Data-mining the past.

I found a notebook yesterday. Nothing like a full software reinstall to send what should stay buried tumbling from the shelves. Keeping notebooks is one of those things all writers are supposed to do, and I sort of do, but not enough. There’s the how-to-carry thing, for one. There’s the atrophied writing muscles thing, for another. And notebooks are dangerous items, not unlike your seventh-grade journals. Scribbling one’s innermost thoughts, or even amusing words, phrases, juxtapositions and church signs contemporaneously inevitably leads to a 99-to-1 chaff/wheat ratio.

(Lance Mannion is an exception. See his Mining the Notebooks tag.)

Anyway, the notebook I found yesterday was from my Ann Arbor year. Danger, Will Robinson. That was the last year I felt boundless optimism and infinite possibilities, before it ended and all the crabs reached up and dragged me back into the bucket. (Yes, I am joking about the crabs. Poor me.) It wasn’t as excruciating to read as I’d feared:

2/10/04: Norwalk virus in a dorm — lines outside the stalls in communal bathrooms, signs on doors reading “sick.”

I have no idea where I got that, as I stayed out of dorms. Probably overheard someone talking about it in class, and just liked the image. I don’t recall my own dorm years as happy, fun ones, although they were instructive. You discover how people really live, and hope you don’t draw a roommate with a vastly different threshold of Gross than yours. Once I walked into a shower and found an empty bottle of disposable douche lying on the floor. Strawberry. Having to line up to barf is all part of the same hell of other people.

Here’s another:

1/28/04: Snow day casualties — Cindy, pale and tired, color bleached from even her lips. Smokers, banished to the outdoors, huddled together like dull sparrows in the cold.

Whoa, poetry. An unattributed quote:

1/20/04: “The golfer plays to save the land from builders.”

Someone should answer for that.

2/18/04: The psychology of oppression: Make members of the oppressed group overseers of the group as a whole. Thus, women initiate others into prostitution, Jews guard others in concentration camps, Hebrews oversee work on the pyramids.

Again, no cite. Notes on watching an onstage interview with Arthur Miller, 4/1/04:

AM on UM: “A testing-ground for all my prejudices.” …30’s theater in NYC: “radical outcry” against the Depression (Welles, Odets) …Never trust an interviewer who uses the word “perspicacious” …”[We] weaned the [Michigan] Daily away from the fraternities.”

But what I remember most without the aid of my notebook, I didn’t even write down: When Miller said that within five years, climate change would change the route of the Gulf Stream and plunge the British Isles into a Siberian ice age. I thought, Hmm, he’s senile. He died not quite a year later.

I suppose my notebook has done what notebooks are supposed to do — prodded memory and data-mined a unique year in my life. Every year is unique, and we forget so much of it. That’s why I started this blog — so I could remember more of it. Ruby just hopped up and nibbled a crescent out of the Arthur Miller page. Another memory.

The last page has a single line: “food and wine.” I have no idea.

OK, then. Another early exit, more scant bloggage:

Hank Stuever has a book coming out this fall. You’d think writing a book would be the hardest part, but it isn’t. He explains.

Finally, I was going to wait for Moe to bring this up herself, but I see the comments in the previous thread have uncovered her recent news, so here goes: Moe, our frequent commenter here, recently got some very bad news about what started as a raspy throat. It’s the kind that includes language like “biopsy” and “stage 3 or 4.” Moe, courage to you on what must be a terrifying journey. Details on her blog.

And now off to my meeting.

Posted at 8:54 am in Uncategorized |

43 responses to “Data-mining the past.”

  1. Jolene said on September 25, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Hadn’t seen the end of the last thread, Moe, so just learned your news. Am very sorry to hear this. Stay with us, and we’ll stay with you.

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  2. del said on September 25, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I tried to post a comment to your blog but failed Moe. That was a beautiful post about the roller coaster. How to put it? I don’t know. Your words put reeled me in, I feel like I am dreaming with you now.

