Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are you Ready for The Tempest?

Friday Nov. 21st and Saturday Nov. 22nd, at's a sneak preview of the set:

A's in the ensemble. T is on the tech crew...

Curtain at 8:15 both nights. Tickets $5, at the box office. Be there.

T Plays Soccer for the German Club

He's the one in the gray MIT sweatshirt and red school shorts. The game was called due to heavy rain, wind and cold. It looks sunny in the first photo, but the weather changed suddenly.

Hands inside the sweatshirt? It's a musician thing.

Don't Mess with Partisan Puppy

In an ongoing effort to keep Circe from opening her sutures (she went through a pane of glass last week), we tried to keep a cardboard collar on her. When she ate through 5 of them (cardboard collars, not sutures), we resorted to this sign. We did cut it down to size right after this, but the picture was funny. Apologies to the pup for the indignity, but her leg has healed perfectly!

Gov. Palin (God bless her!) may be a pit-bull, but Circe is an Aussie!

Did You Miss Earth Science Week?

Well, so did I. Not to worry, though. The earth is still out there, and you can make every week earth science week. And when the weather is too cold, you can make models, watch movies, and even follow a free online guide to the film Journey to the Center of the Earth. Now, those of you expecting Walden Media to have kept to the original Verne text might not be too happy with the 3-D big screen adaptation, but there is some entertainment value. So use the free 20 page pdf to go along with it. Purists will prefer the book, and for care rides, nothing beats the audio adaptation from Alien Voices.

Some other great videos for earth science include:
Living Rock
Ring of Fire
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea
Amazing Caves
Eyewitness Rocks and Minerals

Have fun with earth science!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Misanthrope

Juilliard's 4th year drama students' production of Moliere's The Misanthrope is delightful. We saw it last night, after waiting an hour for (free) stand-by tickets, which I understand are fairly easy to get on a Thursday night, but may be more difficult over the weekend. Still, it's worth a try. Check the Juilliard Calendar Website for details.

So, is 400 year old French satire worth seeing? Yes, in a PG13 sort of way. If you might be put off by gold lame 2-piece swim suit, and a 20 minute flirtation scene with Celimene and her shirtless suiters in a pool, don't bother. It sounds gimmicky, I know, and when I read the preview in the Juilliard Journal, though my curiosity was piqued, I had my doubts. Moliere, for all his verbal brilliance, did not leave stage directions, so any production lends itself to some odd and unexpected variations in scene and setting at the whims of those who make such decisions. (I have a fear of modern theater...will I be treated to Shakespeare on roller skates? Sophocles on stilts? a pool?) The set has some of the expected elements: French doors, long drapes, winding staircase, fine upholstered furniture; and then there sits the pool, front and center, on stage, complete with a monkey-fountain. The play begins, and...

The pool works seamlessly as an integral part of the set; and it works not just because of the unexpected swim scene, which enhances the comedy, but because of the comedic timing of every word and motion, in, out, and along the edge of the pool. The students have an uncanny sense of space and matter--solid, liquid and gas--and use it all perfectly. Those audience members seated in the "splash zone" were a bit surprised, I suspect, but it was all in good fun. The play, pool and all, is perfect. The lines, an English verse translation by Richard Wilbur, come so naturally to each actor, you'd think they spoke in rhyme all the time.

I am reluctant to post reviews of the individual cast members, as they were all unique and well-suited to their respective roles. I will say that the young man who played the dark and brooding lead character reminded me of a cross between my son Trip and Keanu Reeves. And we all know how misanthropic Trip can be sometimes (like when he played the demonic tempter in Milton's Comus)...

Oh! The costumes...can we talk about costumes? Is there anything more fun than French fashion? The frills! The embroidery! The shoes (on the men)! The hats! The unmentionables!

I just want to add a bit about the ending, without giving it away. After all the lines are said and the main characters have left the stage, the supporting actors are left, and together create silently, and with minimal movement, the most comedic moments of the play. Thank you, Group 38.

See it if you can.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Biography of Wanda Gág

Wanda Gág: The Girl Who Loved to Draw
Thought this might be of interest...haven't read it yet, but is sounds good. Here's a bit of background from Publisher's Weekly:

After Gág’s artist father died in 1908, the 15-year-old used her artistic talents to support her ailing mother and six younger siblings. She went on to win a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York and to become an accomplished painter, before breaking into children’s books with Millions of Cats...

Millions of Cats has always been a favorite here. Remember film strips? This was a classic. I can still hear the narrator's voice on the record that went with it...and the "beep" when you are to move the strip to the next frame. Isn't it bizarre that rather than read a book aloud teachers would play these film strips and advance the frame, or have a student work the machine?

Creeping Crimson Cascade

After 20+ Years of Marriage

I have made a big change...

I finally changed the setting on the radio alarm dial so that I do not wake up to the news. Yup. Got tired of hearing someone read the headlines from a newspaper I would not read anyway. Maybe it's just a woman thing, but I would rather awaken to lovely music.

