Sunday, June 28, 2009

So Long, It's Been Good To Know You

My darling actually retired a few weeks ago, but she has gone in a few times to help with the transition. On Friday the company had drinks to celebrate her career and that of our good friend Cheryl who is also retiring after more than 20 years of service. Davy gave a really nice speech, and knowing she wouldn't be able to retaliate too much, even made a few jokes at LK's expense.

They gave her a barnyard of animals as a farewell gift. Well, the critters are going to some people who need them in Africa, and that's what Linda had wanted. Her reasoning is the best thing you can give to someone who has everything they want is to give it to someone who doesn't have anything they need. But they also couldn't resist a personal gift, and I must say Georg Jensen makes some lovely stuff.

The nicest gift, though, was the farewell card the people signed. I have written before about how proud I am of her accomplishments - dozens of awards, editor of the year from several different groups, and all the time building a successful business from the ground up.

But after Friday, I think I am proudest of the things that don't always win you the awards. I will close this with some of the comments in the farewell card. To paraphrase Brooks & Dunn, they're gonna miss her when she's gone.


Thank you for the many wonderful years we have worked together, for all your help and support. It’s been incredible working with you. To say you will be missed is an understatement.

This really is the end of an era. I’ve appreciated all your support, feedback and most of all your sense of humor over the last ten years.

You have been absolutely amazing to work with over the last ten years. Your catchphrase “I have an idea” will be sorely missed in a world where innovation is styled by the 140 characters of a tweet. Thank you so much for your direction and support over the years. I would not be where I am without you.

You have taught me so much and have been a great steering force behind a lot of my ideas. You have helped me so much and I will never forget that.

I know you know how much I love having you in my personal and professional life. You really are the best and I miss you enormously.

Whiz Kids

Last night was the traditional family banquet held as part of the Twelve Days of Lily, followed by the traditional ceremony The Cutting of the Cake.

Jason, Laura, Matt and Rachael were there, but surprisingly every picture I took seems to have Lily in it.

I won't make you sit through a litany of how wonderful Lily is (but if you would like one, just e-mail me and I will happily respond). But I would like to tell you about her grasp of modern technology.

I am already used to the fact that since the age of 4 she has known how to run the DVD player better than I did - and I am totally serious about that. She is in total control with an iPod, absolutely knows how to do whatever is needed on mobile phones and figures out most computer programs in less time than it takes me to get out the manual.

Matt tells me this is par for the course for her friends, as well. These very young children just take technology in its stride. And they seem to intuit how to do the stuff that seems so difficult for many of us to master when new tech comes along. A remote control or a mouse seem to be natural extensions of their arms.

Lily slept over with us last night, and this morning I showed her the video "Lily and Peg" that I uploaded to YouTube where she and her great-grandmother were chatting. When it ended, she asked, "Is this on the Internet?" I told her it was, and she said she wanted to use Google.

I showed her where the search box was and she typed in "Lily and Peg and YouTube". Her typing is faster than many adults I know, and when the still from the video showed up at the top of the search page, she was excited. "I'm Number One on Google," she said.

It's all a bit offputting to think that someone who just turned 7-years-old this week is so proficient at all of this. And by the way, she's not the only one who's getting pretty good at this tech stuff.

At the other end of the age spectrum, my father, Red, discovered the riches of YouTube himself this week. For the last couple of days, he's been raving that all the old songs are there and he's having a ball watching Bing Crosby and his contemporaries crooning away. I am timing it to see how long before he figures out there's naughty bits there, too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tall Poppies

Well, I have finally figured out what part of Oz Dorothy was in when she stumbled upon the poppy field. And it becomes Reason #8 why we are keen to move to Tasmania.

There was a report in the Hobart Mercury newspaper this week and I will bet you dollars to donuts that your local newspaper will never carry a report like this about your community.

