Sunday, March 30, 2008

#276 Cherry Blossom Time

Nearly a hundred years ago, Japan gave 3020 cherry trees to the United States. From this act of kindness grew a mighty festival in Washington DC attracting 1 million folks to the National Mall each spring.  On Saturday, Indy friend Melody joined us and 999,997 other blossom fans for a spectacular Cherry Blossom Festival.
The blossoms peaked. The sun shone brightly. And we walked.

The Smithsonian Kite Festival has been a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival for 42 years. I suppose that was time enough to prepare this elaborate dragon kite that reached far into the sky.
Yours in appreciating the gift of trees,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

#275 Found our way to Asheville

With the help of a whole dashboard full of GPS devices, we made our way from C-ville to A-ville this weekend. Those old-fashioned paper maps just aren't enough for us anymore.
This is all you really need to know... No matter what route you take, the drive to Asheville is gorgeous.

And at the other end of the drive, we found our Indy friends Sam and Shannon.
Then without any maps at all, we were lucky enough to find the picturesque Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way home.
Yours in navigating our way to good friends,

Monday, March 17, 2008

#274 Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy 100th St. Patrick's Celebration to my alma mater!
At my alma mater, the University of Missouri-Rolla (previously the Missouri School of Mines, now the Missouri University of Science and Technology), the freshmen have beaten all the rubber snakes for the 100th time. Using their homemade wooden shillelaghs, they clubbed them all to death.

I'm glad to see the shillelagh tradition continues at Rolla. (Otherwise, that rubber snake population would get huge!)

Yours in being a proud miner,

Saturday, March 15, 2008

#273 More from the 1970s

Thirty years ago, about the same time as the first of those Star Wars movies appeared, I was lucky enough to see Steve Martin on stage.
He performed a wildly funny stand-up act in Joplin, MO around 1978. Though he doesn't specifically mention his Memorial Hall appearance in his new memoir, Born Standing Up, I'm sure Steve remembers that night with fondness. Since Memorial Hall holds only 3000, he had the perfect venue for sharing his balloon animals, his magic tricks, and his arrow-through-head banjo playing.

Born Standing Up reminded me of this fun night and of this wild and crazy guy. I was a little disappointed with Steve's brief reference to a low-tech librarian at the University of Tulsa on page 120, but other than that, BSU provides an insightful glimpse into the personal life of this man who worked so hard to become a stand-up comedian and gave it all up in 1981 at the peak of his popularity.

In his acknowledgements, Steve thanks the Internet... "I have learned that people are uploading their lives into cyberspace and am convinced that one day all human knowledge and memory will exist on a suitable hard drive which, for preservation, will be flung out of the solar system to orbit a galaxy far, far away."

Yours in appreciating the humor of Steve Martin for 30 years and in uploading my life into cyberspace,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

#272 When Jayhawk fans come to town

It's always good when midwestern friends come to visit us and see the sights in Virginia.

But when those friends are Kansas Jayhawk basketball season ticket holders and the Jayhawks' game is being shown on our ACC-centric Charlottesville television station, what to do?
Sure, we could tour historic attractions, hike on the Appalachian Trail, or visit a nearby National Park, but how can we be expected to ignore the Hawks' last regular-season game?

Larry and Bobbi, be sure to come back when basketball season is over and we'll show you those sights.

Yours in March madness,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

#271 On a galaxy far far away…

WHO: Kelly

WHERE: Zuma Beach

WHEN: About the time Star Wars first hit movie theaters!
We’ve done it. We’ve watched all of the Star Wars movies. There were 6 of them, you know.

It took us 30 years, but not all of that was our fault. We had to wait for George Lucas to complete the story. I'm not saying the story was all that, but we certainly enjoyed the wizardry.

We could not have achieved this milestone without the help of our Star Wars expert and narrator. He watched the movies with us and pointed out all the important things like… that Wilhelm Scream in Episode 3.

These movies really are great to watch if you just mute the dialogue. And if, 30 years later, you've forgotten what Episode IV was all about, here's Star Wars according to a 3-year-old.

And remember: Don't talk back to Darth Vader. He'll get you!

Yours in wishing I'd been on Zuma beach 30 years ago,

Saturday, March 01, 2008

#270 The Oscars, Our Way

Did you watch the Oscars last week?

I remember hosting one Oscars party in Kansas City where I dressed up in a one-shoulder black gown - even though my friends were slightly more casual.
And I remember watching the Oscars once in Kansas City when the television news crew stopped by our party at Kathryn's apartment to get footage for the local evening news.

But even without gowns and news crews, it's always fun to watch the Oscars. This year, we watched the Oscars without fancy dress or television news crews and without having seen any of the best picture nominees.

This year, we watched on a well-positioned television screen with 2 new friends and plenty of gourmet popcorn. Kelly was standing by at the computer providing all the important information not included in Oscar coverage like - what's with John Travolta's hair AND who is George Clooney's date AND how old is Marketa Irglova?

Yours in celebrating Oscar's big night in our own big way,