Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Remembering Grandma Grace

My Grandma Grace left us four months ago today. I still miss her like crazy. I miss her coming to visit me and the way she always asked M, "How is Buddy?" whenever she couldn't come over. And I miss her comments on my blog.

Grandma was such a great human--kind and generous, cheerful and helpful, and talented in so many ways. She could sing and dance, knit and water ski--though M says she hadn't done the latter in quite a few years. She played piano and ukulele, and when she was in high school she also played the clarinet. At various times in her life she flew airplanes all over the country and sailed a big sailboat called Night Train. M says she was a great cook, too (especially chicken pot pie!), and that she could underwrite insurance policies. (I have no idea what that last thing means, but it sounds pretty hard.) She could even touch-type.

More than anything, Grandma loved her family. She loved her parents, her sister, her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids, all four of her husbands, and her many other relatives, including the in-laws and outlaws.

I thought today would be a good day to post a slideshow that I made from family photos of Grandma. The pictures date from October of 1924, when she was a baby, to September of last year, when she was . . . not. Most are from her own big collection of albums, but some are from M and J and other kinfolk.

One of Grandma's favorite songs was "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," by George Washington Johnson and James Butterfield, so I decided to use it in the slideshow. There are lots of beautiful renditions of it on the internet. The one I picked is known as an instrumental, because it doesn't have the lyrics. (I mostly want people to focus on the photos, so I'm using just the "Butterfield" part of the song.) This version is by a group of musicians called The Trybe, from their CD Riverdance & Other Irish Panpipe Songs.

While I'm giving credit where it's due, I also want to thank my adoptive Sister Bonnie and Aunt Suzie for their help with some tricky photo-editing and software problems.

Finally, a small request: If you enjoy this tribute, please share it with others who might like it, too. Put it on your Facebook page. E-mail it to everyone in your address book (the way M says Grandmas are often prone to do!), or go outside and drag people in off the street to look at it. I want the whole world to know what a special lady we're celebrating.

And now, without further ado, heeeeere's Grandma!

P.S. - For those who prefer to see the bigger YouTube version, here's a link. In either case, if your computer will support it, try the "Full screen" mode, which makes it easier to read the captions that are on a few of the pictures.

Monday, September 26, 2011

We're number 5 ! We're number 5 ! . . .

Wow! My Old Man got to be the fifth commenter on one of Professor Krugman's blog posts this morning. Of course, I don't understand a word of either the post or the comment. But it does show that some days M can be pretty quick with the mouse clicker.

Here . . .  see if you know what they're talking about.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sure could use a little good news . . .

There's a boatload of bad stuff going on these days. Lots of hate and anger and poverty and misery and greed and envy and spite and blame and crime and punishment and [insert your favorite downer of a situation here] . . .

Then out of nowhere a story like this one appears and wah-LAH!--it rekindles your faith in a certain highly developed species:

It seems that a high school athlete named Josh Ripley was running a two-mile cross-country race when he stopped after about a half-mile. The reason he stopped was to help a competitor from another school who was injured. The second boy's ankle had been spiked by the shoe of a third runner. The injury was an accident and not on purpose, so that's some pretty good news right there, in this day and age. But the best news was what happened next.

When Josh saw the boy's bleeding ankle, he didn't say, "Well, it sucks to be you" and leave him there. Instead he picked the boy up and carried him that half-mile back to the coaches, so he could get medical help (which included a trip to the hospital and quite a few stitches). Then Josh turned around and ran the complete race, which he didn't win.

Or did he?

To find out the rest of the story of "The Compassionate Mr. Ripley," follow this link.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Here's another little public service announcement from M.

M wanted me to bring this to your attention, and since it's his computer I can hardly say, "Oh, no you DIH-unt!"

Apparently there was a refreshingly "progressive" letter to the editor of our local newspaper last Saturday--all the more remarkable when you consider that the paper is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. The writer was making the point that our members of Congress (remember those "Pointy Heads on the Potomac"?), like other federal government employees, get to choose their health care insurance from a number of providers. The government, he notes, picks up 72 percent of the premiums--which essentially means that this portion is paid for by the taxpayers.

M didn't "Snopes" this figure, but he says it doesn't matter in light of what the letter writer points out next, which is this: The other 28 percent of those premiums come out of the individual Senators' and Representatives' salaries--which means (drum roll, please) that taxpayers end up on the hook for that part, too.

So in effect, the health care of all members of Congress is subsidized 100 percent by the American taxpayers! How on earth, the writer then asks, can so many Senators and Representatives want to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which simply tries to level the playing field for regular Americans? Is there, he wonders, anyone who is under more socialized medical care than a member of the U.S. House or Senate?

Another of those things that make you go, "Hmmm . . ."