Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bill's Birthday Party - June 7, 2008

A relaxed, good time was had by Bill (of course), Pat, Jane, Eric and Kirsti, Joseph and Flo, Sarah, Andy and Anders, and Frank and Trish at Bill and Pat's on Bill's birthday. Here are a few picts.

Pete's Downtown

It has been almost 3 years to the day since Hosmer, Frank, Eric, Jody and I (Kate) made the epic 3 hour walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by dinner at Pete's Downtown. I love this picture. (Weirdly, I'm wearing the same dress today.)

Some Excerpts from the Culkin Gazette

Here are few excerpts from the Culkin Gazette, published by Frank, Mary, Betsy and Jimmy Franklin in 1955.

Stop Light Won't Stop, by Frank
In a rather comical situation, it was found that Weese's car stop light wouldn't stop. Dad finally stopped it by kicking the brake but it later went on again and Father and Tommy both kicked it to no avail. Finally it was taken to Blunts where it was fixed.

We need a dog, by Betsy
Mother agrees that we should have a dog. I don't think we want a four year old boxer. Jodie would be scared. A cocker spaniel or collie would be nice.

Lets Move the Girls, by Mary.
There has been talk of moving Betsy and Flo to the playroom for many weeks. But not a thing has been done. We wish that something would be done, as Jody and Bill are too big for their beds. Jody has been moved temporarily to the extra bed in the girls room, but we do not know if she will stay. Lets try to get them up there this week end. While on the subject of moving, what happened to moving Frank's train downstairs?

Poem by Flo
Last year I went to the fair
I rode on a pony and saw what was there.

I went on the Merry go round, round, and round
And went on the rolley coaster up and down.

Special to the Editors, by the Printer (Florence was the printer).
I am sorry this edition of the paper was delayed by Bill's illness. You will be glad to hear that he is better today. However, I wish to state the copy for the paper must be in the printer's hands by Thursday night, as I believe we should think a bit about spelling, punctuation, etc and corrections made by the Editor (with the help of a dictionary, I hope). Thank you for your attention and a happy Valentine's day to all.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Oswego

Still in Oswego, back at Patz this time with Trish, Mary and John Brennan. We also visited with Carol Delaney and her daughter Susan, Tony Lawrence and Terrie Woodward. It is very nice to be here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oswego in June

Kate and I took the train up yesterday from New York. It is beautiful here in Oswego right now. We have visited the regular spots- the stands, Greene's and Patz, where we received a particularly warm welcome from Emil, the chef, and many of the staff who wanted to talk about Hosmer. We visited cousin Mary McSweeney yesterday and played with her adorable dogs. Kate is archiving, I am taking pictures of stuff, we are having fun. Tomorrow Trish and Mary Brennan are planning to come for dinner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

He's not heavy, he's my brother.....

John William and Liam

Congratulations to John William (son of Jane and Dan) on his graduation from DeSales High School on Saturday, June 21, 2008. John was the Valedictorian and won almost all the academic awards. Erin, Paul and Sean came from Boston Saturday morning, leaving at 5:30 am and joined Grandmary, Uncle John, Danny's mother Joyce, me, Jne, Dan, Liam and Eliza at the event. In other words, we used all the tickets! Then we had a terrific time at Janie's, with dinner and Wii to celebrate.

She's not heavy, she's my mother...

Jane (aka "Crunch") and John William

Erin, Grandmary and John William

Pictures are compliments of cousin Sean. See here for more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Incredible Hulk and Takashi Murakami

These weekend Calvin and I went to see the Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum. Murakami is a Japanese artist who has played around with the "high" and "low" culture divide as successfully as any artist. Of course it helps that he is Japanese. He has created lines of toys, robots, and most famously, Louis Vuitton bags as well as lots of large expensive paintings and sculptures.

Murakami curated a fascinating show of Japanese contemporary art - "Little Boy" - that was exhibited at Japan Society a few years ago. Its thesis was that Japanese culture had been infantilized by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many transformers and godzillas were exhibited along with the usual array of paintings sculptures and video.

The Incredible Hulk is ok, but Marvel had a lot to live up to after starting their life as movie producers with Iron Man. As it has been said in many reviews, there seems to be little connection between Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and the CG Hulk creature. It is really fun to watch him smash stuff up, though.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sheepshead Bay wedding

Yesterday I went to a wedding luncheon for Michael and Desiree, whom some of you have met. (They got married in a very small ceremony on Cape Cod last weekend.) It was in an Italian restaurant, in Sheepshead Bay. I had never had been there, but I want to go again and do some food exploring. The restaurant looked out at the bay, which was filled with boats, swans, horseshoe crabs, and a blue heron. The five course meal included two of my all time favorites: pasta with broccoli rabe and filet mignon. I loved the fact that the groom's son from his first marriage spent the entire time reading the final Harry Potter book. He told me, "I want to stop reading but I can't."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It wasn't sold out.....

I went to Elizabeth's wedding shower in Cambridge Sunday (it was really terrific -- Erin and Liz's friends did an amazing job of putting everything together). Erin and her mother Kathy even stayed up until 2 am frosting some very wonderful cookies.

Barb, Grandmary and I decided to go see a movie after the shower since it was only 3 o'clock. "Sex and The City" was playing at the Cambridge Theater pretty close by so we decided on that -- not for the wedding theme, which we didn't even realize was so dominant, but just because we all wanted to see it.

Mom and Barb were all dressed up in peach and yellow outfits (for the shower) and when the ticket taker saw them coming, she said (with a big indulgent smile), "Sex and the City, right?". We think she thought they had dressed for the movie! HA!

