Saturday, June 26, 2010

I will make an exception if your shirt is named "Monroe." (This Is Why I Hate People)

Entertainment Weekly, a magazine I love except when I hate it, has, every week, a section on where to find stuff that the stars wore in movies and TV shows. It's a feature that irritates me almost every week -- but some weeks more than others. Like this week, when the "Mark" wrote in, "I want the blue shirt Mr. Schuester wore at the end of the Glee finale!"

(Apparently, Mark really did use the exclamation point, as it's in the same purple font as the rest of his query.)

That's not the part that irritates me, really. I suppose it's okay for people to want to wear clothes they thought looked cool on the people they saw on TV.

What gets me is the answer: EW writes back "Mr Schu... led a heartfelt rendition of "Over the Rainbow" in Vince's striped cotton-linen "Utility" shirt ($168....)"

Since when do shirts have names, and, more importantly, who the heck is paying $168 for a blue shirt?

Shirts cost $20. Maybe $30 for a really nice one. That's it. Nobody ought to be paying more for that, and if you're buying a named shirt, I really hate you.

But this song is neat, even if nobody really needed another version of it. You can probably see Mark's dream-shirt in this video. I don't know; I didn't watch the video. I NEVER watch videos. Except that one of the guy dancing to the Murder Mystery song "Love Astronaut." And that one of the guy in the space helmet set to "The Bleeding Heart Show" by The New Pornographers.

I've got a thing for astronaut videos, is what I'm saying.

Cheese puffs by the X. (Saturday Adventures, 4)

Last Saturday's adventure was titled, after the fact, "Let's See If We Can Break An Art Museum's Rules And Also Stumble Into Something More Interesting." It began with a longheld dream of mine: To face the ultimate challenge of taking Mr F and Mr Bunches to an art museum... and not strap them into the stroller or other restraining advice. Could I supervise two constantly-moving nearly-four-year-olds in the face of millions (?) of dollars of art (?)... let's see.

Well, of course I could. I can do anything. Hate to spoil the surprise for you. But the fact that I'm typing this up means I didn't get arrested or sued or anything, even though I did sneak a picture of one of the artworks that was on display, taking advantage of a loophole in the Museum's rules.

We walked to the museum from the car, with me opting, as I said, to let the Babies! walk instead of being in the stroller that they're getting way too big for. We made it to the museum without incident, and even through the whole first floor, which had a tempting display of PVC pipes worked into a giant, 10'+ tall sculpture that Mr F really really wanted to climb.

I kind of wanted to climb it, too. After that, we went into the room where the face on the giant video screen yells at you if you get too close to it -- I liked that better than some dumb $100,000,000 Picasso, but Mr Bunches hated it. Then we cut over to the exit area for a drink of water from the bubbler (that was the highlight of the museum for both boys, until we reached the roof.)

While standing outside the display area, by the bubbler, I snapped this photo:

That's "Ten years and one day," a display of polaroids of the artist's face over that period of time, and you can't see them closely, so take my word: it's fascinating to just browse through the photos and see all the facial expressions and outfits and mysterious babies being held and the range of emotions -- with browsing being all we could do because we were en route to that bubbler.

The museum's rules say you can't take pictures of the artwork, but that you can take pictures in lobby areas and exits if the artwork isn't the primary focus of the picture but is incidental. So I was actually taking a picture, there, of the edge of the doorway on the left of the photo.

We then made our way to the second level, going up the great glass staircase. I had to carry Mr F, who doesn't like heights any better than I do, while holding Mr Bunches hands, and that made me nauseous - -going up a transparent staircase in the midst of a bunch of windows while precariously balancing Mr F and using my free hand to walk Mr Bunches made me worry we were all going over the edge. After that, we took the elevator.

The second level's art didn't inspire the Babies! much, or me, except for the display of seeds. Those were a pile, and boxes, of seed packets that were actually packets of something else, something that I think was inspirational but I can't exactly recall what it was. I liked it, but couldn't stay to contemplate it long because Mr F wanted to pick up the packets and I was pretty sure that wasn't allowed.

Then it was the elevator to the roof, where we ate cheese puffs and drank milk in the company of an X:

That's Mr F, picking up pebbles to throw. I'm not exactly sure where Mr Bunches was in that picture. (Don't tell Sweetie.)

