The Vine

My kids are always grabbing my computer, iPad or phone.  Often they use them for legitimate reasons, like finding directions or where the movie is playing.  At other times, mine just happens to be the most convenient device.  They don’t much like to walk.

The other day I was checking my phone and opened The Vine.  Yes, I have The Vine account because I am the father of teens, and I want to make sure they aren’t sending videos of their naked behind to some boy from their AP physics class.  More probable, with my cute and fairly well-behaved daughters, is that some boy will send them a picture of his naked bum – and I want proof so I can drive to his house and show his mother.

The Vine allows users to take 7 second videos and ship them out for the world to see.  It’s just plain scary.

Lord have mercy if Deloris Piffle had video taped me at her Freshman college sorority dance.  I was a senior in high school and some dude named Neil Wine gave me his fake I.D. so that we could all get into Daddio’s after the party.  I memorized everything on the license, I think he lived at 1419 Park Drive in Columbus, Ohio.  Weight: 173.  Height:  5’11”.  I think I was drinking white wine spritzers.  It was a good lesson.

Anyway, I opened The Vine the other day and started scrolling through the videos on my account, one after another.  But I noticed that it wasn’t actually my account – because the only people I follow on The Vine are DJ and Stephanie and I had videos from folks I’d never met before.

It dawned on me that Stephanie had used my phone to log into her account.  And… she hadn’t logged off.

I’m sure there was a good reason for her to use my phone.  Her’s was probably on the far side of the coffee table and mine on the side closest to her.  Would have required a reach and that takes a lot of energy.

So to help reiterate my point that you should not use other’s technology, I decided to create my own Vine, and post it under her account for all of her followers (including every 8th grader at St. Timothy’s School) to view.

Perhaps that’s a bad example.  I tell them never to post things on someone else’s account.  And yet, I also tell them to be careful when using their TeleInstaChattyGram (there’s a new one every week, I can’t keep up with the names) because some crazy person could post something that might look bad for them.

And that’s exactly what has happened.  Some crazy person (me) posted something that could have been a teeny bit embarrassing.  Hopefully, lesson learned.


My Strategic Savings Plan

The very first blog post I wrote over two years ago was about learning to braid hair.  It took Stephanie and me thirty minutes to pull off one small strand on the side of Michelle’s head.

I was so proud!

But now, now I’ve learned to French braid!  And not only  regular French braid, but reverse French braid.  I call it Hcnerf (Huk – nurf).

Two weeks ago, Stephanie walked in the kitchen with a head of wet hair.  “Dad, can you do the Katniss braid?”

“The cat nip braid?  What are you talking about?”

“No.  Katniss from The Hunger Games.  It’s a reverse French braid.”

“The backward French braid?  Oh, you mean the Hcnerf?”

Blank stare.

“Anyway, no.  I can’t do a forward French braid, much less a reverse French braid.”

“Will you try?  I can tell you how.”

I’ve found that braiding hair is sort of like juggling:  two hands, three clumps of hair.  It’s more difficult than riding a unicycle while tossing bone china in the air.

For those who want to learn, here’s how you do it:

Step 1:  Grab three independent clumps of hair from the front of the head.

Step 2:  Hold two clumps in one hand but keep them separate, they CANNOT intermingle.  Hold the third clump in the other hand.

Step 3:  Take the clump furthest to the left and tuck it under the middle clump.

Step 4:  Look for some random hair on the right side of the head.  Just a little.  Pick it up.  Incorporate it into the original right clump while still independently maintaining full control  of the middle and left clumps.  Then tuck the new right clump (original plus the small random piece) under the new middle piece (which used to be the left piece).

Step 5:  Repeat Step 4 on the left side of the head.

Step 6:  Continue doing Steps 4 and 5, adding little bits of hair each time.

When you get to  the top of the neck, or when two hours have passed, whichever comes first, combine all clumps of hair into one mumbo clump.  Pray to the good lord above that you remembered to grab a rubber band and that it is within arm’s reach.

Now for the hard part.  Hold the clump in one hand while you twist the rubber band around the bottom of the braid.    Do this until your child screams in pain.

Take a quick picture before your kid moves her head, and the entire thing falls out.

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

My dad used to give my mom a permanent in our kitchen.  He did this because we were poor.  I don’t know why they call it a permanent because it isn’t.  It should be called a temporary.  Right after the procedure, my mom’s hair would be tight as a tick, boofed up like John Travolta’s doo in the movie Hairspray.  Four weeks later she’d look like Squeaky Fromme.

When my dad gave my mom this treatment, our house smelled like a combination of formaldehyde and a nuclear reactor leak.  If I took a deep breath, it would burn the hair out of my nostrils and my lungs would sting deep down inside.  And when it was over, my mom would feed us in the same room.  Meatloaf with a chemical aftertaste, mmmm.

It’s a wonder I don’t have seven toes.

Lisa would not let me do her hair.  “Chris” did it.  I never met him but given the choice of me or him moving from Raleigh, I’m not sure which she would have chosen.  I don’t know how much it cost to dye her hair, but I know it was well over $100, and it seemed like she went once a week.  I tried to convince her that gray hair was sexy.  She disagreed.  If I would have taken over Chris’ responsibilities, like my dad did, we could have purchased a beach house with the savings.

