Goodbye Dad; again.

Dad & Arica

My Dad with his first Granchild

Ten years ago tomorrow, November 30, 2001 my father died. Amongst the things I remember about this day is that Beattle George Harrison Died the previous day, but the news escaped me until the morning of my father’s passing. I also remember hearing a horrible Christmas song that morning about a young boy wanting to buy some new shoes for his dyeing mother. The song probably isn’t that bad. I guess a lot of people liked it. They made a TV movie about it. But I hated it. It always brought me back to the day I lost my Dad.

Losing my Dad was far more emotional and troubling than I would have ever predicted prior to its occurrence. I was a basket case for at least six months. I thought about him daily. And then slowly over time it got better.

At my Dad’s request he was cremated. Cheap and/or practical to the end. I bought the urn. His remains were kept in the possession of his widow. Not my Mom. She had been married to him his last 20 years beginning my Senior year in High School. Initially she talked of spreading his ashes in a couple of locations in Eastern Washington where my Dad frequently went camping in one of his RV’s (He rented RV’s for a living. So he had many over the years). But that never seemed right to me. Sadly I didn’t have a good alternative. It’s all just as well because the idea of spreading his ashes drifted away and never occurred.

My Dad’s widow died 2 months ago. I took possession of his ashes, and a few small items of his that she’d retained over the previous ten years. My office is now decorated with mallards, as my house was growing up.

Keeping his ashes in my home is not an alternative. He never saw this house. I bought it 2 years after his death. Keeping him here just wouldn’t be fitting. Fortunately I actually thought of the perfect place to spread his ashes, and that is what I am doing tomorrow

Dad's resting Place

He is where my Dad's ashes will spend eternity.

. I will drive up to Bellingham, where my father was born. Along the way I’m picking up his brother, my Uncle. Together we will drive to a favorite spot of my Dad’s along the Puget Sound waters south of the Canadian border. He spent countless days in this place as a kid. He took me and my brother to this place time and again. And in my 24 years as a father I have taken my family here innumerable times. I will dig a small hole in the beach when the tide is out, and will deposit his remains there, amongst the clams, and muscles and crab. I will then say a prayer. And then I will say goodbye Dad…again.

 

The Madness that is Black Friday.

Black Friday shoppers in the morning at Wal-Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

Black Friday has developed into a truly American institution, and shame on all of us for it. If ever there was a particularly unattractive aspect of Capitalism and materialism its Black Friday. When millions of people leave the comforts of their beds to be the first to save a few bucks for the privilege of buying the latest gadget or fashion we have completely lost track of our priorities.

While not one who ever liked big crowds, the idea of being in a big crowd while doing something I don’t particularly enjoy, shopping, is made that much worse. Included in this wonderful cavalcade of misery is another thing I hate, waiting in lines. I always have something better to do than to wait in a line.

Last year Americans spent $45-billion on Black Friday. For the uninitiated Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving.

A Turkey.

Image via Wikipedia

It is the biggest retail shopping day of the year. It is called “Black” Friday because for many retailers it is the day of the year in which their Profit and Loss statements are pushed out of the red and into the black, or profitability, for the year. The frenzy that is Black Friday has driven some of the largest retailers into a moronic game of one-ups-man-ship. Target and Wal-Mart have competed for who can open their stores first. It used to be 6am; then it was Midnight; now one of them (I won’t bother looking to see who) is opening at 10pm Thanksgiving and staying open all night for those early shoppers who absolutely must get there first. I shutter at the thought of pulling myself out of my turkey, ham and pumpkin pie induced coma and going to a department store on Thanksgiving night. No thank you.

Pumpkin pie, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a serious question: how many items have ever sold out on Black Friday never to be available again before Christmas? Any retailer or manufacturer worth two-bits wouldn’t short stock any item so that it would be gone in one single day not to be seen again within the month.

But when Stan Freberg released “Green Christmas” in 1958 he couldn’t have possibly envisioned just how bad things have gotten. I would ask how we can be truly thankful on Thanksgiving if we are so deliriously ravenous for that which the retailers are offering the very next day?

