Friday, April 9, 2021

Life Goes On...

...but of course we'll never forget.

The company I work for was kind enough to send flowers in memory of Ryan...very thoughtful.

His remains were cremated this past week, his ashes to be shipped to me soon.

After that we'll plan a memorial service, when we'll pause and celebrate the life of our son...

...and brother...

...and then?

Life goes on.

And speaking of the progress of life, you can see the steady blossoming of nature all around us now.

We're still a couple of weeks away from the big explosion when everything bursts into bloom, but it's delightful to experience warmer temps and the greening of the landscape all around us.

Recently got booted out of my home office and relocated to a distant part of the living room...

...don't know if I was late on the rent or what, but as it turns out it's still a pretty good view...

...and though I'm loathe to admit it, the dining room table does look better now that I've been evicted...

...and who am I to argue with progress?

That's going to have to do it for this low energy edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe.

later, mcm fans...

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Friday, April 2, 2021

Tough Week...


...but we soldier on.

What else can we do?

As my oldest son said the other day, "This really hurts, but Ryan's not coming back."

True enough, and it reminds me of what King David said when the child he had with Bathsheba died.

And that is true; we can't bring Ryan back, no matter how much we fast and weep over this loss.

We shall, however, join him when our time comes and we go the way of all flesh.

Until then I will always remember my little almond eyed boy...

...laughing and playing with his brothers.

Though at 6'5" and 270 pounds he grew to be a formidable presence...

...yet he retained a quick wit and a love for his family.

And while there is great comfort knowing Ryan trusted Christ as his Savior when he was a little boy, there is still a very heavy sorrow blanketing all of life right now.

Of course I’m stricken by memories of my failures...those times he needed compassion more than discipline and mercy rather than judgment.

But even if I’m not, he’s past all that now.

As I told a friend, I know Ryan is happy and whole.

He wouldn’t trade his new life in heaven for his old, pain filled earthly existence.

But getting my heart to feel what my head knows is my current dilemma.

I'll spare you a descent into the maudlin sentimentality of a grieving father.

Suffice to say this one's going to hurt for a while.

And so, in the "stiff upper lip" department, we continue on with the daily routines of life.

These include mundane details, like replacing a defective GE dishwasher with a used one made by Bosch...

...and selling the Giganta-fridge we removed from our kitchen...

...when we replaced it with Phil...

...such is the warp and woof of our quotidian existence, I suppose.

In the evenings we continue mining entertainment nuggets from foreign lands.

Having marched through Foyle's War, we then made our rounds with Dr. Finlay, the Scottish TV series based on characters created by A.J. Cronin...

...and starring David Rintoul as the good doctor.

It also features that great Scottish character actor Ian Bannen...

(be sure to see him in Waking Ned Devine) Dr. Cameron...and who, as expected, steals every scene he's in.

Set in the post-war years in Tannochbrae, this is a lovely series that aired 4 years, from 1993 through 1996.

Unlike American TV, they felt no need to tie up every show with a neat little bow, choosing instead to leave the details as they often are in life...messy and uncertain at times.

The final episode, about their snowbound Hogmanay celebration, is a touching and fitting farewell to the series.

Definitely recommended.

We're now investigating selected seasons of Poirot...

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot

...the long running British series about Agatha Christie's quirky but brilliant detective.

In the visual delights department, every episode features an abundance of elegant 1930's art deco architecture and design.  Love that era.

With good acting based on great writing and high production values you can't go wrong.

God Save The Queen, y'all.

A few parting shots as you drift toward the exit...

beautiful daffodils decorating the early spring landscape

decent smoke, love the name and the box is cool

mr. groundhog makes his debut

tulips just in time for Easter

the bright promise of a new day

On this Good Friday, as we prepare to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Christ, I am especially thankful for God's promise of eternal life.

Previously, heaven was a distant dream, an ethereal theological truth based on the teachings of Jesus:

"In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."   

- John 14:2-3

Today heaven is no longer a philosophical abstraction; it's my joyful expectation.

Someone special lives there now, and I long to see him again.

later, mcm fans.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Joined The Club This Week...

...but not on purpose.

Would've declined if given the chance.

The news arrived late at night via telephone.

There's something ominous about a ringing phone then.

When it shattered what had been our peaceful night, I noted the time and felt a familiar sense of dread sweep over me.

Time is a strange concept.

We're trapped within it, powerless to alter its unceasing forward march.

An inexorable current, it sweeps us ever onward from second to minute to hour.

Days, weeks, months, years, decades race by until finally we arrive at the terminus and our inevitable end.

Since we're rebels at heart we war against it, a fruitless yet determined resistance.

Why, we wonder, can't we just stay here?

If I could, I'd draw a line in the sand, an uncrossable demarcation between "how it used to be" and "how it is now".

I'm not positive of the exact date.

A week, or possibly a month ago?

Before the evil slithered back in and encircled him for the final time.

Then that would be it:

My personal Ground Hog Day, or Ground Hog Life, perhaps.

I'd spend my days happily wandering around the good times we experienced, reliving those special moments with people I love...

