Monthly Archives: April 2015

Lazy Sunday

It appears that my time in Arizona is coming to a close and Mike and I will be following our dreams to L.A. He flew in and accompanied me home, through L.A., Vegas, our cousin’s house.  But maybe more about that later.

Family,

Enclosed is another piece of evidence attesting (?) that I have no golfing skills whatsoever.  But it was fun.  They–the clubhouse–was all out of cheap balls–or so they said–so D & I each bought 3 $2 balls.  In nine holes each lost 2 ($8). Nice orange Top Flight XL’s too.  Also enclosed is a column that I thought was kind of funny.  My last week is next week. I’m ready to hit the coast.  This evening–pretty soon–there is a picnic in city park for the players on the city church league ball teams and their families and anyone who may be spending the summer with them.  I’m out in the Arizona room right now on  my bed.  While N’s mom is here I am staying here (Arizona room). Last night we all went out to “the club,” a restaurant that D & N have membership to and get like 1 free or cheap meal a month or something.  It’s the city’s oldest building–has been a saloon, hotel, trading post, house of ill-repute, etc. I had a half a slab of BBQ ribs.  Could have eaten the other half.  Goooooooood! Also saw Top Gun–pretty good.  Legal Eagles–good too. Gotta go to this ball thing–write more later.

I’m back.  Picnic was ok.  Good burgers.  Afterwards we played Peanuts, Nerts, Blitz, whatever, here with M & J.  L & I won.  Gonna read some and to go to bed.  Be back tomorrow after church.

I’m back.  Went to the Nazarene church this morning.  It was pretty good.  Mostly just laid around this afternoon.  Good ol’ lazy Sunday afternoon. Dose Mike change planes or just wait in Denver.  N says Denver airport is a booger of a place to change planes.  Just thought I’d tell ya. You probably knew anyway.  Tomorrow looks like a busy day.  We’ve got to finish the Kentucky Fried Chicken, touch up another house, and stain a bunch of wood for another house for the guy I explained sort of what we did. Like I said yesterday, I’m ready to hit LA and go home.  See you soon.

Love,

Matt

To the Class of 2009

Graduation time is upon us.  Six years ago I agreed to do something that I don’t anticipate ever doing again–speak at our high school graduation.  I agreed to do this because the graduating class was one that I had a special relationship with.  I’d forgotten how much I liked this group, and it was fun to reread this and remember those kids.  Last week I happened to visit with the mother of the M I talk about in the first paragraph. She told me that he is getting married.  And she mentioned fondly the turkey calls that I’d taken from him over the years. Anyway, this is what I said to the class of 2009.  I still think it’s pretty good advice for a graduate. 

 

Thank you.  Hi everyone.

I’m going to speak real briefly to everyone here, and then spend the rest of my speech talking to the graduates.  I thought I’d better explain who I am and why I’m here.  I’ve been teaching at Adrian for 12 years, first in the junior high, and more recently in the high school.  This class, the class of 2009, I first taught when they were 7th graders.  Two years later they were pleasantly surprised when they walked into their freshman English class to find me there.  And then again as sophomores, and then juniors.  This year I haven’t had most of them in class, but as a senior class sponsor, we’ve still hung out some, and in a few days many of us are going to Chicago together.  I’ve sort of followed them up the food chain.  That’s 5 of the last 6 years with the same group of kids.  That’s why I’m here.  I’ve come to know these kids the same way that you know them.  This class that’s sometimes known as Sears’s babies.  Despite all of the annoying things they do, the poor decisions that they sometimes make, this is my class, and I love ’em.  So when a teacher says to me, “Man, so and so from the senior class was a real jerk today,” I nod my head and say honestly, “Yeah, he or she can be that way sometimes.”  And then I think to myself, “But down deep, what a great kid!”  Or, “Did you hear what this kid did?”  And I’ll say, “Yeah, they really need to get their stuff together.”  And I’ll think, “But seriously . . . what a great kid!”  So, for example, for all the times I’ve taken a turkey call away from M, and I’ve probably taken a half a dozen in as many years, it didn’t change my opinion of him.  And I mean that in a good way.  So I know these kids better than any group I’ve taught, and like you, I think they’re great.