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  3. brian stouder said on September 25, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Regarding the first part of today’s post, do you know what made me laugh out loud? This passage:

    Any­way, the note­book I found yes­ter­day was from my Ann Arbor year. Dan­ger, Will Robin­son.

    We are rapidly approaching the end of the fiscal year, and several of our adminstrative types are frazzled, and one is very (very!) particularly…frazzled. A colleague quietly passed the warning along to me, prefaced with that exact saying – “Danger, Will Robinson”. I have not googled it; I’m assuming it’s from an old tv show or possibly a comic book.

    Aside from that – I wholeheartedly second Jolene’s motion.

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  4. John said on September 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I was talking to a 30 year old engineer this morning who didn’t know what a 9-track magnetic tape was and now Brian tells us that he doesn’t know the Danger, Will Robinson reference. God I feel old.

    Moe, tamp ’em up solid.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

    “Lost In Space,” which aired in the mid-60s alongside “Star Trek” but on another network. The robot said “Danger, Will Robinson” with a distinctive wave of his inefficient hosepipe arms.

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  6. LAMary said on September 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

    It was Robbie the Robot, same guy as the Forbidden Planet robot.

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  7. MarkH said on September 25, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Moe, I am very sorry to hear this news. Any previous political disagreements with you are hereby neutralized. You are in my prayers, seriously. All the best to you and your family. Hang in there!

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  8. LAMary said on September 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

    The recruiter who does chaplains and other spiritual care positions also covers a boatload of other non clinical jobs here. We’re a Catholic hospital, but we have chaplains of all sorts so the recruiter stays pretty busy.
    One of the Catholic chaplains is also ordained Eastern Rite. The last time Arnie the Governator visited us, his staff requested employees in scrubs, labcoats, or other uniforms be in the camera frame with the guv. Father Mark went to his office and got his most impressive Eastern Rite headgear so he could be in the picture.

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  9. MarkH said on September 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

    LAMary, it was NOT Robbie the Robot, famous from “The Forbidden Planet”. It was a completely new and different robot made especially for “Lost in Space”, voiced by Dick Tufel, who I believe died recently. Oddly though, Robbie did make a guest appearance or two on the show.

    EDIT — Here is a (lousy) photo of the two:

    EDIT (2) — And the most famous robots of all, together at last:

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  10. LAMary said on September 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Now, ya see? They look alike, and unless I had seen them together, I would have thought they were the same guy. I never watched much Lost in Space, but I’ve seen Forbidden Planet a lot of times. Leslie Neilsen and Walter Pidgeon.

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  11. Sue said on September 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Moe – hope you have a chance to read the comments from yesterday and today. Keep us informed and keep fighting.

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  12. MarkH said on September 25, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Yes, B-9 was clearly inspired by Robbie, whom they just had to bring him back to duke it out with Will’s buddy for the TV show.

    Forbidden Planet: Yes, and Anne Francis(!).

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  13. Peter said on September 25, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Moe – Am very sorry to hear the news. I wish the best for you and your family.

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  14. Dorothy said on September 25, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Moe I left a comment at your blog and I echo all the comments here. We’re here as your support system – one of many I’m sure you have. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

    Billy Mumy played the inimitable Will Robinson. He had a small part in “Papillion” as well, and at least one memorable role in the original Twilight Zone show. Cloris Leachman played his mom in this episode.

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  15. brian stouder said on September 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Cloris Leach­man played his mom in this episode

    You know, in that one Seinfeld episode where he couldn’t remember his date’s first name, but he knew it rhymed with a female anatomical part, her name could have been Cloris

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  16. Danny said on September 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Oh, Moe, I am so shocked by this news my sister. I know we barely “know” one another, but I feel very connected to you here in our little community. Keep walking, keep fighting, keep praying.

    Needless to say, I will be in fervent prayer for you and if you ever want to chat Nancy can send my contact information to you.

