Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, January 28, 2005 9:29 am

Blogroll housekeeping

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:29 am

First, welcome to the blogroll Diary of a Soldier, penned by a local soldier now serving in Iraq. I do not know the individual’s identity, but local blogger Patrick Eakes vouches for him.

Also, after the recent bloggers’ meetup, I’m delighted to be able to move a bunch of blogs from the “other N.C. blogs” category to the “Bloggers I know in real life” category. We’re buildin’ community, baby.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 10:03 pm

Social Security, explained. Really.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:03 pm

You know, I could explain all the issues with respect to the ongoing debate over Social Security. I could.

But that would take years and cost thousands, perhaps millions, of lives.

Or …

I could just let Fafnir do it for me. And if I do that, I think we’ll all have a better time.

Meet my son, Hooper Jeremiah

Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 9:05 pm

Hooper’s new favorite greeting: “Daddy! You! Are! An abomination!”

I mean, duh, but does he have to say it so loudly?

Why I’m not getting HDTV anytime soon

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:05 pm

Mr. Witt of Witt and Wisdom says the technology is insufficiently developed to prevent major structural damage to one’s home. Well, that’s my wording. His is funnier.

No easy answers

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 9:03 pm

The Vatican is praising an Italian woman whose refusal to have an abortion allowed her to die of cancer just weeks after giving birth. She learned she had cancer about the time she became pregnant and would have had to have an abortion to undergo the toxic treatments needed to keep her cancer at bay.

The last time the Vatican took note of such behavior, about 40 years ago, it ultimately declared the woman in question a saint.

Part of me admires her decision. But part of me also wants to shake her and say, “Don’t your other two kids need their mother? Doesn’t your husband need his wife?”

If, God forbid, we ever found ourselves in the same situation, I would defer to my wife in deciding what to do, after giving her my opinion. And that opinion is that no matter what the Vatican thinks, sometimes there are worse things than abortion.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 8:05 pm

Fight counterfeiting

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:05 pm

Counterfeit red snapper, that is. The greatness of Nawlins cuisine demands it!

UPDATE: Link via Phred, which I forgot to mention before.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 9:31 pm

Baby Blogger got back

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:31 pm

I got some good news and some bad news this morning.

The good news: My waist has shrunk enough that I could tighten my belt another notch.

The bad news: My weight remains exactly. The same. That lost inch ain’t lost; apparently it has only flown south for the winter.

Serendipitous discovery

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 3:21 pm

I once was fortunate enough to see a performance by the Reduced Shakespeare Co.‘s performance of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged.” It was stone hilarious (and has been running for eight straight years in London).

While en route to something else, I stumbled across Squashed Philosophers, a similarly compressed, and pretty funny, abridged version of the (surprisingly small) canon of Western philosophical thought. I’m thinking Tony Plutonium, who once majored in philosophy for a while before deciding he’d like to eat after graduation, might particularly enjoy this.

Monday, January 24, 2005 9:54 pm

A question to which anyone who has spent much time in court will know the answer

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 9:54 pm

How often, and under what circumstances, do prosecutor, defense attorney and judge agree on the facts of a case?

Johnny Carson: RIP

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 9:42 pm

Not that you cared, but I’d avoided commenting on Johnny Carson’s death until I could find a suitably perceptive obituary to link to. Now I’ve found it.

I’ve also found the moment from Carson’s show that many people consider the funniest moment ever to occur on a TV talk show. Although this clip doesn’t show it, the laughter after the punch line continued for many minutes.

Goodbye, Johnny. And thanks.

One of those awkward father-son talks, or, Life’s big mysteries

Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 9:39 pm

Me: Hooper, where are your pants?

Hooper: Ida know.

M: Why did you take them off?

H: Ida know.

M (finding pants): Oh, here they are. … They’re wet. Did you have an accident?

H: No.

M: Yes, you did, buddy. That’s OK. It happens sometimes. But you need to get your wet underpants off, too.

H: They’re not wet!

M (checking): Oh … you’re right. (sniffing; grimacing) But this is pee-pee on your pants. How did you get pee-pee on your pants?

H: Ida know.

M: Did you take them off and pee-pee on them?

H: No, daddy!

M: So how did they get pee-pee on them?

H: I landed in it when I slid down the slide (from his bed, which is elevated).

M: You landed in — Hooper! Why did you pee-pee on the floor?

H: Ida know.

M: We don’t pee-pee on the floor! We only pee-pee in the potty!

H: I know. I sorry. I won’ do it again, Daddy.

M: OK. (pause) But why did you pee-pee on the floor?

H: Ida know.

M: And if you knew there was pee-pee down there, why did you slide down into it?

H: Cuz it was there.

Friday, January 21, 2005 9:42 pm

A dying art

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:42 pm

Via Alex comes detailed advice, with illustrations, on how to preserve the lost art of spooning. Not addressed is the problem of what to do when your significant other insists that a body pillow be allowed to make it a threesome. And really not addressed is what to do when, as my step-brother-in-law tells me my stepsister does, one’s significant other insists on calling her body pillow “Antonio Banderas.”

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Not manna from heaven, but not bad, either

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:39 pm

Greetings to everyone, and there are quite a few of you, who have found your way here from Avedon Carol’s The Sideshow. It’s not quite an Instalanche, but it’s a very nice crowd. Please make yourselves comfortable!

