Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Fatigue

If anyone is like me and suffering from election fatigue, I have a few suggestions.
First, find a couple of friends and commiserate.

Then, run out and buy yourself a big-assed gun.
And last, but not least, pray.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin Rally Dudes

Palin may have drawn 60,000 people in her Florida rally, but she had two very special guests at her rally in Carson City, NV. Alas, their call for diverse unification or unified diversity, went unheeded. They did, however, raise enough dough to buy a few brewskees and a pack of smokes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why Do They Call It Golf?

On the eve of the Ryder Cup, I thought it would be cool to revisit the origins of the game through the mind of one of the world's funniest people, Robin Williams. There is an old joke that asks, "Why do they call it golf? Because, fuck was already taken!" Laugh on.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Is it just me, or is anyone else put off by the irony of two politicians and their respective minions spending a billion dollars in a campaign for the white house while the economy collapses around our collective asses? Can I see a show of hands? Am I here all alone? What the fuck, over? I'm not very good at math but, I think I could pay more than a few months rent with a billion dollars. I could even buy some stock. Oh, my mistake, the stock market crashed quietly while we were all concentrating on the amount of money being spent on our behalf by the benevolent ones. So maybe I could just stock up on some cheap wine and forget that I am just a heartbeat away from the shopping cart down by the river. What the hell, Ollie?
Campaign finance reform (McCain/Fiengold) was supposed to be a "buy" partisan fix to the big, corporate domination of our national political process. Everybody in the "game" seems to be happy with the way it is working out for them. So I'm wondering, what's going on here? People are losing their shirts, major corporations are failing, the government is forking out billions in bailouts and all the while, fund raising records are being set each and every month by both political parties. Where is all the money coming from when everyone is in such dire straights? How can two men raise so much cash when, supposedly, there is no cash to be had? I know, I ask a lot of questions.
I'm beginning to think money is like energy-it's never really lost, it just changes hands. Not only is it never lost, it is manufactured like candy or tires or computer chips. When you need more, make more. Supply and demand. The people need money. Supply them. Whoa! Wait a minute, I'm going to start asking questions again. Who runs this store, anyway? There's nothing on the shelves but the back room is full of goods. Please take a number and you will be seen in the order of your contribution. Chrysler, Lockheed, Continental, Washington Mutual, AIG-not necessarily in that order.
Back to the show of hands. Does anyone see a pattern here? Let me rephrase that-does anyone see a change of hands here? And yet, so many have so much to give to so few. Meanwhile, I've posted links to a couple of articles that make you wonder why and two new, (old but still relevant) tunes to my playlist. Engage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mike and the Bike

I want to thank Cody and Diane for the cool book, Mike and the Bike. At first, I thought it was just a neat little gift they gave me for my birthday. But after reading it and checking out the credits on the people who had put it together, it became quite an educational odyssey. After a couple of hours of Googling and You Tubing, I learned that Michael Ward, the guy who conceived and wrote the book, is a guitar player of some renown. Formerly with Jakob Dylan's band, the Wallflowers, he now plays guitar for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. I don't know if Cody and Diane knew this at the time they bought the book or if it is just a coincidence, but Ward and I have an eerie resemblance since I shaved my head. Of course, I also look a lot like Shell Silverstien when I'm bald. The big difference is I don't play the guitar or write stories as well as either of them so I'm not sure it really means anything.

But back to the book. There is a CD that comes with it that includes and introduction by Lance Armstrong. It is quite a story in itself how Ward and Armstrong became friends. They met back stage at a show in Texas in which the Wallflowers were the opening act for Sherill Crowe. Lance invited Michael to breakfast the next morning and to make a long story short, they became fast friends and riding partners. Ward ultimately began working with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, an organization that assists cancer patients. Over the course of time, Armstrong introduced Ward to Phil Liggett who is know as the "Voice of Cycling". He has written and commentated on thirty two Tours de France races and ten Olympics and agreed to narrate the CD for Mike and the Bike. Ward's young son, Tennessee, gets musical credit and sings the lyrics on the CD tracks.
This is Michael Ward's first children's book and a percentage of the proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is quite a departure from the world of rock and roll where he has spent much of his creative life. There is an official Mike and the Bike website,, where you can hear the songs and see some videos and link to Michael Ward's blog as well. I have put up a couple of Ward tunes on my play list, one with the Wallflowers and one with Ben Harper.
I don't know, maybe it's just the eyes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

