Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Love Card Day

One of my readers e-mailed me recently, to ask a question concerning my availability on September 30th. I replied, "Are you insane? That's Love Card Day! Of course I'm not available, you dope!"

Heck of a way to talk to one's mother (especially since she reads this stuff and still actually admits to folks that I'm her son) but I don't plan anything for Love Card Day. Well, except for the obligatory exchange of love cards, of course.

[blank stare]

Why are you looking at me like that? You don't mean to tell me you've never heard of Love Card Day! What planet are you from? Earth? Where's that? And, while we're at it, who stole my underwear?

[even blanker stare, if that were possible]

OK, enough "funny" introductory material. Here's the scoop on Love Card Day.

MY WIFE and I met, had a couple of dates, fell in love, and decided to get married.

(That's the abridged version. More details are available here.)

Anyway, as we progressed through the courtship stage (as it's known to ornitholigists) we found out an interesting fact concerning our fathers. Her father and my father were both born on the same day, in the same year.

Her father, Bill

My father, Tom

I don't know what the odds are against that happening - two people meeting and finding out their fathers were born on the exact same day - but I suspect it's rather high. Higher still if you limit it to people who end up marrying each other. On top of that, our fathers were both raised in the same Boston neighborhood, Forest Hills, just a few blocks from each other. Anyway, they were both born on September 30th, 1931.

(As MY WIFE and I got to know each other better, we found out that our paths had crossed many times before we met. It was spooky finding out how many times we might have gotten to know each other before we actually did. However, we both feel that we didn't actually meet at those times because we wouldn't have liked each other then. We both grew to be people we could stand and then we met. For instance, I used to do lots and lots of drugs, while MY WIFE has never done an illegal drug in her life. I was a long-haired metal-playing freak, while she was a strait-laced church-going choir member. When we met, I was balding and sober. MY WIFE was... well, pretty much as she had been. OK, I had become someone MY WIFE could stand. However, I digress.)

So, the thing is, we celebrated both of our fathers' birthdays on the same day, which was September 30th.

I'll cut to the chase. In 1994, my father died. In 1995, MY WIFE's father died. This made September 30th a somewhat sad day on the calendar. However, instead of dwelling on the deaths, MY WIFE had the idea that it would be nice to turn it into a day of celebration. I agreed. In honor of our fathers, we remade their shared birthday into Love Card Day.

Now, none of the stuff we do on Love Card Day sounds like a great way of memorializing someone. However, if you knew our fathers, you'd know that they both liked a good joke and they both really liked to eat. Those were probably their most outstanding traits. So, here's what we do, in honor of our fathers, on Love Card Day.

First, we each buy a greeting card for the other person. This is the "Love Card". We both shop for the card independent of the other person. The only qualifier is that it must be a "Love" card - one that expresses that sentiment. It doesn't have to be humorous, but usually will end up being so.

(On the first Love Card Day, when we exchanged cards, we found that we had both bought the same card. We had shopped at different times, in different stores, but out of the couple hundred or so choices available, we got the same card for each other. We have failed to replicate this extraordinary coincidence since then, but we took it as a sign that we were on the right track when it happened.)

Next, since our fathers both loved to eat, we have dinner.

That's it.

(This year, in addition to dinner and the exchange of cards, we're attending a lecture on life in London during the time of Dickens. I know, it's a bit much. However, this is the twentieth anniversary of Love Card Day, so I think we're entitled to be wild and crazy!)

It may not sound like anything earth-shattering, but it turns what could be a very melancholy day into a day that we, instead, look forward to sharing with each other. Nothing wrong with that. It's our own personal holiday.

So, make a note: I am never available on September 30th. It's Love Card Day, you dope!

Soon, with more better stuff.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Unrelated Photos & Utterly Inane Commentary

You will never read a more truthful headline.

