Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We support the arts

Click for www.electoral-vote.com
Click for www.electoral-vote.com

But first, sports. Click on the icons for details; they automatically go to the latest data so you can come back again and again. Like any sporting event, it's always satisfying when your team is ahead but it's most exciting when the contest is close – especially when the stakes are this high. Of course the House race got a little more interesting since the Foley scandal broke. Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe compares the GOP leadership to the Catholic hierarchy in light of sexual molestation in the ranks: ignore the wrongdoer and conceal everything.

Saturday was Museum Day sponsored by the Smithsonian – you could get two free passes to pretty much any museum of your choice on that day only. So all four of us went to the MFA (kids get in free). I wasn't expecting too much and Becky did indeed get noisily bored after a while, but Sarah was really into it, to the point of bringing a sketchpad and copying in pencil some painting and a mummy case, complete with one-letter color coding in each space so she could fill in the correct colors later. She loves to draw and write, which makes me very happy, since she's already less creatively inhibited than I'll ever be. Remind me to post some of her stories complete with delightful phonetic spelling.

Despite her shorter attention span, Becky had the most trenchant observations about the pieces we viewed. On a piece of ancient Roman tablet depicting an Ionic column: "It looks like the swirls in Steve's thinking chair!" Later, I explained about the amphorae that people didn't have Tupperware and screw-top containers so they put things in these instead, like... and as I paused, Becky piped up "Peanut butter?" She also noticed on a life-size depiction of a Roman soldier with sword and shield that he was wearing two watches (actually wristbands with circular centers). And Sarah coined a great phrase of her own. In the room with Impressionist paintings, I held her up close to see the paintbrush strokes and then we looked at them from several feet away. She was amazed at how the image became clear so she called them "stand-back paintings."

But I still have to let Becky have the last word. On the way to school today I was telling them about Europe and its various countries, including Austria. Becky started to talk and I was quite sure she was going to talk about "The Sounds of Music" which we saw over the weekend (set in Austria, of course), but she surprised me. She said, "They call it that because that's where ostriches live!" So I think they should just rename the country Austricha, which is certainly nicer than Anschlussland as the movie depicts it.

Yes, we are introducing the kids to all forms of High Culture, including fine music. This happened when we were clicking through the TV one weekend afternoon and Ben and I were mesmerized by a showing on a New Hampshire PBS station of an episode of the Lawrence Welk show. As kids, of course, we scoffed at how pathetically out of it the show was, with squeaky-clean comedy and hopelessly dated music even as the turmoil of the '60s was going down. But one thing it did assimilate from its era was the clothes. So you had middle-aged men in hideously wide lapels and women in toxic plasticized Ann Landers hairdos. But the crowning moment for the whole family was the gang doing the chicken dance accompanied by this man on accordion. They did four or five verses but it never got any faster or funnier. That's because they took the chicken dance VERY seriously, as do these folks, one of whom appears to be getting drunk on maple syrup.

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