And Occupy Wall Street doesn’t have the banks and financial institutions to blame for this gluttony. The fat finger of blame can be pointed directly into the mirror. We have raised Christmas shopping up to such a level that to not do it makes you a pariah, selfish and uncaring for those for whom you should be running up your credit card debt to please; even if only for the few hours of Christmas morning.

I’ll be sleeping in on Friday and then reading my morning paper in my hot tub. And when Christmas finally arrives exactly one month later my children  and the rest of my family will be as joyful and truly thankful as they’ve always been on the day in which we celebrate Christ‘s birth.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

“Occupy Wall Street Crowd Blind to Benefits of Capitalism”

The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showin...

Image via Wikipedia

My son was interviewed by a local TV News station (click to see the news story) at the Occupy Seattle protests in downtown Seattle. I wish he’d conveyed to me what he felt was worth protesting. I would have shared with him much of what’s in the essay attached to this blog; though certainly not as eloquently as was done by its author, Hillsdale College Economics and Public Policy Professor William Simon. Click and read. A worthwhile enlightenment into why OWS is so off the mark.

“Occupy Wall Street Crowd Blind to Benefits of Capitalism”.

This entire essay was read, verbatim, by Rush Limbaugh during his nationally syndicated radio program the morning of November 18, 2011. Thanks Rush! Limbaugh is not a journalist. He’s an entertainer, and a very successful one. His greatest contributions come when he shares well researched information gathered by others rather than opening his big fat mouth.

Joe Paterno Fired: Penn State Students Riot in Protest – Yahoo! News

I take no satisfaction in this coaching legend having been fired after writing about it. The whole story is a tragedy. But it was the right decision.

Joe Paterno Fired: Penn State Students Riot in Protest – Yahoo! News.

Joe Paterno has forfeited the right to retire. He needs to be fired!

Paterno dodges questions

Joe Paterno avoids questions yesterday.

Legendary Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno may not have committed a crime, but he certainly betrayed a trust. News out this morning that he has decided to retire at the end of this season galls me, and turns my stomach. When you allow a child molester to continue hurting children and turn away from such hurtful crimes you are showing that you are no longer deserving of being paid your wages with the tax payers dollars. I hope the Penn State University Trustees act immediately and forcibly retire this old man and any other university employee who knew of the child assault on their own campus and did nothing about it.

Last Saturday the news of this story broke publicly. Jerry Sandusky a 23 year coach on Joe Paterno’s perennial major college power house football team was arrested and charged with 40 counts of child assault or molestation involving 8 boys ranging from 8 to 14 years of age. The crimes allegedly took place over an extended period of years. Included in the allegations was an incident in 2002 in which a 28-year-old assistant coach on the Paterno staff witnessed Sandusky in the Penn State locker room shower sexually assaulting a boy he identified as being approximately 10 years old. The coach didn’t intervene to protect the boy. He didn’t call police. He called the King of the campus. He called his boss…the next day. Joe Paterno was told in 2002 that his long time friend and colleague, Sandusky, was seen molesting a child in the shower on the campus of Penn State University, where Paterno has been the head coach longer than most humans have been alive. Paterno told his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley. Neither Paterno nor Curley called police. Nor did they take action against Sandusky. Sandusky, who retired in 1999 but continued to live near by the school, continued to have unfettered access to the campus and to the football program. Sandusky was seen working out at the school only last week.

Curley and another University official were arrested Saturday, too, for allegedly lying to a Grand Jury. They both immediately resigned from the University in order to pursue their legal defense of the perjury charges. Paterno was charged with nothing. The Pennsylvania state police commissioner said Paterno fulfilled his legal requirement when he relayed to university administrators that a graduate assistant had seen Sandusky attacking a young boy. But the commissioner also questioned whether Paterno had a moral responsibility to do more.