The following pictures were all taken by me. It takes a very brave and stupid man to admit that. I am one of the world's crappiest photographers and these photos are, for the most part, not good. However, just as a mother loves her hideously dirty, ill-behaved, moronic children, and is unwilling to dump the brats in the river and cut her losses, I am unable to delete these photos without using them in some way. So, you get to see them. Lucky you.

This is me in my former studio at my former place of work. Exciting, eh?

Here we see an exciting mixing board, which I often used during my exciting days as a voice-over announcer and producer of exciting phone-related advertisements and recordings.

This was my production department partner, Dan. He was (probably still is) one of the funniest men on the face of the planet. Not in this picture, though. Sorry!

And here is a flag sticking out of some soundproofing. God Bless America!

Some of you may remember this shot. It was taken immediately following my (yeah, right) final softball game of all time in 2007. It gives a good representation of what I look like following a game on a hot summer's night. Good shot, actually. That's because MY WIFE took it. She's much better with a camera than I am. But not always!

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Catcher do!

Here is MY WIFE. She is standing in front of a teeny little house. I know it's somewhere in New Hampshire, but I have no idea why we took the picture. Perhaps it was to show people what sort of house we could afford to buy if we liquidated all of our assets and sold our bodies to science.

I was trying to take a photograph of something just outside of this screen. Can you make out what it was? It was a deer who had come to eat apples from our yard during a New Hampshire vacation. If you look carefully, you can see the deer laughing heartily at me and my ineptitude with a camera.

Here is our friend, Valerie, amusingly murdering her husband, Jack (who seems rather non-plussed by the whole thing.) Lucky for Jack, Valerie missed him completely because he was so out-of-focus.

Later on, however, Valerie was successful in knocking Jack off. Here we see his ghost coming back into the kitchen looking for revenge (or a bottle of wine; I'm not sure which.)

And finally, here is our refrigerator. You can try to click onto it for more detail, but don't get your hopes up. Yes, the owl cookie jar in the background is wearing a scally cap. Doesn't yours?

And with that, I leave you no richer than you were when you showed up on my blog's doorstep. Next time you'll know better. I have no idea what that means, but then neither do you, so don't get all high-and-mighty.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Continuing Saga Of Me

What a title for a post! As if every post I've written for this space in recent times wasn't about me.


Anyway, I've got a couple of published pieces for you to check out, if you so desire (and why in hell wouldn't you desire? After all, they were written by ME!)

I'm continuing to get work from the Gatehouse Media family of newspapers and websites. This piece was written for Wicked Local Rochester (the website) and it is about girl's high school volleyball.

Now, I very much enjoy getting the opportunity to do some sportswriting, but maybe that's not your thing. If you prefer politics (or gambling; that's a subtle hint as to the content!) then I offer you my opinion piece in today's Boston Herald.

If you don't like sports OR politics OR gambling, then I hope you got some enjoyment out of reading this page since that's all I've got for you today (but I certainly do thank you for stopping by!)

Soon, with more better stuff (obviously.)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Don't Have A Title For This

OK, raise your hand if you watched the latest Republican debate on CNN.

Sorry. I can't see your hands, so you may as well put it down if you raised it. If you did watch it, however, bravo (or brava, depending on your sex.) You are one of the informed. You took the time to educate yourself about some of the choices available to you in upcoming elections. Even though you can't see my hands, I'm applauding you.

If you didn't watch it, you might have a very good reason. All sorts of things could have been going on in your life that were more important, such as something to do with your family or, perhaps, odd working hours. If, however, you didn't watch it because you've already made up your mind at this very early stage of things, then you might be one of the people I somewhat take to task in my latest Boston Herald column.

In said column - which you can find by clicking onto this easily indentifiable differently colored text - I give some opinions. It is, after all, a column on the op-ed pages. I would like to point out, though, that I only give my opinion two or three times. The rest of it is opinions of others. I tell you this because you may get additional entertainment from any comments taking me to task for some of the opinions expressed by others. I expect there could be a reader or two doing that.

