Friday, September 23, 2005

Holy Rosary Volleyball and more...

With all this writing I’ve been doing about my life and the humor I and many of you seem to find in it – thanks for all the feedback, peeps – nothing is as funny as this: My brother David is the coach of the 10-year-old girls Holy Rosary volleyball team in Wilmington, DE. Yes, Delaware Dave has given up his own athletic career to stalk the sidelines of dank church rec rooms all across The First State. In case you are not laughing yet, I will repeat: My brother is the coach of the 10-year-old girls Holy Rosary volleyball team in Wilmington, DE.

Moving on, one of the great mysteries of our life here is that Jacob has not turned on the TV since we moved into this house, nearly two weeks ago. There is not a whole lot he would want to watch percentage-wise, but we do have his beloved Cartoon Network as well Nickelodean, which is all he watches at home anyhow. Also, he was watching plenty of tube in our temporary apartment, putting us in our normal situation of having to police him and time him and force him to turn it off.

Since we have been in the house, the only time he has sat in front of the TV at all is to watch a DVD of Robots, which we did as a family last weekend. He has been really into playing computer games, which is, I guess, almost like TV, but it is more interactive and he comes and goes from it, as compared to the TV which just sucks him in. so this is a great development and we are interested to se how long it sticks. He is also thrilled with the freedom he has here and spends a lot of time riding his bike around the compound, exploring, playing board games and chasing after a few different girls. Thee don’t seem to be any boys in his class or to play with in the immediate vicinity but several cool girls, so that is who he’s hanging with, happily. He spends a lot of time with Olivia Yardley, who lives across the street and is the daughter of Theo and Jim Yardley, NY Times reporter.

Next Weds. he has his first field trip – to the Great Wall. I will be chaperoning. Should be fun. The section we are going to is the closest one, about an hour away and featuring a cable car.

Our excitement yesterday was Eli getting stung by a caterpillar on the playground. It was only a little red, but as the evening went on, he became more and more agitated and was up a bunch of times during the night screaming and clawing at his leg. I thought he was having nightmares (which he may have been since in the morning he said with relief “the big brown thing is off my leg, dad.”) But I spoke to several people today and these things are pretty well known here. Apparently, they have hairy spines, which get under your skin, literally. Theo said her ayi says you should immediately put tape on the area and yank it off to pull them off. So if there’s a next time… Otherwise, Eli is doing well, though he has his fit-throwing moments, more than anyone else. He is taking gymnastics after school Thursdays and playing soccer on Saturday, as is Jacob. They are both going to start an art class on Monday. Eli is on fire with drawing.

He is also really into girls and there are a few around whom he becomes noticeably different and starts playing the clown, goofing around to get attention. I must say they are all really cute. He is already setting his standards very high.

Speaking of DVDS, as some of you know, they are cheap and plentiful here. China’s refusal to adhere to international trademark and copyright laws is a real problem for us and for anyone who makes their living in a trademarkable fashion. I really believe this, but how many of you would be strong enough to not buy them for less than a buck? I admit I do not. There is a guy with a bag full who is often hanging out outside Jenny Lou’s, the supermarket. He is very friendly but I always wave him off. Yesterday I took a look and ended up buying Madagascar, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Kill Bill. Total: 22 quai, or less than 3 bucks. Definitely bad news for Blockbuster and Netflix, not to mention studios, writers, directors, actors. I know that and believe it and yet… Would any of you stand on principal and not buy them? Be honest.

And now I leave you with a few links to stories that have caught my interest today…
This is incredible – and it’s your money being stolen in Iraq.
Key sentence: “Large-scale corruption in Iraq's ministries, particularly the defense ministry, has led to one of the biggest thefts in history with more than $1 billion going missing..”
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/09/19/iraq.corruption.reut/index.html?section=cnn_latest


Here’s another classic, about FEMA waste.

The key line line: "It will cost close to $1 billion in trucking for $2 million worth of ice.”
http://www.ecnnews.com/cgi-bin/05/gtstory.pl?-sec-Pageone+fn-fn-gice2-20050921-

I’ve always felt like Ivy League Schools were fluffy. You’ve got to work so hard to get into them, they hold our hand through everything you do and seem to figure if you’re brilliant enough to be there, you deserve an A. Here’s proof.

Key line: “Roughly 41 percent of the grades given in Princeton undergraduate courses last year were A-pluses, A's or A-minuses, down from 46 percent the previous year and 48 percent the year before that.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/20/nyregion/20grades.html?ex=1284868800&en=1f956c4bc36c2b5a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss