Tag Archives: Lost

. . . And A Little Reflective

by Richard

I was going to start this post for you dudes with a funny little anecdote about the past week or so and how hard it was to work with someone else scribbling red ink all over my words, but I thought better of it when I realized the date.

Sometimes I think we here in America make too much about anniversaries, but this is one that always gets to me.

Maybe because it’s been such a short time, but this day always brings back that rush of disbelief, the staggering thought that someone could intentionally cause this much death, destruction and heartbreak over a political/philosophical/religious point.

I’ll never understand.

Which makes remembering what happened all the more difficult.

I realize that any single death lost to this sort of imbecilic, egotistical damage is horrible, and it’s only the scale that makes this so memorable, but. . . That scale. So many people lost in such a short time.

And it drove this country more than a little crazy, a crazy we’re only now beginning to come out of. A little. We’ve got a long way to go.

But for now, before we set out once again on the journey back toward national self-respect, I think we should pause, reflect and remember the personal damage this day brought eleven years ago.

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A Random Act Of (Great) Kindness

by Richard

Speaking of facing the world in a positive way. . .

So this was back on the weekend that Sarcasmo, my oldest young dude, graduated from high school. The whole family was in town for the event and a lot of us were in my car, on the way to a restaurant to celebrate.

On our way there, while stopped at a red light, a dude in another car pulled alongside and rolled down his window. He asked us if we knew how to get to Raleigh, which was several hours away. He had no idea how far he was from there. He asked if he could get there with a quarter tank of gas. Nope. No way.

He looked crushed, just absolutely devastated, like someone had killed his childhood pet in front of his eyes.

I rolled up the window and was preparing to tool along when my brother-in-law, the Flying Dutchman, pointed out that the young dude in the car who’d asked for directions was actually crying. We started spitballing what we thought was happening.

It seemed likely that the young dude was supposed to be in Raleigh, but had gotten lost and had no money and no way of getting any more. It looked like he was in some big, big trouble.

“All right,” the Flying Dutchman said, “pull up next to that guy. I want to help him out.”

The Flying Dutchman said he was going to give the young dude $20 to help out. I was flabbergasted when he actually followed through. He hopped out of our car and quickly knocked on the window of the young dude’s car. The Flying Dutchman gave him the money and then got back in my car.

That was the last we saw of the young dude: the look of stunned happiness on his face.

That little gesture, the immediate need to not only help, but to follow through on it, a total stranger just reaffirmed to me that the Flying Dutchman was a good dude. He’s a dude who does look at the world positively, because he’s positive he can do something to make the world a better place. I think it’s a good thing the Flying Dutchman is a college professor, because he’s got a lot of good things to teach folks.

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Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

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