A couple of weeks ago, after a long battle with cancer, my dad died. He outlived his initial expected survival timeframe by about 3 years, and fortunately only the final month or so was really bad (not that he didn’t suffer a lot during those 3 years, though). I’ve wanted to say something about it here, but wasn’t really sure what, so I’ll simply share what I wrote for dad’s funeral. I didn’t have the strength to stand up and read it myself, so uncle Eddie read it for me.
The older I get, the more I realize how similar I am to my dad. One of the similarities is being introverted, and being a man of few words, which dad surely was. I couldn’t give a public speech to save my life, and since I can’t remember a single time that dad ever gave any kind of speech, I’m pretty sure I can blame this one squarely on him. But I do want to share a few thoughts.
Dad’s defining characteristic was how hard-working he was. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he was the most hard-working person I’ve ever known. When we were little, all of us boys looked forward to the day when we’d be old enough to go work for him -- until we actually did it, at which point we wondered what the heck we were thinking.
Roofing is a hard job, and maybe that’s part of why dad was such a hard man. He certainly was not a touchy-feely kind of dad. I never doubted that my dad loved me, but I think he viewed his role as mainly that of a provider and protector, not so much an emotional supporter. That’s mom’s department.
Another thing I never doubted was dad’s willingness and ability to help me with any kind of project I was working on -- as long as it didn’t involve the computer. Dad had a seemingly-infinite well of knowledge of all things related to construction -- not to mention a seemingly-infinite tool collection -- and was always eager to share it. I didn’t have many deep conversations with dad, but I came to realize that the way to engage him was through carpentry and building; and all the time I spent with him working on those kinds of projects means the world to me.
Even without being a big talker, dad taught me things about life, most of which I didn’t really appreciate until I got older. As a kid, it drove me crazy when dad would constantly yell at me for leaving the light on after leaving a room. Now it drives me crazy to see a light left on. As I got a little older, I noticed that dad would yell at politicians on the TV, regardless of what party they were from. We didn’t talk much politics in our house, and I didn’t know what party (if any) dad belonged to, but when I asked him why he was mad at both parties, he said: "They ALL talk out of both sides of their mouths." Ain’t that the truth.
When dad got the cancer diagnosis three years ago, it was shocking and scary. I think it scared dad too, and that’s saying something. But dad was a stubborn man, and he sure stretched his few-month life expectancy into a few years instead. I know these three years have been hard for him, but though I certainly wish dad had never gotten cancer, I can’t help but feel that these three years have been a blessing in disguise. The cancer forced him to stop working, it humbled him, and I think it definitely softened his personality a bit. As a result, we all got to see him a little bit more, and we got a lot more hugs and I-love-yous.
I don’t know whether dad was ultimately satisfied with his life, whether he thought it was all worthwhile. We just didn’t have the kind of relationship where we talked much about those kinds of things. But to me, the answer is obvious, and other than wishing we’d spent more time together, there isn’t a lot I would change about my dad. And you need look no further than all his kids, who love him and miss him, to know that dad’s life was a successful one.
Cat Rode Bus Every Day
Well this is a sad way to learn about him, but what an awesome cat:
Quoting Mail Online:
Casper was owned by Sue Finden, who only found out about his escapades when he followed her on to a bus and the driver said he traveled with them all the time.
Bad at Math
Yesterday I went to get a haircut. The hairdresser asked how I wanted it cut. I said what I always say: cut it to a quarter-inch on the sides and back, and to three-quarters of an inch on the top.
She asked what the numbers were, meaning the randomly-assigned numbers shown on the clipper attachments which correspond to the various lengths. I said I didn’t know, but that I thought the actual lengths in inches were shown on the attachments, too.
She said yes, they were, and she had little trouble finding the quarter-inch attachment. But after some digging through the attachment bin for the three-quarters attachment, she produced one and showed it to me. It said "3/8". I said, "ah... no, it will say ’three over four’ on it."
She said, "I’m really bad at math."