Ok.  Class of 2009, before I commence with the advice, let me tell you congratulations on finishing high school.  You’ve worked hard, some of you have worked really hard.  Some of you have had a lot of help.  Some of you have not.  It’s easy sometimes for teachers to forget that kids have more going on that just school.  Family situations, work and money issues, personal problems, these can all make writing a research paper or solving an equation seem pretty unimportant. Many of you have had to deal junk that I wish you didn’t.  But you’ve persevered.  And I want to tell you that I’m impressed.  I honor your commitment to succeed.  Nice work.

So now for the advice part of the speech.  When I started to write this I began to mentally compile a list of all of the bits of advice for college and life that I wanted to give you, on this the last time that you have to sit and listen to me talk.  So I came up with things like, work hard and play hard, make good decisions, spend as many weekends at school as you do back at Adrian, keep your old friends but make new friends, get involved on the campus or in the community that you find yourself.  I think those are all good ideas.  But it didn’t seem like enough.  So I came up with these — the last three things I want to leave you with.

First, You can do anything you want!  When I was your age my mom use to tell me this all the time.  “Matt,” she’d say at the most random times.  “You know you can do anything you want to do.”  So I’d look away from my book, or the t.v., or my lunch to nod at her before going back to what I was doing.  “No,” she’d say.  “Look at me.  Really.  You can do whatever you want to do.”  So look at me now.  Class of 2009, you can do whatever you want to do.  I’m not talking about your failed class motto.  I’ve looked over the senior edition of the paper.  And I’ve been talking to you guys about what your plans are.  And you have some amazing plans.  You are a bunch of future engineers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, construction workers, therapists, music producers, chefs, teachers, welders, politicians, technicians, farmers, cowboys, artists, world travelers . . .  And let me tell you again.  You can do it.  And when you change you plans, or your major, or your career, and decide to work towards something else.  You can do that too.  I know you, class of 2009.  I’ve spent a little bit of time with you and I know what you’re capable of.  And if you don’t believe me, ask these people out here.  You can do anything you want to do.

Next, be good.  What do we old people want for the young people we love?  We want our kids to be happy.  We want them to get everything they want.  A big house.  A nice car.  A beautiful spouse, cute kids, a good job, a pool, another nice car, long and exotic vacations.  Everything it takes to make you happy.  I’m no different.  I want you all to be happy.  But happiness is not what I want most for you.  What I want most for you is for you to be good people.  When I say be good, I’m not talking about not doing all of the stupid things that we all do, especially when we’re young and tend to do stupid things.  (Ok, quit doing those things too.)  But when I say be good, I mean be good to the people around you.  When I look at you guys, what I see in addition to a bunch of future engineers, nurses, and farmers, is a bunch of future little league coaches, Sunday school teachers, and blood donors; lions, optimists, and Rotarians;  men and women who mow your older neighbor’s yard, buy stuff at a bake sale that you don’t necessarily want, or, god help you, volunteer someday to help with project prom. Simply, what I mean is, love your neighbor.  Use your amazing talents, do all the great things that you are going to do, with an eye toward making the world a better place to live.  Be good.

Finally, don’t be afraid.  During the recent Stuco blood drive I was talking to one of my classes about fear.  What we’re afraid of.  Why we won’t give blood, for example, even though we know it’s important, a good thing to do.  Maybe it’s an irrational fear of needles.  But I think it has to do with looking dumb, passing out, freaking out, throwing up, doing something that will draw attention to ourselves.  It’s the same reason we don’t ask for help, or stand up for someone who needs it, or try something that’s difficult knowing we might fail.  “What a jerk, right?  Putting yourself out there like that.  Are you crazy?  Someone might see you mess up.”  Well, I got you news for you.  You will fail, you’ll mess up, and people will think you’re a jerk.  But don’t be afraid of any of that.  Over the last several years I’ve watched you guys put yourself out there.  You athletes have had some great seasons and some horrible seasons.  But you weren’t afraid to try.  And you on the other competitive teams, the ones it seems like no ever goes to watch – quiz bowl, math team, ag judges, artists, singers, musicians, fccla, tsa, fbla, and some that I’ve probably even forgotten.  You weren’t afraid.  You braved the horrible labels that are given to people like you — smart, talented, professional.  And in all seriousness, for some of you I know it seemed like every day, just showing up, and putting up with the junk that seemed to get piled on you every time you walked through the doors was challenge enough.  Well, take a look around you.  You weren’t afraid, you kept going, and you did it.  Don’t be afraid.

