Saturday, June 25, 2011

FB April 25th to May 10th

April 25th

the new Nook update is out! Apps increase from a handful to 139! Now it not only wups the Kindle, it makes it put on makeup and call Barnes and Noble "big daddy"

April 26th

13:01 Since I worked all weekend and Lisa was up north on Saturday, our Easter is *today*. Took the kids to Mass at 8:15, big dinner at 4:30. Ham is in the oven, kielbasa in the slow cooker, potatoes peeled and cut, hard boiled eggs peeled and ready for . . er, deviling. Desperately hoping for a nap b4 the final push . .

19:28 outside Stonefire Pizza waiting to conduct a Craigslist purchase of kids clothing. Big scary man alone outside kids play area = not most well thought out meeting place

I love playing "Old Cannon" a simple little 'physics' game where you attempt to knock down castles using only 3 shots from an old cannon. Smiley, oddly, aced every level while I struggled with a few :)

22:34 chilling w/ my friend erv, who just got out of the hospital (complications of diabetes)

RIP Poly Styrene (born Marianne Elliot), who has died of breast cancer at age 53.

April 27th

On a lark I watched "GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra". For a big budget popcorn flick, it was fine. Better than I expected really, tho' the Flash Gordon technology was tiresome. So was the acting. Channing Tatum seemed to think he was hired to imitate Mark Wahlberg's worst traits, while Marlon Wayan's signed on for a degrading minstrel show performance.

April 30th

Today marks 36 years since the Fall of Saigon.

Watching the Channel 10 Auction with Lisa and LOL at all the crappy artwork and tschotcke's (sic) they're peddling.

May 1st

After a miserable day at work yest I finished CJ Sansom's "Dissolution", a Tudor era mystery featuring King's Commisioner Matthew Shardlake. I liked it quite a bit, but admit to becoming irrationally angry at some of the Reformist actions/thoughts expressed through the character. Also, I guessed the murderer's identity - but not until about 20 pgs before it was revealed. A good read and recommended.

Pope John Paul II was named 'Blessed' today, a step below Sainthood. God bless him, what grand news! I love John Paul, and look upon CNN's reporting of protests as nothing more than anti-Catholic bigotry in action.

May 2nd

Just back from Parker's 1st ever Tiger Cub Scout meeting!

<---- perhaps the only man to ever complain to a Scout leader that his son's meetings conflict with watching Dancing With the Stars

May 3rd

For $3 I bought an old hardcover copy of "Little Orpan Annie and the Gila Monster Gang" (Harold Gray, published 1944) and loaned it to YaYa at 5 o'clock. She just came downstairs to return it, having finished the 248 pg bk. Just in case she was full of it, I skimmed the last two chapters and quizzed her, & she aced it. Well done, Danny Jr.

Seriously, how many times does this have to happen to me before I take the hint? Do NOT handle jalepeno peppers and then use the restroom *unless* you wash your hands first. I tell you this to spare you pain greater than any other . . . shoot me now.

May 4th

So, the Prez is cool with lifting the ban on photos of American KIA's, and w/ releasing photos of alleged abuse by our military - but he won't release a photo of OBL because he's afraid of offending our enemy. [crickets chirp] Wouldn't that be the same enemy that drags bodies through the street and beheads reporters on camera?

Gas in Chicago inching towards $5 a gallon. (I've seen $4.44 confirmed in print)

[gas prices peaked that day or the next before moving downward]

May 5th

Something's gone goofy here. I woke up with shooting pain from my wrists up to my elbows, and I barely had the strength in my hands to take apart the bikes this morning & replace their inner tubes. It's prob this flu that's been making the rounds, but I feel like an old man, and I still have a workday ahead of me . . .

[oh man, did I feel awful. Just awful, for about 48 hours. But I made it work both days]

May 7th

Don't linger on moments of no consequence, and don't rush over moments worth examining

RIP Sada Thompson, 83, actress best known from "Family"

Now that Obama has essentially sanctified Bush era polices by keeping Gitmo, using info obtained by EIT, and pre-emeptively attacking targets wherever they appear, I expect it will be harder for the Left to attack him on those points without looking like a complete hypocrite.

RIP, Claude Choules, the last known WWI combatant, age 110 - and thank you.

May 8th

Today was a perfect day, just the kind of day you'll jump to relive when your life flashes before your eyes. Just perfect :)

May 9th

Whaaaa??? Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, have separated

I just finished 'Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam" by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. The book focuses on the Marine detatchment at the Saigon embassy, the last group of American's to exit Vietnam. Very compelling, and written in an easy and entertaining manner. Recommended.

May 10th

10:20 am - ok, about to exit the car and walk into an interview. Wish me luck

Interview went well (I think) lasting for 45 minutes and eventually involving the owner himself. Nice to wear a shirt and tie again, if only for a morning.