To Vote Or Not To Vote

When I started this blog I promised myself not to engage in anything remotely political. My vow of abstinence was purely for spiritual reasons as anyone who knows me knows I am always mentally up for a good political tete a tete. The longest campaign in history and the same old politics as usual has simply wrenched the heart for debate right out of me. I can only listen to so much rhetoric and watch so much hype. It takes way too much energy, of which I have precious little. Honestly, I think everyone in this country but the politicians and their plebes and lobbyists are sick and tired of the whole charade.
That being said, the events of the last two days have seriously tested my resolve. I have to admit that I watched Obama's acceptance "speech of a lifetime" while anticipating McCain's well timed vice presidential pick. The punch-counter punch was incredibly great political theatre. Throw into the mix, Senator McCain's gentlemanly congratulations to Senator Obama for the historical relevance of his nomination on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic speech from the Lincoln Memorial and you suddenly have the makings of what might be a truly interesting presidential race.
But still, I hesitate to involve myself with the notion that anything at all will change regardless of all the theatrics. We are living in an age when kids can morph themselves into a video golf game and convince themselves that they can play like Tiger Woods. At the same time, politicians revise history through audio visual techniques to convince young voters that something was other than what it was. With today's technology, do we really know what is real and what is fabricated? I've got to confess, most of the time I can't tell the difference.
So, where are we now? Every election cycle we find ourselves on the brink of extinction, or worse. We are a nation at war, the democrats cry. The republicans claim victory and we are just cleaning up the mess. Our social security system is a failed endeavour and our senior citizens are eating scraps, say the liberals. They'll be alright, say the conservatives, we're just borrowing against the future. The boomers will make up the difference. On and on and on. Issue after contrived issue. No end in sight.
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief, "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."
"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke, "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl, Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl. Bob Dylan
Copyright ©1968; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yesterday morning, before work, the bees finally found the sunflowers. They have been so busy working over the corn, I don't think they even noticed the giant pollen pods scattered around the yard. Before they were through they were covered, head to toe, with the sweet nectar of the suns. I think they were actually drunk by the time they flew off, back to their hive to deliver their payload.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little Sunflower

What would a garden be without a little sunflower?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy Little Bees Of The Corn

These are some pictures of our corn patch and the busy little bees that pollinated it. Once I got the li'l dudes used to me, I could get close enough to take some pictures. After a while, they just ignored the hell out of me and went about their business like I wasn't even there. They are awesome, industrious creatures.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pickle Me Elmo

These are the results of our first attempt at pickling. We chose the refrigerator method for ease and because we didn't have the utensils necessary for the hot bath method. Besides, we can eat eight pints of garlic dill spears and eight pints of bread and butter chips in no time. Marie looked up some recipes and we chose two that sounded good and met our time and space requirements and viola, pickles from heaven.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Queen For Today

If you are like me and have never heard of Edgar Cruz, please give a listen to his version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. You will be blown away. The man can play a guitar. Following Cruz are a couple of videos I found that will amuse and entertain with their uniqueness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Up On A Tight Rope

My grandpa used to have a much more colorful expletive he used for this old saying. But I have cleaned it up for my blog. My grandsons still get the original because grandpas are like that. The point is still the same, however. You can wish in one hand and want in the other and see which hand fills up first. That's pretty much life in a nutshell, isn't it. Wishin and wantin and wishin and wantin. Wish it was this, wantin that. Holy shit, I'm half way through my life and I'm still empty handed. What the hell?
That's the dilemma at work. I wish I could fix all that is wrong. I want to quit. Which hand fills up first? Lately, I have been sleeping less and dreaming more. My dreams, more often than not, have been work related. There is never any resolution to the dreams, but there are always lingering issues. I have no doubt I am meant to be where I am. But I am only human and I have doubts about how I am supposed to handle it all. So I walk a tight rope. Say this-don't say that. Do this-don't do that. Life was so much easier when I worked on a golf course.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.When other helpers fail and comforts flee,Help of the helpless, O abide with me.Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;Change and decay in all around I see;O Thou who changest not, abide with me.Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,Familiar, condescending, patient, free.Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.I need Thy presence every passing hour.What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Henry Francis Lyte-1847

