Category Archives: fun

M. C. Escher in Winona, Minnesota

I like Bing maps because they provide a Bird’s eye aerial view which provides a little more perspective than Google’s top-down aerial view.  I recently saw an impossible aerial view on Bing, more akin to an M.C. Escher painting than a real photo.  Buildings next to each other at impossible angles.stmarys_bing_4.PNG

Having never been there, at first I thought it was perhaps unusual slanted architecture. Closer inspection showed that it was the incorrect auto-stitching of two photos from different vantage points (clear from the unfinished building edge in the upper center.)  The entire campus (Bing maps link) seems unfazed by this physical warping of space.stmarys_bing_1.PNG

I’m still not sure of the building below.  Having not been there, I’m not sure if all the sides are vertical, or one or more are architecturally slanted.  I will have to visit some day to see for myself.stmarys_bing_5.PNG

M. C. Escher’s painting Relativity, below.p02vhq1v

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My theory of why children have so much energy

DSCF4695 copyYou’ve seen children at the playground jumping and chasing. Just watching them seems to make you tired. You’ve experienced being around children running in circles and waving arms and hands and being silly.  Just being around them wears you out.  How is it children can have so much energy in such tiny little bodies?

My theory is children actually drain the energy of the nearest adults.   You are actually a large energy store for them.  They are using your energy!

Don’t believe me?  Just think about it…

  • They have more energy than could be contained in such a little body.
  • The closer you are to them when they are active, the more tired and drained you feel.
  • The crazier and wilder they are, the more tired and drained you feel.
  • More children acting wildly will make you feel tired faster.
  • But, when they go to sleep, you can feel your energy return.
  • When they even settle down, your energy begins to come back.

I think that pretty well proves it.

Ringing Bells for Kettle Drive

Cragun Family ringing Bells for Salvation Army Kettle Drive

Cragun Family ringing Bells for Salvation Army Kettle Drive


One of our family’s Christmas traditions is to go ring bells for the Salvation Army’s annual Kettle Drive. Salvation Army does a good work, and it’s easy to support their effort.

Of course, we try to have a little fun with it. We perform a little Christmas music using sawn pipes struck with kitchen utensils — sort a poor man’s bell choir. It’s a challenge, and a little disjointed, but you can usually recognize the tune. This year, the table knives were accidentally left at home, so we made do with car repair tools. (See the screwdrivers and pliers?)

In the photo left to right: Amoray & Nathan, Christian, Leanne, Eric, Catherine. (I’m taking the picture.) Each year Eric dons his Elf costume, which usually gets some smiles.

Balloon twisting – a new skill

Brian holds several balloon animals

Overrun by herds of mutant balloon animals

I was asked to dress as a clown and make animal balloons at an upcoming youth event. The clown costume and face makeup were downstairs in the costume box. But twisting balloon animals was not a current skill. Yet, how hard could it be. A bag of balloons and a couple of YouTube videos later, I had bunches of practice animals everywhere. Some of them look a little lopsided and mutant. Monkeys with the face in the wrong place look more like poodles. Of course the difference between a balloon dog and a balloon giraffe is the length of the neck. Yet it is a new skill that will perhaps comes in handy someday. Now, what to do with all these balloon animals?

Four Yorkshire Men

This is one of my favorite comedy sketches of all time. Four men one-up each other on how bad they had it growing up. Sort of an English version of “I had to walk 5 miles to school up-hill every day in a snowstorm,” which my kids will tell you they’ve heard way too many times. There are several versions of this, but this is the original with cast members of Monty Python, before it was Monty Python, along with Marty Feldman.