It seems that Tasmania is the world's largest legal grower of poppies for opium for the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, there has been a slightly unanticipated consequence having all these poppy fields around. But rather than paraphrase, let me quote the state Attorney General, Lara Giddings, who was speaking at a budget hearing:

"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles. Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."

I met Lara Giddings at a dinner a few years ago, and she was intelligent, down-to-earth and very interesting. So you can imagine my surprise to see that she has solved the mystery of crop circles - at least in poppy fields.

Maybe they can set the next XFiles movie in Tasmania. Of course, it might make for a fairly uneventful movie when David Duchovny learns that the crop circles are not coded messages from visitors from outer space but are in fact made by animals that are so stoned they can only walk around in circles.

I must add that I thought it odd that the state's Attorney General was getting briefed on this, but perhaps she is planning a crackdown on illegal drug use among marsupials. But then, as I said, it all gives us one more good reason to look forward to moving there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Whiter Shade of Bread

Today is Lily Day in Sydney, the first day of the Twelve Days of Lily. These end, appropriately enough, with Lily's Daddy's Day. But, of course, there are no Twelve Days of Matt.

We've postponed our dinner and cake to Saturday so I will write about the Lily birthday celebrations in a couple of days. Today, instead, I must write about a most alarming thing that has happened.

I was mixing cocktails in the kitchen this evening when I noticed something out of place. It did not take long to figure out that MY TOASTER IS GONE! That's right, the one-side-soft toaster is not in the kitchen tonight.

The cleaners were in today, and I have wondered about their honesty in the past, but frankly I cannot quite figure out why they would steal a toaster. For the same reason, I think that a burglar would have probably opted for, well, just about everything else before they were to steal a toaster.

So I am left with one suspect. And it's not Streak the cat.

Linda refuses to discuss the missing toaster. But I have read enough mysteries to know you have to look for what isn't being said, not what is. Look, if she knew nothing about the missing toaster she would be upset that it has left the building. But no, she is just clamming up. She knows what is happening.

So what's going on? Has she brought it in to have the element replaced? Do they trade in overpriced toasters like cars? Did she sell it on eBay and plan to buy a new one? Has she just chucked it in the bin because she's tired of one side of the toast staying white?

All I know is I have lost my toaster. Not a good way to start the Twelve Days of Lily.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Assault with a Deadly Walker

My parents may have been part of the Greatest Generation, but those of us born during the post-War Baby Boom are about to become the Grayest Generation. Having spoiled our kids throughout their lives, we are about to give them the greatest gift of all - us!

The US Census Bureau predicts that the world's over-65 population is going to triple during the next 40 years. In parts of Europe, three out of 10 people will be senior citizens by 2050. It will be a world full of old people. And based on how we've acted before becoming seniors, I think it's a pretty safe bet that it will be a world full of old people who are going to get whatever we want.

Of course it will put an enormous strain on the pension and health systems, but does anyone really think we will care so long as we get what we want? Society will have to make choices between education for the young and programs for the elderly. Thank God for democracy as we should be able to control enough votes to make sure things go our way.

We will still be around when our kids retire, and we will teach them every trick we have learned so they can get what they want, too. Unless, of course, they want our stuff, for most of us will exhibit the same restraint we have shown our whole life. Which is to say, there isn't likely to be a lot to fight about in the will. In fact, I know someone who is thinking about developing an online calculator so people will know how much to spend to ensure they empty their bank account just about the last time they empty their bladder.

Oh, and one other thing. Don't mess with us.

The Telegraph in London carries an interesting news report out of Germany this week. It appears some pensioners, nicknamed the Geritol Gang, took their revenge on a financial advisor who had lost lots of their money.

It all started when two of them attacked the head of the investment firm outside his home with a walker. They beat him and bound him with duct tape. He does, however, report, "It took them quite a while because they ran out of breath"

They threw him in the trunk of an Audi, drove several hundred miles where they imprisoned him in a basement where a couple of retirees joined them to physically punish him for losing their money.

