Every year, we carve pumpkins. The kids aren’t quite old enough yet to carve their own. Typically they draw their designs on the pumpkins and I carve, but they both just offered creative direction this year. We had a little popcorn during, and then we made caramel to pour over it. Because it seemed unlikely that there’d be enough candy in our near future without it.

Renaissance Fair

We recently went to a Renaissance fair with my dad, the first I had ever been to. There were knights, fairies, and maidens, and even storm troopers and orcs. Oh, and mentalists, belly dancers, and slightly bawdy acrobats. I rode human-powered rides with each of my kids and had to tell them that no I would not spend triple digits on “period” outfits and accessories. We watched a contentious joust at the end of the day. It was pretty fun, and I’d go to another one, though I’m not the sort to dress up (the rest of the family seems so inclined, though). I did a pretty poor job of taking photos, but here are a few.




I came down after the kids were gone to school and found this scene at my son’s place at the breakfast table. I slid the hulk gloves back about two inches to make for a better photo, but the scene is otherwise as I found it.

(Vacation) Under the Volcano

I’ve read a great many of the Magic Treehouse series of books to my kids over the last few years, including #13, titled Vacation Under the Volcano, which I’ve read several times. In the series, Morgan le Fay inexplicably sends children on perilous adventures to perform menial tasks and learn obvious lessons. It’s all a little too cute, and when I first started reading these years ago, I kind of hated them. They’ve grown on me a bit over time.

In any case, as I said, I’ve read #13 several times, but only this time did it occur to me that the title incorporates the title of Malcom Lowry’s vaunted novel Under the Volcano, which details a very different sort of peril (dipsomania), though if I recall correctly, the protagonist shambles around the city for a day in much the way that Mary Pope Osborne’s Jack and Annie wander around on their brief journeys.

I wasn’t a great fan of Lowry’s book when I read it a long time ago but suspect I just wasn’t in the right mind set for it. It’s hard not to chuckle at the notion of a dark mashup of the two, however, with Jack and Annie prowling around Quauhnahuac on the Day of the Dead trashed on mescaline.

Stay Away from the Moon

I just stepped out of the office for a glass of water and stopped, as I often do when poking my head out, to say hi to my wife and son. My wife told me that Finn had asked what she wanted to do today, and she answered that she’d like to fly to the moon. She shouldn’t do that, he cautioned her. When she asked why, he replied, “Newt Gingrich.” Pressing for more details, she discovered that his reasoning was that Gingrich would make you work in a factory if you went to the moon. He apparently wants to build factories in space, which proposal Finn learned about this morning while overhearing my wife’s listening to Rachel Maddow.

Yet another reason to avoid voting for Newt.

You know, I hear that while he was building factories on the barren moon, he was shopping the idea around to build on other celestial bodies as well, the promiscuous rascal.

Given his religious background, it stands to reason that Romney might have an interest in space too.

Book Day

As I approached the door of my home office today to come out for lunch, I saw that a large sheet of green paper had been slid under the door. My seven-year-old daughter is making up holidays, and today is apparently Book Day. This is a holiday I can get on board with. I’m not sure yet what the specifics of the celebration will entail.


She's seven. We'll work on the your/you're distinction soon enough.

Book Day

It's Book Day!

The Oak Ridge Boys

I’m not sure how I was introduced to the Oak Ridge Boys when I was a lad, but I was, and I’m still a big, unironic fan of their iconic song Elvira. Here’s a video of a performance:

If you’re not familiar with the song, make sure you stick around for the chorus and the giddyup-a-hoom-bop-a-hoom-bops (which Finn calls giddyup-baboon-butt-baboon-butts). When I was a kid, I had a little 45 record of the song. The album had a blue sky label with a rainbow on it, and I don’t remember what was on the reverse side of it. I also had a 45 with a song on it called Pacman Fever. As far as I can recall, these are the only two vinyl records I could ever call my own.

I introduced Elvira to Lennie in a fit of nostalgia when she was young and have recently turned both she and Finn on to it. Tonight, we went Youtube surfing and found another fun one called Bobbie Sue, which I’ve embedded below.