Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Original Veldhouse: Part Deux

Blog, so you know how I wrote a lengthy post about seeing my dad for the first time in seven years back in December? I have to first of all make a correction. It wasn't seven years that had gone by since I last saw him; it was six. I for some reason thought that Grandma had died back in 2004, but it really was 2005. Either way, it's a significant amount of time being away from a parent, so I'm not going to dwell on semantics.

However, I don't think I mentioned in that post my dad's weird habit of bringing up rather off-the-wall ideas in conversation where my, or anyone else's response is to internalize whatever nonsense he has just babbled on about and dismiss it as just that: nonsense.

But then it hits you. Not a few minutes later; not a few hours, but days. Days later, you discover something completely relevant on the internet that validates a sense to everything he had babbled on and on about in what you perceived to be a half-drunken stupor.

That's it. I'm listing examples.

Example #1: Minnesota's Economic Woes

Even though I went 6 years without seeing my dad, that doesn't mean I wasn't talking to him. Every few months I have a conversation with my dad that usually lasts an hour or so and ranges from gardening to politics to the military to history (his favorite period is the Antebellum era of Andrew Jackson...). This one happened sometime last year, so my memory on it is fuzzy. It also doesn't help that I have no idea how the economy works. But what I do know is that while it's on a slight upswing, it's still not the greatest and it certainly wasn't doing any better last year at this time. And maybe that's why my dad started going on and on about how Minnesota needs to have a state owned bank to help with its economy so it could offer affordable loans to local farmers and businesses. This would nurture growth in communities and would pull Minnesota out of the recession.

I guess it would make sense right away to someone who knows about economics and state banks and recessions. But combine my inept understanding of such things with his slurred speech and long pauses, and you get me just amicably repeating "Ok... Ok... Uh huh... Yup".

Less than a week later, I'm looking around at what national headlines are worth a gander and come across an article. While this isn't the exact one I read, the content is pretty similar to what I found... and it was exactly what my dad was scheming.

Example #2: Those Old Christmas Lights

This one happened over Christmas, naturally. My dad was sitting in his smokey and cramped living room drinking a rum and orange juice and smoking a cigarette from his rationed pack for the day. He was blandly describing how he had a bunch of Christmas decorations in the basement, but didn't have the gusto to dig them out and put them up. After a moment of thought, he mused that he should just send them to China so they could be recycled.


Apparently Christmas lights can only be recycled in China. Ok dad... How about we move on and take a look at that Depression-era glass you wanted to get rid of.

A few days later? Andrew Sullivan happens.

Example #3: Did He Just Say "Ted Kaczynski"?

The most recent and probably incredible information nugget my father has bestowed upon me was left in a voicemail I received last Thursday night. In it, he was clearly intoxicated and clearly fired up about... Saul Alinsky?

"I'm gonna get all Saul Alinsky on you. You probably don't know who Saul Alinsky is. You should look him up. Because we're going there."

I listened to this message as I rolled into Minot on the Amtrak Friday morning. I told my sister-in-law and brother about it. We all were bewildered, concerned, and glad that he wasn't talking about the unabomber.

But who the F is Saul Alinsky?

Upon my return to Minneapolis Monday morning, I open up Facebook to this link posted by Heather on my wall. Apparently Bill Maher doesn't know who Saul Alinksy is either.

And tonight, Andrew Sullivan strikes again. (Though, I confess I'm a few days behind on his blog)

I get that this all could easily be explained away by the fact that my dad is just up to date on his current events. And he totally is. The part that leads to my surprise every time is that my dad doesn't do the internet. He goes on for about 15 minutes a day and checks his email. All of this stuff is somehow heard and processed by him via his 1970's amplifiers blaring NPR 24/7. That, and his habit for bringing up obscure topics in obscure conversations while obscurly pausing and temporarily losing his train of thought leads you to believe that this isn't actual shit he's talking about.

As for Saul, my birthday conversation we had tonight (my dad rarely, if ever, calls me on my actual birthday) lead me to learn that my dad has a lot of books by the guy. He's been reading up on not only Mr. Alinsky, but also has been delving into Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and the retelling of There's a Hole in the Bucket and This is the House that Jack Built.

I swear to God if I come across an article on the importance pertaining to the passing-down of cumulative tales to the younger generation, you are going to be the first to hear about it Blog.

Little Samantha gets a primer of "Rules for Radicals" back in '85.

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