Wednesday, January 05, 2005

New Year's Leftovers

Seeing as how my last attempt at posting quotes went so well, here's another. This from Italian philosopher and novelist (The Name of the Rose) Umberto Eco. He's no Dr. Evil, but I found this provocative:

"I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us."

Think about the things you learned from your folks that they weren't necessarily trying to teach you.

My mom taught me that it's never a bad idea to have a couple of show tunes memorized. (If you can remember the choreography, even better.) And that a little chocolate goes a long way. But one of the most important things she taught me was that marriage isn't about getting your way but surrendering your will.

My dad unintentionally taught me that being late doesn't make you virtuous, but it does make you adventurous. He taught me to challenge the biological precepts of food refrigeration and that eating mayonnaise that's been stored in the pantry isn't a death sentence. But more than anything, by leaving show business and devoting the best years of his life to finding safe homes for at-risk kids, he taught me that the underprivileged aren't all there by choice. And that you're probably never too far from the will of God when you err on the side of mercy.


In less than 48 hours over Christmas Eve and Day, both Johnny Oates and Reggie White died. One after a long illness, one suddenly in his sleep. Both way too young. I had the privilege of covering both men as a sports reporter. Each was a deeply committed follower of Christ, though White was always more vocal (which perhaps explains why he was chronically hoarse). In an era in which sports figures' faith is so publicly professed, these two backed it up in private. Writing a 1997 article in Wineskins Magazine about Oates' epiphany in the bowels of Yankee Stadium remains one of the highlights of my career as a journalist.


Two words I want to use more often in 2005: laureate and shard. Honorable mention goes to mawkish.


With so much of the world's attention focused on relief efforts in areas hit by the tsunami, Playboy has announced you'll soon be able to download playmate pictorials directly onto your iPod. We all have to do our part. Thousands dead, millions starving or homeless. At least I have my pocket porn.


One of the undeniable joys of Christmas is giving gifts to loved ones that you really would like yourself, then commandeering said gift and playing keep-away. Got the Saturday Night Live Best of Will Ferrell DVD for Amy and can't quit rewinding the skit with Garth Brooks selling his soul to Ferrell's Satan in exchange for a hit song...except Satan keeps coming up with crap, and eventually the deal is scrubbed. Funniest SNL sketch I've ever seen.

Then there's the handheld Tetris game my sister gave Andrew. He's played it twice, me the hourly equivalent of four days. I now speak fluent Russian and suddenly have a taste for borscht, which, by the way, tastes really good after being left unrefrigerated for a couple of days. Thanks, Dad.


Katie said...

You have to check out all of the extras on the "Best of" DVD. The scratched "Old Prospector" sketch cracks me up the more I watch it, because Fallon and Sans can't keep it together, but Will Ferrell is such a pro! They already have his Vol. 2 out- not quite as good as Vol. 1, but still worth the $9.99 at Target.

Joel said...


This is by far your best post of the year!

(insert cricket here)

Seriously, great post and I love the Ferrell scene where he plays the disfunctional dad at the dinner table and freaks out about driving a Dodge Stratus and how that should garner him some respect among the family. Hilarious!

Nice quote from Umberto Eco too. I shall call him "mini E"