Category Archives: family

Dear Clusterflock: What was the most comforting condolence sentence you ever heard?

Stolen from Metafilter. I don’t have a MeFi account, so I can’t even favorite things over there, much less comment. So I figured I’d re-pose the question here.

The MeFi thread is great, but bring tissues. I loved this one most:

My uncle, Albert Crary, was an extraordinary man. Not only was he an explorer and scientist of both poles (The Crary Mountains in Antarctica were named by him and the A.P. Crary Science and Engineering Center at McMurdo Station was named fo him) but he gathered stories like no one I’ve ever met. At his public memorial in Washington DC at, I believe, the Cosmos Club, speaker after speaker got up and told about his staunchness, his incredible endurance, but most importantly, they all told a funny story about him: The time he fell off the ice shelf and what he said to the preacher after his rescue when the preacher came looking for a good sermon. The time he went shopping for supplies in South America when they were running a geophysical line across a South American swamp. The time my father put my brother up to calling him and acting like a dumb reporter asking the stupidest questions imaginable about the ice island T3.

Months later, we had a private memorial in his hometown of Canton, New York. One-by-one his nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends got up and told more stories. To all of us he’d been the source of fun, support and laughter when we were growing up – he never let any of us take ourselves too seriously, but he was always there when anyone needed help. When my turn came, I got up, told my story and then said this:

Everyone deserves an Uncle Albert, we were just fortunate enough to have had one.
posted by BillW at 5:23 PM on March 30

(Via the wonderful Ed Yong.)

There may or may not be a party

We’re planning to have a barbecue at our house this Sunday. You’re not invited but I can’t stop you from coming. I’ll smoke pork shoulder, beef brisket, and chicken legs all day on Saturday in preparation for the party. You can’t have any of them. The meat will be accompanied by three different kinds of homemade barbecue sauce: hickory & molasses, brown sugar & cayenne, and Carolina mustard. You’ll never taste any of my condiments. My wife is making her famous vegetable slaw, three kinds of potato salad, and that thing she does with fresh fruit and pecans. None for you, though. I soak dried beans myself and bake them in a tangy sauce that’s loaded with bacon and sweet onions. You can have some of that. Only baked beans for you.

Ken Fox’s Wall of Death

The crowds look down from above and are fragranced by a rising incense of engine fumes. The point is to thrill the audience, not to scare them. The riders begin by circling the floor, then up on to a ramp, and finally they are riding perpendicular to the wall, arms outstretched, rising and dipping, sometimes high enough to leave tyre marks at the very top, prompting squeals from the crowd. For superstitious reasons, they only ever travel in an anti-clockwise direction. They get so close you could reach out and touch them, make some sort of brief physical connection with that speeding miracle of guts and grace and centrifugal force.

(via The Scotsman)

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Mrs. Herschel Parker

mrsherschelparker

Bain News Service, publisher. Mrs. Herschel Parker. From the Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Mr. Parker (Herschel Clifford Parker) was a Columbia physics professor and a founding member of the Explorers Club. In the spring of 1911 he married Evelyn Naegele. They honeymooned in Alaska.

Mrs. Herschel Parker last saw Professor Parker in 1919. In 1925 she petitioned a Brooklyn court to grant a divorce, citing abandonment and failure to support.

According to Mrs. Herschel Parker, the professor had said, “I am tired of looking after a wife and family. A man with my genius owes himself to mankind in general and cannot be tied down by family routine.”

Class of ’92

I look across the table and you stare back at me. Our eyes lock above your corn on the cob captured between those little fork-handles. I never knew anyone who used them, and yet here you are at this picnic and you brought your own. Were we enemies, or friends, so many years ago? It doesn’t seem to matter now; the important part is that we’ve survived.
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How do you take your coffee?

“I love the way it makes me feel,” said Trina. “It gives me a sense of euphoria.”

The couple admits they perform their caffeinated enema at least four times a day. Once, Trina said she did “nine or 10″ in a 24-hour period.

(via ABC News)