Monday, December 31, 2007
I may be the last person to realize this, but the season really is all about kids. I've always loved Christmas, my favorite time of year and all that, but this one blows all of the previous ones away. There's just nothing like seeing your child light up with happiness for a whole day. Sabrina has never really done this before (last year doesn't count, from my point of view), but she has it all figured out. No hurry, worry or anything that detracts from the Christmas spirit, just presents, food, playing and baby happiness. We can't wait for next Christmas!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Later that same day (this all takes place while Mommy is out shopping at Target), Sabrina pioneered the practice of eating grapes with her toes. She prefers it if someone else loads them, but in a pinch she can do it all herself. She's very proud of this new skill, and I can't wait for Mommy to see it.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Every once in a while I miss being single. This is one of those times. I hate the fact that my family is exposed to this kind of thing, and as much as I appreciate how dumb it would have been to confront the guy or get physical with him, I really wanted to. I still do, I'd love to find him and sjambok him on the face, but that's not the kind of thing you can do when you have a family to think about. Which is a good thing, but I still sometimes miss being stupid and thoughtless, and doing the first dumb thing that occurs to me.
Sabrina, and all of the kids there, absolutely loved it. There were real ponies, a little train that ran around the outside of the place, and a bunch of old carnival rides, like this merry-go-round (Sabrina's favorite) and a mini ferris wheel that looked slightly rickety but was a crowd favorite. Sabrina was hard to pry off the horsey you see here, and probably would have stayed there all day if we hadn't kept bothering her with cake and presents. Great fun all around.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by
it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM.
If only he'd just tell us how he feels, instead of dancing around the subject like that.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
God that's good stuff. Best Will Ferrell moment ever, if you ask me. My favorite part is toward the end when he goes "Nature! Goulet." And this is what you get if you Google nature goulet. Which is silly.
Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more
coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which
"produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic
candidates than on Republicans."
The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing
front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in
nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.
Breaking it down by candidates, the survey found that Sens. Barack
Obama and Hillary Clinton were the favorites. "Obama's front page coverage was
70% positive and 9% negative, and Clinton's was similarly 61% positive and 13%
In stories about Republicans, on the other hand, the tone was positive
in only a quarter of the stories; in four in 10 it was negative.
The study also discovered that newspaper stories "tended to be focused
more on political matters and less on issues and ideas than the media overall.
In all, 71% of newspaper stories concentrated on the 'game,' compared with 63%
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Man is Sabrina a lot of fun, she just makes the whole room get up and dance wherever she goes. Yay Super Baby!
Friday, October 26, 2007
On Saturday, Mommy took Sabrina to Texas Jumping Beans, a kiddie gymnasium with a number of different fun activities for kids, and one of them was a bouncy castle. At some point a little boy bounced up into her chin as she was coming down and she bit the heck out of her tongue. Mommy was very cool and collected as she picked Sabrina up, strapped her into the child seat and got me on the phone to find out where the nearest ER was. I, despite having seen a fair amount of gore, death and misery and feeling pretty much nothing about it, and being able to function well in such situations, lost it. Deirdre had to calm me down, which is pretty pathetic considering she was driving around with a screaming, bleeding baby at the time. I finally chilled enough to be helpful and started North to find them.
At the ER, I found that Sabrina was pretty calm and had bitten two large holes in her tongue. She cooperated nicely with the doc, who said no stitches were necessary and prescribed her Amoxicillin to ward off infection, and then warned us not to give her sour or salty foods. She immediately insisted on Cheetos and a lime popsicle, being the tough little thing she is. Yeah, they hurt, but not enough to keep her from eating them.
I had to ask the nurse what she thought about bouncy castles, and she said her kids don't get to do anything fun in the first place because she's an ER nurse, but that bouncy castles were particularly dangerous in her estimation. I asked what kind of injuries they cause, and she said "broken bones, concussions, terrible cuts, eye injuries, teeth knocked out by impact and ripped out by the safety netting" whereupon I told her enough, I was boycotting the bouncy castle too. Sabrina may have other plans, but the only way I'm letting her back in a bouncy castle in the nextg 18 months is if I get to go in with her and hip-check all the other kids away from her. I'm sure that will go over well with the other parents.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Sabrina doesn't look terribly unhappy in this picture. I'm sure neither I nor my wife would have stood there and taken a picture while she was genuinely miserable, and she doesn't really look that pissy so it could be tiredness-based or manipulation for all I know. Yes, my daughter is a master manipulator already, and good for her. She's going to need that later.
