Friday, July 17, 2009

Random Story Leads To Random Photos (With Even More Random Commentary)



I had a calendar hanging on the wall of my office. Since I work in a recording studio, there is soundproofing on the wall. I used pushpins to stick the calendar onto the soundproofing. Pushpins tend to loosen from such material, but every few days I'd make sure the pushpins were still doing their job by pushing them in tighter as needed. However, I came in one morning last week and, when I turned in my chair to look at my calendar, the calendar was nowhere to be seen.

Here's what I think happened: The calendar was positioned directly over my wastebasket. The pushpins must have come loose, the calendar must have fallen straight down into the wastebasket, and then the cleaners must have thrown it out. Live and learn, I guess. The next calendar I get will NOT go over the wastebasket, and I'll use three-penny nails instead of pushpins.

I told my co-worker, Dan, about my predicament and he installed Google Desktop on my computer. It's pretty cool. You can configure it as a sidebar and have all sorts of different gadgets, widgets, whatnots, and knick-knacks, one of which can be a calendar. So far, I have also added a local weather report and a rotating display of my personal photos.

(If you're keeping score at home, that's the end of the random story, and now come the random photos.)

I've been highly-entertained by the photos popping up in random order, and I got to thinking that some of them have never been used here before, so why not write a blog post about those orphans?

Well, how about that! Here's the post now!




This is the aluminum Christmas tree that was a fixture of my childhood holidays at my maternal grandparents. It has since gone the way of the dodo. When I first saw it - and for a couple of years afterward - I thought it was the most hideous desecration of Christmas I had ever encountered. Trees were supposed to be green, real, and smell of a lovely pine scent, not silver, phony, and smelling of nothing whatsoever. However, as the years passed, I grew to love that tree. It had more to do with the people who gathered around it than it did with the tree itself, but however it came about, I sure do miss it now.





This one is especially for my good friend, Lime. Earlier this week, the following question and answer appeared at her place:

"The TV gods have appeared before you in the form of a burning remote. They instruct you to select any canceled television show to be returned to the airwaves. You do, however, have to make your case to them. What show, what’s your argument in favor?"

"The test pattern and the playing of the national anthem before station sign-off broadcast in technicolor analog transmission on a floor model television the size of a kitchen stove which requires a half hour to warm up and someone standing on one foot wearing a tinfoil hat while holding rabbit ears trying to get good reception. The value here is self evident and needs no argument."

This is the big-ass old Admiral TV of my childhood. Alas, it does not meet the technicolor requirement, but in all other aspects it fits the bill.

It's amazing the things you carry in your head from childhood. I can still 'hear', with crystal clarity, the 'ker-chunk' sound made when changing channels on that beast. The construction project going on in front of the set consists of things called 'Bill Ding Blocks', which were wooden men about 4 inches high, sculpted in such a way as to allow them to interlock. I loved those things. There's a really good close-up (and an interesting use for them) HERE.





Me, in my First Communion suit, with My Mom. The setting is Caddy Road in Dorchester, our street. For those unfamiliar with Catholicism, First Communion is the ceremony wherein young boys and girls initially share in The Lord's Supper of bread and wine during a mass. Not much to say about the photo, other than that I was a good Catholic boy and Saint Gregory's was the church where it took place. I do wonder, though, about the suit. I don't recall ever wearing it again, and it must have been relatively expensive to buy a boy a suit that he would wear only once.





My Grandmother giving me a bath in her kitchen sink. The older I get, the more I go back to resembling myself in this picture (except I have less hair on top of my head and a bit more on my chest.) The facial expression, though, is the same one I still make whenever I disagree with an umpire's call.





Here we see my Uncle Jimmy from the mid-1940s. Unless I miss my guess, he's standing on Hyde Park Avenue in Roslindale. That was where my paternal grandparents lived when I was very young.

I love this photo. The vintage cars, the triple-decker houses in the background, the dirty street - doesn't it all look like he could be starring in an Our Gang movie with Buckwheat, Spanky and Alfalfa?




This is a view of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth as seen from Prescott Park. Portsmouth is a lovely New Hampshire seacoast town and MY WIFE and I try to get up there once or twice a year for a few days.

