EppsNet Archive: Fathers and Sons

Happy 21st Birthday, Casey

28 Jul 2014 /

On this date 21 years ago — July 28, 1993 — our son Casey was born.

On his first birthday, we took him to Chuck E Cheese. On his 21st birthday, he’s in San Francisco having dinner with his girlfriend so we have to wish him a happy birthday over the phone.

“I remember the day you were born like it was last week,” I say. “I was an integral part of it.”

“Yeah, so was I,” he says.

Right, but he doesn’t remember it like I do. And I don’t want to mention it on his special day, but he didn’t really do anything either. His mom and I did all the work and yet he gets all the glory and recognition. Think about that.

“Happy birthday. I love you.”


You Could Be Someone Special

27 Jul 2014 /

Thanks for pushing me and always preaching to me, “You could be someone special, if you really work at it.” I took that heart, pops, and look at us today.

— Frank Thomas, induction speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame


Jim Fregosi, 1942-2014

15 Feb 2014 /

Jim Fregosi

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24442867/report-former-all-star-longtime-manager-jim-fregosi-dies-at-71

I grew up in Orange County as an Angels fan. They were a team of losers at that time, but I went to a lot of games with my dad and had a good time watching them play.

Jim Fregosi was my favorite player, usually the only good player on a typical Angels roster.

RIP Jim Fregosi.


It Is Hard Living Down the Tempers We Are Born With

30 Nov 2013 /
Gertrude Stein

Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.

— Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans

And So it Goes

16 Oct 2013 /

Joe Bell, 48, was walking cross-country from Oregon to New York to memorialize his gay son, who killed himself after being bullied.

Bell’s journey began April 20 and ended this week on a two-lane road in eastern Colorado, where he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep.

Joe Bell


Happy Fathers Day

16 Jun 2013 /

I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.

— Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

We Know What You Like: Cox

8 Jun 2013 /
Cox Communications' "Digeez" mascot

A commercial for Cox Communications comes on the TV, the gist of which is that no one knows what the young woman in the ad likes. A sushi chef, for example, serves her an oddball concoction that she doesn’t like, and I forget the rest, but you get the idea.

“But here at Cox,” the ad goes on to say, “we know what you like.”

I say, “She likes Cox.”

My kid gives me a look.

“C-O-X. Cox. Come on, man.”


Advice From My Dad

1 Apr 2013 /
Taking a nap

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“If it’s not your tail,” he told me, “don’t wag it.”


Socrates’ Apology

17 Mar 2013 /
The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing . . . And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands.

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.


Why Kyrie Irving is a Better Basketball Player Than Anyone in My Family

16 Jan 2013 /
Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

My son (age 19) and I are driving to Staples Center to see the Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, listening to the pre-game show on the radio. Because the Cavs are basically a one-man roster, and that one man is Kyrie Irving, there’s a lot of talk about Irving on the pre-game.

One of the analysts offers up his opinion that Irving is as good as he is at such a young age (he’s 20) because Irving’s dad was hard on him as a kid and pushed him and didn’t let him take breaks.

As always, when the topic of someone’s dad bullying him to greatness comes up, the boy gives me a melancholy look to say that my lack of abusiveness as a parent is the reason he’s not a professional athlete. “You let me take breaks,” he says.

“You know,” I say, “I think for every guy who says, ‘My dad wouldn’t let me back in the house until I made 100 layups with each hand and now I’m in the NBA,’ there’s 900 other guys whose dads tried the same shit and these guys got nowhere and now they’re extremely angry about it. You just never hear from those 900 guys because they’re nowhere, as I just said.”


I Have Kids Older Than NBA Players

19 Dec 2012 /

My boy, a college sophomore, and I are watching the Lakers play the Charlotte Bobcats on the TV . . .

“Did you know,” he says, “that I’m a full two months older than [Bobcats forward] Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?”

“Hmmm . . . really?”

“He grew more than me.”

Kidd-Gilchrist is 6’7″, 232 lbs. He turned 19 in September.


Mr. Blackwell Lives

19 Oct 2012 /
Mr. Blackwell

American fashionista Richard Blackwell (1922-2008) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My kid calls me out for wearing white socks with black sneakers . . .

“Thanks, Mr. Blackwell,” I say to him.

Then it occurs to me that a 19-year-old is not going to get the Mr. Blackwell reference.

