Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ice storm coats nation's middle; 5 dead

The latest news from our special Yahoo homepage, aside from details about the daily shooting rampage, was about the ice storm we enjoyed in the Midwest this weekend. Everything was coated with a half-inch of ice, which made everything very slippery. It was especially harrying carrying the baby across the supermarket parking lot in his extremely heavy Graco-brand car seat.

Everyone in Amagomundi world is okay, though.

But poor Abe Lincoln. He never saw it coming.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Holidays, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ohio Turnpike

We had a really great combination ThanksgivingChristmas in Buffalo. The Thanksgiving part featured the traditional roasted turkey, stuffing, potatoes and all the delicious things you tend to associate with the holiday. It was delicious, although we missed Uncle Tommy, who was in the hospital with a leg infection. (He asked the doctor if he could just come in on Monday, so as not to miss Thanksgiving dinner, but the doctor replied, "Only if you want to lose the leg." We only include this information because it indicates exactly what kind of event will keep Uncle Tommy away from Gramma Jo's delicious cooking.)

For the Christmas part of the weekend, which we celebrated on Saturday night, we enjoyed a beef burgundy that can only be described as sublime (thanks again to Gramma Jo). Those who were unfortunate enough to witness firsthand Zatoichi's horrible gas can thank the broccoli, which seems to have that effect on him. He apologizes to all those affected.

On our way home, we enjoyed this scenario, which has inspired our clever title for today's blog:

10:37am, "This is a [dang] record! We packed up the car and are ready to leave by 11:00am! That never happens anymore! Now let's not forget the baby! Maybe we'll make it home before dark!"

5:30pm, "Wow! We are making really good time! We even had time to stop for breastfeeding in Pennsylvania!"

5:31pm, "Wow, it's starting to snow!"

5:32pm, "Boy, where did this traffic come from? It must be for the Ohio Turnpike tollbooths, which are coming up in 3 miles."

5:33pm, "Man, Benjamin just dropped a deuce. Did you hear that?"


5:40pm, "He pooped again."

5:41pm, "It's bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see, all the way to the toll booths!"



6:30pm, "They shouldn't be allowed to charge money for this. I can't believe how many cars are. This is essentially a 3-mile-long line!"


6:32pm, "I think we should probably stop at Burger King to change the baby's diaper."

6:33pm, [Having gone into the Burger King bathroom and seen the line of 14 waiting for a stall] "Let's change the baby in the car."



7:00pm, [Baby sleeps]


8:44pm, "It's nice to be home."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Warning, Flying Baby

Living room flight.

Back yard flight.

Watch out for flying baby.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zapatero TV

If you haven't seen it already, you really should. While Zapatero tries to finish a thought, the King of Spain pipes up and asks Hugo Chávez to be quiet:

Chávez was enjoying a long tirade against former Spanish president Aznar, whom he calls a fascist, among other things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stomach Flu Halloween

Now that everyone is feeling better, we thought we would give a blow-by-blow of our Halloween with hot pix of our cool ad hoc costumes.

The night before Halloween, Benny woke up throwing up. That was really rough to watch--it's such a violent thing for a baby to do. But then as soon as he was done vomiting he would cough a little and then look up at you and smile. Babies are incapable of feeling sorry for themselves. That's really a great feature in a life form. He would whimper a little bit because he knew he wasn't feeling well, but then would just smile and look really cute. The perfect survival mechanism.

So this picture was taken on Halloween, just as all of South Bend descended on our neighborhood for our high quality candy. Everyone is happy, the baby is feeling better after a massive ingestion of Pedialyte over a day and a half.

Dr. Sanders suggests only incremental infusions of mother's milk while he gets over it. Lactose is rough on the sensitive stomach. Soon Amy will be puking--among other things (this is a family blog)--all night long. So the stomach flu goes to mother first.

Benjamin, still feeling a bit queasy. Mother feeling a little better after her rough night. Now that Amy is feeling more human, it is my turn to starting to feel like crap. No puking though. I'm strong like the Hulk.

