Monday, November 15, 2010


For play, young children need two boxes. When they are really small they need a box with three stones in it. Then it will rattle. And a somewhat clean box is best because they are going to gnaw on it when they are teething. When children start to run around they need something more. That's when parents need to go to ToysRUs, to the back entrance and ask for one of the large boxes that The Princesses Castle came in or The Big Plastic Slide.

That's it; dump the plastic castle and keep the box. In a big cardboard box you can serve tea, plot war, hide from the enemy. You can cut windows and doors or slits for arrows. You can't carve your will on plastic or if you do your Mum and Dad will be angry and worry you'll grow up to be a vandal.
Another thing: I was hanging up the washing the other morning and spread a King-sized sheet across the two laundry lines to dry. And there it was- the secret tent- the shadowy sides moving mysteriously in the breeze. So go green, employ the latest sophisticated solar technology,(hanging out your clothes in the Florida sunshine) and give your child an extra, organic hide out.

Not everyone has the space for a tree and a dog or a laundry line but everyone with a child must find room for the big cardboard box.

Friday, November 12, 2010

We need trees more than birds do

Coral Gables: the City Beautiful. What's the difference between Coral Gables and the rest of us? Trees. The whole place is like the Brazilian rain forest. Yes, there are million zillion dollar homes crouching behind those tree trunks and leafy branches but it's the trees, stupid.

When we moved into our place the first thing we did was plant trees- well, actually, the first thing we did was plant selected seeds of live oaks and gumbo limbo and satin leafs into big old baked bean cans and, bless the South Florida climate, in a year or two they had left their cans behind.

But the point is, you can sit on a crate, you can eat off a piece of plywood (cover with a clean, bright cloth!) and later on you can buy your fancy Italian leather couch and table that seats eight in an afternoon but you can't wake up one morning and say I'm going to be surrounded by leafy branching trees this evening; where's my wallet! It doesn't work like that. (Well, the very rich and impatient can truck in instant trees complete with scaffolding and irrigation and good luck with that.) But the Brazilian rain forest or the gentle beech woods of southern England or just your shady corner were not built in a day - though I suppose our Creationist friends would beg to differ.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Does this blog make me look fat?

I'd given up on the election: it was the Rally. And the vital thing about the Rally was the numbers. As Napoleon said of the Pope:How many divisions does he have?
Well, this Pope has numbers. Doing the wave at the Rally to Restore Sanity was a great way to emphasize the sheer number-ness of it all; all those arms, raised up, two at a time, all the way down the Mall.

Now I can face Tuesday. Though I am still extremely peeved and mystified as to why my powerful letter to The Miami Herald, concerning the electoral process, did not make the cut. Mystified because it had the winning ingredient: it was short.

Having total copyright control etc, I am going to print it here: even more shorter, it might have made a good Rally sign.
Buying Elections the Old-fashioned Way
Why don't we go back to the buying of elections the old-fashioned way? All those millions of dollars spent hiring ad men and political back-room boys...Let Scott, Rove and the others really do something for the unemployed. Maybe not the Oprah-level of a car for everyone - but a new washing machine or TV, or at least a gift voucher for Macys for the ladies and a quart of Jim Beam on election day as you ride to the polls. Cut out the middle men and we might get something out of this election!

Note: I have never forgotten a picture in The Herald some years ago, of a Mexican politician addressing a rural crowd, while behind him, like a Sunday choir, stood a semi circle of gleaming white washing machines.