Monday, June 23, 2008

Oh, That George Carlin

So, every where on the internet today, people are posting about the passing of George Carlin. I guess it is hard to believe he was 71, but I do have to say, he looked old when he played the conductor on "Shining Time Station," which my kids loved to watch because of Thomas the Tank Engine.

That was not my first introduction to Carlin, however.

Growing up in the rural area that I did, we didn't have cable television. The closest I came to music videos was watching "Friday Night Videos." We didn't have HBO or Nickelodeon. If the rabbit ears were bent just so, we could get six stations, two of them being PBS. Renting movies was a relatively new concept, and like most parents, mine wouldn't willingly rent rated R movies for their children to watch. It was a rather sheltered life.

But my step-grandma, she had cable. One afternoon in the early 80s, my step-mom dropped three of us off at her house. The younger two kids had baton practice or something. I don't know why we were all dragged along, but it was likely because we weren't allowed to stay home alone if it could be avoided. I'm guessing I was a freshman in high school at the time, and that would have made my other siblings 14 and 11ish at the time.

We walked into the step-grandma's house, and naturally, we turned on the TV. My favorite was "You Can't Do That on Television" on Nick, but since it wasn't on, my step-sister started flipping through the stations (by turning the knob on the cable remote control technology just yet).

She happened upon HBO. We were hoping for another playing of "Clash of the Titans," which I think we'd watched a good dozen times. What a great movie that was for someone who'd spent a lifetime of watching network television. Instead, we found Carlin doing his HBO special "Carlin on Campus."

We tuned in about the time he started talking about driving. I don't know if he threw out a F-word, or two, or three, while my step-mom was still standing there, but she forbade us from watching it. "Turn that channel right now!" she screeched.

We continued to giggle.

"You are not watching this. Change it now. You better not put it back when I leave," she said.

So, my step-sister changed the channel, and as soon her mom pulled away, she put it back.

Now, I was always the good girl. I listened, and I never wanted to risk getting into more trouble. My step-sister, however, pushed her limits anytime her mother set any. But it was a bit rather like having some forbidden fruit dangled in front of our faces and being told not to touch, taste, inspect, etc.

The front door opened about the time that Carlin got up to his theories on having a screen on the back of your car. That way, you could type your feelings on the way others drive, and it would be displayed on the back of your car. "You drive like old people $^%&! Slow and sloppy," Carlin said just as we were busted.

The step-mom had forgotten something. My brother and I totally denied having anything to do with the channel somehow managing to get back to HBO. Oh yes, we didn't hesitate to let our step-mom know that her precious little cherub wanted to watch Carlin. "If I find out you turned it back, you are all three grounded!"

But I do have to admit I wanted to watch it, too. I'd never seen a comedian let the curse words rip. I'd never watched anyone who could take those minute observations on the human condition and make them so damn funny.

We knew our step-mom wasn't coming back. Otherwise, the two other kids would be late for practice. It didn't stop us from taking turns keeping watch at the door, but that was okay, because we could still see the TV from our post by the door.

We watched, and we laughed. We laughed until tears rolled down our faces. We laughed about things we probably didn't totally understand, but nonetheless, we knew he was funny.

I was a fan of Carlin since that day we happened upon his HBO special. I admired the man who's comedy pushed the limits. RIP, George, and thanks for the laughs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Guys and a Lion

When I first started watching this, I thought no good is going to come from this little lion reunion. I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.

It makes me a little teary.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crazy Neighbor Kid, Continued

I have a feeling there's going to be plenty to say about this crazy girl.

One afternoon last week, she stormed my porch and pounded the hell out of my door. This got my dog all worked up because go figure, when someone comes flying up the steps and frantically knocking, he thinks something is wrong.

I cautiously opened the main door and told her she best step back and close the storm door before my dog made an afternoon snack out of her.

"It's urgent!" she said out of breath. "I need your help! It's an urgent emergency."

Are there any other kind, I wondered. Oh hell, who is dead or dismembered, I thought. Because if it's an urgent emergency, I'm guessing there's blood and protruding bones involved.

"The post office," she huffed and puffed, "what time will it be open tomorrow?"

I craned my neck to look at the clock, "Uh, it will be open in 15 minutes after the lunch break," I told her.

Then she proceeded to ramble on something about her mom's birthday. She counted days on her fingers, lying her cash down on the steps to use both hands.

"Look," I told her. "You've got to stop running up in my yard like that. The last time, you scared a cat up a tree, and today, you've got my dog thinking you're an axe murderer. When you yell about urgent emergencies, which is redundant speech by the way, the dog and I both think there's something really wrong, and that's not nice when it's not really an emergency. Do you understand because I don't want you to get bit or knocked down by my dog?"

She nodded her head, gave me a vacant stare, and started prattling about heart or dog stamps.

I shook my head. "Pick out whatever you think your mom would like best," I told her. "I've got things to do. See you later." I shut the door.

On Sunday, my husband was outside raking up some fallen twigs and branches from the storm we had over the weekend. I heard him talking to someone and went outside. There she stood, again all flustered and having trouble breathing. She only lives about a block around the corner, so I don't know. Maybe she's got asthma or something.

I couldn't help myself when I asked, "Now what?"

There was a snake, apparently a dead snake, and she was quite animated. What she didn't realize is that my husband is the wrong guy to be asking when it comes to even a brief discussion about snakes. He doesn't like them at all. I don't care for them, but my dislike can't hold a candle to his.

I'm really not sure what she wanted from us, but I made it clear he wasn't going to go hunt down a snake for her, and I most certainly was not. She said she thought it was dead because it was bleeding.

"Well, what happened to it?" I asked.

"I killed it, but I can't cut it in half because they do have really tough skin," she told me.

My husband suggested she get a plastic bag and pick it up after she said that she and her mom were really afraid of them, but she wanted to prove to her parents that she was right that there was a snake in the tall grass behind her house, and that she wasn't lying.

Then she said, "My mom and I are voracious of them."

To which my husband said, "Huh?"

"My mom and I are voracious of snakes."

Again, he said, "Huh?"



"I think she means scared," I said.

"Yes, we're scared," she exclaimed.

"Get a bag and pick up the snake," I told her. "And voracious means eager or greedy. Like you have a voracious appetite when you're really, really hungry."

Hey, if she's going to show up at my house and have "urgent emergencies" and "be voracious of snakes," she might as well get an English lesson if she's taking up my time.

"You're the best!" she told my husband. "I just like you so very much," she called out as she peddled away on her bicycle. "I like you so very much."

I looked at my husband and said, "I like you so very much, so very, very much. Ahh, you've made a friend."