Day three. Recuperating, everyone still feeling crappy. In front of the television, waiting for the next episode of House (which will air in four days). Pedialyte for baby, Gatorade for parents. We like "Fruit" flavor Pedialyte, not "Grape." Soy formula seems to work for sensitive little baby bellies. Vanilla soy lattes seem to work for sensitive big baby bellies.

Gatorade. Fall. Hydration. Feeling good. Looking great. Nothing like a walk around the block after Massive Family Flu and Togetherness Experience.

So, little Benjamin has successfully gotten over his first sickness. His immune system is stronger and he has built up some character.

Just in time for: Inoculations, Round Two. Tomorrow morning at 11:15. Ding.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Baby Fish Mouth

Inspired by McMiller PDX's inspired blog entry, Prime Minister McMiller, we submit here our own Amagomundi likeness which springs from a recent impromptu nap:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Today's Guest Blogger: Benny Ray

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[Babies can blog, too, baby. Rock and Roll. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Drool.]

Monday, November 05, 2007

Benny's First Trip to Mexico

Mexico, Indiana.

Ever Feel Like a Pig in a Jar?

This pig does.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Benjamin's Baptism, Starring Kevin Nealon

So we baptized the baby, Big B, today in the log chapel on campus. It was really nice. Father Nate said the mass. Afterwards, we took pictures in front of the lake and then got into our cars to head home. It was really hot. Unseasonably so.

Check this out: As we were leaving the Basilica parking lot, guess who we saw? You guessed it, title reader. It was Kevin Nealon, from the Saturday Night Live of the 1990s. Amy rolled the window down and shouted, "Kevin Nealon we love you!" Much to our mutual pleasure, he turned our way, smiled, and said, "And I love you too." Then he lumbered off towards central campus. He is a beautiful tall man.

So, you may be asking yourself: "What is Kevin Nealon doing in South Bend?" Well, intrepid blog readers, here is the answer:

Funny Bone Comedy Club
Featuring Kevin Nealon; 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (7:30 p.m. shows are nonsmoking events); 100 Center, Mishawaka; (574) 254-9999.

Tune in next week for our piece entitled, "Has Kevin Nealon Hit Rock Bottom?"

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's Never Too Late to Impeach

What science the Bush administration chooses to stifle or promote seems to be a matter of politics and economics. According to a recent story in the Washington Post, the multibillion-dollar baby formula industry pressured the Department of Health and Human Services to weaken a 2004 public-service campaign promoting breast-feeding -- and it worked, even though the science supported the other side.

Check out a commentary on the issue here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

From the Mixed up Files of Amagomundi

Mmm. Authentically Irish Miller Lite and Peroni.

And you thought Indiana wasn't a friendly place. Shame on you!

This has got to be the most fabulous Muffler Man in the world! Yeah, baby.

This Is How We Do It

Some people ask us: “Hey, Amagomundi! How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“You know. Juggle your high-powered positions as bloggers, raise your new baby, work full time, and keep your home clean and spider-free all at the same time?”

“Well,” we answer, “It’s a real challenge doing all these things at once. But sometimes you just have to make trade-offs.”

“Really? Like what?”

“Well, for example, something that a lot of folks don't know is that our house is not spider-free.”

Friday, September 21, 2007

Speaking of...

This is what we do to rogue councilmen in the Michiana area:

Smack down.

So you rogue councilmen better watch out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To Market, to Market

An editorial from today's New York Times on piggies and the noble large-scale farmers who take care of them:

One of the persistent problems of industrial agriculture is the inappropriate use of antibiotics. It’s one thing to give antibiotics to individual animals, case by case, the way we treat humans. But it’s a common practice in the confinement hog industry to give antibiotics to the whole herd, to enhance growth and to fight off the risk of disease, which is increased by keeping so many animals in such close quarters. This is an ideal way to create organisms resistant to the drugs. That poses a risk to us all.

A recent study by the University of Illinois makes the risk even more apparent. Studying the groundwater around two confinement hog farms, scientists have identified the presence of several transferable genes that confer antibiotic resistance, specifically to tetracycline. There is the very real chance that in such a rich bacterial soup these genes might move from organism to organism, carrying the ability to resist tetracycline with them. And because the resistant genes were found in groundwater, they are already at large in the environment.

