Goodbye Howard Cunningham And June Cleaver

Thursday, October 21, 2010

With the recent passing of Tom Bosley and Barbara Billingsley I just want to take a little time to reflect on their deaths. Both played television icons that will live on long after their deaths via televsion syndication, cable television, DVD sales, and overseas markets. How many Americans haven't at least heard of Happy Days and Leave It to Beaver, it they're not familar with the Howard Commingham and June Cleaver?

Both shows were set in the 50's and for lots of people including myself who wasn't born yet and didn't live through those years, these shows were and still are our window into that time period. Mr. C. (as Fonzi referred to him) was a role model of fatherhood for lots of people. While there are lots of jokes about how perfectly dressed June Cleaver was no matter what, her character defined how many people view mothers and the role of wives in society.

Life certainly appeared simpler on these shows than it has been since that time period. The problems faced by Richie and the gang an those of the Beaver seem downright simple compared to the problems and issues that we're facing today. This probably has a lot to do with a fondness that we have for the "Good Ole Days" and much of the desire to want to turn back the clock. Images depicted on those shows are very welcoming and reassuring. There is a civility and friendliness displayed between neighboors and people that you meet and people seemed to genuinely care about each other. Things were black and white without all the grey area that we have today with people doing all kinds of things that they should know in the back of their mind (or whereever their conscience is hiding) are wrong, and doing them anyways. You might even venture to say that this was the American Camelot.

Of course televison, movies, and books can choose to focus on certain things often ignoring others. Given the things that have happened since the 50's there was obviously a lot that was ignored or was brewing under the surface. There was not too much involvement of minorities in either of the shows and given America's melting pot image and demographics, there were plenty of minorities around even in the 50's. Equal rights and the role of women in the work place were not really takled other than being the sterotypical role of women being only mothers and wives. The taboo issues were never reallly touched and we never really saw a darker side of Howard and June, certainly there were areas where they would have both been flawed. You have to wonder how they would have dealt with some of the issues that seem to divide us today?

Much of life and attitudes in those shows are worth bringing back and if given a chance, I think that much of the American population would like to be able to return to the more simpler life of the 50's. In fact there are lots of politicians who have hijacked the "family values" theme for their own corroupt and warpped use. Americans would like to be able to trust their political and business leaders again, but that trust has been violated and a true return to honor in those fields seems like a long way off in the horizon (if it is there at all). Most leaders in that era did seem to genuinely care about their country and the American people as opposed to those today that seem to only be looking to line their pockets at any cost. You wouldn't have expected CEOs back then to get millions of dollars while shipping the jobs of their workforce off to the far corners of the world in the name of Shareholder value. Eisenhower warned the public about the Millitary Industrial Complex, you got to believe that he would not have started a War on Terror, or wasted taxpayer money so irresponsibibly as many of our leaders since.

Finally, I'd like to say goodbye to actors portraying Howard Cunningham and June Cleaver. You've created characters that many of us identify with in our window to that time period. There are lots of fond memories of your shows and the chacters you created will live on in our memories and new generations will continually be exposed and get to know those characters via methods that are probably not even conceived of yet today.

Photo Credit: "Oldsmobile Super 88" courtesy of straymuse.

Germany- 20 Years After Reunification

Sunday, October 3, 2010


October 3, 2010 marks Twenty Years that Germany has been reunified. I couldn't let this event pass without saying a few words. I'll try not to repeat too much of what I wrote last year in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and
German Reunification- Fall of the Berlin Wall 20 Years Later but as we get older we do sometimes repeat ourselves.

First of all you have to wonder where all the time has gone, can it really be twenty years now? We have two generations of people that were born after the event and have no idea of what it was like before. For these post German unification- Fall of the Berlin Wall generations, it must seem just plain stupid that we ever lived that way and that we put up with life being that way.

I never got to experience the East/West situation first hand because by the time that I had moved to Germany, and it had already been more than 10 years since it had all happened. I do remember how exciting it was that the Iron Curtain was falling down and all the hope that people felt. It seemed that if the Berlin Wall could fall and Germany was united again that anything was possible, what a great feeling that was, we could stand to have some optimism like that again!

