January 2, 2002
Article of a Previous Moment
SALAMANCA, NY -- Captain and Mrs. James Israel were adopted into the Seneca Nation of Indians recently. Mrs. Israel was adopted by George Heron of the "Hawk Clan" and Captain Israel was adopted by Mrs. Harriet Pierce of the "Bear Clan." Pictured are Mr. Heron, Mrs. Captain Israel, Kirk Logan Israel, Mrs. Helen Harris, representing the Hawk Clan Mother; Mrs. Pierce; and Captain Israel
--The War Cry, March 27, 1982. The War Cry is the periodical of the Salvation Army...I remember making a nest of blankets in the back of the Station Wagon as my parents drove around doing the "Tavern Route", selling "War Cry"s. This clipping was unearthed by my cousin Scott Bedio, who is a Salvation Army historian. I've always tried to figure out if this makes me an adoptive member of the Seneca tribe or not...
Funny of the Moment
"All I'm saying is that people who say 'irregardless' are TOTAL CRETINS!"
"LOTS of people say 'irregardless.'"
"That's exactly my point! 'LOTS' of people ARE cretins!!!"
"Look: just because a person doesn't have "BOOK SMARTS" doesn't mean he or she is STUPID! That newscaster might have a lot of EMOTIONAL intelligence!"
"May I inject one teensy-weensy thought?"
"Emotional Intelligence is CRAP!!!"
--Roz Chast, New Yorker back page.(10 comments)
September 9, 2009
Today my dad would have turned 60.
6 years ago (six! wow, what a number - college plus half of high school! The speeding raceway of time reminds me why I was so anxious to start dropping these daily bread crumbs for later leisurely perusal!) I had noted I had lived as many days with him as without him, and wrote a kind of tribute that I probably shouldn't try to top here. In 4 years, May Day 2013 (assuming the 2012 doomsayers prove as wrong as every date-based doomsayer has been thus far) I will be as old as he was when he died. I guess I should get over it some time? Or maybe parents are just that kind of thing you never have to get over - maybe especially if you haven't had kids of your own.
(Again, you can calculate your own happy or sad little milestones with that date toy tool I threw together in 2001.)
I've tended to express my regret in terms of be being a graceless adolescent when he died, that so much of the becoming I've done, that I'm most proud of because of its deliberate nature -- I think before you're a teen, you kind of just are -- happened after he passed. But now, coming up to the ages I have memories of him being at, I can think too about how many interesting paths could have been before him... I listed a bunch of things he'd done in that essay, and sometimes I'm still in a bit in awe.
Heh, it's another dumb little milestone today - the tenth anniversary of the 9/9/99 release date of the Dreamcast, a video game system beloved in the hearts of fanboys, but ultimately walloped by the DVD-playing, somewhat-more-powerful Playstation 2. I wonder what my dad would have thought of me and video games - not that it's such a big, time-consuming thing for me these days, but over the years I've sunk a lot of dollars and a lot of hours into them - but they were pretty primitive back when he was watching my early fascination with them. Lately I've been pleased by one thought though... here's a (pooorly photographed) example of some of his cross stitch (an inuit design I believe)
Man, what is cross stitch and needlepoint if not a crazy kind of folksy pixel art? So our interests maybe weren't as far apart as all that. (Hell, we might've collaborated on some of this stuff, I'm sure modern stitchers use all sorts of scanning and conversion high tech tools, rather than being solely reliant on the type of pattern books my dad had (and I remember being kind of fascinated by as a kid.))
Sigh. Guess today I'll fire up the old Dreamcast and... I dunno, try to have some place that cooks hot dogs in beer or something, like I think my Dad said they did in Ohio...
Miss you, Dad, Happy Birthday.
January 13, 2011
Big fat lima beans,
Long thing string beans--
Those are just a few.
Big fat kidney beans,
Red hot chili beans,
Jumping beans too.
Don't forget shelly beans.
Last of all, best of all,
I like jelly beans!
--Lucia and James L. Hymes, Jr.
My dad and I had that memorized when I was a kid.
A lot more class than "beans beans the musical fruit"!
Rumors that future iDevices might lose the physical home button-that sounds really dumb; 4 finger swipes too difficult in too many edge cases
"The B in Benoit B. Mandelbrot stands for Benoit B. Mandelbrot."
November 10, 2012My family was so touched by what Josh wrote on the comments here the other day that they asked him to speak at my Uncle Bill's funeral today, but compared to the following tribute he wrote in some personal e-mail... well, I wanted to share it here. Josh has a combination of an truly open heart and adeptness with words that's all too uncommon these days...
You are right. He would never have wanted to live incapacitated after the stroke. He would have hated being dependent on others to take care of him. He always insisted on being independent--to go where and when he wanted to, to choose his own activities, and I think even more importantly to read what and when he wanted to. According to what I read in the emails, he would have lost all or most of his autonomy, at least in the short term, after the stroke and that would have made him unhappy.
