Thursday, December 16, 2010

Random thoughts on tears, guns and middle names

I’ve had this National Parks Service press release sitting on my desk since October 6. It says “Harry S Truman National Historic Site” to be profiled by the National Parks Getaway series.
Careful readers will notice what looks a typo. There is no period after the “S” in Harry S Truman.”
In fact, there is no period after the “S” in Harry S Truman.”
His middle name is S.
Er, I mean his middle name is S
It’s the kind of thing I keep on my desk for a long time hoping one day -- Eureeka! -- inspiration will strike and I’ll be able to write about why Harry Truman has a middle initial but not a middle name. Turns out it was not uncommon for people of Scotch-Irish descent, a race known, not coincidentally, for thrift.
Alas, inspiration is proving evasive. The only thing I that leaps to my mind anytime I see Harry S Truman is that it must sound like, well, hairy ass Truman.
“Here comes that hairy ass Truman.”
So since I can’t come up with a whole idea based on presidential middle names that must mean it’s time to clean up the desk of the little idea scraps that aren’t growing into anything more substantial.
Yes, it’s time for a Lazy S Blog . . .
• My wife and I just enjoyed the delightful 2009 movie “500 Days of Summer,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of our favorite young actors. We’ve loved him ever since he played Tommy in “Third Rock from the Sun,” the 1996-2001 absurdist sitcom starring John Lithgow.
The romantic comedy has a fantasy scene about how he feels the day after he and Summer, played by the winsome Zooey Deschanel, finally have at it. To the tune of the bouncy 1984 Hall & Oates song, “You Make My Dreams Come True,” it shows him sauntering down the street to increasingly exuberant greetings. Strangers smile at him, shake his hand, chest bump, boogie down, and lift him atop their shoulders as a marching band appears to accompany the spontaneous good feeling fest. Finally, an animated blue bird lands on his shoulder and tweets a happy hello to a young man enraptured by love. We showed the clip to our 10-year-old and said, “This is what love feels like.” Can’t wait to show her the whole movie with all the dirty talk and innuendo when she’s old enough to understand it. The daddy in me hopes that won’t be until the year 2024.
• As a young reporter, I’d nearly died of boredom in thousands of school board meetings, but never of multiple gun shot wounds. The video of the scene in Florida is breathtaking. What a story. Of course, I’m waiting for the inevitable arguments about how a guy that violent, that crazy, had easy access to a semi-automatic weapon, and how it was a good thing a security guard had his lethal ventilator concealed under his jacket. I’m glad the NRA will be available to explain it all to me.
• I could write a lot about John Boehner’s blubbering, but that’s been done to death. Me, I shed a lot of tears for a lot of odd reasons, but I’d never blubber on 60 Minutes where decorum calls us all to be as stoic as Clint Eastwood at an outlaw’s hanging. Still, we should all be galled by the double standard exposed by Boehner’s maudlin tears. Nancy Pelosi would be pilloried for weeping, and any male Democrat who acted like Boehner would be lambasted by Fox as a posy-sniffing pansy.
• In the interests of healing bi-partisanship, I hope in 2011 some legislation involving abandoned puppies moves Boehner so deeply he runs to the ample lap of colleague Barney Frank and cuddles in for a good, long cry.
• This may surprise readers familiar with my lefty politics, but I like John Boehner, tears and all. He smokes and was raised by a man who ran a tavern. He strikes me as a practical, reasonable man who looks at morality crusaders like Sarah Palin and thinks, WTF? Unlike Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, etc., if Boehner called me to play golf and then spend the night getting loaded and talking about the great movies that make us both cry, I’d accept.
• Clay Duke, the Florida school board shooter, is being described as a troubled, broke, ex-con with bi-polar disorder and an interest in anarchy. And I’ll bet that’s exactly what he put on the gun permit application.
 • It would be fun to see what outlandish and violent intentions you could include on a gun permit application and -- hey! here you go! -- still get a gun.
• I remain tickled by the information revealed on the stats page at my home blog. It fascinates me how many people from all over the world read my blog. After the homeland (USA! USA!), the second most readers are still in Denmark -- and I’m becoming daily more fond of the Danes. They are followed by Canada, U.K., Brazil, Russia, France and readers in more than 43 countries. Amazing. Thanks! 
• My favorite fact from the stats page? On Thanksgiving Day, four people from Turkey woke up and started reading If linking a day when Americans consume millions of turkeys to people who live in a country named Turkey is insulting, I apologize.
• My most faithful reader, however, may be a South Korean. The instant I post this, the page shows that someone in South Korea will start reading it with the way someone races to the mailbox for money. I know nothing about this person, but I think about them just about every time I sit down to write one of these. Thank you, my distant friend.
• I cry at the end of “Big Fish,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Mister Roberts” and during the scene where Rocky makes up with the Mick to heal his breaking heart. I’m not sure why, but I sometimes cry at the end of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.” Please don’t tell Leslie Stahl.
• I’m in the middle of a really nice run of stories for None have been more gratifying than the reaction to the one about the Jimmy Stewart Museum needing a George Bailey moment. I don’t know how much money has been raised, but it’s likely to be enough to make a difference. Following up on my story, NBC Nightly News sent a reporter to do a nice segment that ran last week. Things like that make me feel like one day I might earn my wings.
• Maybe my fascination with middle names stems from envy. Neither my brother nor I have them. It’s true, our parents hated their middle names (Russell/Mae) so much they didn’t want to burden us with them. It’s maybe the only way these two loving people with odd aversions to perfectly normal middle names ever neglected their sons. Oh, well. It’s nothing worth crying about.


Emily Suess said...

My grandfather hadn't a middle name at all. Take that, Harry ass! ;)

Chris Rodell said...

I wonder if your grandpa felt deprived . . . like me.

The cool thing is whenever the Colorado Rockies play well I can wear a CR hat that matches the extent of my initials.

I'm trying to find a good post for you to consider as a guest blogger. I saw your open invite and could be flattered to be included. Thanks!


Suldog said...

I take it you're not Catholic. If you were, you could have chosen your own middle name when you went through the sacrament of Confirmation. As a matter of fact, you still could, if you don't mind joining the church.

Or you could just pretend that you have a middle name, and save all that hassle. Might be easier.

Chris Rodell said...

I like the idea of faking it, but which initial should I hijack? Maybe another R so it would be a growling CRR.

Or CPR might be fun.

Averil Dean said...

I cry during Sense and Sensibility, every time. But hearing Alan Rickman reading poetry at the end is worth all the tears.

Chris Rodell said...

This may be pig-headed of me, but I think I'd cry if someone made me watch Sense and Sensibility. Maybe, based on your recommendation, I'll have to check it one of these days.