In the end, he tricked them into letting him send a fax to get the money. They didn't notice he had written "Call police" on the bottom of the fax (probably wrote it very small). Eventually, the SWAT team showed up - with a slight difference. As the report tells it, the armed commandoes comprised "forty police, accompanied by a doctor in the light of the captors' infirmities."

Not that I approve of kidnapping and torture of financial advisors who lose millions of your dollars, but I am going to check if there's a martial arts program I can use with my Wii. Long live Gray Power.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fat Chance

It's been a fairly uneventful couple of days, so I thought I would write a brief post on a very interesting piece of scientific research released last week.

A 12-year study of more than 50,000 people by the Japanese government has found that overweight people live longer on average than people with a body mass index in the normal range. And both groups live longer than skinny people.

See, not only are the bodies of those of us packing on the pounds more interesting with their unexpected nooks and crannies, they are actually turning out to be efficient machines to keep us in the race longer than the rest of you. Kind of like those spare tires actually come in handy.

And those of you who can not only see your toes but actually touch them without bending your knees, don't plan on jumping on the longer life bandwagon. The lead researcher is quoted as saying people will not add years to their lives by trying to add weight. Sorry, but if you're not already a bit on the plump side there's not much you can do about it now.

This all sounds so reminiscent of that great visionary, Allen Konigsberg in his movie about the future. The writer better known as Woody Allen, had this exchange when a character from the 20th century awakens 200 years in the future in Sleeper:

Dr Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."

Dr Aragon: Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

Dr Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?

Dr Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Dr Melik: Incredible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ode to Me

I have now completed three score and one years on this planet, and it occurred to me when I awoke that for some reason being 61-years-old seems much older than 60. I told Shirl this morning that turning 60 just kind of seemed like I was ending my 50s, but turning 61 felt like I was well and truly on the road to senior citizenship.

Shirl is a year or two older than me and basically told me she had called me up in a good mood to wish me happy birthday and if I was going to talk like that I could get stuffed. I think I need to keep some things to myself.

Anyhow, straddling the International Dateline means that my birthday lasts about 40 hours and I got what I believe will be my final birthday wish this year at 5pm on the next day when Tom called from San Antonio, where he had stopped as he drove across the US to San Diego.

It was 33 hours earlier that I got my first birthday wish when the phone rang and the world's most wonderful girl sang Happy Birthday to me. I must remember to change the will and leave everything to Lily.

I then got happy wishes from my wife, my ex-wife, all four sons, my sister-in-law and her family, my concubine (that's an in-joke between Shirl, LK and me), and some other friends. Wow. I may be feeling older, but I am also feeling great.

And, oh yes, I also had good wishes from my mother - who in a totally fair world is the one who should be getting the kudos for doing all the hard work on this day in history in 1948.

But if my b'day started out great with Lily singing to me, the most fun happened when I checked my email just before I went to bed. There in my inbox was a poem from my Dad. I am going to share it with you, but I need to explain one of its references.

For you see, Red - my father - had 61 years worth of things to choose to write about, and he chose to wax lyrical about a day when I was very young and went on a ferris wheel with my Uncle Don (whom I was named after, of course). Somewhere near the top of the ferris wheel my bladder gave out, and the cascading waterfall has remained part of family lore for - well, for nearly 60 years.

And the fact that my Dad chose to write a poem about it for my birthday probably goes a long way to explaining me, too. Anyhow, here's the poem - and thanks to all of you for making this a special weekend for me.

An ode to Don

Many years have come and gone
in fact sixty one for our boy Don
This is just a little ode to a wonderful lad
who made his folks both proud and glad
When Don was at a very young age
he and uncle Don climbed into a ferris wheel cage
when they reached the top the wheel made a stop
and Don unable to control his kidneys let go with a plop
I have so many stories of this wonderful guy
Whose generosity reaches to the sky
He has never forgotten his old mom and dad
So happy 61st to a wonderful lad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A New Look

Tired of the same old blog? Me, too.