I mean it's like having your skin peeled off, seeing and hearing your child in pain. In the running for worst thing ever.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Sabrina had her first day of preschool today and loved it. About the third day we lived in the new house, we took Sabrina for a ride in the baby chariot you attach to the back of a bicycle, which she loved, and happened to run into a playgroup of 2005 babies that meets at the park a block away from where we live and run a little preschool at one of the many local churches twice a week. The parents themselves do the supervising, taking turns, and the idea is that you'd be able to leave your child there for a couple of hours twice a week and occasionally take care of a bunch of kids during that time, but I'm not convinced that D will want to do that as often as twice a week. That surprises me, considering how difficult it is to be a small child's primary caregiver 24/7 for years at a time, but my wife is exactly the mother I would wish for my daughter if I could invent her from scratch, and she's not handing our baby over to a group of strangers in a church until she knows for damn sure it's safe to do so. So she'll attend months of preschool with Sabrina before she decides, whereupon I have two options: to agree or to keep my mouth shut.
Am I right, ladies?
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
More great baby pics soon!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Anyway, check out this awesome version of My Funny Valentine by Chaka Khan, all jazzed up and sweet as hell. Not to mention this live version of "Tell me Something Good," introduced by Bob Hope if I'm not mistaken. In this version of "Ain't Nobody" she looks and sounds hammered and is dressed in an enormous length of plastic mardi gras boa. Freaky . . .
Monday, August 20, 2007
So I hadn't seen Tian's site for a while, and it's still great. It always was, I'Anyfart, Tian linked Engrish.com for some reason (he often does) and I had never been there, so I took a look and enjoyed it. Found this picture there, in fact. Seems like a nice kid.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I'd like to believe I made the right choice. We were pretty much dead stopped when she toppled out and landed flat on her feet, and then her knees, tummy, arms and forehead, and she almost didn't fall at all. But that doesn't change the fact that I did something dumb with the baby in front of my wife (and apparently a couple of my friends who were watching from a nearby disc golf tee box) and had to be punished. I pushed the stroller ashamedly behind mommy as she carried my screaming daughter home. I think she left the pebbles from the jogging path stuck to her face all the way home just to make sure I felt as bad as possible, but she says she thought they were really embedded and were keeping her from bleeding (I'm quite sure that I'm not allowed to pursue that line of reasoning further and will now drop it if I have any sense).
All in all, much less damage than we expected for this particular injury. It could have been a lot worse, of course. Sabrina is never so happy as when she barely escapes major injury, and she trusts us completely to keep her out of trouble. She'll jump from anything to anything else, or to nothing at all, if we're close enough to catch her, and laughs her ass off when we barely save her from cracking her head open. She can't swim worth a damn but will launch toward either of us from the steps or the side of the pool, usually after shedding her swim ring.
I love all that about my daughter, and I'm sure she'll be fine despite many adventures, but I worry about Mommy's anxiety level. Let's break her in easy, OK Sabrina?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
I feel bad about the lack of pics, but baby, that's just the way it is baby . . .
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Sabrina is learning fast these days. So many leaps and bounds they're all just part of one amazing explosion of the essence that is Sabrina. We still struggle to understand her little speeches but she's done us the grand favor of trying to learn our language, and she's getting better by the microsecond.
I'm not at all sure our language is better. I've always liked Neal Stephenson's idea that we're all born knowing a protolanguage, basically the human brain's programming language, and that it is perfectly tuned to human perception and therefore perfectly descriptive and inherently powerful.
Sabrina certainly seems like she means what she's saying when she gives these long, impassioned speeches in either whisper-speak or her other, more English-like language. I hope we're not missing out on the cure for cancer or something, just because we don't know her lingo.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
We don't drink, and probably wouldn't have known about the lack of liquor if we hadn't been told the day before, but we do notice when other partygoers get out of hand, and we are rarely amused. We haven't been in situations where Sabrina is sharing a space with a bunch of drinkers much, but when we do, my world becomes an Asteroids screen with Sabrina in the middle, and all the people are 'Roids I may have to knock off course if they get too close. If only people stayed on the same course until you hit them.
So we got there and raced upstairs to show off Sabrina and talk to Diana about the ceremony and what would happen when. Sabrina and Deirdre left to play outside and Diana and I chose a version (we'd been working from three possibilities), got her friend Rebecca to agree to read First Corinthians, figured out when to light the candles in remembrance of departed relatives, and then I rewrote a fair bit to accommodate the new material and make the transitions smooth. When I walked down the stairs to find Mommy and Baby someone asked me if I had seen the latest forecast, and when I went outside the sky was black and it was sprinkling. Diana was a good half-hour from being ready if I was any judge of such things, and when her crew did the job in 15, much amazement was expressed. She looked lovely, as did my wife Deirdre. More later . . .
For three years the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another three years and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls. This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and most importantly, it killed off any maggots that might cause the body to decay after death. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed.Self-discipline is under-emphasized in the US, I think. I can't think of anyone in this country who would do that, not even my friend Mike S., who built a car in his garage in little more than a year. Speaking of self-discipline, I think these dudes have it even harder than the self-picklers:
For the first 300 days of the pilgrimage, the monk must run 40 km (24.9 mi) each day — essentially a marathon a day for almost an entire year. In the fourth and fifth year, he does 40 km each day for 200 straight days. In the sixth year of the pilgrimage, he increases the length of his runs to 60 km (37.3 mi) for 100 days. Finally, during the seventh year, he runs for another 100 consecutive days, this time covering 84 km (52.2 mi) at a time — twice the length of a marathon.I think a few days of running 20+ miles in sockless straw sandals would bring me face-to-face with death, never mind the other stuff.
The monk runs in straw sandals (and for the first few years without socks), largely over unpaved mountain paths, through all seasons. And he must do it on a diet of vegetables, tofu, and miso soup. Around his waist, he wears a rope belt and a knife to remind him that should he fail to complete the seven-year pilgrimage, he is required to hang himself with the rope or disembowel himself with the knife.
Following the 700th day of running, the monk engages in a seven-day fast, known as the doiri, in which he must abstain from food, water, and sleep, while sitting upright and constantly reciting Buddhist chants. Two monks remain next to him to ensure he doesn’t doze off even once. The purpose of the doiri is to bring the monk face-to-face with death.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
In the car, Sabrina was at her best: Sweet, giggly, aggressively learning words for things and playing recognition games with Mommy ("Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO, and on his farm he had a . . . " "COW!!" "Yeah, a, another cow, is it?" "COW!!" "EIEIO! With a . . . " "MOOOOOOO!" "Here and a . . . " "MOOOOO!" "There, here a . . ." "MOOOOO!" "There a . . . " "MOOOO!" "Everywhere a . . . " "MOOOOOO!" "Yay Sabrina!"). Just adorable to an almost unbearable degree. It was a long drive, and Mapquest officially sucks for sending me at least five miles out of my way. But it was all worth it when we got there.
San Michele is pretty much an outdoor paradise for children. A large flowery maze, several ponds/pools/fountains/hot tubs to play in, throw things at, or just swim in whether or not Mommy and Daddy want you to, and fun plants, lizards and insects everywhere. There must have been 12 or more other small children, some of whom Sabrina gave hugs to for giving her flowers. Just good family fun all around, and on such a nice day too.
More to come later in the day . . .
1. Al Gore will tell a series of easily checked lies about the environment and global warming that no one in the mainstream media will bother to check.
2. Al Gore will respond to not a single one of the many debunkings of his "Inconvenient Truth" propaganda bits
3. There will be almost no real information communicated.
OK, just read it. Why, for God's sake why, does it still surprise me when a headline and its story are in no way connected?
Friday, July 06, 2007
As a former journalist myself, I tend to forget how little the average person perceives the hideous, destructive bias in the US and world press corps. It's the way it's always been for most of us, and even as a participant it didn't really smack me across the face for a while. It took years for it to register consciously that I was the only conservative I had ever met in journalism, and even then I didn't believe, couldn't believe, that other journalists would indulge their prejudices by expressing them in news stories.
I just figured you could get all the bias you wanted to put across into editorials. But in the end, it's more effective to allude to that bias in which stories you run and which you don't, and the tone therein. By never using the word "terrorist," one is making a distinct choice in how one's readers think about the people in your story. By not running a story about an al Qaeda massacre, one is making a distinct choice about how the situation in Iraq should be viewed by one's readers. And so on.
I've given up on the press and its sacred duty to keep partisan sentiments out of the game. I know I can't get a real picture of the world through the networks, CNN, MSNBC, newspapers and magazines. And as Google (among others) filters search results to deny access to "right-wing hate sites" (translation: the top 20 conservative blogs), it will get harder and harder to find dissenting information.
When a large percentage of the populace believes Bush was behind 9/11, journalism as an industry has failed miserably, and it won't improve unless we demand better.
Monday, July 02, 2007
As you can see she's not interested in high chairs any more. I think her preference would be all of us using children's furniture, but because that's apparently not going to happen, she wants to use the same chairs we use. Instead we've rigged the twin of the green chair with the wooden arms Sabrina stands on (in the picture of the post below this one) at the breakfast bar with pillows and a white tablecloth that snugs up fairly tightly against the table edge. She can kick the chair back enough to escape pretty easily, but hasn't done so in a dangerous way so far, and she's getting really good at hopping down from things. I know she won't get hurt much, and I absolutely don't want to deny her the lessons we all must learn because I can't stand to see my baby at risk, but man is it heartstopping to see her sit down on the edge of a four-poster bed and pitch herself into a slide off it, as she did tonight. I was in catching distance, and I'd like to think she wouldn't have taken the dive so aggressively (and it was Screaming Eagle Currahee madness, I tell you) if I hadn't been, but I caught her because I couldn't help myself, not because it was the right thing to do. I don't think it was the right thing to do. I think it would have been better not to, a valuable lesson, but I can't bring myself to betray her now that I've caught her every time. I won't. It wouldn't have hurt much, or for long, had I not caught her. Hell, she might have stuck it for all I know. She's got serious kung fu skills, that's for damn sure.
I am just in awe of this little girl. She surprises me so many times a day in so many different ways that it's like standing next to an exploding star, her consciousness expanding furiously in all directions. Sabrina is extraordinarily loving, and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be on the receiving end of that love. We all went to San Antonio last weekend to stay a few days with my parents, who we don't see nearly as often as we should. Our little angel was feeding them blackberries and giving them little hugs and kisses, which I found almost overwhelmingly adorable. I still get misty just thinking about it. She had an absolute blast in my parents' pool, and we can't wait for the family reunion in mid-July. Sabrina is going to have the time of her life on the Guadalupe river, and I can't wait to be a part of it.
I, on the other hand, should be beaten with a sjambok for picking her up like a complete moron, whether or not I thought she was OK (I went by the sound, and it sounded like an easy fall), I never should have picked her up like that. BAD DADDY! NO NO NO NO!!!!!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Mike responds, "You mean like Goth Fonzie?"
I still laugh out loud every time I think of it.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Check out Becks hackying a goddamn football like 7 times, as the ball spins and presents him 7 differently angled surface on 7 different parts of the ball, on his first try ever. Great athletes excel at just about everything immediately, and he's no different. That wacky dork-style double move pattern he smokes Bush with was awesome too.
Link courtesy of Trent at Pink is the New Blog.
ALMOST three quarters of people believe global warming is a 'natural occurrence' and not a result of carbon emissions, a survey claimed today.
This goes against the views of the vast majority of scientists who believe the rise in the earth's temperatures is due to pollution.
Note the completely false assertion that the "vast majority" of scientists believe any such thing (they don't, and practically none of the climatologists, that is to say the people whose field of study all of this is, do either), and the sickeningly biased implication that most people are stupid for thinking what they think. Such editorializing, even if it were true, has no goddamn place in a news story anyway. And Diane Feinstein thinks talk radio needs a "legislative fix"? Why the hell does she think there was a market for Rush Limbaugh in the first place? The news industry has been biased to the left for 40 years, that's why. Just another example, as if one were needed, of liberals to try to suppress dissenting voices, like Al Gore saying any scientist who disagreed with his retarded version of events was on Bush's payroll.
Link from Skinny Bean, whose love for Bret Favre knows no legal or moral bounds.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Somehow I thought the learning curve would be really fast at first and then slow down slightly as the volume and difficulty of the associations increased, but it seems to be the other way around: she's moving faster and faster through more and more complicated material.
In other words, she's awesome.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Why, you ask? Because it's not hip to the scene, baby:
Astérix also projects "a Gaulish vision which ignores the intercultural reality of French society," they say. His constant resistance against the Romans and other foreign invaders sends altogether the wrong message in the peace-loving European Union.
[ ... ]
It congratulated Obélix for tackling the problem of obesity but faulted the cartoon for failing to deal with unsanitary housing. The child defenders are also upset that Astérix delivers "a eulogy to tribal, hierarchical, society with frequent references to a chief." The right to education is sadly depicted by a woman school-teacher telling pupils: "Get into rows in silence please," adds the DCI.
Thank God they've stopped the evil that is Asterix and Obelix. Now the children are safe!
Monday, June 11, 2007
SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...
Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.
SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.
Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.
SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?
Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
Most people believe good intentions are sufficient to qualify any "Aid program" or other "charity" that purports to want to help the disadvantaged. In truth, some of the worst crimes against humanity are dressed up as philanthropic exercises. Oil-for-Food, for example. So James Shikwati, who's seen the excesses and outright evils visited on his country by so-called "philanthropic organizations," has had enough. If you need more of an explanation, read on:
SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them.
Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ...
SPIEGEL: ... corn that predominantly comes from highly-subsidized European and American farmers ...
Shikwati: ... and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle.
There's much, much more, and you should read it all.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Sabrina loves running down the slight grade leading down the sidewalk toward the park, held by the hands so any stumble, misstep or outright quadricep failure can be absorbed by the parent or parents. She kind of floats along at a baby sprint, sort of a moonwalk experience I'd imagine.
Doing it solo is one of the more challenging maneuvers I've come across in this fatherhood thing, and I include in that the length and breadth of baby tossing. You basically run in slow motion bent double sideways, desperately ignoring the pain in your spine and legs. Her expression alone makes it worth the pain, but there must be a better way. Time to invent a baby device . . .
Sunday, May 27, 2007
just seems like a guy making farty noises with his hands, but give him a minute or two to blow your mind by playing Classical Gas pretty damn accurately with those farty hands. Amazing, if you ask me. Do hit the Youtube page link for other manualist action (yes, making farty noises with your hands makes you a Manualist) in the suggestions bar to the right of the screen. Awesome is the only word that fits.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I remember making origami on rainy days as a kid, my sisters were much better at it than I was but I did enjoy it and made some fairly decent swans and such. I never imagined anything like this was possible, and if I understand Mr. Sweeney's explanation, he didn't have any formal training in origami before he started to mess around with paper. All the best innovations come from people like that, people who don't care what has come before, who view the past as a prison that limits the future.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Which was ridiculous, of course, but you couldn't have convinced me otherwise. So it's nice now that she's solid, athletic and tough and I don't have to treat her like a cracked egg. Yay Sabrina!
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Here's hoping God will forgive me for mocking him and Oscar Winner Jennifer Hudson in the title of this post.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
That reminds me, two days ago I was showing a house and the guy who lived there, who should have gotten the hell out instead of shadowing us like Gollum the whole time, was an engineer who had experienced some sort of religious conversion and was pitching it all to become a Christian counselor. Of course I ended up saying G*ddamn three or four times and a couple of other blasphemies. I don't know that God minds, but I imagine the guy who just renounced material wealth to worship full-time probably does.
Picture by lovely and talented sister Genie.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on “carbon credit” projects that yield few if any environmental benefits.
A Financial Times investigation has uncovered widespread failings in the new markets for greenhouse gases, suggesting some organisations are paying for emissions reductions that do not take place.
Others are meanwhile making big profits from carbon trading for very small expenditure and in some cases for clean-ups that they would have made anyway.
The growing political salience of environmental politics has sparked a “green gold rush”, which has seen a dramatic expansion in the number of businesses offering both companies and individuals the chance to go “carbon neutral”, offsetting their own energy use by buying carbon credits that cancel out their contribution to global warming.