Let me leave you a shot of reality  All those family situations, work and money issues, and personal problems that I praised you for overcoming.  They’re still going to be around.  They may even get bigger and worse.  But here’s something that I really really really believe.  The world is a big and wonderful place.  To paraphrase what some of you have written for me over the years, the world is full of wonderful things — the people we love, their voices, and their laughter; the out doors, the wind on the water, the stars, sitting in the tree stand as the sun comes up, sort of listening for deer, but sort of just listening to morning.  I love that I know you guys well enough that I could probably point at you one by one, and name the things that I know you love.  Although to be fair, that deer stand probably covers a good third of you.  My point is this.  Sometimes life is horrible and it seems our problems will never end.  But life is also amazing.

So,

Do not be afraid.  You’re bigger than any problem you will face.

Be good.  You have such power to make this world a better place.

And, look at me!  You can do anything you want!  Really!  Anything!

 

Thank you for letting me be a part of this.

Plainview #20

On Plainview #20 we talk about Will’s birthday and superman, estate tax & FEMA, too much news, my 20th class reunion, movie reviews and Christ in the movies.

Remember when we had to wait a few days for our next Netflix movie?

Our libertarian rant makes me wonder if I have I become less libertarian in the last 10 years, or if my libertarian focus shifted to all the handouts the rich get from our government, maybe as the right has shifted more to the right.

Thunder Lizard

20150418_084818_HDR

From Sierra Vista, a city whose name actually means Thunder Lizard

Family,

How is everything. Dad, how was your golf game with A Saturday? Mike, thanks for the letter.  Glad to hear you’re lifting–but twice nothing is still nothing when it comes to whippin’ me.*  I’ve got your chest sunburn beat–I got burned on the small of my back down to my undies from painting bent over with too small a shirt on.  I have the other Mac Slade novel here–The Tinseltown Murders, Oooooooo! Mom, congratulations on your tan! (vanities, vanities)

We went to the big Sierra Vista swap meet this morning.  I bought  book–Dune.  So far all I’ve bought is a couple of books, a couple of magazines, a tape, shampoo, notebooks, pens and a surprise for someone in my family. But I’m Not Tellin’ Whoooo! Yesterday we helped K–the other guy who works for D & who got his master’s in English a couple of weeks ago–move into his new apartment.  He did live out in the country, but wanted to be closer to town (in town)–his wife is “in the family way” after all. Mike (Mom and Dad too), when are you coming down? We’re planning on going to Lake P-something, Powel maybe–up north sometime the first week of August (my last week). It’s a BIG lake–good skiing I guess.  It’d be good if you could come down then sometime.  Lil’ M’s crawling real good.  He’s wanting to walk pretty bad.  He’s also composed one full opera score.  Pretty unexciting week this week.  Maybe I’ll buy another tape today.  That might liven things up a bit.  See ya all.

Love,

Matt

P.S. I’m not in the service. I dress this way because it makes me look good. Dang Good!

Blogging for a Year

This blog is one year old, almost, give or take. The Real Matt Show started as a place to put up everything I’ve written over the years. I hadn’t intended to write anything new for it. But the thoughts about some of the student work I’ve collected, those were new. And then the reviews/discussions initiated by my comic book and record album collection, those were new writings too.

For the first year my goal was a new post every day. If you want traffic on your blog, they said, you must provide new content. Well, I’ve missed some days, but for the most part I have been pretty consistent. After a year, almost, give or take, some of the wells have run dry. My button inspired memories, which originally appeared on Facebook, are used up. The communion messages, which I’ve been writing and delivering at church every few months for the past several years, are used up. The creative writing that I did when I taught the class is long gone, although my novel is still sitting there, backed up in so many places I’m not sure what the most recent version is. I still have some short book reviews on Goodreads. I’ve mostly been using those when I didn’t have anything else to share as I think they are too brief to say much, and I usually have to fill them in at least a little bit. There are a lot of old podcasts left. There are a lot of things lying around which I’ve written on paper over the years, like the Letters Home of late. And I think there’s some bits and bots there in the Google drive somewhere.