This is a new look for 4Q. And I have removed the world clock because it was just about the ugliest thing I had ever seen on the Internet.

However, if any of you were using it to figure out the time difference between Sydney and the East Coast, just use the great worldtimeserver site.

Busy day coming up. Gotta run

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Will Versus Reality

It must have been the fact that I even mentioned a ponytail, because Linda was at the hair salon Tuesday and made an appointment for me to have my hair cut. That was nice of her. I had been talking about doing it myself, so it was convenient that she did it for me.

Andrea, who usually cuts my hair, had someone else scheduled at the time, and I was shunted off to a new person whom I had never met. And let's fact it, with my semi-head of hair and the relative lack of stuff you can do to it, it's a pretty safe bet to give it to the newbies.

She was a bit of a chatterer which I am somewhat accustomed to but dare not say more. However, instincts must have kicked in because she was on to another topic when I asked her to back up and repeat what she said.

"Oh," she said, "you mean the bit about how short I can cut your hair? Well, your wife told us that you could get your hair cut short, but not too short. And she said you had been talking about a buzz cut and we had to ignore you if you asked for it."

"Oh," I said, then stopped because I couldn't think of anything else to say. And as I sat there watching in the mirror as my hair became short, but not too short, I started to remember other instances. Like whenever I would go into my favorite restaurant, Lee's Fortuna Court.

Stan would always end taking my order by saying to me and my guest, "Vegetables. Linda says you have to order vegetables." And of course I always ordered vegetables.

And today, as my haircut came to a close, I started wondering how many other people in my life have been told the limits of my free will. Were people at the company under secret instructions not to let me do this or that? Are the kids working under rules that I am only allowed to go so far before they stop me?

It all feels a little like Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner or Jim Carrey in The Truman Show. Or maybe, it's even more like Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984. Only in this particular instance, it isn't Big Brother who's watching. More like Big Sister in this case.

But wait, those are all negative stories about people in authority controlling unwilling or unwitting people. This isn't being done to control me; it's being done to prevent me from making a mistake or not taking proper care of myself.

No, I am not married to Big Sister. She's not basing herself on evil dictators or egomaniacal directors. I know exactly whom she has patterned herself after. I think you can spot it, too, if I share a little poem.

She knows if I am sleeping.
She knows if I'm awake.
She knows if I've been bad or good,
So I'd better be good for goodness sake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reality Bites

So here's this gender thing. What's a Guy Thing and what is a Not-A-Guy Thing?

I have a theory. It has become hopelessly impossible to figure out the answer since the advent of reality television.

Don't believe me? Consider these two examples. But remember they are occurring in the context of a guy who has chosen John Belushi as his historical inspiration.

Two days ago I made a chicken salad. Now twenty years ago I would have taken leftover chicken, put it on two pieces of Wonderbread, thrown mayo and salt and called it a sandwich. Now, I chop up celery, onion, cilantro, and parsley, blend them with dijon mustard and mayonnaise. Then I chop up the leftover chicken into tiny pieces and toss it in the mixture.

I have watched too many reality shows about chefs. I now think of myself as a budding cook rather than a guy who wants a sandwich. I do not want Linda to eliminate me because I haven't loved the cooked chicken enough.

Even worse. Some of you have been reading this long enough to know that I have developed a bed-making habit. But it's not that I just make the bed, I now feel it needs to be a five-star bed. It's gotten so bad that even when others make the bed, I often strip it down and make it again.

But the other night we were watching Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. The challenge was to run a luxury hotel for the night, and the standards of the hotel had to be maintained. My ears perked up when Joan Rivers' daughter said the luxury hotels required the maids to give the pillows some sort of karate chop to make them perfectly fluffy.

Saw the show on Thursday, and raised my performance the next day. Regrettably, for those five nights LK hasn't even noticed the chop mark in her pillow. But I am not about to abandon my standards. These standards, I must add,would have been thought laughable twenty years ago.

