THE MONTH I SPENT A YEAR IN WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

This weekend is my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. There’s family coming together to celebrate from all over the country, some of whom I haven’t seen in decades, some of whom I’ve never met.

There’ll be a banquet event one night and a big barbecue the next. This is kind of a big deal—not only ‘cuz 60th anniversaries are always (or always should be) a big deal, but because my family isn’t really the big-blow-out-event kind of family. You wouldn’t get great odds in Vegas on me or my little sister ever walking down the aisle, so this might be the last wedding-related event until/unless my nieces get hitched. My nieces are 7 and 5, so it’d be more than a little premature to bank on that. The 48 hours celebrating together are also my only vacation time between last March and next Christmas. So, again: big deal.

In March I visited my grandparents and uncle for a week. While there, I interviewed my grandparents about growing up in Puerto Rico in the 30’s and 40’s, about the move to the United States, about family and friends they knew, about stories and histories and details of their lives. It really was a mind-expanding experience. I asked questions I wanted their answers to that I could share with others once my grandparents are gone. I recorded hours and hours of material. And then, a couple of hours ago, my digital recorder erased it. All of it. Every last second.

I don’t have the heart to write about how that’s made me feel tonight. I just cooked a mean dinner and was bitching and irritated the whole time. So I need to get away from what’s bugging me for a bit. That’s why I’m going to write about my brief and disastrous fling with North Carolina. Continue reading

Double Jeopardy

A couple of years ago, Jerry Sandusky, one of the most powerful football coaches at Penn State University, was convicted of raping a number of boys over a number of years. Some of the rapes occurred in the Penn State locker room, on-campus; despite being walked in on during the abuse on at least one occasion, and despite Sandusky’s boss, head coach Joe Paterno, being aware of the abuse, Sandusky was never reported to the police.

This week, Sandusky’s adopted son, Matthew, who earlier claimed Jerry had abused him but said he’d stopped short of engaging in certain acts, went on the air with Oprah Winfrey and said that his adopted father actually did engage in the acts he’d previously denied. The NY Daily News ran the story with a headline emphasizing the specific nature of the acts. Continue reading

Four ways you know you’re getting old

Stage 1) The only people who ever call you young anymore are all old.

 

Stage 2) One day an old person says to you, “You know, you’re not young anymore.”

 

Stage 3) You’re teaching a summer class, all upperclassmen but for one student still in high school, whose email address has a number in it that indicates they were born back when you were in college. This is a first for you. And just as you recall with fleeting detail those days-gone-by when people still told you “you’re young,” you realize this will be the last time teaching someone born after you were in college is a first-time thing. The world is a relentless onslaught of people who had the nerve to be born after the 1980s.

 

Step 4) You’ve asked your students to examine a series of photos and draw facts/inferences. Some photos have people in them. You ask what the people have in common. To prompt discussion, you ask, “Are they young? Or old?” A student looks at you, smiles apologetically, and says, “Depends. What do you mean by ‘young?’”

Only the young find nuance in philosophizing on what counts as “young.”

 

nelson

Why do we do that voodoo we do?

It’s 3:13 TIME in the morning and I can’t sleep. Haven’t been able to all week.

Some science wizards did a study that found sleep deprivation and interrupted sleep are both detrimental to one’s cognition. I’m not sure who’d find this newsworthy. If you’re getting solid sleep, your cognition’s unimpaired, so this finding’s about as revelatory as a study on how eating week-old sushi left out in the sun can suck; if, like me, you aren’t getting sleep, then you’re already aware of the negative side effects and don’t need some Tel Aviv wise-asses to clue you in. Continue reading

Pretend

mem13:

A short, trenchant poem by Nathan Biberdorf about illusions and ex lovers…

Originally posted on Mindless Productivity:

I think it’s time I told you

All those times you told me about our first date
And I pretended I forgot the details

All those times you made fun of me
And I pretended I was too tough to have my feelings hurt

All those times you said something stupid
And I pretended not to notice

All those times you were scared
And I pretended I wasn’t worried at all

All those times you curled up next to me
And I pretended to be asleep

All those times you told me about your feelings
And I pretended I wasn’t listening

All those times

I wasn’t pretending.

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Farewell, Tyson Chandler

thefuture chandlerflannel Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game Three

The P&T crew gives their views on the Knick tenure of the now-traded Tyson Chandler. Spoiler alert: yours truly appears to miss Chandler less than anyone else:

“I’m glad Chandler’s gone because it puts an end to three years of a character actor being miscast as a star…I wanted to see, if not a $15M a year talent, a $15M a year leader. He was more a super loyal and committed comrade. Not a leader. I wanted Vladimir Lenin. I got Boxer from Animal Farm.”