Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Snow days part 2

When I was in the first grade on a snowy morning I noticed my big brother was listening to the radio. Immediately curious, I asked what what going on. I found out that on snowy days people had to listen to WOR and Rambling with Gambling for school closings. Coming from a Herb Oscar Anderson household, this was a novelty. We had to listen to a rambling list of school closings, Pecquanack public, Riverside Country Day School, Teaneck public and then ... finally... Hackensack public. 

Hooray! we shouted. No school today. Everybody was smiling except dear old Mother. "Well, you boys better shovel the snow before Daddy gets here". Poor Daddy was at that moment braving the subways of New York and earning the family porridge. He would arrive later that afternoon. Mother would have a shot of booze waiting for him next to the door. 

For us the hard part was getting dressed. I had snow pants which I put over my regular pants. I remember they were white and required lots of work to get on. Years later when I was in high school I would ask my mother if I should put on my snow pants. I wonder what ever happened to them. Then came the gloves and snow hat. 

We finally went outside and  shoveled. After the shoveling was over we got on the sled and cavorted down Kaplan Avenue. If we still had energy we might then build a snow man or have a snowball fight with the neighborhood kids. After that it was time for hot cocoa. Snow days back in the day were a special treat. They've never been quite so much fun as a grumpy adult. 

Editor's note: I never found the article I wrote for Junior High Lights. I remember in the article writing about twisting the radio dial and coming upon a preacher who wanted his audience to "repent, repent I tell you". 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Do you know where your children are?

I've been listening to public radio and there have been discussions about the seventeen minutes walkout among students nationwide. Some schools ignored the situation, others tried to organize the protest themselves. Some schools made the kids walk to a certain location for the sake of "safety". One Catholic school had a prayer breakfast. (Guess they have to get that prayer in somehow).

It made me think about how in our high school days we got away with stuff that kids today would never get away with. I remember marching from Van Saun Park to Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey for the October 1969 Moratorium. I doubt my parents had any idea where  I was during that period of time. Once a few of us went to the Cooper Union in New York to pick up underground newspapers. Mom and Dad probably assumed I was somewhere in town that afternoon, not in a different state.

Senior cut day. Again I don't think my mother even knew that I wasn't in school that day. Not to say in Van Saun Park. Driven there in an adult free car. There were no cell phones either to keep tabs on us. Young people today are monitored much more closely than we were, for good or for ill. I guess the parents feel better safe than sorry.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hollywood doesn't have stars like it used to

I was just reading this article. It talks about why fewer people are watching the Oscars. It posits that in the old days, Hollywood had stars. Stars that would appear at the Oscars and make a tedious evening with Bob Hope worthwhile. The old days of Hollywood. Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robertson, Clark Cable, James Cagney, Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, William Powell and Myrna Loy. I'm sorry but I like the movies as much as the next fellow. But where are the stars? Frances MacDormand?

It's just not the same. Same for rock music. Sorry but where are the Beatles and the Stones today? Maybe it's the Internet that ruined it for us. Or Netflix. Or old age. But it's just not the same.

Should librarians carry guns

One of the big issues going around today is that of whether teachers should be armed. This is often the answer to those in the public sphere who are asking for more limits on guns and rifles among the general population. The answer seems to be if teachers have guns classrooms will be safe for all.

I have been thinking about whether librarians should be armed. After all, why should teachers have all the fun? I did very well at rifle range in Boy Scouts. Perhaps it would be neat to have a rifle leaning on the reference desk. Patrons might be less demanding. Perhaps people would pay their library fines if they knew the librarians had AK47s.

When someone who has an outstanding fine demands to make an inter library loan, librarians could use that line from Maltese Fountain, Keep on riding me and they're gonna be picking iron out of your liver”. Delayed openings make one disoriented. Perhaps it's time we got back to our morning coffee. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

I can't follow the story

The Hope Hicks story. The Nunes memo. I am confused. I can't follow the story. Apparently our president is as innocent as the new fallen snow. This whole Russian business was started by Hillary Clinton and the real story is her e-mails.
Either that are we are at the half-way mark of an interesting but short lived period in American history. We'll be nostalgic for these days the way we reminisce about the twist and hula hoops.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Phillip's head screwdriver

It's funny. The Phillip's head screwdriver keeps popping up in my life. I got a new tv. I quickly found out that the tv stands (yes there were two) had to be assembled using those four Phillip's head screws in the plastic bag. Later in the same week my Hoover floor cleaner wasn't putting any waste water in the refuse receptacle. Eventually I noticed the filter looked dirty. To get at the filter I needed to unscrew the thingamajig  attached with Philip's head screws.

I remember working in the basement with my father and he showed my a plyer and a Phillip's head screwdriver. It was a thrill to be allowed into the dark world of men and men's tools. Mother didn't know what a Phillip's head screwdriver was and neither did the girls up the street. Just like boys didn't know the dark arts of cooking and why you need self-rising flour for some desserts.

Today we are being told that it's time that men stop making more money than women. Yet when a woman needs to assemble a monitor to put on a presentation those damn Phililps' head screws show their faces. She has to find a man now. One who knows the dark arts of using Phillip's head screwdrivers and the difference between an awl and a  monkey wrench.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cold weather and kids

The other day I was driving to work and I passed a few schools on the way. I saw half mile lines of parents dropping off their kids. I saw cars parked with parents waiting for the school bus to pick up their kids.

Why in my day kids walked to school or to the bus. Mom gave them another sweater and off the kids went.

In cold weather did my mother ever drive me to school? No
Did my mother ever drive me to the school bus? No
I can't imagine dear old Dad doing such a thing.