Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Sunday Archive of Retort - 4/6/12

Springtime Renewal



Okay...a lot of you have read this one before... twice.

I like to dust it off around this time of year and spin it out there because I don't have too many better ways to turn this message.

So if you've read it before, I hope you enjoy it again, and for those of you who are new, I hope you enjoy it for the first time...and then again next year and the year after that...and so on and so on....


From 4/6/12:

Springtime Renewal



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Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter is Upon Us - And a Sonnet on a Bonnet?





 
 
Another Easter is upon us, so hares my sonnet on a bonnet.

Or not…..
 
 
You don’t see a lot of Easter bonnets anymore unless it’s in the Easter parade…on the avenue…Fifth Avenue.

Which is too bad because back when things where…I guess old…or new, before they became old…folks took a lot of pride in their Easter Bonnets…Fifth Avenue or not.

Especially my Uncle Tully, who actually enjoyed the tradition a little too much and took advantage of it all year long.

I’m sure there’s some sort of religious significance to the whole thing, so I won’t make fun…too much. But all I’m saying is...it was a fun tradition that’s gone the way of a lot of fun holiday traditions…like hunting for peanut butter and mint jelly sandwiches on Easter morning.

What?

That wasn’t one of your traditions?

Of course it wasn’t…that wasn’t anybody’s tradition…I don’t even know why I brought it up.

Seriously, I don’t …so let’s just drop it!

Of course, the traditional, traditional Easter traditions—at least in our house— were things like coloring Easter eggs, which I looked forward to every year—still do—because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like playing with food coloring.

You’ve never had broccoli until you’ve had purple broccoli.

Back then, my family went pretty conservative when it came to colors.  You know the basics: red, green, blue and yellow.

Sometimes, if you were feeling funky creative you would hold only half the egg in one color then dip the other half into another color to make a two color egg.

Yeah…crazy right?

But you know me, always the rebel…when I got down to my last few eggs I would often experiment with other hues and mix a bunch of colors together just to see if I could strike lighting in a bottle and discover a brand new, breathtaking, vibrant tint.

Although, unfortunately, I usually ended up with various shades of brown….

Still…one of these days….

Later, they came out with some of these decorative sticker things you could apply to your eggs, which—I don’t know—somehow always seemed like a cheat to me.

I was more of a hand drawn crayon colored bunnies and chicken guy, which I would scratch onto the side of my egg…if there is such a thing as an egg side, other than bacon.

I have to admit, though, I haven’t kept up to date with modern Easter egg decorating trends—you know, because I’ve been focused more on my pudding art—so I can’t really say if the old ways are the best ways.

But they were the best for me and I’ll leave it at that.

Besides Easter egg art is a personal choice…and that’s the way it should be.

Of course another fun Easter tradition has always been the Easter egg hunt, which can take many forms…inside…outside…up on the neighbors roof.

What…why else would those squirrels have been running around up there?  It was a legitimate assumption.

As our tradition went, after everyone was asleep, the Easter Bunny would come into our house, pop open a few Bud's, and hide all of our newly colored eggs in various places around the living room, but only the  living room.

And for some reason we just accepted that as fact and didn’t have a problem with it.

We were all strangely okay with the idea of curious characters, from the Easter Bunny to the Tooth fairy, roaming our halls at night…I mean, again, unless it was Uncle Tully parading around in one of his Bonnets, which did disturb us.

Unfortunately, as with most childhood marvels, when I grew older the idea of this over developed Easter Bunny hiding eggs around my house seemed a bit farfetched.  I mean Santa, I could buy…maybe even a Leprechaun or two…but a bunny on steroids?

I don’t think so….

Besides, I knew my mom wouldn’t stand for that, especially after she just had the carpets cleaned.

I mean have you seen what kind of trail a rabbit leaves behind?

Anyway, we continued to play along, even after we knew…one, because it was fun…and two, it was even more fun watching my dad sweat every year after we were only able to find 10 of the 12 hidden eggs.

