Dr. Ben Spock (The Other Spock)

What constitutes being a good parent? Does it involve being one of the following types?  I’m inclined to think not.

Helicopter parenting: Being too involved in children’s lives. Not letting them experience failure.

Free-range parenting: Not enough involvement in raising children. Bringing children into the world to either succeed or fail on their own–where perhaps parents should have been involved more.

Snowplow parenting: This has to do with pro-sports parents asserting themselves in children’s careers. Guiding children’s careers from an early age.

Dr. Benjamin Spock wrote baby and child care books, popular when I was a child–and are still in print.  My parents, like most, followed their own beliefs and instincts.

My parents would have more likely swatted my behind, with Dr. Spock’s books than followed his advice.

They Come and They Go

I was a young, green technician.  Leonard was a battle-scarred veteran, that hired on in the middle fifties.

Leonard had been around for a long time. Long enough to see many managers come and go.  Just a few years away from a full pension, he didn’t scare easily.

It seemed his workplace was the proving ground for new managers. New managers introduced ceremoniously by parades of other managers. “I love a parade,” Leo muttered under his breath.

In the military, newly commissioned officers were called “jet jobs.”  Would this newbie adhere to the script? Probably. Crack down at first, to show who was in charge, then slack off a bit.

New managers started by riding along with specially selected employees. The purpose was to get acquainted, also, to suggest more efficient ways to work.

Leonard was wise to such tactics. He’d listen to suggestions, then explain pros and cons, why these new methods wouldn’t work in the real world.

Wait long enough, this manager would be gone–just like the rest of them. Kicked upstairs, transferred, or sent wherever. Because managers came and went–you could count on it.

From the Scrapyard

I sought feel good headlines to no avail.  This happened much too often.

Meteorologists predicted a rainy, soggy, Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

If it wasn’t TV commercials for products and services not available in my area, it was junk on the internet.

Like “Chicken Man” on top 40 radio stations in the sixties. It’s everywhere.

A picture of a Volvo P1800 sports wagon, illustrated a tome about Cadillac motorcars.

Would anyone eat popcorn made in the exhaust pipe of a motorcycle? It captured my attention without appealing to my taste buds in the slightest.

How can the vacation of a lifetime be topped? Live another lifetime?

Wrong Way Willies

After getting lost, making a few wrong turns, I learned to appreciate Australia’s many roundabouts. Never thought I’d ever say that.

Because I’m older, I’ve never learned to completely trust electronic devices. For that reason, there were many arguments over GPS directions–which seemed incorrect to me.

Several times I was right. The most glaring example, early morning Thursday, on the way back to Melbourne airport. GPS threw in an unexpected exit from the inner city freeway. I followed it through, because I was tired of arguments with my spouse.

GPS sent us to Crown Casino at six in the morning. How this was connected to Melbourne International Airport, I’ll never know. I suggested entering Hertz Airport Rent A Car, and everything got back on track.

Australia was a mixture of the familiar, and the unfamiliar. McDonalds restaurants were everywhere. Not a surprise, they had them when I was previously in Germany. Burger King restaurants, were called Hungry Jacks.

There were no Wal-Marts. Although, there were K-Marts and Target stores.  No Dollar Stores, no Poundland stores–like in the UK.  There were “Rejects” stores.  Which may have been off-price merchandise stores?  I liked no-tipping in restaurants. Tips and all taxes were included in meal prices. You paid by table number, no waiting for restaurant checks.

Weather nerds will appreciate that circulation around low pressure systems was clockwise. Circulation around high pressure systems was counter-clockwise. Water circulated clockwise down drains.

I concluded, that If I lived in my daughter’s neighborhood, which was on a hillside, I would be much healthier. Going to and from the mailbox and trash bins, was quite a workout.

I’ll miss the unique local bird species–parakeets, cockatoos, and kookaburras, that hung around mornings and evenings.

Tuesday Afternoon

Day after tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’m ready for it, as usual. Our trip to Australia next month is my gift.

Random references to Tuesday in culture, poetry, and song: Moody Blues, “Tuesday Afternoon,” Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday,” Sixties actress, Tuesday Weld, from the “Beach Blanket Bingo” era.  Tuesdays child was “full of grace.”  Pity poor children born on Wednesdays that were “full of woe.”

How am I today?  Thanks for asking. I’m not bad for a rainy, drippy, Tuesday.  For the record, I wasn’t born on a Tuesday.  I was born on a Saturday.  Need I say, “Saturdays children worked hard for a living?”

Organization, Please

It’s a good thing one of us is better organized. I’m more of a “go with the flow” type guy–unless things get too far out of control.

My wife is doing federal and state income taxes today. Something she seems to enjoy doing, and gets totally caught up in the process, till the very end.

Me, I would go H&R Block, or one of the other well-known tax preparation firms. Receipts for the year would be stashed away in a shoebox. Not a filing cabinet, but it always worked.

Not that I’m complaining, because the opposite–complete disorganization drives me berserk. I find it hard to understand those that seem to be on their own timetables, march to their own drummers,

Good Vibrations

I’m in a catch-all bad mood today.  There’s no logical reason for it.  Because of that, I’m trying to think positive thoughts.  “Two negatives don’t a positive  make.”  Didn’t Newton say that?

When the Beach Boys, Pet Sounds album came out, I was a teenager and completely bummed out. There weren’t any Good Vibrations to be found anywhere.  It was such a departure from anything done before.  Weren’t the Beach Boys about fast cars, surfing, and California girls?

I almost gave up my Columbia Record Club membership.  Those subscribed to Columbia Record Club knew, it was nearly impossible to unsubscribe.  They’d send more LP’s–I’d listen, like them, and continue.

There weren’t a lot of surfer dudes shooting the curl in Midwestern lakes and creeks.  Side B, the last cut, “Caroline No,” expressed how I felt at that time–and a little of how I feel today.  Sending out Good Vibrations on a gloomy, gray day.