Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Hairspray-The Musical is a delightful night at the movies. I found myself smiling throughout the evening at the exuberance, joy, costumes, and the hilarious dialogue. Unknown Nikki Blonsky plays the heroine, Tracy Turnblad, with an enthusiasm and grin that is contagious. John Travolta plays her mom, Edna, with respect and sensitivity for this woman of large size and heart. A measure of Travolta's success is that I stopped thinking of the character as John Travolta in drag about half way through the movie in the joyous number, "Welcome to the '60's". The whole movie is a reminder of the fashions, silliness, and racial stereotypes of that decade. It is also a tribute to those who were willing to risk all to create the changes that needed to come. Owen Gleiberman writing in Entertainment weekly gets it right when he writes, "Hairspray is a fizzy and delirious high-camp message-movie musical that may just turn out to be the happiest movie of the summer." Christopher Walken plays Tracy's father with a goofy weirdness that is fun to watch especially when the villainous Velma Von Tussle, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, attempts to seduce him in his joke shop. The movie ends with the exhuberant "You Can't Stop the Beat" and if you go to this movie, I bet you can't stop smiling.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vermont Weekend Log

I had the opportunity this weekend to visit with son, Josh, and his wife, Elizabeth, and their son, Noah, at their home in Barre, Vermont. It is a beautiful three hour drive up the Northway, then east to Rutland, and a winding journey on routes 100 and 107 to Interstate 89 to Barre. On Thursday evening Josh and I went to Thunder Road Speed Bowl, a beautiful facility in the hills above the city. It was a cool and crisp summer evening with plenty of exciting racing.On Friday, Noah went bike riding in the morning and then we headed to Barre to meet his Dad for lunch. We ate at LACE, a cafe and natural food store, opened by Josh and Elizabeth's friends, Ariel and Ben. I had a delicious turkey club sandwich as we sat at the front window so Noah could watch the trucks drive by. All the food served and sold at LACE is grown and produced in Vermont. Saturday morning we took Noah to the tiny Washington County Fair where he fed goats, horses, and cows. Noah also went on a few rides.
In the afternoon we went to a soccer field that is situated in the woods in a local park.
Breakfast on Sunday morning was in Plainfield, Vt. at our favorite restaurant, River Run. I ordered scrambled eggs with vegetables and one of their famous pancakes. Noah loves their pancakes. Delicious! After walking the stone wall around the church, we visited the local used bookstore.On the way home I stopped at
Devil's Bowl Speedway for a Sunday evening of exciting racing. They featured winged mini-sprints as well as an old timers club of sprints and midgets.

It was a clear night, the track was fast, and very dusty.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fishing with Jake

"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot." Steven Wright-comedian

You don't have to worry about that fine line when you take a child fishing with you. Today I had the pleasure of fishing with grandson, Jacob. I was with him last summer when he caught his first fish and this was our first time out fishing this season. There is nothing like the excitement of a three year old catching fish. Jacob giggled and laughed and cheered as he caught 6 fish in just over an hour. He wanted to "pet" each fish before we released it back into the lake. It was a joyous morning!

"Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish." Steven Wright

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

Most of my life, I haven't been much of a baseball fan. Oh, I would watch the playoffs and the World Series. I grew up at a time when all the World Series games were played during the day and teachers would let us listen to the games in school. After school we would all gather around someone's transistor radio to hear the play by play. I vividly remember the great Maris/Mantle home run chase. I became a fan of the Amaz'n Mets early in their history because I'm a sucker for the underdog. Three years ago I began watching Mets' games on the TV in the back porch. I liked hearing the peepers through the screen windows as the game flickered on the screen.

When they start the game, they don't yell, "Work ball." They say, "Play ball." ~Willie Stargell, 1981

This summer I discovered the Saratoga Phillies and the New York Collegiate Baseball League and my appreciation for the game has increased tenfold. The NYCBL draws talent from some of the major colleges in the country. The Phillies are the defending league champions in only their fourth year of play. Their home games are played at East Side Rec in Saratoga, a ballpark in the middle of a city park. All the games are free and it is a wonderful way to spend a summer evening. These young players are excited to have the opportunity to play and their enthusiasm for the game is infectious. Spectators can sit in the covered bleachers behind home plate or in a lawn chair along the baselines. Scores of children patrol the park, gloves in hand, pursuing the elusive foul ball that is hit out of the park. All games begin at 7pm and my favorite part of the evening is when the sun disappears over the horizon. The sky turns pink, the air cools, and the sound of the collision between ball and bat becomes sharper.

That's baseball, and it's my game. Y' know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave 'em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It's good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops.
Pretty girls, lots of 'em. ~Humphrey Bogart

I feel like I am maturing into a true baseball fan. Tonight I even went to the game alone and as I sat in my chair there was a moment when a foul ball headed my way, people began to shout and point, children ran towards me with their gloved hands stretched skyward, and magic happened. The first baseman leaped into the air, stretched his arm over the 8 foot high chain link fence and caught the ball. A cheer erupted from fans of both teams not only for the spectacular play but as a hymn of praise for summer and baseball.

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. ~A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Grandson Jacob celebrates this holiday by expressing his joy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


West Coast Chuck pointed me to this story about life and death, loss and found, and mystery. It might bring you comfort or leave you wondering. You may simply choose to scoff. As for me and my house, we believe. Read the story by clicking here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Senior High Camp

Thirty years ago we began Senior High Camp as an opportunity for young people to make friends, grow in faith, have fun, and learn to love and forgive in Christian community. Last week, 46 campers and 18 staff gathered once again at Sonrise Camp for this annual rite. Nine of the staff were young adults who had come up through the camp experience themselves. They did a marvelous job of leading activities and creating a welcoming and exciting environement. Ten of our campers this year were graduated seniors and we celebrated their accomplishment at our annual Senior Banquet. Words cannot describe the joy and depth of relationships that we experience at this camp. These photos might give you a hint at what goes on.