So what am I to think? Is my Guy Thing fighting with my Feminine Side? Or is reality TV just totally contorting what's going on?

Doesn't really matter. But you should know that the chicken salad was as good as anything you've ever eaten, and LK absolutely loves climbing into the perfectly made bed. And I still dress like a slob.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Mirror Crack'd

It's funny how trivial things can pop into your head from many years ago. Just the other day I had a vivid memory of a conversation I had with Lore, the wife of the man who owned the company I worked for.

We were at a dinner following a conference we were at and somehow Lore ended up talking about the soap bar in the shower. Insisting how hygiene demanded it must be thoroughly rinsed before being used, she asked, "What is the last thing you wash before you get out of the shower?" Apparently I failed the test, because I answered "My face". She looked at me incredulously and then bellowed, "No. It's your butt."

I should add that Lore was originally from Austria so it is probably not unexpected that she had a conversation about washing your butt, and really not all that surprising that she insisted she knew my private showering habits better than I did. But the reason I remember this conversation so well is because A) it was the first dinner conversation I had had about the subject and B) I did begin to wonder if I was the only person in the world who washed their face as the last step before getting out of the shower.

To me it makes sense because the next step after drying off is to shave, and the softer the stubble the smoother the shave. I began to think of this as a Guy Thing, one of the unspoken actions that divides men and women, most clearly expressed in the equation, "Woman is to Man as Ass is to Face."

And the reason this conversation popped into my head is because I had a shocking Guy Moment two days ago. Or to be exact a Retired Guy Moment. I was in an elevator with a mirror. I looked at myself and was actually quite stunned by what I saw.

My hair (obviously the bit on the back of the head) is getting long enough to have a small ponytail. I won't wear a ponytail, by the way, because LK has said that if I ever do she will remove the rubber band and apply it to another part of my body. And she is probably not joking.

I was wearing an old sweatshirt that had visual reminders of at least six or seven different meals. Even though it was pretty chilly, I was wearing my shorts, and my footwear was black slip-on sneakers that pretty much look like the shoes Mickey Mouse wears.

As we got off the elevator, I said to Linda, "I don't look much like a business executive anymore, do I?" She shook her head and quietly said No. And it occurred to me that going out in public looking like that is almost exclusively a Guy Thing. I have seen bag ladies who scrubbed up better than I did.

Overall, I am pretty comfortable with looking, well, pretty comfortable. Is it really a Guy Thing or am I just inherently a slob? And is it possible that I am the only guy who doesn't wash his butt last? Does it matter? Hmmm, let me think about it a bit. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Butt Out

Lord, I'm a fool for a cigarette.
When you've finished, choke it
Cuz I want to smoke it.
Lord, I'm a fool for a cigarette.

Ry Cooder

I thought it would be a funny post when I finally got around to describing Linda's attempts to quit smoking this month. But here we are more than two weeks down the track and she hasn't had a cigarette in all that time. And most remarkable, she hasn't been irritable or difficult to live with. In fact, there has only been one scene where she moaned "I want a cigarette soooooo bad!" (Think Holly Hunter wailing, "I love him so much!") Fortunately, that super-craving was late at night and there were none to be had.

So I am left without wisecracks about LK snarling and snapping and then going all vague. If anything, she has been a joy. She has countered the pull of nicotine in a couple of ways. For one thing, we are a much better organized house and have rid ourselves of lots of stuff that probably seemed worth saving ten years ago. And when she is not getting the house in shape, it seems she is in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I get to take a little credit for that.

Originally LK had decided to kick off her retirement with a massive program to treat her body as if she wanted it to last a few more decades. She was going to quit smoking, start exercising and go on the South Beach Diet the same day. Going on that diet means no booze, bread, sugar and fruit for the first two weeks. And it also meant that I would feel honor-bound to go on the diet with her.

