Monthly Archives: January 2009

New skill: House throwing

Compliments come in unexpected forms. I, for one, got one without expecting it. Apparently the compliment thrower didn’t intend to be so profuse in commenting on my strength.

Let me explain:

A while back we hired a local woman to do household chores which we hate, things like cleaning, straightening, washing and windows. She did a good job, and we hired her back several times. With the more frequent visits came familiarity.

Once, in a just-between-us-girls voice, she told my wife that “Art is always throwing the house.” What’s that? I can toss a football with the best of the 69-year-olds; my baseball-throwing acumen is pathetic, and, I throw a bowling ball, well, just like Obama.

These are objects designed to be thrown, but how does one throw a house? I thought about it and of course realized that Spanish is Julia’s first language, and there’s a slight bridge to cross from one language to another. I’ll get to the “thrown” house in a few graphs. Continue reading

It’s in the Cards

The headline for the sports pages of Feb. 2 has already been written: Cardinals Defeat Steelers; Arizona Breaks 61-Year Drought.

Well, the headline is written, at least for a slew of area folks who predict an Arizona victory. Why? The key reasons are “They deserve it” and “They’re closer.”

Super Bowl XLIII is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 1, in Tampa, Fla.

Of the dozen-plus people surveyed, mostly exercise buffs working out at the City Recreation Center, none is an original fan of either the Arizona Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Several base their hopes and predictions on proximity, the fact that it would take just a day’s drive to get to Phoenix, whereas a trip to Pittsburgh …

The random sampling shows a mix of eight favorite teams, with three highly intelligent prognosticators being original Oakland Raider fans, whereas three dreamers root for a team called the Dallas Cowboys. And people also like the Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. Continue reading

‘He kept us safe’

This morning, just five days before the inauguration of a new president, I had a detailed conversation with my grandson and namesake.

I mentioned, in all sincerity, that Bush had ended the year on a positive note. “He demonstrated remarkable leadership, was strong, was quick to make the right decisions, acted courageously and, in the final distillation, made a lot of people happy.”

Arthur, who’s grown accustomed to hearing more vitriol than panegyrics at the name Bush, seemed a wee bit incredulous. “Well, Pompah, do you mean you’re now praising Bush? I’ve heard you being very critical of him,” he said.

My response: “When it comes to leadership and getting the job done, it’s really a ‘mission accomplished.’ It gives me hope for a brighter 2009.” Continue reading

‘Get a life’ or ‘Go for it’

Is there any cure for language purists of my ilk? Will I/we ever be able to relax, irrespective of the knowledge that somewhere in the world public signs with misspellings abound?

Being a newly dubbed strait-laced language cop, I get it back twice as hard. I parade around commenting on other people’s typos, but when something I write, and by extension, something that appears in the Optic, has a glaring error, we catch it (not the error, the scorn).

How does it feel, Art?

A couple of examples: Continue reading

220 pounds OK — for a 9-footer

A few hours ago, hundreds of millions watched the ball drop on Times Square, signaling the start of a new year, one of hope and promise, if not of prosperity.

As they sang an ancient lay — something about an elderly man named Lang who owns an old sign — many people celebrated by uncorking bottles of champagne and later waking up to a man-sized headache today.

As for me, the real ache is a couple of feet lower.

Let me explain: Continue reading