The countries and people living behind the iron curtain were thrust into Western society and Captialism and while many joined wholeheartedly, many others were reluctanly pulled along. Can you imagine how much of a change that was for all those people that new nothing but life behind the Iron Curtain (and even those who were fortunate enough to taste life in the West)? I remember a scene from Moscow on the Hudson, a movie where Robin Williams is a circus performer from Russia and while performing in New York, he decides to defect. One scene in the movie his is flabergasted by the ceral selection in a local supermarket and is almost paralysed with having to make a choice. Can you imagine going from bread lines to being able to buy 100+ different breakfast cereals? On paper and in the back of our minds we think oh what a great change for these people, but for a lot of them the transition was not and is not easy, they're still people that have had to deal with some tremendous change.

Germany is in a bit of a bad position in the Europe that is emerging. West Germany was properous before with a strong economy. They were certainly glad that Germany was one country again and that they could travel around freely (how refreshing that had to feel for so many people!) but they probably had not idea of the financial costs that would come with welcoming the former East Germany in. In West Germany they've paid a lot of taxes because of the reunification and the various projects to develop East Germany. The jobs have not really lived up to what was hoped. Lots of jobs are continually drawn out of Germany into other former Iron Curtain countries where the labor costs are cheaper. So you have a population that has had to spend a lot of taxes on reunification, but business is not returning that investment into Germany. Something doesn't seem right about that!

I briefly saw a report on a daily morning show about a survey on how happy Germans were after 20 years of unification, the figures and the the questions asked seemed to echo much of what I had read in Germans Disappointed by Reunification, New Poll Shows. From the story just mentioned, it was pointed out that while many easten Germans felt exploited and that they didn't really get a good deal out of hte reunification, Manfred Guellner said that "western Germans have the feeling that they have simply footed the bill for eastern Germany". Since more than 1 Trillion dollars have been transfered from West to East since the reunification, you can understand why many might feel that way. Also, bear in mind that 1 Trillion dollars for Germany, a country much smaller than the U.S., 1 Trillion dollars is a lot of money, heck it should be considered a lot of money anywhere!

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Breakup of the Iron Curtain, and the German Reunification caught much of the world by surprise and it seems that our leaders didn't have too much time to recover and re-adjust before the current War on Terror. After all those years of the Cold War and all the money that was spent, there should have been more thought given to how the world should move on afterwards instead of getting drawn into another endless set of wars.

So on the 20th Anniversary of German Reunification, I wish to say congratulations to Germany and to all the people living in the former Iron Curtain. I'm glad that you got to breakaway from the awful Cold War era existance that you were living. I hope that we can find a good way forward, that you didn't just trade one form of oppression for another. Capitalism (and the Free Market) and our Democracies, need some sterring to keep us away from the iceberg on the horizon. I think that we'd all rather have choice than live under oppressive totalitarian regimes and freedom means more than being able to buy Coke or Pepsi at your local market.

You might also be interest in the post that I wrote about my trip to Dresden last year.

Photo credit: Market place view of the Dresden's famous Frauenkirche taken in August 2009

September 11th- Nine Years Later

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today is the Nineth Anniversary of September Eleventh. I hope tht you'll take time from all the hype and all that is going on in your life and stop to think about what it means to you. On this day nine years ago a terrible tradegy happened to America and the world. People that died in those awful attacks that day came from different parts of the world, had different nationalities, and differing world and religious beliefs. Most of the victims that day had not met each other previously, bar the people that worked together or were traveling together that day, but now they were all brought together and share a common event. The world will never be the same.

I hope that we as peoples of the world can be driven to aspire for greatness, to look for ways that we have in common and can relate to each other. I hope that we will build and create great things. I hope that we'll raise our kids to be good and wonderful people that believe that anything is possible. I'm really glad that I discovered Project 2996 because its goal of remembering each victim is something positive and a worthy aspiration, one that I hope will be fullfilled, is certainly a better response than some of the other things we've heard about since September Eleventh.

I hope that you'll join me in remembering and preserving the memory of six of the heros of that day:

Keith Roma

Keith Roma was 27 and with Fire Patrol. Last year when deciding who I wanted to write about I was drawn by a picture of him holding a baby. His daughter (Samantha) was seven at the time of his death. I discovered that there had been some controversy about including him in the list of FDNY victims of September 11th list, because the New York Fire Patrol was not officially part of the FDNY. There were witnessed accounts of him saving people that day and he died trying to save 9 people. You can read more about Keith in my tibute from last year.

