Monday, August 15, 2005

¿Dónde estás, Dolly-Ann?

  • This may amuse Sara Handy, who reads this blog from time to time, although it probably won't surprise her -- my parents remember things she has done better than I do. This last week, my mother was serving as an instructor for some sort of science project in Lake Itasca, Minnesota (headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River). Last night at dinner she was explaining the whole project in her usual meandering and overly detailed way and I was just sort of sitting there nodding and not paying attention until my dad said: "This was the same thing that Sara did that one summer."
    "Huh?" I said.
    "Sara Handy," my dad said. "She used to be your girlfriend."
    "I know that. I don't remember her going to Itasca."
    "Sure, it was the same summer that she also took part in some research on the brains of snails."
    "I think it was worms," my mom pitched in.
    "Yeah," my dad said. "Snails or worms. And it was supposed to somehow help to find a cure for Alzheimer's."
    The hell? I don't remember any of this. That probably says a lot about my quality as a boyfriend.
    In my defense, my memory doesn't work that way. I have a crap factual memory. I can remember things vividly, but it all exists without context in my skull -- a timeless collection of sensual experiences -- taste, touch, smell, look, sound.
    This morning I found myself thinking about it more, and perhaps I do remember Sara's going to Itasca.
    "Hey. That was the same summer that she worked with those hot Puerto Rican girls," I thought.
    This, too, probably says a lot about my quality as a boyfriend.

  • Maybe, though, Sara told me all about these snails and worms with Alzheimer's disease and I don't remember because I didn't hear her.

  • On July 2, 2003, I sent a note to the American distributor of Welsh ESB, asking where I could find it in or around St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I heard back from them, in the form of my being CC'd on an e-mail to someone else (presumably a local distributor). Two years -- I can't even decide how I feel about that customer service. Obviously, it's abysmal, but at the same time, you have to respect that the person I sent the e-mail to got around to answering it eventually.
    I also give him credit for his valiant effort in ending his e-mail with "Yachi-da," which, I'm guessing, was an attempt to write "iechyd da" -- a common drinking toast, it is Welsh for "good health."

  • I think I have before told the story of being on the Tube in London with an American friend when a very loud American family boarded the train. They stood in the middle of the carriage, loudly announcing to one another their complaints about various facets of what they perceived to be daily British life:
    "WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BUTTER THE BREAD ON ALL THEIR SANDWICHES? IT'S SO GROSS!" screamed the mother, emphasizing "they" with a tone of disgust.
    My friend leaned back against his seat, put his hand over his face and muttered: "I am Canadian. I don't care what my passport says; I am Canadian. When we get back to Pompey, I am sewing a Canadian flag onto my backpack."
    Similarly, dudes like Larry Mattlage make me want to disavow my being a fourth-generation Texan.

  • Uhm, sure: the American Cornhole Association.

  • Good name for a band: National Ska League

  • Good name for a band or an album: El Presidente de NASCAR*

  • I am shocked -- shocked, I say -- to learn that a rugby team would become disruptive when denied alcohol. No, wait. I'm not at all shocked. What were the flight attendants thinking? Getting between a rugger and booze is like getting between a mama bear and her cub.

    *I don't know what's wrong with me, I was watching NASCAR again this weekend. In a Domino's advert that ran during the race, Michael Waltrip proclaims himself to be "El Presidente de NASCAR," in response to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s claim that he is "Grand Pooh-bah of NASCAR."

    Curly said...

    Yes, bean-tossing indeed. How can someone put together a site like that without cracking up every two seconds?

    Isn't it unfortunate that the "Yachi-da" didn't precede a sip of Welsh ESB? It is a good attempt though!

    heatherfeather said...

    hee hee... you said cornhole.

    i have a friend whose father is a lawyer and his first case was representing an old woman who wanted to sue the makers of her worm farm because they didn't provide directions on preventing the worms from running away.

    OldHorsetailSnake said...

    This is turning out to be a great day for drinking. My friend Angie, at is touting Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout from England. I couldn't tell from your story whether the rugby team was after Welsh Beer or English beer.

    Dave Morris said...

    I've played cornhole. Kinda fun actually, mindless. We played it sitting down in lawn chairs, while making the kids run and collect the bags each time. We're bastards, my friends and I.

    Thomas said...

    I don't know Spanish so I stopped reading at the title.

    I think there should be some kind of amendment thingee that say all blogs should be written in English.

    heatherfeather said...

    thomas, you should write to tom delay about that.

    Jenny said...

    Ah, your learning style is right brain, visual/aural/kinetic. Mention this whenever you have to take a written test:

    'This test favours left-brain thinkers. How are you going to cater for my learning style? All candidates should have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in more than one medium. I'm going home.'

    You now win at being irritating and are qualified to undertake a postgraduate teaching course in the subject of your choice.

    Cheekysquirrel said...

    Mmmmm butter.

    Actually the average brit is more likely to spread margarine on their bread, all the while wishing it was butter.

    No offense, If we were to compare british bread and butter habits to the cuisine americans have invented to clog their veins I think we come off as light weights.

    Anonymous said...

    Holy fuck, you even remembered her name; you were just referring to her as the "Virgin-Whore" that summer.

    Hmmm, no, not surprised about your parents remembering stuff about me. For a while there they may have loved me more than you (you actually said that).

    Yep, Itasca Biological Station - it's part of the U of MN. Neuroelectrophysiology lab - that's what I did - stimulated neurons of frog retinas & turtle cerebellums with electrodes. Then spent 2 months dissecting nerve cords out of moths and caterpillars (the "worms"!). And yes, studying how special neurons died in a programmed way which was believed to be relevant, albeit loosely, very loosely, to Alzheimers. Your parents are pretty right on. Seems they remember way more than MY parents do - what does that say!?
    But I never even tried to tell you about what I did cause you'd told me (in your oh so sensitive and supportive and caring way) that the second I said something sciencey you stopped listening. So no wonder you don't remember. You did not embrace science-dork-sara like your mom and your grandma Lib.

    Up at Itasca we drank at a bar called the Headwaters. It was the summer of Boriquas - there was Dolly Ann, Iris, Gloria. Sure got the locals' attention around the pool table. And the hombres - Beto, and Guillermo - who had auditioned for Menudo or so he claimed. And you might remember Bindy? Tiny girl, drank and swore like a sailor? Plus her grandad was the mayor of Wall, S.D. And she held the distinction of having been helicoptered right out of Saigon in Operation Baby Lift. I googled Bindy and she's now a family practice resident in Massachsetts.

    That summer you also drove Michelle up to Lake Kabekona to hang out with us (science dork crew from Itasca) at my aunt's cabin for a weekend. They all got the cabin and we stayed in the cabana right over the water.

    Anonymous said...

    Don't knock this Cornhole until you've tried it! its the pride of the midwest!

    Anonymous said...

    What in the bloody hell is this site? I've had but a wee bit of tin& gonic; not much makes sense, still. How's that for syntax?

    I will probably never find this site again, and besides that, I've been lost here before! Hand me that piano!