Games, family, and other people’s babies

Bead game

So I finally got around to finishing this game, made from scrap wood, old bicycle spokes, house paint, and the beads from an old beaded curtain. It’s fun to have; I kept beating Shannon the first few times we played, I think because I used to play it often but she had never seen it before, but now we’re more even and things are more interesting. One of the other three games we ordered has come in (Bohnanza) but we’re still impatiently awaiting the other two.

One intended use of all these games was with my family, which we’ll be seeing soon. Shannon and I are making travel plans for Thanksgiving, during which we will celebrate the fact that we’re not turkeys at a cottage near Awenda, together with my family and its newest addition. For a few years now we’ve all gone camping together on the long weekend but my 1.5 month old nephew prefers hanging out someplace with electricity and running water that can be put to his use so we’ve decided to take it easy this time around. We’re still planning to go canoeing once we’re there, though.

Speaking of taking care of babies, I received a copy of the Syracuse Cultural Workers catalogue in the mail this afternoon. It’s funny what you get when you subscribe to Harper’s — a few weeks ago I got an ad for the journal Foreign Affairs, and now this. If you’re not familiar with this catalogue, it’s a premiere supplier of ideal ChristmasHoliday Season[0] gifts for the Latte Left — inspiring, colourful Audrey Lourde and Gandhi[1] posters, tshirts, and buttons, all union made and with a post-consumer recycled content of at least 20%. Really, it’s very nice stuff. There are cute children’s books about topics like a baby penguin with two penguin dads, calendars with menstrual cycle information alongside photos of heroines of contemporary feminism, bumper stickers calling for a withdrawl from Iraq via assorted witty catchphrases, and so on. But my favourite was a compilation CD entitled Lullabies from the Axis of Evil, made by a Norwegian music producer who decided in 2002 to humanize the discourse around the war on terror by travelling to North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and other places to record women singing songs to their children. What a poignant statement.

Maybe it’ll be my Holiday Season gift to myself.

[0] I just have to say that this phrase is one of my big pet peeves. Sure, December is significant to other religions, and the Christian cultural tradition of Christmas has its precedents, but pretending to be multiculti while celebrating it by offering inappropriate holiday greetings to people of other faiths is just stupid. Chanukah is far from the most important Jewish holiday (those are in October [edit: okay, usually in October]) and has only a minor tradition of gift giving, and Ramadan has nothing to do with gifts and often nothing to do with the month of December. This year, for example, it ends on October 23rd. If I hear one more person say “Happy Ramadan!” in late December, I’m going to scream! And then there are the people who don’t realize Chanukah Harry was an invention of Saturday Night Live… I realize you wish that I was joking, but deep down you know I’m not.

[1] Another pet peeve: how often his name is misspelt. This particular catalogue gets it wrong just once, in a photo of a peace poem painted on the side of some hippy’s van. To their credit, they point out the error, but they’re still not above selling posters of the shot. Really, I think they owe it to the world, or at least its Indian diaspora, to Photoshop it.