Christopher Santora

Christopher Santora was 23 and part of Engine Company 54. He was one of the youngest fire fighter to have died. He had been a substitute teacher and even turned down a permanent job at junior high to follow in his father’s footsteps as a fire fighter. He played “stickball” as it was called in his neighborhood. He wasn’t a Mets or Yankees fan but rooted for the Toronto Blue Jays. You can read more about ChristopherKeith in my tibute from last year.

Joseph P. Henry

Joseph P. Henry was 25 and with Ladder 21 out of Manhattan. Last year when I read the following tibute to him I decided that I wanted to include him the the people that I was honoring...“I was trapped in building one for an hour. I would not be alive if it weren't for the firemen who unlocked and broke down the doors to the stairwells. I want Joseph's family to know that when the time comes and I get married and have a family, I will name my first born boy after him. He was an amazing person and I will forever keep him and his family in my prayers.” Vanessa Sierra, college classmate (from the CNN Tribute to September 11th). Julia Corrales, his girlfriend, wrote that that he had only been a fireman for 11 months before September 11th and that they were going to go to Ireland on their first vacation together on October 19th, 2001. (from the Irish Tribute website). You can read more about Joseph in my tibute from last year.

Karl Henri Joseph

Fire fighter Karl Henri Joseph was 25 and working from Brooklyn. He was an EMT. Karl and his family came to the U.S. from Hati. Lucy Bouciquot, a family friend wrote in a tribute at Legacy "He liked Haiti, but America was his home." Mr. Beehler, a fire fighter that went to the academy with him said "Karl had a way of shrugging off the ribbing. He had a great smile and a great laugh...As far as the job, he was top-notch." (from his Legacy entry). Karl is another shinning example of an immigrant working hard for a better life in America. Tuxedo Cat Grandma wrote a nice tribute 2996: Karl Henri Joseph in 2006 worth checking out.

Dana Hannon

Dana Hannon, 29 at the time of his death was the first of the group of fire fighters that I came across when preparing for last year's tribute. Before being a professional fire fighter, he was a volunteer that became a Captain before becoming a professional. While a fire fighter in Bridgeport, Connecticut he was awarded a medal of valour for a rescue there. Dana proposed to Allison Dansen from the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia! They married the folowing fall. "He was the best brother anybody could ask for," said his sister, Kyle. (tribute at Legacy). Danielle at Stupid Trivia wrote A TRIBUTE TO DANA HANNON a nice article that I assume was a Project 2996 tribute in 2006.

David W Laychak

I first wrote about David W Laychak two years ago. Since he was my first Project 2996 tribute I think of him often when I think about Project 2996 and September Eleventh. David worked as a civilian at the Pentagon. His brother was largely responsible for the memorial at the Pentagon which opened two years ago. I'm grateful to his sister (Molly Laychak Walen) for the information that she provided to me. I was pleased to see that Ms. Laychak put a comment up after last year's article. David was a civilan working at the Pentagon.

As I wrap up my tribute this year, lets remember the lives of these and other true heros that lost their lives on September Eleventh. To the families and friends of those that lost loved ones, although they're gone they're certainly not, nor they ever be forgotten. The world is a better place for countless ways because all of these 2996 people lived. May their memory live on in spouses, parents, siblings, children, grandchildre, friends, and even in those that never met them.

My Other Posts About September Eleventh...

Photo credit: "Twin Towers III" courtesy of mrgoose.

Input Wanted for September 11th Post

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

As the 9th Anniversary of September 11th draws near, I'm starting to prepare for my post and was hoping that I might be able to get some help from our readers. This will be the 3rd year that I've written a tribute honoring some of the victims of September Eleventh. Three years ago I stumbled upon Project 2996, a sight dedicated to remembering the victims of September 11th and making sure that their memories live on, and became involved two years ago writing a tribute to David Lychak. Last year I expanded the number of people that I paid tribute to, including some firefighters.

I'm still thinking about what I'd like to do this year, so your ideas and feedback are wellcome. I'd like to pay tribute to the people that I've writen about last year but I also don't want write the same things that I did last year, so I'm looking for additional information that could be provided about:

  • Keith Roma (27)- of the Fire Patrol
  • Christopher Santora (23)- of Engine Company 54
  • Joseph P. Henry (25)- of Ladder 21
  • Karl Henri Joseph (25)- an EMT
  • Dana Hannon (29)- a NYC Firefighter
  • David W Laychak (40)- a civial working at the Pentagon
I'd like to know about: How their family and friends have coped with their loss? What people have done to preserve their memory? How and what the family and friends are up to? I'd also like to know if the families and friends have any other things that they'd like to share. What I don't wish to do is publish anything that would effect the privacy of the family and friends, so if there is anything that you'd like to share with me that you don't wish published, please let me know, because I know that the family and friends have suffered greatly and some of them would like to stay out of the lime light.

