May 28th, 2006

little review

Poem for Sunday

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Saturday we went to the International Spy Museum, which is housed in a building more than 100 years old in a neighborhood undergoing rapid restoration, and which we had never visited before. It's a fantastic museum with kids -- we were there with five in all, ranging from three to twelve, and although the youngest got restless in the historic section of the exhibit (no computers to play with there), the older kids were completely absorbed, particularly in the early part where you pick the identity of a spy, memorize details and then put them into a computer for a "mission." There's also a climbing-and-crawling through ducts exercise, a bunch of computerized activities like identifying a suspected spy from surveillance video and picking equipment for an infiltration, and there are a great many neat things to look at -- some of our favorites in the main exhibit hall were James Bond's Aston Martin, a piece of fabric modeled on Elizabeth I's dress from the Rainbow Portrait with eyes and ears embroidered on it, an umbrella with a firearm hidden in the handle that's a copy of one used for an assassination and a display on whether Bacon or Marlowe wrote Shakespeare using modern cryptography to look for clues (conclusion: no).

My kids' single favorite item was probably the doggie doo camera -- a miniature camera hidden in a pile of dried poop, on the theory that no one would pick it up to examine it. There is a traveling exhibit on "Spy Treasures of Hollywood" that has Diana Rigg's leather pants from The Avengers (I think I may have scandalized my friend from Chicago when I said I wanted to get into Emma Peel's pants, heh), some TV Mission: Impossible props like Barbara Bain's fake ID photos, a whole bunch of James Bond items including shoes that demonstrate that much as I don't like Sean Connery, the man has HUGE feet, and some Austin Powers stuff that the kids appreciated, not having seen most of the movies and TV shows there. They were a little interested in the Mata Hari sex-spying but much more interested in the use of pigeons for surveillance! And they had these little light-up glitter lamps with the museum logo for $8 and it is making my desk a happy place. Regrettably, there were no photos allowed in the exhibits, but here are a few from around the museum:

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Tonight we discovered that The Terminator was on and even though it is R-rated (for bloodiness, the F word and Linda Hamilton's breasts), we let the kids watch it because they know so much about the Governator that we figured they were entitled to know where he came from. I think of that analytically as a pretty good movie but I had forgotten just how much I love it. Makes me want to reread Constance Penley's essay on the film's use of the word "motherfucker" and how the primal scene plays out as a form of utopian thinking. *G* The kids greatly enjoyed the movie and now I must track down not only Judgment Day, which in some ways I think is better than the first -- I recall feeling that it was more feminist, with Sarah being much more in control of her own destiny -- but Rise of the Machines, which I have never seen. Oh, Arnold, why couldn't you have stayed in Hollywood? The Running Man and Total Recall are among my favorite guilty pleasures!

Sunday is my father's birthday and we are going to the Nationals-Dodgers game. The Dodgers (Brooklyn, not L.A.) were his childhood team so I am not even sure who he's rooting for. I am rooting for the Nationals to justify all the money DC is spending on them by winning!