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  17. 4dbirds said on September 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Moe, my thoughts are with you.

    My dad hated LIS so when Star Trek came around he refused to let us watch it. I had to visit friends to see Star Trek.

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  18. Dexter said on September 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    moe, wow… shocked here, also. I simply wish you the best.
    All I have to offer is a blog site; a fellow political blog contributor, Sean Holton, who is a buddy of Craig Crawford , blogs on his own site about his battle with brain cancer. Craig was on Don Imus’s WABC radio show on Monday and mentioned Sean’s philosophy: “How Sean Holton Learned To Stop Worrying And Just Have Brain Cancer Instead.”

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  19. Colleen said on September 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Aw geeze Moe. I just read your blog. I’m so sorry. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  20. MarkH said on September 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Brian, the name Seinfeld came up with when he had his epiphany at episode’s end was Dolores.

    Also, Brain, you have been strangely silent on this episode, given your affection for F1:

    Incredible event, no? Flavio Briatore has properly left the venue, finally showing himself to be the supreme whore in a whorish business. Poor Nelson Piquet, Jr. was desperate to save his career and went along with the crash orders. Renault’s sponsorhsip is now decimated, but somehow, they will continue. As Stirling Moss said on BBC the other day, the sport in F1 is almost entirely wiped out; it’s all business and money. I’ll still watch, though.

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  21. MarkH said on September 25, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Dorothy, one of the many TZ episodes that creeped me out as a kid in the ‘burgh! What a performance that director got out of Mumy.

    “You’re a bad girl! You’re a VERY bad girl, Dorothy!”

    Mumy also had a cameo in the big screen remake of Lost in Space starring William Hurt.

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  22. brian stouder said on September 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Mark, short version of my reaction to Renault/Flavio/Piquet: Wow. As a Schumacher fan, it makes me think back on those years when the FIA was constantly on him, sanctioning and penalizing and dq’ing him…. and all those folks I’ve argued with over the years, about the merits of Schuey. Looks like they were more right than I was.

    Aside from that, I can’t decide if I’m more disgusted by Piquet’s actions THEN (crashing on purpose) or NOW (vindictively destroying his team by ratting them all out)

    Afterall, intentional crashes for larger purposes are not unprecedented in F1; Senna and Prost leap to mind (not to mention Schuey and Hill, not so many years ago).

    And, Fernando Alonso cannot help but be damaged by this

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  23. Jean S said on September 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    aw crap, Moe. So sorry to hear this. Will be sending good energy your way. (As I live near Portland, I’m allowed to say things like that.)

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  24. Jenflex said on September 25, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Moe, you’re in my prayers, too.

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  25. MichaelG said on September 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    F-1 is rotten from the top down. Start with Bernie E. and Max M. What a pair. I’m not surprised by Flavio’s follies or by the McLaren foo foo a while ago. I’m just surprised that there isn’t more scandal. Schumacher is undeniably a great driver but an asshat. I was once a great fan but I haven’t given a rat’s ass about F-1 for years. The drivers are mostly rich kids whose daddies bought them their rides. I look at it now and again but can’t decide whether to laugh or gag at driver interviews. Yes, I know. “It was a very technical corner.” What a bunch.

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  26. paddyo' said on September 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    LA Mary and Mark H —

    “Gort: Klaatu, barada, nikto!”

    My fave robot of all time . . .

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  27. Jolene said on September 25, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Just spent a bit of time reading Sean Holton’s blog, linked by Dexter above. Good writing and many good thoughts about what it means to have a serious illness.

    Like Nancy, I was recently reminded of past lives by sorting through things I’d written–letters, in this case–and things that had been written to me. My sibs and I are in the process of clearing out my parents’ house and getting it ready to sell. Among many other sortings-out, I had to go through the contents of a trunk of my own stuff that’s been at their house all this time.