Henry Francis Lyte wrote this hymn three weeks before he died of tuberculosis. The verses could have been written yesterday by any number of people residing in the skilled nursing facility where I work. In fact, I thought they were because this morning I woke up dreaming about the hymn. I was out in the middle of nowhere with people from the facility all around me. I can't consciously remember ever hearing that hymn but must have heard it at some point in my life to have dreamed about it. So, this morning I looked up the lyrics and it was as if I already knew them. I live with them every day I work. I also knew I had to write about what is going on there. To the casual observer or even the state inspectors who comb the building for a week at a time, twice a year, it would seem the level of care is at best quite good and at least, adequate. But, to those who work there and truly care, it is a very different picture. Unfortunately, within the confines of a care for profit facility, the degradation of human dignity knows no bounds. In a company where care worker to patient ratio takes precedence over patients rights, where character is not a prerequisite to employment, where short staffing, unpaid overtime and working through breaks are the norm, the unthinkable happens all too routinely.
Recently, in his blog CODYNUS, my brother alluded to some things he had discovered were going on within the facility where we both work. He didn't want to discuss them at the time, probably due to considerations for his sources. I agreed with him then but after some recent developments, no longer have such reservations. When you learn that a resident can pummel another to the point of hospitalization, all within twenty feet of the nursing station, and is not removed from the facility, you wonder how this can happen. When you hear that CNA's are taking crotch shots of residents with their picture phones and sending them back and forth, you ask why aren't these perverts in jail. When a half dozen residents "fall down" in the same week and have goose eggs on the same side of their faces, you think what a coincidence. When a resident on full oxygen sets himself on fire while smoking because a CNA was too busy or to careless, you think there but for the grace of God.
Working in the dietary department, we are accustomed to feeding deceased residents for days and even weeks before the nursing department decides to notify us. It is only later that we discover the CNA's and nurses have been eating their meals. We have noticed residents sitting in their own excrement while eating in the dining room. We see residents sleep through meals because somebody doesn't want to be bothered with having to get them up and wheel them down to feed them.
The story we are hearing this week is corporate is coming to investigate the cell phone pics and the resident beat down. But it is kind of like the Falkland Islands War between the British and Argentina back in 1982. For three weeks the Brits sailed down and blew their trumpets, warning the Argentines that they were going to kick some ass. When they got there, the war lasted a few days and both countries, to this day, still claim the islands. Coporate has been coming for a week now and still is not here. Do you think you could erase some cell pics in a couple of weeks. And the bugles blow.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mean Is A Four Letter Word

Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut. Last night, after work, I was sitting at Flatface's desk trying to decide if I was going to print some tray tickets for tomorrow. A piece of paper in a cubby on the desk caught my eye because it had Marie's name on it. I pulled the stack of papers out to check out what it was. It turned out to be something she had written to verify another employee's account of an incident that had occurred several months ago. I wondered why it hadn't been filed away after this long, even though our boss is famous for his loose ends. So I started thumbing through the stack to see what else might be in it with someone else's name that I might recognize. Like I said, trust your gut. This cubby is where Flatface keeps some plain copy paper and some colored paper for his menus. So anything else there just seemed out of place. Well low and behold, right beneath Marie's incident report, were several more sheets of paper stapled together and upside down. I'm posting a copy of the top sheet here. Click on the image to enlarge it and notice a few important things. First, it is dated 7-10-08. That is twelve days ago. My supervisor has yet to show it to me even though, as you will remember from my previous post, we had a meeting on the fourteenth of July. Secondly, I was supposedly given a verbal for not punching out for lunch, which has never occurred. Also notice the absence of signatures of both the Executive Director and my Supervisor, not to mention myself and a witness. Perhaps the most telling of all, is this written disciplinary action was Cc'd to my personnel file without said signatures or my knowledge. The discrepancies between her version of the incident and mine tell the whole tale. Hence the little diddy by John Prine.