Of course he had a moral responsibility to do more. It’s outrageous that anyone would allow for more innocent children to be hurt by this bastard Sandusky. In the 1990s Sandusky established a non-profit foundation to help troubled youth in the Western Pennsylvania community and surrounding areas. Police allege he used this foundation in order to gain access to his victims. Paterno knew of this foundation. And he knew of the sexual assault in the shower. An imbecile with an IQ of 20 could come to the conclusion that Sandusky shouldn’t be allowed to be around kids from his foundation or anywhere else.

Joe Paterno has won more football games as a head coach than anyone in history. He’s won National Championships. He has represented his school well for 50+ years. But he chose to protect a friend over children. I suspect he chose to protect his own legacy over the lives of innocents. Molestation of a child is as fowl a crime as a human being can commit and to tacitly endorse it with your silence is not honorable and is not worthy of continued employment. As Paterno is shown the door someone should ask him “What if that was YOUR 10-year-old son in the shower with Sandusky?”, “What if it were your Grandson, nephew, or little brother?”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

I’m back!!!! My new blogsite.

Sunset at Birch Bay, WA

Hello, and welcome to my new blog site. I hope I can entertain and educate you. Based on past experience I know full well I will frustrate many who read the muses here. For I have done this before.

For the time being you can still read and view my previous blog site called American Perspective, which was on my soon to be replaced website www.totalbroadcasting.com. When we began to make progress on a new website I decided it wasn’t in the company’s best interest, or my own, to continue to draw people to an inadequate website and blog site since they would both soon be replaced.

Not being one to follow conventional thinking I’m not ready to declare a specific theme to this blog other than “Americana“. But unlike an old book, or piece of art the view expressed here will not be falling into disrepair. They’ll be about American politics, business, self-help, and being that I am an avid sports fan I suspect if I want to pen my perspective on the Seattle Mariners chances of making it to the World Series in 2012 I might just do so.

I hope you will do me the honor of Following or Subscribing to this blog. And while you’re at it Like us on Facebook. I think you’ll be glad you did. Whether you agree with me or not, I’m happy to engage in discussion. I have already posted some articles previously posted elsewhere in order to give you some sense of my writing and views. So…welcome. I hope we become frequent sharers of this space.

1980 meets 2010

This post was written and posted on my Facebook Notes in February 2010. – M Schuett

My H.S. Senior Class Portrait

M Schuett at 17

Long lazy weekends like this tend to lead me to daydreaming. Such was the case yesterday.

I was in the shower enjoying the warmth of the water spraying down. After spending an hour reading and relaxing in the hot tub my Saturday morning showers serve as a great opportunity for thinking about what there is to do for the remaining two days of my weekend. My mind was drifting into the chores that lay in front of me when I heard the bathroom door slide open. Hearing no one and deciding I’d soaked myself sufficiently for one day I shut off the water and opened my opaque glass sliding door and reached around for my towel. Finding that I was not alone wasn’t surprising. But finding who was standing there in my bathroom was a surprise.

As our eyes met I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed, though I stood in front of him dripping wet, with nothing but a towel between what God gave me and my visitors emotionless gaze. Though I’d not seen him in 30 years I knew him immediately by the pimpled face, the slender build, and the casual jeans and t-shirt. He was me. He was 16. And he somehow seemed perfectly just and proper being here in this place, at this time.

He said, “Hey”, as a sort of friendly but not too friendly greeting. I said, “Hey” back at him, not wanting to seem uncomfortable. His blank expression turned nervous as I stepped toward him out of the shower. And he looked like he wanted to say something. Towelling off is never a long process for me as the water seems to evaporate off me as it does when a wet skillet is placed on a hot flame. So I hung my towel, squeezed my naked body by him in the doorway and proceeded across my room and got dressed. While I did so he kept glancing at me with an increasingly uncomfortable appearance.

