Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Little Geography Quiz

I got such a positive response to my geography post - half-joking - that I thought it was time for another geography teaching moment. Maybe I'll make this a regular thing.

For work and play I travel to lots of interesting places around the globe. Recently I started a new job where it is expected that I will be covering a few countries for our team. Every day I would come home from work and my husband would ask "what did you get? what did you get?" and I had to answer "I don't know yet".

Well now I know. Maybe you can guess:

1. You would never get a tourist visa for either of these countries.

2. Both countries' average highs hover around 90 degrees F - every month of the year.

3. One country requires French-speaking skills, but not so much the French spoken in Paris. Cross the border and you need to speak Spanish.

4. The other country has a name very similar to its neighbor to the north - which when mispronounced sounds like a racial slur (it's fun to watch people struggle with that one!)

5. I'll be taking malaria medication. And hopefully this time it will work.

Can you guess them?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Baby Beethoven

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


Joyfully, I find myself spending a lot of time buying baby gifts these days. If you invite me to a shower or over to see the new one I'll bring books and clothes (for 18 months - thinking ahead to the time when the 600 onesies you got will be useless).

Lately I've also been thinking about Baby Beethoven. I think it's partly due to a dinner I went to where the hosts played their CD incessantly - the child was upstairs sleeping and somehow the CD playing in the living room on the other side of the house for hours after the kid had gone to bed was somehow going to keep her in bed. Rather than soothing, I found the plunk-plunk of the toy piano on the CD mind-numbing. Maybe it was hearing my wedding procession played like I was a toddler that finally got to me.

Partly inspired by SMID's constant introduction of music to her children - real musicians playing songs the way they were written (graphic lyrics and all) - I put together a CD for a friend of a great album by Leon Fleisher. "Two Hands" is Leon Fleisher's first recording in 40 years after he suffered from focal dystonia - he had lost the use of his right hand. Thankfully, he recovered to great success and even went on to receive a Kennedy Center honor.

Hopefully my friend's baby will find this music soothing, at a time when she's probably more focused on burping better.

(I apologize for the poor quality video - go out and buy the CD!)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On a cold gray day


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Yesterday I posted on our attendance at one of LA's premiere entertainment activities - pro-wrestling mixed with striptease.

The VaVoom is all about the striptease. You'd think one would find this fascinating for the usual reason - women stripping - but there was so much more. Typically you have a woman using fans in a clever way to hide her body parts; if you haven't seen it in person you probably caught it in a movie like Victor, Victoria.

Here a few of the higlights of striptease brought to a whole other level:

It's hard to tell from the photo exactly what's going on - I'll do my best to describe it. There's a man dressed as a cowboy bouncing up and down continuously on a pogo stick with a plastic horse on it. Follow me? He's bouncing vigorously for what had to be 10 minutes (thighs of steel!) all the while taking off his clothes. Just when you think he's reached the end, wearing nothing but a stars and stripes decorated speedo he pulls at his last remaining piece of clothing (still hopping!) and a burst of silver glitter sprays from his crotch. Yes, a g-string! What ingenuity!

The best tease was the last one... a woman (or so it seems) using a feather fan eventually reveals herself to a be a himself. And then proceeds to perform the most acrobatic, beautiful, and truly impressive act with a hula hoop. Calves of steel! Brilliant!

The evening's finale was something called Sashay Gigante. You're watching a bunch of men onstage in various outfits (fireman, postman, etc) and they proceed to strip off their uniforms revealing a variety of speedos. Only this group seems off, they are not nearly as buff as the previous peformers - both wrestlers and strippers. You wonder what's going on as they proceed to gyrate. And then they run into the stands and hump various audience members. That's it. Nothing else to it - just a big ole Sashay Gigante.

Plates of steel? In their heads?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lucha VaVoom!

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


We just got back from LA where we hit both the high and low cultural points of this town.

For Valentine's day my husband and I joined my little brother and his girlfriend for Lucha VaVoom! A combination of Mexican masked wrestling and burlesque, this show was outstanding in its acrobatics and colorfulness. Wrestlers dressed as chickens and nurses, women (and sometimes men) performing denuding feats that only years of wasted time could produce. Truly astonishing. A memorable performance all around. And some heart-racing music played at full volume.

I leave you with this short clip of the night's festivities...

More on Lucha VaVoom! and other highlights later this week...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Haiku

Flying to LA
Valentine's Day in the air
Join the Mile High Club...

Happy Valentine's Day everyone - we're off on vacation.

Visit My Mommy's Place for the Second Haiku Buckaroo Contest! You've got until Friday to enter your own poetry. And this time you'll win prizes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I am a geography geek. I could peruse an atlas for hours. And so it was with great interest that I came upon this map.

Funny, they forgot to mark the Starbucks at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Another Round!

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


With SMID visiting Europe this weekend I was reminded of my travels there as a child and all of the music we took in. Mostly, we staged productions of ABBA songs - "Fernando" and "Dancing Queen" were favorites. Occasionally we would be exposed to other music.

For instance, Roger Whitaker. Popular amongst the German housewives at the time, and sung in English, we found more fodder for our dramatic talents. I recall vaguely something about a staging of "Yellow Bird" and "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella" - maybe that was the Muppets. Not that you could tell the difference. English-speaking children spending the summer in Germany will take whatever they can get.

Finally, I distinctly recall a particular song we learned while touring around - "In Munchen steht ein Hofbrauhaus, eins, zwei, Hofbrau!". While other kids were learning "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" we were learning beer hall songs.

Oh, what an educational childhood!

p.s. Watching the Grammys as I write this. Anyone else think the sound quality is sucky? Isn't exactly selling any tunes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I don't know what to make of it.

Dick Cheney's dog, Dave, and Lucy, our beloved cat, have the same veterinarian. Good thing we didn't schedule our appointments at the same time.

Poor dog, such a shame his owner is heartless.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kiss Them!

I came home today to this in my mailbox. Not only does it indicate that spring is a mere 6 weeks away, it shows last night's primary results.

I'm not going to promote one or the other - they are both clearly liked by a number of states and voters. In fact, one won more states, one won more delegates. Reminders of 2000.

Alas, I was not part of yesterday's frenzy - that is next week - but my family was! My dad tried to caucus in his new hometown but hadn't registered in time - but he really did try! And as luck would have it, the polling place was his favorite bookstore. Gotta love that.

My sister, brother, and mother all voted in the first ever global primary. Not sure how many delegates that is and who exactly those people are. And if any of them count. No matter, they voted! Kiss them!

Super Tuesday in Jakarta

(notice there are more cameras than voters)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Worlds Collide

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


Are you a fan of Bollywood, Teletubbies, and HIV prevention?

I am!

And if you are too, this is the video for you! (Not for the kids)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Four Flights In Four Days


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.