As for the movie..... it was GREAT! -- we all liked it. I've seen most of the series, but neither Barb or Mom had seen any of it, and it didn't matter at all. A really good time was had by all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Store Cat I Know

Bonnie lives at Pet Central, the pet store near me formally known by the much better name Beasty Feast. Two other cats used to live there as well, Clyde and Bleeker, Bonnie and Clyde's son. I hadn't seen Clyde or Bleeker recently and asked the manager what had happened to them. Apparently Bonnie, after years of peaceful coexistance, had taken to terrorizing them both, and they had to go live at other Pet Central store. She has always been nice to me, however, or at least tolerated me petting her. (The manager at this store is great, by the way. He has excellent advice on all things pet related.) (Neilson took the picture).

Monday, June 16, 2008

More about Wii Fit

I have really been enjoying Wii Fit. Combining video games with working out is brilliant. Here is an article about the designer, Shigeru Miyamoto. I have used it every day since I got it.

A couple of things- I seem to be much better at learning the stuff I already know a little bit about in the non Wii world. I guess this could fall under the category of stunningly obvious observations- but it is a little weird when I get really low scores at some of the easiest activities and high scores at stuff that is actually kind of hard to do. Also, I have found it difficult up to this point to get a really hard workout. I think this may change as I unlock more reps and also figure out which activities I want to combine. As it is, I am still spending a lot of time watching demos on activities before trying them.

I am spending more time every day, and more on yoga, strength training and aerobics. There are a lot of charming balance games, which seem designed to make you better at Wii balance games- I am not sure they actually help your balance all that much.

Calvin has not spent as much time as I have on Wii Fit, but he uses Wii baseball for batting practice before his softball game. He and I continue to play Wii golf, bowling and baseball after dinner. His golf and bowling have improved, I cannot say the same for my hitting.

Anyway, thank you Eric! More pictures to come.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Woman Wins Top Chef

Finally a woman won Top Chef. Go Stephanie! Read an interview.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian . . .

. . . is much more upsetting that I would have thought. I wish, though, that it had been in theaters when I was teaching the Men and Masculinities class at Pace.

An Unreasonable Man makes a pretty good case that the "It's Nader's fault" refrain just excuses the Democrats for running a horrible campaign, then blowing the recount.

Monday, June 09, 2008


One of Neilson's collaborative projects for his final semester was Penultimater, "the greatest mobile novel ever attempted." It is basically an online/text message version of the game Exquisite Corpse. You get a text message of the last line of the novel and have ten minutes to text the next line. The entire thing is collected online at, where you can also here each chapter read aloud (usually be Neilson, but sometimes by one of his collaborators.) You can also get instructions on how to play at the website.

Tribeca Film Institute Partners with Amazon

Good news for small films and small film makers.

It's called "Reframe" and it goes live today

(I hope the film about the Gramercy Park Hotel family makes it)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wii Fit!! MOCCA!!

This weekend for the first time I waited outside an electronics store for hours before they opened to buy stuff- a Wii Fit. It was a bonding experience and typically New York- a mixture of very different people lining up on Sunday morning in 90 degree weather to get a game for some one or other in their family. All the other fanatics seemed a little puzzled by me, since I think I had 20 years on the oldest one of them, and I was not buying it for my grandchildren.

And the instant review is... it is fun! More to come later.

Also this weekend, MOCCA- the indy comics New York festival. As always, it was fun and I bought a whole lot of mini-comics. This year was marked by extremely hot and humid temperatures, medical emergencies and a visit by the fire department. Despite the crises, a good time was had by many. Kate and I got to hang out a little bit.

Norwegian comics creator JP Ahonen

Friday, June 06, 2008

It was sold out

at 8:15 on a Monday. But my friend had insisted we buy our tickets in advance, so all was well. As many people have said, if you liked the series, you will like the movie. And I did like the series. I really liked the first part of the movie and loved the ending; the middle kind of sagged.

Lincoln again, via a surpising source

I'm not sure why two items with Abraham Lincoln ties emerged in the same day, but Lincoln's Rule: Organization Matters by Karl Rove (yes, that Karl Rove) in today's Wall Street Journal is balanced, relevant, pragmatic and insightful. Who knew? Neither Obama nor McCain would lose by paying heed.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Team of Rivals

I suppose it''s a cliche, but I'm not hearing it ballyhooed much in pundit-land. "Team of Rivals" (Doris Kearns Goodwin) is pretty apt here. It's about Lincoln's cabinet, comprised of his rivals for the Republican nomination in 1860, and especially his deep and respectful relationship with William Seward (from Auburn, NY!) as it developed over time. Seward was considered a lock for the nomination, and Lincoln came out of nowhere and won it. Lincoln then reached out to Seward and two other rivals and leveraged their different skills into a powerful administration that endured and prevailed. See NY Times review here.

Hillary could improve on this model for intellectual and political teamwork, which ultimately became a great friendship, as both a partner and adviser to Obama, either as VP or in some key cabinet role.

As a woman, she could make is less about power, and more about doing the right thing within and beyond current constructs. He has the rhetoric, she has the skills and the smarts, and probably most important, both empathy and thick skin.

Taking the long view, this is the avenue for Hillary to make the real difference.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Padma Lakshmi sighting!

While buying OJ and cough drops for my sore throat at the local Duane Reade on Avenue B, I saw Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef! Top Chef is my second favorite reality tv show. (Actually, it is the only one I watch besides Project Runway and Iron Chef.)

She graciously smiled back as I gawked.