Since the tea party on the fourteenth, Flatface has been to Hawaii for five days and is currently sunning himself on the beach down in Costa Rica. It will be very interesting to see how he handles this matter when he gets back sometime this week. He obviously didn't want this little distraction to interfere with his travel plans. Thanks Y'all for your support and I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Please Read The Letter

A week ago yesterday, on July 10, I wrote a letter to the Executive Director of the skilled nursing facility where I work asking that he look into the matter of unpaid overtime I believe is owed me. I cc.'d the letter to my supervisor and the manager of the Human Resources Department. On the following Monday, upon my arrival at work, I was ushered into the director's office for a little chit-chat with my boss, the HRM and the Director of Nursing. Apparently, the ED was no longer in the building (that is another story altogether), so the DON sat in for him. What transpired was like a bad movie starring Nurse Ratchet on crack, Cruela DeVille and Joe Pesci's flat faced body double. Here is a copy of the letter, followed by a chronology of events, including and since that little beat down of Mike's ignorant ass.

To: James Gann, Executive Director-Evergreen Mountainview Healthcare

Mr. Gann,
On the morning of July 10, 2008, after receiving my check, I went to the human resources office to inquire as to why I had not been paid the overtime I was due. Since this was not the first time the hours I had worked had exceeded eighty hours in the pay period and I had not been paid the overtime, I felt an explanation was in order. Upon my request, the Human Resource Manager, Barbara LaSur, asked me if she had not explained that to me before. I told her yes, but not to my satisfaction since most of the other employees in Dietary had received overtime pay for all hours over eighty in the same pay period, not to mention many previous pay periods. She then said that I was hired as a cook at a cook’s wage and that I was not a cook. I responded that I was hired at that job description and at that rate. At this point, I described the situation as “bull shit”. She then handed me a slip of paper and told me to call corporate and they would explain it to me. I responded that I would just call the Labor Board instead and have them explain it to me, and she told me to go right ahead. At that point I left her office. On my way out the door Ms. LaSur asked me why I didn’t just quit my job. I asked her in turn why she didn’t quit her job and she responded that she had been there too long. I told her everyone has a problem.
I have expressed my dissatisfaction with this ongoing situation to my supervisor, Joe Bill, on several occasions. His response has always been that he would take care of the situation. That has yet to occur. Almost two months ago, I agreed to cut back the number of days I worked from five to four because of a decline in the census. Since that time, I have been asked to work an extra day almost every week. If that has resulted in some overtime hours, it is not my fault. I have always complied with my supervisor’s requests to work any required shift and have been diligent in the exercise of my job duties. I do not feel I deserve to be treated in this manner.
I ask that you look into this matter and if necessary, review my payroll records to insure that I receive all back overtime payment that is due me. I appreciate your prompt consideration in this matter.

Michael I. Swall
Dietary Aide/Cook
Dietary Department-Evergreen Mountainview Healthcare