As you may be aware, I'm not overly fond of bridges. As a matter of fact, I try to avoid them when driving. However, this bridge is sort of a 'friend' of mine, as I've actually walked across it. MY WIFE suggested it as a way to cure me of my fears. It took some resolve on my part, believe me, as I really, really, really don't like bridges, but MY WIFE - not a big fan of heights herself - held my hand and went with me. I 'conquered' it, and now it is probably the biggest bridge around that I don't mind - too much - driving over.





I'm a hideous photographer. I take hideous photos. Everybody who knows me knows that. So, it's rare that I like a photo of mine just for the art of it. Most of those I publish have something to add to a story, but this one I like just for the tactile value. I especially like how the Shredded Wheat box has so much texture on the bit facing you, and is so reflective on the other bit. Since there would never be a story to go with it - unless you feel like making one up - I figure this is as good a place as any for it.





The above is basically this one...


... without a flash having been used. They were both shot, by MY WIFE, after my (ha-ha) final softball game ever. I have since played two more seasons and nobody will ever believe me again if I say I'm going to retire. I am the Bret Favre of modified fast-pitch softball.

Speaking of which, this weekend will decide our fate. Either we make the playoffs and I'm a happy guy, or we get eliminated and I take a toaster into the shower with me afterward. See you with the results on Monday! If you think God wouldn't mind too much, I'd appreciate your prayers (for no injuries, at least, if you'd feel uncomfortable praying for us to win.)





Finally, here is proof that I was rude and crude even as a toddler. Look at my right hand. It appears that I'm telling the photographer what a waste of time this is, by giving him the international sign for jerking off.

Come to think of it, it fits in pretty well here, too.

Soon, with more better stuff.

[Addendum: I just noticed something in the "old TV" photo. Look on top of the TV. That's my pet cat, Blackie, asleep. Cats just loved to climb on top of those old tube TVs and nap. The warmth, I guess.]


40 comments:

Margie said...

Over here from Lime. Enjoyed your pictures. Hard to tell but it appears you're making the same face in that 'After the game' shot as you were in the kitchen sink.

And you're right, it is amazing how as we age we start to look like babies again. ie.
Pushed around in stroller - Pushed around in wheelchair.
No teeth - Dentures
Drool - Drool
Diapers - Depends
It's just all so much cuter with a baby.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! That had to have come from Dorothy. :)

MVD said...

That "international sign," as displayed in the photo, implies that your equipment is no less than 15 inches long. Quite cocky, especially for your age. And speaking of length, I was bowled over by the rabbit ears on your Admiral television set. One would think that the Suldog's were attempting to reel in Mexican signals with those knitting needles.

lime said...

oh that was fantastic! funny how randomness can make for so much fun. thanks for the pics and the story. i almost did a spit take on the commentary for that last picture.

Michelle H. said...

I loved all the pictures, and the randomness of the stories. Those fake xmas trees were a sight to see. My aunt had one of the tackiest you could possible imagine.

"International sign for jerking off?" Sigh... sometimes I wonder about you... then again...

Janet said...

My kids loved the pictures of you as as a kid. I didn't explain the gesture to them. They're already rude enough.
Those aluminum Christmas trees did too have a smell - just like the inside of a clean tin can.

And today's word is

dresive

Chris Stone said...

"it appears you're making the same face in that 'After the game' shot as you were in the kitchen sink."

I agree. how funny!

Desmond Jones said...

Oh, the old TV brings back the memories. Goin' with Dad to the drug store to test all the vacuum tubes every time it fritzed. . . Good times, those. . .

And how did I miss the Bill Ding Blocks? I had darn near everything else - Erector Set (hush now), Tinker-Toys, Lincoln-Logs, etc, etc. . .

And listen, when you're ready to walk on a REAL bridge, come to Mackinaw on Labor Day. Five miles, and you never get more than 230 feet or so off the water. . . ;)

An' lissen, when I'm makin' that sign, I'm not usually smiling quite so happily. . . Just sayin'. . .

Ananda girl said...