There are two interdependent solutions to this problem, and hog producers should embrace them both. The first solution — the least likely to be acceptable in the hog industry — is to ban the wholesale, herdwide use of antibiotics. The second solution is to continue to tighten the regulations and the monitoring of manure containment systems. The trouble, of course, is that there is no such thing as perfect containment.

The consumer has the choice to buy pork that doesn’t come from factory farms. The justification for that kind of farming has always been efficiency, and yet, as so often happens in agriculture, the argument breaks down once you look at all the side effects. The trouble with factory farms is that they are raising more than pigs. They are raising drug-resistant bugs as well.

Now if only we could raise our own bacon.

Mmm. Bacon.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More on Buffalo. Kind of.

Today's New York Times has an article on our favorite Buffalo fast food chain (after Mighty Taco), Tim Horton's, which hopes to expand its presence in the United States:

"A survey this summer by a group promoting Canadian historical literacy found that 40 percent of Canadians under 34 consider Tim Hortons’ miniature doughnuts, the Timbits, a national symbol.

"Tim’s, as it is affectionately known, sells 78 percent of the nonsupermarket coffee and baked goods sold in Canada.

"For the Canadian company, the chief attraction [of New England, for example] is that the purchase [of Bess Eaton] provided a way into the market around Boston, an epicenter of doughnut consumption. Nearby Quincy, Mass., is the birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts. [But] Dunkin’ Brands [continues to provide] stiffer competition than expected.

"Dunkin’ Donuts would not comment on a competitor’s plans, but in a statement said that it was starting an expansion of its own: aiming to triple the number of stores in the United States to 15,000 by 2010.

"Mr. House [Tim Horton's CEO] is still determined to prove that Tim Hortons can succeed where so many Canadian companies have failed. 'It took us 43 years here,” he said. “We’ve only been at the U.S. seriously for a few years.'"

Mmm. Timbits.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Cute Things I Found in My Parents' House This Summer

Where the Wild Things Are doll, which appears next to family photos. All arranged under a signed Spencer Tunick poster purchased in Buffalo, New York, during the Amagomundi Festival in July, 2005.

My dad's talking chicken, sitting next to the telephone.

Another chicken, with prized French cookware.

More chickens. These are ceramic, purchased in El Salvador by Amagomundi staff.

The chicken in the bathroom. One of our favorite chicken installations.

The hat museum, with yoga mats. We believe there is yet another hat museum in the basement.

My mom's yoga ball, which resides in my brother's closet.

My dad's coin tins. We think there are more in his bureau.

My dad's home defense system, near coin tins, next to the bed.

My mom's Converse, with green toucan socks.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On This Day

On Sept. 6, 1901, President William B. McKinley was shot and mortally wounded by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y.

I did not know that.

Man, Buffalo just gets sexier and sexier.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Darth Swine

This week: a whimsical scene of pigs and homegrown tomatoes and a Darth Vader mask.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I Prefer Your Whore Sister

One or two readers may remember our bilingual post about the big Zidane incident in the World Cup Final: La-La. Most of us had already forgotten about the villainous man. But no! Materazzi is back, and now he's telling the Italian media exactly what he said to our hero, thus provoking his terrible ire.

From today's El pais, via Reuters, via the Italian media (all of which is owned by Silvio Berlusconi):

El defensa italiano Marco Materazzi ha revelado un año después las palabras exactas que le dijo a Zinedine Zidane en la final de la Copa del Mundo, que provocó que el francés le diera un cabezazo y fuera expulsado del partido. "Prefiero a la puta de tu hermana" fue la frase que desencadenó la ira de Zidane y una de las expulsiones más sonadas de la historia de los mundiales.

So, we guess this is how it played out:

Materazzi pulls on Zidane's shirt. One of many defensive tricks you see in professional soccer.

Zidane says, "If you want my shirt, I'll give it to you after the game."

Materazzi says, "I prefer your whore sister."

Zidane hesitates. Then goes for it.

And Materazzi becomes instantly famous. For a day.

Zidane retires after inspiring blog entries all over the world.

