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Eulogies for Dad


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

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Eulogies for Lisa

Lisa
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)
Lisa’s Blog

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.

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Hydrostatic Pressure

"Untitled (Low Tide)," by Jim Kazanjian

“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

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The Day After

“See! Now! Our sentence is up.”

That’s the last line of the last page of the last issue of The Invisibles, Grant Morrison’s pop magic comic book master work. That final issue came out right around Y2K, but it’s set on the December solstice of what was then the freaky-sounding future year 2012. All this year, every time I heard somebody cracking wise about the Mayan Apocalypse, I thought, “Unless you’re an ancient Mayan, you’re stealing Grant Morrison’s bit.”

I bought and read every issue of The Invisibles as it came out from 1994 to 2000. It’s the only comic I’ve ever followed so religiously. It’s brilliant and fun and a bit of a mess and it meant the world to me. It worked its way into my life and rewired the way I saw things, which is pretty much what it was intended to do. Yes, it’s dated now, but so am I. I can’t be any more objective about it than I could be objective about my twenties.  Read more

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Frontiers of New Media 2009

Not 24 hours after I dissed the networking/self-promotion side of blogging, here’s me doing some networking and promotion!

I’m spending this semester as the Simmons Visiting Professor in Communication and History the University of Utah. My family and I just recently arrived in Salt Lake City and once again, I’m bowled over by both the beauty of the place and the friendliness of the inhabitants. One thing I’m doing here is helping to organize the 2009 Frontiers of New Media Symposium. Longtime readers may recall me gushing about the 2007 Frontiers of New Media Symposium, which was one of the smartest, friendliest, most fun academic conferences I’ve ever been to. Now I and the Departments of History and Communication have the modest task of recapturing that lightning in a bottle.

The symposium is just two weeks away, on September 18 and 19. If you’re in the SLC area you should absolutely come out. The keynote speaker is AnnaLee Saxenian, Dean of UC-Berkeley’s School of Information, and we have a great lineup of panelists on the second day. If you’re not near Utah, please visit the website, follow the blog or Twitter feeds, and spread the word to any who might be interested, even via social media platforms I might have disparaged last night. I’ll be blogging at the FoNM site from now until the conference–there’s a neat video there now of UC-Riverside’s Toby Miller on the history and future of television–and doing my best to make our conversations there accessible to people who can only join us virtually.

My inspiration here is THATCamp 2009, which was held back in June and exploded over Twitter and the internet–at least the parts of it I frequent–with such force that I kind of thought I was there. Frontiers of New Media isn’t nearly as big or Tweety an operation, but we will do our best. I even considered disguising the symposium as “THATCamp Rocky Mountains” in order to ride the coattails of the regional THATCamps popping up everywhere. We have a great panel planned on New Media and the Practice of Scholarship, featuring CHNM’s Sharon Leon and my favorite mad scientist historian, Bill Turkel–so that’s plenty THATCampy.

So, yeah. Ignore what I said yesterday about the Hobbesian waltz of the A-list and the long tail. Network! Tweet! Work the room!