Does Your Pet Have a Facebook Page?

Does your pet have a Facebook page?

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Our dog, Milo, recently had a birthday, and some of his friends on Facebook wished him a “Happy Birthday.” Yes, that’s right, he has a Facebook page. He thanked those who wished him the best for another year, with his traditional “Woof!” at the end, and as he is now older than I am, clocking in at a 49 years, he wonders if he should maybe shut down the page. Okay, he’s not wondering that, right now he’s probably just wondering when I’m going to give him his breakfast while I’m typing this, but his introduction into Facebook wasn’t out of my being a “trying to treat our dog like a human” thing, he ended up with a page simply because I was in full Farmville mode and needed more “neighbors.” His having a page helped many a time, through the proliferation of “…ville” games, and even into the Candy Crush era, but it was kind of funny, as his posts would show up on my wall as “Liking” the latest game, that my friends would undoubtedly become “friends” with Milo.

He doesn’t give as many updates as he used to, mostly because you can’t have two Facebook apps on your phone and it’s too much of a pain to log out and back in on the app, so when we are out and “he” wants to let his friends know where he is checking in at, it’s up to me to quit being lazy and do the extra steps.

Maybe once I get hooked into the next game he’ll be a little more active, but for now his page sits kind of quietly, like many a Facebook page, where people wish their friends, who probably don’t even pay attention to Facebook any longer, Happy Birthday, and never even notice their “friend” didn’t thank anyone. I do wonder, though: Does your pet have a Facebook page?

That’s it for this one! I”m Andy!! L8R!!!

Thanksgiving – Time for a Break or To Move On?

It’s Thanksgiving time as I’m writing this, and I have a lot to be thankful for, and as much as a time it is for giving thanks, it’s also a time for reflecting for me, especially about this place, Entertainment Ave!, which has been a part of my life in one form or another since about 1988, some 25 years ago.

This odyssey began as a little article in a college newspaper, Technology News, with my buddy and me looking to make some extra beer money. It was there that The Unknown Reviewers were born (Here’s a link to one of our first articles, found on Page 3), with me, The Dude on the Right, and him, The Dude on the Left, with bags on our heads and a PC with a hard drive topping out at 40Meg I think (Yup, you could fit a whopping 10 songs if they actually had digital downloads back then, but I digress), where we would wake up on a Friday morning with foggy heads and write about bands visiting our college bar the night before. As college years moved on some of the personas may have changed, but the bags remained the same, and The Dudes carried on.

Re-taking the reigns of The Unknown Reviewers in my never-ending college days, after being in an advisory role for a while, eventually The Dudes became digital, posting our reviews on our college website, and then, back in 1996, after finally ending college fun and pretending to grow up, Entertainment Ave! was born, with cheesy graphics, a cast of characters who mostly just wanted to have a goofy character, and the concert reviews grew from college bands to national acts, movie reviews were added, and through the years we’ve had an advice column, dabbled in animated movie reviews, held weekly podcasts, personal blogs, Daily Plights, and just some general commentary about the world.

I’ve always had big dreams for Entertainment Ave!, and although a lame excuse in the world of entrepreneurship, I generally let my day job and sometimes life in general, get in the way of trying to take this place to the next level, and over the past few months, with some other major changes taking place in my life, I’ve begun to wonder if this part of my life has also run its course. For over two years now I’ve been trying to get all of the pages updated to the newer format, a task I didn’t realize was so huge until I realized that, through the years, I’ve amassed over 750 various reviews and articles, and converting them has proven a much more daunting task then originally thought. I’ve also had a goal to get all of my concert photos updated to go along with the concert reviews, as well as get them posted for all of the world to see on my flickr site, and although a little easier than the page conversion, I haven’t gotten to the individual editing of them, either. Ugh!