Because Project 2996 is dedicated to remembering the victims of September Eleventh, they'd like to see as may tributed published as possible on September 11th, ultimately, they'd like to see a tribute for all 2996 victims, consider yourself invited to write your own tribute. They've provided some good resources to aid you in your search at their Tips on Research page. You can learn more about Project 2996 at their What Is Page? It sure would be great to see Project 2996 meet their goal.

You can provide your input in the comments section below or you can email me at systems.overload.time at I look forward to getting your feedback and seeing some great tributes.

Here are links to the posts that I've done on September Eleventh in the past

Good Bye, Ronnie James Dio

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heavy Metal's legendary singer, Ronnie James Dio, died of Stomach Cancer on May 16th at the age of 67. I thought that I'd like to say a few words.

I woke won morning in 1983 to the amazing sounds of "Rainbow in the Dark" blaring from my clock radio. I was immediately captivated by the vocals of Ronnie James Dio. This was one of those moments that you never forget. I was fortunate enough to see Dio in concert in the Summer of 1984 on his "Last In Line" tour along with Twisted Sister at Pine Knob. This was one of many great concerts for me that Summer. Those were the days before CDs, when we listened to cassettes.

Like a lot of other boys at the time, I was into Heavy Metal and Hard Rock and had known Ronnie James Dio as the guy that replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath. He was also the first singer in Rainbow, the band founded by guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore after leaving Deep Purple. Between various stints with various incarnations of Black Sabbath, he had his own band. After replacing Ozzy, Dio seemed forever tied to Black Sabbath, not ever really get too far from the band as you can see if you look at his musical history. Kind of like Billy Martin and the Yankees, he would get a way and always get pulled back in.

Dio was one of the artists that organized "Hear N Aid" that got various Heavy Metal and Hard Rock musicians together to raise money for Africa as a sort of Hard Rock answer to U.S.A. for Africa. This was not to be his only venture into the world of charity and giving. Manager and wife, Wendy Dio has requested that fans make a donation to the Ronnie Jame Dio "Stand Up And Shout" Cancer Fund (you can read more about it at Dio's homepage).

Dio revealed last Summer had stomach cancer, after wrapping a tour in Atlantic City with Heaven And Hell ( the latest version of Black Sabbath). Wendy Dio has written quite a bit about his battle with Cancer at the website. On March 12, Wendy wrote... "Well, now it has been Ronnie’s 7th chemo, another cat scan and another endoscopy, and the results are good – the main tumor has shrunk considerably..." Like so many others, Ronnie James Dio wasn't victorious in his battle with Cancer, but he fought and kept the music going.

Heavy Metal, especially that which Dio, has had a lot of good verses evil themes, many of them very epic in nature. I thought that I'd site a few of the more famous lines from Dio. (I don't even dare to try to match the imagery)

From "Heaven And Hell"- Black Sabbath (you can read the rest of the lyrics at Lyrics Freak here)

The devil is never a maker The less that you give, you're a taker

The lover of lifes not a sinner The ending is just a beginner The closer you get to the meaning The sooner you'll know that you're dreaming

Well if it seems to be real, it's illusion For every moment of truth, there's confusion in life The world is full of kings and queens Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams

And they'll tell you black is really white The moon is just the sun at night And when you walk in golden halls You get to keep the gold that falls

From "Rainbow in the Dark" - Dio (read the rest of the lyrics at Lyrics Freak here)

When there's lightning You know it always brings me down Cause it's free and I see that it's me Who's lost and never found

No sign of the morning coming You've been left on your own Like a Rainbow in the Dark

Do your demons Do they ever let you go When you've tried do they hide deep inside

From "The Last in Line" - Dio (read the rest of lyrics at Lyrics Freak here)

We're a ship without a storm The cold without the warm Light inside the darkness that it needs We're a laugh without a tear The hope without the fear We are coming - home

We'll know for the first time If we're evil or divine We're the last in line It's the angel or the beast And the answer lies between The good and bad

And lastly from the "Mob Rules" -Black Sabbath (read the rest of lyrics at Lyrics Freak here)

If you listen to fools, The mob rules

Upon hearing the news, I played several songs from Dio at I'll be getting out my CDs with Dio to hear him again. My condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Ronnie James Dio. This was truly a sad day for music. Dio was such a big part of my teenage years and my early twenties. I'd like to thank him for the music and for all that he has meant to me over the years. Although he might not have to wait to much longer for "the judgment", in the hearts of his fans, he'll always be the "Last in Line" singing about those epic battles of good verse evil. It is really amazing how the lines between good and evil have become so blurred that it isn't so easy now a days to know the good from the bad. Ronnie, it seems that you work isn't done. R.I.P, Ronnie.

