Tag: Family

Did I Just Get a Message from God?

roadmap to my future?

I walked into my office this morning to find my Master Plan to Rule the World peeling off my thinkboard.

Oddly enough my “roadmap” for managing the family trust fund (which btw was taped on top of the Master Plan) was still on the thinkboard. Is this God’s way of telling me to stay focused on the roadmap?

Like Jesus on Toast

How much attention should we pay to random, yet seemingly meaningful happenings? Maybe such events are just Jesus on toast.

Or maybe something deeper is afoot. If a random pattern is indistinguishable from a picture of a face, then how are we to say that it is not, in fact, a picture of a face. Likewise if a fortune cookie or a supermarket horoscope is accidentally meaningful, then how can we say it has no meaning?

I guess the only way to know for sure is to butter the toast and bite.

To Be a Good Parent, It Helps to Be a Slacker

Fitz Cahall of the most excellent Dirtbag Diaries, has a most excellent side project blog in connection with Steve Bohrer and Danny Maynor. Three dads working together to “keep the Stoke” through that long season we call parenthood. The Outdoor Parent is a different kind of blog…one that doesn’t tell you how to keep your kids safe. It tells you how to keep them alive.

(Note to fathers: if you’re setting a slackline for the first time, be sure and set it a little lower than the length of your inseam. Unless you’re quite sure that your family is the right size.)

Talkin’ Out of School

I love being a parent. It’s the homework I can’t stand.

If you’re struggling with your kid’s (or own) homework this post on Make Use Of might help: 10+ Web Tools to Save Your Butt in School includes the ultimate Hail Mary homework pass: File Destructor. Here’s the old “dog ate my homework” with a twist…it’s the teacher’s dog. File Destructor creates corrupted files make the instructor believe that her own computer is the culprit.

The section on plagiarism detection is worth reading. You can get dinged for plagiarizing entirely by accident…ask me how I know.

One thing I’d like to see in this list is where to get pics for your projects…legally. As I’ve posted earlier, you can get bazillions of free photos from the Library of Congress, there’s also the Time-Life archive (for personal noncommercial use only), the Los Angeles Times Photo Archive curated by UCLA, along with other image resources.

As much as I like the name Pink Monkey (sounds like something from the hot zone of the next viral pandemic), I found Bookrags more thorough.  Doing a search for the 1907 J. M. Synge play “Playboy of the Western World” (that ref might do some interesting things to my Google Ads, heh, heh) I found scads of hits…mostly premium pay-for links, but marginally useful at least…on Bookrags. Bookrags has a filter so you can screen out the premium content. But it doesn’t seem to work too well.

Finally, if you’re dead serious about reducing the effort that goes into homework, you might want to consider these pre-chewed pencils from Concentrate.


Williamstown: Barking Up the Family Tree

Williamstown Circa 1930By all appearances Williamstown is a typical Irish farming community. The population is about 300. The town consists mainly of three pubs, each next door to the other, and a church across the street. What’s different about Williamstown is that two of the three pubs are up for sale while the church is undergoing a major rennovation. I wish we had a chance to meet that priest. He must have tongues of fire dancing above his head.

Campbell's MeatballsWe stopped in the local market to see if anyone might know something about the Dillons (Maureen’s grandmother’s family) or the Nees (her great-grandmother’s family.) The woman running the cash register gave us the name of another woman who keeps all the parish birth and death records. Unfortunately I was so taken by the Campbell’s Meatballs “in AWESOME onion gravy” that I didn’t catch the name, while Kathleen and Maureen were too busy trying to de-broguify what the woman was telling us that they didn’t catch it either.

Everything happened so fast that I’m not sure I have the details straight. Next thing I knew I was in Mick Kennedy’s bar with a pint of Guiness in my hand and we were talking to a man named Finnegan who seemed to remember his father talking about the Dillons. I think he said that his father was a shoemaker and Finnegan used to run errands. The Dillons lived in a red house. But maybe his name was Ferguson and Dillon was the shoemaker. And I really think that Finnegan is the name of the woman who keeps the parish records.

Possible Site of Dillon Home

Next thing we knew Finnegan-Ferguson, whom we later gave the unfortunate name Meat-in-the-Trunk because he had a raw pot roast in a loosely knotted plastic bag pleasantly stewing on the rear shelf of his Ford Focus, was leading us out to the possible site of the Dillon home. Each of us took a turn poking his or her head through the hedgerow to catch a glimpse of “where it all began.”

Finnegan-Ferguson Meat-in-the-Trunk was very enthusiastic, taking us next to the villiage cemetery. We stampeded the place but most of the limestone grave markers were too weathered to read. A caretaker who was working at rennovating a nearby grist mill took me to one side. “There are no Dillons buried there. Some Nees, though. In the Northwest corner.” He took off his baseball cap and scratched his head. “Oh, and say hello to George for me. Tell him I don’t like him very well.”

At that point a green Eurovan pulled up. The woman in the passenger seat told Maureen that she remembered Rita (Dan, Maureen and Kathleen’s mother) from school. That was convincing proof that we’d hit the mother lode, so to speak.

I think some addresses were exchanged, meaning that I should end this post with a TO BE CONTINUED and a handful of ellipses.

Williamstown Cemetery