Category Archives: Jonas

When Animals Attack: Part Two

Warning: This post contains a photo of a skeleton and a clown.

I don’t normally spend a lot of time thinking about wild animals, but lately they’ve been forcing my hand. For example, last week Ohio made the news when a crazy person released his entire menagerie of beasts plus a monkey into the surrounding neighborhood. It was a sad episode in my state’s history. All of the animals were shot (but not before eating the monkey), and as a result I started to second-guess my plan to take the kids to the circus.

We were supposed to go as part of the V-meister’s 8th birthday celebration, but I felt that perhaps I should take a moral stand against circuses in general. Plus I worried that PETA might show up and torch the place. But I had purchased really good seats and I’d been looking forward to the circus, so there was no turning back.

The circus is no longer under a tent. Instead, it’s at a venue called the “Quicken Loans Arena.” But I have to hand it to those Ringling Brothers – they really know how to put on a show. All of the usual circus suspects were represented, including clowns, acrobats, tightrope walkers, and a human cannonball. Jonas was so enthralled by the clowns that I’m holding the Ringling Brothers plus Barnum plus Bailey personally accountable for his decision to become a clown when he grows up. He wants to put on “The Funniest Show on Erf.”

But I must admit I was conflicted about the animals. On the one hand, they were fascinating to watch; on the other, they seemed out of place at Quicken Loans Arena.  A whole herd of elephants came out and did tricks, like standing on their hind legs and rolling over. Ponies and zebras also performed, and there were many ferocious tigers, though they stayed inside their cage. During the pre-show, an elephant painted a picture with his trunk, though I have to tell you it wasn’t anything to write home about, talent-wise. It made me a bit uncomfortable that that elephant was on a basketball court and not in the Saharan plains. And that he was wearing a headband

The next day we headed to Lithuanian camp in Michigan for a weekend of fall fun, and guess who was there?

A roving pack of wild coyotes.

Longtime readers may remember that during last year’s Fall Camp Weekend, me and my friend V were almost killed by a deer.

This year, the only evidence of deer ever having roamed the campground was a pile of bones next to the lake.


Despite all the fun things we did – including a costume party, trick-or-treating, and a hayride, going for a walk past the deer bones was probably the high point of the entire trip.

"Let this be a lesson to you, kids."

This one was probably uncalled for.

But those deer bones got me thinking (again!) about animals and the circle of life. Was the deer’s predicament, I wondered, any worse than that of the circus elephants?  Should I be eating hamburgers and wearing leather belts? And why the hell were there coyotes at Lithuanian camp?

Later that night there was a Halloween party. The P-Dawg and I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Coyote Wolf.

Me and the P-Dawg in costume

Very “full circle,” don’t you think?

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A Few of My Favorite Things

The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway fifty years ago (November 16th, 1959), but I discovered it again for the first time last week.

My three-year old son was busy playing trucks when I popped in the DVD, but as soon as Julie Andrews came bounding over the horizon and opened her mouth to sing, his little head swiveled around like a periscope.

What is that exquisite sound?

Who is that beautiful lady . . . and why isn’t she my mother?

He planted himself directly in front of the TV and gazed on with rapt attention for a good half hour.

I was riveted by the fairytale plotline, the boundless optimism, the yodeling . . . and Captain Von Hawt, whose smokin’ good looks had somehow evaded me for these past thirty-six years.

So in honor of the Sound of Music’s fiftieth anniversary, here are A Few of My Favorite Things:

  1. Coffee (touch of cream, no sugar)
  2. Sushi
  3. The Daily Show
  4. Lithuanian folk songs
  5. My attached garage
  6. The iTunes Store
  7. Leonard Cohen lyrics
  8. Built-in bras
  9. The Star-Spangled Banner (straight up, no soul)
  10. Cosmic signs
  11. Musical harmony
  12. Reading in bed
  13. White linens
  14. Lost
  15. Chamomile tea
  16. Aveda Inner Light dual foundation
  17. The combination of buttered movie popcorn with Skittles
  18. Hot showers
  19. Good lip balm
  20. Lavender lotion from L’Occitaine
  21. Striped tights
  22. Black boots
  23. Cinnabon
  24. Cabernet Sauvignon
  25. Guinness beer
  26. Christmas Eve
  27. Tylenol PM
  28. Jello pretzel “salad”
  29. Order and symmetry
  30. Airplane Coke
  31. The sun on my back
  32. Abba
  33. Geico caveman commercials
  34. The smell of pipe tobacco
  35. Foot rubs
  37. and The Sound of Music, of course.
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