Friday, January 22, 2010

The Goddess Of Democracy

On an obscure corner of Washington, DC, several blocks northwest of Union Station, is a small park called the Victims of Communism Memorial. In his dedication speech a few years back, President George W. Bush had this to say about communism's victims...

They include innocent Ukrainians starved to death in Stalin's Great Famine; or Russians killed in Stalin's purges; Lithuanians and Latvians and Estonians loaded onto cattle cars and deported to Arctic death camps of Soviet Communism. They include Chinese killed in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution; Cambodians slain in Pol Pot's Killing Fields; East Germans shot attempting to scale the Berlin Wall in order to make it to freedom; Poles massacred in the Katyn Forest; and Ethiopians slaughtered in the "Red Terror"; Miskito Indians murdered by Nicaragua's Sandinista dictatorship; and Cuban balseros who drowned escaping tyranny.

The centerpiece of the memorial is a replica of the Goddess of Democracy, the statue erected in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 democracy uprising. The story of how the statue reached Tiananmen Square from the art school where it was constructed is pretty riveting. Students transported the pieces and construction materials on a bunch of sanlunche, the three-wheeled cycles that are so common on the streets of China. The riders took a route that was kept secret, while public security officials were busy watching over a different route that had been purposefully leaked. In the end, the statue was demolished on June 4, when the protest came to a violent and deadly end.

Even though the Victims of Communism Memorial is not on the A-list (or even B-list) of the DC tourist circuit, it serves as a reminder of the very real sacrifices that brave people around the world have made, fighting for freedom. For the four of us, personally, Grampy's resistance against and eventual flight from Communist Hungary is a big part of the reason we are here today.

~Steve

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hamsters In The House

As you already know, for Christmas, Z and I got two Chinese dwarf hamsters. They have been a lot of fun so far, and Z and I play with them everyday.

From the start, Z has been the most confident handler, while I tend to pet them as they roam around in their play pen. Z carries them around and even lets them crawl on his shirt. I guess I was more affected by their first day home, when I attempted to pick up Cinnamon and she ran under the couch...Twice! Finally, though, I can successfully hold them without getting nervous.

One of the most fascinating things about Cinnamon and Turbo is their obsession with the two wheels in their habitats. They spend almost all of their time running, climbing, or sleeping in either the big wheel or small wheel. Daddy keeps saying that we should find a way to convert their energy so we can use it to power our house!

We used to have to close our doors at night because the wheels make so much noise when Cinnamon and Turbo are running, but now that we keep the habitats in the kitchen, it doesn't bother us any more.

In conclusion, I have to say that hamsters are a lot more fun to have around the house than I expected...And they are super cute!

~Julie

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Like High Fructose Corn Syrup Better Than Sugar

That's the lesson I learned after downing this "throwback" Mountain Dew. Oh, and don't guzzle an entire bottle right before going to bed...

~Steve