We had a lovely home-made memorial service for my Dad last Saturday at the Foley Mountain Conservation Area near Westport, a spot he loved all his life. As I did after Lisa’s funeral, I’ve collected the wonderful tributes from Dianne and John Moroz, Pete Stothart, Howie Green, my sister Beth, and my Mom into this PDF. (Some editing has been done for length and to explain some obscure inside jokes.) My own words appear both in the PDF and below. We love you, Dad.
(Oh, yeah: The one person whose words I didn’t collect here was the elderly gentleman who really wanted to tell everyone about the day in 1944 that Westport got the news that my father’s father was missing in action. He was so determined to tell the story, in fact, that he turned the P.A. system back on and did tell it–after my mother had finished speaking, and the service was done, and after I’d expressly asked him not to. But it was a nice story, although perhaps a bit confusing to those in attendance, because in telling it he conflated my father and my father’s father. Elderly gentleman, if you’re reading this, DM me the text of your remarks and I’ll add them to the PDF.)
Eulogies for Dad (PDF)
The living room in our house in Dundas—the house that Beth, Amy, Jamie, and I grew up in—had a brown corduroy couch that made lines on your face if you slept on it. It had a wooden rocking chair decorated with a pretend bearskin rug. It had a chair that we thought of as Mom’s chair, a kind of armless lounge chair that I always thought was very stylish and elegant. But the best place to sit in our living room was Dad’s chair. You can probably picture it: a big Lazy-Boy style recliner, a classic Dad chair. It could swivel and it could rock and there was a lever to make the footrest pop out, and it was right next to the stereo. But the best thing about sitting in Dad’s chair was that, Read more
Poking my head out of the woods for one little bit of good news: Technology & Culture has just published my article, “Sympathetic Physics: The Keely Motor and the Laws of Thermodynamics in Nineteenth-Century Culture.” It’s about the Keely Motor, which was the most notorious perpetual motion hoax of the 19th-century–unless, of course, it was real. Technology & Culture is probably the leading journal in the history of technology, and I’ve been wanting to publish an article there for years. I’m delighted that the first one I did was this one, which I think is both smart and a lot of fun. Read more
We said goodbye to Lisa (or tried to) on Friday. Several people have asked me for a copy of my eulogy, while I knew I had to have copies of the beautiful words offered by everyone else. So: my eulogy is posted below. And: this PDF contains my eulogy plus the other eulogies offered on Friday, by Rabbi Debra Dressler, Wael Haddara, Rachel Heydon, Hilary Teplitz and Elaine Worthy Thomas, Julie Faden, and myself. May her memory be a blessing.
Eulogies for Lisa (PDF)
Thank you all so much for being here today. Rabbi Dressler, Wael, Rachel, Hilary and Elaine, Julie, thank you for your kind and heartfelt words.
I’m Lisa’s husband Rob. On this beautiful, miserable day, at the end of the worst week of my life, on zero hours of sleep and several extra-strength Tylenol to fight the fever I’ve been running for days, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to stand up in front of one or two hundred people and try to sum up, in a few minutes, the most incredible person I have ever known. I’m afraid my speech is too long and it’s not properly footnoted, but I do think it is pretty good in parts. Let’s give it a whirl.
“Untitled (Low Tide),” by Jim Kazanjian
“Hmm, it looks like what you have here is a leaky shower pan.”
“It looks like what you have here is a leaky basement.”
“Hmm. It looks like there’s a leak somewhere in here.”
“It looks to me like you need a new catalytic converter.”
“I’m afraid the test results are consistent with a cancer diagnosis.”
“At least you spotted it early.”
“The important thing is that you spotted it early.”
“It’s too bad you didn’t spot it early.” Read more
Happy American Thanksgiving. I hope you are well and have much to be thankful for, even in these weird, weird times. Read more