Thursday, February 06, 2014

Friday Fragments

Phil Hoffman’s death really threw me.  He was a year ahead of me at Fairport High School; I saw him do Death of a Salesman at FHS in 1985.  He became famous as “Philip Seymour,” but to those of us from Fairport, he was Phil.

This story from the Bangor Daily News, of all places, brought a lot back.  It features FHS English teacher John Baynes, whom I had for English as a senior.  (Back then, we knew him as “Johnny.”)  Phil was loyal to Fairport, and came back over the years to speak to John’s students.  As someone who couldn’t wait to escape back then, I admire that.

Most celebrity deaths don’t register emotionally with me in any serious way.  The last one I can recall shaking me for more than a moment was Kurt Cobain, almost twenty years ago.  But this was someone I went to high school with.  I knew his sister, Emily.  I’ve followed his career since before most people knew he had one; he was the local boy made good, the one we all rooted for.  

Addiction is a thief.  It steals people from us.  

He was the year ahead of me in high school.  His daughters are younger than my kids.  He wasn’t an abstraction.  He was Phil.

Goodbye, Phil.  The world will miss your work.  I’ll miss rooting for you.  


Suddenly, three states are considering ways of making community or public technical college free for recent high school grads.  Each state has its own permutation of the idea, but the basic concept is the same.  

I’d counsel extreme caution unless and until there’s some way to insulate the revenues from business cycles.  Student demand is countercyclical, so the funding needs to be, too.  And don’t inadvertently give up the funding stream of federal financial aid…


The Wife has been watching the series “Hostages,” with Dylan McDermott.  I watch “Archer.”  I walked in on her during “Hostages” last week only to see Dylan McDermott pointing a gun at someone -- it was apparently some sort of highly dramatic moment -- and before I could stop myself, I burst out laughing.  He is the live-action version of Archer.  Seriously -- put them next to each other and tell me you don’t see it.  

I don’t think abrupt laughter was what they were going for, but there it is.  


Exchange last week:

The Girl: Daddy, why do you write your blog?

Me: Well, some people think I have some important things to say.


The Girl: But what if you don’t?