“So, Dude, what are you trying to say. I’m getting tired of reading. Get to the point, already!”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for a while I’m going to be putting this part of my life, Entertainment Ave!, on hiatus, as I ponder its future. There might be a post every now and then, but for the most part I’m going to see if some kind of inspiration comes to re-envisioning the site, its goals, and if it can be a part of my life for the next 25 years. I might try to finish getting the old reviews converted, finish up with the concert photos, play around with some site re-designing, but as a one-man show, and a site this large, it’s been a tough task keeping up with the changes in technology, the changes in how people get their content (I never did get the Facebook nor Twitter connections fully integrated as I envisioned, nor the “Second Life” virtual site, and even though I’ve designed an iPhone app or two, this site has never gotten its own app much to my own disappointment). For the time being I’ll be leaving everything posted, because hey, someone might want to read about an AC/DC concert from 1991, or see if they should rent “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, but don’t count too much on finding out what I think about the latest Christmas movies, read about a bad film coming out on Blu-ray, or a plight about if Cher really did make the gayest video, ever, for her song “Take It Like a Man.”

If this does end up being my last post for this site, I would like to thank all of you for your support through the years, any comments you may have tossed my way, and the chance to share my entertainment world, and sometimes thoughts about life, with you. It’s been a lovely ride for over 25 years, and maybe its not over yet, but in any case it’s a time to re-assess, re-evaluate, and see if some reconditioning can bring a new chapter to the Entertainment Ave! life.

Maybe for the last time…

That’s it for this one! I’m Andrew Labis, I mean, The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Do You Talk to “Dead” People at the Cemetery?

This past weekend I went back to the old homestead in Lorain, OH, hence the earlier plight about knowing someone 90 years old. I also used it as a time to visit my parents in their final resting place, Calvary Cemetery, and leave some flowers. I got them some carnations, as they were some of my Mom’s favorites, and apologized to my Dad as he generally found putting flowers on a grave kind of silly, usually saying things like he’d rather see them while he was living. As I cleaned up the headstone a bit, I filled them in with some of the goings on with

my life, I suppose just in case as they are now floating around in the ether somewhere, or up in Heaven, or whatever happens when you die, and they haven’t had a chance to keep tabs on me, maybe focusing more on my sister as her family life is a little more, hmm, interesting than mine for the most part.

They didn’t answer back.

That’s okay, it was kind of nice, therapeutic even, having a little chat with them, then I told them “I love them,” to be well, and I would check in with them again, later. While roaming the cemeteries, I also chatted a tad with my Aunt Marce and Uncle John Mattey, as their graves were near my parents, made a quick stop by my Great, Great Granparents Lopatkovich to say “Hello,” (they have a cool gravestone, although it needs some sandblasting), and went to visit my Grandma and Aunt Lily, and a quick stop by my Uncle Ed and his wife Emma. Each time I said “Hello,” wished them well, and also wondered “If you die, and can “fly” around this world, why would hang out near your grave waiting for visitors? Oh well, the experience did lead to today’s plight: Do you talk to “dead” people at the cemetery?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

I Don’t Have Too Many Eggs (I think), I Just Lost My Basket!

By: The Dude on the Right

As Stu Gotz couldn’t meet up with me today to do a podcast, rather than do a solo episode I decided to hold off the podcast for a day, especially since I know Stu is dying to find out how my bachelor party weekend went since he couldn’t make the trip to New Jersey.  So, that discussion will hit tomorrow. Instead I decided this might be a great time to do a blog – something I haven’t done for this site in quite some time.

Now I mention “this site,” because as I had some time away over the weekend, and have blogged on some other sites I have recently and neglecting this one, and as I’ve been pondering this for quite a while now, I started to look at all of the things I’ve got going, especially since I started developing iPhone apps, and I suppose getting married, and I guess having four Twitter accounts, and then there is my weight loss blog, and, okay…

So, yup, I’ve got a lot of things going on, and I tried to reflect on them.  I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you prioritize them and knock off a couple to free up some time/space in your mind?” I started to look at some of the projects I’ve got active (on life support in some cases), seeing if I really wanted to axe any of them, and I ended up with the following priority list, rating each thing individually on a scale of 1 to 10 in general importance to me/I love doing it/I miss doing it/I want to do more of it/and general 1 to 10-ness, with 1 being high and 10 being low.

  • My Wedding: Um, it’s a 1, duh.
  • My life with my BFF: 1
  • Other hobbies/things around the house/projects: 1

Yes, seriously, as I looked at my list, and there are a few things missing from the above list, there isn’t one of them that I don’t love doing, don’t get jazzed about when I do get around to working on, and yes, I agree, in actuality all of them should have a “2” next to them and “My life with my BFF” is actually the only “1,” but hey, I think even she understands.