Clever me, I convinced her that smoking would be tough enough to quit without the added pressure of not being able to sip a scotch when the craving for a cigarette got too strong. So we sensibly went on a modified South Beach - we kept the booze, bread and sugar but limited our intake of fruit except when it was used as a mixer with vodka.

LK had also made noises about joining me in the Wii Fit program. I am a little ambivalent about that, since I have started bonding with my trainer and am not too sure I want to share him. I guess it would be all right if she chose the female character. Also, I kind of enjoy it when I am told my posture is excellent. I just don't know how I will feel if I hear the Wii complimenting someone else the same way.

Anyhow, that's for the future. For now, it is enough to let you all know how proud I am that LK has kicked the habit with good grace and an extreme example of self-discipline.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tempus Fugitive

In the category of starting to feel waaaay too old, can someone tell me how this cute bub

in just 15 years has turned into this beautiful young woman

Jordan's prom - chalk it up as just one more sign that time is moving faster than I had thought it would. And Jordan, you really did look fantastic. Hope you had a great time.

Back from Tassie

We returned from Hobart last night after a couple of great days.

This was kind of a test run for both of us to do a reality check that we really want to retire there and also to learn more about the place. The short result - we both love it in Tasmania. Amazing land- and seascapes, great food, and a terrific balance of being big enough to have most everything we like to do without being so big that it's a pain - and expensive - to do them.

Being serious foodies, we were excited that Tasmanian scallops were in season and on just about every menu. They are smallish and very sweet and a real treat, and we both ate them for lunch every day. We had them pan fried on a Greek salad Monday, then deep-fried with chips (fries to you Americans) the next day. Yesterday we had them pan seared on a bed of cauliflower risotto. Needless to say the fried with chips were easily the best, even if the least healthy.

Because we had large lunches, we went to a deli and skipped dinner and had cheese, sausage and pate in the room. I am pretty sure I would have eaten a lot less if we had gone to a proper restaurant, but it was all good.

The weather was beautifully sunny and crisp (not all that cold), and we took a few drives. We went to Huonville one day, and the views are just spectacular. The picture at the top of this post is of Sleeping Beauty, a mountain on that route, about 20 minutes from where we will live.

We also went along the tourist drive up to Richmond and Sorrel and saw an entirely different landscape, one where inlets from the ocean have created gorgeous views of rolling farmlands reaching down to the water's edge.

This area will be fun to visit again once we move there, because it is also home to lots of wineries. Unfortunately they were closed during the weekdays in winter. But not that unfortunate since it gives us a ready-made trip when we're there.

So many of our friends have asked us if we are sure we want to move there. I think they are worried we will be in the back of beyond with nothing to do. Fact is, there is plenty to do, and driving along Kingston Beach - which is where our house is - there were so many people just having a stroll and a chat that I look forward to joining them ourselves.

And I think we can convince our friends from Sydney to make the short flight down. Even though the temperatures are starting to slide down, I strongly recommend visiting us in June, when the scallops are at their best. And we will definitely have chips with them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hail to the Queen

Today we celebrate the Queens Birthday in Australia. It’s not actually the Queen’s birthday – in fact it is a Monday holiday so it isn’t even on the same date every year. Kind of like what the Americans did with Lincoln and Washington birthdays by combining them into one day.

Today is also Linda’s birthday, and I think it is very nice of her to allow the Queen to share the same day for celebrations.

This was a weekend when we often went overseas on company business, so many of LK’s birthdays have been especially memorable.

I think the highlight was in 2000 when we were in Beijing at the company’s Asia Pacific Managers Meeting. Shirley was at that meeting, and I remember well sitting in our hotel room with her, Micaela from Hong Kong and our good friend David as we emptied, first, our minibar and then proceeded to make the others go back to their rooms and empty their minibars as well.

In fact it became such a routine practice to celebrate LK’s birthday via the minibar that when the meeting was in Sydney a few years ago, David’s birthday gift to her was a plastic bag full of the bottles from his hotel minibar.

