Archive for December, 2006

Vox Hunt: I’ll Never Forget This

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 30, 2006 by Budd Black

Show us an unforgettable memory from 2006.  

I taught my 5 y/o how to ride a bike this summer.  It was both joyous and very scary for me.

I also sent my 5 y/o off too school.  This is her with her teacher.

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Bone: My daughter’s first book review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 22, 2006 by Budd Black

So I brought home the 1300 page tome that is the Bone complete series.  I was reading it when my daughter sat down beside me and asked me what it was about.  I told her and then started reading it out loud.  I often do this with my books as long as they are not too graphic.  Usually she loses interest after a couple of sentences.  With bone it was different.  She started asking questions.  She really got into it and I read the first couple hundered of pages to her that day.  Any time I had any free time over the next couple of weeks she would sit the book in my lap and listen. 

When I finished the book, I decided I would record her doing the review.  Being almost 6, I knew she wouldn't be able to do it without an interview.  So here is the interview book review by my 5 year old daughter for Jeff Smith's Bone.  Hope you enjoy and I will read your comments to her.

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QotD: One Lump or Two?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 21, 2006 by Budd Black

How do you take your tea or coffee?
Submitted by Vasquez.

I drink Green Tea or herbal teas.  I don't usually take sugar with mine.  I don't do coffee and detest Starbuck's and all it stands for (although Kara is pretty hot and I do like Battlestar.  How does a space opera use coffee as a marketing device anyways).

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A Sushi Mistake

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 20, 2006 by Budd Black

I like to do little things for my wife.  On Saturday when she suggested that we go out to eat, I suggested we go to Midori, a Korean/Japanese resturaunt.  My wife misses her native Korean food and was delighted by the idea.  When we get to the restuarant, I pick up the sushi card and put a one in the tuna nigiri box and hand the sheet to my wife.  She marks one box, erases, marks another, and hands it to the waiter. 


After we place our food orders the waiter brings out a block full of nigiri and maki (California Rolls).  I look at my wife and say I was only supposed to get two pieces, this is not what I ordered.  My wife calls the guy over and says there is a problem.  He states that my nigiri order is on the way.  My wife, who has worked as a server in a Japanese restuarant, asks to see the sushi card.  It turns out, she checked the box in the combination section.  She got her twelve pieces of maki along with twelve pieces of nigiri.  This is $22.  She quickly asks if it is too late to cancel my $3 order of nigiri and it is not. 


My wife ordered an entree for our five year old as well, so when our entrees came out, I had a huge plate of a sweet and sour pork dish, my wife had a plate of bulgogi (beef), and my daughter had some dok soup.  All of these are big servings.  Our table was full.  The people sitting behind us were staring at our table in horror.  My wife settled their fears by stating, "I don't get to eat Korean food that often." 

We did not completely finish a single dish. 

Side question:  On the nigiri plate was a really dark red fish that my wife didn't know.  It didn't have the fish oil taste, and I liked it.  Any suggestion as what it might be?

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Holiday Greetings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 20, 2006 by Budd Black

I am tired of not being able to say Merry Christmas. How can you be offended by two words. If someone ever looked at me and said, "Sorry I don't celebrate Christmas," I would likely tell them to have a lousy Christmas. The person might as well be offended if someone told them to have a good day. If someone told me happy kwanza or Channukah it wouldn't bother me at all, I would probably echo the greeting. You could probably state "happy ritual satanic cat killing day," and I would be like, "yeah sure." I might be thinking, "what kind of sick lunatic is that," but if it is ritual satanic cat killing day, then I would like to have a good one. Have a Merry Christmas!

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Yellow Fever

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 19, 2006 by Budd Black

So, I was watching this video with my wife last night.  I have never heard her laugh so hard.  I guess it hits close to home.  I do have a lot of hair.



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Going Home

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 15, 2006 by Budd Black

"That is new," I said to my wife as we passed by a large convenience store with an attached Subway. We were about to cross the river that has forever separated town from where I grew up; a little place called Cumberland Heights in Clarksville, TN. It was Christmas day, and I had returned to this community to attend the family Christmas party. I thought to myself as we passed the new store, "I wish subway would have been that close when I was growing up." This convenience store that rose up overnight out of nothing did not surprise me nearly as much as Beach's Market, the old convenience store I grew up with, being closed.