The thing is, as I looked at this list, I pondered the idea of consolidating.  For example, do I really need four Twitter accounts? My contemplation on this is simply would my Twitter followers under whenismile actually care about the tweets that would be appropriate for drewdude, and would my general tweeting in dudeonright really be what those in myweightplan would want to read?  And then there is the fact that, right now, whenismile is a little more private, at least from some friends and family, so I can tweet things there without worrying about what they might say.  In fact, I’ve almost been confused about tweeting sometimes wondering which account to put it under, and if I posted the same tweet under all four accounts, thinking all of my followers would like to read it, and someone followed all four accounts, would they be pissed at getting the same tweet pretty much four times?

Then there are the blogs I have.  Yup, would Entertainment Ave!-land actually care that I have a blog about my attempt at losing weight?  When I Smile, which is geared towards things about my “Make Me Smile” app, really doesn’t seem to be the right place for Stu Gotz and our podcasts every now and then.  And I could go on an on.

I guess my pondering really centers about “To consolidate, or not to consolidate – That is the question!”  And if so, what is the best way to go about it?  Sure, I could leave everything under my Webventure Avenue company moniker, but that doesn’t seem to be right.  I’ve had Entertainment Ave! for over 15 years and hate to put that by the wayside.  I suppose Mostly Entertainment could get wrapped into the Entertainment Ave! site, but should it be separate?  Ugh!

I guess I need to let these thoughts bounce around in my head a little more, since, in coming to a final conclusion, if the answer is to “consolidate” then that creates another issue – total site-redesigns of everything I have to get them under one umbrella, or at least in one basket.  And even if I don’t consolidate, maybe I should actually use some of my organization skills/software/thoughts, to put things into little blocks, workable blocks, so that each project is it’s own little world, yet gets some attention every day, with the most, of course, being my BFF.

At least my wedding will be able to be taken off this list in two months – when the “I do”’s have been said, but I’m sure when that egg has been hatched I’m going to just lay another one – I just hope I can get that one to land in the basket I haven’t found yet.

And sure, if you’ve got any answers for the question “To consolidate or not to consolidate!”, I would love to hear them!

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

I deleted “Mom and Dad” from my iPhone Favorites. I suppose it was just time.


The Dude on the Right

I didn’t know when to do it but in the end it turned into a simple thing, just three presses on my iPhone screen, but I guess for a year I wrestled in my head if it meant I was forgetting, or moving on, or just because it made sense because still there, on the "Favorites" of my iPhone contacts, was "Mom and Dad." At times it seemed weird being there when I would see it, what with both of them dying last year, but until this morning I just wasn’t able to delete them from that screen. I guess this morning I just decided that one year after Mom died (although I will always consider her death anniversary as October 18th) it was time to well, just decided it was time.

The thing is, after my dad died back in January of 2008, I wrestled with changing the "Mom and Dad" to just read "Mom," even changed it for a few days, but when I went to make my Saturday morning call to Mom back then, and I went to press the "button," it just didn’t seem right so I changed it back.  I mean, it was always "Mom and Dad," hell, they ended up married for over 40 years, and I would love to say they were always the best of years, but I’m going to bet that 99 times out of 100, if you ask anyone married for over 40 years, they will tell you there were some "not so best of" years. And as I was moving on, dealing with Dad’s passing as you have to do, Mom was there in her way to keep things in perspective.