Great post! I had forgotten about Bill Ding Blocks. They were great.
In fact this whole post triggers a host of memories that are dear to me.

Slivers of a Suldog life! Glad you shared it.

i beati said...

I love pictures of yesteryear and wow that white suit spiffy..
what did they see in those aluminum trees??I save money every year for the smell of pine- I still have a pocket calenderar with family photos - safe no wastepaper basket. I'm not that neat abientiot

Iswear to God the verification says man imp

Buck said...

Gawd... I LOVE old photos, and these are magnificent, Jim. Is that a Corvair in your First Communion pic?

I remember the clunk of old TV tuners, too. Especially since I WAS the remote back in the day... as in "Channel Nine, Bucky!" "Yes, Dad..."

Ragtop Day said...

I grew up with a B&W TV too - the clunkiness of the channel changer (plus having to GET UP to change the channels, though we didn't know any different), and having to actually "tune in" to those UHF channels - 38, 56, etc. Ah, memories!

Uncle Jim definitely looks like an "Our Gang" extra!

Love all the old photos - what a cutie in your suit! :)

Suldog said...

Yes, Buck, it probably is a Corvair! Good eye!

My Grandma and Grandpa got a new one every year or two, trading in the old one. I suspect they were there for the First Communion, so it's probably theirs.

Suldog said...

ALL - I just noticed something in the "old TV" photo. Look on top of the TV. That's my pet cat, Blackie, asleep. Cats just loved to climb on top of those old tube TVs and nap. The warmth, I guess.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Wish somebody would throw my calendar away! L O V E the First Communion photo, well, and the other one too. :)

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Thanks Suldog... that 15 inch thought reminded me of what I planned to blog about today!

http://fourpawsandwhiskers.blogspot.com/2009/07/humanslittle-known-facts.html

Karen said...

I'm remembering my First Communion dress. It was SO beautiful... I felt like a bride. I had a veil and the dress was all frilly and the skirt was all pouffed out. I had white gloves, white socks and white shoes, too.

I'm glad you didn't post any random pictures of bugs. :)

Shammickite said...

There was one of those silver trees in the basement when we moved into this house many years ago. We used it a couple of Christmases as a joke, but the joke soon wore thin, just like the tree, and it got sent to the dump.
I experienced a smilar loss at the office.... but in my case it was a calculator/metric converter that must have fallen into the garbage bin.... never to be seen again.

Gennasus said...

I love old photos. Great to see yours, the one of Uncle Jimmy in particular.

Your communion suit was whiter than white! A nightmare to keep clean, no wonder your mother didn't keep it. Maybe she passed it on. These days it would probably end up on ebay.

It's amazing how recognisable you are as a baby in the sink. If only you could go back to being as flexible as you were then. Your ball game would probably improve no end.

Brian Miller said...

nice random thoughts...having the test pattern and national anthem would signal and end to programming for the day...does it ever end anymore? i would be completely lost if i lost my calendar. nice shots.

Char said...

I loved the pictures and the post. Thanks for sharing. I feel sooo hep that I knew what the "internationsl sign" was! Bwahahaha.

Pouty Lips said...

I'm pouting because I can't tell if I'm a boy or a girl. What kind of a name is figuriney anyway?
I have patten leather shoes like a girl's but my arms are crossed stubborn, like a boy's. I can't decide if that's my hair sticking out behind my ears, or if it's just my ears. Hmph. I'm going to stand here and refuse to eat until they tell me which sex I am. And if anyone touches the Shredded Wheat behind me - they die!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Love these photos, and the comments. Never heard of Bill Ding Blocks - they are very cool!
Always a great read here.
Peace, Judi

Crazed Mom said...

What a li cutie you were! I adore the white suit. I had a white lace pantsuit that could be worn w/o pants as a dress. Funny, I do not remember ever wearing that again either.

Hugs for the big lug. ;)

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

My grandmother was also a proponent of the "silver Christmas tree" school of thought. Always seemed weird to me, but since Grandma was a saint, I never said anything.

Good luck on Sunday. Here's a hunch I'd like you to play for me . . . Cam Zirpolo. Cleanup hitter. 'Nuff said.