Cumberland Heights was always home to me. Visiting on holidays and summers was the only consistency for me from year to year. After high school, I joined the Army. In the Army, I would drive from Kansas to Tennessee on almost every long weekend. I would inevitably end up at some point in my stay at Beach's Market. When I asked, my aunt was able to fill me in on what had happened with the store. In her words, "those greedy Beach's moved it; they closed the other store too. Now I have to put makeup on just to get a pack of cigarettes. I can't wear my pajamas or anything." In other words, the store is not staffed and patronized by people close enough to be family anymore.

Generation after generation grew up in Cumberland Heights together, intermarrying and blurring the lines of friend and family. The feuds and politics give the area a charming simplistic feel. It is the type of place where people help others without asking for anything in return. Common courtesy requires that one offer to compensate for any help given, but the same common courtesy requires that the helper turn down the offer. People there had nicknames for each other, the reasons for which had long been forgotten. No one called before coming over, and no one expected it either. Friendship worked in circles there. People were friends for years, and then they would become enemies for a time. Eventually, given enough time, they would become friends again and forget that there was ever a period when they were not. Cumberland Heights has its problems but that only adds to the charm.

Beach's Market had that same kind of charm. A long time ago, I can remember thinking that if you stood outside of Beach's for long enough; you would eventually see everyone you knew. For a large part of my life that was true. Going into the store, there was always a person who did not recognize me until someone referred to me as Dolan's Boy. That person would then tell me how big I was and how small I used to be. Don Juan, the widowed old drunk, who lived in the burned out basement of his old house, was always standing outside drinking a Milwaukee's Best. He would call my aunt his wife, just as he did every other woman that went into the store. My dad used to go pick him up and bring him to the house. He made him sit out on the porch but he fed him exactly what we were having. Sometimes we would just take him a plate. Others in the community would do the same. As I noticed the closed store, some of the other changes started to bubble to the surface. Cumberland Heights, my sleepy little suburb of Clarksville, had grown. Where there used to be flower gardens, horse pastures, and dense woods, were now modular homes and cookie cutter houses. Front porches with swings were replaced by backyards with privacy fences. Some of the same people are still there, and then there are people with different names filling the same roles that once belonged to someone else. I was now a stranger. My dad, being dead for about 10 years, is still remembered, but it is seldom recalled that he had a son. When I am reintroduced as Dolan's boy, people give that "oh yeah" response that lets you know that they searched the vaults of their memories to verify that my dad did in fact have a son. Next-door neighbors are liable to be strangers instead of kindly old ladies that always had lemonade on hot summer days. Without the promise of lemonade the kids seemed to stop coming outside to play. I looked for the equivalent of me and my cousins, outside jumping bicycle ramps and causing mischief, to no avail. This could be a symptom of the times; maybe Beach's was just a holdout from a different time.

The Cumberland Heights that I looked forward to visiting every summer is not the same Cumberland Heights that is there today. I am not sure if it changed or if I just remember a rose tinted version of it. Either way, it is not the fairy tale that I remember. I rarely go back to visit now, unless it is a holiday, wedding, or funeral. Old Don Juan the drunk is gone, and I only realize this now while writing about him. When I would go back, I would drive by Beach's without even slowing down. My family is spreading out, everyone is doing there own thing. Most of the family did not even make it to the Christmas party. I made it, but I will be absent from other functions. I do not want to ignore my family, but an hour drive has a way of making the trip seem like a chore. When I do go back, like the store, the visit is empty. There is no longer anything there for me. Sure, my family is still there, but even they are becoming strangers. It is not that they are changing; they remain remarkably the same, but that I am changing. I have a new family just as Beach's has a new storefront. Neither of us can go back to our old location and be happy or profitable. Both of us are much busier at our new locations and often forget our roots. Even as I am complaining about the close little community from my youth, I myself am abandoning it.

As I left the family Christmas party and departed from Cumberland Heights, I drove past the old Beach's Market again. I did not notice it at all. I did not notice that the lights were not on and the shelves were empty. I did not notice the parking lot empty of everything including gas pumps. I drove by like a stranger. There was no long trained reflex to pull into the parking lot. The ghosts of my past were unable to get my attention, if they were even still trying. The demons of the present could not reach me as I barreled down the road. I was leaving this now foreign place and going home.

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