I read the other day about how this decade never really had a name — not something that rolled quickly off the tongue like the 80s, captured the decade in a catchy phrase like the Roaring 20s, or put things into perspective, like how the 70s are best known as “the great polyester infection.” (Or at least they are in my mind.)
But this decade, monumental, historic and tragic as it was, has gone without a name, which seems like we’re short-changing it. It deserves an epithet — something that sums it up. Me? I will always refer to it as the “OH-ohs” — similar to “uh-oh,” but grunted more and forlorn. The first “OH” excited and upbeat; the second like, “oh crap!”
Think about it: This was the decade we all thought we were rich — OH! — before learning the Chinese were foreclosing upon us — oh!
This was supposed to be the decade of interstellar space travel, robots with artificial intelligence, cars that flew, and us all wearing futuristic, super-hot body suits, no matter what our body type. But those childhood dreams never quite came true — my computer can barely get the printer to work, and for most Americans, body suits should be deemed illegal.
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Well, I never thought radio commentator would be on my resume, but once a month I’m now going to be reading a piece on WJCT — the NPR station in Jacksonville, Florida. The first one — an abbreviated version of “The Tale of the Christmas Kahlua” — ran Dec. 14, 2009, and can be heard by clicking the play button below:
It’s part of their local news show, “First Coast Connect,” and here’s a link to the whole show — you’ll need to fast forward through about 3/4s of the show until you hear the nasally-sounding guy — http://www.wjct.org/mp3/weekly/fccm.mp3
WJCT is planning on airing one of my commentaries every third Thursday of the month. So tune in.
That Kahlua piece, by the way, was one of three columns that recently won a Florida Press Club award for commentary.
It began as the slightest tingling. Hardly noticeable. Nothing memorable. But it grew, and spread, from my chest down into my arms and legs. My toes trembled and tapped. My hair stood at attention and I felt hot as the blood raced quickly through my veins.
Most of all, I could feel it in my eyes. They danced and darted about like googly eyes, latching onto this or that in a wild frenzy.
I felt strange urges — primal urges — like I should hunt and gather or scream things like, “Woo-hoo! The Promised Land!”
“Damn it, man,” I told myself. “Compose yourself. You’re drooling and children are starting to stare. That woman thinks you’re rabid and is probably going to hit you with her umbrella.”
But I couldn’t help it. I JUST couldn’t help it!
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It’s officially the holidays at my house and that can mean only one thing: a super nova explosion of Christmas craft projects. Epic. Extraordinary. The paint flies in such a frenzy that it tickles the ceiling. The glue gun is begging for mercy — “No, not another piece of construction paper!”
The colored markers have run as dry as a Texas desert and the glitter is falling like snow. (Question: Why in the world would you ever give glitter to a 3-1/2-year-old who has questionable motor skills and a penchant for saying things like, “Is this candy?”)
The biggest of the projects so far was the one we did on Thanksgiving. My wife devised it in order to amuse, entertain, and mostly preoccupy the time of the grandparents and my aunt.
She was concerned that a stocked liquor cabinet and my family’s genuine love of fighting like rabid badgers could negatively affect the holiday. So in order to head off the fireworks she saw coming, she put them all to work. Why not? Big kids are like little kids: Want to keep ‘em out of trouble? Give them something to do. It was either that or resort to muzzles and shock collars.
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