Monday, July 25, 1994

Daddy Sang Bass

WHO? Listen up. When things are running relatively smoothly, and you are getting by, it's very easy just to take things for granted. There reaches a point where you become so wrapped up in the routine, your work, that it's almost easier to ignore someone who is going through rough times than it is to be sympathetic. In essence you stop caring or learn only to selectively care. Why should you get involved? Why drag yourself down? It's easier to walk away than stay and join the crowd. Yet if you do reach that stage, isn't it time to wonder if it's you or them who has something to work on? What good am I if I'm like all the rest, if I just turn away when I see how your dressed.? I thank a Dairy Queen for reminding me of that valuable lesson in what life is about this past week. I've had many a moving and wonderful phone conversation (being a former phone professional) over the past few years, but none I appreciated and enjoyed more than the one I had the other night. Opening up, and the process of discovery, I might be on to something really special here. I just have to remember to use my journalism background and ask all the right questions. Stay objective. Someone near and dear to me once identified a strength of mine as being a good listener. We should appreciate and be thankful for our gifts. That's something I won't ever take for granted again. It's not a curse, it's a blessing, a matter of perspective.

WHAT? We began our weekly column last week with a tidbit about the importance of fruit juice. Quite frankly it made no sense, had no purpose like so much that has come to fill these pages and yet it was written as a springboard to get the creative juices flowing, or so I thought. Monday I went downstairs to the break room at work and got my usual can of grapefruit juice. On the way back up I rode the elevator with a woman who said she didn't ever drink fruit juice but that mine looked good. We were joined by a woman who jumped into our conversation by telling us that over in the World Trade Center, they have freshly squeezed orange juice every morning. Then last Friday I got called up by someone from the Health Department who surveyed me on health concerns. One of the first questions was how much fruit juice I currently drank and how much I thought a healthy person should drink. Coincidences? I think not. Just further proof the newsletter has its hand on the pulse of America's hottest trends.


*My first girlfriend was Loni Anderson's daughter?

*I once received college credit for auditioning for the dating game?

*Me and Max's stupid pet trick is that we sound exactly the same when we eat corn chips?

*In May, I may merrily, or might meekly marry a Mary?

*I once saw Christian Laettner at a "Hot Dogs and More"?

*I once bagged Frank Viola's groceries?

*I once ate dinner with Dave Winfield?

*I once talked to Prince's manager on the Secretary of State's corporation information lines?

*In the fall, my heart's inspiration will be in the nation's capital?

WHEN? And when a poll is taken showing a disturbing split- blacks believe the accused is innocent and won't receive a fair trial and whites believe the accused is guilty, where does that leave the rest of us that don't fit into those two groups? Are our opinions important? Doesn't that show the poll itself is skewed somehow or disruptive in its implications?

WHY? If you were accused of a crime and if you were absolutely 100% innocent, wouldn't you want all the evidence to come out? Wouldn't the more information that came out increase your side of things? Why would you be trying so hard to get evidence thrown out, like the results of DNA testing?

HOW? A former acquaintance once asked me why I had to have a favorite, favorite Beatle, favorite Bangle, favorite soda pop, favorite comic strip... why I couldn't just like them all, take things for what they are? When the issue becomes trying to treat people fairly, people you must treat fairly, how does this favoritism thing get solved? Everything changes, everything passes, you do what you think you should do... But why set yourself up in the first place? How to you deal with it?

Monday, July 18, 1994

Long Distance Dedication

The self addressed stamped envelope inevitably returns.

As we approach the so called "dog days" of summer, it is important to keep in mind that you should drink plenty of liquids. I prefer fruit juices myself, and Al has been very good at keeping the warehouse stocked with Lemon Sunkist. Water works, as do most soda pops. I think most Americans enjoy a good beverage. Just do it in moderation. Which reminds me that next week we begin a brand new regular feature: a health column. Enjoy, and let's stay healthy out there...


Apologies go out this week to Denise for our continuing misspelling of the word Northrop in her weekly concert summary. It's a long story but suffice it to say thanks to my brother, the former U of M marching band stud, I spent many a day down at the old auditorium. So when I saw Denise's list the word immediately jumped out at me. I was sure it was spelled, Northrup. I even looked it up in the Minneapolis phone book which verified my version of things. But upon further review, elsewhere in the very same source, the white page business listing has it spelled with an "O" and I have no ground left on which to stand. You see, last week I took the state's Consolidated Clerical Exam so that my recent promotion can become official. I flew by the math, the supervising, the alphabetizing and sorting portions of the test but when I got to spelling and proofreading I hit a wall. Despite my journalism degree, I absolutely struggled miserably on that part of the test. I'm sure it won't surprise a few (i.e. Nurse Jane), but after awhile, damn it, all the words looked wrong. I even began to think, was sure, there was a silent letter "h" in the word off. Sorry Denise.


