All Good Things Must Come to an End

•August 5, 2013 • 11 Comments

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. ~Mae West

It’s been fun.

More importantly, it’s been educational.

~Hannibal and Murdock, “The A-Team”

finimurdock

Today, I think, is the third anniversary of P&Q. Over 400 posts, thousands of tags, roughly 2500 subscribers, and three Freshly Pressed honors.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s officially time for P&Q to retire.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy blogging; I enjoy writing (at least, I keep telling myself that I do.) I’ve met so many amazing friends through blogging whom I otherwise never would have known. I’ve enjoyed it for three years now…but the fire in the belly is no longer there. It’s time to move on.

I am still planning on writing. In fact I’m in the slow process of writing a book, which is why I need the extra time. I’ve come to the conclusion that the end result is the important part, not the number of copies I may sell or fans I may earn. I’ve been saying for over thirty years now that I should write a book. And I’m going to do it.

Of course I’d like to thank all of you loyal readers for your tireless support. Although I can’t possibly give a shout out to everyone, I’d especially like to thank Piper Bayard, Susie Lindau, The Heretic, Jamie (The Tousled Apostle), and the rest of my wonderful Regular Commenters. You guys are amazing and all very talented writers. Please stay in touch, and I’ll be sure to check in on your blogs when I can.

The archives will stay put as they are. If anyone would like to use any of the material, please do so as long as it is cited.

My loyal readers, it’s been an honor and a privilege to be with you these last three years. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve seen a whirlwind of changes in my life while writing here at P&Q. I’m just glad I got to share even a little of it with you.

The site mascot, having been declared sane at last (we think), is now living in an undisclosed location in the proximity of my home. He wishes everyone happiness and lots of scrum-diddly-umptious treats.

Oh, and if you’d like to stay in touch, drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com.

So, my dear readers, Auf Wiedersehen, Au Revoir, Hasta la Vista. If and when my book is done you’ll be the first to know.

With my warmest regards,

“Howling Mad” Heather

The Day I Became a Major League Baseball Superstar

•July 30, 2013 • 1 Comment

The American Express Card. Don’t steal home without it. ~from “Major League”

davidortiz

This year has been great to me. Not only did I sign a guaranteed contract to play what is, essentially, a kids’ game, but I’m living the good life now. No more 9-5 grind. No more endless traffic on the way to work. No more feeling obligated to, you know, actually work. I’m getting paid millions whether I work or not. Isn’t America great?

I gotta say the best part is not having to suck up to my bosses anymore. Yeah, they pay my salary, but I’m also making millions from endorsement deals, video games, and sales of my likeness. I can also stick it to the fans. It’s a privilege for them to come and see me work. I mean, they gotta have some entertainment to take their minds off their crappy jobs.

There’s also the matter of the umpires. They’re not technically my bosses, but I can take ’em or leave ’em. If they blow a call I gotta tell ’em they’re wrong. They’re not the ones the fans are paying to see. If that means they get a broken jaw or spit in their face, what’s it to me?

Teammates? There may be no “I” in “team,” but there’s an “m” and an “e.” I only have use for them as long as we’re winning. If not, I don’t really care if they wind up in Toronto or Trenton or Toledo. They’re expendable. I’m the one in contention for the Triple Crown and MVP here.

I hear all these rumors about PEDs, steroids, that kind of stuff. What’s the big deal? Pretty much everybody does at least something. With 162 games in a season, I need that extra kick to help get me through. I don’t see what the big deal is with all the rapes and murders and terrible disasters in the world. I thought you guys loved the long ball. Remember how much you dug it in 1998?

Off the field? I’m just like you. I have problems. Mine are just bigger since I make a lot more money than you and have my face on lots of products. So what if I have a few anger management issues? You mean you never had eight different jobs in 11 years? Seriously? And you never said exactly what was on your mind on live TV? You need to start living, brah.

