Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Still at 149!!

When does the bubble burst?

Leia Mais…

Moving UP

So an hour ago the book ranked at it's climbed to 217. The auctioneer in my head is rattling off numbers like crazy..., "Do I hear 205? Who'll give me 205? 200, 200, I need 200. 200! Let's go to 185. 185. Do I hear 185?...."

Let's keep it moving!!

Leia Mais…

283 Isn't Bad!

Wow! My book officially "hit the market" today. I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised to see it debuted as the #283 selling book at Barnes & Nobel (see fine print above). Sound like a big number? Well, okay, it's not small. But of all of the books that are out there, 283 is not bad! Tell your friends about it, and maybe we can crack the top 100. :-)

Leia Mais…

Friday, October 24, 2008

A-Maize-ing Politicians

Today I took my family to a pumpkin farm just a couple miles from our house. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and, most importantly, there were lots of pumpkins. Little did I know when we arrived at the farm that we would also be given a crash-course in Presidential Politics. The lesson was kind of corny, but all in good fun…

Of utmost importance for my children was finding a perfect pumpkin, which required a short hay-ride to the pumpkin patch (which wasn’t really a patch at all, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It was just a large open field. No pumpkins were ever grown there. Instead, migrant workers brought thousands of large orange pumpkins into this place on trucks, but that’s beside the point). It wasn’t until we had all found [and paid for…ouch!$!] our pumpkins that our political education began. We had some spare time and decided to have a family adventure in the farm’s big corn maze, which ended up being the weirdest, coolest, and most political pre-Halloween thing I’ve ever done…

Believe it or not, the picture shown above is an aerial photo of the corn maze. Yes, believe it! Some nutty farmer turned his acreage into a giant rock-the-vote campaign. It was so bizarre. Here are a few observations from my experience in the presidential corn:

1. The corn on the northwest edge of the field was noticeably older, like it had been planted much earlier in the season. That was helpful. Simply by it’s age I knew it must have been the McCain section of the maze, and I was better able to orient myself.

2. The farmer who mowed this thing obviously doesn't know much about the political spectrum: he put Senator Obama on the right and Senator McCain on the left. What it should have been was McCain on the left and Obama on the FAR-left.

3. Although the stalks of corn that made up McCain were starting to wither, they did look tough, as though they’d weathered a lot of difficult storms.

4. Obama’s corn looked nice and new and shiny, but the stalks were kind of weak.

5. The largest vacancy in the presidential corn maze: Obama’s head (hey, that's not a slam on Obama, just the cornfield caricature of him ;-)

For what it’s worth, we had a really fun time. Both candidates stood tall as we ran all over them.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend of Icons

This weekend in Maryland was a ton of fun. We got to see so many cool things and meet wonderful people. But a few brushes with fame must be shared...

First, bronze art: Rodin's famous statue, "The Thinker", has always been one of my favorites. It just makes you's he thinking about? The death of a loved one? How to capture the heart of his true love? The demise of the aristocracy? Breakfast? Who knows! But it's fun to think about. It is truly a stunning work of art. So my jaw about dropped when we walked into the Baltimore Museum of art to find it there on display. We didn't know we weren't supposed to take pictures, so Rebecca snapped a shot of me "thinking" (thinking about whether or not we were allowed to take pictures). Then a guard rushed over and scolded us.

Our second encounter was with a more modern icon. Although he hasn't been around as long as The Thinker, Elmo is, arguably, just as cool (and much more cuddly). At the fundraiser this weekend for the Children's Cancer Foundation, Elmo and Zoe (the REAL people behind the puppets) were there, and we got to meet them and get our picture taken. It was really exciting. Kevin Clash (Elmo) has had an amazing career, and is deserving of everything that has come his way.

Leia Mais…

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fine Feathered Friend

Warning: What you are about to read is sad. Very sad. If you have a soft-spot in your heart for God's most reliable egg-manufacturers, you should probably stop reading. As in now. Stop already! Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you...

Two nights ago, as we were packing up for our trip to Baltimore (which is where I'm at right now), I noticed that one of our chickens was missing. We have about 20 chickens, 3 of which are roosters that sort of roam free near the barn and watch the lady-chicks from the other side of the fence. Two of the roosters are a very small breed, called Bantams, while the third is probably twice as big. The missing rooster was a Bantam. So I went looking, and it didn't take long before I found the little guy curled up in the grass, barely conscious, his eyes literally rolling back in his head. He had been his "friend", the BIG rooster. All of the feathers on his back had been pecked off, leaving just a fleshy mound of blood and raw meat.

I wanted to throw up.

The poor little guy was in such pain that he couldn't even move, and I knew instantly that we had to do the humane thing by ending its life. I made the mistake of telling my daughters what I'd found, and they all rushed to see, and then it was just hysteria, tears, and more hysteria. My oldest daughter, Mikayla, called her mother on the cell and started crying. "Mom...[sniffle, sniffle,]...the chicken..[sniffle,sniffle] hurt. Do you...[sniffle, sniffle]...know where the hatchet is? We have to end its suffering." That worried Rebecca, because she didn't know I was home yet, and she thought perhaps Mikayla was going to 'take care of business' all by herself.

Once I'd found the hatchet, I sent all of the kids inside except for Mikayla, who I needed to help stretch out the neck. She didn't want to see what was about to happen, so she covered her tear-stained eyes with her free hand. Just before I swung, she yelled, "Wait!" Then she took another moment to wrap her free arm all the way around her head, covering not only her eyes, but her ears as well so she wouldn't have to hear the sound of the chop. I raised the hatchet just as Mikayla whispered to the chicken, "I love you."

I could hardly bring myself to do it, but I know it was the right thing. The chicken's sorry little eyes were almost begging for the pain to end. Ultimately, the final blow was swift and sure. No more pain.

As difficult as it was to end one chicken's life, I know that I will have no trouble ending another one as soon as we're back from Baltimore....the "perp" in this brutal chicken attack (the Big rooster) is going to be chicken-stew just as soon as I get the chance.

Chop. Chop.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Pits

This morning I "slept in" (which, with 5 kids, means I woke up at 7 AM). My daughter Mary came in and jumped in bed next to me. She looked at me for a few seconds and then said, "Daddy, why don't you shave....[pause]...your armpits?" Hmmm. Let me see. My wife shaves her armpits. My oldest daughters, Mikayla and Kamry, shave theirs. Why don't I?? It's a reasonable 7-year-old question.

But I didn't have a good answer for her. So I've decided that when I die, as I'm standing in line at the pearly gates, the first thing I'm going to ask the people in charge will be the great mystery of the universe: Why do we have armpit hair???? Someday, I'm gonna figure it out.

Leia Mais…