Here are some links that you might like if you're a fan of Ronnie James Dio...

Photo credit: Heaven And Hell 5 from Wikipedia Commons

DSDS 2010 Finals Tonight

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tonight (April 17th) is the final and it boils down to Mehrzad Marashi and Menowin Fröhlich, who will be the German Superstar for 2010 (Season 7)?

I enjoy hearing good music and seeing musicians that are good at it. I'm not so much into the whole reality tv thing and the trumped up drama that goes along with it. I have to also say that I'm not really happy with the selection process. If the process were truly democratic it would be one person one vote, not whoever is willing to spend 50 cents per vote to vote. This is not democratic at all, only a matter of who's fans are willing to spend more to vote. Every season has some controversy, let's face it that is something that the networks and show producers want to see. They want to have people talking about their show and as the expression goes ever bad press is still press. This season I was disappointed to see Nelson Sangare didn't make it to the top 7, I had him pegged for the top 3. This season there seemed to be an awful lot of problems with the candidates remembering the text, even Menowin had some problems at Dieter Bohlen made a comment about "Ayo Technology" from Milow sounding like alphabet soup.

I'm not happy with the way that Menowin is being "pushed". Last year the Bild promoted Annemarie Eilfeld (wikipedia entry), there was almost a story about her every week. This season there seems to be an awful lot of coverage of Menowin. Watching the show last week it seemed like the jury was really pushing Menowin, almost will to give him the DSDS title then and there. I love a good Cinderella story, to see the underdog come out on top, but we've had a few other recent down on their luck Superstars (Thomas Godoj, and in particular Mark Medlock) and I want the music to be the story not promotion by the Bild or someone at RTL that thinks Meonwin is the person they want to hang the success of DSDS 2010 upon.

One thing that I've been disappointed with about the show, is that they don't really promote the winnners. With the exception of Mark Medlock, you almost don't hear anything at all about the past winners. One of the reasons that Mark Medlock has done so well is that he really learned how to "play" Dieter Bohlen (wikipedi entry), so he didn't have too many problems getting promoted. He and Dieter even went on tour together. When you think about how many people watch the show and are fans of this or that candidate, it seems hard to believe that it promoted properly, that more of the former winners and candidates wouldn't be doing better and be better well known.

Both Mehrzadt and Menowin can dance and have moves (this can't be said for all of the contestants this year). Menowin's voice is higher and more suited toward's Michael Jackson type songs. He sang Santana's Maria Maria with an intensity that I really liked. He did a good version of the Simply Red song "If You Don't Know Me By Now", since the lead singer for Simply Red has a higher voice, it matched pretty well. I also really liked the version of "We Are the World" that he did (but in the back of my mind I kept waiting to here the famous singers of that song chime it).

Mehrzadt can perform a variety of songs and can really give a song a lot of feeling. He gave the Lionel Richie song "Hello" more feeling that Lionel Richie himself gave it. Although Dieter Bohlen seemed to that that "Runaway (Del Shannon)" was too old for the audience, I wonder how many out in tvland were enjoying that golden oldie? I also thought that "Mr. Boombastic" (Shaggy) was fun, even if Dieter thinks Shaggy is one of the worst singers. Mehrzad seems like a class act. Last week, in his thrid song, Mehrzad proposed to his girlfriend, so regardless of if he wins or not, this show will always have a special memory for the two of them as a couple.

I've seen the set list for tonight...

Menowin will sing...

  • That's What Friends Are For (Dionne Warwick)
  • Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
Mehrzat will sing...

  • Endless Love (Lionel Richie)
  • Fresh (Kool & The Gang)

Both will sing "Don't Believe" written by Dieter Bohlen. I would have almost bet that Menowin would do at least one Michael Jackson song (so not really a surprise here), while I'm sure that Mehrzat will give the Lionel Richie song a lot of feeling. Here's hoping for a good show. If you're a fan of any of the other candidates from this or any of the other past shows, it is worth having a look at the Wikipedia entry to see who has their own webpages and who is making a career post DSDS.