    The trunk contained some trinkets I’d saved from childhood, but it was letters that I’d received from various friends and relatives in my late teens and early twenties that were most interesting. So much craziness in my life and in the culture back then (late ’60s and early ’70s). The letters from other young friends who, like me, were trying to figure themselves out politically, professionally, and financially–all the while moving from one city to another or even to other countries–gave me a vivid sense of the enormous cultural churn occurring then.

    Those letters, along with the recent deaths of Kennedy, Cronkite, Travers and others who populated my consciousness, have made my youth feel very far away indeed.

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  28. mark said on September 25, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Very sorry to hear your news, moe. Prayers can’t hurt, so I will also send some your way.

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  29. Sue said on September 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Well, now, who is this mouthy senator from MI?

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  30. ROgirl said on September 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    So sorry, moe. Good thoughts to you and your family.

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  31. whitebeard said on September 25, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Moe, my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours; fight on!

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  32. brian stouder said on September 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    The trunk con­tained some trin­kets I’d saved from child­hood, but it was let­ters that I’d received from var­i­ous friends and rel­a­tives in my late teens and early twen­ties that were most inter­est­ing.

    Pam and I recently went to my high school class’s 30th reunion, and while I was somewhat concerned going in, the experience ended up being somewhere between mildly interesting and a bust.

    At about 20 after 9, I asked Pam if she was ready to roll, and she agreed, and we were out of there.

    By way of saying, I think letters and notes – things that are an authentic part of one’s past – have a magnified power all their own.

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  33. joodyb said on September 25, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I come from a different place than Kathryn Kuhlman, Moe, but I too believe in the power of miracles. Keep telling your story. We are waiting to hear from you.

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  34. crazycatlady said on September 26, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Note to self: Burn all of my Journals to prevent the reading of my pathetic mewlings….

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  35. crazycatlady said on September 26, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Moe, I’m not a religious person. But I do believe that there is a universal vibration of everything that is. I wish for you peace, strength and the knowledge that what you have given will given back to you. It is what it is. But you can fight it. And we will stand by you.

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  36. Dave K. said on September 26, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Moe, you are one of my favorites! My prayers are already with you. Wishing you all the best.

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  37. moe99 said on September 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you each and every one. The biopsy procedure went well yesterday. My lung did not collapse after the needle puncture, and it appears that the doc did get a sample of the growth. It’s hard to do with an organ like the lung because it is not a stationary object–it slides against the chest wall–so I had to stop breathing at exactly the right point–took about 20 practice stops but sample was there in the preservative, an innocuous white ribbon of goo. Should know by Tuesday at the earliest or Thursday at the latest.

    Thank you again. Your care is very much appreciated.

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  38. MarkH said on September 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    paddyo’ – I’m with ya. I thought that Keanu Reeves remake was an insult to the original. BTW, I’m in your territory this weekend visiting all my relatives in Boulder. Hot weather!

    moe, here’s hoping and praying for the best possible results!

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  39. Rana said on September 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    moe, I’m glad the biopsy went well. Here’s hoping the results are helpful too.

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  40. beb said on September 27, 2009 at 11:54 am

    At times like this I wish I had more than two fingers to cross, Moe.

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  41. Joe Kobiela said on September 27, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Hang tough Moe,
    Congratulation to the Lions,
    It will make everyone in Detroit walk just a bit taller.
    Pilot Joe

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  42. Laurie said on September 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Moe, I am so shocked and sorry to hear your news. Please keep us updated. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  43. Dexter said on September 28, 2009 at 12:34 am

    “My” Lions won, but they sucked so bad the local Toledo channel didn’t even carry it…usually Detroit non-sell-out TV blackouts do not affect Toledo coverage, but WTF who cares?
    The two most exciting teams this year are amazing…The Cincinnati Bengals and NY Jets are two teams I have not watched in decades, and now I search for their game because they both are so much fun to watch.
    Imagine Cincinnati beating Pittsburgh! And the Jets are simply awesome.

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