Gotta go. The American Ballroom Challenge (hosted by Marilu Henner) is on PBS right now! OMG.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Indiana Pests

You may remember our post about periwinkle. In that post, we mentioned that we hate it.

Since then, we have discovered that other people hate the stuff, too. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, for example, put this pesky ground cover on their list of The Worst Invasives in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Paghat the Ratgirl describes a very similar experience with periwinkle, or vinca, to our own on her webpage devoted to gardening. She writes, "Because it was so hard to pull up small mats of it, I would only struggle with it a couple times a week, loosening around the edges one day, shoveling beneath the edges another day, slowly working my way up the row under the shrubs. Eventually it was mostly removed, though bits of it would continue to pop up & be weeded out forever after."

She introduces her ruminations on the nasty plant with a poem by Cicely Mary Barker, and concludes with a bit of history, which we have stolen with her implicit permission for our little blog:

Vinca grew throughout the Roman world, as they brought the plant with them into regions of Roman conquest. Many of the tales of maenads or bacchantes bedecked in ivy probably regard vinca, especially when worn during rituals of death. The association of vinca with death is most ancient, worn as wreathes by human sacrifices, which tradition lingered well into the Middle Ages when vinca was used to garland criminals to be hung from scaffolds until dead. Simon Fraser, the follower of the Scottish hero William Wallace, was in 1306 led in irons through the streets of London enroute to execution, with a garland of vinca on his head. The ancient association of vinca with death in Italy was preserved in a tradition of weaving vinca garlands for dead infants, while in France it was known as "the Violet of Sorceries."

Its name used to be Pervinca or Pervinkle, with sundry other spellings & permutations, having Latin root indicating a band or wreath. This was in time corrupted into Periwinkle, though there is no resemblance to the sea snail. The "band" of periwinkle was a spiritual as well as a literal wreath, & Culpepper records an old tradition that if a man & woman eat vinca together, they will be forever bonded in love, a last echo of vinca's fertility association with the Great Mother, goddess both of death and birth.

UC Davis has some good information on periwinkle elimination, as well as a few words on its provenance and biological makeup: Booya. We find the chemical control section particularly interesting. Perhaps a new strategy is called for.

We still hate periwinkle.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Baby Product Challenge Follow Up

Okay. New development.

Check this out: The ongoing baby product challenge has yielded a surprising new twist! Washcloths made--not in China--but in Turkey! This discovery was made yesterday as we wiped greasy brown cottage cheesy doo-doo off our baby's butt with this fine Turkish-produced washcloth.

So it's not all made in China. My bad.

Did we mention that our baby is shade grown organic?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Today's Baby Challenge

Okay, readers. Ready?

Here is today's baby product challenge. In order to participate, you will need one (1) baby and one (1) place to put that baby. (Babysitters and in-laws can also participate!) We suggest using the Baby Einstein (c) Jumper to store your sleeping baby during this challenge, because you are going to need two hands. We recommend feeding the baby just before putting him/her down, because you are going to also need about two (2) hours.

Got that baby squared away? Great. Here is step number two:

Go into the baby's room.

Are you in the baby's room yet? Good. Here is step three:

This is the main part of today's baby challenge: Okay, now go find one item that was not manufactured in China. Go!

Time elapse.

Still looking? Try the clothes bin!

Time elapse.

How about those toys over there in the corner!

Time elapse.

This is a tough baby challenge, isn't it?

Today's lesson is: All baby and child products are manufactured in China. It was a trick challenge! (Don't be frightened by the US media. Remember that Chinese manufacturers are not the enemy! American retailers are the enemy! But remember that this is just a game!)

Check back next week for a new challenge: Identify That Liquid!

Also forthcoming: The Home Baby Product Conversion Workshop:

How to turn that Baby Einstein (c) Jumper into a Baby Eisenstein Montage Kit.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Speaking of Indiana Pests

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more uncomfortable:

It's 4:12 a.m., the baby has been fed every hour since 10:00 p.m., he's been changed, he's warm and dry and snug, but he's still crying, and you think you are going to lose your sanity because you just want to get a half hour's sleep. Then you hear something in the hallway. You step out of the bedroom and something brown and fast whizzes past your face. Your eyes are still blurry and your head aches from the lack of sleep. You figure it's your imagination. Like in the movie Fight Club, in which the narrator has a psychotic break that springs from his lack lack of sleep. So now you start to think up new scenarios for a club of your own. Maybe you too will use this new fight club as a springboard for your own subversive anarchist reform agenda. Maybe you will figure out a way to turn your underground clout into a method of ridding Lake Michigan of its industrial polluters...