Then it was Mom’s turn to pass a year ago, and luckily, by then, I had re-met the girl who would become my fiance, and they were able to meet before Mom died, which was nice because I know it made mom happy I had met someone so special, and she really liked my BFF. But it’s been a weird year since then, in reflection, and sometimes you don’t always look back, but over the last couple of days I’ve made some mental rememberings of things she, and dad (although I have to be honest that dad and I weren’t always the best of conversationalists) would have had many thoughts about.  Simple thoughts entered my head, like how I so wish I could have called mom the morning I proposed to my BFF because she would have been so ecstatic.  She’d be concerned, yet so supportive of my BFF’s change of careers; she would liked to have gotten the pictures of when I went on vacation; and she would be so proud of her granddaughter graduating from high school, yet wishing she could have been there.  There would be some great disappointment in some family matters that are going on right now, I know because I can still see the hurt in her eyes when I unfortunately had to give her the news when it sort of all started, and although somewhat selfish, she would have loved the fact that I would have had to make decisions on which family to spend which holiday with.  It would have been a winter, last year, of talking about how bad the Browns were and how she would know that the Cavs would blow it in the end.  I would have kept telling her how promising the Indians seemed, but she would have told me that they will always suck until they fired Eric Wedge – she never liked him, and I can’t even print some of the things she said about him – and I would have loved to have made that call to her the minute I found out he got canned. There would have been Saturday morning talks about work, wedding plans (damn you WGN!), our American Idol e-mails, that even she was finished watching "Dancing With the Stars," and maybe we both would have finished the project we started of labeling hundreds of old, old pictures.

I do know that it is okay to reflect on things sometimes, but I suppose it’s also time to move forward a bit, and I guess I realized, that in the end taking "Mom and Dad" off of my Favorites didn’t mean they weren’t my favs, it just meant that their phone number didn’t work anymore.  It’s funny, because I think I "talk" to them more now than I ever did when they were alive, looking for advice or just knowing what they would be thinking, but I guess, sometimes, it would be nice to hear their voices on the other end of that call, although, for the most part, I know what they would say, especially mom watching the Browns this year: "They suck.”

I love you Mom and Dad! I hope you’re not mad that I deleted you!

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

I’m Engaged! How Did That Happen?


The Dude on the Right

I must say that at 42 years old, after not having a serious girlfriend in just about forever, and even having some cousins thinking I was gay, it is both exciting and scary as hell to tell people I am engaged, as a new chapter in the book of my life started last Sunday when I asked my BFF to marry me. The thing is, at the time I asked, as much as I was 99.9% sure of her answer, that 0.1% is the reason for being scared to death she just might say no, or request conditions for our getting married, or say she wasn’t ready, or say anything but a simple “Yes,” thus leaving the experience, in my eyes, as a total failure. Happily she said “Yes,” she cried, I got weepy, and we went to go see “Star Trek.” My God that woman loves me, and no, she didn’t dress like Uhura, and I didn’t dress like Spock.

Looking back, though, over the past year, or I suppose I should say past 20+ years, it still amazes me how this is all coming together. Why? Because so many things had to happen for us to re-find each other. You see, I met my BFF back in high school. I was a senior and she came in as a new junior, transferred from this mystical city of Chicago because her dad ended up relocating to the Cleveland area for work. Somehow she was interested in drama, I was a member of the drama club, and we both took a school trip to New York City where a simple song played during the trip would always remind me of her. Over that year in high school I would say we became friendly, but not friends, as I ended up being focused on going off to college, in all places, Chicago, and besides, she was a junior and I was a mighty senior. As time went on I would remember her for one reason or another, and even one year, one of those high school alumni directories came out and I noticed she was living in Chicago at the time, but never really thought to reach out to her (hell, how creepy would that phone call be: "Umm, hello? I don’t know if you remember me, but I noticed you in the newly published high school alumni directory and just wondered how you were."), and the years went by.

Me, I went from this job to that job, totally putting my Aerospace Engineering degree to no use whatsoever, living in the Chicago area, finally finding myself in a western suburb, and she, well, she became a world traveler, working in various countries, but then finding herself back in Chicago.

Then, one night, a little over a year ago, I heard a song, the same song that always reminded me of her, and I entered Google stalker mode. Low and behold there she was, and I did what may well be one of the smartest decisions I have ever made: I sent her an e-mail. The strangest part – She e-mailed me back! An e-mail here, an e-mail there, we decided to meet, and then, wouldn’t you know it, 20+ years after we met in high school we fell in love, I found my best friend, and I also found the only person that has ever made me not care about all of my stuff. Sure, I’m leaving out a few details of our past year together, of our 20+ years apart, but hey, if Oprah wants to know I suppose we’d be happy to be guests on her show. Even some things, for me, I like to leave private, and I’m guessing she wants to, too.