...and as long as we didn't cross into no man's land, into the dreadful here and now, everything would be just fine.

Of course that's nothing but a pointless pipe dream and that damn phone is still ringing, and so finally I answer it.


In response, a tragedy in three words:

"Ryan is dead."

With that synoptic reply I became an unwilling part of the group no one wants to join:

Parents who bury a child.

I wish this was not so.

I wish my son was still here.

I wish I could hear his voice, hug him as he walks through my door at Thanksgiving, meet him for breakfast at Denny's, hear about how work is going for him, listen to his plans for the future.

But that's just me feeling sorry for myself.

He's better off now, and though it sounds trite to modern ears, he's in a better place.

I was with him when he was 8 years old, when he bowed his head and asked Jesus to be his Savior.

In Luke 18 the Lord told his disciples, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.

"Verily I say unto you, Whosever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."

With child like faith Ryan put his trust in the Lord and so as Jesus promised, became a citizen of God's kingdom.

That was 32 years ago.

Today he's in heaven with the Lord.

His pain and struggles, temptations and trials have ended.

He has released the burdens of this life and embraced the glories of heaven.

He's happy.

He's free.

He's whole.

So I'm peaceful in my spirit because I know he's well, and now have something to await with happy anticipation:

That moment, yet future, when we'll embrace on heaven's gentle shore, when I'll feel the solid press of his muscles against my own, and tell him to his face I love him.

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

   - John 10:28

I'm weeping as I write this, but I won't then; not when we're together again.

I love you, Ryan.

Looking forward to our reunion.

Friday, March 19, 2021


...and it feels so good...but to be accurate I should drop the "Re".

This is actually the first time I've laid eyes on our beautiful 1956 Philco V-handle refrigerator.

I bought it on ebay in June of last year then had it shipped directly to The Retro Revival so Mandy and Co. could work on it.

This is what it looked like when Mandy got it:

Nine months of restorative labor have given (re)birth to this glorious vintage appliance.

And it arrived on St. Patrick's Day no less...

In case you've forgotten, here's the big yank about these refrigerators:

You can open them...

...from either side.

How cool is that?

It's part of what makes them the "holy grail" of vintage refrigerators.

Mandy and company did an outstanding job of restoring this one to "like new" condition...couldn't be happier with their work.

Karen says the sparkle and shine makes it look like a piece of jewelry.

Reminds me of a classic vintage car with all the chrome trim and the V handle as the hood ornament.

But that's how it was back in the day. 

There was a greater appreciation of both form and function, the melding of the pretty and the practical, than there is today.

Like Detroit used to do...

1956 Ford T-bird

...before it lost its mojo and was reduced to churning out monotonous variations of the egg car..., too, other manufacturers valued both craftsmanship and style back then.

You saw it in radios...

1930's Colonial Globe Radio


Philco Predicta Barberpole

Noguchi Sofa

...and houses...

Eichler Ranch well as kitchen appliances like refrigerators.

They weren't just big rectangles that kept food cold; they were designed for eye appeal, a quality piece of furniture that graced your kitchen.

Contrast that with the massive Giganta-fridge that was here when we bought this home:

If big, bland and industrial is your style, have we got the fridge for  you.

It definitely did the job, but it’s not our taste; so we emptied Big Bertha, unplugged her, removed the water line and slowly, laboriously muscled her out of the room.

(She's too big to fit through any of our doorways, so we still have to remove all three doors to get her outside.)

After that ordeal, sliding Phil into his rightful place as King of the Mid Century Modern Kitchen....

...was a piece of cake.

We then stocked him with food and drink taken from the Giganta-fridge...

...and Voila!

I won't show you the pics of all the food that wouldn't fit, but as Karen noted, it's not just a vintage refrigerator, it's a lifestyle commitment.

We observe that all those folks in the 50's and 60's managed to survive and thrive with their smaller capacity refrigerators...

...pretty sure we can, too.

Have you seen the official mascot for the month of March?

That just about sums it up.

March has pretty much cornered the market on dark and dreary.

For example, did you know on this day in 1345 - according to the academic elite at the University of Paris - the Black Death was created?

Quoting those learned scholars, it was "...a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius" that done did the dirty deed.

And what a dirty deed ’twas done, as "The Plague" swept across the Middle East and Eurasia killing 25 million people - a third of the population - by the end of the century.

But take's not all bad news in March.

Here in 2021, we've finally crawled, staggered and stumbled our way to The Big Day...

Welcome, Spring!

And as is our annual custom, we celebrate the change of seasons with the traditional Danse Du Printemps!

To be honest, I've forgotten exactly why we do this every year, but who am I to buck tradition?

So grab your partner dosey doe...

It is with great sorrow I adduce we have once again raced to the terminus of another thrillin' edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe.

I want to be here...

We trust you found your abbreviated journey both stimulating and rewarding on several levels.

If not, don't blame us.

We're about as deeply rewarding and uber stimulating as you can legally be.

If we tried to cram any more of either category into this blog we'd have to apply for a special use permit.

But don't take our word for can look it up HERE.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on!

Get your paperback books here:

Get your ebooks here: