Flotsam And Jetsam
I just sat down tonight and watched the DVD that came with my copy of U2's new album 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.' I hadn't realized that it came with two videos of 'Vertigo.' One was what you've seen on MTV, but the other was just Bono on vocals and The Edge on banjo, filmed with a static head-on shot and rendered in sepia-tone. Unplugged, indeed. I actually liked it, alot. Very well done, lads.
I also spent a few minutes viewing various scenes from the Best of Johnny Carson DVD set my buddy Sola-man gave me last weekend. Migawd! It's not so much that I'd entirely forgotten how perfect Carson's timing was, but seeing some of his classic moments again, after many years of being off the air, reminded me again of how good an entertainer he was.
Housecleaning: I have spent a good deal of energy not using the real names of persons I know from real life in my blog. I'm a little strange that way, I guess, but it just seems prudent. On other hand, it can make it hard to write about them. I hereby announce that my wife shall continue to be referred to as Mrs. Muzzy, but my kids shall be granted initials: AE, for the five year-old, and LK, for the two year-old. There's a method to the madness, but it's my madness. Mostly, it'll help me keep things straight in my own skull when I write.
So, with the nomenclature settled, on with it, then.
I took AE to the zoo this past weekend on an adventure. I'd told her that I'd take her on a shopping adventure - everything is better when it's an adventure, you see - at Target or Walmart, but she wanted a zoo adventure.
Saint Paul has one of the finest small urban zoos in the country, with free admission, and open 365 days a year. It has undergone a complete renovation since when I was a kid. The old zoo had little tiny cages, not much bigger than a small shed, where pathetic and mangy big cats and bears would pace and sleep.
Today all the animals have habitats that allow them to roam. There are lions and tigers and pumas and snow leopards, brown and polar bears, seals and sea lions, giraffes and zebras and kudos and sables, various kinds of apes and macaques. The zoo is even in the process of building a large, walk-through jungle habitat, where birds will fly freely overhead. It's a nice place.
After our zoo adventure, I was still going to try to get to Target or some such place, but AE still would have nothing of it. She said she wanted to just go home, that she was tired. But on our way home we passed an Ace Hardware store, and I remembered that I needed to look for a couple of items. I told AE that there might not be anything she'd enjoy inside, but that they served free popcorn in the store; that was enough to get her bounding out of the car.
I wasn't able to find what I was looking for, so I just browsed for a couple of minutes. But when it came time to go, AE wanted to linger. She was having a grand time checking out the various links of chain, spools of rope, bins of bolts and nuts and various sundry sheathed axes, poles and rakes. Finally, as we were leaving, she turned to me and announced: "Dad, you were quite mistaken. There are many things here that a kid like me would enjoy." Never assume. Indeed.
This past Sunday night Mrs. Muzzy and I went out for dinner with one of my old college room-mates and his wife. They are moving away to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, where he is taking a new job. I've known both of them for years, and was pleased when I got married that my wife and my buddy's wife became good friends. Although they have family here, and we will see them when they come back regularly, no doubt, I am really going to miss them.
(I actually had the honor of introducing my buddy and his now-wife, many years ago. My two room-mates and I went on a triple-date - all First Dates, I might add - in the Fall of 1980, with some girls I knew. We all went to the movies as a group, really, but we quickly paired off into three couples. Two of the couples that evening ended up getting married; my date moved away - promptly - to Arizona.)
My buddy and his wife are godparents to both my daughters, and I've watched both their kids grow up, over the years. When we stopped over to their house this past weekend, I was surprised by the winsome nearly-15 year-old lass who came out to the living-room to greet us. Mon Dieu! Wasn't she was just their little girl, oh, last year, n'est ce pas?
Actually, she turned five on the day Mrs. Muzzy and I got married, nearly ten years ago. I still vividly remember handing her a little present at our reception and having the assembled throng sing Happy Birthday to her. And now she's almost nearly all grown up. Her older brother, whom I recall babysitting when he was but a toddler, will be twenty this year. They grow up so fast; it makes the head spin. I suspect others - and I - will be saying the same things about my little girls, soon enough.
I wrote in one of Hugh Hewitt's Symposia that I recommended Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire Of The Vanities," as a good work of fiction, but that I'd been as yet unable to plow through Wolfe's "A Man In Full." Well, I decided I wasn't going to outgrow my lazy streak, so I finally laid hands on a Books-On-Tape copy - abridged, of course - which I have now listened through, start to finish. The taped version is actually quite good, and I may yet try to read the printed novel. It captures the essence of the 1980's in Atlanta, much in the same way "The Right Stuff" captured the late 1950's and early 1960's. If you're looking for a good modern novel, give it a try. (And, I gotta say, it's inspired me to want to tackle "I Am Charlotte Simmons," too, despite several bad reviews I've read.)
Well, I suppose that's enough for one post.