I asked, “What? What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing.”, he lied.
“What?”
“Don’t worry about it”, he said in the typical annoyed voice of a teenager.
As I looked at ME I remained comfortable with the oddity of the situation. And feeling comfortable stated what I was thinking, “Man, I forgot how bad your acne was. It’s a shame Dad never took you to a doctor.”
Obviously hurt and defensive he finally revealed what had clearly been on his mind, “Ya…well I can’t believe how FAT you got!”
Even at a young age I’d mastered the over-the-top biting insult when I felt slighted. Some day I’ll write a manual on the fine art of killing a house fly with a sledgehammer. When it comes to intra-personal relations it’s a skill I’ve sadly perfected since the time in my life when I finally grew out of being a naïve child. At this time I was just staring at that age.
“Woe.” I said, “Take it easy. Being me I thought we could express ourselves openly. I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“Ok, but since you are me perhaps you can be a little more sensitive and remember how embarrassed I am by my pimples?”
He was right. I was insensitive. Trying to lighten the mood I tried to be jovial about his comment and only came out sounding defensive. “OK. Sorry. Ya know at my age I’m really not that fat. You have nothing to worry about. Women love this manly body.”
He hesitated then said, “How can you let yourself get this way? I swore I never want to look like Dad.” He spoke in the present tense, oblivious to the fact that our father had long ago passed away.
I could tell he was uncomfortable with what might be laying ahead of him in the next thirty years. If he hadn’t seen me getting out of the shower maybe he would be more at ease.
I led him out of my bedroom and led him into my office at the bottom of our stairs. My family was gone running errands. So I was alone with myself. In my office he observed my Mariner’s bobble heads, my collection of baseball cards, my miniature Seahawks

Wage the Seahawks Fan

helmet and my cougar painting all decorating my bookshelf.

“What’s wrong with you?” he demanded, “No Sonics’ stuff?”
“I packed it all away when they left town.”
“They left town? Come on?”
In 1980 when this person, ME, was sixteen the  Seattle Supersonics were the defending NBA champs

The final logo of the SuperSonics

The final logo of the SuperSonics

and more important in my life than girls, school, Friday night, or absolutely anything else. It would have to be nearly impossible to grasp that the team he’d dreamed of playing for and later shifted his dream to being the team’s play by-play announcer; was now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You know the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl”, changing the subject while I settled into my desk chair.
Wanting to demonstrate his sports acumen he confidently retorted, “I imagine with that Kingdome crowd cheering them on they went to the Super Bowl a few times.” He was smiling now and had moved past the discomfort of the earlier acne comment upstairs. I didn’t want to bring him down again by mentioning that the Kingdome’s demolition was now more than ten years in the past.
The sixteen year old me asked why I had so many Mariner collectibles. “They suck”, he opined. I told him he was right. Then I told him how Dave Neihaus on the radio had been my only friend through lonely summers nights away from home, by myself, in small towns trying to build a radio career. I tried to explain in terms he could understand that former Yankee Lou Pinella came to town in the 90s and turned one of the all time sorriest sports franchises into a winner. I told him of perhaps the greatest player of a generation having created his stardom in Seattle.
“Ken Griffey is the greatest player of a generation? How old is he? He plays for the Reds. He played for the Big Red Machine.”, he was excited and confused.
OK, I’d missed a spot. “Wait a minute, wait a minute.”, I said,

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997)

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) (Photo credit: iccsports)