And so I must now just focus on being happy because if I think about even some of the things that needed to happen for us to be together, it would be mind-boggling. I mean, if her dad never ended up in Cleveland for work; if I didn’t come to Chicago for college, if I actually used my engineering degree I probably wouldn’t be living here; if she didn’t find a place in Chicago; if I had called her years ago and she thought I was creepy; if I hated dogs; if one of us didn’t take that trip to New York City in high school; if I had won the Mega-Millions; if I weren’t a Google stalker, and for that matter, if the dudes at Google never made Google, well, I would still be loving all of my stuff instead of being in love with my BFF, being engaged, and looking forward to merging the individual books of our lives into a new volume devoted to us.

I guess such is life. Happily, such is love.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

A Greasy, Sweety, Ball of Dough. A Missing Pazcki.


The Dude on the Right

With Ash Wednesday being tomorrow, and today being Dude Tuesday, I mean Fat Tuesday, I’m supposed to be having pazcki because, well, I’m Polish, I guess, and how pazcki comes out “ponchki” or “poonchki” still makes me scratch my head.  Here in Chicago, their pazckis are giant, nearing softball sized, and filled with stuff, whereas the version my mom used to make was just this dough ball, maybe the size of a tennis ball, cooked in oil and covered with powdered sugar.  It came out as this greasy thing of cooked dough with a touch of sweetness, but maybe it was the oil, maybe it was the dough mix, maybe it was the powdered “don’t breath in when you eat it” sweetness, or maybe it was just the love that mom put into it when she made them, but in any event it was always something to look forward to in the old Dude-Homestead when I lived there.  With my moving away from the old country of Lorain, oHIo, years ago, Mom always thought of me, sometimes shipping me her pazckis to me to indulge in at the normal time, but mostly, with her being the freezing maniac that she was, usually when she made her pazcki she would take about half a dozen of them, put them in a freezer bag, freeze them (duh!), and when I would make it home for Easter, there they were, after thawing, nicely warmed out of the microwave, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and still loaded with greasy, sweety goodness!

The thing is normally, on Fat Tuesday, for me the only thing that comes to mind about pazcki is how the versions they sell (and now totally exploit) in Chicagoland seem to just end up being these larger, filled-with-something donuts, and how I would know there would be a nice surprise come Easter when I made the trek back to the old country.  But this year, with mom’s passing away, it was another one of those days when I realized another thing I’m going to miss because of the passing of my parents last year.  Those days come up every now and then for me, as I’m sure they do for anyone who loses people they love, but keeps occurring to me that even though mom has been gone some four months now, and dad over a year, there will always come a day that will remind me of some of the things I loved about them, or drove me nuts about them, and today it was all because of the thought of a greasy, sweety, ball of dough.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

Hi Mom and Dad! It’s 2009!


The Dude on the Right

Hi Mom and Dad!

New Year's Eve - Chicago 2008Just wanted to wish the both of you a Happy 2009, although I’m not really sure if you actually celebrate New Year’s Day anymore.  When I woke up this morning I couldn’t help but think a little bit about how my 2008 went, and like most people, I suppose I’m really looking forward to 2009.  There were some fireworks in Chicago last night, so with this letter are a couple of pictures showing the fireworks and Navy Pier.  I know the pictures didn’t come out that well, but my vantage point wasn’t that close, though it was cozy, and my iPhone still doesn’t have that great of a camera, but hey, it was festive and all!

It sure was a weird 2008, wasn’t it?  I’m not even talking about the gas prices that went high and then low, how the stock market took a crap, or the Presidential election (How about our Governor Blagojovich scandal and his appointing Roland Burris to Barack Obama’s Senate seat?  Gotta love Chicago/Illinois politics, don’t you!). I was looking back at my MySpace page for January 1st last year, and how I set a goal to lose just one pound a week on my 500 calories a day plan, but like many a weight-loss goal, it didn’t go as planned.  52 pounds would have been great, but I did lose about 18 pounds last year, and yea, I have to admit, that one of my first goals this year is to get back on the eating healthy and exercise bandwagon.

