Friday, December 25, 2020

Jim Styro's CO-MAS-19 Update, 2020-12-25
(The Photos of Christmas Past, Part 4)

Merry Christmas to All!

Since we've reached the big day, I going to keep this (relatively) brief.  I know (hope) you've got better things to do.

Today, I will present the earliest Christmas pix that I could find in my collection.  I was three years old (three and a half, I'm sure my 1966 self would want pointed out) and I believe these pictures were taken at my Grandma Wyatt's house.  Before I get to the Christmas photos, let me show you her picture. 


This photo of my Dad's Mother, Mena, and younger sister, Jeanine was taken in 1970.  As you probably surmised, Jeanine (age 24) is on the left.  Mena was 63 and would die the following year of emphysema.

Now let's get to Christmas 1966.  We're at my Grandma Wyatt's house with Dad's older brother, Don, and his family.  Don (age 39) is in the picture at the lower left with his eldest son, Don Jr. (he's about 7) and daughter, Susan (she's about 5) on the couch behind him.  You can also see the back of my head.

In the picture at the upper right, I am more prominently featured in my blue Christmas sweater.  I'm interested in the toy vehicles, Sue appears more interested in the television.


My Uncle Don's children were (and are) good-looking people - so they deserve a closer look.


And now I will offer evidence of the good-looking genes they inherited.  

First, a picture of my Aunt Yukie from the same Christmas visit, sitting with Grandma Wyatt.


And now my Aunt and Uncle together circa 1955...


They have now been married over 65 years!

Thanks to everyone who let me know that they enjoyed these pictures.  I intended to encourage folks to send me their favorite Christmas pictures in response - but I kept forgetting to include that request till now.  But it's not too late to send me a Christmas present.  All I want is your picture.

Take care and stay safe.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Jim Styro's CO-MAS-19 Update, 2020-12-24
(The Photos of Christmas Past, Part 3)

 Welcome to this special Christmas Eve edition of The Photos of Christmas Past.

In our little hopscotch through time, we jump now to 1996 and an apartment in Wheaton, Illinois - where we find some of our usual suspects below...

Here's the scorecard.
Front row, seated (left to right) -
  • Sister #1 (age 29, married to the dude standing behind her - but let's not rush that introduction...)
  • The Girl (age 7 and unwilling to be parted from her Beanie Baby puppy for the photo shoot)
  • My Mom (age 52, mouth open to offer words of encouragement, instruction and whatever else comes up.  Hey - I am descended for a long line of loud people.)
  • Sister #2 (age 26 and all growed up from yesterday's photo.  She and my Mom were living together in the Wheaton apartment at this time.)
  • My Bride (age 33 - so I'm not using the Middle-Aged Woman moniker)
  • The Boy (age 5; that boy knows how to smile for the camera)
Back row (left to right) -
  • Sister #1's Husband #1 (age - unknown to me; my recollection is - he liked to cook and he wasn't around that long)
  • My Brother (age 32; moving to Chicago with my parents in the summer of 1982 was one of the best things that ever happened to my brother.  It got him away from all the ne'er-do-wells in Detroit that he had been hanging around.)
  • My Brother's Bride (age 27, she's one of the other best things to happen to my brother)
I have to admit that I don't have any vivid memories of this particular Christmas visit.  During this period, we were adhering pretty strictly to our Thanksgiving/Christmas travel rotation in order to split holiday time between My Bride's family and mine.  That is:  one year we would spend Thanksgiving visiting my family in Illinois - and Christmas at home.  The next year we would flip and spend Thanksgiving at home and Christmas in Illinois.  

My Bride's recollection from this particular visit was that Sister #2's boyfriend at the time decided to pick Christmas as the time to break up with her (His loss - the fool!  You can never trust a guy named Jim...)

Anyway, I know what you're thinking - Where are YOU, O Narrator?  I was taking the picture, I expect.  But just so you don't feel cheated, I will include a second, non-Christmas photo that includes Yours Truly.


Why this particular picture you ask?  Well...
#1 - It was taken in relatively close proximity to the Christmas photo (within about two months) on the occasion of the kid's birthdays - so you can just mentally paste me into that other picture.  This one was taken at our home in Redford (about a mile from the home of my Bride's Mom and Dad) where we lived for 21 years.
#2 - Along with The Boy and The Girl, this photo features Hank, my Bride's Father (age 71 in this photo).
#3 - You can begin to piece together the relentless progress of my hair loss by comparing the photo from earlier this week and today.

I think I've run out of interesting stuff for today.  

Jesus is coming again tonight, so get ready!  You don't want to miss it.  And Santa, too.  I hope they don't run into each other in the chimney.  And that they're wearing their masks. 