Ken Griffey JUNIOR, JUNIOR. He’s the son.”
With that thought followed the realization of how little this kid knew. For instance he didn’t know that he was a kid. At the age of sixteen he knew as much as any adult, or so he thought. As he fiddled with my bobble head collection and quizzically viewed my collection of business and self-help books he tried to hide all the contempt that was welling up inside him. Without saying it I knew he couldn’t understand why I had embraced the more-or-less typical middle class upwardly mobile life that best described the house that the sixteen year old me had just walked through and the room he was now observing. For him at that age my life as he had preliminarily seen in these first few minutes was far from the various dreams he was envisioning for himself in what was his sophomore year in high school at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School. He was still dreaming of being an architect, like Frank Lloyd Wright. He had only recently understood his athletic limitations and realized he would not play in the NBA or even the NFL.
Mini-me interrupted my thoughts pointed to the LCD computer monitor on my desk and asked “What’s that?”
Of course he wouldn’t know. “It’s a computer monitor”, pointing to the PC under my desk.
“Woooooe! You have your own computer?”
Gesturing to the chair across from my desk, “Sit down”, I said, ”I have a lot of ‘splaynan to do”
Obediently he sat and looked at me as I began to explain my life; the stops and starts the failures and what I considered the successes.
“You dropped out of college? Why’d you do that?”
“You were a radio DJ?” With this I seemed to impress him.
“What do you mean country music?” He was no longer impressed.
“Married? Twenty three years? Is she a fox?”
“Wait a minute…I’m married when I’m 23 years old? Do I know this girl?”
Just then the phone rang; my cell phone. My ring tone song filled the room and the young me jumped out of his seat in a startled reaction. I held up my hand and instructed him to sit back down. After quickly dispatching the friendly caller I explained to ME what a cell phone was and that it went with me wherever I went. I then retreated to his computer question and explained that almost everyone had at least one computer in their home. He then asked, “Why?” He caught me by surprise with this one. I couldn’t adequately answer this inquiry.
I decided to leap outside the small world of my existence and tell him what else had changed.
“I married a black woman only you don’t call her black. You call her African-American
“The richest man in the world lives in a house on Lake Washington.”
Ronald Reagan became President and amongst many other things is credited with ushering out the existence of the Soviet Union.”
“We impeached a President in the 90s.”
“Homosexuals want to get married, legally. And in some places already have. And, oh by the way, two of your cousins are gay.”
“No nuclear weapons have been used on anyone, anywhere at any time.” This stymied him. At his age at his time in 1980 thirty years passing without anyone using a nuclear bomb on someone else must have seemed highly unlikely.
“Iran was still an enemy; though we did get the hostages out.”
“Terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and crashed them to rubble on the ground.” “You mean those two tall buildings in the King Kong movie?” “Ya, those buildings.”
Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five was perhaps the biggest entertainer of the previous 30 years. And he recently died.”
Then I said something that really surprised him, “We have a black President. And his name is what?”
He asked about his friends from that time; Bennett Barrick, Lee Gilbert, Jeff Christianson. He was dismayed that I’d not seen Lee or Jeff since graduation night in June 1982, and that I’d not seen Bennett since our 1987 wedding day.
His queries were what you would expect under the farcical situation taking place; and he didn’t seem too uncomfortable. The more we talked the more I realized the truly surprising aspect of now versus then. His worries and want of friends, his insecurities, his enthusiasms and his dreams were the same. They were mine, still. His explosive excitement and displays of annoyance even anger were familiar but largely replaced by a more restrained demeanor in today’s me. The worldly differences, and the technological trickery that we call advancements were momentarily interesting then lost in the fascination of the more personal changes in me and my friends. In summation he was much like my son. He was innocent. But largely the same person. This thought brought a smile to my face. And then he asked the big question.
“So what have we learned? What can you tell me?”
“You want to know what I’d do differently?” I asked.
“No.” he said. “I figure what you’ve learned will answer that question. I just want to know what you’ve learned; how you’ve grown.”
First I said I’ve learned to happily accept friendship wherever it’s offered and never worry too much if the person offering the friendship is the coolest, or the best looking, or even the most fun. Friendship is a treasure under any circumstance.
He asked, “Are you saying I’m a bad guy?”
“No. But you are unfulfilled.” I answered. “Friendships color your world, your life. And you can have more of them.”
Secondly I said I’ve learned to move past disappointments. I’ve learned they are inevitable and that if you embrace them too hard they become part of you. If you let them go they’re only part of the past.
“Anything else?” he asked.
I told him I’ve learned to do what makes me happy. I said, ”Time between where you are in 1980 and where I am in 2010 has been a short period of time. And now I know that the time between now and the day I die, whenever that may be, will be even shorter. The time we have is fleeting and valuable. Spending it being angry, worrying about money, or stagnant with immobilization is a waste of time and a detriment to your happiness.”
“All that seems so simple.” he said.
I closed our encounter by telling the sixteen year old me, “It is simple. And it’s hard.”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.