After about 45 minutes of lounging and looking at Madison rooftops, we headed back down. I got, from outside the glass, a snapshot of the staircase. You can see where it wouldn't be a lot of fun to carry some kids down it:

Mr Bunches (pictured) really wanted to walk down it. I insisted on the elevator... which, since we were going down, should really be called at that point a de-elevator.

We did pause inside the lounge to look out at the scene. Again, not totally sure where Mr Bunches was when I snapped this picture of Mr F:

From there, we were going to head back to the car, but we took a right turn instead of a left and wandered into the hallway that connects the Museum with Madison's Overture Center. There's an underground passageway:

Where Mr Bunches liked to walk while Mr F tried to record some local history in a photo-booth type thing that was set up to record local history. (Really.) I'm not sure what he recorded, but I'm sure someday historians will marvel at the story he told them.

The Overture Center turned out to be amazing. Not only was there artwork all over the place, but there was a free folk music concert going on, the building is neat to walk through, and there was a convention of people talking about a fish or something. (We didn't take part in the convention.)

There are several levels, and windows looking out on State Street. Sorry about Mr F's smudges, Overture people:

And on one level, there's a little lounge where people were just hanging out. We joined them for some relaxation:

Mr Bunches, there, was alternating between watching the street and the World Cup soccer game that was on the TV in that lounge. If I lived closer, I'd go there every morning to just hang out.

There's a central area in the Center that lets sun stream down. It makes for incredible light-and-shadow effects:

And they have art that so far as I know you're not prohibited from taking pictures of, like this origami mosaic:

That's all folded paper squares. Here's a close-up:

We wandered past that and down around the other staircases and past the giant picture windows:

Back up to the Farmers Market and the car, where Mr Bunches paused to listen to a string trio:

He seemed to like the cello the best. I'll have to get him one.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The NEW Friday's Sunday's Poem:

Petri Dish pointed out in a comment that today's Friday's Sunday's Poem was actually a Sunday's poem before -- it was number 27. I thought maybe it had been, but when I did a search through the blog for "Gee, You're Beautiful" I got nothing. So I am not the problem. The problem is... World Cup officiating? Sounds good to me.

Here's a replacement FSP, with all new pics of the Hot Actress:

Summer in a Small Town
Linda Gregg

When the men leave me,
they leave me in a beautiful place.
It is always late summer.
When I think of them now,
I think of the place.
And being happy alone afterwards.
This time it’s Clinton, New York.
I swim in the public pool
at six when the other people
have gone home.
The sky is grey, the air hot.
I walk back across the mown lawn
loving the smell and the houses
so completely it leaves my heart empty.

You know what's interesting -- back at poem number 27, when I first posted that Gee, You're Beautiful poem, I liked the same line. I'm nothing if not consistent.

You know what else is interesting? Petri Dish is demanding more hunks. So Sweetie might be back into a job. We'll see...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Playing with Gentle Glass Things (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 53)

Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain
Richard Brautigan

Oh, Marcia,
I want your long blonde beauty
to be taught in high school,
so kids will learn that God
lives like music in the skin
and sounds like a sunshine harpsichord.
I want high school report cards
to look like this:

Playing with Gentle Glass Things

Computer Magic

Writing Letters to Those You Love

Finding out about Fish

Marcia’s Long Blonde Beauty
About the Poem: I keep meaning to stick to my guns and only put poems that rhyme in here, so that I can make some sort of point about how poems ought to rhyme. But then I read a poem like this and think, "Boy, I like that poem." There's usually one line I really like about a poem, a line that makes it stand out and get picked. This one is no different: the line is Finding Out About Fish. That should be a subject in school.

About the Actress: Just as nonrhyming poetry continues to expand the notion of what poetry is, and just as things like potatoes continue to expand the idea of what a pizza is, so, too, does Sweetie expand the notion of what a "hot actress over 30" is, by nominating, this week, non-actress, non-over-30-year-old "Ricki Lee," singer of the song Can't Touch It from the movie (?) Sex & The City 2: The Re-Citying.

(I think Sweetie feels compelled to pick a hot actress for the FSP because she gave up picking Hunks of the Week. Sort of. She doesn't pick them for my blog anymore, but she does still download pictures of guys like Landon Donovan onto our computer desktop.)

Quote of the Day: 45

-- Mr Bunches, at the zoo.