Monkeys Attack Indian Politician
They killed him, which is tragic, and it was apparently over peanuts, which seems senseless. But this is just unbelievable:
Quoting the BBC:
The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.
One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.
About a month ago, on August 8th, my family was shocked by the sudden loss of Kim’s father. In addition to being extremely busy with moving and helping Kim’s mom take care of the many, many things that Warner always took care of for us, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to post about this. It’s very hard and very personal, but I think that not saying anything about it here would be worse.
Lots of great things have been said about Warner and his very full life. It is true that he lived a happy and full life -- probably more full than anyone else I know -- and we know that because he was born again, he is now with the Lord. We also know that God’s timing is correct. Still, right now it’s hard to focus on anything but the fact that he’s not here with us, and it’s hard not to think that his life was cut short. I always unconsciously assumed that there would be many more long hikes and fun trips with my father-in-law.
I only knew Warner for about 2 years, and I am hurting a lot now, so I can only imagine what Kim, her mom, and Travis are going through. You didn’t have to spend much time with Warner to see that he was a great dad and a great husband. But if you did spend any considerable amount of time with him, you realized that he was just a great person period. He was unquestionably one of the greatest men I have ever known, and quite possibly the single greatest. He was a role model, an inspiration, and a friend to me, and I miss him.
Crest Icy Mint Striped Toothpaste has been discontinued.
And today, NoDivisions.com had its 100,000th visitor. It was a Windows XP / IE6 user from the ISP gwi.net, who found my site by searching for netgear wg111 linux on Google. He only stayed for one minute though, so it’s unlikely he’ll see this message to claim his prize : )
Oh my gosh! I can’t believe someone else is ranting about not being able to find Icy Mint Striped toothpaste! It’s our all time favorite--It’s getting harder and harder to find. I found some on MediShop Express online. Hmm. Maybe that’s how I’ll have to get it. I even emailed Crest to see if they were discontinuing it! Thank goodness--no but still. So many other stupid flavors--not the one I want! :) In crest we brush.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
I’m reading this book called Eats, Shoots & Leaves that Kim got as a (gag?) gift from her boss. It’s a book about punctuation, and it’s also a "Runaway #1 British Bestseller" apparently.
If you are interested in good writing and punctuation, or more to the point: if you are bothered by bad writing and punctuation, then you will love this book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, to me at least. Here are some excerpts:
Quoting Lynne Truss:
I tend to feel that if a person genuinely wants to know how to spell Connecticut, you see, they will make efforts to look it up. Or, failing that, if a book announcing itself as The Only Way to Spell Connecticut is This is to be found in heaps on a table in front of them, they will think, "Hang on, I might get this!" But it turns out there are people whom you simply cannot help, because it suits them to say, with a shrug, "Do you know, I’ve always wanted to know how to use an apostrophe -- and oh dear, I don’t know how to wash my hair either." [xxiii]
Either this will ring bells for you, or it won’t. A printed banner has appeared on the concourse of a petrol station near where I live. "Come inside," it says, "for CD’s, VIDEO’s, DVD’s, and BOOK’s." If this satanic sprinkling of redundant apostrophes causes no little gasp of horror or quickening of the pulse, you should probably put down this book at once. 
No one understands us seventh-sense people. They regard us as freaks. When we point out illiterate mistakes we are often aggressively instructed to "get a life" by people who, interestingly, display no evidence of having lives themselves. 
In the spring of 2001 the ITVI show Popstars manufactured a pop phenomenon for our times: a singing group called Hear’Say. [...] newspapers, who insist on precision in matters of address, at once learned to place Hear’Say’s apostrophe correctly and attend to the proper spacing. To refer in print to this group as Hearsay (one word) would be wrong, you see. To call it Hear-Say (hyphenated) would show embarrassing ignorance of popular culture. And so it came to pass that Hear’Say’s poor, oddly placed little apostrophe was replicated everywhere and no one gave a moment’s though to its sufferings. No one saw the pity of its position, hanging there in eternal meaninglessness, silently signalling to those with eyes to see, "I’m a legitimate punctuation mark, get me out of here."