In fact, one 4th of July we actually found one wayward egg crammed into the corner of the Barco Lounger.

“So it wasn’t Uncle Tully that smelled all this time!”

After the hunt, we would all dress up in these brand new, oddly grown up looking clothes, whereupon we were then dragged off to church to meet with the nuns and other kids, also dressed in the same sort of strange holiday regalia.

Kind of like a 1960’s convention of little Mad Men, Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons lining up in pairs, outside, on the street.

Then, after a couple of Manhattans, it was off to Grandma’s house for all kinds of food and festivities, which sometimes included hunting for more eggs, rolling eggs, tossing eggs, even juggling eggs…or just about any activity that had to do with eggs…except actually eating eggs…at least until later...once the ritualistic eating of our Chocolate Easter Bunnies was completed.

We would also join with our many cousins to put our new found Easter suits and dresses to the test, featuring various feats of strength and agility…many of which involved grass stains.

So those are just a few of the various Easter Traditions that took place in my family, when I was growing up.

I’m sure you all have your own memories and similar traditions, minus Uncle Tully.

Speaking of which...we were finally able to convince him after many years of pleading to abandon the Bonnet, which he did in favor of the full bunny outfit.

So if you’re looking out your window early Sunday morning, and you happen to see a rather large bunny, hippity, hopping all the way, don’t be alarmed…it’s probably just Uncle Tully, getting home late from his favorite hangout.

But just in case it’s not…maybe you should get to bed and pull the covers up over your head, nice and tight.

And, in the morning, check between all the little nooks and crannies of your couches, chairs, vases, plants, curtains, lampshades, shoes and any other small obscure, hiding places in your living room, where a large overgrown Lepus curpaeums might hide a small oblong shaped object, that will begin to smell like an over ripened Uncle by the 4th of July, if you don’t….

And have a great holiday while you’re at it!

 
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If you enjoy the Retort, do me a favor and click on the "Like" button, up top on the right (PC's only), or "Like" the FLR Facebook Page. Things have picked up considerably from a week ago and now with a few more "Likes" I'm hoping to cash in on the Telescope. 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Not Good




 
It’s not good when you pop a stick of butter in the microwave to soften in the morning and suddenly hear sizzling and popping….

Not good….

It’s not good when you go out to bring in your newspaper and find your annoying neighbor reading it…who asks you to come back in a half hour…and if you could put real cream in his coffee, this time….

Not good….

It’s not good when go to butter your toast and find there’s some kind of green fuzz on the top of it…and the sides…but you eat it anyway…and like it.

Not good….

It’s not good when you take a picture of the fuzzy toast and post it on Facebook…and get a hundred “Likes”…in 5 minutes…and you like the “Likes”.

It’s not good when you pass out from lack of oxygen every morning tying your shoes….

It’s not good when find out later you mistakenly put on your wife’s shoes, because you couldn’t see your feet….

It’s not good when you like your wife’s shoes better than your own and decide to wear them…again.

It’s not good when you take a picture of your wife’s shoes on your feet and post it on Facebook…and get a hundred “Likes”…in 5 minutes…and you like the “Likes”….

It’s not good when your wife kisses you goodbye and mistakenly calls you Enrique…every morning….

It’s not good when Enrique finally gives you back your newspaper, but forgets to leave the sports section…..

It’s not good when the receptionist at the office you’ve worked in, for the last 25 years, always asks if she can help you….

It’s not good when your boss asks you to show the new guy the ropes, and tells you he’s gonna need to use your desk…

It’s not good if the new guy asks you for the newspaper and if you could put real cream in his coffee….

It’s not good if you actually go and get the coffee… and make a fresh pot, as well…

It’s not good if you get a voice mail from Enrique asking if you can bring Tai food home for dinner...and requests you leave it at the front door after ringing the bell….

It’s not good if you return Enrique’s call and ask how spicy he likes it….