Speaking of comments, I hope you'll make one there (or, bless your beautiful soul, via an actual letter to the editor, in which case you will have a solid invite to the party wherein I celebrate my Pulitzer - perhaps some time in 2034 - and where there will be free corn dogs, so you can obviously see how much I value your words on my behalf!)

Be that as it may - and I've found it usually is - I thank you for coming here, I thank you for reading, and if I end up offending you via my column somehow, I apologize (but insincerely.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Greet The Children, Boston

Every so often, I'll write something that I think is good, that I think will sell easily, but it doesn't sell and I still need to say it publicly. This is such a piece. I was unable to sell it, to either the Boston Herald or the Boston Globe, although it came somewhat close with the Herald. They told me it was a good idea for a story, but they wanted it executed a bit differently. By the time I got the word on that - they asked for a quick re-write - it was too late. I had been out doing other things and did not get the message until after the op-ed page had been set. Oh, well. It was nice to know they basically were ready to wait on a re-write, but...

Anyway, here it is. I hope you find it interesting.

On Tuesday, the first day back to school for many kids in Boston, there were black men lined up outside of some schools to welcome them back. They were there to give the children applause as they entered.

This demonstration of support for students came about as the result of an initiative by former State Representative Carlos Henriquez. He had read about it being done in other cities, thought it was a fine idea, and he asked men of color – via Facebook, e-mail and other ways – to take part.

I found out about this from the on-line news aggregator, Universal Hub. When that site carried the story, I was amazed to see comments denigrating the effort. Someone wondered whether men of other races were invited to take part. Another person damned with faint praise by pointing out some less-than-stellar things about Henriquez’s past.

I'm often first in line to complain about ANYTHING based on race, color, gender or other qualifiers that exclude. But this effort was just fine by me. As a matter of fact, I think it was wonderful. A repeat of it, at some other back-to-school time, would be welcomed.

A common conception of black families has become one of Mom or the grandparents raising children when a young black man has fathered a child and then abandoned what should be hia family responsibilities. Whether true or not for any specific family unit, this showed the kids - and society in general - that there are lots of black men who do the right thing, work hard, and who want to be there for their children. People doing the right thing always deserve appreciation, not scorn. Anything that strengthens family is swell. Isn’t that what so many complain about, a lack of such values? Beyond that, how could kids not like being applauded? And to receive that applause for going to school? This was great stuff, not some reason to complain.

We have, in so many discouraging ways, become a society that separates rather than brings together. We are generally asked by government to think of ourselves as hyphenated Americans, not partner citizens questing for true equality. And the more some of us – and, by that, I mean white people, like me - become discouraged by such, we sometimes lash back instinctively when, on the surface, it appears another separation has occurred. So, I can see where some might look at an event such as this and see a similar division being encouraged. The difference – and I think it’s an extremely important one – is that these men gave of their time freely. They were not compelled to make this effort via some edict handed down from on high. They volunteered to make children feel loved, welcomed and encouraged. Some showed, by this sterling example, that they are fathers who care, who will be there, and who want nothing but the best for their kids. For all, it was a chance to publicly show love to young children.

If there’s something wrong about that, I sure can’t see it.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wicked Local

Here I am again, touting my work.

My latest publication credit is with Wicked Local, a family of newspapers and on-line sites. The "Wicked" does not equate to "evil". It is a regional linguistic intensifier; basically "very" in New England-ese.

(I have learned something, by the way, and perhaps you would like to become my intellectual equal? The use of the word dates to... Oh, hell, I'll send you to the same place from which I learned the information and you can have the same thrill of discovery I did - "Wicked" Slang Origins.)

I have digressed. The reason I came here was to make myself appear much more important than I actually am. To that end, let me direct you to my very first published piece in Wicked Local. Why, here it is now!

Tony Dias Summer League, in Wicked Local, Wareham

And there you go (I hope.)

Soon, with more better stuff.