Monday, November 27, 2006


A nutty work and family schedule has me neglecting this here site, but I've got lots of "content in the pipeline" as business folk say.

So for now, please allow me to steer you towards one of the best headlines I've seen all year. I know I thought "Oregon Gay Sheep Experiment Challenged by Tennis Champ" was excellent. But how about this headline in the Economist on the subject of animal husbandry...


I love the Economist so much.

More later on the State Opening of Parliament, why my kids are so cute, and perhaps even that Halloween article I keep promising.

Monday, November 20, 2006


After nearly a week of travel, we have arrived home in Oregon. The babies traveled better than we had expected. They mostly slept through the three flights we put them on, and the other passengers didn't seem to mind too much on the few occasions they squawked.

While changing planes in Seattle, they drew huge crowds of gawkers.
Teenagers, old ladies, and airline employees gathered around Nate and made silly faces and commented on his suede hair.An old man looked at Will, and proclaimed, in a thick New York accent, "He's gorgeous."

At every stage of our trip, we were the recipients of small random acts of kindness from strangers. These were most appreciated, because getting two babies through airport security these days requires roughly the same amount of strategy and manpower used in the Normandy invasion.

As for the funeral, it was a positive experience. It was even, dare I say, fun. I think the people who thought up the New Orleans funeral procession had the right idea. The first half is sad, but the second half is joyous. While we couldn't help but stand and cry as our grandfather was laid to rest, the dinner afterwards was great. I saw relatives I hadn't seen in years. I met new nieces and cousins born since our last reunion. We all sat and shared stories about Gramps. We got caught up. We had... fun.

I'd like to think that Gramps approved of the whole affair. He was never much for formality, but he loved it when people got together and shared stories. That's mostly what we did last week, and Gramps was the reason we did it. It was kind of like Gramp's final gift to all his friends and family.

Thanks, Gramps. We all miss you, but we won't forget you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006



The phone rings this morning, but I’m feeding Nate and I’m not able to pick in time. About an hour later, I check the messages.

“Matt, this is dad, call me as soon as you get this.”

The tone of his voice gives everything away, and I know exactly what I will hear when I return the call: my grandfather has died.

In the days since then, I’ve had grand ideas of writing some eloquent tribute to the man I simply called “Gramps.” But four days and several drafts later, it’s obvious that simply won’t happen. Each version is too long, or over-written, or flippant, or overly serious. Now I’m out of time. I’ve got to help pack up our two kids and load the whole family onto an airplane and head off to a funeral.

No time to tell stories of his ornery but hilarious personality, of his secret generosity to bums like me, of his expert storytelling abilities.

Instead, there’s just enough time to express how disappointed I am that I didn’t get to see him one more time before he passed on. I’m 37. Most people don’t get that much time with their grandparents, so perhaps it’s greedy to want more.

The last time I saw Gramps was just before Christmas last year. We told him that Julie was pregnant. We had hoped to introduce Gramps to Nate and Will. While I knew they would never have a meaningful relationship with Gramps, I liked the idea of the three of them sharing a few moments during the short intersection of their lives.

We had plans to take a four generation picture with Gramps. Nate and Will are likely the only two people of their generation who will pass the Workman name down, so we thought the picture would take on special significance. We bought our plane ticket to visit a few weeks ago. Scheduled arrival: December 28th.

I understand Gramps saw pictures of Nate and Will before he died. I’m told that one of the last times he laughed during his life was while reading the story of Nate and Will’s Halloween costumes. So there’s some comfort in that.

But I still can’t help but wish for a little more. One more visit. One more afternoon spent drinking Pepsi while complaining about the president. One more version of the story of how he and grandma met (there were dozens).

As our family comes together this week, though, we’ll spend our time thankful for the moments we did have. We’ll marvel at all the new babies that have been born since the last time we were all in one place. We’ll tell each other that we need to get together more often, and for reasons other than marriages and funerals. And we’ll tell stories. Gramps loved to tell stories. He had a rotation of about a dozen. On any given visit, you’d be likely to hear about 5 of them.

