Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

This is not a Leap Day-related post. I'm not sure what a Leap-Day related post would involve, except maybe writing about things I do every four years, like wash my car. Which is not interesting. So let's move on. I have things to share about the birthday present that I got from Ivan a couple of weeks ago.

Let's begin with this story about the tea she sent: "Bush tea: a surly tour guide made us some of this by putting it in a metal tin and attaching the tin to a chain. He then swung it around his head 10 times. It was so obvious he hated his job I bought some of the tea. It was good tea." I can only assume that after you drink it, you're immune to bitterness and dissatisfaction. Because it all got sucked into the tour guide.

There was also this terrifying creature, of which Ivan says: "Befana: Italian Christmas witch - who needs Santa when a hideous hag can enter your home to leave gifts! You don't even need to feed her cookies! Win! I found her at the Piazza Navona Xmas fair - she was the only one that didn't scream 'MADE IN CHINA' so I instantly fell in love."

Ivan's closing admonition: "Cherish her." Thanks, Ivan. She's hanging from my ceiling where she is certain to scare away evil spirits, burglars, and probably all my friends.

Last but not least, it's been too long since we spoke of dugongs. Have we ever spoken of dugongs? I'd be surprised if we haven't, for Ivan is slightly obsessed with them. I'm convinced the sole reason she went to Australia was to see dugongs, and perhaps to purchase this stuffed animal:

Please note that this is a dugong and NOT a manatee. I called it a manatee by accident and Ivan DID NOT LIKE THAT. Matt called it a "grumpshunk," however, and that amused her to no end, so frankly I feel she was a bit harsh with me. I was much closer than Matt was.

Ivan explained all the other presents, but all she wrote about the dugong was this:

Dugongs, they are self-explanatory.

Thank you for these and all the other delightful things, Ivan! I will cherish them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Warning: Never Drink With a Sicilian

Adam has a nose for Princess Bride memorabilia. I have quite a collection, thanks to him.
But this amazing find pretty much takes the cake.

This is a bottle of wits. Flavor: As You Wish White.
It is iocane free . . . most likely.

Ivan, next time you're home, let's find out who is right
and who is dead.

Thanks, Adam!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue
Don't hold your head so low
that you can't see the sky

Turns out this is from a song called "Mr. Blue" by Catherine Feeny.
I learn things in the library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day?

Something needs to be done about the rising rate
of hypocrisy in the slut population.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I've lost this game too many times to like it, but the Monopoly exhibit at the Museum of Play was really cool. The original 1933 board, hand-drawn by Charles Darrow, was round. It is extremely surreal to see the familiar illustrations on this board, just slightly different.

The original chance cards were not quite as decorative.

I do so love small things made big (in addition to big things made small).

The Landlord's Game was the precursor to Monopoly. It was patented by Elizabeth Magie, who hoped it would demonstrate the inherent problems in a system of land ownership in which rich people own everything and rent bits of it to poor people. This kind of game was popular in the early twentieth century, and people even made their own boards at home. The exhibit noted that Ivy League students played it, but changed the rules so that the winner was the person who could get the most money.

Probably the reason I never liked it is I'm basically a socialist.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Harsh Truth

A little while ago, Simon P. told me she had gotten engaged (!); a few days later we had this exchange over text:

Simon P.: I've just realized I will never marry Ari Shapiro.

Me: Ari Shapiro is gay. You never were going to marry Ari Shapiro.


Don't worry, Simon P. You and Ari will always have NPR.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Toy Safari

When I was in fifth grade I did a project on Teddy Roosevelt. I remember this project with great fondness because I recreated the entire Roosevelt family in Playmobil form. As I recall, that was entirely unnecessary, but it was a lot of fun. I tied little nametags around their necks, and I remember looking sadly at Teddy's son Quentin and thinking, "Poor little Quentin, you're going to die in World War I and your father will never recover!" I was quite affected, for some reason, by the deaths of presidential children. I still get depressed when I think about Calvin Coolidge, Jr., who got a blister playing tennis with his brother, and died a week later from blood poisoning at the age of sixteen. Friends, always wear socks with sneakers. YOU COULD DIE OTHERWISE.

Anyway, the Museum of Play has this great Teddy Roosevelt action figure, for lack of a better term, which would have been really useful to me during that project.

Tiny Teddy Roosevelt

 Tiny Teddy Roosevelt's tiny lion and tiny hilarious hippo

The museum also has a collection of fantastic miniature animals, which also brings back childhood memories. I had a set of little plastic animals that I used to play with. They were the subject of my first epic story, which I'm pretty sure is lost to the ages, and thank goodness, because I think everyone had names like "Ella the Elephant," which is just humiliating. I am sure if I had had animals made with real fur, like these, I would have been inspired to give Ella a better name, and I'd probably be published by now. SIGH.

I don't know what this is. It looks like a cross between a hyena and a wild boar. 

Obviously the use of real fur in the creation of toys is inappropriate, BUT . . .
this camel is adorable and I want one. 

I'm not sure about these either. Wild boars? They don't have very piggy noses.
Bison crossed with bears? The lack of teeth an horns in this collection
makes the animals quite difficult to identify.

I believe these terrifying creatures are supposed to be slavering after human flesh,
but I think it looks more like they're surprised but DELIGHTED to see you!

I have all kinds of questions about what these animals are made of, and how, and why, and where they came from, but Margaret Woodbury Strong's collection is really just a "collection" and less of a "museum," in that they don't give much information about anything. I'd like to wander through with an antiques expert some time and see what it's really all about.