Today we are in Hobart. When I booked the long weekend, it had seemed like a nice idea to do something for LK’s big day. But of course I forgot that Tasmania is colder than Sydney so yesterday we left gorgeous, sunny Sydney and arrived in colder Hobart. (Mind you, to the northerners reading this, “colder” meant that the temperature was in the mid-50s when we arrived. I fear I am becoming incredibly wussy about cold temperatures.)

But this is the city we are going to move within the next year or two, and we need to know all of its various aspects. So it’s a good chance to wander around and learn more of its secrets.
And, as the picture from our hotel room shows, the weather’s not really that bad. The duck’s have already been for a swim and are just sitting on the wall checking out the scenery.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Breaking News

I think of this as a sign of what retirement with Linda is going to be like. Tonight, she actually started a sentence with this: "What I was starting to say before I started talking about broken penises was ..."

If ever you need proof that there is waaaaay too much information on the Internet, you merely have to track LK's reading habits for a week. Last night she ended up reading an item listed as the most read story on News Corp's website here (they're the Fox News people). And yes, it was a story about a spate of broken penises.

According to Fox News (and isn't that how you have to start anything when you're relying on them as your source of information), doctors in Jamaica are blaming an increasing number of pelvic injuries - including "fractured penises" - on the craze for a new erotic dance called Daggering. It's almost as if Mother Nature finally figured out a just punishment for those who did Lambada, the Forbidden Dance.

Our conversation took place because I questioned how you could "fracture" a penis. Fortunately, Linda did not offer any explicit answers, but I still wonder about that because despite the nickname, I am pretty sure there aren't any bones down there and aren't bones what break in a fracture? I could check it out on the Internet, I suppose, but why do I think I would enter several non-academic sites if I tried to google fractured penises?

Anyhow, according to Fox News, daggering is "characterized by over-the-top gyrating, heavy pelvis-thrusting and daredevil leaps." Which worries me a lot because that is also how someone would describe me climbing into our very high bed.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Modern Dance

I love surprises.

I was surprised this morning when my Wii told me I lost 5 pounds since yesterday. Hmm, I thought, it must be that new diet wine I've been drinking at night. Then the Wii told me I had perfect balance, and it said my WiiFit age is 29.

What a surprise. I never expected it to malfunction so soon.

And in the spirit of surprises, I thought I would shock and awe all of you by actually doing today what I said I was going to do today. That's right, the famous Interpretive Dance from the entertainment and sporting spectacular known as Jason and Laura's Wedding is now available on YouTube. This is the link.

I had remembered the dance as being somewhat longer than it actually is. In fact, it lasts less than 30 seconds - which is good because yesterday I discovered that my wonderful Internet service can make a 4-minute film take more than 3 hours to upload to YouTube.

Anyhow, enjoy the dance. Don't forget to register your thoughts by voting in the survey in the top left of this page and a special prize to anyone who can figure out just exactly what it is they are interpreting. Just leave your answer in the comments or email me.

P.S. Mom and Dad, you can watch this one because there isn't any music or words you need to hear. (For the rest of you, my parents' PCs have gone all quiet. My mother's computer doesn't have the speakers attached, and my father's did but apparently the wire is loose. If any of you are thinking you see a family resemblance, just keep it to yourselves.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lights. Cameras. Inaction.

If you've read this blog more than a week, you have a pretty good sense that I am a procrastinator. But even if this is your first visit here, you will have a pretty good idea of my capacity for delaying after I tell about, for the first time ever, editing a movie I recorded - and what went into accomplishing that.

Yesterday I attached to the desktop PC the drive that lets you record DVDs. The receipt was in the box, so I can tell you with certainty that the drive has been sitting in the box waiting to be hooked up since November 28. (And hooking up, by the way, consisted of plugging it in.) That's only a little over six months, and I have lots of things that have been around for years and never been used, so by my standards that is only just barely procrastination. However, it is long enough that I really do not want to know what it is selling for now, rather than four weeks before Christmas.