It’s not good if you get in your car to pick up the Tai food and the guy in the back seat asks you to take him to Hoboken…and refuse to pay the tolls.

It’s not good if you drive the guy in the back seat to Hoboken, pay the tolls yourself, and ask him if he knows of any good Tai places in the area.

It’s not good if the guy in the Tai place chuckles when he hands you your food….

It’s not good if you chuckle along with him as he hands you your food…and tip him 30%…which makes him chuckle even more.

It’s not good if you leave the food at your own front door as instructed…and find somebody left a tip…but only 5%.

It’s not good if you sit at a computer all day and write silly stuff like this, in which people tell you the only thing that makes sense is the title…to which you agree…with no tip…and you don’t even like Tai food.

Not good…not good…not good…
 
 
 

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Sunday Archive of Retort - 3/19/12

Too Many Rules



 
 
There are an awful lot of rules to follow, every day, many of which are only implied.
Like squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube. 
How many of you follow that rule, or at least try to?
Yeah…I know.
 
It's Sunday, so delve into the archive and take another look from 12/19/12:

"Too Many Rules"  

You know, because it's another one.....
 
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Forever Friends





 
 
 
The last thing I expected was to hear from Pami...after 54 years.

Especially the way things left off with us.

I mean, how was I to know those were her roller skates?

Who can tell whose roller skates are whose...especially when you're only five years old?

You’d think a person would've let it go after more than 5 decades. And now here she was, from out of the blue, contacting me on Facebook...and all I can think about is...she’s gonna bring up the roller skate thing...I know it!

Well...as long as she doesn’t mention the meat grinder incident...or the squirrels....
 
But that was more her sister Wendi’s thing…the meat grinder.
 
Don’t ask me…I haven’t a clue.  I just know I had a thing for the crazy ladies, back then…and to be honest, I don’t mind saying…I think they had a thing for me, too.  
 
It might have been the bow tie…or maybe the uniform.....
Anyway, due to the peril of Facebook, my past has been more than catching up to me these last 6 months.

I wrote about running into some of my long ago, fellow grammar school inmat—er, I mean classmates—recently, and how surprised I was to discover how much fun it was to see them.

And, believe it or not, we’re still keeping in touch…mostly so I can finish apologizing to everyone…you know, for the autograph book thing.

But hearing from Pami, like that, right out of nowhere…well, that was really a jolt back to the past…like 1959-60 past.

Think about it…Eisenhower was still president…the Beatles weren’t even named…and I had no clue how to read, let alone write….

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know…I’m still working on the second part…I get it…ha ha ha….

Anyway, we'd just moved into the neighborhood in the late summer of 59 and a group of four young ladies, aged 7-12, lived directly across the street…and one house down, if you’re going to insist on being a stickler for details.

From left to right, they were Wendi, Donni, Cheri and Pami.

You think someone had a thing for “I” names? 

Adorable, right?

 
And I suppose it was, and I suppose they were, although being all of five and adorable in my own right, it was hard to see anything beyond my own golden glow…even then.
 
Since Pami and Wendi were the closest in age to me and my older sister, they were the ones who ventured over to our newly acquired suburban lawn, where I was practicing my patented snowless snow angel performance art, and asked if I would like to come down from my cloud and come over and play.

Play…?  

Someone was asking me to come over and play?

I wasn’t used to being asked to play, by anyone, because, up to then, most kids my age tended to shy away from other kids who were fixated on angelic designs, with or without snow.

Not sure why?
 
Pami
Anyway, I did and discovered that where Pami, being the youngest—although older than me by more than two years (details)—was shy and quiet, Wendi—(older, still)—was not.
Wendi
Where Pami would indicate through hand gestures and notes, why don’t we roller skate in the driveway…Wendi would strap a pair of roller skates over my Keds and shout, “Let’s tie one leg behind our backs and see how far we can roll down the hill before we run into a car!” 
While Pami would offer up her Play-doh as a suitable rainy day activity, Wendi would place an unidentifiable purple substance in my hand and say, “Here, I made this for you…but you probably shouldn’t eat it…that is unless you really want to…”
And where Pami, taught me how to use my imagination to transform into Robin Hood, fighting off the Sheriff of Nottingham, to entertain myself while the rest of them were in school all day…Wendi would tell me to watch out for Mr. Fang, who lived up in their attic and peered out through the window all day, looking for little kids to eat.