By the way, I’m sorry about that bullpen phone I broke the other night. I was just having an emotional moment. I’m all better now.

I hope you guys keep coming out to the games, by the way. Don’t think I haven’t forgotten about you. I mean, without you, would I be making $3.2 million on average per year? (And that’s the average Joe, not me.) I need the support of you teachers, police officers, nurses, and military personnel. At this rate you’ll only need to work about 70 years or so to make what I get out of one year. Keep up the good work and keep America strong, all of you. It’s not as if your job is as important as mine.

I also regret to inform you I’ll be out for the rest of the season. I have a foot injury. I can’t imagine how you waitstaff and warehouse workers and cooks work through it, especially for the salary you get. And you guys don’t have access to the best doctors in the world. I don’t even think some of you have health insurance. Bummer. Hope you can still make a game or two in between your two part-time jobs.

Well, my team’s in the cellar and I have a bad foot. It’s off to my beach cottage in Hawaii to rest up. Hope you guys enjoy the pennant chase and I’ll see you at spring training!

Sincerely,

Your Favorite Overpaid Superstar

jobu

(I hope it’s readily apparent that this is a parody and is meant to be read as such!)

What do you think is wrong with sports today? How about what’s right?

His Royal Highness, Prince Buddy

•July 22, 2013 • 3 Comments

Prince Buddy of England. Be fine. Well, that’s settled. ~Larry Shue, “The Foreigner”

royalbaby

Unless you’ve been on a deep-sea expedition or visiting Mars, no doubt you’ve heard that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their baby today, a boy. While I’m no Royal-watcher and no Royalist, I wish them and their new arrival, now third in line for the throne, all the best. Now the question turns from “when” and “which gender” to an appropriate name.

Royalty have a limited pool of names to choose from. They must respect traditions and honor long-dead family members while striving for an air of nobility (that means “North West,” “Snoop,” and “Honey Boo Boo” are out.) Frontrunners include classic stalwarts like George, James, and Edward. However, in my own humble way, I decided to offer the royals some suggestions for the new little prince’s name. These fictional princes of screen and stage were all memorable in their own way, weren’t they?

I’ve also given my readers the opportunity to vote on the zaniest possible name for the future King of England. Let’s see about plundering the pretend princes’ names:

Prince Ruprecht (Steve Martin) from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) from The Princess Bride

Prince Ludwig the Indestructible (Hugh Laurie) from Blackadder II

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (Now Known As Prince Again)

Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) from Shrek 2

Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) from Game of Thrones

Personally, my guess as to the prince’s name is…

James Phillip Arthur Michael Spencer.

But, it’s just a guess.

babypillowAre you following the Royal Baby story? If so, any guesses on a name?

An Interview with H.M. Murdock

•July 16, 2013 • 8 Comments

Murdock, the one and only

I’d like to thank H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit down for an interview. In addition to his honorary duties as site mascot here at P&Q, he is an accomplished pilot, skilled commando, and certified lunatic. Welcome!

Good of you guys to have me. So, where’s the Twinkies?

We ordered some flown in direct from the factory. It must be a special treat since they were out of production there for a while.

Yeah. It was rough, like when they stopped makin’ Crystal Pepsi. Or when my invisible hamster escaped that one time…

Let’s get started. I asked my readers to submit questions for you, so I’ll present them in the order in which they were asked. One of them even received a prize.

They’re not gonna ask that one about boxers or briefs, are they?

I think not. That’s for the interview with Faceman.

Perfect, because I only ever gird my loins with funny animals.

OK, let’s get back on topic. Our first question is from Kathleen of Parenthesis Photography:

“What was your childhood like?”

It’s hard to say for sure with this intermittent memory loss, y’know? I do remember when my mom died when I was five, and my dad never came back from the war, so I went to live with my Grandma and Grandpa. They were all right as old folks go but I don’t think they really knew what to do with a kid who bounced off the walls like I did. School was kinda boring and I had to take a lot of tests. They couldn’t figure out whether I was really smart or really slow. For the longest time I wanted to be a cowboy, or an astronaut, or a baseball player, or maybe a cowboy who worked part-time for NASA and pitched for the Red Sox. All in all it was pretty happy, with very few spankings and lots of laughs.