Elsewhere in this issue you will find a copy of Emmett's newsletter he gives to the employees of #71 every week with their paychecks. After reading last week's edition, I thought a lot of what Emmett includes would be pertinent to other stores. So I asked him if he wouldn't mind sending us a copy every week. In the future, we might not reproduce the entire thing but pick out the information that other store's employees might find useful. (Although Barb's layout is most pleasant.) The vision I see in the future is for each of the stores to do something similar, and then we can devote space in this newsletter to actual store news! What a concept!!! Anyway, thanks Emmett (and Barb) and a reminder to the rest of you: we would like to hear any store news that is important to others. This is the perfect place for that, don't you know. (P.S. Thanks also Emmett for the Dylan LP. It was much enjoyed and needed this week...)


I've had a good weekend. Did what I'm doing more and more often: spent the weekend with my volunteer firemen friends and we got real drunk and tried to flush a canned ham down the toilet.


An explanation of last week's effort in this very space- an inadvertent memory came into mind while I was writing my little letter to my newest nephew. I got on the subject of buses and into my head came a most fond memory of a most fond acquaintance who begins grad school soon. We were driving down University Avenue on a very snowy and slippery afternoon. She was a bit nervous as was I, over the driving conditions, and we weren't saying much to each other (as was all too common at that stage of our relationship). Out of nowhere I heard her softly say, "Bless the Lord." It seemed a very odd thing to say at that point, but I let it pass without questioning its meaning. When we got to her place, the curiosity finally was too much so I asked her why she had uttered her blessing. She began to laugh and said, "I didn't say 'bless the Lord,' I said, 'bus alert.' I was trying to warn you about that bus..." It was the perfect microcosm of our relationship: one of us thinking of something the other wasn't; spiritual yet day to day; all too often misfiring on the communication, yet deep down a humorous understanding of each other. Good luck Alex.

Monday, July 11, 1994

Gum on the Soles

To: Jonathan Maeda Trygg (born July 7, 1994)

From: Uncy Dave

Subject: Getting to this point

Well Jonathan, as you sit there taking your first breaths of air (oxygen, it's a gas!), as the people who stand around you coo and gurgle, as time flies by, as you wonder what's going on, as you try to comprehend just enough to satisfy yourself, you've got to be asking yourself what it's all about. So from the tip of my tongue, to the back of my mind, to the top of my head down to the souls through my feet, I offer you the following bit of wisdom I somehow managed to stumble upon along the way- Life is a song.

It all must seem so confusing right now as you struggle with the commotion around you, the bright lights, the darkness, the noises, the smells, the stuff in your diaper, and as you will find out, not much changes (except hopefully, your diaper). Life is about struggling and learning to deal with the day to day tedium as well as the accidents, the disappointments that crop up.

Let me share with you a moment I had with an old friend from Cheapo, Christina, from the now world renown Tina and the B-Side Movement. We were both reflecting on hard times and we found we shared a common fear: that once things straightened out and we reached our individual goals, right as things finally seemed to be OK, it was inevitable something would happen like being hit by a bus. We shared a fear of happiness, a fear of struggling so long only to lose the sun as it finally appears over the horizon.

Jonathan,on your birthday I had one of those days. Which these days happen all too seldom but I do feel lucky that they happen at all. Maybe it's a temporary state of mind, and maybe that bus is on its way, but you know as I approach the big three-oh, it seems to me life isn't full of the melodrama, the strife it once held. Maybe I'm numb. Maybe I'm just wiser. I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be, nor am I with the people I thought I might be with, but you know, life is full of possibilities. Your dreams may not turn out the way you had them planned, but sometimes your hopes have a way of working themselves out. Here was my day, on your day:

Stuck inside these four walls. Sent inside forever. Never seeing no one, nice again. It took me awhile to get to this point, but I find myself spending at least forty hours a week inside a six by eight cubicle trying to process a mountain of work while trying to put out small office fires. If you do something right, people expect you to do more; if you do something wrong, people cry. Just the way it is. So it was a typical work day. (Well, not really. It was supposed to be a day off but I had to go in.)

I was finally able to leave around noon. Ying Yang. The morning was gone, but I had much to look forward to. Time is as individual as you and I. When you share it with someone, you have to appreciate that. I was to have lunch with my pal, my soulmate. Reliable like gum stuck on your the sole of your shoe. A Chinatown buffet followed by smokes and excellent conversation. Like youoohoohooh. Mama, youoohoohooh, Mama, youoohoohooh.