I connected the drive to the PC so I could copy a movie I recorded onto the Macbook where I could edit it. The movie was made in late June, so now we're getting into a time range that earns me a much higher place in the Procrastinators Club. (Oh, and some of you may even recall that in September I wrote a post in which I set as a one of my goals learning how to make a DVD of movies we had taken on our video camera.)

And my place in the Procrastinators Club is definitely secure when I tell you one more thing. The movie is one I made of Lily having a conversation with her great-grandmother Peg on the first week they had met. And I had bought the DVD drive in order to edit the footage and make a Christmas present for Peg. That's Christmas as in last Christmas.

And what makes all of this even worse is that I must confess I was not motivated to finally get around to editing this movie out of guilt for not doing it for Peg. As much as I love my mother-in-law, she should know that I have trained myself not to feel guilty about not doing things promptly. If further proof is required, my mother and father can testify to this. And don't even think about bringing Linda into that conversation.

No, what got me to start in on this project yesterday was that I wanted to let everyone see Jason and Laura's interpretive dance at their wedding. And I thought it might be nice to do it before their third or fourth anniversary. Somehow it really did not seem appropriate to let that recording jump the queue ahead of the Lily and Peg movie, so anyhow that's how it happened.

And so, for your viewing pleasure you are cordially invited to visit this link at YouTube to watch Lily and Peg, the Movie. Bonus points to any Americans who understand everything Lily says.

As for the movie of Jason and Laura's interpretive dance? Well, as the old song goes, manana is good enough for me.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, Peg.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

4Q Readers

I may not have many readers, but I do hear from them. (Which may be a little like saying I may not be overdue on too many bills, but I do hear from them.)

Anyhow, this picture came from my friend Robert, whom we will be visiting in about six weeks. He wrote:

Since you are on the old retired person I have added a rest stop at the quarter mark so you can rest ( see picture) before having to go to the rest stop at the half way mark. For your readers if you use this in your blog, the whole trip means walking around the pool in the back yard.
Thanks for the use full information on how you are getting along in retirement. I'm sure LK will have no problem making it all the way as she is not as old as you.

Isn't that sweet of him to be taking such good care of me? But I think he has misinterpreted my problems at the bowling alley with my walking. I have been taking walks now for almost the full eight months I have been retired. I see no problem in getting halfway around the pool before I have to rest. I am just wondering why I would walk around the pool in the first place unless there's a bar on the other side.

Speaking of bowling, which we did at Jason and Laura's wedding, Jason came by Sunday and told us Laura was happy to be in the blog. I am happy to oblige although I have no idea why anyone would be happy to be in the blog. I know most of the time when I write about someone I tend to get a slightly more negative reaction.

Such as with Caroline, for example. Last week she stopped over and after a while she let loose on me about how nasty I was to write that I seldom listened to anything she said. I asked her to repeat that (joke, Caroline!) and was feeling bad that I had hurt her feelings. I do tend to make jokes about the people I like, and I assumed I had gone too far when I posted about her.

I looked up the post, though, and found that - for once - I was innocent of the charges. Here's what I wrote on January 20:

But the night before, before I moved the wine from just right to too much, Caroline told LK and me that we absolutely had to get a Wii. She had played on one over her holidays and she was smitten with the game console. I don't always do what Caroline suggests. For example, last night I ignored her and opened that last bottle of red, and I didn't even ask her about the black Russians. But with the Wii, her suggestion made sense so it was off to the mall this afternoon to get myself a Wii.

Now, it is a mighty leap from "seldom listen to her" to "I don't always do what Caroline suggests", especially when I was writing about having that one bottle of wine too many. So Caroline, I do listen to you -- really. But when it comes to having one more bottle of red, I think there's very little chance of anyone's suggestion being followed unless they propose one more for the road.