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Archive for August, 2011

I’ve talked about him before (see here and here for examples), but my middle child (and youngest son), Jared, continues to provide me with excellent material for this here blog.

We attended a small school carnival over the weekend and my daughter, Ophelia (also written about earlier), wanted to have her face painted.

The activity was done and my seven year-old girl had a pink and white unicorn now adorning her right cheek. My wife started musing about face painting and began to wonder aloud that this activity seemed mildly pointless.

“What good is face painting,” she said, “when the person who has it done can’t see how good it looks. It’s really only the people who didn’t pay for it that get to see how cool it looks.”

“It just seems so odd,” my wife concluded.

To which, Jared, coolly asked her, “Then why do you wear earrings? Same idea, isn’t it?”

Not much can stop my wife in her tracks, but this question literally (and yes, I mean the literal sense of literally in that she really did stop to think about it…ppfffttt) did just that.

As of this writing, she still has no answer.

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Once is odd, twice is showing the hallmarks of a trend.

Following on the heels of this blast from the past courtesy of a whiff of nearly-forgotten perfume, comes this tidbit of synchronicity.

My middle child, Jared, comes up to me with his mother’s iPod in his hands and earbuds…well, in his ears (duh!)…comes up to me and casually informs me that he is listening to my “type of music”. I ask him what he is listening to and he says “The Queen is Dead” by The Smiths.

The Smiths…a band that I was introduced to by K, a female friend from eons ago in my past.

To be reminded twice in one week of someone I have not thought of in many a year is downright odd.

So my follow-up question is this…

What’s next?

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Though I am away from my home in the Old Free Colony (my nickname for the Virginia-Maryland-District tri-state area), I like to keep tabs on the old homestead every once in a while.

Yes, it was fascinated to hear stories about the earthquake that rattled the nation’s capital and the rest of the East Coast. As a former inhabitant of Southern California, I am glad that I missed that 5.9 tremor because that’s the type of strong quake that’ll make you wish you had built that emergency preparedness kit.

However, moving on, I wanted to write today because of the news I read recently, courtesy of the Cable News Network (known to all other people as CNN) that a small little town near where I live in Loudoun County was ranked as on the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2011 (Small City edition).

Ranked at Number 4 (there’s your number for the day) is Leesburg, Virginia, which just missed out on being the top spot which was taken by Louisville, Colorado.

Congratulations to Leesburg as CNN may rank this town as a great place to live, but as I’ve noted before, don’t volunteer if you do decide to live there.

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Had a strange experience yesterday afternoon.

I was going to one of the various governmental buildings here in Paris to do one sort of bureaucratic headache or another that is common after moving from one country to another (really, the details of this trip are not the crux of this vignette).

As I was entering the elevator, a woman got out. When I entered the elevator, her perfume still lingered in the air. It was a scent I had not had the pleasure of experiencing in quite some time…twenty-five years to be exact.

It was a perfume called Kristal (or perhaps Krystal?) and it was the scent worn by a female friend of mine, K, who I have not seen in over twenty-five years.

I have heard and read that the sense of smell is a huge trigger for memory and I have no doubt of that now. As I rode up the elevator to my destination, I was awash in memories nearly three decades old. The smell was so powerful that I could actually remember and taste (yes…taste) how she kissed.

To be stirred by such strong memories of a girl I had not thought of in over twenty years solely on the basis of a whiff of a long-forgotten perfume shows the power of the scent.

The elevator doors opened and I left the confines of the past and came back to Paris circa 2011.

Like I said, a strange experience.

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Happy Birthday and other words of celebration to science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, who turns 91 today.

In other Ray Bradbury news, I was excited to see that Jonathan Eller has written a biography of this author in the book, Becoming Ray Bradbury. This tome is now at the top of my birthday list.

I certainly Amazon doesn’t have a problem shipping to France.

I would also like to this opportunity to share my brush with greatness with the genius behind Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

I was living in Southern California at the time when it was announced that Mr. Bradbury would be at a mall signing copies of his latest collection of short stories entitled The Toynbee Convector. I had never been to a book signing before but everything that I had seen on television and movies regarding authors and book signings told me that I would have, at most, 60 seconds with this legend.

When my time came to be at the front of the line, I presented my book for Mr. Bradbury to sign and I told him that I had a bet with my friend. My friend said that it was Issac Asimov who appeared in a Stan Freberg commercial for Sunsweet Prunes and I claimed it was Mr. Bradbury.

Mr. Bradbury smiled at me and said, “You win”. He then signed my book with the tagline from that commercial, “Today the pits, tomorrow the wrinkles.

It is a treasure of my collection as it is one of the three signed books I own.

We chatted for a bit and I went far over my allotted sixty seconds. Turns out, Mr. Bradbury, being the nice and lovable man that he is, took the time to exchange a few words with everyone who stopped by to buy his book.

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury.

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I’ve written about him before and my quest to have the actor who played Dean Hodes on Weeds selected as the replacement for Charlie Sheen on the television program, Two and a Half Men.

While, sadly, my campaign was not successful (some other guy was selected), I was pleased to see this news that Mr. Milder will appear on the show Criminal Minds.

It’s not Two and a Half Men, but it is CBS.

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This weekend marked the 100th anniversary of the theft of the painting that goes by the official name, La Joconde, but is more commonly known as Mona Lisa.

To celebrate, I was planning to take the family to the Louvre to see this famous painting. I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage in front of the painting that spawned a song and countless parodies of that enigmatic smile (here and here).

Sadly, my visit to the Lady will have to wait as my oldest son, Christopher, came down with a mid-grade fever. So, we stayed home rather than wear him out. So, he recuperates and there will always be another chance come a subsequent weekend.

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