Memorial Day Parade

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All the kids on the block entered as the “East Franklin Wheelers” in this year’s Memorial Day Parade. The usual suspects showed up, the couple on the bicycle built for two, the Pennington, Hopewell, and Titusville fire brigades, several troops of Brownies, Cub Scouts, tractors, classic cars, and the Delaware Valley PT Cruiser club.

Pig Roast

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Yesterday, the Cirullo’s held their annual Pig Roast. They grew up in the area and the Pig Roast is an excuse to bring all their far-flung friends back together for a day long gathering interspersed with games of Quoits, a raffle drawing featuring “expensed” corporate giveaways [Merrill Lynch T-Shirt, Mettler Toledo swiss army knives] and many mugs of beer. More kids this year than last so the late-night crowd was only a few. I turned in early but we could hear the clanking of the Quoits on their pins late into the night . . . the sounds of Summer.

Cicadas

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Thanks to Aunt Karen for the image.

They’re friggin’ everywhere in the neighboring town of Princeton and I can hear the din if I have the windows down during the drive home (on second thought, maybe I should keep the windows up). No sign of them in our small hamlet yet and the joke around town is that their too high-brow to be seen here.

At any rate, the re-appearence of Brood X, that has been lying dormant for the past 17 years is all the talk around time and the source of frequent humor.

Finale

Tyler’s Pre-K class gave an end of the year performance today. They’ve been practicing the words to their songs for the past few weeks. We caught on to the “suprise” when we heard Tyler singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and knew we never taught him such a song. I’ve got the whole thing on video if anyone wants to sit through 15 minutes of 5 year-olds warbling off key to Yankee Doodle and Little Rabbit Foo Foo but I think it’s something only a proud parent can love.

On a flyer the teachers gave out was a particularly funny list of responses to questions.

“What’s special about your Mom?”
Tyler…She always gives me more stuff than my sister.

“What’s special about your Dad?”
Tyler…He always hugs me

Strawberries!

Tyler gets started

The weekly harvests have begun at our local organic farm, the Watershed, where we split a family share that allows us to share in the food that they grow there. Most of the crops are harvested for you and all we need to do is drive down the road to fill up a couple of grocer bags full of wonderfully fresh and pesticide-free veggies. It’s fun to go with the kids because each week there’s always something that’s available on a “pick your own” basis. In May, it’s strawberries to be followed soon by rasberries and, *yum* blackberries. This week too were snap peas which are so sweet you can eat them right off the vine!

Julia in the strawberry fields

Summer is truly here as our neighbors, the Trasks, have yet again graciously opened up their pool which is unofficially known as the, “East Franklin Swim Club.” After a morning of picking in the fields, a dip in the pool is always welcome.

A bit of Fame touched our block this weekend as we heard the good news that the Trask’s daughter, Emma, who had been busting her butt for the last year on a Michael Moore film project not only was able to attend the Cannes Film Festival but also that the film won this year’s Palm D’Or.

Not only did Fahrenheit 9/11 pull down the world’s top film prize, it received a 20-minute standing ovation (a record in the film festival’s history) and was only the second documentary to win the Palm D’Or in 50 years.

As you may know, the film’s original backers have pulled out which prompted all kinds of conspiracy chatter and probably only helped boost the film’s profile. Disney’s recent punch in earnings was due, in a large part, to their theme park business and the most successful Disney theme park is in Florida. Some say that Disney didn’t want to jeapordize their cozy relationship with the Governer of Florida, Jeb Bush (the President’s brother) by distributing a film so openly critical of the President.

Disney just can’t seem to call any of the right shots in their film division. First they piss of Steve Jobs and send him, Pixar, and the Shrek franchise off in search of their own distribution channel. Shrek 2 opened last week to a “record shattering $125 million” for through this weekend. Now it looks certain that Fahrenheit 9/11 will be a money-maker as well. I recall Moore’s first documentary, Roger & Me, was extremely profitable because production costs on a documentary are so reasonable. Way to go Emma!

Cool Email Alias

I normally just delete the junk email that lands in my box but this one caught my eye just because of it’s name.

Flippant H. Sassafras

The middle initial really makes it.

A further search for Ms. Sassafras on Google led me to this page which really raised an eybrow. I mean, it’s a page of gibberish (as far as I can tell) with the title of “Indelible Iceland Summand Purdue” WHAT THE HECK? It’s registered at yale.edu so I navigated up the URL and can’t seem to find a root.

Google and the other web crawlers must be having fun with this person’s site! If anyone can tell me what this is about – please tell me!

Allowance

Oh man! I just found a PDF of Bush’s request for more funds referred to below and it’s even funnier than I thought. Krugman referred to the one page cover letter to the budget ammendment but he didn’t mention that the ammendment request was only THREE pages with the first two pages being a cover note explaining why costs “cannot be estimated with precision.”

How do you estimate something with precision anyway???

To think of all the business plans, market analysis, and positioning statements I need to submit to initiate projects at my company and this is all it takes is four pages for our government to fling $25 billion overseas! The kicker is in the footnote:

**The original version of this document inadvertently contained an incorrect date. The money is intended to be available on the first day of Fiscal Year 2005: October 1, 2004. The orignal document incorrectly listed this date as October 1, 2005.

Not only do we want our money, we want it NOW.

Paul Krugman on Japan

Poking around to look for the latest Krugman column in which he illustrates the arrogance of President Bush’s one page request for an additional $25 billion for adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, I see that he’s also brought together the best of his writings on Japan into one place.

The state of Japan is a scandal, an outrage, a reproach. It is not, at least so far, a human disaster like Indonesia or Brazil. But Japan’s economic malaise is uniquely gratuitous. Sixty years after Keynes, a great nation – a country with a stable and effective government, a massive net creditor, subject to none of the constraints that lesser economies face – is operating far below its productive capacity, simply because its consumers and investors do not spend enough. That should not happen; in allowing it to happen, and to continue year after year, Japan’s economic officials have subtracted value from their nation and the world as a whole on a truly heroic scale.

The Extraordinary Private Cellar of Doris Duke

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Bottles of the first ever Vintage (1921) of Dom Pérignon, 1929 Château d’Yquem, 1934 Romanée Conti (pictured), all these and more from the cellers of Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress that made her home several miles up the road in Somerville on a 2,700 acre estate. The bottles will be auctioned off at Christies in NYC to benefit the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on June 2nd.

The private cellar of Doris Duke is without question one of the most superlative collections of Fine and Rare Wines to come to market in the nearly forty years of dedicated Fine Wine auctions at Christie’s. This sale ranks as the most unique offering of pre-war vintages ever sold in North America; both in its impeccable provenance and its depth of some of the best wines of the twentieth century.

The cellar highlights a period of wine-making and vintages whose like will never be repeated and is a true “time capsule” of bottlings spanning 1904 to 1934 and encompassing the great châteaux and domaines of France from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne as well as ports and madeiras.

The quantities here speak to an era of grand entertaining long-since passed, the vintages to yields and wine-making techniques changed by technological advancement and in one case to a vineyard now included in another by the appelation controlée laws.

Not only are the wines themselves remarkable, but the quality of the archival material associated with them is equally astonishing. No collection of this era can have been so meticulously catalogued by its owners, so that today’s collector can be assured of the provenance. Researching this collection has brought this cellar to life; tracing the wine’s journey from initial invoices (in old French francs) and shipping dockets, through cellar inventories, entertaining records and through to NYWinesChristie’s recent cataloguing and inspection.

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Oh yeah, they’re also hawking a 20-carat Tiffany diamond ring too.