So on it went for a fall, winter, spring and summer of leaf pile diving, snowman building, four leaf clover hunting, firefly catching, Good Humor ice cream eating and of course, the aforementioned  roller skating.
A lifetime of memories, squeezed into a single year that seemed, looking back, at least to be five.
At the end of that long ago summer, on a storm swept, windy day in early September, Pami, Wendi and the rest of their family packed up and moved north, into central Connecticut, which while less than an hour away, might just as well have been the moon, as far as a 6 year old boy was concerned. And while it would be very dramatic for me to sit here and write that as the car pulled away, we shouted to each other through the howling wind, “Forever friends”…we didn’t… but I would like to think we didn’t have to.
 
I never saw, heard or spoke to any of them again, after that. New friends replace old friends as kids let go and move on, something, I guess, that served us well, in those days. But, since my mom still lives in the same neighborhood in the same house, as we did back then, I’ve thought of them from time to time, through the years, if only in a disconnected flash of memory triggered by the sight of Mr. Fang, still lurking in the attic window...still Pami and Wendi’s attic window, somewhere in a roped off corner of my mind.

And so it was, until once quiet, shy Pami...now outgoing, funny, adventurous Pam...spied a couple of my silly stories on-line and wondered…then sent me a Facebook message.

My phone beeped as the name “Pam” scrolled across the top of the display…and somehow, I immediately knew, across five decades and a couple of generations, I knew exactly who it was.

The message began… “This wouldn’t happen to be the same Brian Moloney who lived on…”

I responded, It happens to be one and the same. Hi, Pam, I remember you…!”

And suddenly that windy September day of then, connected to the windy March day of now…and Pam and I discovered it was true…we had never stopped being friends.

The next few weeks were spent exchanging sporadic messages and e-mails, filling in the past; the happy, the sad, the good and the bad, the exciting and the dull… the details of life, unwound through the years.

Pami and Wendi along with their sis’s are all moms and grandmoms, now; although how that’s possible for people as young as we, is beyond me.

Wendi, alone, has something like a thousand kids and grandkids, and I believe they all live with her in a shoe, somewhere…meat grinders optional.

The funny thing is, despite the years, the memories are all so clear, and the connections all so solid.

Kind of hard to understand.

Yet, I think the fact that we left off so young, without witnessing each other’s evolution into adulthood, and all the ups and downs that entails, has forever frozen us in our minds as the kids we were back then, reconnecting now, still within the innocence of single digits. It was a time when all we knew was “happy” before the world turned “real” and who wouldn’t want to hold on to that for a lifetime?

Wild Heart Glass Design


Little by little, Pam and I continue to fill in the gaps and more and more just talk about “now”.  She has a small, but growing, on-line stained glass & crafts business—you know, retro Hippie stuff— called Wild Heart Glass Design” which you can check out here and “Like” her WHGD Facebook page,here. 


Wild Heart Glass Design

I haven't finagled any freebies yet...but I thought if I posted these pics she might at least go for free shipping... or she might be embarrassed, get annoyed and decide to disappear for another 50 years.

It's a toss up....

But who would have thought it…you know?

The wonders of the modern age—connecting the wonders of the golden age.

After all this time…all these years, still friends….

Forever friends…..

 
Misplaced roller skates or no....

 
 
 

 




Don't bring it up.....



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If you enjoy the Retort, do me a favor and click on the "Like" button, up top on the right (PC's only), or "Like" the FLR Facebook Page. Things have picked up considerably from a week ago and now with a few more "Likes" I'm hoping to cash in on the Telescope. 