As far as new material goes, I have a lot of comic books and records and buttons. I still read books. I still watch movies on the treadmill. And I’m still on the communion schedule.

My plan is to continue the blog, to continue to share old stuff, and to continue to write new. However, I’m taking the pressure off myself to offer something everyday, although some habits die hard. My plan is also to get under the hood of this baby and see what it can do. I have no idea how many people are reading this thing. I’m afraid to find out. But now that the habit is there, perhaps finding out that I’m writing for just me and my parents won’t discourage me too much.

My initial impetus for The Real Matt Show was to collect all my writings into one place so that if anyone, my kids for example, ever wanted to know who I was, this collection of memories and stories would give them some idea. It’s grown a bit in scope since its inception. But this is all basically me. Thanks for reading.

Matt

Toaster Wars

Remember when Mad Magazine used to (probably still does) illustrate how ahead of the curve they were by showing one of their magazine covers being ripped off by another more prestigious magazine?  Here’s what I’m talking about.

MAD-Magazine-New-Yorker-Winter-Covers-1

The Real Matt Show has finally joined the likes of Mad Magazine.  The writer of one of the comics I read online–Brevity–is clearly a reader of this blog.  The proof of this is presented below.

Brevity, March 19, 2015

photo(1)

The Real Matt Show, January 6, 2015

20150103_140819_HDR

Pretty cool.  Brevity Facebook.  Brevity at GoComics.

Original Toast-Mobile post

Treadmill Films 19-27 — Courage in Film

photo(33)

This was a tricky group of movies to tie together. I could see that all these people all struggling. But what is it that ties these struggles together? Courage, I think.

Courage is hard. In A Summer’s Tale Margot says to Gaspard that he has no courage because he will only break up with a girl if he has another one ready to go. He has to find the courage to be his own man, to be alone. Eddie Valiant has to find the courage to face the grief of losing his brother, Gloria to face being alone, Jill McBain to face life as a widow, J.J. Gittes to stand up against the rich and powerful, and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb to face prison and a court order to stop making films. What happens when we can’t find the courage to face our challenges, to face life? If we can’t meet our challenges head on, we avoid them some other way–alcohol for Eddie and Gloria, heroin for Anders, and madness for Norma. I think that covers everyone but our Swedish vampire. What do we do with her? Is it victim blaming to say that Oskar’s lack of courage has ultimately put him in the employ of a serial killer, likely for the rest of his life. He lacked the courage to stand up to his bullies, his parents, and his friendly neighborhood vampire. “Life is hard; wear a helmet,” my youth group kids used to tell me. It’s ultimately up to each one of us to find and display the courage it takes it make it through this life.

Once Upon a Time in America-Boy, can Sergio take his time. Pretty to look at. A well told story. Good actors. Fun music. But that sound.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Just like the cartoons it celebrates, there’s more going on here than you noticed as a kid. And fun stuff holds up.

Chinatown. Much to discuss. We do what we can to keep those we love from getting hurt, but they’re going to get hurt anyway, seems the gist.

Let the Right One In. Swedish vampire! How much difference between the undead protagonist and bully antagonist? Do we choose who we are?

This Is Not a Film. Intriguing and compelling sequences between the parts that seem like grandma walking around with her new video camera.

Oslo Aug 31. A clean junkie spends a day searching for life’s meaning. Finds none. Side of heroin with your nihilism? Well made & sad.

Gloria. A lovely portrait. We are never too old. Never too old to try, to fail, to seek, to find, to lose, to try again. The tough survive.

A Summer’s Tale.Much walking and talking.Longest wait for a 1st kiss ever (worth it). And sometimes that’s all you get. Oh to be young again.

Sunset Blvd. Norma Desmond, the original cougar. Smart words, smart shots, noir, sad. Swanson was so good & so crazy. Fun to see young Webb.