Cassandra has several questions for you.

Is she a fan of mine?

I suppose she is. Number one, “If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be, and why?”

A spoon, of course, ’cause I love stirring things up! Plus I’d get dipped in all kinds of delicious stuff, and licked a lot. I like getting licked.

Umm…maybe that’s too much information, Captain. But I see no way around it, since Cassandra’s next question is “Innie or outie?”

I’m an in sorta guy, but I can always let my really crazy side OUT, if you know what I mean. Grandma always used to say “Better out than in,” and I really never knew what the poor ol’ dear meant. And now she’s dead and I can’t ask her.

I’m sorry to hear that. This should make you smile, though, as her final question to you is, “If you could have a year-long supply of any food, what would it be, and why?”

Can I say Twinkies? Are they really back? If not, then I’ll go with those Number 2 pencils. Delicious, piquant, with just a hint of that lovely cedary aftertaste. They even have erasers on the end so you can have a bit of dessert. Not just that, they’re good to have around for standardized tests. I always wondered why other people didn’t like ’em the way I did. By the way, can I have that yummy pencil when you’re done with it?

Of…course you can. You might need it to answer this next question, submitted by Rose of Butimbeautiful. “If you read your book very fast backwards, would it summon the Antichrist?”

?ecin taht t’nsI .setontoof eht ni “REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM” nettirw sah enoemos dna ,hO .tnioppasid ot yrroS .tsirhcitnA eht tuoba ereht ni gnihton s’ereht tub “,epyt ytilanosrep lanoisuled” dna “seicnednet cinerhpozihcs” tuoba gnihtemos syas siht…ereh ees s’teL

Was that English?

I guess. It’s hard to tell with this silly book.

Sidney also has a few questions for you, if you promise to answer intelligibly.

KO…I mean, OK, Roger Wilco that!

And she is a huge fan of yours, so please answer honestly. She’d like to know, “What were your marks like in school?”

ateamsayuncleaffair122810-04

Big, large print, kinda crayon-y. I always listened to that one teacher who told us to write neatly. And I never made any marks on the walls. I’m crazy, not slow.

That’s a good lead-in for Sidney’s next question: “Who was your favorite teacher, and why?”

There was a sweet lady named Miss Rose Chatelaine. She didn’t think I was so crazy, and she always brought home-baked chocolate chip cookies to class. Oh, and she looked like Olivia de Havilland. If Olivia had grown up in Texas and wore cowboy boots instead of slippers.

That’s so sweet. We all need teachers like that. Speaking of teaching, Sophia asks, “Have you ever offered to teach one of your fellow team members to fly, in case you ever need an extra set of hands?”

Well, we all know about B.A. and his aerophobia, so he’s out. As for Faceman and Hannibal? Maybe in a pinch, but I gotta be the number one pilot here. Otherwise I’d just be a superfluous crazy guy. I might have one of them up there with me just to harmonize with me on some Stones tunes, or hold my cotton candy while I run to the little pilots’ room.

Fair enough. Well, Captain, there’s just one more burning question I have to ask before you head home to the V.A.

Shoot for it!

Boxers or briefs?

All righty then, I’ll just assume you stick to funny animals and lucky rocketship underpants and leave it at that.

You do that.

Many thanks to all who participated in this “interview!” Look for another later this summer. Congrats to Cassandra, our winner, who gets a $20 gift card.

How Not To Kill Your Husband

•July 8, 2013 • 8 Comments

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? ~Groucho Marx

lotrwedding

I’m not married and I doubt I’ll ever be married. If I do, I should know what to do thanks to my mom and dad. As of yesterday they’ve been married 40 years. This astonishes me because a) nobody is married 40 flipping years these days, b) when they got married, powder-blue suits with wide lapels were considered cool, and c) they haven’t murdered one another yet.