Lump passed her in-school eye test today, scoring a 20/50 in each eye. That's normal for a three year old. By 4-5 years old it should be 20/40, then 20/32 by age six.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Artiste Gene

This drawing of two dancers hangs outside YaYa's classroom and bears her signature. At a recent conference with her teacher, we asked if she traced it. Nope, her teacher replied (well, she didn't say 'nope', as that term is reserved for obnoxious bloggers). But she did say that it wasn't traced, simply eye-balled by YaYa from a picture she provided.

I'm impressed. While I can't deny a way with words and thus The Power to Move Masses, I've always envied those people who can take the pictures in their head and sketch them on paper. If I had that gift, and I could purge some of the ingenious ideas floating in my noggin, life would grand for all.

They've obviously inherited an artistic gene from Lisa, who should be -given the right breaks - Martha Stewart version 2.


Here's a giraffe Smiley drew too:


Here's some great work by LuLu



and by the Lump


Great, huh?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The tree out front goes "Adios!"

Since we moved into our house four years ago we've taken special notice of the city-owned tree in front of our house. While much of it seemed healthy (certainly healthy enough to generate piles of leaves and clogged gutters every autumn) one large branch was visibly dead, and as the years wore on more and more of the trunk appeared diseased.

A few calls for removal went unheeded, but a few weeks ago a city worker drove by and just happened to notice the tree. He got out of his truck to talk to me, then put in an order for the tree to be cut down. The crew showed up the day we departed for LuLu's trip to Fort Atkinson.


One guy went up in a cherry picker with a small chain saw. One by one he removed the large limbs of the tree, often lowering them to the ground with rope.



Other crew members carried the debris to a portable chipper.


Given Smiley's huge interest in botany and gardening, this was right up his alley and we sat outside and watched the proceedings until it started to rain. Lu joined us for a spell, but YaYa (claiming to mourn the tree) stayed in her room. The guy in the cherry picker waved to her when he was even with her window.



Much of the tree is still standing. The rest will be removed another day, and the stump ground down. A replacement will be planted in the spring or fall of 2012.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Smiley Loses His 1st Tooth (April 11th)

On April 11th Lisa posted this to her Facebook account: Smiley just lost his first tooth! Seems so recent that I was sitting in his nursery rocking with him :(


He'd been bugging us forever to pull it out, as he was soooo excited to partake of this rite of passage. I think Lisa did the deed in the end, basically just lifting the loose tooth clean out with no fuss. Ick.



Now the little man knows there's no such thing as the Tooth Fairy - if I haven't blogged about that yet, you'll find it soon - but we kept up the tradition of rewarding the first tooth lost with a small gift.

Smiley's was a 'fingertip' Spiderman skateboard with wheels that could be changed out. He was so proud the next morning of his abiilty to swap them, mentioning with pride that the package said "ages 8 and up" and that he was only 6.


We also (well, Lisa) wrote the following note to him: "[Smiley] Congratulations on your first missing tooth !! Love, the Tooth Fairy p.s.keep being kind and a good brother"


Congrats little man!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What the heck Are you Up to Mr. President?/Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter


What the Heck are You Up to Mr. President? by Kevin Mattson, is a short but informative book that showcases the background, delivery, and ultimately disastrous after-effects of Jimmy Carter's 'Malaise' speech.

For those too young to remember (and that would include me) the 'Malaise' speech - it never actually uses the word - was a public scolding Carter delivered to the American people, encouraging us to re-examine our energy policy and habits and refocus both for our betterment. It was met with initial praise, but soon became a symbol of the pessimism and defeatism of the Carter era.

The book details why the speech went wrong. It was designed to address the energy crisis that gripped America, and yet Carter dragged his feet so long that the crisis was waning by the time he pulled the trigger. Combine that with the ill-fitting mix of a somber, pragmatic President urging a weary people to essentially 'suck it up', and it was not a recipe for success. Rumor is Reagan knew he had the Oval Office when he heard the speech.

Keep in mind, Mattson isn't anti-Carter. It's his position that Carter was right, and the speech *should* have altered American behavior and (by default) history.

I enjoyed the book a lot.

Did I mention he was pro-Carter? Contrast that to Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter by Gary Allen.


I picked up this gem for free at a local rec center, and in fairness, it isn't just anti-Carter. It's anti-Democrat, anti-Republican, and most shocking, anti-Martin Luther King (these days, with his sainthood all but assured in American consciousness, attacking MLK seems horrifyingly racist. I'm not sure that was the author's intent, but I'm not sure it wasn't).

It was written prior to the 1976 election, presumably as a means of torpedoing his candidacy. It didn't work, and neither does the book. Then again, it wasn't a horrible read, especially if you're looking for a glimpse of the political mindset as we approached the Bicentennial.

(both books read August 2009)