Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Gas Pains

Overnight, gas prices, at the convenience store where I regularly shop, went up $0.25. Flashback to last night about 7:00PM: I'm leaving work and I say to myself "I bet gas will skyrocket tomorrow". I based this on the fact that ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and NBC were doing their best to give gas station owners validation for what would happen, blaming it on hurricane Katrina.

Back to real time: It's 11AM, and I am driving down the street looking at gas prices from $2.65.9 up to $2.70.9…suddenly, like a shining beacon, I spot $2.45.9. I quickly pull in pop my credit card into the slot, get authorization, and start filling my tank. As I did so, an employee of the gas station came out with a big long pole and some pieces of plastic with numbers on them. I squeezed the gas pump handle to full throttle, seeing in my minds eye what was about to occur. That very gas coming from the underground tanks morphed from $2.45.9 to $2.70.9. How did the petroleum do that? Was it some chemical process akin to the biblical miracle when Jesus changed the water to wine? Was it done via computer from somewhere in the Sahara? Was this the Twilight Zone? Suddenly, the nozzle popped off. If I squeezed the nozzle again to top off my tank, would it be $245.9 or $2.70.9? I was more nervous that a contestant on jeopardy. Da da da da…da da da…da da da da da da dada da da (jeopardy suspense music). My palms were sweaty as I gingerly squeezed the lever. Whoosh, another 7/10 of a gallon, at the pre- miracle price, gushed forth, then click. I'd made it! I cheated the escalating gasoline price ogre.

Fast forward to 2055. At precisely the appointed time, the tiny chip implanted my grandson's inner ear starts streaming the news of the day.

"The Gas Price Commission released it's finding today in their three year investigation into unethical behavior of petroleum vendors back in 2005. Their conclusion is that 90% of the vendors acted in concert with the mainstream media to hose the American public."

The President's comment: "I don't want to comment until I've had a chance to read the entire report"

Sunday, August 28, 2005


para mi hija

1973, it was a very good year. We lived in New Haven Connecticut. I was program director at WAVZ. In the early morning hours of August 29th, your very pregnant Mom informed me it was time to go to Yale-New Haven hospital. I sat in the Father’s waiting room with a yellow pad in my lap, wearing tiny earplug, monitoring the radio station. Unbeknownst to me the doctor, nurse, or someone found out that I was listening and called Charlie Steiner, WAVZ News Director, to request that he break in with a news flash that Meridith Byrd Long had been born shortly before 7:00AM. He did but I didn’t hear it; I had fallen asleep.

“Mr. Long…Mr. Long”, the doctor said, “you have a daughter, would you like to see her?” As I held you for the first time, I felt tears well up in my eyes. You were perfect and your Mom was fine. I know I must have said a prayer of thanks. I called your grandparents in Georgia and Alabama. My next call was to your great grandparents, Walter and Minnie Byrd, in Reidsville, North Carolina. You were their second great grandchild. They were thrilled that your middle name was Byrd. Your first name was not spelled traditionally. I guess your Mom and I just had to be different! All the grandparents and your great grandmother Byrd came to visit and see you. I bet you were sore from being held so much!

Over the course of your first year, you had many exciting adventures. Shortly after you were born we moved to Boston where I was program director of WROR-FM, an RKO radio station. We lived in a 100 + year old farm house out from Hopkinton, Mass. That house was really neat. An old man named Cheney lived up the road from us. He was rumored to be a witch, dressed in black leather, and used to walk up and down our road. We went home (south) for your first Christmas. The first leg was to take us to Reidsville, N.C.. There was a terrible snow storm on the East coast and we got stranded in Washington, D.C. for several hours. It was a long night but I don’t remember your complaining except when you got hungry. A kind airline lady took your Mom to a private room to feed you. We finally made it to Reidsville where your great grandfather Byrd met you for the first and only time. He was very proud. After a few days, we went on to La Grange, Georgia and Wedowee, Alabama. The return trip to New Haven was an adventure. We flew from Atlanta to New York and due to bad weather had to ride a bus back to New Haven.

In January of 1974, there was a gas shortage and I had to wait in line at the gas station often. A huge blizzard hit that month and our power was out. I finally found a motel were we could stay and keep you and your Mom warm. Upon returning to the farmhouse, we found everything frozen solid and broken pipes. I wasn’t happy with my job. I was offered a job in El Paso, Texas. I flew there for the interview; when the plane landed and I stepped into the 70 degree sunny desert, I knew that wintry Boston was going to be a thing of the past. We moved in February. XEROK 80 paid for our move including our vehicles. We flew out of snowy Logan airport and landed in the Sun City. We quickly found an apartment in Coronado Hills, on the side of Franklin Mountain. It was beautiful. We hired a Mexican maid named Tencha who helped your Mom take care of you. I’ll never forget going to the drive-in one night. You and Tencha went along. I think the movie was “The Exorcist”. It scared Tencha to death. We celebrated your first birthday in El Paso. Your grandmother and grandfather Long drove all the way there for it. You were a mess. It was hard to keep from laughing when you would throw temper tantrums and throw yourself on the floor. Soon you learned that behavior was not going to be rewarded. It was an exciting first year for you. You are decent, funny, thoughtful, loving, smart, and beautiful. I am very proud to be your father.

Happy Birthday Beedis!
Su padre le ama mucho!

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