Sunday, November 30, 2008

It’s been a week since I’ve written. There’s hardly been a spare moment, what with Thanksgiving and some unexpectedly great weather that made it necessary for me to work outside as much as I could. I need to get the foundation in for one long side of the big raised bed in front of the house since the security of part of the driveway depends on it to resist washing out in rain and melting snow. As of today I’ve got about 85% of it done before snow and eventually heavy rain began. If I get just one more good outdoor work day this week—and the forecast says I’ll get at least two—I’ll have the foundation wall finished and the driveway secured and can leave the rest of it until the spring if necessary.


Thanksgiving was all friends this year, family on both sides being elsewhere. Dinner was roast turkey with cornbread, apple and currant stuffing; mashed potatoes, butternut squash, and salad, accompanied by two bottles of champagne. For dessert Fritz made a pear and ginger pie that he thought he’s placed too close to the top of the Aga’s baking oven is it seemed a bit too browned. I told him to announce it as pear brûlée if necessary, but it turned out to be perfect and was received very well.


Do you guys know Vince? Fritz and I love this guy. From what I gather, he works on one of the home shopping channels. We know him from the ShamWow! commercials on Logo. He fields a killer New York City accent and has a manic energy that cracks us up. He stands in front of a solid backdrop and behind a simple counter to demonstrate the product, the whole set-up being very similar to the early live commercials on television in the early 1950s.

Unlike most commercials these days that are mini-dramas, or are more involved with creating an image for the target customer than showing you WHY you should buy the product, Vince's actually demonstrate the product and discuss its component materials.


The Political Compass
Economic: Left/Right: -4.88
Social: Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.10

From Rick's blog, Bandit Talks, came this survey at that determines your exact political orientation based on two intersecting axes rather than the usual, far more simplistic Left/Right. I was gratified to see that I place extremely close to the Dalai Llama!


Earlier in the month we hosted a Move On event at Fritz’s Center. It’s a people’s initiative in coordination with the Obama administration that’s preparing to flood Congress with petitions from every state, backed up by photographs of hundreds of thousands Americans, urging legislators to cut the crap and act on the Obama Agenda quickly and positively.

Move On’s organizational work was pretty good although parts of the website were confusing for those of us who depended on it to download forms, upload photos to the organization, and confirm the number of guests we were to expect. In the event the town of Exeter, fourteen miles east, pulled the majority of the area’s activists. We were supposed to have had four but only two joined us for coffee, a listen to the national coordinator’s message (which I’d downloaded and burned onto CD rather than depend on the potentially overloaded internet transmission), and brainstorming session on ways to circulate the petition and gather the maximum number of photos in the local area.

I’ll be interesting to see if it works. Something has to kick those clowns out of their entrenched partisanship and get them working together for a change to clear the wreckage of Bush administration.


The last pictures of the European trip

These all come from Amsterdam.

From a Dutch fashion magazine, this ad for an animal rights group that isn't looking to stop the slaughter like PETA here in the U.S. but to guarantee decent conditions for animals during whatever life they have before being killed for their pelts. How the two guys come into the message I don't know but, on the other hand, I rarely protest or question the presence of half-naked men.

The relatively wide canal near Fritz's neice's home that leads from the city to the sea.

Art Nouveau-era building in the Rembrandtplein.

Our last day in Europe was an open studio day where Fritz's neice's husband has his studio. He's a painter who's gotten some very good recognition and sold quite a bit of his work. Peeks into several of the studios:

Glad you had a nice thanksgiving buddy. Fritz can make me a dessert like that anytime :-) Sounds gorgeous :-) Love the pics of Amsterdam too :-)
We just returned from a week in Amsterdam. It is a beautiful city and we don't seem to tire of it.
I seem to be more in line with Nelson Mandela. Not bad company to be in at all.

Glad to hear you had a such a great holiday.
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