Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Underground Horns, Central Park

We caught these guys playing a great groove that sounded North African mixed with Jazz. Gotta love NYC buskers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cara's Commencement: Congratulations, Cara!

Cara Graduated with an AA on May 20th, 2010 from Dutchess County Community College. It was a beautiful, warm spring day.

Here is Cara in the processional.

Cara is the first in her mother's lineage to get a college degree. She made the dean's list just about every semester, and she is looking forward to continuing her studies in human services, such as social work or a related field.

Congratulations, Cara. You worked very hard for this and you should be proud. I remember many nights waking up to raid the 'fridge and finding you still at the dining room table, working on something. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Found: My Alter Ego

I think he's adorable. Much thanks to Ken for finding him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Amateur Grammarian II: Or Not

I noticed a peculiar problem in my house, starting about a year ago. My daughter started dropping the infinitive 'to be' from some phrases.

"I need picked up," she says, calling from work at the end of her shift. Regarding the screaming feline, she'd say, "the cat needs fed."

Then I noticed my wife started doing it. Then I heard a man at work do it. I stopped him in the hallway and interrogated him as to where he grew up. The only common thread is that all three people I mentioned used to live in Pittsburgh at one time or another.

When I pointed this out to my wife and daughter, they first denied doing it, then insisted there was nothing wrong with it, then made jokes out of it. My daughter, when she can't win an argument, will just say, "Oh.... TO BE!" and then run off. Jennifer decided that Hamlet's famous soliloquy should no begin, "Or not. That is the question."

I just want educated on where this comes from.

Amateur Grammarian I: Confusing Subjects And Objects

I am probably not the only one who learned the hard way that, when you combine yourself and another person in a compound subject or object, you have to list your friend first. It's polite to ask if your friend and you may go to the shore in Mom's car, not the other way around.

I learned this when, in fourth grade, Anthony V____ asked, "May I and Ho Jun go to the library?" of Mrs. Bramer. Nope. Though he got the correct auxilliary verb, he blew the order of the subjects. He had to sit down and write, 100 times, "May Hojun and I go to the library?"

It seems a lot of people learned this order the hard way and then had it beaten into them that not only the order was important, but that any time there was a compound noun you had to use the subjective first person pronoun. So, some people erroneously think that they should ask questions like, "Would you give the pitcher to Chip and I?"

That doesn't work; 'I' is not an object and can't have anything given to it (though Paula Cole took some poetic license with it, once). The correct way to phrase it would be, "Would you give the pitcher to Chip and me." Order is polite, and both atomic components of the compound object are now themselves objects.

Another way to think of it is to break the sentence into two requests:

"Would you give the pitcher to Chip?"
"Would you give the pitcher to I?"

That doesn't sound right, does it? No, it doesn't, because 'I' is not an object.

Another often misused object is 'myself.' I can give myself some things, but you can only give me some things. What's that mean? The word 'myself' is a special object called a reflexive object. It must be preceded by the subject to which it refers.

"I gave myself a shower."


"I owe it to myself to stay sober."

But you shouldn't write, "If you have any questions, please contact myself or another member of the team." You must say, "If you have any questions, please contact me or another member of the team."

So I can touch you or myself, and you can touch yourself or me, but I can't touch 'yourself' and you can't touch 'myself'. Now give me a quarter or I'll touch you.

Here is another explanation:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Domesticating Squirrels

Jennifer, early this morning, trying to feed one of the squirrels by hand. Cara has named them all; I think this one is Chuck.

Chuck resting in a tree. It is hot for an early May day and he's sprawled out to cool off.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

It hit about 90F here, so Finn wanted to play with the water. That attracted his friends.

Before all this fun, Jennifer and I decided to get our first acute case of UVR poisoning of the season, so we overworked ourselves in the garden. Here's our raised bed of salad greens...

...Jennifer's cukes from seed...
...and tomato.
We have a lot of room left for peppers, hot peppers, more tomatoes, and a few more frames for raised beds.

Here's to my shoulders cooling off and my headache going away by tomorrow so we can plant more.