We also have Sirius radio in the car...but with more channels to listen to than I have discovered (did you know that they have sci-fi radio plays??), dh still puts on that same news channel--regular old AM--every time he gets into the car. Go figure. Lucky for me I do most of the driving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review of First College Concert

Here's a brief review of Monday night's Axiom Tribute to Berio concert; excerpt:

So, if you’re at all open to difficult music well performed — and performed by musicians who seem unconscious of its difficulty –, I recommend watching for performances by the Julliard School’s Axiom. Even if you don’t happen to like a specific composition being performed, you can delight in the skill and dedication displayed by the performance. And if an eloquent performance leads to an appreciation of the work being interpreted, it certainly won’t be the first time in music history that such a thing has happened.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What Kind of Wood is Best?

For burning in your fireplace, that is. Check out this list.

What sparked this post? I have two trees that need to come down, and one that needs a heavy pruning. I know, I know...but this is serious. The apple tree I planted 7 years ago has produced crummy apples. I have tried everything, and still the only happy harvesters are the yellow jackets. The other tree I need to take down is the walnut hanging over the driveway. Things that go bump in the night here are mainly walnuts falling onto the cars. Bad. So both trees, neither of which is terribly tall, go. I bought a saw...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Closing the Locker at the Beach

And picking up the fridge to deliver to Libby.

Paul fetches a cart for us.

He is not keen on cleaning the fridge.

A pleasant surprise!

All clear!

Paul closes the hatch and we are ready to go.

We'll miss the beach, but the boating season is not over...

First College Concert

Here's the info, in case anyone has time this evening...

Monday, October 13, 2008 8:00 PM
Peter Jay Sharp Theater
at 155 West 65th Street, NY 10023

AXIOM: A Tribute to Luciano Berio

Jeffrey Milarsky, Conductor

AXIOM is a chamber ensemble focusing on the larger chamber repertoire of the 20th century.

Sequenza I (flute) (1958)
Corale (1981)
Sequenza VII (oboe) (1969)
Circles (1960)
Sequenza XIV (cello) (1980)
Points on the curve to find (1974)

FREE tickets available 9/29 at the Juilliard Box Office

Libby is playing the Corale portion of the program. Come on in and see the show!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Page 200!

So exclaimed my 12 year old, reading a novel (!!)...the first he is likely to finish. I reviewed The True Meaning of Smekday last February after I read and enjoyed it, and I hoped, since sci-fi is Paul's favorite genre, that he might pick it up and read it. It took a while, but I noticed that he has been "missing" around the house lately, not because he is playing with a video thingy or building with LEGO, but because he has his nose buried in this book.

Mission accomplished: We now have a house full of avid readers. Which is a good thing, as we also have a houseful of books to be read.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Your Ideas Are Stupid!"

(Excuse this rambling commentary. I'm tossing around a few thoughts on the consequences of the abortion movement.)

The world is a funny place...or not so funny. When Roe v. Wade passed, it was supposed to be a victory for women. Women were free! Women were now in charge of their own bodies! Women would no longer be subjected to the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. So imagine my surprise at some of the reactions we got at the "Stand Up For Life" last Sunday.

For the record, most reactions were unremarkable. As we stood, block after block, along a major north-south route holding the usual signs, chatting, cheering, and praying together peacefully, most people who drove by ignored us. Quite a few, both men and women, of all races, cheered, gave us "thumbs up," waved, or honked (including one guy driving an 18-wheeler who honked all the way along the line). It was encouraging, and heartwarming on an otherwise chilly day.

Then, of course, there were the dissenters. They were, in fact, very few, but those that I saw all had something in common: They were all young men. One young man threw something at us as he drove by. Luckily, his aim was poor, and the object fell short of its target. Another few gave us the thumbs down. Another rolled down his window and shouted, "Your ideas are stupid." Later, as we pulled out of the parking lot after everyone had left, we saw another group of three young men with hand made "pro-choice" signs walking on the other side of the road, jostling each other, each trying to make the other be the first in line for their counter demonstration, such as it was. Frankly, it would have been comical, as the folks to whom their message was aimed had all left, if the subject were not so serious. But the entire time I was there, from the beginning to the end, not one woman protested our message. Granted, I could have missed someone, or a woman could have protested down the line where I did not notice, but all the negative reactions I saw were from young men.

Here is my "stupid idea": Roe v. Wade benefits young men who wish to do whatever they want without consequences. Roe enables men to be abusers of women.

Years ago, I was at a college student government meeting where some radical women discussed their experiences at a "peace encampment" (the US was not at war at the time). At the encampment, it seems, some young men in suits (as the women described them) came into the camp and started asking questions and arguing with the women. There was no violence, no yelling, just discussion. During the report to the student government on the encampment, one woman, hysterical and crying, stood up and said, "And I wonder how many of those men went home and raped their wives that night!" I suspect the answer was, "none."

Would asking a similar question about these young pro-choice men be fair? Did they go out that night and randomly "hook-up" (as they say) with women they barely knew, free from any consequences because of Roe? Have they paid for their girlfriends to have abortions, or convinced them that abortion was the best thing to do? And how, oh how, does this benefit women?

ETA: Row to Roe. Yeah, I cannot spell. I know. I need a secretary. Did I spell that correctly?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cottage Critters

As seen at Alice's house yesterday.

Where else but Alice's cottage can one find a lovely decorative box to capture...

...some unblessed invaders:

And no visit to the Cottage Garden would be complete without meeting Maj: