Monday, October 31, 2005

Beep beep dit boopboop whee dit

You are not the best parent on the planet. And neither am I. We cannot be, because we did not create the Best Geek Toddler Halloween Costume Ever.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Note from the front

You think you know the people in your life, and your own self. You think you're aware of your feelings; you understand, even if dimly and uncertainly at times, your reactions and motivations, and you're a little proud of so rarely being out of control. You handle things; it's what you do, mostly for all the people around you but also for yourself.

You've said, "I love you" to these folks many times. They're not family, but some things are thicker than blood; some experiences bring you closer to friends than family history ever could to relatives. The financial times, the medical treatments, the legal stumbles all shared have convinced you that you're as close as you could be to another person.

And so when you hug her—when you feel her little-girl body clinging to you—you almost have a feeling of satisfication, it's almost a vindication that yes, you were right, you do love each other and are right to do so. But then the pediatric-wing bed is just a little too small for both of you, so you lift her up into your lap. And her hair is dishevelled from a week's stay, and it's getting in your nose, and you'd like to lean away; but she won't let you. She's hanging on, and you're letting her, because it feels good and because you need to even though you didn't know you needed to.

And ten minutes later, as you walk through the lobby, you're a wreck on the inside. You get in the car, and the first song on the radio makes things worse; you can feel the tears welling up. But on the outside you're handling it, because that's what you do.

Yeah, of course you are.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Conscientiously object to the War on Yesterday

Everybody knew the New Orleans levees were going to break, but nobody acted as though they would break in our lifetime, let alone this year.

Everybody knew that terrorists would once again kill people within the U.S., but nobody acted as though they would.

Everybody knows that worldwide oil will run out, but nobody acts as though it will happen before our kids are in college.

Politicians, like corporate executives, live for the moment. They act as though the only thing we know about the future is that there will be another election; they do not take preventive action against what we know to be coming at us unless a huge groundswell of the public loudly demands it.

Before the 1889 Johnstown Flood, people knew the heavily modified dam would break. The "act of nature"—the exceptionally heavy rains—would not have killed thousands by themselves; they needed the help of negligent, selfish people. Likewise, Hurricane Katrina was certainly a huge force, but it could not by itself have killed 10,000 people and displaced a million; it needed the help of negligent people in denial about a known future.

We don't mind looking backward, apparently; calls to unchannel the Mississippi or re-separate FEMA from DHS are just the latest battles in the War on Yesterday. And there is always easy sarcasm and griping; The New Battle of New Orleans provides a stinging musical critique, and that feels good for a moment.

But fight against immediate gratification. Whatever arena each of us finds ourselves in, we should be facing forward, preparing the way for the future, carving and shaping the path we want to be on instead of letting that trail develop itself in the roughest possible course.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hey, iPodPeople

You oughta get the iPod Flea; you'll be itching to use it! (requires Flash Player)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pride of place

The White Sox and Astros have caps that give no indication of where they play (city or state, depending on the team's preferred name). The ESPN column "Uni Watch" figured out that "this marks the first time two teams with geographically indeterminate caps have faced each other in the Series since way back in 1931, when the St. Louis Cardinals, whose caps were blank in those days, met the Philadelphia Athletics", whose cap even to this day reads "A's".

Some teams have at least one cap with a geographic reference and at least one without—for example, the Seattle Mariners sometimes have an S, sometimes have a trident-like M, and on at least one occasion used just their compass-rose logo. Cleveland wears Chief Nocahoma on their foreheads; the Baltimore oriole now alternates with "O's". The Angels cap has an A, which for years stood for Anaheim as well as Angels; I guess that's a non-city cap now that the team claims to have moved to Los Angeles...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Turning point

Here's a piece telling us why the court fight over "intelligent design" (that is, creation in sheep's clothing) is more than just another lunatic-fringe nutjob:

In countries like ours, the Iraqs and Afghanistans and USAs, liberals need to pick their battles. [...] Discretion is the better part of valor. But not always and no matter what. Sometimes we have to make an impolitic stink in support of the Enlightenment, and of the pieces of the Constitution—like the first words of the Bill of Rights, about government making "no law respecting an establishment of religion"—that are its revolutionary political expression. Intelligent design (ID), the hot new rebranding of Christian creationism, is extremely clever, profoundly disingenuous, and, I think, dangerous. It must be beaten back and kept out of the public schools.

And isn't it oh-so-cool that once again, American society can honestly be categorized with wretched and totalitarian nations where science must give way to superstition?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The last word on whether to teach creation and evolution together. Remember, when a mind is too open, everything falls out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Flying meat!

OK, listen up folks: if Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) calls something, "ignorance and stupidity," and "the dumbest thing I've ever heard," wouldn't you want to seek out that something and support it? Well, of course you would.

So go to and sign the letter saying you'd like every region of the country to give up some dumb pork-barrel project to help fund Katrina relief.

For example, Alaska could get back the half-million taxpayer dollars it spent painting a plane to look like a salmon! (Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, asked, "Is there something wrong with these fish that warrants such an expensive program to convince us to eat them?") Or at the very least, avoid spending the ten million more that are about to be appropriated!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The world bites

This morning I had the first real heart-to-heart conversation with my wife in weeks. (And it was weeks before that, and weeks before that--suffice to say that they're rare.) I told her how confused my job might become in the near future, and she told me what's up at counselling and with her lymphedema. That we don't talk is not because we don't love each other or don't have anything in common; it's all logistical: when I'm home, she's not, and vice versa. And for that reason, the world bites. She's my friend, I like her, I just don't get to be around her much. Damn.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ooooh, nooooo, Mr. Wallace!

A sad, sad day for claymation.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

They want to make The Handmaid's Tale into reality

The Indiana legislature has a bill in process proposing to regulate female fertility treatments and which children can have their parentage legally recognized. (PDF of text here; news articles here and here.) The bill essentially extends much of Indiana's regulatory language on adoption to fertility medicine. In order for a woman to receive medical help to conceive:
  • You must attend church.
  • You must be married to a man.
  • You must not be a lesbian.
  • You must describe and attest to the lifestyle of the intended parents: employment and income, personalities and physical descriptions, hobbies, child care arrangements, and much more.
(The bill would not regulate sperm donation or male fertility treatment.) In addition, courts would be prohibited from establishing parentage if the parents got medical assistance without the bill's certificate OR if a parent had been convicted of one of several crimes, including drug offenses. Now, let's be charitable and assume that this anti-American crap will never get out of committee. (If you live in Indiana, please don't assume this; call your representatives and make sure!) Does the far right really, truly believe that a majority of Americans are so apathetic to politics that they can push our country over the edge without any objections? What have the rest of us done to deserve these totalitarians clogging up our political system and hogging the public discourse?