Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

Goin’ down

December 31, 2020

In the loo and adieu for you.

Hoo-boy. Pee-yew. That’n looks like a double-flusher to me. Might have to break out the plunger. Or a stick of DuPont Extra.

But it’s gotta go, come hell or high water, and I won’t miss it once it’s gone.

Twenty-fuckin’-20.

We put an old woman in a home. My foot in a splint. My cat in an urn. And our lives on hold.

We’re alive to bitch about it, which has to count for something. [Insert thunderous sound of knocking on wood here.] Plenty of other people aren’t.

Also, I finally made it to Social Security, so, yay for me. Plus Herself remains on the clock in a real big way, so, bonus. We want for nothing. Call it a lamp so that we need not curse the darkness from beneath our designer masks.

It feels greedy of me to miss my cat. Running. Road trips. Hot springs. Random acts of shopping. Long bicycle rides. Stand-up comedy. My favorite non-alcoholic beer. Bookstores. Mexican restaurants. Living in a country that helped defeat fascism, not resurrect it.

You know. The little things.

Still, I miss them. I do. And I don’t expect to get a lot of them back just like that, with a simple change of calendars, or administrations.

Especially my cat. Not unless Stephen King gets involved, and that’s a bridge too far for me. Turkish v1.0 could be scary enough.

We already have plenty to be scared of, thanks all the same.

Nevertheless, here we are, on the threshold of a new year. That I am not optimistic is not helpful. Time to show the affirming flame. We must love one another or die.

R.I.P., Chuck Yeager

December 8, 2020

Chuck Yeager and Arthur Murray with the Bell X-1A.

Chuck Yeager has finally flown west. He was 97.

An airplane mechanic from West VirginIa who went on to become a fighter ace in World War II and retired as a brigadier general after 127 missions in Vietnam, he flew almost anything with wings, including the Bell X-1 that broke the speed of sound on Oct. 14, 1947.

Dad, whose Air Force nickname was O’Toole, was something of an autograph hound, and this was his biggest score. It reads: “To ‘Hank’ O’Grady (O’Toole). Best Regards and Good Luck, ‘Chuck’ Yeager.”

You may know him from “The Right Stuff,” first a book by Tom Wolfe and then a movie directed by Philip Kaufman.

We first heard about him from Dad, who likewise was a pilot at Muroc Army Air Base, later renamed Edwards AFB.

The family legend was that Dad was invited to join that famous test-pilots program at the Air Force Flight Test Center but that Mom forbade it, telling him something on the order of, “You can be a test pilot or you can marry me, but you can’t do both.”

The old man thought the world of Yeager, and we have a few pix of him, two of which you can see here. They’re both undated, but depict Yeager with the X-1A, the plane he flew to more than double the speed of sound in December 1953, just a few months before Harold Joseph O’Grady and his wife, Mary Jane, were to have a son name of Patrick Declan on the other side of the country.

Godspeed, General.

Birthday card from a Mad Dog in Albuquerque*

December 7, 2020

The last leaf on the tree. Well, not really;
we had to make life imitate art a little bit here.

A happy 71st birthday to Tom Waits. This particular autumn is taking a whole lot of leaves; I hope it won’t take him.

* For anyone who isn’t a Tom Waits fan — could such a person exist? — the headline riffs on the title to his song “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis,” from the album “Blue Valentine.”

From The Failing New York Times

November 7, 2020

ByeDon wins. Time for a Cold 45!

Meanwhile, at a golf course somewhere in Virginia, a 3-iron spirals into a water hazard.

• Extra-Credit Bonus Snark: Most Jersey reporter ever tells Trump supporter to “Fuck off.”

Dog duty

March 27, 2020

Of course, every minute felt like an hour, so I’m saying I did 66 hours on the sonofabitch.

Made it. Sixty-six minutes and change on the Cateye CS-1000. Winning!

So. Much. Winning.

The playlist included selections from “Powerglide” (New Riders of the Purple Sage”) and “Waiting for Columbus” (Little Feat).

No one who hangs around here should be surprised that the set included “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and “Old Folks’ Boogie.”

And thanks once again to everyone who lit a candle on my virtual cake.

66(6)

March 27, 2020

“Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am,
I’m only sleeping. Asshole.”

I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by Miss Mia Sopaipilla singing me “Happy Birthday.”

At least, I think it was “Happy Birthday.” It sounded a lot like “Mrow yowr rowr myowww erroww mrow yowr rowr meeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwww.” But I’m not much of a crooner myself and so who am I to be critical of another amateur’s warbling?

It goes without saying that when I woke her up a couple hours later, I was the bad guy.

Meanwhile, someone has promised me birthday pancakes. But she’s in her office yelling at NPR so I’m not holding my breath.

Still, I am on top of the earth and I don’t work for the government, as Thomas McGuane has said. So, later, the 66-minute birthday ride. Right after those hotcakes.

STFH

March 23, 2020

The Last Tango in Albuquerque. For now, anyway.

Well, kids, there you have it: Stay the (You Know What) Home.

 

Happy birthday to Herself

March 12, 2020

Herself gets a happy-birthday snuggle from Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who borrows a lock of her hair as a fright wig for her famous Agent Orange impression.

Herself just swung through the start-finish for another lap around the sun.

We’re celebrating by hosing each other down with bleach, hoarding canned goods, and watching our portfolio turn into more of a postcard.

Happy birthday, Tom Waits

December 7, 2019

Himself turned 70 today. Many more to him. You really gotta hold on, Thomas me lad.

R.I.P., Gahan Wilson

November 23, 2019

My lone Gahan Wilson collection.

Gahan Wilson, whose surreal cartoons regularly appeared in National Lampoon, Playboy, and other top-shelf mags, has stepped away from the drawing board.

He died Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Complications of dementia, they say. He was 89.

This guy was funny. Bleak, weird, the owner and operator of left field, he kept you off balance like some psychotic judo master. There was nobody else like him working Back in the Day®, and if he has a successor, I’ve not seen him or her yet.

One of my faves? An overstuffed chair absorbing a reader. Eyeglasses and book lie on the floor. All you can see as the reader vanishes is a pair of hands, protruding from the seat.

Another depicts a gardener who has unearthed a skeleton. His employer, a stately, dessicated husk of a woman, says, “I think you would be advised to locate the new delphinium bed elsewhere, Hobbs.”

Yet another shows a soldier covered in gore, muck and God knows what all, knife in one hand and assault rifle in the other. He stands alone in a smoking hellscape that makes the “Terminator” future look like Disneyland. His eyes pop out of the murk like cue balls. And he smiles. “I think I won!” he says.

Dracula with a vampire hand puppet. Dracula with a salt shaker. (Dude liked Dracula, what can I tell you?) A woman who has stuffed her husband into the trash can outside her apartment door (“You don’t get rid of him that easy, Mrs. Jacowsky,” says a man who may be the building superintendent). A writer for “The National Confidential Weekly” who, stuck for a lively bit of the old Fake News®, finally leaves his typewriter for a while and returns to tap out, “It isn’t easy cutting the heart out of a woman with a dull knife. And it takes time. It takes a good fifteen minutes.”

Oh, Gahan Wilson was one of the greats. I hope he and Charles Addams are hoisting a tall cold one in the Beyond.