Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Note on the Evil Amish

The Wife is all fired up on this little article and I have to agree with her. What in the world are law enforcement officials doing? Are we absolutely sure they have nothing else to do but go and harrass these people?

Now if they take their unpasteurized milk into the city and start hawking it to children and selling it on the street corners, I would have a problem with it, but if the police are soliciting it from their dairies, that is quite a different deal.

I just hope they didn't release any sexual predators from the prison to make room for these milk dealers.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Note on Dora and Touchdown

Overheard this past week while my sister and her children have been visiting the Wizard.

My Sister (upon entering the play room and seeing Dora, my niece, and Touchdown squatting over two ice cream tubs filled with HotWheels): What in the world are you two doing in here?

5-yr. old Dora (with a look of innocence): We're poopin' cars.

Touchdown (with a giggle and a nod of her head): Yeah, Aunt J, we're poopin' cars.

My Sister: Well, okay, then.

Overheard this week as Dora and Touchdown had a sleepover at the Castle.

The Wife (upon discovering that both Dora and Touchdown are completely naked in Touchdown's room): What in the world are you two doing in here?

Dora (with a look of innocence): We're playin' naked house.

Touchdown (with a giggle and a nod of her head): Yeah, Mom, were playin' naked house.

The Wife: Well, okay, then.

I sometimes wonder what we are teaching here at the Castle.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Note on Bernie Crocker

So it's Father's Day again and I have some stunning news to report to all of you regarding the Wizard (aka My Father).

Because my brother, the Wizard, and I made dinner for the girls on Mother's Day it is only fair that they should be the ones to cook for the boys on Father's Day. So it was. My mother asked me what I might like for Father's Day and I mentioned that I might like her famous homemade burritos and she responded positively and went out and slow-cooked a pork roast and made some of the best meat filling in the history of mankind. She also decided to make her world famous homemade tortillas to wrap around the roasted pork filling. I hadn't asked for the tortillas but was super-excited to be able to have them for Father's Day. I was geeked beyond comprehension. It was going to be a stellar Father's Day to be sure.

Imagine my shock, however, when I arrived at my parents' house this afternoon to find my father (a man's man, a throwback to the good ole days, an all-American male chauvinist) cooking tortillas like he was some behemoth version of Betty Crocker and Tia Juana all rolled into one. I was flabbergasted and, let me tell you, there's a lot of flabber to be gasted. My father has been sissified to the point of nonrecognition. I don't know who he is anymore. I expected him to be burping and grunting on the couch watching the U.S. Open, but, no, he was more interested in the way the tortillas were rising.

I really don't know what else I can say. I hope he has some reasonable explanation for his behavior. Wizard? Please help me see the light. I'm so confused.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A List of Things Learned on the Road

With all of the travelling we have done over the last several weeks (D.C. and Salt Lake), I have had some revelations. Here is a quick primer on my revelations.

1. Touchdown can say something over and over at least 50 times and not get tired.
2. Shoes weigh a lot when you are walking through an airport.
3. Lost items do, in fact, sometimes make it to the Lost and Found.
4. The pilots on most planes pick the most inopportune times to talk on the intercom (at the precise moment that Indy goes to sleep)
5. People who smoke in non-smoking hotel rooms ought to be neutered.
6. The Wife does not handle pressure well.
7. Touchdown has lots of imaginary friends.
8. We (the Wife and I) are severely sleep-deprived.
9. The Teenager does not enjoy museums.
10. I am a Westerner through and through. (No mountains means confused and claustrophobic King)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Note on the White House

Overheard while on the White House tour.

Naive American Tourist (pointing at a presidential portrait): "Excuse me, Mr. Secret Service Guy, whose portrait is that in the corner over there?"

Secret Service Guy (in very serious tone): "Sir, that is the presidential portrait of President Harrison Ford."

Naive American Tourist (nodding his head): "President Harrison Ford. Thanks so much. Honey, the guy said it is President Harrison Ford. I knew it."

The King looks over at Secret Service Guy to see wry, little smile creep onto his face.

The King (with admiration): "Nice one."

Secret Service Guy: "Thanks."

It's nice to know there is some levity in the White House.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Note on Colonial Williamsburg

So, the vacation came to an end and we did great. The kids endured and even enjoyed the experience and the adults made it through. On Monday we (meaning the Wife, the King, and the three kids as well as my sister and her four kids aged 3-9) journeyed to Williamsburg, Virginia to visit Colonial Williamsburg. As a public service, I offer here my critique and assessment of all things Colonial and Williamsburgian.

