Saturday, February 28, 2009


For some reason, my little niece is crazy about prunes. Her parents have imposed a limit on the number she can eat each day (I think it's three), but if she's permitted to select her own "three" from the bag, it usually turns out to be four or five.... and it's not exactly a counting problem.

This made an impression on me. Very small children may have their own biases based on the smell or appearance of particular foods, but they are generally free of the learned biases - such as "prunes = dentures".

So I decided to give prunes a chance, and now they're one of my favorite snacks. They're so sweet ... and packed with nutrients (at least relative to their weight and volume, presumably because the water has been taken out of the plum).

First oatmeal (thanks, Mom), now prunes (thanks, Clara). What next?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Concord Conquered

Last Friday, while the Governor and Legislature were away, I and a group of 4th graders got a tour of the New Hampshire State House.

The New Hampshire General Court is bicameral in nature, just like certain other legislatures I could mention. At 400 members, NH House of Representatives is apparently "the third-largest parliamentary body in the English speaking world" after the U.S. Congress and Britain's Parliament, but serves a relatively small population of 1.3 million. In any event, their chamber was light and airy...

...while that of the NH Senate (24 members) was dark and somber.

Nearby, there's a new-looking town square type area with a quaint, old-world feeling. In recognition of New Hampshire's long, cold winter, they planted a Tree that Would Never Die:

We enjoyed some mediocre food with old-world service (the waitress was spectacularly inattentive), then drove around a bit and saw this building (not in Concord, but in one of the bigger towns within easy driving distance):

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Homemade hearts:

Reaching out - part 1:

Reaching out - part 2:


What Women Want: A Working Theory

More than anything else, I think we want to be assured that our man recognizes and appreciates those unchanging inner qualities that make us unique and special ... not interchangeable with other women.

All other requirements flow from that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Domestic Scenes

What home is complete without fine art? This collectors' item is truly one-of-a kind, a fragile contemporary work by an up-and-coming artist. Critics have praised it as a "scathing indictment of the human condition" - calling attention in particular to the heart which is certainly in the right place yet remains vulnerably visible (along with the lungs) to any unscrupulous stinger who makes a "BEE L[IN]E" for it.

A duck naps on the front lawn:

Louis Catorze surveys his kingdom, little suspecting that a revolution is brewing and due to erupt on 2/21/09:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Museum of Fine Arts

I flew into Boston and spent the afternoon with my mom at the MFA. It looks like they're trying to move further into contemporary art with the new wing they are constructing. We saw a nice exhibit of black and white photos - some quite striking and beautiful, others rather less impressive. (I've taken some rather uninspired blurry photos of my own in my time, but neglected to make them into silver gelatin prints.) There are some lovely distorted views of the human body, including a stroboscopic photo of the photographer's eye reflected or refracted into falling drops of water in front of her face.

Perhaps the most striking one is also the most famous: Sinead O'Connor's shaved head resting on a horizontal surface. The head is slightly elongated, so it looks like an urn or vase (with the face as the top). If you turn your head 90 degrees to see her face the right way up, it looks distorted and not nearly as beautiful. This would probably be the most arresting image in the collection anyway, due to its size, subject matter and starkness, but they left nothing to chance: it stands alone on a yellow wall in the middle of the room (the rest of the walls are painted with a dark color).

Self-portrait with non-reflecting mirrored exhibit:

Famous John Singer Sargeant painting of four sisters. The very cool detail is that the giant urns depicted in the painting are actually present in the corners of the room. The artist took the liberty of simplifying the design on the urns - in keeping with the feeling of isolation in the painting.

Sunset over Boston:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

January 10: Burns Night I

The evening started with scotch tasting (there was a lovely ultra-smoky one in an undulating bottle, which I like even better than JW Blue), and then those with kilts got up to show us some Scottish country dancing:

The audience was very appreciative:

An authentic choreographed Scottish juggling act, complete with authentic Scottish yellow rings:

Rev. Scott Black Johnston gives one of several speeches at the dinner that do not extensively quote the great poet; instead, he tells numerous Scottish-themed jokes:

The best humor catches people completely off-guard:

It was a fun evening, though I did not try the haggis.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Belleayre: The Three Musketeers

Lorene, KJ and I met up before 7 a.m. near the GW Bridge and set off for the Catskills. We saw the sun rise en route:

Iced trees and snow guns welcomed us to the oddly spelled resort:

Lorene pretty much grew up on skis, so she was not fazed by the ice, steeps, or moguls.

KJ just learned to snowboard this year, and we already got him going down black diamond slopes! We met up with the other folks in the group for lunch, posed for a photo, then splintered off again into our trio.

Shadows under the lift:

We speed-raced down the hill to squeeze in two more runs in the last few minutes of the day. We caught the last lift, then skied down Seneca to the parking lot.

It was a fun day. The only problem was that I'd miscalculated the timing on everything (drive back to the city + subway home to drop off my gear) and had to miss the superbowl party I'd promised to attend. Oh well. The Steelers did Pittsburgh proud even without my eyeballs glued to the screen, though I hear the last 24 seconds* of the game were well worth watching.

FN* That's 24 seconds in "football time" which apparently translated into about 5 minutes in the real world.