Mr Bunches, as he said that, was looking at a buffalo.

(Pictured: Mr F, in front of the otter pool. He's sad because he wants to get in the pool and we won't let him. Not pictured: Mr Bunches, off to the right, looking at "a bug.")

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number 67.

67. Just say "thanks."

When someone compliments you, just say thanks. It's not immodest or wrong to accept nice words from someone else.

Not long ago, a guy in our office got a new baseball hat for his favorite team. I saw him wearing it and said "Hey, nice hat." I said that because it is a nice hat, and because, him having a new hat for his favorite team, I thought he'd like the opportunity to have it appreciated and maybe talk about his team.

Instead, he responded with something like "ohit'sjustahatitwasn'tthatbigadealmymomsent..." and went on to mumble and defer and otherwise shunt aside the compliment, as though simply saying "Yeah, thanks" would have somehow marked him as a gloryhound.

So as a corollary to Sweetie's contribution to this list, when someone compliments you, just say "thanks."
Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... but it was murder to get there. Read
Eclipse, the haunting sci-fi book from Briane Pagel. Available at and on your Kindle.


Monday, June 21, 2010

I do love a good denouncing. (3 Good Things From The Past Weekend)

I got into my office after my mini-vacation to find that my plant was missing and I couldn't log into my computer. At first I figured I was fired in the most passive-aggressive way possible, but then I settled down to not working and learned that the plant guy was in the midst of replacing the plant, and my password had been inadvertently changed. It's all better now, and I kept a positive attitude by, like I said (a) not working and (b) remembering, from the host of great stuff over the weekend, these 3 Good Things:

1. My new blue shirt for Father's Day: The kids all pitched in and got me the things I wanted most, which were some new polo shirts for casual days at the office, some new workout shorts for when I need something to wear while I make excuses about why I'm not working out, and money towards a new video camera and the piano tuner. The best of all the presents was the blue polo shirt I opted to wear today -- it's the color of the ocean, when I picture the ocean in my mind, which I do when I imagine that I'm rich and living in Hawaii and can see the ocean from my deck, which I have screened in, in my Hawaiian dream house, because I don't want to get attacked by sharks. So I'm literally wearing the color of my dreams.

2. They invented Pretzel M&Ms. What's left for Western Civilization now? Sweetie and I saw the commercial for them Thursday night, and I was under orders from both of us to pick them up Friday when grocery shopping. When Mr Bunches got upset at the store though, forcing us to leave without the groceries (but with a Hot Wheel and crayons, because he didn't get too upset before that), I went home Pretzel M&M-ty handed. (Read it aloud and you'll see how clever I am.) So Sweetie went out and picked them up herself that night.

3. The first couple of short stories in the New Yorker's latest issue. The New Yorker picked their "20 Under 40" writers -- twenty great writers under forty, and even though I was age-ically ineligible for the selection, I reacted in my usual way: I got jealous and then read all the stories, ready to denounce them as obviously not as good as mine. Then I read the first couple -- all I had time to get through yesterday -- and they were excellent. Especially the one by Jonathan Safran Foer, Here We Aren't, So Quickly, a story that doesn't seem like it should work at all, but it does. You should read it yourself: everyone should. It's great. They're all great. I can't even denounce them -- as much as that pains me to admit it, since I love nothing more than a good denouncing.

143 Down, 10,861 to go: I could denounce Sweetie, for the exchange we had over today's song. The song came on my iPod when I was out walking on Saturday night after the Babies! had gone to bed; it's from the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack, which Sweetie had put on the iPod and which I didn't intend to listen to; it just came up randomly.

I liked the song, but yesterday couldn't remember the name I'd read on my iPod when I was out walking. So I asked Sweetie: "What's that one song on Sex and the City 2's soundtrack that sounds kind of like Single Ladies but isn't?"

To which Sweetie responded: "Is it 'Single Ladies?"

Sweetie can consider herself denounced: The song is "Can't Touch It" by Ricki Lee.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quote of the Day, 44

Underwater there's no gravity.

-- Anonymous little kid.

I overheard that at the pool on Friday when we took Mr F and Mr Bunches swimming. While Middle and I waited to see if Mr Bunches was serious about going down the BIG slide (he wasn't, but he did get up to the top of the staircase three times before backing down) some kids behind us were playing a game of some sort -- or commenting on that well-known law of physics.