Fortunately, I’m building trust with my daughters.  I have a plan.  It starts with braiding.  Before you know it, I’ll be giving them a wash and set, maybe even highlights right in the kitchen.  With the money I’ll save, I’ll send them to college.  Thank goodness permanents are not in style.

The Evolution of Dad Dancing

My oldest daughter sent me this video last week.  She wrote:  This is you dad.

When do you move from that guy in high school coolly laying on the floor during the song “Shout” to this guy?

I can almost smell Elizabeth Hall, my high school sweetheart, in the fellowship Hall at Highland Methodist Church at a Friday night dance in 1982.  A mix of sweat, Polo by Ralph Lauren and Jean Nate.  Veronica Jamiachello and Dale Angel, the King and Queen of the party, dancing in the middle of the room.  Ebo, as we called her, and I, snuggled close nearby, barely swaying back and forth.  My hands awkwardly propped on her hips.

Always and forever

Each moment with you

Is just like a dream to me

That somehow came true

She actually wore knee highs under her formal prom dress.  What a cool chic.

Uncle Jesse is a good dancer.  He’s cool – with lots of rhythm, and he’s confident enough that he doesn’t seem to care what everybody else in the room thinks.  I wish I could dance like him.

I don’t think I’m as bad as the guy in the video, but I’m certainly not smooth.  I do alright on the shag, a waltz or a slow dance.  But turn on the music and throw me in the middle of the floor, expected to coordinate both arms, both legs and spontaneously choreograph my moves and I’m in trouble.  I call it “free dancing.”  Yea, free to make a fool of yourself.

Last weekend my dad was inducted into the Fayetteville, NC, Music Hall of Fame.  After the presentation, we joined 2,000 others for a Kool In The Gang concert.  Interestingly, there was no one on that stage older than me and the Gang was popular in the early 1980s.  I think we really saw the Grandchildren of Cool In The Gang.  After five songs my dad had to leave – said it was “Too Loud.  Just too much for him.  He couldn’t take anymore.”

It’s too loud?  This coming from a man who blares the television at 140 decibels because he’s going deaf!  My mom and I have to step outside to chat during the nightly news.

Before my dad evacuated us from the Crown Coliseum, I looked to my right and noticed an older man standing near the back row.  He was tall and slim, wearing a brown tweed overcoat and newsboy hat.  Jungle Boogie was cranking from the stage.  This dude was bobbing his head up and down and slightly moving his body.  Although his motions were modest, you could tell his entire being was oozing soul.  Sort of like the band leader in Dirty Dancing.



Now that’s how I want to move.  I’m not looking to be Mikhail Baryshnikov, just a little Tito Suarez.

Sunday Post 57: Gourds in the Glad bag

Posted by Danny

I occasionally teach my adult Sunday School class.  We study the bible trying to understand the historical times as well as trying to figure out what it can mean for us today.  By far, my favorite verse to teach was written by the apostle Paul and is in the book of Colossians:  “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

When that verse would appear in a lesson, I would read it slowly, awaiting my wife’s reaction.  She’d grab the sides of her skirt, cross her arms and shift in her chair.  I knew I was treading on thin ice.

Some of the men in class might have wanted to believe this verse was the true desire of God, but our wives wouldn’t let us.  Lisa had a great many talents but submission was not one of them.

As much as I enjoyed sparring back and forth with the women in the class about God wanting them to submit to their husbands, I did not want that in a wife and that is not what I want for my girls. 

Perhaps it’s because I have never seen that exemplified in my family.

We called one of my grandmothers Idee (her name was Ivy).  She did not submit!

One day she came home from work and my grandfather had her housekeeper, Ophelia, out hoeing in his garden.  Idee was not happy.

“Spurgeon!  If you ever come in my house and tell Ophelia to dig in that damn garden, I’ll have your head.  You need a farm hand?  You go find your own!”

The next day he dropped off a crop of squash on Idee’s kitchen counter which he’d grown himself (well, with a little help from Ophelia).  Idee opened the lid of the trashcan and with one swoop of her arm across the formica counter deposited the 12 yellow gourds into the Glad bag.

“Take my maid outside to hoe and then drop these damn dirty vegetables on my counter.  You bring any more of this %$&# in here and I’ll…”  She finished the sentence under her breath.  I intently looked down at The Florence Morning News as if I didn’t hear.

Papa didn’t get mad.  He just laughed it off.  Plus, I think he was scared of her.

Someone recently told me, “Your mother is the sweetest lady.”

Well, she’s sweet, but she’s not the sweetest.  Let’s just say she sometimes has opinions and obviously her mother, Ivy, didn’t set a great example of demure.

Yes – my girls are surrounded by strong women.  Lisa’s sister has a PhD from John’s Hopkins and a MD from Harvard.  She’s going to save the continent of Africa from AIDS.  And the only thing my mother-in-law has ever submitted to was a mandatory drug test upon hire in the local school system (she passed).

My dream for my girls is not for them to submit, in marriage or career, but rather to be confident and sure of what they want and need.  And if any guy thinks he’s gonna come in and find a Tanner girl willing to cater to his every whim, he might get a rude awakening.  Thus far, I see glimpses of thoughtfulness but not a lot of surrender.

Good luck fellas.

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