Rest in Peace, Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt died.

 

He’s one of my favorite authors.  Non-blinkingly, I will put him right up there with Vonnegut, Salinger, Manning, and Hornby—all geniuses in their own fields.  “Angela’s Ashes” is one of my favorite books.  It even made me decide that if I ever have a daughter (ahem—ladies…) I’d strongly push to name her Angela.  I always meant to write to him and tell him how important his work was to me.  I didn’t.  Whoops.

 

Frank McCourt came to fame late in life.  He was an Irish immigrant.  He grew up poor and nearly died a number of times from diseases the poor don’t have the money to fight.  He overcame.  He saved his money.  He got out.  He came to America and stood on his own two feet, eventually becoming a teacher.  He taught for years.  He grew in dignity and respect…

 

…but that was not his dream.

 

He started writing.  He fudged some of the details and names to avoid lawsuits…and in 1996, after 30 years of teaching, at the age of 66, he published “Angela’s Ashes” and became a semi-household name.  He dreamed.  He wrote.  And, older than most who “break through,” he succeeded.

 

I’ll miss Frank McCourt…but I’m not going to mourn him.  A main thrust of his writing is moving forward and not letting anything stop you.  It wouldn’t be appropriate to mourn.  Instead, I will dream.  I will KEEP dreaming.  And if my name’s ever up in lights, or if it’s just in black and white in an obituary one day…  I will live knowing that I have succeeded, because I never stopped believing that dreams can be achieved.

 

Thanks for giving me and millions of other readers that lesson, Frank.  I hope you’re enjoying the rest you so richly deserve.  Sorry that some people are only NOW going to read your work.  So it goes.

An Open Letter to My Bank

Dear My Bank,

 

It’s direct deposit.  How is it “pending?!?”  Come on!  I’ve got bills to pay.

 

Also, stop charging me $0.25 every time I use my card as a debit.

 

Also, stop charging me $3 every time I use someone else’s ATM (on top of the usual $1.50-2.00 THAT bank charges me!).

 

Also, stop putting a hold on my card every time I buy something you think is “suspicious.”  (“Suspicious” often means just barely out of my own neighborhood for less than $50…but if I spend $200 in Chicago, they’re fine with that.)

 

In short, Bank…I’m starting to feel like I need a new bank.

 

Your friend,

-Derek

 

PS – Also, why the hell doesn’t the branch nearest my house have a change-sorting machine?  It’s 2009!  Do you have any idea how many f***ing nickels I have?!?!?

A Word About Taxes

Okay.

 

We all know I’m a Democrat.  We all know that I have a lot of Republican friends.  In the course of conversation, the subject of politics comes up a lot, and every now and again I feel like I have to say something.  It’s a little less frequent now that the election’s over—somehow my candidate winning went a long way in proving my point for me…but I do have something that’s been on my mind.

 

I’ve been hearing a lot of people complaining about taxes.  Mostly Republicans who think “Obama’s gonna tax EVERYTHING!”  (These same people have failed to notice that the sales-tax in the city of St. Louis rose to just shy of 10% UNDER BUSH…but I digress…)  I hear a lot of people criticizing the “tax-and-spend” mentality of the Democratic Party.  And, yes…we do largely support that theory.  Apart from wondering where the money’s supposed to come from if not from taxes, I’d just like to say the following to all of my Republican friends, re: (GASP!) taxes…

 

America’s the greatest country in the world.  I don’t mind paying a little bit more for the priviledge of living here.

 

FREEDOM.  ISN’T.  FREE.

 

That either applies to all of us or none of us.

 

Thank you for your indulgence.  Here is a picture of Tom Wopat and John Schneider shooting pool.

 

tn350_wopat_schneider

(Stolen from the Internet.)

New Logo?

Here’s one mostly for Dave

 

btshadows

 

…I like it…I’m thinking of putting it on a cigarette pack, like instead of the Pall Mall logo or something…  I’m a little afraid that the “St. Louis” thing makes it either look a little cheesy, or like a bar…but I can chop that off if it keeps bugging me.  🙂

 

By the way…those guitars are photoshopped copies of the exact guitars we use.  The drums aren’t, because I couldn’t remember what Johnny’s actual kit is, other than that it’s made by Tama…

 

So…whaddya’ think?

EDIT:  For some reason, it’s coming up a little pixelated on the blog, but I guarantee you that it’s quite lovely on my laptop.