Jeni said...

As I was reading through this, looking at the pics and such, I thought gee, most people start a story with baby pictures then move on up in age. You, instead, went in the reverse but then, kind of flip-flopped around, back to the present or semi-present time. But it was still a good post anyway. And since you mentioned bridges and being fearful of them, welcome to that club! When I was a child and my Mom was living in Niagara Falls with her baby sister and her husband, we had to cross the "Grand Island Bridge" to get into Niagara Falls and I was totally petrified of those bridges. (I think there were two of 'em anyway but it's been over 50 years now since the last time I was up to Niagara Falls so who knows how many bridges there were there!) Any way, I was so frightened by those bridges that when we neared them, I would drop down to the floor of the car and not sit back up on the seat until I was sure they were well behind us! You should have seen me the first time I DROVE across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge being petrified and yet, driving at the same time and trying to keep pace with the rest of the traffic with out wrecking the car and go over the bridge and in to the drink! I definitely had a severe case of "White knuckles" on that trip!
Thanks for taking me on your trip down memory lane and sending my mind off on to a memory visit of my own in the process.

Hilary said...

Aww I love these old photos... baby Suldog.. kidlets Suldog and all grown up Suldog. You sure evoked my own Admiral TV memory .. which is the sound the little hinged door (which housed the adjustments controls. Great post. :)

Hilary said...

The sound it made with is spring closure.. that is.

Chuck said...

I used to live about 10 miles north of Portsmouth, in Dover. I worked at what used to be Pease AFB but is now called Pease International Tradeport. It is a nice town.

Patty said...

They don't do the national anthem any longer, because the stations never sign off anymore, and I guess the test patterns are also a thing of the past. I think the test pattern was used to adjust the picture wasn't it? Now a days they just seem to throw away the TV if it isn't working right and buy a new one.

Have never seen the Bill Ding things before. Have seen your name at our daughters blog, but today I saw it at Pat, Remembrances of An Arkansas Stamper.

Jenn said...

I am the Bret Favre of modified fast-pitch softball ah hahahahaha!!! So help me if he comes back I might just give up the sport all together. Plus my friend and I said if he came back it should be to the Lions, not the Vikings. Talk about a traitor. He's my favorite, I don't want to have to hate him. You are allowed to come back as often as you like because you don't go and join up with the opposing team.

I used to have a bad fear of bridges over water too. Not as bad anymore but I always felt it was just unnatural, there is water there, cars should not be allowed. Summers in Maine were the worst (now that is a tall and rusty bridge). Glad to hear you looked your fear in the face and laughed at it. Even if just for a brief moment!

Funny Girl said...

Thanks for sharing these great photos. I love old family photos.

Theresa said...

Those pictures were fun. I love looking at old photos. I especially love the picture and your caption for the one where your grandmother is giving you a bath. Classic.

Oh yeah, and what a pimp you were in your white suit. Booyah!

Pouty Lips said...

Oops! I did it again. I have an award for you on my PBN blog.

http://poutybabysnonsense.blogspot.com/2009/07/snacks-with-no-nutritional-value-for.html

Willow said...

And now cats just love to climb on top of our computers and laptops and nap. Those sources of warmth.

I'm quite enamored of the photo of your uncle. I think it's the car in the background.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Jim,
Just off to work but had to make a provisional comment. Loved the one of you in the sink - I visualize you slagging someone off because they had given you an award of a plastic yellow duck.
Will write again when I have read the post properly. Have a good day, mate ~ Sir Eddie

Rhea said...

First Communion was awfully cute.

Thumbelina said...

That is a wonderful peep into your world. Love the tv and Blackie almost hidden. Love the one of you in the sink. it is entirely like you today isn't it? Remarkable. :)

I hear the ker-chunk of the old tvs too. Our kids nod and smile at eachother but we know. We know. :)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Loved your random photos!

For heaven's sake, Jim! If worse comes to worse: don't get the toast wet! Soggy toast is not a good thing!

Mariana Soffer said...

Lovely old pictures and lovely old stories and thoughts from the past