his name, our names, day of the week, etc. She asked, do you know where you are? He replied, "Yes, I'm in the Roanoke Hospital for the Incurable!"

We all laughed, wanted to cry a little, and the nurse said, "Yeah, that's OK, I'll take that."

In the end, he was right. He left us about 22 hours ago. Things won't ever be the same here on Jefferson Street.

We love you Granddaddy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Never Thought I Would Be A Yankee Fan

A tee ball Yankee fan, that is. As much as I hoped the boy's team would be the Mets, I'm still proud of this little guy. Except for school, he has worn his uniform ever since the coach handed them out. First game Saturday. Go Yankees!

Thank goodness they weren't the Braves. Then we would have problems.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Next?

It turns out most of G'diddy's problems of late, the weakness in his legs, his stomach being "balled up", anemia, can be traced to a fairly advanced case of lymphoma, revealed on a CT yesterday. There are a number of affected nodes in his abdomen and it's also in his neck. The oncologist, who can probably tell the prognosis just by looking at someone, said a biopsy would narrow down the type and stage of the cancer. He said it is not slow growing. G'diddy is going to have the biopsy, but at his age, it's unlikely he could tolerate chemotherapy. We are probably looking at hospice options.

What a week it's been.

I'll tell you all about G'diddy one day. He's a fascinating guy. For now, I have to try to put on a happy face and go to tee ball practice. Things continue.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm Not Even Sure What To Say

This seems so unreal. But it's not. It hits close to home. LBB graduated from Virginia Tech, one of our good friends is an English professor there, and probably three quarters of the people in Roanoke either went there or have a family member who did. I think now about all the good high-school kids in our neighborhood who have babysat for us. Will this make them think twice about going to college?

Then the media descends, there are press conferences, and we all try to figure out the ultimate unanswerable question: why? I'm sure the clues will be put together and a picture of the shooter will emerge, but in the end, after all the analysis of this tragedy, Columbine, and all the others like it, we will never be fully able to predict or prevent it from happening again.

There's really no way to know what's going on in someone's head.

I was impressed by the composure of the students interviewed (over and over and over again) by the media last night. I'm sure they were all in shock to some degree, but to the last, they all said they feel safe at Virginia Tech. As safe as we can feel anywhere, it seems.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

All But the Alluring Part . . .

Your Personality Is Like Cocaine

You're dynamic, brilliant, and alluring to those who don't know you.
Hyper and full of energy, you're usually the last one to leave a party.
Sometimes your sharp mind gets the better of you... you're a bit paranoid!

Making the Best of a Rainy Day

LBB announced a few days ago that Sunday would be cleaning day. That might sound like she put the screws to me to pick up a mop, but the truth is, it just meant she wanted us out of the house for a few hours.

No problem.

Their beach trip was obviously wiped out because of G'diddy's hospital stay (which will soon evolve to a skilled nursing facility stay - he's getting better, but still not ready to go back to his apartment). There were kids in the house almost every day last week. Spring break became Honeytree on Jefferson, so the house needed some attention. I think my wife's spring break begins when TB goes back to school tomorrow.

When LBB was still working full time, we used to clean together on Thursday evenings so it would be looking good for the weekend. Then about three years ago, the stars lined up nicely and we were able for her to quit her job. She took over the cleaning then, and even though she's now working part time, it's still her thing. I'll vacuum or mop from time to time, but usually she's done it while I'm at work. And even though I like to cook, I'm not allowed to on cleaning day, because I supposedly make a mess.

So the boy and I headed for the hills. Actually, had it been a nice warm day, we may have literally headed for the hills for a hike. Instead, since it's cold, rainy, and dreary this weekend, we went out to lunch.

I had a few things to get at Target, so we went out that way. Had lunch at Red Robin. TB went to town on his fries, but he didn't seem to care much for his chicken fingers. I had a bacon cheeseburger, which was good, but at $7.99, I could have done just as well at Hardee's and saved about $5. Red Robin seems to be exceptionally proud of their fries. Not sure why. They are thick cut steak fries, but there's nothing special about them. Ore-Ida.

