Saturday, October 18, 2014

Autumn at the Zoo





Dear George,
There are many beautiful places in Cincinnati, but the zoo in autumn has to rank near the very top.  Here are some photos that I took this week.
Love,
Dave




















































































































































Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Three Piglets: A Story-Poem for V and L


Dear George,
Katja and I are taking a Poetry Writing Workshop at the University.  Recently we had the task of writing a version of a myth or fairy tale from the viewpoints of two or more of the characters.  I wrote about the three little pigs and the wolf, and, afterwards, I decided to expand it into a story for our six-year-old grandchildren, V and L.  Here’s how it wound up.
Love,
Dave


The Three Little Piglets and the Wolf

Once upon a time in a land far away
Three piglets grew up with their mommy
She took them aside one bright summer day
And gave them some cheese and salami

“You’ll have to build your own houses,” she said
But the wolf is the worst sort of danger
He’ll eat you up like a loaf of white bread
Watch out for a fang-toothed stranger

The First Little Pig:

My mother told me to build my own house
But that sounds like really hard work
I’d rather play hopscotch and eat boiled grouse           
That wolf is a big stupid jerk

The easiest plan is a house made of straw
I can do it in less than an hour
The straw will get stuck in the bad wolf's craw
This piglet he’ll never devour




The Girl:

Soon after a girl named V came along
She saw the straw house and stopped
She explained to the pig that straw was all wrong
But the piglet just hippety hopped

The Wolf:

This silly little pig has no brains at all
About wolves he doesn’t know beans
With one little puff I’ll destroy his straw wall
And eat him with couscous and greens

So he huffed and puffed and blew the house down and he swallowed the first little pig

The Second Little Pig

I’m going to make my house out of sticks
It’s terrible what happened to my brother
But I’m sure I can fool that wolf with my tricks
He’ll never be eating another




The Boy

A boy named L took one look at the house
“Those sticks will never be enough”
But the pig just said, “That wolf’s like a mouse,
He’ll never get me or my stuff”

The Wolf

What is this flimsy house made of sticks?
That pig has the brains of a flea
He will taste swell in a fruit salad mix
Ooh that’s delicious to me

And he blew the stick house down and he swallowed the second little pig

The Third Little Pig:

That big old wolf is one scary dude
He can knock down a house with his breath
I’ll have to be very piggy shrewd
So that wolf cannot put me to death





The Boy and the Girl

You have to build your house very strong
Maybe iron or copper or brick
To build it that strong will take very long
But we’ll help you make your walls thick

The Wolf:

Here is another ridiculous pig
Bricks can't stop a big wolf like me
I'll eat this pig with a parsley sprig
And maybe a glass of chablis

So he huffed and he puffed but the brick house stood strong, and the wolf finally had to give up


The End of the Story

The wolf went home and ate pebbles and twigs
Then he gave an enormous burp
Out of his mouth popped the two little pigs
And they said, “Mister Wolf, you’re a twerp!”

The three pigs lived in the house of brick
The boy and the girl came to lunch
They all bounced around on a pogo stick
The pigs told V and L, “Thanks a bunch!”



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Magical World of Puppets


Dear George,
We’re taking our OLLI classes at the university again this fall, and part of this involves field trips in the community.  Most recently we went to a local puppet studio on the West side.  It’s one of the three largest puppetry centers in the nation, the other two being in Atlanta and Seattle.  There are ten full-time staff, a million dollar budget, and a 23-state area in which they travel for performances, most often for schools.  Some of the puppets cost $5-10,000 apiece to construct, aside from the substantial designer fees.  It was just sort of a magical visit.  Puppetry, it turns out, is one of the oldest form of theater arts, dating back some three thousand years.  Aristotle wrote about puppets, as did Herodotus and Xenophon in the fifth century B.C.  Some historians believe that puppets were used before human actors, and they’re present in nearly all human societies.  As we know from watching Pinocchio, there is something mystical that occurs when puppets come to life.  Here are photos of some of the many puppets that we saw on our trip.  As you’ll see, they are a friendly and captivating bunch.
Love,
Dave