Thursday, August 02, 2012

Remembering My Dad: William's Grandpa

A photograph of Grandpa, taken by William.
One of my dad's great joys, in the last few years of his life, was his role as William's grandpa. After he retired from 30+ years at Kerr-McGee, he agreed to pick William up from school every day and hang out with him until Jennifer or I picked him up.

This meant, during William's kindergarten year, a half-day or more of entertaining a very active child (I'm not sure he realized what he was getting into at first). But Grandpa was more than up to the task.

An early lesson in computers.
Dad would wait until after school to run certain errands, so his grandson could come along. William, I think it's safe to say, knew how to find things at Home Depot better than most adults.

Grandpa also taught William the proper way to wash a car at the car wash, how to properly vacuum the interior, and how to handle a chamois - all skills he uses today.

There were days when Jennifer would come to pick William up, only to learn that Grandpa and William weren't finished playing yet. She would have to wait.

Grandpa readies his phone for a "photo finish"
at William's first Pinewood Derby
(that's William in the orange neckerchief).
One of the last things Dad, William and I did together was the Pinewood Derby. Grandpa basically built William's first Pinewood Derby car, because I did not inherit the "tool gene." We came to Grandpa's workshop, and he helped us cut and sand the car, set the wheels, and paint it. I know for a fact that Grandpa "tweaked" it when we went back home.

It was a great car, and it earned William a Pinewood Derby trophy as a Tiger Cub. Grandpa was there to watch, and he even helped man the finish line of the wooden track.

It was also, sadly, the only car Grandpa would help us build. We tried our best, but William and I never again built a car as good as that first one.

Grandpa died in November of 2006, when William was only in second grade. One of the things Dad told me he was saddest about, when he knew the cancer would win, was that he would not live to see William become an Eagle Scout. William is on track to make Eagle - he's a Star Scout now. I am confident he will make it in a couple of years.

And Grandpa will know.


Today would have been my Dad's 70th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad. We miss you.

Here are some previous remembrances:

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Milton's Cat Poetry, Continued

As National Poetry Month continues, guest blogger Milton Doyle Gunderson III returns with more:

Milton Doyle Gunderson III:
Poet, Sock Thief

Dogs, of course, can't do poetry. They're too busy drooling on everything. Plus, they're dumb. And they smell bad.

Cats are more introspective:

What Is That Thing?

Hairy snake behind me always,
Lurking twitching taunting.
Less predictable than a shadow,
Visible not visible.
Powerful instincts urge me to action,
Kill kill kill.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

More Cat Poetry from Milton

Guest Blogger Milton Doyle Gunderson III favors us again with his verse, in honor of National Poetry Month:

Milton Doyle Gunderson III:
Poet, killer

I've had many people (OK, 2) ask me when I find time to compose poetry, and I have to say, you just have to make the time. Most cats, when you see their ears twitch - they're writing poetry in their heads. Either that, or they're getting ready to attack something.

Here's today's poem:

Backyard fraught with danger
Steve the Neighbor Cat lurks and hisses
I may be small now, but I grow with every passing day
And I will face my destiny like the panther I see in my mind
While you, my friend, jump over the fence and hide.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Guest blogger: Milton Doyle Gunderson III

In honor of National Poetry Month, I am turning over the blog to Milton Doyle Gunderson III, who will favor us with his cat poetry...

Milton Doyle Gunderson III:
Poet, bug hunter

Thank you. It's not widely known that cats are very into poetry. You may not like it, but we do. Plus, I can jump really far.

Anyway, today's selection is a haiku:

I walk on counters
But you always tell me no
I play when you’re away

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meet Milton Doyle Gunderson III

Our household is back at full strength with the addition of our new kitten: Milton Doyle Gunderson III.
This is Milton.

Milton is 9 weeks old, and his mother's name is Ralph. We don't know why.

Milton is small.

Milton plays a lot.

This is Milton's toy. His name is Danger Mouse.

Milton and Danger Mouse have many adventures.

Intrigue in the treacherous Caves of Sofa. Not pictured: Danger Mouse.

Some adventures get out of hand.

Milton administers CPR to Danger Mouse.

Most adventures are followed by a nap.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Experiments in Micro Fiction #2: Show Not Thy Face to the Crowd

A bad man lived a good life, then died.


Postscript: Generally speaking, micro fiction is considered to be stories of 100 words or less. Many narrow that down to 50 words or less. This one is 9.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Experiments in Micro Fiction #1: Star-Crossed Lovers

He did it. She knew he did it.
He left.
She wept.


Postscript: Generally speaking, micro fiction is considered to be stories of 100 words or less. Many narrow that down to 50 words or less. This one is 12.

