Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'birthdays'

My Father: A Remembrance (2016)

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Mar 19, 2016 @ 5:40 am PDT

userpic=father-and-son

Every year on my dad’s birthday I post a remembrance that I wrote the day after he died in 2004. Today he would have been 94. As I wrote last year: As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days. His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reportedly due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, Mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessie’s Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized tool-bench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercely defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. He left me loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. [I’ll note we lost Uncle Herbert in 2011, and Uncle Tom just last year; luckily, Uncle Ron is still going strong.] When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit. [ETA: I think he would have been extremely proud to see his granddaughter become the Yiddish scholar that she is.]

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

--- *** ---

My Father: A Remembrance (2015)

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Mar 19, 2015 @ 2:24 pm PDT

userpic=father-and-son

Every year on my dad’s birthday I post a remembrance that I wrote the day after he died in 2004. Today he would have been 93. As I wrote last year: As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days; Uncle Herbert can (and perhaps he will reply to this post and do so). His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reportedly due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessies Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized tool-bench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercely defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. I’m going to have loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit.

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

I Support 99 Seat Theatre in Los AngelesP.S. In the above, you’ll note that my father introduced me to theatre back in 1972 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. I don’t know if he ever went to 99 seat theatre when he was alive; I think he was out of theatre mode other than dinner theatre by the time of the 99-seat explosion. But I think he would have loved the small theatre for the closeness and being with the actors. Whereas the big shows were affordable back in the 1970s, they aren’t now. 99 seat theatre is needed to grow new audiences. You can read my full thoughts on that here, but for now — AEA members, please vote down the 99 seat proposal from AEA. We need change, but not this change.

--- *** ---

Yesterday…

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Jan 22, 2015 @ 11:55 am PDT

userpic=sheriffjohnIt’s not just a song by the Beatles. You remember them. That was the group Paul McCartney was in before Wings. Paul McCartney? Sigh. He’s that old geezer who sang with Kanye West.

Oh, where was I? Ah yes, Yesterday. It was my birthday. I thank all the people over on Facebook who wished me well — it was appreciated on a crazy day concluded with a Temple Board Meeting and Calendaring meeting. In honor of the day and the new number, a little song (slightly modified):

So when you find it in your mailbox for the first time my friend
You can tell that you getting older, you’re turning grey
It’s a first sign of decline, it’s a start of the end
When your wrinkles out number your hairs
then it’s headed your way

Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine, means you’re getting old
When you get the magazine
that you hide from your friends
Once it was Rolling Stone, it was thrill after thrill
Now Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine means over the hill

When Mick Jagger has his breakfast of yogurt and bran
Does he read of prescriptions by mail or of self-rising chairs
You can keep on rockin’ and rollin’ as long as you can
But then you sit in your little seat and you ride up the stairs

Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine, means you’re getting old
When you get the magazine
that you hide from your friends
Once it was Rolling Stone, it was thrill after thrill
Now Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine means over the hill

I’ve looked through its pages and what I see there
Is that everyone looks about twenty-five with white hair

You can buy polyester pants for nineteen ninety-five
You can get your grandchildren’s picture on your coffee cup
And if you’re tired of walking
there’s a scooter that you can drive
Or a button to push if you’ve fallen
and you can’t get up

Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine, means you’re getting old
When you get the magazine
that you hide from your friends
Once it was Rolling Stone, it was thrill after thrill
Now  Modern Maturity AARP Mag’zine means over the hill

MODERN MATURITY (Tom Paxton)
Copyright (c) 1993 Pax Music (ASCAP)

I mention this song because of an article I saw today: “Bob Dylan appears on the cover of AARP magazine“. Yup. Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan can go into Denny’s and get that senior discount, and their concerts (just like the recent episode of Mom) are filled with walker parking areas. Why is Dylan in AARP Magazine? Because he’s announcing an album of Frank Sinatra covers (which targets an even older group of AARP readers, although I’m finding I appreciate Sinatra more and more).

Now, excuse me while I chase some children off my artificial lawn. And that music they listen today, it’s … oh, nevermind.

--- *** ---

My Father: A Remembrance

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Mar 19, 2014 @ 5:00 am PDT

userpic=father-and-sonEvery year on my dad’s birthday I post a remembrance that I wrote the day after he died in 2004. Today he would have been 92. As I wrote last year: As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days; Uncle Herbert can (and perhaps he will reply to this post and do so). His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reported due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessies Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized toolbench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercly defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. I’m going to have loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit.