Then we made the Target run. Primarily, we were looking for the game Sorry. TB played with some friends last night and seemed to love it, and I remember playing as a kid, so I thought it would be a fun family thing. LBB wanted a long handled scrub brush for the baseboards around the house (yes, she is a clean machine). I almost bought a crock pot. We never had one, and I'm always teasing my wife, asking what she has in the crock pot for supper. They had a nice little red one for $20. I only got as far as picking up the box, but it never made it to the cart. As an impulse, I did buy an American flag. Oddly, we never had one, and every time we go to Lowe's, TB asks me to buy one. I'm pleased that he wants to fly the flag. Also, once I put up the flag pole holder, I can torture my wife by flying a Mets flag from time to time.

After Target, it was up to the hospital to visit G'diddy for awhile. We can't linger long, because the boy gets bored and starts grabbing at IV poles, and reaching for the Code Blue button and such. After about 30 minutes there we headed home. LBB went up later for a longer visit.

We played Sorry three times and I got slaughtered every time. I piddled around reading blogs, and listened to some music (Moby, Built to Spill, Neil Young, America, and Shadowfax - I'm in a rainy day way, today).

Then we had some spaghetti carbonara for dinner, and it's time to wind up another weekend. Overall, except for G'diddy being in the hospital, it was a pretty good rainy day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Best Summer Ever

Oh my, I've just gone back to 1979, the best summer ever. The Smashing Pumpkins even wrote a song about it.

I was twelve. In the fall would be "junior high", but then they changed it to "middle school". My parents let me stay out way after dark, we would play flashlight tag all around the neighborhood, and I had a little girlfriend that liked to hide with me.

I remember being terrified almost every moment of every day.

Know what took me back there? Cheap Trick. I was flipping around on Rhapsody and came up with the In Color album. This preceded the big hit Budokon record, but had most of the songs, and, WOW, the original versions are not very good at all. Clearly they were much better live at that point in their career.

I remember I thought Rick Nielsen was a genius, and since I'm still thinking about Cheap Trick 28 years later, I'm pretty sure he was.

Oooh, I Did It!

I got my three columns. Now I'm not really sure I like it. I'm going to ponder on it for a few days. I don't know how I screwed up last night, but today it was quite easy.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I want a three column blog, so I did a search and found some code that was supposed to work. I thought I did it right, and it looked like it would work after I loaded it, but then, I lost all my colors and everything else I had already customized on my simple little Blogger template. I'm sure I f'd up somehow. I'll try again in the light of day.

This may be a good project for the weekend, because it's going to rain for two days.

In the meantime, I'm listening to old Rush albums. Yeah, I know, I'm a nerd, but I went to college in Rochester, NY. There are no bigger Rush fans than Rochester fans. And I really like The Camera Eye.

"I feel the sense of possibilities
I feel the wrench of hard realities
The focus is sharp in the city"

Five Things

Went out again for a random prompt and it asked: If you could only keep five things, what would they be?

I guess they mean five physical objects, not people or ideas, so let's see . . .

A spoon: if I didn't have a knife or a fork, I could get by with a spoon.

A ball: because I love sports. Generally, you need a ball.

A box of books: I have enough good ones that I could read over and over again for years. (Stretching my five here, I know.)

A CD player/radio with one CD of my favorite songs, and a few good radio stations in range.

A picture: Of my wife and my son.

How Would You Answer?

Yesterday evening, my boy and I were outside in the driveway shooting baskets. Out of nowhere, he said, "My drink is better than yours."

Excuse me? He was drinking water, I had a Killian's.

So I asked him, "What do you mean, did you taste it?"

"No, Daddy, my drink is better for me than yours."

"Right, son, it is."



"Is beer good for you?"

"Uhh, no, not really. Beer isn't very good for you."

"So, Daddy, why do you drink so much of it?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

G'diddy Update

G'diddy just didn't feel like coming out on Easter Sunday, which isn't like him at all, so LBB dragged him to the doctor Monday. He was more concerned about getting a haircut.

As it turns out, the scrape on his elbow was infected, and he was a bit anemic and dehydrated, so he's back in the hospital again. Saline and vancomycin drips going. Orthopaedic consult today revealed no bones broken, but at his age a little infection can spread quickly. He's going to have an endoscopy tomorrow to see what might be killing his appetite, and he's going to have physical therapy to help regain some strength.

One doctor suggested he consider assisted living. He said, "No ma'am, once you get in one of those places, you never get out!" I think he'll be back on his feet, but it will probably be a week or so.

In the meantime, both my wife and I got some crazy nausea bug. She started it. I woke up at 3:00 today with a raging headache and a major queaze. In the morning, it was all I could do to drag myself to the kitchen, pull out my laptop and log in to the office. Once I got rolling, I did get a lot done.

