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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Me, My Kids, and Disney

So I was folding the laundry when I came across the Dora sweatshirt. Used to be Aubrey's and now it's Jo's. Jo seems to be falling for the Dora. By the way, if you haven't seen this Dora parody, you should. Aubrey went through a Dora stage when she was Jo's age. All part of the life-cycle. Those first brands we really identify with. And I don't begrudge the companies with these brands for what they do. Dora uses pretty current thinking in early education. It's stories actually help kids develop those primary thinking and learning skills. And hey, I spend most of my day trying to promote the publisher I work for, often emphasizing our brand. Can't be a hypocrite.

But boy they really squeeze that brand. And they so seductive plan out associating every step of development with a successive product line. Princess goes to fairies goes to pets goes to prostitute, as best I can tell.

Anyway, I suppose I've come to terms with it. If Jo wants to fixate on a sweatshirt that features a product, I'm not going to get all hung up on it. Unless it's like NASCAR, or WWF, or some other religion. At least it's not exposing her midriff.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More on that...

Okay, so where was grandma from? No where, it seems. No where in particular but also everywhere. Same's true of my grandfather. But that angle is a little different.

Like anyone with a mother and father, I had two grandfathers. Well, two I remember. See, both of my grandmothers did something unusual for women of their time, they divorced. My paternal grandmother may have done it twice. My maternal grandmother re-married twice, but only once because of divorce. The third marriage was after her second husband died. Her second husband was who I thought my grandfather was for most of my childhood. But we weren't related by blood. Same's true on my father's side. The man I knew as my grandfather wasn't related to me by blood. Both were only related by love. And, both were Sicilian. And even with a name like Anthony Sanfilippo, I'm technically not Italian.

So just what am I?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So, where you from?

My paternal grandmother, Mary, told me she was from Timişoara-Bukova. Here's Timişoara. Bukova is a bit more complex. Here's what I've figured out. It's not next to Timişoara.

Here are the clues. If you had asked her what country she was from she would usually say Austria-Hungary. (Always with the hyphens, this one. How quintessentially American.) What she would be referring to there were the countries as they were known before WWI.
Timişoara is in what is now know as Romania, but for a brief period before the war it was part of Hungary. And once she left it or just before, it had been taken over by, or merged with Austria. And the murder of the king of Austria would be the impetus for that terrible war which would lead to that second terrible war.

When I asked her ethnicity she would sometimes say Hungarian, sometimes say Czech, sometimes Slovak, sometimes Romani. Sometimes she would say, we were gypsies or bohemians. In the context of all of these seemingly conflicting answers, those last two make the most sense. The Roma are gypsies. Current thinking is that the Roma came originally from India probably as early as the 5th century, but gypsies these days are on almost every continent and extend throughout Europe. They steal your wallet by throwing their babies at you to distract you. Or they steal your baby by throwing a wallet at you to distract you. They are hated, persecuted, and nomadic. If you want to be from several states or countries simultaneously, being a gypsy is one of the best ways to do it. They even have a wheel on their flag.
Seems they're most comfortable on the move.