Tuesday, June 30, 2009

About Me

In the beginning, before there were web logs or weblogs or blogs, there were online journals, and mine was one of them. Most of those journals--many of which still exist--included an early entry that provided some information about the writer of the journal, an "about me" page. Looking back on my last such page, I am startled to see that I wrote it more than ten years ago.

The "about me" page still seems as good a way as any other that I can think of to start this adventure, so here goes--a few things about me.

I live in Manhattan, Kansas.

I am the cute one in the black-and-white photo on this page.

I am not entirely comfortable about growing old. If you squint--and if you are very kind--I can pass for 49-1/2, but I will never be 60 again, and my paternal grandfather now haunts the mirror I shave in.

I take some pride in the fact that I was on the planet at the same time that Gandhi and Einstein were alive. I am not above claiming to have met them.

I am not sure about god, but for a time, I was sure about Satan. She has good legs and a bad attitude, and she lives in a little white house that I spent a good part of my adult life paying for.

Since May 2005, I have been divorced. This has been a good thing for me, and probably for her as well. I joke frequently about the ex-wife, but I left my anger behind long ago and am happier now than I have been in many years.

I have three sons, Joshua, Owen, and Taylor. On May 17, 2009, each of them graduated from something. Joshua finished an M.A. in journalism at the University of Kansas, Owen finished a B.S. at the same university, and Taylor graduated from Manhattan High School.

Joshua, my oldest son, writes and rides. Armed with a new graduate degree in journalism, he's hunting for professional work. For recreation, his idea of a good time is to ride 100 to 200 miles on a single-speed mountain bike over bad roads in a single day. On a very different note, to say that my relationship with my oldest son is difficult would be kind. He is his mother's son in so many ways, but the troubles between us pre-date the divorce.

Owen is my second son. Owen has never met a stranger. He loves Lawrence, where he and his hair have blossomed at the University of Kansas. He has graduated and is taking a year off before graduate school to work and to consider how he will save the world.

Taylor, my youngest, graduated from the local high school and will join his brothers in Lawrence at the University of Kansas in the fall. Currently he resides in Manhattan with his mother, but we visit freely and frequently.

All of my sons can do a forward one-and-a-half from either the high or low boards, so my job as a father is almost done.

By day and sometimes night I teach a variety of English classes, an intro to philosophy class (only the English major bullshit talent qualifies me for this), and occasionally some developmental classes at a community college in Kansas. I love my job. Most of the time.

My favorite food is fried chicken eaten cold over the kitchen sink with nobody watching. If some part of that remark is unclear to you, then perhaps you've never enjoyed fried chicken wildly.

In the summer of 2005, I biked across Kansas with about eight hundred other idiots. I thoroughly enjoyed this event, and I will do it again as soon as feeling returns to my butt.

Bicycling is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy taking off on a 40-60 mile day trip around the area on a sunny weekend.

Both of my parents are still living. Mom is 82 and Dad is 87, and they still live in their own home in Houston. I credit the success of their marriage to the fact that Dad has gone deaf in his later years.

I was born in Pennsylvania, attended elementary school in New York on Long Island, and secondary school in Houston, Texas, at Bellaire High. I've lived in Kansas since 1979, longer than I've lived anywhere else.

If you've read this far, thanks.

I have attended Tulane University in New Orleans, the University of Texas at Austin, and Kansas State University in Manhattan. When I was a freshman at Tulane, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the house, was in graduate school there, and our paths crossed frequently. I seldom mention that because the nicest thing I can think to say about him is that he's a Republican.

I do, however, frequently mention that I knew Brent Spiner in high school. If you don't recognize the name, I'll remind you that he played Data in "Star Trek". Brent and I were in the same advanced drama class, but he is a bit further along in his acting career than I am.

I believe that corn is the only necessary vegetable and that onions, chives, shallots, and garlic go further in proving that there might be a god than any theologian ever did. This statement should not lead a reader to believe I am atheist. I'm more complicated than that, but to keep this area simple, I'll say that I don't believe any religion adequately or accurately describes god--nor will they ever. And I believe god is okay with that.

Others have told me my face is unexpressive. When they tell me this, what is there to do but look at them impassively and shrug.

My youngest son is one of the nicest humans I've ever known. I'm sure he was switched at birth.

I miss the naps that I took with my middle son when he was a toddler, but now that he's a six-footer, well...

My oldest son has taught me that no matter how much a parent might love a child, when that child is ready to leave home, the parent is usually ready to see the door hit that kid’s rear end.

That's enough for now, isn't it? I'll feel free to amend this as my boldness increases and as life experience suggests I should.


  1. I was at Ft. Riley for quite some time. I would love to say I was impressed by your state, but truth be told, it's very very flat & being raised in the moutains, well, there you go. It did however offer a good deal of history for anyone worthy of taking the time to get to know it. I went down to N.O. during a leave. Fell in the love with the city and it has left a lasting impression upon my soul. God Bless that great city!! By the time the children leave, most are ready for them to do so. However, we always have one eye on their where abouts. :) Good to know ya!

  2. There's probably a future journal entry in your comment about the supposed flatness of Kansas, summarized by bicyclists as follows: If you think Kansas is flat, try riding your bicycle across it.

    It's not mountainous, but it's not flat; it's positively wrinkled.

    I'll grant you that it takes a different sensibility to appreciate a prairie. On some days the weather is our only landscape.

    By now I should be less so, but I am always surprised--as I was by your comment--about the connections we make to the area through U.S. Army time spent at Fort Riley.

    Good to know you. And Hoo-ah!

  3. I found your blog via Randy's blog (Ride The White Line) and enjoyed your post quite a bit. Randy and I have been on many bike rides together over the last nine years and I'm so excited for him and his cross-country adventure.

    Unlike the former comment, I have nothing to say about Kansas. If I've been there, it was strapped in my parents' car as a young person. Scratch that, I don't think we were ever strapped down in the car. Those rules came later. My relatives, the great greats, are from Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin & Illinois but none from Kansas that I know of.

    However, I was at the University of Arizona game when we beat Kansas this past season and that, given their reputation, was a lot of fun for us.

    I hope you'll continue writing and, if so, I'll look forward to following along.