Archive for the 'Observations' Category

Yay parenthood - summertime edition (Repost)

Sleepovers; cool aloe on sunburns; the gentle breeze of a long bike ride; sweet, tart lemonade from a lemonade stand; leaning as far back on the swings as possible, staring at the clouds; violent thunderstorms with gusty winds that make the trees look angry; bathing suits, water sprinklers & wet grass between the toes; the deafening sound of a nearby cicada; skinned knees; scratching mosquito bites; running from the sultry, sweaty outside into the cool of the basement; the sharp smell of fresh-cracked peppercorns sprinkled on the hot charcoal; how good it feels to step into the soft grass after walking barefoot on the blazing heat of the patio brick; the smell of the lilac bush in May, and the lavender in July; the wonderful hot juice from a ripe tomato; corn so sweet your hands get sticky from shucking it; still playing tag at 9 o’clock; fireflies in jars; taking long afternoon naps in front of an oscillating fan; and the Milky Way stretching overhead like the backbone of the night.

If Monty Python designed logos

“Yessir, the new logo for Her Majesty’s Office of Government Commerce is nearly complete, eh? Certainly fetching, if I do say so meself. Mmm-hm.”

“A quite fine job, Baskins. Your mum should be quite proud, you’ve - ‘allo ‘allo ‘allo… what’s this?!? What’s this all about? Baskins, did you take at look at this, you know, as they say, ‘on it’s side?’ ”

“No, sir, I ‘aven’t… what do you OH BLOODY MERCIFUL HEAVENS!!”

“Do you mean to tell me that we just spent £14,000 to develop this… this… low-go, and that you intend me to provide this to Her Majesty’s office on monetary oversight with a straight face?”

“Well, sir, it certainly conveys that the council has a grip on wasteful spending! Haugh!

“Mm. Quite right, quite right. Maybe they won’t notice.”

“Oy! Of course not! Let’s celebrate with a warm pint, shall we?”


Pre-space age art (repost)

space art

In this era of space telescopes, satellites, and Photoshop, it’s easy to forget that only a few decades ago, we had no idea of what space actually looked like. The task of communicating the wonders of space was left to the dreamers and artists, and we depended on them to stir our imaginations and passion for the universe.

Men like Chesley Bonestell and Jack Coggins took paint to canvas and created worlds and vistas that existed at the limits of imagination. Some of their art was eerily prescient, some of it was dead wrong, and some of it seemed to make no sense whatsover. Occasionally space was presented as a terrifying place. Occasionally, it was presented with whimsy. Nevertheless, these artists were the first space explorers, and they don’t get enough credit for it. Their work influenced a generation of young children to grow up and become scientists, engineers, explorers, and dreamers.

rocket dreamThis wonderful collection of pre-space age art was gleaned from children’s books going all the way back to the late 19th century. Take a look and see if any of these look familiar to you. Even I was able to find a bunch that I owned as a young spaceMonkey.


Donald Davis, an artist commissioned by NASA in the 1970s, has now graciously placed high resolution versions of his imaginative paintings into the public domain. Make sure you take a few quiet moments to peruse these as well.
H/T: Paleo-Future

I wonder where he’s placed the closing element…

You HTML geeks should check out this groovy tattoo.

H/T: Wil

How to handle a bee infestation

Step one - Realize that calling pest control costs $$.

Step two - Immolation. Merciless, petroleum-fueled immolation.


Step three - Realize that buying your kid new swings costs $$ too, but at least you got to burninate stuff.

I’ll bet you his neighbors NEVER complain about loud music or tall grass ever again.


Rules of marriage

The missusMonkey & I are coming up on 15 years, here. So, I’ve decided to pass down a synopsis of what I’ve learned from being married for a decade & a half.

Feel free to accept or reject this advice, but don’t deny it’s way more practical than “til death do us part.”

The 25 most important rules of marriage -in no particular order:

  1. They must never wallpaper together.
  2. She gets unlimited access to his t-shirt drawer.
  3. She gets an extra alcoholic beverage when out for dinner (if he’s driving). He must not complain.
  4. She must not talk during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl. At all.
  5. She must not act aggressively to strangers/bad drivers. He must still defend her if when she does.
  6. The decision to have a child comes with a commitment that the parent of the same gender must accompany said child to the toilet. An exception shall be made if the child is less than two years old.
  7. He must use a bathroom on the other side of the house for his daily constitutional.
  8. There shall be two closets. Both for her.
  9. He must respond instantly to a call of “Spider!”
  10. He must pull all dropped earrings out of the toilet.
  11. Whichever spouse has had the worst day gets the last bit of wine from the bottle. If both have had an equally worse day, she gets the remainder (he’ll probably be drinking Scotch anyway).
  12. She shall not complain about his scruffy beard, if she has shin stubble so stiff that it could be used to scrub the rust off a grill.
  13. He must not complain about the way she mows the grass. She must not complain about the way he vacuums.
  14. He must hold her hair when she vomits.
  15. She has fancy china. He has remote controls. Both must be respected.
  16. He is allowed to have a crush on Monica Bellucci. She is allowed to drool over Brad Pitt. Both shall be secure enough to not let this bother them.
  17. The first one awake brews the coffee. No fair cheating pretending to be asleep.
  18. Both must take turns hollering at the kids being the “bad parent.”
  19. One shall enjoy a back- or shoulder-rub without the expectation of having to return the favor immediately. Up to one day may pass before “re-backrubbing” the spouse. Only one day, however.
  20. She must at least pretend to be interested as he excitedly explains (for the 37th time) the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the NHL’s 2-line pass rule, or why Mikey had to hide in Sicily.
  21. She parks in the garage, he parks in the driveway.
  22. She must inform him immediately if any lights appear on her car’s dashboard. “Immediately” does not mean a week or two.
  23. She gets the last piece of chocolate.
  24. He gets the last piece of pizza.
  25. She has shoes. He has caps. Leave each other alone about it.

Best time of year

Autumn’s here in full force… the nights are crisp, days refreshingly warm. Trees are gold and vermillion, some still tinged with green. Walking through a wooded area, one is assaulted by the sweet, slightly acrid smell of fallen leaves. Fall-themed wreaths are starting to appear on front doors through the neighborhood; dried corn husks and small squash in baskets on porches alongside. Fuzzy sweaters have found their way out of storage. I brewed coffee yesterday at 4pm and watched the kids play on the swingset, dressed in light jackets. The cozy smell of comfort foods wafted out of the nearest dozen kitchen windows, the same windows that allowed the occasional yelp to be heard from someone whose football team was just intercepted. The craving for grilled meats and sweet corn is slowly yielding to a desire for steamy, roasted meats and soul-sating soups.

Nights are now longer than days, and it’s dark when I wake up in the morning. If there’s a pretty morning sky, I will sometimes take my morning brew outside and watch the stars disappear in the changing colors of the morning twilight, hissing steam in the frosty air, listening to the squirrels chirp to each other as they dance across lawns, tree limbs, and power lines, frantically searching for nuts to store for the dreary winter that’s just around the corner.

I tried to sleep in a few days ago - a beautiful, lazy fall weekend morning - but one of my kids crawled into bed with us, had a dream about Splash Mountain or something, and whizzed all over the sheets. Yay parenthood.