Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sam’s Day

February 1, 1989: Twenty-five years ago today, Sam was born somewhere in Oklahoma.

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

We didn’t actually know his real birthdate, but he was about ten weeks old when Allen and I got him in April, so we just made February 1 his birthday. He was a true friend.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Marty

Marty 11-02-05

Brian moved to Albuquerque in the winter of 2000, and as soon as he was settled in he went to the PetsMart adopt-a-dog weekend and found Marty.  She came home with him that very day and was with him until yesterday when age and illness caught up to her.  He let me know by e-mail last night that she was gone.

I wrote back:

You gave her such a good life and she was so beautiful.  She brightened your days and filled the nights with warmth and comfort.  I know how you loved her with the depth that only those who know what pure devotion and affection bring, and you will ache with the loss for a long time.  The little reminders of her presence – a stray hair on the couch, a half-eaten bag of treats, a chewed corner of a book – will haunt you for weeks and months, but they will be comfortable reminders of good times, and the friends you made with her at the park and on the street will be there to hold you up.

She could not have had a better life or a better friend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ten Years

Ten years ago today — Saturday, November 8, 2003 — I wrote this:

Here Goes…

Welcome to Bark Bark Woof Woof, a blog dedicated to my take on life, the universe and everything with my unique sense of dry amusement. The title comes from a guy I once worked for who said “bark bark woof woof” instead of “et cetera, et cetera,” and in memory of my dog, Sam, who was my best friend for 13 years.

Since then, I’ve moved to two different places, been through three computers, I’m on my second Mustang, and written close to 20,000 posts here.  Three presidential elections, ten Detroit Tiger seasons, a couple of hurricanes, one off-off-Broadway production, over a thousand music videos, theatre festivals, car shows, innumerable cultural references to Mel Brooks, M*A*S*H, and the Marx Brothers, and all — I hope — with the sense of humor and insight that I aspired to when I said that I was just “trying to get through life without bumping into the furniture.”

Something like this does not happen in a vacuum, even when some of my posts suck.  I started out by being a commenter at other blogs and met like-minded people who amazed and inspired me to try it for myself.  That’s how I met NTodd, who, it turns out, spent his childhood in my home town, and who served — and still does — as mentor and touchstone for what’s worth writing about.  Soon I met a lot of other bloggers and made friends and actually met a couple of them in person.  That is one of the enigmas of this craft: you form close bonds with people you’ve never met.

Among those are Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, who one day casually dropped me a note inviting me to be a contributor.  I was stunned and honored beyond words, and from that has grown a bond that has taught me so much about being a better person, a listener, and a feminist.  There is so much to admire about Melissa’s strength, courage, and just plain Liss-ness.

Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction has been a good friend and teacher, and being a part of his group is both an honour (the blog is based in Canada) and a welcome challenge to keep up to the standards that he sets for liberalism unbound.  Every year when I go to Stratford we talk about meeting in person, and some day it will happen.

None of what you see here would be possible without the help and guidance of my brother CLW.  Not just on the technical side — the countless hours of design work front and back and support when hackers attack — but also for the brotherly love and inspiration of topics and views that go way beyond C++.

I know that if I listed all the people who have been a part of these ten years, I’d be rattling off names for a long, long, time, and the cake would get stale.  So let me say to each of you who has been with me since 2003 or if you just clicked on the link last week: thank you.  I appreciate you more than you know, and as Bilbo Baggins famously said, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

And with that… here’s the cake.

BBWW 10th Birthday Cake

What’s next?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sam

Sam BW 11-26-03

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him. There’s still that worn spot on the bedspread where he slept, and I still make room for him on the bed.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ten Years After

Congratulations to NTodd for ten years of blogging about everything from the plight of Gaza to the joys of wiping his kids’ noses and raising kittens on the fly.

He is the one who inspired and prodded me into this gig, too, so I owe him a lot of thanks and gratitude.  (You, dear reader, know who to blame.)

Best wishes and keep on.  Peace out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is from my trip to the William Inge Festival.  It’s me with Elizabeth Wilson, the only surviving member of the original Broadway cast of Picnic from 1953.  You might recognize her from her many roles in film (Dustin Hoffman’s mom in The Graduate and Roz in 9 to 5, and recently as Sarah Delano Roosevelt, the mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Hyde Park on Hudson).  She has become a great friend of the festival and a good friend to many of us who attend.  She is a bright shining spirit.

PMW with Elizabeth Wilson 05-03-13

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sorry To See Him Go, Too

Less than three days after losing one good blog here in Florida, we’re losing another:  South Florida Daily Blog posted its farewell last night.

For five years Rick has been posting links to what he thinks are the best works on South Florida blogs and sharing them with his considerable readership, and doing his own writing as well.  For reasons known only to him, he has shared a lot of the writing that I do here.  There are a lot of really good blogs and sites here, so it has been a honor and a privilege to be chosen by him on such a consistent basis.

I also had several occasions to meet Rick.  He’s a good man, dedicated to his work and his causes, and I’m sorry to see him go.  He has his own reasons, and I will not argue with him for making his choice, but I will say that he is leaving the place better than he found it, a goal that he shares with me both on the blogosphere but on the hiking trails of Colorado, where I know he longs to be.

Thanks, Rick, for everything.  Happy trails.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sorry To See Him Go

Benjamin J. Kirby at The Spencerian has decided to hang it up.

I am starting to understand, finally, what it means to get older.  It means nothing is black and white.  There are no absolutes, and there are such things as mixed emotions.  Children teach this valuable lesson as well.  I may be furious with Emeline for something, yell at her to go to time-out, but every time I see her, my heart overflows with love.

