Grandkids are early Christmas presents | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 9/1/22

Best thing about having kids? Having grandkids. 

Our two youngest grandchildren recently visited us here for the first time in three years. With the pandemic now somewhat in abeyance, the …

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Grandkids are early Christmas presents | Mann Overboard


Best thing about having kids? Having grandkids. 

Our two youngest grandchildren recently visited us here for the first time in three years. With the pandemic now somewhat in abeyance, the time was right.

Our grandkids, who live in Oregon, have lived a sheltered existence through the pandemic, and have emerged healthy and happy. And are they ever! 

During their short, playful visit, however, our cat Dude, who is preternaturally affectionate, kept his distance from these two high-energy kids, not surprisingly. I think felines being around children may well be the origin of the term “scaredy cat.” 

To quiet things down in our usually tranquil home, my daughter opened up a big box of Legos our Canadian-based son had saved. Those Legos were like plastic Valium. 

We’d almost forgotten what a treat it is to have kids in our home. 

It was Christmas in August for us grandparents. 

Pre-pandemic, we had children here often. It’s been too long. 

— Our local hero award goes to … YMCA pool director Rowen Matkins. For the last few weeks, she’s had to deal with death threats from transphobes on the phone, hostile Fox News bleatings, and venomous postings in social media after booting an offender from the pool. Aside from the usual, ongoing shortage of lifeguards and staff. 

Plus, she’s also been fighting even more fatigue, after a bout with COVID. Just what she needed. 

Rowen deserves high praise from our progressive community.  

— The lighter side of social media: One comic on Facebook, Mike Dugan, has a double take on a big-box store: “I want to start a chain called Bed, Bath and Back to Bed,” he quips, adding, “The other day, I told my wife I’d  meet her in the Beyond section.” Beyond belief? 

— I once judged the San Francisco International Comedy competition, and that’s where I met a very sick and hilarious jokester, Larry “Bubbles” Brown. Brown recently posted this twisted post on Facebook: “If they can forgive billions in student loans, they can certainly forget that whole Zodiac bender I…” 

— Also on this grim subject, I remember being a guest on a radio talk show in San Francisco. The previous one had just written a book on the unsolved Zodiac case. I said hi to this guy as he left the studio. The talk host on KSFO radio, Noah Griffin, then greeted me by saying, “Bill, that guy knows so much about Zodiac I think he may actually BE Zodiac.” I replied, “Boy, you really know how to put a guest at ease.” 

— I loved The New York Times’ scathing review of well-dressed humanoid Jared Kushner’s self-dealing recent book: Critic Dwight Garner called the book “earnest and soulless,” adding, “Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one.” A real dummy. And here’s Twitter comic Middle Aged Riot addressing Jared’s wife Ivanka: “You need to talk to your father about which documents to steal. He snuck out the back door of the White House with his pants stuffed with takeout menus.”

— Good mordant line: The Onion, quoting a supposed Pennsylvania voter: “I’m voting for Dr. Oz because his medical advice has killed a couple of people I don’t like.”

— Speaking of humor outlet The Onion, I got lot of retweets when I reposted a blasphemous Onion headline in Twitter under a picture of The Savior: “Report Reveals Jesus Christ May Have Benefited From Father’s Influential Position To Gain High-Powered Role As Lord And Savior.” Jared would doubtless approve. 

— Wordplay Dept.: I like this clever subhead on a Guardian piece about texting: “Lord of the Pings.” 

— One summer a few years ago, I was writing the TV column for the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press-Democrat, the only New York Times-owned paper in the Western U.S. We got a newsroom summer intern nicknamed “A.G.” He was assigned to cover lightweight stories like parades. I knew this amiable senior at Brown had bigger journalistic challenges than this in his future. And I was right: A.G. Sulzberger is now the publisher of The New York Times.

— I once read a monthly paper in the Bay Area called Madness Network News. It was published by a group of disgruntled former state mental patients. I loved its NYT-inspired motto: “All The Fits That’s News to Print.” 

(PT humorist Bill Mann is reachable at 


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