For those of you not familiar with the concept, back in the 1930's, John D. Rockefeller bought a bunch of land in Williamsburg, Virginia with the idea of reconstructing and preserving the Colonial capital that once stood there. Several of the original buildings remained there and the concept of preservation is still very much adhered to at the site. The site also tries to give visitors a flavor of what it might have been like to live in that era with actual craftsmen and workers plying their trade on the streets of this capital. To wit, there is a very fragile balance between education, entertainment, and preservation at this quasi-historical/theme-parkish enterprise. Reenactments abound but all within the actual framework of the era and the location.

The Pros:

The preservation and the reconstruction was simply amazing. The Governor's Palace beams with stature and elegance and the Wythe House, though simple, provides a manorly example of Colonial life. My kids loved the chickens, the sheep, and the oxen that seem to be spread throughout the experience. I loved the two archaeological sites which were both informative and well presented to the public. I even had a PhD student from William and Mary sit and spend ten minutes with me describing his site. The Wife and the Sister both enjoyed the quaint buildings and especially enjoyed the Bruton Parish churchhouse that is still a functioning parish with routine services.

The reenactments were first-rate and for history buffs and all others people without seven children in tow, they were well worth staying and seeing. The cast members were all well informed and, in some cases, downright scary. Of all the things that we did, the brickmaker was the highlight of the trip. There is just something about letting little kids slop around in mud that makes them smile from ear to ear. Our kids were no exeptions. Even the King dirtied his feet in pursuit of a good time.

The Cons:

Bring your own food. I like roasted quail at $25 a plate as well as the next guy, but with seven children in tow, I wasn't about to fork out that much after I just forked out $42 for my entrance fee. We wound up paying $6.00 each for PB & J sandwiches, kettle chips, cookies, and apples which sounds like a great deal (and is) except when it takes them 25 minutes to get the sandwiches to you. I am pretty sure that in colonial times, the patrons of restaurants that didn't give them good service threw a fit. I did not, but I sure wanted to. Oh, and I paid a slick $7.95 for a pedestrian roast beef sandwich. Word to the wise: Take your own food and drink.

The cost is steep. My sister said she would pay each and every time cause she loved the history and the tours were so informative, but for the average family where King's Dominion and Busch Gardens are just a stone's throw away, the cost is steep and the payoff is limited. Some kids will get bored cause outside of frolicking in the mud, there isn't much exciting there for the Gameboy and PS2 crowd.

All of this said, I loved it. This is real and living history. The College of William and Mary (founded in 1693) sits right there and kids are attending classes as you are touring and sightseeing. I loved the whole thing and even suggest you travel down the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown and see the sites there as well. Beautiful and informative at the same time.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Note on Sore Feet

So here we are in the nation's Capital and we are having a great, albeit, exhausting experience. We managed to get here in one piece, but having a lap baby on a red-eye flight is really not the best idea we have ever had. We made it through but neither the Wife nor I got any sleep whatsoever on either flight. We are wiped out!

The White House? How was it, you ask? A fraud of a tour to be sure. We saw a room where the daughter of a president once had a dance. Woohoo! Oh and we saw a room painted green and a completely other one painted what looked like it could have been blue. The excitement was palpable for sure. I can see why you have to get such top secret clearance to go on this tour. Yawn.

The Capitol tour? Excellent. I have done it twice now and both times it was spectacular and the highlight of our day. The history is so cool and the sense of importance at that building is truly evident. I was again delighted to see that building.

The rest of the day? We saw the National Postal Museum. Yawn. I love my post offices, but a whole museum dedicated to mail delivery? We then went and ran through the National Gallery of Art which I love but which made the Teenager almost die of boredom. Then the trip to the National Archives. Again, the sense of greatness when you are actually looking at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was simply palpable. I kind of teared up in there.

Then a trip to the Museum of American History where the Teenager and I were quite disappointed to find that Indiana Jones' whip and hat were not on display. They had some Jim Henson creations instead but the Swedish Chef is no Short Round. By this time, the Wife had just lost it. She was so far over the edge, there was no saving her. I think I was in danger of getting a cuffing across the back of the head for absolutely no reason just because she was beyond tired and had gone to Grumpyville.

So here I am blogging trying to avoid all eye contact. The kids are in bed. I should be okay.