As dictated to her mother.
As mentioned in the beach trip report, we enjoyed the show put on Hilby the wacky German juggling clown guy. Turns out he was profiled in the NY Times a while back.
Reason #1,047 why Canadians are awesome: mammoth beer cup stack at CFL game.
Meet Abd el-Kader. A long read, but worth it, especially if you think Christians and Muslims are long-standing, wholly unresolvable enemies.
Another long read, but well-annotated, is Tim Wise's breakdown of the Tea Party counter-racism accusations. Painful to read, but should be required for anyone who thinks racism is dead in this country.
Still another long piece, but more light-hearted, is the Esquire story on the first and only perfect Showcase bid on The Price is Right.
If it's all too much for you, fine, here's a funny cat video.
Seems like we can't visit the same beach too often. Last week we went to Virginia Beach, where we hadn't been since 2005. A friend rented us her beach condo, which put us two blocks from the beach, and quite contrary to previous trips, right in the middle of the action, so to speak. VB has its "boardwalk," facing the ocean, that is largely devoid of shops--it's all hotels. The shops are a block over on Atlantic. We were on the NEXT block, so not only could we walk to the beach, we could walk to stores and restaurants. VB may be a little too hectic for our tastes; we're still trying to find the right balance between stuff to do and non-crowded beaches (I still think Sea Isle City, NJ is the best for that). But we enjoyed exploring the local offerings. A couple times we took the local bus up 15 blocks or so, then walked home, stopping off as necessary along the way.
The girls still love them some beach. Catherine will tell you she doesn't, but once she actually gets there, she's in the sand and the surf just like her sister. They still have a healthy enough fear of the surf, which is probably just as well for now. It was mostly calm all week, until Friday, when the waves were rather punishing.
I believe this was the first time we've actually been at the beach on the 4th of July. The city put on a real nice fireworks display on the water, which we viewed from the beach.
We spent an afternoon at the Virginia Aquarium, which is well worth the price of admission. Turtles! Komodo dragon! Great horned owl! However, Liz managed to stick the top of her head in the stingray "touch pool," as it was too deep for her to actually touch one of them.
We also took a day trip to Colonial Williamsburg. A major piece of the girls' obsession with the American Girl franchise is the Felicity Merriman character, who "lived" in Williamsburg in 1774, so this was a must-do. Sadly the girls did not get to churn butter, meaning I could not bellow "CHURN THAT BUTTER!" at them. The highlight, of course, was putting in the stocks and otherwise pretending to lock them up.
More photos on Flickr. Restaurant reviews and other random thoughts after the jump.
We ate at home a lot this trip, but did manage to get some good meals out. Breakfast at Mary's and Pocahontas Pancake house, which I have blogged about previously. Dinner at the Icehouse ($5 burgers on Monday) and Croaker's, a seafood joint on the other side of the inlet. We decided to forgo the Salty Seafood Buffet this year, as it is so often disappointing. And of course we had all kinda candy and ice cream and stuff. Mmmmm... Kohr Brothers.
One negative about Virginia Beach: they have those anti-profanity signs on Atlantic Avenue for a reason. And they don't seem to work. In other beach communities, the drunken twenty-somethings and high school kids tend to be clustered (Dewey Beach in Delaware, OCMD, Wildwood), while other locales are the "family beaches" (Bethany, OCNJ), but in Virginia Beach we're all lumped in there together. And young people today seem to have no reservations about shouting "FUCK THIS SHIT!" while walking past little kids. It gave the town a bit of a crass tone, at times. Damn kids! Get off my lawn!
In an effort to make evenings more family-friendly and not just about going to bars, the city has brought in a variety of entertainers to perform on street corners and stages on the middle stretch of Atlantic Avenue. Some of these were great. Some of them made us say "Man, they'll let ANYBODY play here. We particularly liked Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy.
Lastly, we had a bit of an adventure going home. Everyone who's passed through Hampton Roads has horror stories about the bridge-tunnel, right? We sat in slow-moving traffic for a few miles, then got on the first part of the bridge and stopped. And sat. For half an hour, at least. Word on the traffic report was "Disabled vehicle blocking both lanes." Who does that?! People were turning off their cars and getting out. I turned off the car too, but stupidly allowed the girls to keep watching a movie on the DVD player. Just as I was thinking "I should probably turn this back on, make sure we don't run down the battery," some lights I've never seen before came up on the dashboard, and Liz said "What happened to our movie?" Nice going, jackass! Fortunately (?), the traffic jam lasted long enough that we were able to get a jump start from a neighboring car before things got moving again.
Mascot item: Tackle the taco, 18 years later.
Have I mentioned Roger Ebert is a great writer? Here he is on our energy issues, soemething everyone really knows but hardly anyone is willing to confront.
The economy: sucks and will suck more if conservatives get their way. Deficits matter! Unless a Republican is in the White House!
I do not wish to smell like Old Spice, but their ads are at least amusing. Here's an interview with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, and they walk though the making of one of the commercials.
Lastly: Muppet video! Staring contest!