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

--- *** ---

Pick Your Birthday Song

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Feb 01, 2014 @ 7:00 am PDT

userpic=sheriffjohnIt’s time to pick your birthday song — the song that (virtual) Sheriff John will sing to you on your birthday. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the List of Birthday Songs at blog.cahighways.org (it is linked off the front page of the blog)
  2. Look through the list and decide on the birthday song you want.
  3. Comment on the List of Birthday Songs with your choice.

That’s it. I’ll do my best to remember you want a special song (I sometimes forget), and will post it on your Facebook wall when Facebook reminds me it is your birthday.

The Small Print

  1. You must have your settings such that either Facebook or Livejournal reminds me of your birthday.
  2. Only comments on the List of Birthday Songs count. Selecting your song on this post, or on any of the reflections (Facebook, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, G+) of this post does not count. This is (a) because I need to have only one place to check, and (b) have you ever tried to find something old you posted on Facebook?
  3. New song selections supersede previous selections.
  4. Birthday wishes are posted to your Facebook wall or sent by PM on Facebook. If Livejournal reminds me, and we are not friends on Facebook and you have posted to your LJ within the last year, I’ll send you a birthday message on Livejournal. If you want your birthday message on any other service, indicate so in your song selection comment.
  5. The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of SquabbMerlCo or its subsidiaries. Progenitorivox is not available, anywhere. Offer void in Wisconsin. Any resemblance to actual drugs, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Any unauthorized use of your own judgment in the application of Progenitorivox is strictly prohibited. Progenitorivox may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball. Progenitorivox may cause drowsiness or restlessness in lab animals. Do not resume sexual activity while operating heavy machinery without consulting your physician. For erections lasting longer than four hours, insert your own joke here. If you experience psychotic episodes, you’re crazy. If death occurs, discontinue use of Progenitorivox immediately. If symptoms persist, consult your physician. All sales final. Batteries not included.

Background

I started blogging/journaling just about 10 years ago on Livejournal. Over there the tradition was to do a birthday post when a friend had a birthday. The problem was, however, that I detested the traditional Happy Birthday to You“. Having grown up with 1960s childrens TV in Los Angeles, I preferred “The Birthday Cake Polka” (i.e., “put another candle on your birthday cake“) as sung by Sheriff John Rovack, a children’s TV host on Channel 11. This got me thinking about birthday songs, and so the first birthday song poll went up on SpunkyLizard’s birthday (2/1) in 2005. I kept adding songs over the years to come up with the current list.

Times change, and communities move. Livejournal is still active, although most of the community there has moved on. The current community appears to be Facebook, and so I’ve moved the birthday songs to Facebook, normally just doing the polka. Alas, Facebook doesn’t make polls easy, and neither does WordPress (the mechanism behind my blog), and so blog comments it is.

Suggesting New Songs

You may suggest new songs on any of the various posts, and I’ll endeavor to add it.  A pointer to the lyrics or artist is appreciated.

 

--- *** ---

Just Under the Speed Limit

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jan 21, 2014 @ 11:07 am PDT

userpic=sheriffjohnAs everyone on Facebook is reminding me (and thank you all), today is my natal day. How do I feel about it? Well, certain songs come to mind. Whereas before it might have been the Birthday Cake Polka, today is it more Over the Hill:

I look in the mirror, and what do I see?
Who’s that old geezer staring at me?
I don’t remember growing this old.
It just seemed to happen all on its own.

And those pretty young girls, they just pass me on by.
I can’t button these old jeans as hard as I try.
I could despair and bemoan my sad fate,
But as long as I’m breathing, its never too late.

Cause I’d rather be over than under the hill
Well, a wrinkle or two, it ain’t no big deal
I know it might look like I’ve been through the mill,
But I’d rather be over than under the hill.

The story of my life is written on my face.
I wouldn’t change a thing or take another man’s place.
Cause no matter how I look or think that I should,
In five years I’ll wish that I still looked this good.

Cause I’d rather be over than under the hill
Well, a wrinkle or two, it ain’t no big deal
I know it might look like I’ve been through the mill,
But I’d rather be over than under the hill.

