Post Father’s Day Wrap

In the tumult that followed Stefanie’s trip to the hospital (fine now – thanks) and my big poker tournament, I forgot to mention Father’s Day.

What a cool holiday. Who would have thought, just having a child gets you a day?

Buying a gift for my dad is our most difficult Father’s Day quandary. He’s had 80 years to accumulate everything he needs and most of what he wants.

High tech is always a good idea. If it plugs into his laptop or desktop computer, he’s up for it. This year though, we came up blank.

My mom told us how much he enjoys “24,” but had only come to the show in this last season. Why not get him the boxed DVD set?

We looked at some local stores, but decided to buy on EBay. If you look carefully at some of the better EBay deals, you see an admonition. The TV show you’re buying is in English. It’s just what you’d get in the store. Oh, there’s some Chinese writing on the packaging.

We ordered.

Sure enough, there was Chinese writing sprinkled along with what looked like the standard “24” package. Why not-the package came from China!

Yesterday, when my dad began to watch, he saw Chinese subtitles, but a click of the switch turned them off.

He’s going to enjoy this gift, which makes us feel really good.

Buying for me is much easier. Helaine and Stef got me three pairs of cuff links (all very cool) and a new pair of LL Bean slippers.

They also got me a ‘fun’ gift – a battery powered, radio controlled airplane. I had seen it on HSN and mentioned something to Helaine. I only said it looked interesting… but she connected the dots.

Yesterday afternoon Helaine and I set out for large field alongside a local elementary school (we were actually over the septic system). The sky was sunny. The breeze was nearly non-existent. The plane’s battery was charged.

Helaine went to launch the plane first. As she held the plane, I flipped the switch on the remote. The twin engines started whirring, scaring the living daylights out of her.

She reached back and threw the plane with a slightly upward angle. The plane headed toward the ground as if it were magnetic.

We tried again and again and again. A few times the plane flew a little before heading groundward. When it did fly, it was uncontrollable. Most of the time it didn’t fly at all. On one particularly vicious crash, a part of the Styrofoam nose came off.

Helaine was very disappointed. It wasn’t that she really cared about flying a model plane. She just wanted to make me happy. I was disappointed too.

Today the plane went back in its box and headed home to HSN.

Helaine offered to get me another plane, something she saw listed on EBay. I said no.

My idea is to go and hang out with some people who fly more sophisticated model planes with the thought that I’ll go once and get it out of my system… or not.

School Days

I went to speak to a local elementary school today. I don’t usually speak to schools. My appearances are mostly associated with charity work.

In this case, my next door neighbors children go to this school. How could I resist.

This was an older school. Though a parochial school, it reminded me of PS 163Q where I “served” second through sixth grade. Don’t confuse ‘older school’ with ‘old style’ school . They are different terms.

However, this school was both! I don’t consider that to be bad.

The kids were very attentive and asked good questions. They weren’t scared to participate. I liked that.

There was one kid in the front who needed to be tied down for his own (OK – for my own) good. There’s at least one in every class. I was it in my school.

When I do these school talks, we always suck eggs into Snapple bottles. The kids love it. They like it even better when a teacher, Sister Pia in this case, holds the bottle.

We never had fun people stop by when I was in elementary school. We had a dentist… once. He told us you needed to use ‘elbow grease’ when you cleaned your teeth. One girl (I remember her name but won’t put it here) raised her hand and asked where elbow grease could be bought.

Election Day 2005

It’s election day. My town is electing a mayor and a few other posts. Before I went to work, I went to vote.

It’s always the same. I walk into the lunchroom at the local elementary school, find the table that matches my street, show my drivers license and get my ‘ticket’. Then I vote on a machine which looks like every voting machine I’ve used since 1971 (Nixon-McGovern at Mallard Creek 2 in Charlotte, NC).

I looked down at the list today as they crossed off my name. Beneath Helaine Fox and Geoffrey Fox was Stefanie Fox. How cool is that, Steffie is a registered voter.

Steffie didn’t vote today and that’s fine. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, she did the right thing by not voting!

Voting is the final step of a long process. Unless you take all the steps – don’t vote. Steffie is at college where it would be impossible for her to know what’s going on locally.

I was passing by VH1 last night while some folks were talking about Paris Hilton’s participation in a “Vote or Die” program in the last election. As it turned out, Paris neither voted nor died.

I worry about get out the vote programs. They concentrate on the wrong part of the equation. You shouldn’t vote because there’s guilt involved. When you vote, it should be because you’ve got an idea what’s going on and an opinion you want heard.

Like I said, voting is the final step of a long process.