As for the Alzheimer's, I saw that in March when I visited. He had forgotten how much time he and I had spent together talking about books and politics, going to the movies and dinner, and going to the bookstore. I had to remind him of these things, and I had to tell him, not that I minded, how much I love and admire him. He seemed surprised to hear that, but I know that before I moved to Japan in 2004, he knew that because we spent a lot of time together. It was almost like he forgot that when his mother died, he called me to go out for dinner and to a movie (this was before I moved in), and that when I lived there we spent hours together talking about literature and history and politics and watched a few PBS series together. I am glad that I saw him in March and that I got the chance to remind him of all that he meant to me and that he showed me how to be a great husband and friend.
When I think of the definition of a spiritual, religious, and righteous man, it is always Bill that comes to mind right away. If I were asked to name whom I think lived by Christian ideals, as I said to Susan a number of years ago, Bill is that person.
You are so fortunate to have had him as your uncle and to have spent your life with him. He's such a fount of love, knowledge, enthusiasm, and devotion. One of things that I noticed about you is how much of Bill is in you. When you and I hung out in Japan, I really was reminded of Bill in many ways. Of course, you are a wonderful guy and wholly by your own individuality, but I really felt that you had internalized Bill's quests for knowledge and his devotion to family and friends. I know that talking with him all those years ago,he really loves and admires you. He really looked up to you and admired everything that you have become.
I am sure that for the rest of my life, whenever you and I meet, I will be searching for Bill in you. Amber is really lucky to have you because you have inherited Bill's capacity for love and devotion. I am lucky, too, for your friendship.
Bill's legacy will live on through you, Kirk, and you should know that you are worthy of it and that you have become an amazing person in all aspects of your life. I am sure that Susan, too, sees how much you take after Bill and that you're being so close to her will comfort her and be a constant reminder of how good of man Bill was and you have become.
January 11, 2013In Cincinnati, our quarters had a built-in laundry chute to send clothes down to the laundry area in the basement. One evening my dad was taking a bath when my mom was doing the laundry downstairs. Realizing she had forgotten to bring down my jacket to be washed, she yelled up the chute "send down Kirk's jacket!". My dad decidedly failed to leap into action, continuing his bath while yelling back "I don't talk to no walls"-- probably our most durable family catchphrase, and illustrating our family's (or at least my) fondness of parlaying instant reactions into absurdist humor.
I'm semi-seriously adopting a new mantra: "I Like It". I want to program myself to cultivate my knack for seeing the good side of things.
"The best way to know life is to love many things."
Also: that photo was right next to
which reminded me of another recent favorite
(of course she's about 2 years younger than I was, I think that's a promising sign)
"For love, it seems, is like the peacock's tail: blind, yet full of eyes."
--Rachel E. Gross, in this Slate piece on peacock tails and sexual selection
Years ago I posted a link to this article, and while the title leaves a to be desired, it really does make me think about how perfect some Game Boy sprites were...
My favorite Aunt Ruth story is this: her accountant mojo and attention to detail spilled over into many parts of her life, and when my dad and I visited her and her family near Washington DC, she had an itinerary all laid out for us, hour by hour, to see the coolest stuff in the Capital region had to offer. I overheard my dad describe her as "paydirt" for this kind of trip.
Now I didn't know the word "paydirt"- 7 year olds don't know from prospecting- but I DID know That *I* didn't like orders, so I figured it wasn't good, like getting paid with dirt.
Of course, now as 41 year old freaking out about plotting a simple trip to Montreal, I really wish I had some kind of a Quebecois Aunt Ruth...
(PS my mom proofread this and reminded me it was "nuclear" family not "atomic" in the first paragraph)
advent christmas day
Messing around with a new logotype for http://kirk.is/ - I think I like the third one best... am thinking about making the "graph paper" background stretch at top across whole screen and then putting logotype on it, line up with the "graph paper", but over the content which will probably be fixed-width + centered.
It's fun teaching a computer to do the kind of graph paper font work I'd tool around with in high school. (See also "trifontula" http://kirk.is/2007/07/20/ ) In this case it would have been a lot easier had I not wanted to let the "graph paper" shine through.
This one I'm most struck by. The back says "7-23-76 From our balcony" which would be when we lived on St. Thomas. My Super Niece is now almost exactly the same I am in this photo.
Ahh, fashion. Makes me wonder when plastic cups became popular.
On Torbenson Road, where Cleveland's Booth Memorial Hospital was. And speaking of fashion! Candy stripe pants! And an amish beard. My dad was amazing.
Man. First time I glanced out the window this season and thought "dark already?" (quarter of eight)
Best part may be how you can see my dad's tie is a clip-on. Also his glasses may be, remarkably, more expansive than my own.
Jeezie Petes why are Clinton and Trump being interviewed on Monday Night Football? So much for escapism.