Take care and stay safe.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Jim Styro's CO-MAS-19 Update, 2020-12-23
(The Photos of Christmas Past, Part 2)

 Without any further ado, here’s today’s Christmas photo -


I will once again provide some guidance on who's who in this happy-looking group.  From left to right in the front row, let me present:

  • My Brother (age 6, with his picture-taking grin.  My brother and I are less than a year apart in age (both June birthdays; him early, me late) - and sporting the same hippie, fringe vest.  I have no recollection of this article of clothing and have to assume it was my mother's idea of progressive fashion at the time.)
  • My newborn Sister #2 (only a couple weeks old; of the entire group, she seems the most appropriately dressed for the holidays.)
  • Me (age 7 - and as good-looking as I'm ever going to get.  That looks to me like a real smile, ladies and gentlemen - not just a "picture smile".  Unlike my easy-going brother, I felt the need to button that shirt ALL the way up.)
  • My Sister #1 (age 3, and also sporting a sweet & natural smile.  She seems to be in possession of a doll designed to look exactly like her.)
Let's go off on a momentary tangent and take a closer look at that pair -


Now, in the back row:
  • My Mom (age 27, she looks quite happy.  Perhaps feeling relieved with the premonition that she has delivered her last child and won't need to go through that again.)
  • My Dad (age 26 - apart from his newest daughter, the only one not smiling for the camera.  Maybe he's just thinking about where he's going to find cash for the presents anticipated by his growing brood.  Or maybe he's rethinking the tie he picked out.)
This shot was taken in the living room of my childhood home on the west side of Detroit (near Plymouth Road and the Southfield Expressway).  Please note the prominent "rabbit ears" TV antennae in the background. That is some serious video technology.

Christmas is almost upon us - so hopefully I'll be able to come up with some worthy pictures for the rest of this week.  I'm feeling the pressure.

In other news, the headline for this item at the CNN website made me laugh in a juvenile fashion -
I think any time the word "underpants" is used in a news headline, it is funny.  I know it's a serious business, poisoning, and the guy nearly died - but I just imagine the editors discussing what term to use in the headline -

"Briefs?  No, that word has too many alternative uses."
"How about Jockey shorts?"
"No, we can't use any name-brands!"
"Underpants?"  Everyone giggles.
"Ok, I guess we go with underpants..."

That's it for today.  If I don't pick the picture for tomorrow soon, I'm going to fall behind and miss out on sharing a new photo for Christmas Eve.  And we can't have that.

Take care and stay safe.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Jim Styro's CO-MAS-19 Update, 2020-12-21
(The Photos of Christmas Past, Part 1)

Long time no see/write/read.

Only true if your sole contact with me is via blog or email.  In the past 7 months, I have proved myself The King Of Zoom (or at least, like, the Archduke).  Much of the year has been spent walking a tightrope between frustrating seclusion and irresponsible interaction.

No 'Vid here, so I must be doing something right.  I hope - think - pray...

Anyway, I read in my daily New York Times email update about someone that had decided to share a daily Christmas photo with friends & family.  I may have included some unsuspecting bystanders by posting on the Internet.  But I don't think the readership on my blog is too extensive.

So here's my first foray into The Photos of Christmas Past - from good ole 1991!


If you're reading this, you either know or can make an educated guess at the individuals pictured above - but I'll provide a bit of assistance for the uninitiated.  From left to right are:  
  • The Girl (a couple months past her second birthday)
  • The (not yet) Middle-Aged Woman [heck, not even 30...]
  • Yours Truly (oh Hair, we hardly knew ye!)  [I am currently a little more than twice as old as pictured above.]
  • The Boy (fresh out of the oven, so to speak.  A little over two months old - and wondering why he got stuck with Dad...)
This was taken in the living room of our first home on far west side of Detroit.  We had spent several years of renting in Dearborn and Detroit after the nuptials.  

While preparing this post, I noticed a small frame on the wall behind us in the picture (between the Christmas tree and my big head).  It's a needle-point which my loving Bride prepared for me many moons ago.  Maybe it caught my attention because - at this very moment - I only need to raise my eyes from my computer monitor and slightly to the left to see it more clearly on the wall just a few feet from where I'm sitting...


One more thing - I have completed a new addition to my Jim Styro's Christmas Collection mix of favorite holiday tunes.  Here's the cover graphic - and I will include a link for anyone interested in downloading an iTunes rip of these Christmas Collections.

Here's the link:  Jim Styro's Collections
The first two disks were created in 2007 with a Sacred Side & a Secular Side.  'Cause I'm multi-faceted.  And stuff...

I'd love to write more stuff - but I can only be interesting in short bursts.  Hopefully, I can be interesting again tomorrow.

Take care and stay safe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Jim Styro's COVID-19 Update, 2020-05-12

Here's my philosophy:  If a post gets too long, it can be intimidating to the reader.  So I view it as a bonus that I forgot to report on some important stuff Sunday.  It just means I'm well-motivated to send out another update today with the stuff I missed -
  • I completed ANOTHER personal music collection last month which is called “COVID and Collected.”  New collections in back-to-back months!  It's unprecedented.
 I completed write-up of the lyric notes last night and all the necessary files have been uploaded to Box.net. If you are an interested party, send me an email and I will provide a link so you can download it.
I started work on the collection before we settled on a topic for this Saturday's Virtual Music Night - but, regardless, one thing is certain.  I have a list of songs ready-made for the "Social Distancing" collection that will be a by-product of this weekend's event.  
  • Only in Pandemic World (It's like "Jurassic World" - only a virus is trying to kill you instead of dinosaurs) would I find the motivation to finish two collections in two months.  Of course, having completed remastering of the remaining Music Night cassette tape collections on CD was also a major factor.
  • Another area that has seen a significant uptick in attention is special Music Night and Spinner Invitational merchandise.  I mean what home would want to be without these awesome mugs?
Or this stylish mask?
 