I was kinda wondering how things were up there in heaven for the two of you (At least I’m really hoping you’re in heaven.  First off, it would really be a bummer to find out you ended up in the other place, in which case there would have been a lot of things we never knew about the two of you, and also, it would be a little bit of a bummer to find out you picked the wrong religion to raise us under and that I should be looking forward to becoming a dog or kangaroo, or something like that in the next life when I’m reincarnated).  I’m assuming you found each other, and hopefully Dad, that you were waiting for Mom with some flowers and a kiss.  I’m also hoping that all dogs do go to heaven, and that the boys found you.

Dad, for you, I know you started 2008 pretty much deciding your time on earth was done, and I hope by now you have been able to explain to Mom why that was because for a lot of the year she was having trouble wrapping her head around that.  With your going away that early, well, you missed a lot of things for me this year, although I do sometimes wonder about the ability of you (and Mom, you also), to watch over us from up there.  I mean, is it sort of like when Harry Stamper told his daughter, Gracie, in the movie “Armageddon” that he’ll check in on her from time to time right before he gets blown to bits on the asteroid?  If so, I really hope you didn’t check in on me during some private time I was having, in which case, Dad, you might have said something like “Oh no, I cursed him with a little wiener.  Oh wait, thank God, he’s a grower! (at which time I’m guessing a booming voice says “Your welcome, Dad on the Right!”)  Please tell me there are times you respect my privacy (You too, Mom), or is it like some “all-knowing” thing like in the movie “Highlander?”  In any case, you should have seen by now that I have a BFF, and she’s great.  She thinks that somehow you and a relative of hers met up there early last year hatching a plan to help us reconnect after some 23 years.  If that’s the case, can I commend all of you on doing a great job!  That does make me want to apologize, though, because I probably don’t ask for enough help from you, although the we never did talk that much about personal things.  I guess in all of those years we never were able to connect that well, though I’m trying to do a better job sending you some thoughts of things that are going on here with me now.

New Year's Eve - Chicago 2008Mom, I hope Dad has helped you get used to things up there in the past couple of months.  Is there some kind of orientation that you have to go through, or are you just kind of thrown in to the mix?  The BFF and I are still dating, and things are going great.  The both of us have some challenges coming up in 2009 (and who doesn’t), but it’s great having someone to help me through them (and I hope I’m helping her through hers), although I always know I can bend your ear a bit if I need to.  And speaking of bending your ear, thanks for that little “talk” we had before Christmas, it really helped me enjoy the holiday a lot more, what with the advice that it’s okay to miss the both of you, but the time for being sad, and letting that ruin my day, needed to go away.  I know you know it was a weird holiday season, what with the family being spread out across the country (though it was nice spending the time with the BFF’s family), but maybe at the end of this year, once things calm down, maybe we can all get together for Christmas or Turkey Day.  I’m thinking here in the Chicago area.  Nothing like Sis on the Right and her family having to deal with the snow and cold, although it won’t be that much different for Bro on the Right, but having them meet the BFF’s family – That would really be interesting!

Well, I better get going.  The Rose Bowl will be starting soon (I think I’m rooting for USC, if only because I really don’t like Penn State and some of our staff members here are big Trojan fans, but come to think of it, I suppose I’m a Trojan fan as well), and it’s time to get going with 2009.  Mom, Dad, say “Hi” to the Grandmas and Grandpas for me.  I miss them, too, but I have to admit, not as much as I miss the two of you.

Oh yea, one more thing, I’m not sure how it works, or if you could pull some strings (or even if you have that kind of pull yet), and Mom, I know you were a big fan of it and frustrated you never came close to winning, but if you’ve been checking in on me, well, you know I occasionally play the Mega Millions game down here, usually with the same set of numbers.  I mean, is there some kind of lottery you have to win up there in order to influence the numbers that get drawn down here, is it based on merit and good deeds, or is it really just a total game of chance?  Even better, you also know that when the jackpot hits $100 million, well, I’m not going to give it away, but it would actually make winning the jackpot a little bit easier at that amount, what to not create some family squabbles and all.  Anyway, if there were some way for you guys to let me know it’s your turn to pick the numbers, well, that would help a lot.

I hope things are going well for you two up there.  I miss and love you both.

