Thank you for the past five years, loyal readers. And thank you for following me to the new me.
Went for a short run this morning at 6am. Unlike my Dad who runs inland as the sun is rising and who has to jump alligators like sidewalk speed bumps, I run on the beach. The moon was still pretty bright in the sky. The clouds were behind me to the north, and as I ran south along the low tide shore I could see Savannah clearly at the horizon. Close to shore, there was a school of dolphins bobbing up and down. A sandpiper was stabbing small fish in the runoff tide pools. And just above it all, the pelicans were stalking fish in the shallows. It’s always a bit startling the first time you see a sea bird, so elegant in the air, nose dive into the water to catch a fish. Enviable.
About an hour later, I walked with my mom, aunt and her partner, Ron, along the same route. After about ten minutes we saw a little sand shark thrashing around to get back into the water. Someone had caught him and was securing his line just up-shore. For those of you who have read my blog here may recall my sensitivity to this issue.
On account of the bad history, I knew had to do something. I had to throw it back into the ocean. My mom was beside me. She tried to nudged it back in once, twice with her foot. But it was still stuck in the shallow water. As I reached down to try to secure it and then throw it back, the fisherman ran up behind us. He said something unmemorable like hey, that’s my shark, but don’t worry, I’ll throw it back. And he picked up the shark and then turned back before throwing it into the water. Go ahead, touch her. And we did.
Then, as if she had never been there, he tossed her back into the ocean and I swear her back arched a bit as she dove back into the water. It took exactly three years, but the moment has finally been resolved for me.
This is the last family thing I’m going to be doing before I leave for Europe, and I think it’s a good way to say goodbye to America.
In the next few days, I will be changing my blog name to better accomodate my posting and writing from Budapest. I can’t think of a better way to end penzilla (for now) than with the shark this morning. Sort of an end of an era, I suppose. So, stay tuned for a link to my new address.
Had a really fantastic day in Pittsburgh. It really reminded me of the old days. My parents and I (and Coco of course—because if she didn’t come my Dad would have to come up with a good excuse for why he put iChat in her little crate and then downloaded viewer software to his blackberry) drove up around lunchtime. And once you get into Pittsburgh, you know it. It’s a city that’s built right into the hills, and really, I can’t think of another place that it looks like.
After visiting with my Grandma and Grandpa for a bit and dropping Coco off for the afternoon, we headed downtown to the Andy Warhol Museum. Once we got downtown, we encountered a strange site: hundreds of ridiculously drunk cowboy hat wearing people staggering around their tailgates in the middle of the rain. Okay. Pittsburgh. Drunk people? yes. Staggering? yes. Tailgating in the middle of the rain? certainly, nearly obligatory. But straw cowboy hats dangling seashells and strawberry colored hawaiian leis? no. That’s not the Pittsburgh I’ve grown to adore. But once we made it through the masses we learned that (in nine short hours) country mega star Kenny Chesney was performing.
But I digress.
The museum was wonderful.
In addition to The Warhol collections, there were several galleries featuring Glenn Kaino. His uber project is really rad, and if you have time, check it out.
The highlights for me were the Last Supper
and by far: The Silver Clouds:
Warhol created it for a 1966 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery. It was so interesting at the time because the public could actually touch the art, and more, the art could touch the people. At first it’s a bit startling to be in the room, especially alone, as we were at the time. But then the eeriness transforms into a peacefulness that is really unmatched. For me, it’s public art at its best.
After the museum we drove through the North Side so that my Dad could see the houses on Franklin Road where he grew up.
I remember the house well (especially those front stairs) and the memories there are some of the best from my childhood and most nostalgic now as an adult. As a kid, Pittsburgh was like some exotic world where somewhere between the nitrogens my Dad and his brothers (Tom, Scott, and Mark) were playing baseball at the corner diamond. It was the Carnegie science center and the Monongahela incline overlooking the place where the three rivers meet. It was a place full of big stories (my Grandpa was a pilot for the Jolly Rogers squadron in WWII) and big voices–really the best of that old model American family, the best of that old model American city. It’s certainly something precious that I’m going to take with me.
Every two years something lovely happens—a major world soccer tournament. This year, of course, is Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria. Apparently there is a critical beer shortage in Berne. Now if the Weissbier taps out in Vienna, holy moly. Latch the doors and keep the kids away from the windows because these ladies are on their way:
Hungary didn’t qualify for the tournament this year. But there’s always hope. And there’s always FIFA 2010. Even though they haven’t qualified since I was six years old, I’m really looking forward to the qualifying match against Denmark in September. And as a Cleveland native, I’m well accustomed to crushing sporting disappointments, so I’ll fit in perfectly. I should probably learn how to say football in Hungarian before then.
So you see, even though summer break started the day I submitted the 150th grade and set ablaze the instructions for filling out the assessment rubrics, it was not really summer break until this weekend, which was my mom’s first week of post-school year freedom.
