Remember when moms used to admonish their kids to “Slow down when you’re eating? Today, competitive – or speed – eating contests are everywhere.
When our first daughter was born, I briefly considered naming her Gertrude, but my wife vetoed it immediately. “It’s out-of-style,” she insisted. It’s true. Names go out of fashion as surely as hairstyles, leisure suits and high-gluten foods.
If you Google (or Bing, in deference to Microsoft) the words “Big Bertha,” the first thing that comes up is the name of a golf club. Next, comes the name of a super-heavy military howitzer, followed by a Guinness world record-holding cow. All of those Big Berthas share the ability to generate some degree of effective movement. Then comes Seattle’s Big Bertha, the tunnel boring machine that is now sitting underground as motionless as a set of dinosaur bones.
I am one of five brothers. Our ranks are down to four — my younger brother, Sean, died recently after a sudden illness. He was only in his fifties, an age that sounded positively ancient when we were kids, but now seems far too young.
They say everyone can remember where they were if they are old enough. I’m old enough. I was sitting in a classroom at St. Francis Catholic School in my hometown of Bend, Ore. It was a Friday in late November when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot and died.
It was an enormously generous birthday gift, and I’d been waiting for a special occasion to use it: a $250 gift certificate to one of the fanciest restaurants in the area. You know, one of those eateries that never have a VW bus or motorcycle in the parking lot.
It used to be “go-to” gag gift. When I was in my late ’20s and early 30s, you could never go wrong giving a friend an electric nose-hair trimmer as a birthday gift. The very notion that it would ever actually be used was ridiculous. It was the ultimate absurd accessory.
You’d think we’d see it coming. After all, it is called April Fools Day – and it happens every year. Still, countless humans annually prank countless other humans – from placing Saran Wrap over toilet bowls, to gluing coins to sidewalks. We fool and get fooled alike.
Tiger came strolling in the door on Wednesday, acting like he owned the joint. Tiger was the pet cat of my wife’s 95 year-old dad, Bert – until Tiger suddenly became our pet cat when Bert passed away. Only problem was, Tiger didn’t want to be our pet cat, nor the pet cat of anyone else – and within moments of being brought to our house, he disappeared into the woods – apparently deciding he’d rather be the pet cat of Bigfoot.
My wife and I recently acquired two chickens. Live ones. That cluck. And, yes, peck. If you live in Bellevue, you can have up to six chickens, as long as the coop is at least 15 feet from your property line. And 50 feet from a KFC.
In just a couple of weeks or so, it’ll be Election Day – a time when we come together as a people to find out if the polls were accurate. If you are a candidate for state or local office, here are some free tips. Take them for what they are worth.
I was sitting in the lobby of a local business a couple of years ago, waiting to talk one of their “representatives.” My eyes wandered onto the wall where the words “OUR COMPANY MISSION” were displayed in huge letters. Below it was this: “To offer excellance in all that we do.” Yes, they had misspelled the word ‘excellence.’ So I did what any modern day human would do. I took a picture of it with my phone and put it on Facebook – where it was “liked” by many.
My parents didn’t take us anywhere. Why would they? We were five brothers (no sisters) who argued, wrestled, cried, pinched and screamed – on any car trip longer than Safeway. And yet, in the summer of 1962, we embarked on the most ambitious car trip in the history of our family: Driving from our hometown of Bend, Ore., – to the big town of Seattle – for the planet’s grandest event of all time: The Century 21 Exposition.
In the TV news business, it’s called a “tease.” It’s an enticement to keep watching – and a promise that it will be well worth the wait. Example: “There’s a killer creeping around Northwest neighborhoods at this hour. Could it be YOUR neighborhood? We’ll tell you tonight at 11.” We wouldn’t tolerate any other business doing this stuff:
I last wrote a column about J.P. Patches some four years ago, so I figured it was time for an update. Especially since hearing rumors that he is going to hang up the tattered coat for the last time this year.