Your Son,
The Dude on the Right

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

A Missing Picture, A Mean Letter, but Thank You, and Here’s to 2009!


The Dude on the Right

I have been getting a bit sentimental lately, coming on Christmas (did I ever
mention that I really love Robert Downey Jr’s version of
and him in

"Iron Man"
?), it’s been a season of happiness, sharing it with my new BFF as
well as old friends, and a season of sadness, being the first Christmas after
both my


died. In preparation for this blog post, well, I tried to do some quick
looking through old family photos for a picture of the Christmas tree we, or
mostly Mom, would put up, but sadly I couldn’t find one of the tree, a beautiful
tree – an artificial tree, white instead of green, some forty years old, with
some ornaments that were probably older than that, and Mom always put bubble
lights on the tree, and as kids we would each pick a bubble light, hoping ours
was the first to bubble. It also had normal-er sized bulbs, not those tiny bulbs
most trees have, some were blinky bulbs, and back in the day we would have the
train set up on the floor, on a sheet of plywood, that would drive the dog nuts!
In my searching I did, however, find some pictures of my first girlfriend, my
first car, Dad smoking a stogie, my fraternity brother Ken, one that my
brother’s girlfriend would get a kick out of, and some pictures of me I hope no
one ever see. I also found a copy of a letter I wrote to my sister that even I
have to admit was kind of mean, but sadly, no picture of that Christmas tree.
It’s not that they don’t exist, I know they do, and if I recall correctly, we
had a picture of it on the collage of photos at my Mom’s funeral, but I don’t
have the photos from that collage, and I don’t have days to search through the
boxes of family photos and negatives that I have, to find one.  Yet.

without getting uber-sentimental, in the few days before Christmas this year,
all I can give you right now is a picture of my Christmas tree (filled with
ornaments thanks to my Mom), and wish all of you, no matter what you celebrate,
a nice end to 2008, and a 2009 filled with more joyness than sadness, more
loveness than hateness, and more smileness than frown-ness.

2008 has been a year of weirdness, but thankfully to all of you who visit,
and my friends, and my BFF, it’s also been a year of happiness through it all!

Here’s to 2009, and if it goes as I hope, it will really be a year of change!

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

The Only Change We Can Truly Believe In is The Change of Seasons


The Dude on the Right

to Barack Obama on winning the nomination for President of the United States,
and kudos to John McCain for giving what might be the most gracious concession
speech ever.  In an election season that has gone on way too long, where I
thank God I live in the Chicago area which limited the amount of campaign adds
on my TV (I visited Ohio, and TV really sucked without TiVo to fast-forward you
through the crap), now we move on, and wonder what "change" can really be

I found the "change" concept sort of inspiring when Barack
originally adopted it at the beginning of his candidacy, but then, wouldn’t you
know, as other candidates realized "change" became a buzz-word, suddenly Hillary
Clinton adopted the word as her own, and then, low and behold, John McCain did
the same.  It didn’t matter that Barack adopted the word first, all that
mattered was that now everyone was about change. The thing is, as much as change
is professed, it’s easier to talk about doing it than actually accomplishing it.

And so, whether or not Barack Obama can really bring about change we can believe
in, after three days of 70 degree days in November, here in Chicago, when back
in college some of us would have blown off three days of classes to catch the
last sunny rays of the year by hanging out on the roof, I at least took a couple
of walks near the dude-pad and realized there is only one aspect of change you
can always believe in, and that is the change of seasons, maybe a little more
pronounced in a place like Chicago.

As I took those walks, looking at a
retention pond that is changing to hibernation mode for an upcoming winter, I
thought about things earlier this year, when that pond was barren, and I would
walk past it, reflecting on the passing of Dad on the Right last January, and
2008 was looking like a strange year.  Then spring and summer came, the
pond blossomed with new life, and suddenly I reconnected with a friend from my
past who has now become my BFF.  Fall came, Mom on the Right passed away,
and as I looked at the pond the other day, and took the picture accompanying
this blog, it didn’t make me sad that things were dying, it made me smile that
as some things that have changed have made me sad, other things that have
changed just make me smile.

Mother Nature knows how to do change right, so
that every season is beautiful.  I wonder if there is any way politicians
can learn from Mom.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!