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Shit That Doesn’t Piss Me Off – 9/16

For regular readers of my Shit that Pissed me Off column, I did something a little different last year.  For the first time since I began writing, my birthday fell on a Friday.  I opted to reflect on the good things I saw in the world rather than the bad ones.

Obviously, my birthday isn’t on a Friday this year.  It is on a Sunday.  But I’m still going to focus on the good things.  I turn 49 on Sunday.  It is something of a personal year for me because my dad died when he was 49 years old and I can’t help but think that soon, every day I’m alive will be one more day than he ever had.

The challenge for me today, of course, is to write about 49 things that don’t piss me off and that are different from the 48 things I wrote about last year.

Never fear, I’m going to post Shit that Pissed me off on Monday!  You still get a full helping of negativity.  I’m just going to make my birthday about the good things.

So here, my friends, are 49 things that do not piss me off.
1) I don’t know if it’ll happen.  I certainly hope it will.  But whether it does or not, we have the opportunity to put a woman in the oval office.  I’ve heard all the arguments about “not this woman” and everyone has a right to make their own decisions.  For me, though, the simple fact a woman could win is a gigantic step.

2) Speaking of women, that Ghostbusters remake was pretty fucking awesome.  I don’t feel like I have to make excuses for liking it.  How amazing is that?  If you want me to make excuses, you can shut up and stop harassing my squee.

3) As I write this column, I am looking at a shelf that holds a LEGO Millennium Falcon, a LEGO Ecto 1, and a LEGO Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

This is a thing that exists, my friends, and it is glorious!

This is a thing that exists, my friends, and it is glorious!

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Shit that Didn’t Piss me Off – 9/18

Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog.  I’m going to do things a little differently today.

I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years.  I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me.  Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.

Well this year, it has.

So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy.  I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.

I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.

1.  I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years.  She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive.  She laughs at some of my jokes.  She listens when I’m in a bad mood.  She corrects me when I’m wrong.  There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.

2. I’ve got one fantastic mother.  She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist.  She is a fun travel companion.  Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.

3. My oldest son is great.  He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate.  He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair.  Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges.  I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.

4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative.  The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness.  His head must be such an interesting place to live.

5. My Brother is full of passion and energy.  He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish.  We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.

6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.

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Requiem for an Air Raid Siren

We had an appointment for our cat Nala to be euthanized this afternoon but sadly, she died overnight. For some reason, she had stopped eating over a month ago and all attempts to get her to ingest food failed.  We don’t know what was wrong with her but it was, ultimately, something we could not fix.

She was not yet five years old but in her short time, she had a remarkable impact on our lives.  Rather than remember the sadness of her passing, I choose to remember the joy and laughter she brought to our life.

Nala was the orange tabby on the right.

Nala was the orange tabby on the right.

Almost all of our cats are Humane Society cats and Nala was adopted as a kitten.  Only six weeks old, she was precocious and social and her ears made up about 65% of her head.  She was clumsy even for a kitten.  And she was loud.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 11/7

Anti Gay Rights Rally in Houston Had T-Shirts!

That’s right, they had shirts that read “we reserve the right to refuse services to homosexuals.”

I mean, good for them.  They have completely ensured that everyone who sees them will know that they would happily torpedo their best interests as business owners because they are bigoted assholes.

Some the people are kids, of course, so they will only be able to refuse service to homosexuals at lemonade stands.  Or when they are going around the neighborhood offering to mow lawns, they’ll just skip the houses with rainbow flags hanging in front.

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It’s like kryptonite for homophobic people!

Their attitude amazes me because I can’t understand why anyone would be proud to refuse services to homosexuals.  I don’t have the bible memorized but I’d sure like someone to show me where Jesus told everyone that refusing to sell someone cupcakes makes you closer to god.

Stay classy, people who really fucking hate the fact that homosexuals aren’t going to stay in the closet.  The more T-shirts you print, the more everyone else will see you for what you are and realize they can be better people than you.

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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/22

Canadian School Board Candidate Wants Creationism Taught in Schools

Her picture looks adorable.  I’m sure she’s twenty.  Maybe.

She is firmly of the opinion that they should teach the controversy (that doesn’t exist).  She also says that schools should focus on the “basics” of education.

Like evolution, right?

No no no no no no no no!

Well, she thinks it should be taught in science classrooms alongside creationism.  She also thinks sex education should be abstinence only because that is also “basic.”

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

Is this barely not-teenager going to be elected? I doubt it.

And yet I’m tired of living in a world where people continue to believe that creationism should be given the same amount of time in the classroom.  And I’m tired of living in a world where we continue to argue about abstinence-only sex education when the evidence clearly shows it is inadequate.

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Friend a Day – Peter Verrant

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Peter is one of the few friends I have from college.  I suppose that is because I got out of theater for several years so I lost touch with most of those people.

I’d like to think that I had some impact on Peter’s choice to get involved in theatre.  He took a stagecraft class when I was a TA in the scene shop and we hit it off.  I put a pneumatic nail through his hand.  He dropped a platform on my foot.  We both got to spend a snowy January morning trying to move a bunch of steel platforms from Downtown St. Paul to Hamline University in a truck with no traction.  We bonded.

His passion for photography is evident in the sheer amount of pictures you will find on his Facebook page.  He works for the photography department of two major conventions and the number of pictures he takes is amazing.  I would say almost every decent picture of my children was taken by him.

If we were the kind of people to ask someone to be a godfather, I think we would have asked Peter.  Instead, he’s the crazy uncle that they like more than their parents because he brings them weird stuff.

Any time we need help with a project around the house, he’s there.  He is the sort of person who will lend a hand to anyone if he has the time.  You know your real friends when you are looking for someone to help you demolish a ceiling.  Or watch your cats with two days advanced notice.

Peter is the kind of guy who calls you on the Thursday of a convention weekend as he is leaving his house and asks you what you forgot so he can swing by your house and pick it up.

All of it, I guess, is to say he’s one of those people we’ve always been about to count on when we need something.  It is no understatement to say he is one of my best friends.  He actually feels a lot more like a family member than a friend.

And he will remain so as long as he doesn’t drop another platform on my foot.

Friend a Day – David Wick

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I’ve known David all of his life but I don’t really feel like I got to know him until we spend a summer together in Europe in 1985.

As we traveled around the country that year, I was getting ready to go to college and he was getting ready to spend a year studying in France.  We’d spent our lives in the same home and suddenly we were both branching out on our own. We’d spent years hanging out with our own friends and suddenly we had to spend a month with just each other.

David is, like most members of my family, someone who finds ways to fill just about all of his time.  He’s passionate about his career in the study abroad field.  He has grown to take a leadership role in his professional organization.  He worked a full-time job while getting his PhD to advance his career.

While he doesn’t have time for it any longer, David is a great dancer.  I’ve always been in awe of his grace simply because I have none.  In college, his senior project was a tribute to our dad and it is still one of the most powerful pieces of dance I’ve ever seen.  Sure, it was personal and I was the perfect audience but it was still a terrific work by a very talented dancer/choreographer.

We only see each other about once a year these days and that’s a shame because there is always so much to talk about.  He is one of the most genuinely charming people I know.  If you know David, you probably like him. I have no idea how you couldn’t.

He’s had his share of challenges but he always maintains a positive outlook on everything.  I have tried to learn that from him over the years.

I always tell people I’m a big fan of my family.  They are good people and I’m pleased to know them not just as family but as friends.  David is family, but he’s also a great friend.