My List of Names for a Female Cat

As our search for a new family cat continues, I have compiled a list of my favorite female cat names (although I have been known to name cats regardless of their gender).

My list of names for a female cat:

  • Lenore
  • Mary Martha Phillips
  • Weezie Jefferson
  • Jane Fonda
  • Jezebel Campbell-Smythe
  • Pussy Galore
  • Jackie C.
  • Annabelle Lee Gunderson
  • Diana Prince
  • Marvel Girl
  • She-Hulk
  • Nancy Drew
  • Eva Destruction
  • Frau Blucher 
  • Ebola Kachow Mahler

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When You’re Down, You’re Down

Ever so slowly, the air bubble lumbered upward, its journey the reverse of the wreck now resting permanently on the sandy ocean floor. The slight disturbance of the water's surface as the bubble burst signaled the end of a particularly unhappy journey.


Postscript: This was another exercise in Flash Fiction, directed, in particular, to the Three Word Wednesday blog.

My List of Names for a Male Cat

Our family is in the market for a new kitten. Having lost our long-time cat, Cecil Deuteronomy Johnson, in December, we are being very deliberate in finding just the right cat for us.

Haven't found it yet. But, I thought it was important to come up with a good name quickly, and so I present my list of favorite names for a male cat (female names will come tomorrow).

My List of Names for a Male Cat:

  • Jedediah Leviticus Smith
  • Yoda Malachi Jones
  • Frank Zappa
  • Thing 1
  • That Darn Cat
  • Milton
  • Tubal-Cain
  • Spot
  • Maxwell Dare
  • Idi Amin McGillicuddy
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox
  • LeRoy Habakkuk Nehemiah Anderson
  • Ringo Starr
  • Percy Ozmandias Wilkinson
  • Holden McGroin
  • Schuyler Colfax
  • Manu Tuiasosopo
  • Jabberwock Hughes
  • Ishmael Waldorf Simpson
  • Moby Dick Moench

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Haven’t Seen Any of the Oscar Pics, and Here’s Why

For the first time in my adult life, I have not seen any of the movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. This may say more about me than about the nominated films, but I’ll let you decide that.

In my callow youth, I remember making a pointed effort to see all five of the Best picture nominees. It wasn’t easy, but I tracked down a hole-in-the-wall theater that was still showing Atlantic City - which had been just nominated, along with Burt Lancaster for Best Actor. The movie made a great impression on me, and not only because Susan Sarandon showed her boobies.

One year I dutifully sat through Warren Beatty’s ego vehicle Reds, which I believe was three days long (with intermission).

I loved Amadeus. I hated Terms of Endearment. And on and on...

At some point, I realized that a movie could be nominated for an Oscar, and still be an unwatchable piece of crap. JFK, or the Crying Game, for example. I think the last Best Picture nominee I actually enjoyed watching was Ray in 2004. Inglourious Basterds was fun, but I still can’t believe it was nominated for anything. Little Miss Sunshine made me physically ill, and There Will Be Blood was utter nonsense.

Plus, we don’t go to that many movies in the theater anymore. I’ll wait for the DVD so I can watch it at home, where the popcorn is far less expensive and I know who sat in my seat before me. Does that makes me sound like an old fart? So be it.

Still, I was interested in the announcement of this year’s Oscars. Until I saw the list:

Hugo - This, apparently, is Martin Scorsese’s first cartoon...and it’s set in Paris. That’s all I know.

The Artist - A silent movie? Mel Brooks did this back in the 1970s. Big deal.

The Descendants - George Clooney makes this movie every year, and changes the title. Seriously.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - A 9/11 movie with Tom Hanks? No thank you. I thought this was the title of another Nicholas Cage car theft/chase movie.

The Help - I have to admit I’ve heard of this one, and it’s the only one on the list that sounds interesting enough to watch. We’ll see.

Midnight in Paris - Is this not that nasty X-rated Marlon Brando movie from the early ‘70s? Oh, a Woody Allen movie? Even worse...

Moneyball - Based on a book by baseball stat geeks? How is that any more interesting than a probing look at the life of an insurance adjuster? Hey, no offense.

The Tree of Life - I heard that this Terrence Malick film is so unwatchable that audiences at screenings were angry enough to riot. But Malick could Flip video his dog taking a dump and the Academy would nominate it for Best Picture.

War Horse - Call me cold-hearted, but I don’t care about horses. Sea Biscuit...Secretariat...Black Beauty...Mr. Ed. I just don’t get it. I have as much feeling for horses as I do for goats - and I wouldn’t watch a movie about goats either.

That’s quite a list of movies that most people have never seen, and will never see (and I include the voting members of the Academy). War Horse will win going away, because it’s Spielberg.

As for me, I think I’ll rent Captain America again.