Cc: Joe Bill

Cc: Barbara LaSur

Now, back to the beat down. Cruela showed me some time sheets dating back to April that I had never seen before broken down by weeks from Friday through Thursday and tried to tell me I got copies of them in my pay envelope every payday. When I argued that I had never seen these before and asked her to make me copies back to the day I started she said she didn't have time for that. After twenty minutes of being told I was too fucking stupid to understand their explanation of the difference between a "work week" and a "pay period", I asked my betters if they had read my letter and that I understood their b.s. but didn't buy the legitimacy or legality of their explanation. At this point, exasperated and fresh out of spew, they told me I'd better just go to the Labor Board and let them explain it. Hey, now we were getting somewhere. It turned out to be a productive meeting after all. An invitation to go to the state was more than I could have hoped for. This meant they couldn't really get pissy with me for doing something I was planning to do anyway. At this point, the pow-wow ended abruptly. They gave me the distinct impression I had wasted enough of their precious time.
Well, it took me all week but I finally got around to going to the Labor Board yesterday. I learned quite a lot in a short time while talking to the nice people at the State. I learned that there is a difference between a "right to work" state and an "at will" state. Right to work means employees reserve the right to choose to be union or non union and cannot be forced to be one or the other. "At will" means both the employee and the employer may terminate the working relationship at any time without notice or reason. Two entirely different things.
Another thing I learned is that employers in Nevada have the right to differentiate between "work weeks" and pay periods. This is a loophole that allows employers to avoid paying overtime in many instances and is a dicey issue that should be addressed by the state legislature, in my opinion. It means I will probably not be remunerated for the hours I thought were overtime.
An issue that I raised with the Labor people that I did not bring up with management was the company practice of deducting thirty minutes a day for breaks that are not taken or are worked through. Many of us at the facility regularly work through our lunch breaks or do not punch out on the time clock at all because we are constantly short handed and have too much to do. This is a practice that management has looked the other way at and, in fact, quietly condoned. Why not? They get the best of both worlds-the work gets done and they steal thirty minutes a day out of everyone's paycheck. The folks at Labor, on the other hand, furrowed their brows and wrinkled their noses and said this was not good. When I told them I did not clock out for lunch, with the complete knowledge of management, for the better part of seven months dating back to September of 2007, they asked to see my complete time records for that period. We may have something here. And something else. One of the cooks filed and anonymous complaint a few weeks ago about working through his breaks. The nice lady at the Labor Board told me that if she got a total of five complaints, even anonymous ones, it would generate an audit of all the company's facilities, state wide. That I could provide for her, standing on my head. She gave five complaint forms and I assured her I would be back.
Oh boy! Now I've got to go back and ask Cruela for copies she didn't have time to make for me. She and Nurse Crackhead and Flatface are not going to be happy with me when this all plays out. I may just want to start getting serious about finding another job, (see definition of "at will").

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering the Dream

Tuesday, the Yankees will host the last major league all-star game ever to be played in Yankee Stadium. When the season ends, the wrecking ball will come crashing down on the House That Ruth Built. Gone forever, the hollowed ground that Yankee fans everywhere have revered for 85 years. Somewhere beneath the rubble will be my childhood dream of ever seeing first hand that storied place. Lost will be my chance to see, to hear, to smell the place that to me is baseball. It was baseball before color TV, before instant replay, before spandex and maple bats. It was baseball when guys named Dizzy and Pee Wee called the games on Saturday mornings. It was baseball before asterisks in the record books, labor strikes, agents and collective bargaining. It was just baseball.
Now, when they move Monument Park to a new center field across the street, it will be more like business as usual. The names on the monuments, Huggins, Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio and Mantle, will be the same. But somehow, the game will never be the same. I think what I will miss, more than the opportunity to visit that historic field, is the game as I knew it. It was a game that little kids played in dirt fields on hot summer days while they pretended to be big kids named Mickey, Whitey and Yogi.
I'll live through this disappointment as I have others because I'm not one to dwell on the negative. I have my memories, Mantle's blast hitting the right field facade, Dizzy and Yogi mangling the English language, Maris hitting 61. They will have to keep me, such as they are.
And I really can't complain. I got to see the Yankees play once. It was 1966, the first year the Angels were playing in their new stadium, The Big A, down in Anaheim. Out of the blue Pop asked if I wanted to go to a ball game. What fourteen year old boy would pass that up? Not this one. What a day. Before the game we went down behind home plate to watch the Yanks take batting practice. Pop took a bunch of pictures and I just watched in numb amazement. They were all there-Mantle, Maris, Yogi, Whitey, Richardson, Kubek, Pepitone, Boyer, in their pinstripes, bigger than life. I don't even remember who won the game. I didn't care.
I'll never forget that day. It was the best day of my life till then. I had loved those guys since I was old enough to know what baseball was. And there they were-right in front of me. I don't think I ever thanked my dad enough for taking me to that game. I know he knew how much it meant to me but I never told him. I wish he were here now so I could just hug him and tell him thanks for giving me something I will never forget. Mom found some of those pictures a few years ago, a half dozen or so Pop took from where we sat down the left field line, but none of the ones from behind home plate. It's OK though. I've still got them, in my heart.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We may be well acquainted with the idea that we receive in life in direct relation to what we give to life. However, when it comes to the grace of God, there is nothing we must give to receive it. Grace is a gift from God that is absolute and without qualification.
Because this is so, I choose to live my life based upon the foundation of God's grace. I do this by pausing to realize that God's presence is in and all around me as life, love, and wholeness.
I understand that people, conditions, the weather, and even the land are continually changing. The one thing that never changes is the presence of God in it all and the grace of God blessing all. I give thanks this day and every day for the grace of God, the foundation upon which I can and do build my life.-Daily Word
"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus." -1 Corinthians 1:4