But no. It's not in your head. You are not having a psychotic break. It is indeed something brown and fast flying back and forth down your hallway. It's a bat. And this time it's personal.

So. Have any of our (2) readers had any experience with home bat removal? We are open to suggestions on how to get this thing out of our house. We have called American Animal Control, and they are coming out tomorrow to take a look at our attic. They did a really nice job on our moles last summer, so we are hopeful. But we still have another night to spend with our bat friend. As we write this blog, he is sleeping somewhere in the basement. He is enjoying his much needed rest after a long night of exploring our house and (probably) trying to eat our baby.

We guess it makes sense. This is a house of night dwellers, now. We sleep by day and feed by night. We are CHUD.

And boy, do we have a headache.

Wanna join our club?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mitch Daniels Can't Swim

That's why he has promoted a permit to allow BP to expand its Indiana refinery on Lake Michigan. The new permit will allow the refinery to discharge 1,584 pounds of ammonia, an increase of 54 percent over the current level, into the lake each day. Also allowed is discharge of up to 4,925 pounds of suspended solids into the lake each day, an increase of 35 percent.

“Here’s one of the biggest steps forward for the Midwest, really the whole nation,” Mr. Daniels, a Republican, told reporters last week. “I don’t think it should be held up without a good scientific reason, and none has been provided.”

Sources close to Mr. Daniels have suggested that his hatred of the lake is linked to a summer swimming class he took at Lil Patriots' Summer Camp on Lake Michigan in the early 1960s, where he nearly drowned.

His reasoning for promoting further pollution of Lake Michigan (besides the fact that he most likely can't swim)? The expansion of the plant may provide up to 2,000 temporary contract jobs and 80 positions at the refinery.

More Indiana jobs, but at what cost? Seriously. How short sighted can you get?

In the meantime, tens of thousands of people in Chicago have signed petitions protesting the permit, which will allow the largest oil refinery in the Midwest to discharge more pollutants into Lake Michigan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why My Baby Eats Organic Beef

Today's New York Times published another editorial about the FDA's weak oversight of imported food:

"Hearings before a House oversight subcommittee raised serious questions about the F.D.A.’s ability to protect the public against contaminated or adulterated foods. William Hubbard, a former top agency official who consults for a coalition of industry and consumer groups, told the committee that the F.D.A. has lost some 200 food scientists and 700 field inspectors over five years, exactly the wrong direction when food imports are skyrocketing. He also noted that the small budget increase the White House has proposed for food safety next year would be a decrease after accounting for inflation.

As if that weren’t discouraging enough, the committee’s chief investigator described how porous the current safety shield is. Agency personnel, he said, inspect less than 1 percent of all imported foods and conduct laboratory analyses on only a tiny fraction of those. Overwhelmed entry reviewers at one field office have so many items to screen that they typically have less than 30 seconds to decide whether an import needs closer scrutiny. Importers also learn to game the system by sending goods to lax entry points or mislabeling them. And they are allowed to take possession of suspect goods and arrange testing by private laboratories whose work is often shoddy or driven by financial concerns."

What is ironic about this editorial is that Americans are spending an awful lot of time worrying about the inspection of imported food, while we don't even inspect our own food. Steven L. Hopp, in Barbara Kingsolver's new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, points out:

"After the first detected case of US mad cow disease, fifty-two countries banned US beef. The USDA then required 2 percent of all the downer cows (cows unable to walk on their own) to be tested, and 1 percent of all cows that were slaughtered. After that, the number of downer cows reported in the United States decreased by 20 percent (did I mention it was voluntary reporting?), and only two more cases of BSE (mad cow disease) were detected. In May 2006, the USDA decided the threat was so low that only one-tenth of one percent of all slaughtered cows needed to be tested. Jean Halloran, the food policy initiatives director at Consumers Union, responded, 'It approaches a policy of don't look, don't find.'"