No, but they have stayed in love and stood by one another through thick and thin for 40 years. Four decades. Nixon was still President of the United States when they got married. Think about that for a second. In an era of disposable marriages and convenient divorces, this is one hell of an accomplishment.

I don’t think it’s always been wine and roses. No marriage is. I’ve been there for a few of the fights and a lot of the heartbreaks. Purely from an observer’s perspective, here’s what I’ve noticed about what it takes to make a marriage last:

* Don’t argue about the stuff not really worth arguing about.

*Never go to bed angry. It isn’t worth it.

*Share the responsibilities equally.

* Accept and embrace your differences.

* Have separate interests and separate friends if you want to.

* Go out to dinner once in a while.

* Say “I love you” on a regular basis…and mean it.

* Handle in-laws the way you would glass.

* Love really is all you need; John Lennon had that right.

Here’s to a lasting love of 40 years. May it stay strong and may no household objects ever be used in anger.

40th

If you’re married, what are your secrets to making love last? If you’re not married, what might you add to the list?

This Nostalgia Is Killing Me

•July 6, 2013 • 3 Comments

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. ~Proust

opryland

Remember the line in “Hotel California” about how you can check out any time you like, but can never leave?

I can never leave my past. No matter how painful or bitter or excruciating the memories are, I foolishly come back for more. Today I returned to a place I hadn’t been in years, the Opry Mills Mall, scene of the catastrophic 2010 flood. It is also the former location of the late, great Barnes and Noble store where I worked for one-sixth of my life. Now that the company as a whole seems headed down the same drain of oblivion as Borders, I hate to say I feel anything but remorse. Where once stood a proud, inviting bookstore, there is only a gaping black hole. It may never be filled again.

It’s been three years since the flood and the subsequent loss of my job (not to mention those of many of my friends). I hadn’t been back for the obvious reasons. It bloody well hurt. In some way it was like returning to the scene where a family member had suffered a sudden, violent death. The well-fed shoppers who walked past the empty storefront didn’t know and didn’t care that a bookstore once occupied that space. Hell, I’m sure a few of them are on their way to not knowing what a book is. I, on the other hand, stood mute and deeply saddened in a private moment of silence. I felt like some military officer should have been playing “Taps” in the background, because the store is obviously never coming back.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this killing nostalgia this year. I returned to several places I’d avoided, by choice or not, for years or even decades. Inevitably they’d all changed. Some no longer existed at all. Where now stood a vacant lot or a sparkling new Panera Bread Company, once held the site of vivid memories, of childhood games or teary breakups or heartfelt epiphanies. The current tenants had no idea. I did, and despite my self-imposed ban on crying, I couldn’t help myself. I even cried over the loss of the store with the Elvis statuette out front. People are dying in wars and I’m crying instead over the dearth of a statue. I know, I’m an idiot.

The funny thing is, the damn mall wasn’t even there when I first came to what I now consider to be my own Hotel California. It was a theme park, a hokey place with a log-flume ride and a booth where my mom and I pretended to pose for a Victorian photograph. How many of the busy shoppers even knew that?

Maybe I’ll bring a wreath next time I come out there…if there is a next time. I’m not sure I could handle it again, even if Mall 2.0 has a store solely devoted to selling Converse shoes. Saving five bucks is not worth having my heart ripped out and trampled upon.

I’d thought about visiting the small town where I spent a large chunk of my childhood. At this point it’s probably not worth it if the rolling meadows and frog ponds I remember have given way to a Wal-Mart and a trailer park. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot if you must, but damn you if you’ll spoil my memories.

Dedicated to all my friends, and even casual acquaintances, from 2016. I miss you guys.

2016store

What has been your experience going back to places you remember?

Coming next week: Interview with the Site Mascot (finally!)

