Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flash Forward to ...

Flash Forward to...."I have asthma!"

During the first segment of the new drama series "Flash Forward" there was, indeed, a lot of drama. Some would call it melodrama. There was noise and smoke and fire and blood and wreckage, and the segment ended with "our hero" (played by Joseph Fiennes) standing firmly with legs planted apart, surveying downtown Los Angeles in alarming disarray, with intense music playing. But the next words I heard were "I have asthma!" What? Is that part of the drama, along with the other weird things we're supposed to notice? No. It's a commercial, and it made me laugh out loud. How am I supposed to maintain an attitude of concern for the entire planet and all who live on it in the face of asthma (which to be sure is no laughing matter, but still...)?

But I continued watching, and I probably will watch the show for a while, despite the feeling that this show is SILLY. For one thing, the Mysterious Date of April 29, 2010 is a big birthday for me, and maybe they'll all be celebrating ME at some point! Why not? It could happen. If the entire planet could suffer a 137-minute blackout and clean itself up in a couple of days, why not have a party?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Cliff Monahan was a friend of my daughter, Andrea. For a reason that I can't explain he always intrigued me. It could have been his intelligence, his humor, his abhorrence of tv, his dedication to causes. Something. He was taken by a brain aneurysm while he was in his backyard, and although he died in a way that many of us would envy, he was only 55 years old, and it's hard to be philosophcal about the loss of such a positive force in the world. Godspeed, Cliff. By now you know whether God is benevolent or not.

Clifton Michael Monahan
(February 12, 1954 - September 15, 2009)
Dr. Clifton Michael Monahan died suddenly on September 15, 2009. He is survived by his mother Ellen Crowley Monahan, his sisters Leigh (John) Monahan-Fullbrook and Leslie (Mark) Peterson, brothers Russell (Kathy Semak) Monahan, Tim (Bill) Monahan and John (Barb Mailloux) Monahan, neice Colleen Monahan and nephews Jeff and Greg Monahan, and his especially his close friend Barb Bloetscher. Cliff was born on February 12, 1954, and grew up in the Detroit area. After two years at the University of Michigan, he spent a few years skiing and working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where he began to develop his interest in animals. After studying horseshoeing at the Hillcroft School of Ferrier Science, he enrolled at Colorado State University, graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Never one to follow a standard route to happiness, Cliff signed up for service in the Peace Corps, working in Africa in eastern Zaire for over two years, assisting people with their cattle herds, other animals and basic needs. On top of providing much needed humanitarian assistance, he also accumulated enough stories to entertain people for years to come. After experiencing first-hand the conditions in Africa, Cliff returned to the USA, and began working on his post-doctorate studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and later in Shreveport, specializing in parasitology and epidemiology. It was in the Veterinary School at the Ohio State University in Columbus where he really connected with students and became known for his sometimes off-beat style and road trips that provided up close and first hand knowledge of working with different kinds of animals. Improving the lives of people in Africa remained a great a passion for Cliff. He supplied laptops, PDAs, hard drives and other computer and internet equipment, delivering them personally to villages in Rwanda. He also loved working on the wonderfully terraced gardens he built around his house. His collection of orchids and other exotic plants decorated his front porch and backyard and filled the interior of his home in the winter. The family will receive friends from 5-8pm on Friday, September 18 at the Deyo-Davis Funeral Home at 1578 W. First Avenue in Grandview Heights where a memorial service will be held at noon on Saturday, September 19. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Columbus Zoo or WOSU.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Once Upon A Time There Was A Guiding Light

One of my favorite short prayers -- Catholics used to call them "ejaculations" --is "Dear Lord, guide me and guard me." That's about it for me and guidance now. I don't do horoscopes, and I don't read self-help books any more. But there was a time when I watched daytime serial dramas, for me "the soaps", for some "my stories", for guidance in how to be a housewife. That sounds truly ridiculous to me now, but I was 20 years old and had no idea about how to run a home, what products to use, how to behave as an executive wife (which wasn't quite my real status) etc. Then I got hooked on the characters and the clothes until, for some reason I've forgotten, I was no longer hooked on Guiding Light or any other soap. I used to say that I stopped watching the soaps when my own life became one, but what that boils down to is that I was a single mother of four who found a job that interfered with my daytime viewing schedule. If only I had foreseen that there would be a market for publications about the "stories," I could have logged a lot more time on the couch and gotten paid for it.

One of the stories that I watched every day was "Guiding Light." Actually, I started listening to it on the radio when I was a child because my mother did. Now I have no idea about the Reva and Josh story lines and even though I've met their players, Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman, a number of times at the Hilton Head Celebrity Golf Tournament, I don't feel any current attraction. That's a good thing for me because the Guiding Light is coming to its conclusion.

Sixty Minutes did a segment last Sunday that reminded me of some things about the show and told me some things I never knew. I was very familiar with the early Bauer clan, whose generations lasted through the decades I watched, but I didn't know that "The original focus was inspirational, featuring a minister whose Guiding Light attracted the down and out, the lonely and the troubled." Was he a Bauer? I will probably never know and I will soon forget to wonder. But I will always smile at the recollection of conversations with friends of the day where we spoke about soap characters as though they were our friends too.

And as a fond final thought about the soaps, here's a memory that is about "Another World," a late-comer in 1964 to the money machine known as daytime drama. Somewhere in the 1970s, my father, who was then about the age I am now, was retired and sitting at his dining room table with his Scotch-laced coffee and calling out to the console tv in the living room: "Don't do it, Iris." This man who had emigrated from Scotland, made a good life for his wife and children, led a union local, and even survived death threats, was giving serious advice to a fictional character. I wonder now whether that was advice he really wanted to give me. Another thing I will not wonder about for long.

Farewell, Guiding Light. No one folded diapers better than I did when I was watching you.