Why are American elected officials such terribly vocal glass-house dwellers? ("Hey! Look over there! That foreign food is bad!") The answer seems clear enough: if we make a big enough stink about Chinese food imports, maybe the American consumer will 1. get scared of foreign food imports; 2. continue to not ask questions about the American food they buy; 3. buy more American produced food. But we eaters must remember: Industrial feed lots not only produce unsafe beef, they also contaminate other agricultural products. Remember the e-coli outbreak on spinach last year?

The American beef industry may have stopped feeding beef parts to cows, but they still feed cow parts to chickens, and chicken parts back to cows in many or most CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). Here is Steven L. Hopp again: US policies restrict feeding cow tissue directly to other cows, but still allow cows to be fed to other animals (like chickens) and the waste from the chickens to be fed back to the cows. Since prions (that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy) aren't destroyed by extreme heat or any known drug, they readily survive this food-chain loop-de-loop. Cow blood (yum) may also be dinner for other cows and calves, and restaurant plate wastes can also be served."

American eaters beware: It's not just imports that you have to worry about. It's also the American beef--produced through factory farming--that is tested even less than our imports. For some reason, it seems unsafe to trust the four US companies that produce 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs and 50 percent of chickens. Do they have my baby's best interest at heart?

Probably not. That's why my baby gets locally farmed organic beef. It's what's for dinner.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Dunes

So, last week we did some gardening.

Ripped out some periwinkle. We hate periwinkle.

Don't ever plant periwinkle, okay?

As a reward for all our periwinkle elimination work, we decided to drive up to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

We found a nice shady spot away from the crowds and had a nice picnic.

You can see the crowds down there. We are kind of exaggerating when we say "crowds."

But more people showed up as our post-prandial nap progressed. If you look really really hard (and click on that photo to see the full-sized image) you can just make out Chicago in the distance.

That's us. Waiting for the baby to come out.

On the way home, we thought it would be nice to take the scenic route. The interesting thing about the Indiana Dunes is that the park is sandwiched between two steel mills and a nuclear reactor.

The people in that house must get really good deals on their electricity.

On our way home, we stopped in Three Oaks, Michigan. Home of the "Prancer" movie. We bought some fine Polish sausage at Drier's. If you have the means, we really recommend their bratwurst, too. They have a really good homemade mustard with horseradish in it. We like that, too.

Glad we got this blog out there. We've been sitting on it for a while.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Stay tuned for more local interest stories from the Michiana area.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nice But Hot

Nice but hot.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Bend

South Bend is nice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

On the Ending of the Sopranos: A Response Written Last Night before Bed and before the Online Fan Tempest Began

With its constant quotations from film and television—and the ubiquity of television screens, monitors, and visual quotations from TV shows, particularly in the final episode—the Sopranos has been, from the very beginning, a series that always made us aware that what we were watching was a TV show. The finale drew our attention to the medium itself by creating a terribly palpable dramatic tension and then leaving us with that tension unrelieved. I’m willing to bet that everyone groaned and said things like “That’s terrible!” when the show ended. (In fact, today’s paper bears out our prediction.) Why? Because we want a season finale to have closure. We want episodes in general to have closure. And we wanted the series to have closure. But that’s exactly what David Chase didn’t give us.

There were many ways to end the series: The romantic viewer was perhaps hoping for family togetherness and reconciliation: Tony grabs AJ’s hand and Meadow comes in and they have a nice family dinner. The genre fans were perhaps hoping for a bloody end to the Sopranos family: Tony gets whacked in front of his family. The drama fans were expecting perhaps an open ending—but a definitive ending nonetheless. Instead, we are given none of these endings. Instead—and this is the brilliance of the ending we got—we are left pondering endings in general, and maybe we even began to think about how difficult it is to bring a series like this to an end. And we were forced to contemplate the arbitrary nature of endings. Of finales. Of series. Remember how disenchanted everyone was with the ending of Seinfeld? In making the decision that he made—in giving us this ending—David Chase gave us all these endings.

