Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winter Coat

Olive is already the softest cat any of us have ever encountered, and this characteristic has only intensified over the last few weeks as she's acquired her winter coat. This shot from last weekend offers a pretty good indication of her thickening (and, miraculously, hypoallergenic) fur.

Cruella de Vil would swear off spots forever if she got one good look at our Olive. And, just to be as fair with our second set of siblings as we strive to be with our first, here's a shot of Orly from that same photo session. I think I can speak for everyone here - human and feline - in observing that she's been a great and welcome addition to the family.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Perler Bead Flowers

The girls have been fascinated by Perler Beads for the last couple of years, a little arts-and-crafts activity that in our house ranks right up there with Play-Doh and crayons, and that's saying something.

The beads are actually tiny plastic tubes, which can be arranged in colorful patterns on little micro-pronged boards that come with the sets.

Once a design is complete you iron the beads - through a sheet of wax paper - and they melt into each other, completing and cementing the creation. The boards, themselves, come in a variety of shapes - stars, circles, boxes, hearts, pocketbooks, etc.

I probably could not count the number of Saturday or Sunday mornings when we have found ourselves in the basement, carefully arranging our respective masterpieces, but a few weeks ago Ava struck upon an approach that has dominated the activity ever since.

She takes one of the boards, any size or shape, and fills it up with these little six-petal flowers. Her only standing rule is that the middle piece has to be yellow. She's quite specific about this, "because yellow in the middle is just like a regular flower."

Ava's inspiration actually reminded me of Madison's Play-Doh chips, which were documented in our 200th post, so I thought I'd put these on the site as well, especially with cold and rainy winter days ahead. No shortage of fun, we've found, in a bucket of Perler beads.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Healthying Up"

Ava, this morning, over a bowl of Cheerios and anticipating a school party and play-date later in the day: "Dad, it's good that I'm having a healthy breakfast, because later I'm going to probably be eating some not-so-healthy food, so it's good that I'm healthying up right now."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Coughing Up A Lung"

Madison, two seconds ago: "Dad, I'm going to talk to [my teacher] today, because there's a boy sitting next to me who has been coughing up a LUNG! And I'm not allowed to bring in Purell!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Swing State

Took this shot with the camera on my iPhone while flying over Ohio on the way back from a short trip to Denver last week.

No Red State, no Blue State, just a state, and some people, living under what I thought was a relatively cool formation of clouds.

There is a bigger picture.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday Night Why?

Watched the Sarah Palin appearance on Saturday Night Live like everyone else and, given the result, could not imagine why in the world she would have done it. There were reports over the last few weeks that SNL was "negotiating" with Palin to appear on the show, following the sensation created by the spot-on Tina Fey impersonations. Based on last night, I guess the deal was that Palin would show up as long as they agreed to beat the crap out of her while she stood there, or sat there, and watched.

This is not partisan, because I do not in any way consider myself a fan or supporter ("not remotely qualified for high office" is one of the more charitable lines I've seen thrown her way), but I can't be alone in having found it just unbelievably uncomfortable witnessing what this woman had to endure - basically the equivalent of a Hatfield being marched through McCoy Central just to prove she wasn't a fraidy cat. She got nothing at all out of this, other than the opportunity to demonstrate that she could smile at the camera while a group of people diametrically opposed to everything she stands for, and terrified by what she represents, derisively reinforced all of her core negatives, to laughter, while shooting her the kind of sideways glances worthy of the only one on the scene who wasn't in on the joke.

It didn't necessarily have to be that way. I can't for the life of me understand why Palin's people didn't get a little more aggressive in determining how she'd be used on the show, what she would do and have the opportunity to say. If the SNL brain trust (led by the supremely smug, and allegedly McCain-supporting, Lorne Michaels) wouldn't agree, fine, she's not showing up and everyone can keep on having fun with Tina. She didn't need this, although her side may reasonably feel at this point that they need anything they can get.

Why didn't they negotiate out a skit where she bumped into someone impersonating Barack Obama backstage, up on a soapbox giving a mind-numbingly eloquent and impassioned speech about how important it is for people to keep their shoes tied, but clearly without enough experience to tie his own? Maybe she could have tied them for him, or maybe John McCain could have wandered out of the wings at the last moment to do the job, while saying something like, "wouldn't want you to trip on the way to raising people's taxes."

That didn't have to be the joke, but it makes the point. "Sure, I'll come on your fancy show," she could have said, "but not just so you can beat me up in person instead of through a stand in. If I'm flying to New York in the middle of a campaign I'm going to get to take some shots, too." She didn't.

None of this is particularly profound, I just felt like posting because after taking in the appearance I could not believe that Palin's advisers (puppet masters is maybe a more appropriate term at this point) put her in a situation in which she lost and almost everyone else involved won. SNL scored huge ratings and buzz, the show's liberal writers, cast and guest stars (anyone out there more avowedly liberal than Alec "Here's Daddy" Baldwin?) were able to fire away at will and on message, behind a supremely disingenuous "it's-all-in-good-fun" veneer, and all she could do was play along and hope to score sympathy points by looking like a good sport while waiting for it to be over.

And, unfortunately for Sarah Palin, it's starting to look a lot like that dynamic doesn't only apply to Saturday Night Live.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"This Is Danjrus"

Madison created this image a few weeks ago as the cover of a report on tornadoes. I liked the artwork and thought the text she incorporated was cute, funny and real. But it crossed my mind again last night because at this point I think I'm going to try to sell it to CNBC.

Ava is downstairs right now working on a complementary "market meltdown" musical theme on the miniature baby grand piano in our living room, which is located adjacent to the fireplace. Conveniently placed, it turns out, because we may need burn it for heat this winter.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008