Then this evening, LBB went back to the hospital. The boy was super grumpy. He always wants to move on to the next exciting thing. He spent the whole day at a friend's house, wasn't in the door two minutes before he wanted to invite a friend over. He's just like his G'diddy and his Momma. But Daddy is virulent today, so no visitors, please.

I turned on Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. That calmed him down for an hour or so. I cranked out the Circle column I was planning to do last weekend. So, all in all, I had a busy day for a sick pup. But now I'm done. I have Bleak House on my nightstand now, so that should put me out in about fifteen minutes.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Awww, Crap . . .

G'diddy took another tumble today. LBB called him about 5:00 and asked what he was doing. He said he was on the floor. I rushed down to his apartment and found him on his back on the bathroom floor. I hoisted him up, and he's OK, but he badly scraped up his elbow. He swears he didn't black out, and his blood pressure was OK. After a half hour or so, he was able to get dressed and get to the kitchen for something to eat.

Ever since his fall a couple months ago, he's just not come back to his old self. When you are nearly 97 years old, any little thing can be a big thing.

This is the first time since I've known him that G'diddy has been laid low for such a long time. We're getting worried.

Friday, April 6, 2007

It's Too Early to Gloat

I'm going to anyway . . . . take a look at the National League standings. Find a site that shows you run totals. Mets 31 - Opponents 3. In four games. Whoa! Wow! Nothing wrong with that pitching staff, now, is there?

I'm going to pay for this later with long, painful losing streaks, I'm sure. But for now this feels amazing.

Checking In

I just realized what a light posting week it's been here on Jefferson Street. Thinking back, I'm not really sure why. Let's review: Monday evening tee ball practice. Tuesday. What the heck happened Tuesday? Oh yeah, took advantage of the warm weather to work in the yard and eat dinner on the deck, and then try to eradicate the little black ants. Wednesday and Thursday, well, I just don't know what happened there. I watched the Mets annihilate the Cardinals Wednesday night. (3-0 to start the season. Ya' gotta believe, baby!)

Last night, I found myself absorbed by something on the Weather channel about crossing the Bering Strait in some ice crawler machine. Then I got into that Smarter Than a 5th Grader show. I had not seen it before. I love a game show, and this one was definitely entertaining, but where do they get these contestants? Not a one did any good last night. I think one guy won $10,000 by cheating off the kids (which is a fair part of the game), but I'm not sure he got anything right on his own. Ah, well, it's all in fun.

This weekend I need to crank out another Circle column. It's only once a month, but it's amazing how quickly that deadline comes around. I would love to ease into semi-retirement with a couple regular columns (for fun and profit). I really take my hat off to writers who live constantly on deadline. Give James Lileks a read from time to time. He somehow turns over, seems like, a dozen columns a week, they are always entertaining, and he still maintains his website.

Next week I promise more because I'll have more time. For spring break TB and LBB are joining some friends for four or five days at the beach. Lonely ole' JSR has to work, no road trip for me, so I'll be a blogging machine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ya' Gotta Believe

Attention Mets fans! I added a couple new links in my sidebar: Amazin' Avenue and Mets Blog. There is some in depth, game by game analysis on these sites. We are kicking major Cardinal can this week. Sweet revenge!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Little Black Ants

They are back. This is the first warm weather season for JSR online, and let me tell you that I have an ongoing hatred for little black f****** ants. They are inside my pantry, underneath my detached garage, crawling up my foundation, and, figuratively, right up inside my pants.

I vow to eradicate these things. If you do the research online, it looks like the professionals have little else to offer but baits and sprays near where they get in the house. Easier said than done on a house nearly 80 years old.

Last year, after spraying to no avail, we finally tried "Grant's Kills Ants" baits. They worked, but it was August by that time. I'm going to give them another try, inside and out. We now have baits all around the foundation and the garage, inside near the kitchen and the pantry, and in other random places. I sprayed the foundation, set off a bomb in the sub-earth below the garage; and, tomorrow when the TB isn't around, I'm going to bomb the myriad crawl spaces we have under this infested hovel.

This is another reason, besides politics, for me to blitch about the south. Bugs were never a problem up in New York.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Circle

Hey everyone. The April issue of the South Roanoke Circle is out. This month, I railed against kid birthday party goodie bags. Give it a read here. We are up to twenty pages a month, now!