Not to mention shirts, baseball caps, knit hats...the list goes on and on.  Even people who are practicing physical distancing are allowed to shop.

If this message gets too long, no one's gonna read it.  So I'm stopping.
Right.
Now.

Take care.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Jim Styro's COVID-19 Update, 2020-05-10 Mother's Day Edition

Let me deal with one thing right at the top - no Mother was neglected due to the composition of this post.
  • I phoned my Mom right after church (Zoom meeting church - not "drive to the building and sit in your pew" church) today.  While we were talking each of my siblings also phoned her* - but she was able to place me on hold, tell them she was already in a call with me, AND successfully get back to me without disconnecting the call.  And if you don't understand what an achievement that was - then you don't know my Mother very well.  So, anyway, the point of this story is:  I won the "first child calling on Mother's Day" derby this year (probably for the first time ever).  You may say that "it's not a contest" - but it is now, because I just won.
  • The Mother of My Children was also attended to with donuts, an Etsy gift certificate (one man's way of saying "Honey, I'm BEGGING you to buy more stuff from Etsy!") and the order of a foot spa with heat, bubbles and massager - delivery expected later this week.  Just trying my best to address the needs of the "total woman".
  • My exercise regimen has had its ups and downs since Easter.  This is the result of two primary factors - spotty weather (it snowed on Friday?!) and too many other things to do.  I did 45-minute sessions on the recumbent exercise bike yesterday and again today, so that was very good.  Here's the latest walking stats -

I've had some good streaks since Easter.  Factoring in my work on the recumbent bike, I only missed out on Friday this week. (I'm calling it a snow day.  If you even SEE snow in May, it's a snow day.)
  • The Music Night Tech Team (if you're unfamiliar with the Music Night concept, click here) has been toiling behind the scenes to prepare for our first Virtual Music Night event this Saturday.  We had a dry run yesterday evening and 17 of our stalwart group showed up to test out their ability to connect to our virtual meeting space and swap stories of Life During The Pandemic.  The topic for our next collection is "Social Distancing" - and it looks to me like we are set up for a fine time on Saturday.  Until we can gather safely in-person, we'll find new ways to have fun.
  • I've also been hosting our Virtual Bar Night on Thursdays for buddies on the old Spinners bowling team - and other associated ne'er-do-wells.  Attendance is up from what we normally used to see at the bar - but I suspect this will not last once some freedom of movement is restored.  For now, we have to deal with providing our own beverages - but, on the plus side, we don't have to listen to a bar band massacre classic rock tunes.  So there are some trade-offs.
  • Ordered an Amazon Fire TV stick from Ebay so I could watch Apple TV on Jim's TV.  But I had to return it because the model indicated by the seller was not the actual model of the device he was selling - so it wouldn't run the Apple TV app.  So I returned that device and ordered the correct one directly from Amazaon.  It is now fully functional - and I was able to watch a good film called "The Banker" (with Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson).
  • Jimmy decided to trade in the Nissan he bought from us and lease a new, blue Ford F-150 pickup.  Although I don't see the appeal of a truck, he loves it.  And it does seat five adults - which I could not do comfortably in my C-max hybrid.
2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide®

I started to type that "I had better finish this and post it" - or I would never post it at all.  And then the power went out.  Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you feel about the time you have invested in reading this) for all of us, the power came back very quickly.  I better post this now before I have a different excuse to delay the update.

Hope you are all feeling good and staying safe.  Be careful out there.

Take care.

*OK, Charlie didn’t call while we were on the phone – but who wants to let the facts get in the way of a good story?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jim Styro's COVID-19 Update, 2020-04-17 (Special Edition)


I know that you weren’t expecting an update until Sunday – but I got excited and wanted everyone to know about the new Led Zeppelin 2020 remasters that are coming out.


PS:  For those of you who are not Led Zeppelin fans, I apologize for this esoteric bit of visual humor.  For everyone else – I can’t be sure I’m the first one to think of this.  But maybe I am.

Take care.

PS:  I neglected to provide a track listing for the Remastered version

Disk One:

Humble Pie
The Napper
In My Time Of Dying (explicit)
Houses Of The Restless
Trampled Under Germ
KashKow (or Ballad of the Medical Supply Profiteer)

Disk Two

In The Line (Ode to Costco)
Coron-A-Vir
Down By The Bedside
Ten Weeks Gone (so far)
No Flight
The Waiting Song
Boogie With Flu
Black Market Tissue
Sick Again (explicit)