Well, what a surprise. A fake problem with an even faker solution that makes Al Gore and his buddies rich. How could that possibly go wrong?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
She's also a big hugger right now, and seems to want to hug other kids, some of whom don't really want a hug. Which can be kind of heartbreaking, watching your daughter try to hug another kid and get knocked to the ground in the process. Fortunately Sabrina's such a trouper that it never bothers her, she just gets up and keeps trying to hug the kid.
Monday, April 16, 2007
God I love first-time experiences with Sabrina, every one is such a wonderful gift and I'll remember them all forever.
UPDATE: I forgot, this pic was taken by my lovely sister Genie, who lost a good friend last week. Send her your love and prayers.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Before compact fluorescent light bulbs and ethanol, the first line of defense against global warming was planting trees.
Forests, after all, cool the atmosphere by drinking in carbon dioxide from the air. A new study, however, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that forests' other climatic effects can cancel out their carbon cleaning advantage in some parts of the world. Using a three-dimensional climate model, the research team mimicked full global deforestation and also studied the effects of lear-cutting in different regions of latitude, such as the tropics and boreal zones. Apparently, these natural carbon sinks only do their job effectively in tropical regions; in other areas, they have either no impact or actually contribute to warming the planet. In fact, according to this model, by the year 2100, if all the forests were cut and left to rot, the annual global mean temperature would decrease by more than 0.5 degree Fahrenheit. (Emphasis mine)
This is Scientific American, mind you, not exactly a supporter of the Bush administration or big business. And if you think that's confusing, read this:
Trees perform three major climate functions: They absorb carbon, which they pull from the atmosphere, creating a cooling effect; their dark green leaves absorb light from the sun, heating Earth's surface; and they draw water from the soil, which evaporates into the atmosphere, creating low clouds that reflect the sun's hot rays (a mechanism known as evotranspiration that also leads to cooling). These three factors—the second two being largely ignored in climate models up to this point, according to Caldeira—taken together created very different results in the primary latitudes studied: the equatorial tropic zone; the midlatitudes that include most of the U.S.; and the boreal areas, which are subarctic and include much of Canada, Russia and the northern extremities of the U.S.
In all three regions, forests dutifully perform their task of sucking carbon dioxide from the air, but light absorption and evotranspiration vary wildly. In tropical zones, forests have a significant, overall cooling effect. The soil is very wet and, so, via evotranspiration, the trees are covered by low-lying clouds that create a small albedo (power of light that is reflected by a surface). In nontropical areas, Caldeira explains, "the real significant factor is whether there's snow on the ground in the winter." If a forest covers a snowy expanse, "that has a strong warming influence," he notes, because of little cloud cover resulting from less efficiency in evaporating water. The poor cloud formation coupled with the intense absorption of light by the trees "far overwhelms the cooling influence of the carbon storage," he says.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Soon our little girl will graduate to the big kid slide, and that should be all kinds of fun. Anything but the big kiddie castle, built so adults can only enter by crouching down in the most unpleasantly uncomfortable way. Sabrina's not big or skilled enough to deal with the winding staircase and other dangers, so one of us has to murder our lower backs while supporting her throughout the damn thing. I want to burn it down.
As much as I want to leave her alone while she's trying to do physical things, I have to admit I love being part of her adventure. As a former daredevil, I have a decent sense of when she's really in trouble and when it just looks dangerous, and I try to help her avoid disastrous consequences without denying her the chance to fail, because some lessons must be reinforced by pain to be truly learned. By which I mean I only catch her when it's going to be a bad fall, with blood and head injuries.
More park fun in a moment.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
And when that happens, remember: it was Sabrina's idea, and she'll punch you in the nose if you say otherwise. Look at those dukes. They'll getcha.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Trying to rest today, I've been working like mad and am having a nice month of March, but my body is failing and I need to stay on the couch today if I don't want to come apart completely. Which will be difficult considering how much work there is to do. We'll see what happens.
It may well be that I will need a neck fusion before too long. I really don't want to have to do that so soon after my lower back surgery, but that's probably the way it is. Damn you, extreme sports!
