Father’s Day: The Most Important Holiday of the Year


No breakfast in bed, no sleeping in. I had to work on Father’s Day.

father's day

Before you start knitting your brow with sympathy, you should know that I teach sailing. It’s not like I sit in a cubicle, wondering why the hell I’m sitting in a cubicle on a beautiful day in June. I’m out on the water, loving life and trying to teach adults upwind from downwind (which can be astoundingly difficult for some).

My son was working from 3-8. He doesn’t drive, and I was going to be out on the water. I had to ask the former wife to drive him to work. She said that would be OK, but I had to leave him at her house overnight, because it’s too much trouble to drive to my house, all of less than 2 miles from her house. My daughter was already staying at her house that night. She doesn’t always tolerate the level of disorganization that I can, and that’s OK (and another subject).

I ignored the request and had my son sleep at my house anyway. I can’t count the number of trips I make every week over to the other residence, to pick them up, to retrieve a needed piece of homework, to get shoes for my 13 year-old daughter, who inexplicably arrived at my house without suitable–or sometimes any–footwear.  But the disparity in number of trips made is another raspberry seed in a stuck in a molar. Forget about it, it falls out eventually.

I knew I’d be out of the house hours before my dormouse of a teen-aged son even cracked his eyelids a wee bit open.  That didn’t matter. I don’t really need much for Father’s Day. In fact, I only need one thing: a single wish that I have a happy Father’s Day from both of my children.

That’s what I needed. I wanted a little bit more. I wanted to wake up with at least one of my children in the house, whether or not we’d be able to exchange good mornings. I can’t explain, but it meant a lot to me. I live far from my family, in a part of the country where I don’t have deep roots. Waking up  alone in a house on Father’s Day? I didn’t want to give myself a chance to brood about that idea. I’m very good at brooding.

Before I left for work, I wrote a note to my son: don’t forget to call my dad, my step-dad (if he hadn’t been seeing his mom later, I would have reminded him to call the former wife’s dad, as I have always done in the past), and to walk Genius Mutt.

This simple act made me feel contented as I left the house. It was the cherry on top of waking up as father, a child of mine asleep in his room. But it got even better: when I picked up Sam after his work, I learned that he had actually done all three things. Off to Smashburger and Ben & Jerry’s.

When I got home, my daughter was waiting for me. She was concerned that she hadn’t seen me yet, in order that she might wish me a happy day. She also wrote a letter to me–unintentionally sounding like it was torn from a page of Ulysses–enumerating the reasons why I was the best dad in the world.

collage-fathers-day-mcgregor

Sessions makes it through 2.5 hours of testimony with no bathroom breaks. He even drank a little water.


Other than that, it was a pretty unremarkable event. Sessions pouted, refused to answer questions, revealed that he doesn’t take notes, and has a really, really bad memory.

Following his testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee today, many reporters were astounded at how well dressed and groomed the Attorney General was. “Sitting as I was, in front of Mr. Sessions’s table, I was quite impressed. In spite of clear damage to his memory functions, he was able to find not only all of the required items of clothing, but he even had matching socks.”

It is well known, of course, that he has people to drive him around, remind him of appointments, and put large-print prepared remarks in front of him, but his impersonation of a functioning elderly person was universally acknowledged as nothing short of brilliant. “It makes you think he could still find his car in a parking lot,” oozed Senator Risch of Idaho, not a man to give praise lightly.

Granny-Sessions
“No one ever put one over on Granny, and they’re not going to do it to me.”  

This is why I’m not a writer


I just haven’t felt like writing. The noise of life is too deafening.  The readers, few that they are, have demonstrated more interest in my co-parenting and other personal topics than in politics, which is loud, everywhere, and  therefore unavoidable. And I feel I should write about theses things,  rather than my own solipsistic mewling.

Things are crazy now. An isolated, paranoid, and vindictive child holds the keys to what he wants to make his kingdom. We watch astounded. Everyone accuses everyone else of lying, and thinks that that makes things equal. I begin to wonder if the US is a failed experiment:  If the Constitution can allow this, how can we ever make it right? Anyway, I could go on, but, as I said, you can find worry like this anywhere, and probably better written (The New Yorker has been great).

The sun is actually out, and we haven’t seen it in a while, so I think that I’ll take some sunshine over fretting.

portnoy

Another problem I’ve been having: I  have to decide who I want my audience to be? I guess the big question for every writer who has children is,  what will they think when they come across my writing one day, and am I okay with that? I’m in awe of some writers’ abilities to be brave and bold. I’m am neither. I could don’t think that I would have ever–as a child of living parents and children–had the guts to write Philip Roth’s line from Portnoy’s Complaint:

“I fucked my own family’s dinner.”

Good golly, and what great book.

 

Remember Yevgeniy Nikulin, the Russian hacker involved in a tug-of-war between the Washington and Moscow?


prague_heroThis is reposted. Nikulin is supposed to be in court in Prague on Tuesday. Will this hit the American Press?

We wrote about him last February, and wondered why the only articles we could find were in La Reppublica (Italy) and The Guardian (UK). He finally made it to the mainstream media in the US this week.  That link is to Newsweek, and it’s also on the websites of Reuters and the Daily Mail. It’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but it’s a start.

