Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday: Then and Now

Saturday was cold and rainy; dramatic contrast to that bright warm day 14 years ago, but perhaps more fitting to the occasion. Then, a crowd of people in their best church clothes perched liked flamingos about the lawn, heads bowed respectfully. Saturday, a soggy huddle in Saturday denims with heads craned to achieve maximum umbrella utilization. Then, a fresh gash in the earth matched the gaping wound in our hearts. Saturday, fresh spring grass glistened thick and wet underfoot. Then, toddlers and infants oblivious to the meaning of the day's event. Saturday, busy teens and adolescents with sports practice, parties and final exams. Then, an abrupt halt to life as we knew it. Saturday, a quiet resumption of the everyday.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Real Life Muppet

As Anika can attest, when you're small the people around you spend a lot of time trying to define you, categorize you, make predictions and otherwise label you. Last weekend, some of us happened to fall into a conversation about names and what they signify. Remember how much planning went into Anika's name? How will it sound with her last name? What kind of initials will she have? What will her nickname be? Sometimes our reaction to a name is shaped by others we have known with that same name. If you have an ordinary name, you worry it prevents others from seeing you for the unique and special individual you really are. If you have an exotic name, you feel pressured to live up to any expectations your name creates. Of course, Second has his own theories and complicated formulas: Katherine with a "K" is all right but Catherine with a "C" becomes an entirely different ballgame. And then there's the actual meaning of the name. There are lots of web sites where you can search baby names by popularity and web sites that have the meanings of names in different languages. While these databases seem very large, they don't contain every possible spelling or version of a name. What the world really needs is a dictionary that generates the meaning, ad hoc. Different spelling, different meaning so every person's uniqueness is recognized. And what do you know, I'm going to give you a link to just such a thing. (You need to arrow down a few clicks when you get there.) How will you be defined in the dictionary? Post it in the comments, unless you're a "lewd street performer". P.S. "Onchu" is defined as a real life muppet.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ever Since August

Nothing says springtime like a community room full of teenagers. Add five loud bands and you’ve got …. Saturday night. It’s been almost a year since the last time I heard Mark’s band play. You know what? They’ve gotten better. They describe their style as emo but I think indie rock is probably more accurate. Last year they were just a group of nervous sophomores on stage, each trying hard to remember their part. Last night, they took over the stage with confidence, making sure everyone knew they had a right to be there. I was really impressed with their tight teamwork, using their instruments to direct focus. Of course there were plenty of the requisite, well-rehearsed, choreographed moves. Mark’s parents must be glad to see all those years on a skateboard deck pay off as he leaped and twisted, his guitar just another body part. Here’s what else I noticed.

  • Five band members number 25% more than four, but their music is 50% louder.
  • Bands that don’t jump around aren’t very interesting, no matter how good their music.
  • The more energized the band, the more the audience is drawn in.
  • Being “with the band” is more about hard work than glamour.

My recommendation? If you get a chance, check them out.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Remembering Max

Max was a good dog He was handsome, he was kind He was polite He was always glad to see you He was resourceful If he couldn’t find his ball, he brought you a rock to throw Max had no bad habits He didn’t bark in the yard Or chase rabbits He never ate the Kleenex box Or the Easter ham Max accepted life just the way it was He didn’t expect anything He appreciated it if you let him out in the morning And he was glad to get his dinner But he would still wag his tail if you didn’t have any cookies Max was a good dog We will miss him