And it was softball night, which of course is usually the highlight of my week. Arrived at the same time as another, pitter patter pitter patter. Your future aunt? Tee hee. We warmed up. Can't stop time, can't say a word, dweeb dweeb dweeb. If only we could read minds. "He never says anything to me when he sees me, but yet he calls me up a lot..." I led off the game and there I was standing with a metal bat in my hands as the thunder boomed around me. Would Thor strike me down? No, and I even hit a single. But the skies let loose and we all scampered for cover. The evening cut way too short. The rain exploded with a mighty crash, as we fell into the sun. As the first one said to the second one there, I hope you're having fun.

We went our merry ways only to wait for another week, which now days seem to arrive faster and faster. And a bell was ringing in the village square for the rabbits on the run. So I came back home and prepared myself for upcoming tests. I was disappointed the night ended so quickly but I gathered my thoughts and said my prayers before bedtime. Then you arrived.

Bless the Lord, (or as my friend Alex might hear it, BUS ALERT) Jonathan you have much to look forward to. Please believe me that the longer you can last, the more worthwhile it all becomes. Work, play, sleep, eat, drink, sing the song in your heart. Avoid the bus. That's all there is. Happiness in simplicity. Who knows what tomorrow knows, what tomorrow will bring? The important thing is learning that there will be plenty of tomorrows, you may mess up today but for now, there is always another day.

Monday, July 4, 1994

The Air We Breathe

Oxygen, it's a gas! The newsletter has tried to avoid controversial issues in our two year existence but this week we will go out on a limb. We do support the values of air. We even encourage everyone to inhale. Breathe in... Breath out...

Some might prefer something flashier like nitrogen or hydrogen, helium, or even lithium. We'll stick with the familiar. Oxygen is so common after all, it's everywhere you go. Most of us take it for granted, but where would we be without it? It's been around for a long time, everywhere from Bedrock to current days in air-conditioned movie theaters. By its very dependability, oxygen will always (hopefully) have a place in our hearts. You can't see it, you can't always smell it, but you have to have faith that it is there. Its existence is one of those things to ponder, one of those mysteries that can keep one up at night. Even the living dead.

We all share air. We have to. No one has bottled it up and sold it as a commodity as of yet. So it can be a comforting thought that long lost, as well as potential loved ones, breathe just the same as you, me, Barney, Fred and even Dino. But even air can go stale, and it is clear that the smoggy winds that blow over Hollywood are in need of some freshening up.

When television was introduced as a mass medium, it was criticized for its content, a wasteland as one dubbed it. Compared to its big screen brother, television took a lot of flack for the mindless fare it offered to its viewers. Often it was guilty of recycling old ideas. Yet it used to be television got some of its better shows from the movies: M*A*S*H, The Paper Chase, Breaking Away, Heat of the Night, Fame, Alien Nation, Bosom Buddies (a relative of Some Like It Hot); although TV diluted the originals into something more accessible, those remakes maintained a quality often lacking in other shows.

Now days, there has been a reversal in the pipeline. Movies more and more are being based on old TV shows to the detriment of all. Through the miracle of syndication and cable, our popular culture has become saturated with old TV shows causing a wave of nostalgia, of people fondly, for some reason, recalling the shows they used to watch as they were growing up.

It began with either Star Trek or The Muppet Movie and has grown into an epidemic in the following years: The Fugitive, Beverly Hillbillies, The Addams Family, Dragnet, The Twilight Zone, Maverick, The Coneheads, Wayne's World, The Blues Brothers, Batman, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the upcoming Mission Impossible as well as TV movies reuniting the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. Too much of a good thing, even oxygen will kill you. Watching this trend continue, like watching many of these movies, is like holding your breath for a head rush; momentarily pleasurable but in the long run, hard on the brain. In twenty years will there be major motion picture recreating Home Improvement or The Nanny? (Maybe that already has been done- The Hand that Rocks the Cradle...)

You might be able to infer or decipher from all this, that last week I went to see the Flintstones. I have to admit, I enjoyed it much more than I should have. It was fun even though it represented something that's wrong with this world. So why exactly did I enjoy it? I enjoyed the lack of pretension, the love that the makers of the movie had for the original TV show. The show itself never strived to mean anything. The movie certainly lived up to that standard. The spirit of the movie was to make real what used to be a cartoon- everything from a painstaking effort to recreate the theme, to Fred's twinkle toes bowling style to the dinosaur/lizard garbage eating disposal. My favorite moment was Fred's toes wiggling, dancing on air. Dancing just as enjoyable as another Fred from a far away time. The movie seemed strangely subdued, the usual Hollywood comedic energy missing, yet the visuals were constantly creative and thus the effort made in creating this tribute was admirable. OK I became another victim to mass culture. I'll be the first to admit I'm a dweeb. And on this Independence Day I salute any of you who are truly free. Yabba dabba doo to you all. Breathe in, breathe out.