Now, it seems to me that the left is King Midas in reverse, in that it destroys whatever it touches and reduces gold to excrement, whether it is institutions, countries, cultures, or individuals. I realize this sounds harsh, but I believe it is self-evident, since we can see the disastrous outcome of leftist ideas before our eyes. It's not as if the results are hidden, because whatever the left controls goes through a predictable process of degeneration and decline.
For example, we all know that our educational system is a mess, the reason being that the left has had complete control of it for some 50 years, to such an extent that neither political party can avoid using leftist assumptions to tackle the problem.
I'm guessing that the U.N. probably started out with noble liberal ideals and not completely cynical leftist ones. Perhaps not. But in any event, it was long ago taken over by leftists and has become the biggest and most illiberal institution on the planet. Imagine an even remotely liberal U.N. If such a thing existed, there would be universal condemnation of Iran or North Korea. They would be completely isolated from the civilized world. In fact, any country that sided with them would be tossed out of the U.N. and isolated as well. The big mistake of the U.N. -- which is the universal mistake of leftism -- was having no standards for membership. It is a sick joke that members of the U.N. are given rights and privileges that they would never grant their own people. Among the Saudis, only their diplomats are allowed to vote, drink, and patronize the most expensive blonde hookers in Manhattan.
The left has also controlled most of the major urban centers for the past 40-50 years -- including, most infamously, New Orleans. I frequently visited New York before Rudy became mayor, so I know what it was like when the left was in total control. It's not as if the differences could only be detected in abstract crime statistics and the like. The entire vibe of the city changed. And yet, I well remember liberals routinely referring to Giuliani as a fascist and cretin. Imagine if New York had been allowed to continue sliding down the path it was headed in the early 1990's, with more leftist solutions applied to the problems resulting from leftist solutions. (emphasis mine)
I can't argue with a word of that. Or of this:
Because of the thought-control of the left, one can hardly discuss these matters without being regarded either as racist or condescending, but I think that blacks made America's greatest artistic contribution to world culture in the form of the various idioms of music they produced during the 50 years or so between about 1925 and 1975 -- gospel, jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, and various sub-genres of jazz such as dixieland, swing, ragtime, boogie woogie, bop, hard bop, post-bop, modal, and other distinct variants. Not only is my life spiritually enriched every single day by this art, but it is difficult to imagine what my life would be like without it. It would be such a deprivation.
What happened to it? Why did black creativity take off in the 1920s and continue through the 1960s, only to go into decline after the mid-'70s? Speaking only of the music, how could something so beautiful transform into something so barbarous and ugly within a single generation? How do we explain the devolution from Duke Ellington to Snoop Dogg, or John Coltrane to Ludacris, or Dinah Washington to Michael Jackson?
More generally, why did black culture produce such timeless and transcendent excellence before leftists began meddling with their culture? Prior to the 1960s, the black family was known for its strength and stability in the face of adversity, not its fragility in the midst of abundance. I have spoken to many blacks of the older generation (now in their '60s and '70s), and all agree that educational standards have declined dramatically since segregation ended. Obviously, this is not because segregation ended, but because that is when blacks were subsumed into the white leftist educational establishment and designated victims, so that the same standards need not apply to them. This is another fine example of the illiberalism of the left. (emphasis mine)
Some of my closest friends are leftists, and I just don't get it. It's not about feelings, it's about results. Leftism doesn't produce the results any of us want. Isn't that the only thing that really matters in this debate?
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws."
When Knut was born in December, his mother ignored him and his brother, who died. Zoo officials intervened, choosing to raise the cub themselves.
But Albrecht and other activists fret that it is inappropriate for a predator, known for its fierceness and ability to fend for itself in the wild, to be snuggled, bottle-fed and made into a commodity by zookeepers.
They argue that current treatment of the cub is inhumane and could cause him future difficulties interacting with fellow polar bears. "They cannot domesticate a wild animal," added Ruediger Schmiedel, head of the Foundation for Bears.
The charity cites a similar case of a baby sloth which was put to sleep after being abandoned by its mother last December in the Leipzig city zoo.