And so it is with genuinely mixed emotions that I write the blog post that has needed writing for some time.

I am sending The Spencerian on an extended hiatus.  I am not sure when it will be back, if at all.

There are a lot of blogs and writers that come and go without much notice, which is the nature of anything, and then there are those who start out with great promise and then settle into a dull mediocrity that makes you wonder why they bother.  And then there are writers who are always fresh, always saying something, asking, even smirking at themselves, and those are the ones you read day after day — and get really pissed at (in a good way) when they say something you wish you’d said.

The latter is the case with BJK and The Spencerian.  I do not question his reasons for hitting the hold button, but I’m going to be a tad selfish and say that there will be a hollowness in the daily scan of Google Reader when the days go by and there’s nothing more there in that little space.

Best wishes, BJK.  Take care of yourself, your family and your world.  They — and we — will all be better for it, but we will also want to hear from you again.

Friday, February 1, 2013

On This Date

February 1, 1989: Twenty-four years ago today, Sam was born somewhere in Oklahoma.

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

We didn’t actually know his real birthdate, but he was about ten weeks old when Allen and I got him in April, so we just made February 1 his birthday. He was a true friend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Technically the U.S. government went over the cliff at midnight, but at the last minute the White House and Republicans worked out a compromise deal on taxes and sequestration.  The Senate whooped it through 89-8, and the House will vote on it later today, which means it could still blow up and we’ll be back where we started.

Hillary Clinton is still recovering in at hospital in New York from a blood clot near her brain.  This development is not necessarily life-threatening, and doctors say she should make a full recovery.  But it does make the right-wingers who said she was faking her illness to get out of testifying before Congress about the incident in Benghazi look like churlish asshats.  But then again, they already were, so no news there.  Two years from today I expect us to be chattering about her standing in the Iowa polls, a year out from the Iowa caucuses.

Marriage equality comes to Maryland today.  It was one of three states that voted by public referendum to legalize the unions over the objections of such ironically-named hate groups like Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, and One Million Moms.  They had claimed that judges and legislatures had no business overturning the will of the people and no state would allow same-sex marriage if the the people got to vote on it.  Maryland and two other states, Maine and Washington, made that point moot, and now those groups are trying to figure out a way to overturn the elections.  Best wishes to the happy couples.

The last two Cuban day workers at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base have retired, but there’s no legal way for the U.S. to pay their hard-earned Defense Department pension without violating the embargo.  It’s long past time the embargo itself was retired, and without a pension.

Today marks Marty’s thirteenth birthday.  She’s been my friend Brian’s faithful companion since she was a pup, and she’s still going strong.  Best wishes.

And today marks a milestone for my 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari station wagon, which I have also had since it was a pup.  It is now officially 25 years old, thus making it an antique car.

That’s what it looked like when it was twenty years old.  I’ll have more pictures of it later this week when it comes back from the body shop where it’s getting some nips and tucks done to make it ready for its first national AACA show in February.

Happy new year, everyone, and may this one be better than the last one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sam

Ten years ago today, I lost my little friend.

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him. There’s still that worn spot on the bedspread where he slept, and I still make room for him on the bed.

Sam

Ten years ago today, I lost my little friend.

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him. There’s still that worn spot on the bedspread where he slept, and I still make room for him on the bed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Radio Waves

While the local classical music public radio station is having their end-of-year begathon, I’m listening to Interlochen Public Radio out of the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. I used to listen to it when I lived in Petoskey, and it’s nice to hear them again.

It’s also interesting to hear their weather reports. Thanks to the heat wave yesterday, it was hotter up there than it was here in Miami. They also had a rip-current warning for Lake Michigan; something I’m used to hearing down here when there’s a strong on-shore wind on Miami Beach.

If IPR can keep their stream working — it’s had drop-out issues in the past — I’ll keep listening. I still know some of the people there, they play a broader selection of music, and there will be a tad of schadenfreude on my part next January when the weather report warns of temperatures approaching -17 F.

Radio Waves

While the local classical music public radio station is having their end-of-year begathon, I’m listening to Interlochen Public Radio out of the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. I used to listen to it when I lived in Petoskey, and it’s nice to hear them again.

It’s also interesting to hear their weather reports. Thanks to the heat wave yesterday, it was hotter up there than it was here in Miami. They also had a rip-current warning for Lake Michigan; something I’m used to hearing down here when there’s a strong on-shore wind on Miami Beach.

If IPR can keep their stream working — it’s had drop-out issues in the past — I’ll keep listening. I still know some of the people there, they play a broader selection of music, and there will be a tad of schadenfreude on my part next January when the weather report warns of temperatures approaching -17 F.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On This Date

February 1, 1989: Twenty-three years ago today, Sam was born somewhere in Oklahoma.

Sam
February 1, 1989 – July 20, 2002

We didn’t actually know his real birthdate, but he was about ten weeks old when Allen and I got him in April, so we just made February 1 his birthday. He was a true friend.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Together Again

Thanks to Facebook and the hard work of a couple of people — thanks, Neil and David — this weekend a bunch of my friends and classmates from my years at the Ring Theatre at the University of Miami are getting together here in Miami. The invitations went out to anyone who was there between 1970 and 1983 — I was there from 1971 to 1974 — and last night some of us gathered informally at Fox’s Lounge in South Miami. Back in the day it was a favorite place to eat and imbibe, and we had a great time last night.

Of course, forty years brings a lot of changes to people, so when we gather for the actual dinner tonight, my classmates will probably not recognize me. After all, I don’t still look like my freshman year ID:

This is more like it:

But no matter what we look like, it’s still going to be great to catch up with people who were a very important part of my life and made such a difference in my life.