“FYI, Mr. Blackwell was a flamboyantly gay fashion critic.”


The Chevron Guy

15 Oct 2012 /
B for Beggar

My boy and I are buying sodas at the Chevron station . . .

I notice they’ve got the place plastered with breast cancer donation stickers . . . donate a buck to breast cancer research and you can put your name on a 3×5 sticker with a pink car and a Chevron logo and they’ll stick it up on the wall.

I object to that. Let Chevron donate their own damn money instead of shaking down the customers.

“Would you like to donate a dollar to breast cancer research?” the attendant asks.

“No,” I reply. “Shouldn’t Chevron make their own donations? They’ve got more money than I do.”

It takes the guy a few moments to pick up on my theme, but as we’re wrapping up the transaction, he grabs the ball and runs with it.

“Yeah,” he says, “and the price of gas keeps going up.”

“It does, although I have to admit it’s down a little bit in the past week.”

“They bounce it,” he says, “but in the long run, it always goes up. It’ll be five dollars, then seven dollars. And they control everything so there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“You’re exactly right,” I say to him.

When we get outside, I say to the boy, “Chevron should fire that guy. Not a good company man.”


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

9 Sep 2012 /

The author, a Russian, displays great heart and insight in this philosophical novel, but at 900+ pages, he needs to learn how to get to the point.

I look forward to his next project, perhaps with a better editor.


The Game Blame Game

22 Jul 2012 /
Washington Bullets uniform

My boy is playing NBA 2K12 and points out that my Where’s Waldo shirt looks like the Washington Wizards (nee Bullets) throwback uniforms.

“Where’s John Wall-do?” he says.

Ha ha. I get my comeback opportunity a few minutes later when his game player passes to a teammate, who scores, but his player doesn’t get credit for an ssist.

“HOW CAN THAT BE ANYTHING BUT AN ASSIST FOR ME?!” he shouts in disbelief. “That’s bad programming.”

“Oh I doubt that,” I say. “The people who program video games are a lot smarter than the people who play them.”


It’s Not Nice to Make Fun of People’s Clothes

31 May 2012 /
Striped T-shirt

I picked up a red striped T-shirt on sale at Old Navy. My son saw it and it seemed to me that he chuckled a little bit.

“What’s funny?” I asked.

“Where’s Waldo?” he said.


UCLA 66, USC 47

19 Jan 2012 /
USC logo

After this debacle of a basketball game, my son, a college freshman, says to me, “I should have gone to USC. I could probably walk on to basketball and make the team.”

“Are you kidding? You could probably walk on and start,” I said.


The Father of the Year Competition is Heating Up

27 Sep 2011 /
Father of the Year nominee

NEWPORT BEACH A man accused of becoming angered at his 7-year-old son and tossing him off a boat during a harbor cruise pleaded not guilty Monday to felony child endangerment.

Sloane Steven Briles, 35, of Irvine, is accused of being under the influence of alcohol and poking his son in the chest and repeatedly slapping him in the face before tossing him about 10 feet off the boat and into the path of oncoming boat traffic.

Prosecutors say he made no attempt to save his son and jumped off the boat only to avoid angry passengers on the Queen.

A boat had to maneuver to avoid striking the boy, who treaded water before a captain on another boat tossed him a life ring, according to prosecutors.

In interviews with television reporters following his arrest, Briles said he and his son were just playing around and that they both decided to jump into the harbor for fun.


Have More Than One Kid

22 Aug 2011 /

If you put all your eggs in one basket, it’s easier to keep an eye on that basket, but it’s hard to let go of it . . .


The Cheese Board

21 Aug 2011 /
Anti-establishment types

Anti-establishment types

One of the highlights of our Berkeley visit was a trip to The Cheese Board for pizza.

We parked on a side street and when we walked around the corner I saw a line of people down the sidewalk.

“What’s that line?” I asked.

“That’s The Cheese Board,” my kid said. “Don’t worry, it goes fast.”

He explained that they only make one kind of pizza per day — always vegetarian — so all you can do is order a slice, a half pizza or a whole pizza and be on your way.

Yesterday’s selection was fresh corn, feta cheese, mozzarella, and cilantro pesto.

Because they serve so fast and the shop is small, there’s not not enough room for all the patrons, many of whom repair to the median on Shattuck Ave. and enjoy their pizza in the shade of the Keep Off Median signs.


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