Here are some links that you might want to check out.

Photo credit: DJ Night 3 courtesy of fangol

Our Tenth Wedding Anniversary

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 7th war our tenth wedding anniversary, so before going any farther I'd just like to thank my wife saying "yes" and agreeing to share her life with me! While I wish to avoid the cliché about it seeming like only yesterday, it doesn't seem like we've been married for ten years! I don't claim to know all the secrets to a long-lasting and happy marriage, and while there are factors which are outside of our control, I can share what I know about my marriage.

I've found someone to share my life with and someone to share her life with me. I think that this is what most everyone is looking for, ultimately. Sure you might want this or that in your spouse or significant other, but you want to be able to share your happy moments as well as your sad ones, for better or worse as the vows often say.

In the beginning of most relationships there is the excitement of getting to know the other person, everything is new and exciting. While there is the honeymoon period to your marriage, you could also say that there is a honeymoon period to most of your relationships (regardless of if you are married or not). Some couples that have been married for a long time say that they do various things to keep the spirit of the honeymoon period alive and to keep their relationship exciting and new. Other couples do various things to rekindle the spirit of that honeymoon period. I think that you need to find some sort of balance so that this doesn't drive you and your spouse crazy with trying too hard and that you don't drown in the mundane parts of life or in all its tribulations.

I believe that common or shared interests are essential. Early in relationships you can have lots of differences, maybe even there is a spark or chemistry because you're so different than your significant other that drives your relationship, but later on it is helpful to have interests that you share. My wife and I both like to travel and learn about places that we haven't been before. We both get excited about visiting a new place that we haven't seen before, or going back to a place that we really enjoyed. Some couples have hobbies that they share together. The more things that you share that both enjoy, then this can also mean that more of your time together can be fun quality time that you both really enjoy.

Raising kids together can really help bring a couple together. In many marriages the children become the focus of our lives. When the kids are little there are the wonderful memories that you have of all the firsts and all the cute things that they do. Later on there is all the learning and development of your kids. A word of warning, while kids can bring couples closer together, they won't necessarily save a marriage. Not everyone wants kids and there is a lot of work and responsiblity that goes with having kids, so it is not a decission that should be made too lightly. It sure is hard to beat the satisfaction of seeing what good kids you have and somehow feeling somewhat responsible for that.

Mine is not a prefect relationship. In fact, if you were to ask my wife, I'm sure that she could list some things that I could do better in our relationship. What I think is important is to realize that nobody is perfect and not drive yourself crazy trying to find "the perfect relationship". On the other hand you also need to realize when you're not happy with the relationship and get out. If you're miserable now, why do you think that you'll be happy a year from now or farther down the road with your significant other. You also need to realize when you're in a toxic relationship and run. I've known lots of women who wanted to fix this or that guy, but it is really hard to change someone and being able to change someone into what you want sometimes makes them "unexciting" and "unattractive".

My wife has a German passport and nationality but she is American in her mind, soul, and heart. From early on she had an attraction to American things and people. She was an exhange student in high school and was able to spend some time in America. While she is German, she often felt herself being American. How does this lead to a successful marriage you might ask? It is hard to quantify, but this is one of those intangilbe things in our relationship that makes it work. I used to dream about living in Europe, and through my wife I've been able to do this. Through me, my wife was able to live in the U.S. for a year, have an American family that lovers her, and further cultivate her "Americaness". Maybe there is the secrete ingridient to marriage, that bonding or imprinting experience that draws the couple together. This might also be the "this is our story" component, every marriage and every relationship has its own "unique" story behind it.

I remember that my grandfather used to describe my grandmother as "good friend" when he talked about her to others. He used to say that talking to her about what happened to him during the course of his day was one of the things that bothered him the most after she died. I'd say that is one of the things that I was looking for, regardless of if I really knew it or not.

I remember before getting married having said that I thought that it should be harder to get married, to which one of my sisters said to be careful what you wished for. One of the things that I had meant by that statement was that was if people had to think more about marriage before getting married, there would be less divorces. When Christine and I said our wedding vows, we made a comitment to each other. While we've certainly been blessed, we both decided that that our vows meant something to us and that we were going to be there for each other

Couples need to find a way to disagree and to fight. This is one area where many marriages and relationships fall apart. It is darn near impossible that two people will ever agree on everything. You might be able to go a long time without finding and major disagreements but they are bound to happen and you need to be able to know that your relationship can survive the differences. How this is handled will vary with every couple and every relationship. If there are never any disagreements, you have to wonder if the relationship is in good shape, there might be warning signs. If one person is always going along with other person they might not care about all the small decisions but they might also be building up a resentment over always giving in.