His trial was supposed to take place this week in Prague, where the Czechs are trying to decide which country to extradite him to: the one where he allegedly stole a few thousand dollars online (Russia) or the one where he is accused of the massive hacks of LinkedIn and Dropbox. Nikulin is claiming that the FBI was willing to let him off the hook if he confessed to hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton. While I maintain a healthy skepticism of government, this seems pretty unlikely. It also seems a little strange that Russia is going to the mat over a mere petty criminal. Deals do get made, criminals are let off the hook, but what upside is there for the FBI in giving this guy immunity after Twittler had already won the election? My mind can run rampant with all sorts of theories, but I’m wondering how it would sit with LinkedIn and Dropbox if Nikulin got off scot-free, in addition to being set up with life in the US. And that doesn’t even touch how angry half of us would be if he turned out to be one of the DNC hackers and was then rewarded for it, especially by a president who would not want this information public (and nothing stays secret for long in the White Sieve House).

Little Things


My son had baseball practice yesterday. Tuesdays are days when he’s scheduled to be at his mom’s, so I don’t usually plan to hear from him or his sister on those days. However, late in the afternoon, I get an unexpected phone call: “Dad? Can you come pick me up from baseball practice?” I have two  choices: say no, it’s your mother’s problem, pick him up anyway and register a complaint with the former wife; or I can just say  “Of course,” which is what I did.

Since I get to be the hero of my own stories every once in while, I will add that if the shoe were on the other foot, I’d hear no end of the recriminations for having neglected my parental duties without so much as a text message. I try not to think about that,  to shove these thoughts out of my mind. The former is never going to change, and if the past 5 years are any proof (as if I needed some), the bitterness and the recriminations will not stop until the kids are out of college. Even then, I’ll probably get the occasional text starting Hey Asshole, because yes, the mother of my children has no problem addressing me like that.

But I’m not playing those games. I get the call, I go. I’m glad he’s called me. Thrilled. Another chance to see one of my children when it wasn’t expected.

He gets in the car, and I ask, What’s the best way to celebrate the return of warm weather? I know he knows the answer: ice cream, of course.

Off we go. We make our way through the horrible early evening  traffic that this suburb has.(Framingham! All the inconveniences of a city with none of the benefits!) I’m not in a hurry, though. I’m glad just to be passing the time with my son. In two years, he’ll be gone, off to college, off to wherever, and then three more years until the daughter leaves.

What then?

We go get the ice cream. I order a small, he orders a medium. We get cones, because even though it’s hot outside, we’re willing to risk the melting for the added pleasure of having the cone. They give me a safety cone, which is not what I wanted, but I don’t care. My small comes, and it looks like two scoops. Two big scoops.

I’ll eat the whole thing anyway. We sit down on the steps outside, and start talking. We’ll mostly talk about baseball, or whatever. I had pretty much given up on baseball after the strike of 1994, but having a son changed all of that. My son’s not the kind of teenager who will talk about himself. He doesn’t like reading (though when  he was little I read him chapter books, and he couldn’t wait for the next night’s story), so we can’t talk about books. He might ask for an update on the current turmoil, but that’s pretty rare. But baseball is good enough. We find things to agree and disagree on, and there are still a few–very few–things I know that he doesn’t (like what it is to have your town’s team lose for decades on end).

So here I am, enjoying an unexpected half-hour with my son, eating an unexpected ice cream cone on the first nice, summery day in what seems a long time. He’ll have to go back to his mom’s, but we’re not rushing. We eat the cones and then continue to just sit. I could be in Peru, or Italy, or who knows where else, but I’m in Framingham, and at least for the moment, it’s just fine.

Washington is Burning


and Der GropenFührer wants you to think that he built the fire for making s’mores. Get your marshmallows ready!

It’s all too much. Everything is getting crazier by the minute.

Meanwhile, in the news you may have missed:

The first US soldier killed this year in Afghanistan was buried. 

Remember Yevgeniy Nikulin, the Russian hacker involved in a tug-of-war between the Washington and Moscow?

We wrote about him last February, and wondered why the only articles we could find were in La Reppublica (Italy) and The Guardian (UK). He finally made it to the mainstream media in the US this week.  That link is to Newsweek, and it’s also on the websites of Reuters and the Daily Mail. It’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but it’s a start.

His trial was supposed to take place this week in Prague, where the Czechs are trying to decide which country to extradite him to: the one where he allegedly stole a few thousand dollars online (Russia) or the one where he is accused of the massive hacks of LinkedIn and Dropbox. Nikulin is claiming that the FBI was willing to let him off the hook if he confessed to hacking the DNC and Hillary Clinton. While I maintain a healthy skepticism of government, this seems pretty unlikely. It also seems a little strange that Russia is going to the mat over a mere petty criminal. Deals do get made, criminals are let off the hook, but what upside is there for the FBI in giving this guy immunity after Twittler had already won the election? My mind can run rampant with all sorts of theories, but I’m wondering how it would sit with LinkedIn and Dropbox if Nikulin got off scot-free, in addition to being set up with life in the US. And that doesn’t even touch how angry half of us would be if he turned out to be one of the DNC hackers and was then rewarded for it, especially by a president who would not want this information public (and nothing stays secret for long in the White Sieve House).

The Most Popular Posts of April

Defying sense, once again.

  1. Who reads this shit, anyway, another blog page where the writer muses that all these blogs of people going on about their personal lives is really of very little interest except to the writer, yet posts about it attract more readers than actual information
  2. B & W, early ’70s, a few images of colorless life around the time of junior high.

And because nobody celebrated with me on the last occasion, we’re proclaiming another National Urinate on Mitch McConnell Day! Woo hoo!

IMG_0317


About what I should be posting.

In the meantime, one cartoonist’s view of the Rapture. Hmmm, maybe I should convert.

The Great Snatch

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