The “Real” Andy Taylor of Mayberry

•July 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Somewhere wandering loose around Mayberry is a loaded goat. ~Andy Griffith

This is the story of a man who was born in the mid-1920s, the only child of a humble southern family who later settled in southern California. Over his long life he served many roles: husband, father, amateur philosopher, comedian, but is best-known for his position as a much-loved law enforcement officer in an idyllic small town. Though he was not without his faults, he had a generous and kind spirit and a gentle sense of humor. Most people loved him… but some hated him.

I just told, in a nutshell, the life story of the late Andy Griffith. It also happens to be the story of my late grandfather, Don (that’s him on the far right in the photo), whom I miss every day since he died in 2006. Just this past weekend I was reminded how much.

Occasionally we still stumble across lost family relics. This weekend was one of those times. My grandfather was infamous for his squirrel-like tendencies to stash things away. My dad has this trait and so do I. Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of looking for insurance papers, we turn up priceless relics as if we were Indiana Jones. In the middle of a box of dusty paperwork we came across a scrapbook detailing my grandfather’s life in the police force.

I knew the basics: started out as a beat cop and eventually became chief of the city of La Mesa police department. Loved his job but rarely talked about it. Received commendations from city councilmen all the way up to the President. But that, as the late, great Paul Harvey used to say, was only half the story. The scrapbook was the next best thing to having him back to talk about old times.

Life was, to use a cliche, a lot simpler back then. Car accidents and teenagers stealing hubcaps, not rapes and brutal homicides, dominated the police blotter. The sale of alcohol to minors was a city-wide topic for gossip. Kids could walk around outside, without supervision, without fear of abduction or worse. It wasn’t a perfect world but it was perhaps preferable to the broken, paranoid one we live in today.

I’d like to think my grandfather stood for something good. I like to envision him, like the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor, as a kind of modern-day knight errant. And, if the scrapbook was any indication, he was. He once saved a toddler from death by choking, and drove another wayward child home from a busy street. It was his regular practice to randomly pull over motorists for “good driving” and reward them with free movie tickets. In between his many duties, he found time to volunteer at charity fundraisers and help coach Little League baseball. One of his teams went to the LLWS and participated in a famous game which they lost.

His most important role may have been Dad. Because of him, my dad has the same kind of integrity and character. No matter what anyone says today, that is important. If you will, my dad was the Opie Taylor of southern California. Like Ron Howard, he’s also been successful in his own right.

Of course I still miss my grandfather. He died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer. There’s so much I wish I could ask him, and I’d just about give my right arm to hear his stories about some of the photos in the scrapbook, one of which features a motorist impaled by a metal fence post. (My grandfather was a white knight, but he was no saint.) Instead I cherish the memories I do have of him. I count myself fortunate that I knew the “real” Andy of Mayberry.

What do you remember/love most about your grandparents?

To my American readers, happy Independence Day!

 
leaveyoursanity

abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui

butimbeautiful

You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

her name was cassandra

and she was a shining star

Mr. Library Dude

Blogging about libraries, technology, teaching, and more

The A-Team Blog

past and present adventures of the A-Team

Sound Bytes Blog

Can you hear that?...It's baseball.

The Phil Factor

Where Sarcasm Gets Drunk and Let's Its Hair Down

Half Baked Log

Just another WordPress.com weblog

La Perspective Parisienne

Insight From an American Student Taking on Paris

Catherine M Johnson

Drips And Sploshes

The Other Side

...the inane ramblings of an Aussie Pagan Aspie Houswife

Library Lost & Found

library leaders dropping knowledge

marrymeknot

To be or not to be...married.

The Wish Factor

How did I get here...

SmellingCrayons

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Elements of Madness

Cinematic Reviews, Recommendations, and More

Baseball For Dinner

// m70//56-8ハードルおとこ v i s i o n

Reel Girl

Imagining gender equality in the fantasy world