Perhaps most interestingly—going back to the self-conscious narrative that is the Sopranos—by cutting to black just as Meadow walks into the diner, most viewers thought that their connection to HBO had been cut off. “What happened?” “Was that it?” “Is the TV okay?” In that way, we were left with a half-satisfaction of a series’ end, but also with a very strong awareness of television as a medium. We were reminded that we were watching a TV show. And for a few seconds we sat there, looking at a black screen, wanting something to happen. Wondering what happened. We waited for something to appear. Music. Sounds. Images. But we got none of that. We got played, and it felt great.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Message from Fremont, circa 1985

Look what we found in our bedroom drawer this weekend. And it was still in its cute little silver frame and everything.

Happy (belated) Birthday, boys. You're all grownds up now.

We really wish we could join D&L and all the rest of the gang at the ole hitchin' post in Washington State!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Duck Love

Ducks mate for life. And even when a suitable female is unavailable, drakes seem to cultivate highly affective lifelong relationships with other drakes. During our walk along the shore of Lake Erie yesterday, we saw these two couples just hanging out, dredging, and enjoying each others' company.

One night a drake had a dream. He dreamed that he was walking along the beach with his friend. Across the sky he saw scenes from his life. For each scene he saw two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him and the other to his friend. When the last scene of his life had flashed before him, he looked back at all the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the lowest and saddest times of his life. This really bothered the drake, so he asked his friend about it:

"Dude, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

His friend replied, "My duck, my precious drake, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Endorsement 2008

Amagomundi regretfully announces that we can no longer continue to endorse the anti-duck scarecrow owl statue.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Back in the Moustache Belt

So, we are back in the good old USA. Enjoying the Sabres' run up to the NHL finals, eating a lot of ravioli, catching up on season 6.1 of The Sopranos so we can start watching the series in real time before it ends, and writing thank you notes to all the lovely ladies who bought us lovely gifts for our baby shower.

You may recall our blog from May 20, 2006, re: Ducks. Well. Interesting anecdote here.

Last week we witnessed the dramatic beginning of new duck life in the back yard and were surprised to find ourselves at the center of a compelling tale of survival right here in the center of the Moustache Belt.

Our inlaws discovered a duck nest against the north side of the house, where Mother Duck steadfastly sat on her eggs for a week.

Then, on Thursday morning, she was gone. But we soon saw her emerge from the pachysandra with her twelve ducklings following behind.

Mother Duck had to find a way through the fence to Panzy's pool on the other side. She finally found a hole under the fence and coaxed her ducklings through.

Then: Drama. Getting to the other side of the fence was child's play compared to the difficulty of getting your ducklings out of a pool with a six inch rim. Mother and Father Duck found themselves in a suburban duck pickle.

That's where we came in. Using our innate human ingenuity, we fashioned a ramp out of a plank of wood. Will the ducks figure it out?

We encouraged them to head over to the plank.

Adding drama to the epidode, we realized that Panzy (our neighbor) would get home from work very soon. She doesn't like it when ducks put the "poo" in pool.

Amazingly enough, the ducklings finally figured out how to walk up the plank, but only after their mother modeled the procedure for them.

More drama: Two ducklings remained in the pool, while Mother Duck took the other ten to safety. Will we be able to reunite the Duck Family? We had to take active measures.

Skimmer net engaged. Ducklings try to escape, diving deep into the pool.

With the pool skimmer we released the two stragglers into the DMZ between Panzy's yard and the house next door, hoping that they might hear their mother's frantic quacking.

We release both stragglers to freedom and relative safety. We haven't seen Mother Duck since that fateful day.

Alas, we were sad to find out that the two remaining ducklings ended up back in the pool and drowned in the filter over night.

Exciting, huh?

This story reminds us: If you haven't read it already, you've got to check out this article on the evolution of duck reproductive organs from the New York Times. It will blow your mind. Seriously.

And, just as life begins, so it must end. As the guests were arriving for the baby shower on Saturday, we found Noriberto the squirrel on the front porch. Isn't he just darling? He looks so peaceful lying there next to the flood light. This photo was taken just before Noriberto was double-bagged and buried. Finding him was the highlight of the day!