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Or Now you can just

"Like" is much too much of a commitment—





 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 

  
 


  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Incommunicado





 
 
Z was on Jury duty, downtown, in the big bad city about a week ago
.

Again….

Z has become something of a professional juror, having been called in 3 times now, over the last 6 or so years.

She’s only served on one actual jury, though, the first time out of the box…or in the box, whatever the case may be with alternate jurors. She was summarily dismissed just as the fun “Judging of Fates” part was about to begin…which didn’t sit too well with her, especially since it was before she received her court ordered lunch.

You don’t mess with Z’s lunch, court ordered or not.

Now, most people, for the most part, don’t want anything to do with jury duty.

They’ll go to any lengths to avoid it, from getting a doctor to say they can’t sit still for more than 30 seconds at a time—What? I can’t…it’s a condition!—to literally throwing themselves on the mercy of the court, while writhing and squirming and speaking in tongues, which is frowned upon, and in retrospect, doesn’t work anyway, since it makes you the perfect juror for a tongue case, which are known to take forever because of all the translation.

You can’t make this stuff up…

Well, you can’t, cuz you’re normal…but I can because…well, you get the point.

Anyway, the point is—if you even remember the topic—Z doesn’t really mind jury duty, not since she figured out the whole train and subway thing, and doesn’t mistakenly end up in Hoboken, anymore…for the most part.

It’s actually a nice break in her day to day routine, and she figures anytime she can get paid  for passing judgment—yay or nay—on anyone, she’s on board.

And so am I—sort of—especially since it takes the onus off of me for a while.

Let some other sucker sweat it out for a week or two.

I mean it’s not like I threw away those strained beets on purpose…too much.

So off goes Z, happily into the justice system, while the rest of us write our congressmen wailing over the injustice of justice…unless it affects us personally.

Not that Z is thrilled over all aspects of the jury experience. The one bad thing, which 20 years ago wouldn’t even have been an issue…is that there are no cell phones allowed in the courthouse, regardless of whether you’re sitting in the courtroom or sitting in the cafeteria.

No mobile phones or electronic devices…at all.

Which I guess is understandable, since if you’re on trial for your life, the least you should be able to expect from your peers is that they pay attention to your alibi, rather than Judge Ito’s selfie page.

Imagine…in this day and age…incommunicado.

When’s the last time you did that?

When’s the last time you even imagined you could do that?

No safe arrival calls…no lunch up-date calls…no I better not find the bed unmade, again, when I get home calls….

Hmmmmmmm….

What was I saying, again?

Oh, right…incommunicadototally incommunicado…

Sorry…I keep losing my train of thought, for some reason.

Trains…right…Z wasn’t even able to call me the other day to tell me when she was getting back in on the train.

So, as a result, I was unable to drop everything I was doing—those jelly beans don’t organize themselves, you know—and run down to the station to pick her up so she wouldn’t have had to walk through 2 miles of wind, rain and cold.

Which I would have done, of course, with the utmost pleasure…if I wasn’t in the shower…or napping…or napping in the shower.

And in truth, Z isn’t totally incommunicado. She did manage at one point—or attempt to manage—to make a collect call from an actual pay phone.

Remember those…?

Of course, she couldn’t find a place to actually put money in the thing, so she had to go through some robotic system that called me, announced themselves, played a recording of  Z saying her name, and instructed me to place, in their words, 10 large in a brown paper bag and leave it in the second trash bin, next to the one eyed pretzel vendor, outside of Grand Central Station.

Of course, needless to say, I rejected the call.

There was no way I was going all the way down to Grand Central, plus anytime I go near a pretzel guy, I end up ruining my dinner.

Besides, I heard Z’s voice, so I knew she was safe.

And the voices in the background, with the Jersey accents, sounded nice.

So I’m sure she’ll be home soon….

I mean it’s only been a week. 

And you know what they say…the wheels of justice turn slow….

 
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