Rest Assured


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

I love my children more than I can ever say. They have always been the sources of my greatest pride and purpose. I honestly have very little to show for my life were it not for them. I have always thought that the one thing I have done right throughout the years was to teach them well the basic lessons of life. Now, as I watch their lives unravel, I realize I have been kidding myself all these years. What I actually taught them was worse than nothing. I know now that "what you see is what you get", bears more fruit than "read my lips". What they learned growing up, both consciously and by rote, has now manifested in their adult lives. When I said truth, they saw lies. When I said trust, they viewed deceit. When I said faithfulness, they witnessed infidelity. Forget concepts like integrity, devotion, commitment. Those are just words they heard. What they saw was self indulgence, narcissism and piety. The choices I made became the lessons they learned. Unfortunately for them, they never learned the lesson of consequence. I took it for granted that they could see that too. I assumed they could see all the pain I caused. I was wrong again.
I don't talk to my kids much lately. Their lives have taken a direction that has my guts twisted in a knot. Besides, anything I want to say to them wouldn't make them very happy. Nothing I could say would change what they think or undo the choices they have made. I don't think they want to hear how much I love their spouses and their children. Or how proud I have been of how hard they have worked and what they have made of their lives. I don't think they want to know how much my heart aches or how easily I cry these days. So I guess I'll just keep praying for them and hope God will show them his grace. I still love my children more than I can ever say.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Getting Started

I have been procrastinating about starting a blog of my own for several years now. To tell you the truth, I have been intimidated by all of the really great blogs that already exist and have wondered what the hell I could add to the blogosphere that would be of any significance to anyone. But it has finally sunk in to my feeble brain that it isn't about anyone else-it's about me. So now it is just a matter of getting started. Whoa, now. That poses a whole new dilemma. Where the hell do I start.
How about the title of my blog-irvmarmik? My father's name was Irving, but everyone I know except my aunt Marge called him Irv. Well, I take that back. When Mom, brought into the world as Margaret, got good and pissed at him, she would call him Irving. While aunt Margie's tone was rather endearing, Mom's was somewhat bone-chilling. It's sort of like stretching a guitar string until it snaps. But back to the point. In Pop's later years, he often expressed a great interest in getting on the Internet. I think he really saw what a valuable resource it could be. But he just didn't live long enough to manifest that desire. Mom, on the other hand, couldn't care less about surfing the web and to this day resists all prodding to indulge it. Total opposites, those two.
Now, to digress for a moment. When I was born, I guess they didn't exactly want a Jr. tagged onto my name so I became Michael Irving. Most of my early years, I was called Mike by friends and family alike until junior high school when most of my close friends, after learning my middle name, started calling me Irv. So I have answered to both names for many years now.
Back in the mid nineties, when my wife Marie and I needed an e-mail address that wouldn't divulge our true identities, the combination of names became an obvious solution. So, irvmarmik has been our Internet handle eversince.
Whew! Now, that was a mouthful.