Luckily, I’m not singing the Modern Maturity blues yet, nor have I reached the point where I’d rather be dead. Still, I passed 16 long long ago, and even 30 is far away in the rear view mirror. It’s rather sobering to think that next year I could take early retirement at 55 (although I plan to work much longer), and that I’m at the same age that Nell Carter was at when she died. Nell Carter’s death on January 23, 2003 was a turning point for me — it was when I realized I was old. I tell the story that, when I heard of her death at age 54, I turned to my wife and said, “Boy, she was young!”. To someone in their teens or twenties, 54 is old. When you consider 54 young, my friend, you’ve entered the “old” twilight zone.

And of course, my body reminded me of my age today with a light migraine.

Still, I try to stay young in the head, even if I’m decrepit in the body and the mind. I thank all my younger friends here on the networks for that. I’m of the distinct belief that everyone seems themselves in their mid-20s in their head, which is why it is so frustrating when the body doesn’t cooperate when you try to do something stupid. Studies have shown that happy people age more gracefully. But as you grow older, you realize that you can’t do what you used to do, and you truly commiserate with the statement that “youth is wasted on the young.”

In parting, a thought from Amanda Broom in “Heartbeats“: “I thought God was supposed to give you wisdom when he took away your muscle tone.”

P12.: Another sign you’re old: You hear about the rants from Richard Sherman, and you think it’s the Disney composer.

P2S.: Happy Birthday to my twin from another mother, Keith. We really must get together, ‘bro — it’s been far too long.

P3S.: Do visit the Birthday Song page and think about the song you want, or suggest additional songs. February 1 is rapidly approaching — the day when I ask you to pick your birthday song for the upcoming year. Remember — it is only comments on the Birthday Song page that count for selecting your song — finding Facebook comments is nearly impossible, and (alas) no one seems to be very active on either Livejournal or Dreamwidth anymore. Facebook is also declining, so where have all the people gone?

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My Father: A Remembrance

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Mar 20, 2013 @ 10:06 pm PDT

userpic=father-and-sonThis has been a crazy and a stressful last-7-day — more on that potentially in a future post. It has been so crazy and stressful, in fact, that I didn’t get the chance to post my annual remembrance of my dad on his birthday yesterday. As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

I wrote the following the day after he died in 2004. He would have been 91 yesterday.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days; Uncle Herbert can (and perhaps he will reply to this post and do so). His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reported due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessies Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized toolbench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercly defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. I’m going to have loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter, [info]nsshere. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit.

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

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A Song for your Birthday

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Feb 01, 2013 @ 11:35 am PDT

userpic=sheriffjohnIt’s February 1st. This is traditionally the day I ran a poll on Livejournal asking people to pick their birthday song (such as this one from 2011). I attempted to do one last year, but it went nowhere. People have migrated off of Livejournal, and the traditions have changed — people don’t publicly post on their wall/journal/blog to wish someone happy birthday; instead, they send a message or write just on the recipient’s wall. I’ll note this is still a lovely tradition: two weeks ago, on my birthday, I got loads and loads of posts on my Facebook wall wishing me happy birthday — they made up for a lack of cards or calls in real life.

My tradition nowadays is to sing you a birthday song on your Facebook wall, or by private message to your LiveJournal/Dreamwidth account (if you have posted there in the last year). But what song should I sing? My default song is my favorite birthday song, the one that Sheriff John sang to me while I was growing up: The Birthday Cake Polka. But my song needn’t be your song…

Here’s how to pick the song that you get on your birthday…

  1. Make sure you are on a service that tells me when your birthday is. Facebook does this — and you don’t even need an annoying fancy app. Livejournal and Dreamwidth do this. Don’t make me remember; I’m getting older and can’t even remember… what was I talking about?
  2. Go to the List of Birthday Songs. This is the page of my blog that lists all the songs that are birthday related. If you have a song not on the list, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.
  3. Figure out what song you want. You can look through all the lyrics here.
  4. Comment on the List of Birthday Songs. Comment with your Facebook or other ID, and let me know what song you want and where you want it to be sung. Comments on the base list are best. I’ll try to move over comments made on this post or the Facebook or LJ/DW cross-posts, but no guarantees.

It’s as simple as that. I’ll try to honor requests made elsewhere, but Facebook history and comments are forgotten quickly, and I don’t always check old posts.

P.S.: To SpunkyLizard, who inspired this. You no longer seem to post on LJ, but Happy Birthday anyway.

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