Friday, October 15, 2004

Parents' birthdays

My parent's had their nth birthdays in August, but didn't do the big public thing until October. Unisia and I went out to help celebrate. I have an album from the party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an album from our trip to the American Museum of Natural History and the Whitney Museum.

We went to the Museum of Natural History because of the frogs. Unisia and I love frogs, and my parents were looking forward to seeing the exhibit again.

Tiny frogHuge frogSome frogs were tiny, while others were giant bloated blobs. Obviously, smaller frogs are easier to keep, and there are surely more tiny tropical frogs than big ugly things. Why exactly small frogs look so much nicer than big ones is a mystery. It may be physiological constraint, though I can't imagine why it would be that the bodies get thicker as the animals get larger. It seems like the small ones should have to pack more into a smaller package.

Three camouflaged frogsBright green frog with black stripesSome, like these three on the left, were almost impossible to find. (Can you find them all? Here's a hint.)

Others, like this on the right, or this one, were impossible to ignore. Please do go through the whole album, because there are too many beautiful frogs to put on this page.

And check out the Global Amphibian Assessment, which has some really startling numbers about the global decline in frog diversity and populations.

Smiling Native American mask

Once we were through the frogs, we got to wander through the Hall of Northwest Indians. This was set up by Franz Boas around the turn of the 20th century, and has really great artifacts, especially masks. There were also neat totem poles and carved statues.

My mom was particularly pleased that the famous canoe is finally out from behind the bizarre walls they put up around it for a while. They brought this canoe through the Panama Canal by steam ship, and set up beautiful mannequins in native dress, and then blocked people from seeing it! Congratulations on a major victory, mom!

Native American statue with a frown and a knifeNative American statue with deeply set eyes and prominent chinThis was a particularly prophetic pairing of statues which I've dubbed “George W. Bush” and “John F. Kerry.”

Unisia laughing, in wide hat with lots of feathersUnisia in a hat with lots of feathersOutside, there was a street fair going on, and Unisia tried on some hats. We also looked at jewelry, photos, clothing, soaps, and every other sort of thing that crops up at street fairs.

We wound up at Zabar's for a richly deserved lunch. Bagels with lox for all but me. I had a pannini with ham and cheese. Delish!

After lunch, we did a whirlwind tour of the Whitney, and chatted up a surprising number of people about our next president.

The next day, we partied at the Met.

MomDadHappy Birthday, guys!