Got that? The "animal protection laws" mandate the killing of this noble animal. Can't you mouth-breathing NASCAR fans see that? Are you so full of McRibs and Twinkies that you can't hear Gaia screaming at you to kill that recently unendangered bear, you Friends-watching, Wal-Mart-shopping, Enquirer-reading Bush voters?
Sunday, March 18, 2007
The Tchangue knows very well how to preserve his equilibrium; he walks with great strides, stands upright, runs with agility, or executes a few feats of true acrobatism, such as picking up a pebble from the ground, plucking a flower, simulating a fall and quickly rising, running on one foot, etc.Sounds like the kind of fun you'd have if you didn't know what a skateboard was. But still cool as hell. I'd love to see the hotshot stilt kid bust some moves, wouldn't you? The article says the still do stilt dancing today (another thing I'd like to see) but didn't say anything about cross-country stilting.
This picture is from her first and probably only Lo Mein experience. She seemed to like it but I think the MSG did her wrong later. Poor thing. She eats everything and we don't figure out until later that some of it turns out to be a bad idea.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
She's been falling a lot the last couple of days, hard sometimes, and invariably returns quickly to the spot of her most recent injury to get the maneuver she was trying when she fell figured out. Which is a little scary, but I definitely understand. Daddy's girl.
I like this picture because it shows her Doc Savage hairline perfectly. Coolest hair in the neighborhood, I say. Not when Deirdre's around, but I do say it.
It's a good article except for the interviewed scientist's inability to keep from trotting out a bad pun: "Who said a leopard can never change its spots?" What a dick.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Gilliam is indeed alive but making movies, and great ones at that. Or so I've heard, I haven't seen anything since The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen, which was excellent. Time Bandits is good too.
Anyway, he's alive. And this is a collection of .gif clips, some of which I've seen elsewhere, set to a weird song that may have been composed on an Atari 2600 or something Old School.
"Clark Sorensen has created some of the most amazing and beautiful urinals one is likely to ever see. Each is meticulously hand built and one of a kind - formed from high fire porcelain and fired to cone 10 (2300° F). These pieces are magnificent works of art but they are also fully functioning vitreous porcelain fixtures that can be plumbed and used in a bathroom. They are made of the same material as a commercial toilet but the similarity stops there."
Well said Clark. I don't know how interesting it would really be to pee in an orchid, or a conch shell, or a pitcher plant, but I'd certainly be willing to try it out.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
"Climate scientists need there to be a problem in order to get
funding." - Dr. Roy Spencer, NASA Weather Satellite Team Leader
Watch this and tell me if you still believe in so-called "human-caused Global
Warming." Long but worth every second. We're all going to be very, very
sorry we ever fell for this nonsense. It's going to take years, maybe
decades, to reverse the accepted "wisdom" that lefties have been
pushing since the early '90s, and in the mean time a lot of dumb,
expensive things are going to be forced upon us by well-meaning nimrods
who will make a boatload of money from being monumentally wrong about
UPDATE: I should have mentioned that I found this link at Dan Riehl's place, and he has a fantastic post about it here. It led me to another fascinating thing here:
Enron executives worked closely with the Clinton administration to secure support for the Kyoto Protocol because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a financial windfall. An internal Enron memo circulated immediately after the 1997 Kyoto meeting - and first reported by The Washington Post - shows the company believed the treaty "would do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States."
So Enron philanthropists lavished almost $1.5 million on environmental groups that support international energy controls to reduce so-called global warming. From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars - $990,000 - to the Nature Conservancy, whose "Climate Change" project promotes global warming theories.
Why would they do that? Simple; they wanted to sell carbon offsets. You
know, that BS where you pay someone else not to pollute so you can do
whatever you feel like and not feel bad about it? They called it buying
indulgences in medieval times, and it was just as ridiculous then as it is now.
But it's going to be a huge moneymaker. Enron wanted to sell them, and Al Gore is selling them right now. That's what he's flying around and promoting with his movie, his company that sells carbon offsets. It's the biggest scam I've ever heard of, and it's going to make Gore even richer than he is, which is excessively. What a dirty SOB.
UPDATE: What a surprise, Google took the video down. They don't include conservative sites in their search results, so it's no shock that they'd refuse to allow a video that obliterates the idiocy that is human-caused Global Warming. But they can go f*ck themselves:
Suck on that, Google.