It is in this way that I most resemble Gramps. I love to tell stories, too. You could say that I’m a professional storyteller now. As we get together and tell his stories again, Gramps will still be with us. And as long as we keep telling them, he will always be with us.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


There comes a time in every parent's life when it's time to get out the naked baby photos. These images are useful because they can be used to keep your kids in line once they're old enough to be self conscious.

Hey Will, do your homework, or I'll make sure that girl you have your eyes on gets her hands on this... That's not quite humiliating enough. Let's try this... That's what I'm talking about. Definitely not the kind of photo you'll want circulated. Well done, Will. Towel off.But can Nate do better? Let me practice my Mean Old Dad voice again.

"Hey Nate, I know you want to run for class president, but unless you rake the leaves, your campaign posters will look like this..."That's right, I've got photos of you buck nekked, so don't mess with me. As a matter of fact, I could stay here all day and snap these pictures so I can make sure there is never... hey... what are you doing?Stop that, right this instant! That's it out of the tub with you! Forget the towel, let's get you into clothes, stat! Close call. Experiment over. Next time, please enjoy pictures of our boys encased in full suits of armor.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I know I promised to write about Halloween, but I’ve been distracted. But once you read this, you’ll understand.

Today I saw a headline that just knocked me on my back and made me realize that there really is something new under the sun. Several decades ago, the post-modernists declared that everything had been written and all one could do is re-write it. (Or at least I think that’s what they declared... that’s how my English major friend explained it to me.) But I have stumbled upon a sentence that I can pretty much guarantee has never been written before. You could be forgiven for thinking it had been produced by a random word generation program. But no, it’s from a real news story. Behold:

Oregon Gay Sheep Experiment Challenged By Tennis Champ

Take a moment and re-read that sentence, and bathe in its absurdity. Thousands of years of written communication, and the language had never before needed to produce a sentence like this. But there it is, in all its glory.

The story itself is also a unique read. It tells of an Oregon State University study looking for biological differences between gay and straight sheep. They found that 5-8 percent of sheep are “male oriented” (they don’t use the term “gay” because it is too “human oriented). Some of the animals are killed so researchers can study their brains. OSU says the research could help ranchers avoid spending thousands of dollars on rams that won’t breed.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals caught wind of this experiment and had Martina Navratilova send a stern letter to the university. A press release from PETA calls the experiment “a program of sexual eugenics in animals.”

I must admit I’m relieved that PETA is finally sticking up for the gay sheep. They know that those researchers at OSU are hiding behind “science” to pursue their blatant anti-gay-sheep agenda. Those men in lab coats know that a proud gay sheep will eventually demand its rights, so he must be kept down. At other schools, gay sheep are demanding domestic partner benefits and a special theme night at Disneyland.

But not at Oregon State. You just know those OSU guys are taunting those sheep with signs that say things like “A marriage is between a ram and a ewe… it’s just that simple.”

And what is being done? Almost nothing. “When they came for the gay sheep, I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a gay sheep. And no one was left to speak up when they came for me.” But now PETA is speaking up, so I guess we’re all ok now.

I kind of got off on a tangent there, but I think my point remains clear:

“Oregon Gay Sheep Experiment Challenged By Tennis Champ”

Baby pictures and that missing Halloween story coming up later this week. Really. And apologies for the awful pun in this post's title. I'm not proud man.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Someone found this site by googling:

"Visit Scotland, get Murdered"

I hope the information they found here was helpful.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I've heard through the grapevine that some of you want more baby pictures. I don't have a big stash of new stuff right now, but here's a little something to keep the wolves at bay for another few days. Here we've got Will, who took a break from crying to pose for this lovely study in blue. And next up is Nate. Same background, different kid, same surprised look.

That's all for today. Join us tomorrow as we dissect just what happened in our neighborhood this Halloween.

Special shout outs, as always, to Gramps... get better soon.

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