Christine, thank you for taking me into your life and being my wife! I look forward to many more years to come. If you're interested you can read about how we met, the wedding, and another post that I wrote in honor our 7th Annivesary. I find it hard to believe that it has been ten years. When I think about couples celebrating 25 year anniversaries, that doesn't seem so far off now any more. I hope that everyone can find some to share their life with that makes them happy and is good for them.

Photo taken at the Wiesbaden Biebrich Schloss (castle) April 7, 2000.

Our Star for Oslo 2010 Final Tonight

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tonight is the Finals in the "Unser Star für Oslo 2010" (Our Star for Oslo 2010) televised contest in Germany. The winner will be Germany's entry into the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest being broadcast in May. Among some of the more notable careers that the contest has helped launch are ABBA, who performed Waterloo in 1974 and Céline Dion who performed "Ne partez pas sans moi" in 1988 oddly enough for Switzerland.

Germany is tried of finishing poorly for so long and they do some pretty creative things to win (or at least finish better). One of the first efforts that I'm aware of was that of ProSeiben personality Stefan Raab hosting a contest on one of his shows that resulted in Max Mutzke performing "Can't Wait Until Tonight" for Germany in the 2004 contest (note Max is performing this is song in the video embedded at the top of this post). This year ProSeiben and ARD have been airing a contest to determine who'll represent Germany in the 2010 Eurovision. While there are more and more music casting shows, this is first that is co-hosted on two different networks, with ARD being publicly run no less.

I remember seeing some of the promotion for Max when he was going to perform at Eurovision and getting excited about his song. The song was very catchy and sounded like something that Joe Cocker could have sung very well. I watched the 2004 Eurovision and realized that I had somehow gotten old and out of touch because most of the music being performed didn't appeal to me and I was surprised to see that Max didn't finish near the top. I had kind of written off the whole Eurovision experience off after that.

I didn't see the Unser Star Für Oslo from the beginning but came into it later on. I found it really refreshing that this was focused on people that could really sing and not creating drama and conflict. Clearly most anyone of the candidates could do a good job representing Germany. I've also enjoyed that the jury has not been overly critical, obscene, or uncivilized. Maybe the performances didn't lend themselves to those types of critiques but it has been nice not hearing any below the belt commentary.

Tonight it boils down to who will be representing Germany in Oslo this year, will it be Lena Meyer-Landrut or Jennifer Braun? I don't know if I'll be tuning into Eurovision this year or not, but it sure would be nice to see one of these two women win it. I'm looking forward to hearing some good music tonight.

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Hobbit's Second Birthday

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

20100208 Hobbit001

Yesterday was Hobbit's second birthday. Its hard to believe that he is already two years old.

Having had dogs most of my life, those years without one seemed as though something was missing. My mother's last dog was a Bearded Collie that I was very fond of, so when I got my first dog I decided that I wanted to get a Bearded Collie because of him.

PICT0175 Hobbit
Hobbit and his brothers and sisters

We were pretty excited when Hobbit was born (I think that I was more excited than everyone else!). That excitement built up to our first visit, then the first time that the girls got to see him, then there was all the anticipation of seeing how much he had changed from visit to visit, until the day finally arrived when we could pick him up and take him home.

PICT0944 Hobbit

When we did take Hobbit home the fun really began. It didn't take long before Hobbit was a full-fledged member of our family and it was hard to imagine life without him. Being a cute puppy made him pretty popular with the neighborhood kids. Six months, one year, and now two years have really flown by.

Hard to believe that Hobbit was ever this small!

Even as Hobbit is now two, he is still very much a puppy. He loves people and still wants to great everyone that he meets (which does scare some people). Although his black hair has turned gray, you wouldn't know that he isn't a puppy anymore. Having a dog or other pet can give you so much joy and happiness.

If you'd like to read more about Hobbit, I've written quite a bit about Hobbit at the DC Heron Family blog, posted some pictures at Facebook, and some pictures at Flickr. The drawing above is one I recently did of Hobbit and have posted to Flickr.