aging, grieving, dreaming, and laughing


    I have several disconnected things on my mind, so here they are in no particular order.


    I got my first birthday-related piece of mail today: an invitation to join the AARP now that I am turning fifty. I am old enough to remember when AARP stood for the American Association of Retired Persons, but that didn’t bring in enough money so now the letters are the official name, the same way Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC so you would think they quit frying stuff.

    In the course of conversations a couple of weeks back, I talked with an eighteen year old and an eighty-two year old. I got to thinking about it later and realized I am exactly the same number of years from either age. I don’t really have a point here, I just thought it was interesting.


    I also got a package in the mail today from my friend, Billy Crockett, who has a new instrumental CD called Passages that is fourteen original pieces for classical guitar. (Listen to an excerpt of Pilgrim I.” There is also a companion score available. To quote him:

    My hope is that you will, with Passages, be reminded of the wordless ways of the heart, of midnight voyages on the water, and of the simple gifts of old architecture and strings on wood.

    You can purchase the record through his web site.


    I read last night t
    hat Robert Altman died a week ago of leukemia. He was eighty-one. Altman was a creative and unique voice in American filmmaking, hitting some out of the park and striking out brilliantly with others. His last movie, A Prairie Home Companion, is a gem. His first breakthrough, M*A*S*H, is worth a look, along with The Player and Shortcuts. CNN has a nice video tribute here. He never won an Oscar, but was given a lifetime achievement award this past year. “The major studios, since I’ve been involved with Hollywood . . . they make shoes and I make gloves,” he said.


    Speaking of movies, one of my favorites kept coming to mind today. I think I’m going to watch it tomorrow: Miss Firecracker. It is the story of Carnelle, a struggling girl who thinks winning the Miss Firecracker Beauty Pageant in her home town of Yazoo City, Mississippi will set her free to leave town “in a blaze of glory.” Mary Steenburgen, Tim Robbins, Scott Glenn, and Alfre Woodard are also in the cast. It was directed by Thomas Schlamme, Aaron Sorkin’s partner behind The West Wing and Studio 60 fame.

    In the closing moments of the movie, Carnelle says, “I just want to know what I can reasonably expect out of life.” Scott Glenn’s answer is worth the trip.


    I close with a video clip I Stumbled Upon: Tyson the Skateboarding Bulldog.


    1. Wow – what a great way to start the day. New Billy Crockett music? WOO HOO!!!! Forget about the Christmas list – I’m buying it for myself. Right now.

      And a skateboarding bulldog? This, my friends, is why the internet is so valuable…

      AARP happens to be one of my favorite magazine; I get my parents’ copy each month. I’ve seven years to go before I can be in the club. Maybe my transition will be smoother since I’m learning the ways of the 50+ thought process by sneaking a look at their guide book each month…

    2. Being well and truly in my 50s now, I can say that getting the AARP package was a jolt.

      But Tyson is spectacular. Some things just can’t be taught…

    3. Hi Milton,

      Thanks for commenting on my blog and for the book recommendations! I’m intrigued by your dual roles as minister and chef. I am a pastor who loves to cook. my friend Seth wants to start a church in an abandoned restaurant and have worship around a meal…

      at my church we have communion/meal services once a month on Sunday evenings; really great.

      You talked about AARP; one of my best friends, Kenny, is a senior editor of AARP magazine.

      Have a great day!


    4. When I was in the 4th grade, I was heavily recruited by AARP. Seriously. Somebody got their database wires crossed and I received a membership card, newletters and numerous requests for paying dues. It was great fun.

      Now, maybe not so much… heh.

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