Now to many, summer break is filled with melony things like pools and lakes and bbqs, tanning and margaritas and beach books. And of course, we do our share of these as well.
After the work is done.
I haven’t spent a summer at home in ten years, and the memory of my mom’s endless list of summer projects nearly slipped from my mind. Until this weekend. In just that time, bedroom furniture has been rearranged, a treadmill has been moved, flower beds have been planted and replanted and replanted after a particularly painful mid-day trip to the nursery where I watched her tornado through the long, hot rows searching for the perfect perennial to put in a slightly bald spot by the white column by the front door. breathe.
Now I often feel bad for my mom since my dad wakes up at 3 am to run regardless of rain, shine, snow, holiday, etc., and general running craziness, and my mom has put up with it for 28 years. But today I realized the precise way that she pays him back.
After all, it wouldn’t be summer if my mom wasn’t hanging a tennis ball from the ceiling in the garage.
So tonight we went to one of Cleveland’s finest—The Great Lakes Brewery.
I had a Dortmuder and a Commodore Perry Indian Pale Ale. Along with the absolutely finom vegan black been burger.
MIDDLEBURY, Vermont (AP) — Call it poetic justice: More than two dozen young people who broke into Robert Frost’s former home for a beer party and trashed the place are being required to take classes in his poetry as part of their punishment.
Middlebury College prof Jay Parini teaches a class on Robert Frost to students in a court diversion program.
Using “The Road Not Taken” and another poem as jumping-off points, Frost biographer Jay Parini hopes to show the vandals the error of their ways — and the redemptive power of poetry.
“I guess I was thinking that if these teens had a better understanding of who Robert Frost was and his contribution to our society, that they would be more respectful of other people’s property in the future and would also learn something from the experience,” said prosecutor John Quinn.
The vandalism occurred at the Homer Noble Farm in Ripton, where Frost spent more than 20 summers before his death in 1963. Now owned by Middlebury College, the unheated farmhouse on a dead-end road is used occasionally by the college and is open in the warmer months.
On December 28, a 17-year-old former Middlebury College employee decided to hold a party and gave a friend $100 to buy beer. Word spread. Up to 50 people descended on the farm, the revelry turning destructive after a chair broke and someone threw it into the fireplace.
When it was over, windows, antique furniture and china had been broken, fire extinguishers discharged, and carpeting soiled with vomit and urine. Empty beer cans and drug paraphernalia were left behind. The damage was put at $10,600.
Twenty-eight people — all but two of them teenagers — were charged, mostly with trespassing.
About 25 ultimately entered pleas — or were accepted into a program that allows them to wipe their records clean — provided they underwent the Frost instruction. Some will also have to pay for some of the damage, and most were ordered to perform community service in addition to the classroom sessions. The man who bought the beer is the only one who went to jail; he got three days behind bars.
Parini, 60, a Middlebury College professor who has stayed at the house before, was eager to oblige when Quinn asked him to teach the classes. He donated his time for the two sessions.
On Wednesday, 11 turned out for the first, with Parini giving line-by-line interpretations of “The Road Not Taken” and “Out, Out-,” seizing on parts with particular relevance to draw parallels to their case.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” he thundered, reciting the opening line of the first poem, which he called symbolic of the need to make choices in life.
“This is where Frost is relevant. This is the irony of this whole thing. You come to a path in the woods where you can say, `Shall I go to this party and get drunk out of my mind?”‘ he said. “Everything in life is choices.”
Even the setting had parallels, he said: “Believe me, if you’re a teenager, you’re always in the damned woods. Literally, you’re in the woods — probably too much you’re in the woods. And metaphorically you’re in the woods, in your life. Look at you here, in court diversion! If that isn’t `in the woods,’ what the hell is `in the woods’? You’re in the woods!”
Dressed casually, one with his skateboard propped up against his desk, the young people listened to Parini and answered questions when he pressed. Then a court official asked them to describe how their arrests and the publicity affected them.
“I was worried about my family,” said one boy, whose name was withheld because the so-called diversion program in which took part is confidential. “I’ll be carrying on the family name and all that. And with this kind of thing tied to me, it doesn’t look very good.”
Another said: “After this, I’m thinking about staying out of trouble, because this is my last chance.”
“My parents’ business in town was affected,” said a girl.
When the session ended, the vandals were offered snacks — apple cider, muffins, sliced fruit — but none partook. They went straight for the door, several declining comment as they walked out of the building. The next session is Tuesday.
“It’s a lesson learned, that’s for sure,” said one of them, 22-year-old Ryan Kenyon, whose grandmother worked as hairdresser in the 1960s and knew Frost. “It did bring some insight. People do many things that they don’t realize the consequences of. It shined a light, at least to me.”
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
Okay, two videos in one day is too much, maybe. But in less than a month the best rapper around–yes, I will go to the mattresses over this–Nas, will release his new CD. So obviously I have to hook into a link of his best song to date. This ain’t rappin. This is street hop.