This Fish needs got an iPod … and so has everyone else, I think

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:33 pm

So Heather of This Fish Needs a Bicycle ordered herself an iPod to celebrate her having gotten over a breakup. My cubemate at work got one. Herb is getting one. They’re all over the N&R’s Life section today.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Thanks to my lovely and talented wife, I got a wonderful computer for Christmas, a computer so wonderful that I can basically edit my own movies on it (as along as I’m not, like, remaking “Berlin Alexanderplatz” or something) and burn ‘em to DVD.

And yet … so many people are so enthusiastic about their iPods that I feel as if I’m missing something.

And then there’s the whole thing where you can get your iPod engraved. Heather’s reads, “This Fish needs an iPod.” What would mine read, had I one? “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”? Seems kind of out of place on something you listen to only through headphones, but I guess I could always tell people it’s ironic.

What would it say? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? “This middle-aged white guy needs an iPod”? “What part of ‘Congress shall make no law’ don’t you understand?”?

It’s a puzzle.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 9:35 pm

And now for something completely different …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:35 pm

… it’s mindless celebrity gossip, normally not a Blog on the Run staple but presented here because it’s from the high-larious She-Dork, who, with her husband, KSA, is soon to become a North Carolinian. (Probably not soon enough to attend Triangle Bloggercon, unfortunately.)

Male blindness, cont.

So Hooper looks at the back storm door this morning, turns and says to me, “Daddy! This door needs to be cleaned!”

Like he doesn’t remember putting the peanut butter on it himself less than 48 hours ago.

Geez. I don’t know where he gets it.

Perspective

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 6:19 am

A year ago, after the Notorious Janet Jackson Breast-Baring Incident, Washington Post columnist Marjorie Williams had this to say:

It seems that only the desecration of a sacred, adult-male-oriented rite can awaken Authority’s outrage at the slime in which our children are daily bathed. (The Super Bowl isn’t supposed to be about nudity, dammit! It’s supposed to be about enormous men trying to maim each other’s kidneys!) Janet Jackson’s breast is probably the most wholesome thing your average 12-year-old has seen in a year of Sundays.

Nancy Nall, who pointed me to this column, adds:

She goes on, without sounding like either a prude or a scold, to make a short list of the sort of cultural landmines most parents find themselves navigating daily — MTV, radio, video games, the sleaziness of PG-13 movies, etc. — and make some good points without sounding as though she spent the previous night sucking on a lemon. With more writers like her, we might actually be able to have a conversation about the cultural divide, but of course she’s dead, while Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, Kathleen Parker et al will probably live to be 100, and be syndicated the whole time. Not that I am bitter.

“But of course she’s dead.” And that sucks; as the Post’s editorial page acknowledged, “To write about columnist Marjorie Williams is to know one thing with awful certainty: She would have done it better herself.” Because one thing newspapers could do to help their readership problems is to look harder for the Marjorie Williamses out there and stop settling for the previously named hacks and their ilk who tend to clutter the op-ed pages of the nation’s newspapers.

Quote of the day …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:17 am

The power of words:

“Be a scribe! Your body will be sleek, your hand will be soft. You
are one who sits grandly in your house; your servants answer
speedily; beer is poured copiously; all who see you rejoice in good
cheer. Happy is the heart of him who writes; he is young each day.”
–Ptahhotep, 4500 BC (via Ed Pease at Utah State)

“Beer is poured copiously” is good, but what I really like is the “Your body will be sleek” part. Because otherwise, my overweight butt is up and on the treadmill at 5:30 a.m., when the only decent TV programming is “Girls Gone Wild” infomercials on Comedy Central.

Help out a friend

Our friend Amy is, among many other things (all wonderful), a book editor. Currently she’s working on a book about the practical side of parenting. I’ll let her explain it:

[It's] designed to help new parents take care of the practical side of having a baby. You’ve all seen parenting books, child development books, sleep books, and medical books — this unique book deals with everything else. The topics in this book include saving for college, paying for education (that is, preschool and private schools prior to college), balancing work and family, making ends meet, tax breaks for parents, choosing child care, hiring a nanny, dealing with a day care center, creating a will, choosing a guardian, traveling with your baby, buying safe baby products, life insurance, and health insurance. It’s a practical, legal, and financial resource. It contains checklists and forms. It’s a comprehensive reference book that people can go to over and over again as these issues arise in their lives.

In fact, she says, the book has everything except a title. She goes on to ask: If you wanted information about any of the issues listed above, which of these books would you pick up off the shelf and why:

  • Bringing Up Baby: The Practical Side of Parenting
  • Baby Business: The Practical Side of Parenting
  • The New Parent’s Answer Book
  • Parent Savvy: Quick Answers for Busy Parents
  • The Practical Parent
  • The New Parent’s Guide

My own suggestion was: “The Most Expensive Hobby: Everything an Amateur Parent Needs to Know That the Doctors Can’t Tell You.” But I bet you can do better than that. Hit that comments link and let’s hear your suggestions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 9:03 pm

She’s a Brownie Girl Scout now …

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 9:03 pm

… or will be as soon as she performs the Good Deed that will allow her to turn her pin rightside-up. (I’m thinking she could paint the house.)

Victoria’s Brownie troop was activated late this afternoon in a ceremony in a darkened room in which each girl was led by a troop leader to a mirror on the floor that was serving as a forest pond into which each girl had to look to see herself. Immediately afterward, each girl received her pin — upside-down — and then shook hands with the girls who had gone before.

There will be photos, but the thing that likely will stay with me longest about this, besides V. slipping quietly over to exchange a high-five with me while she waited for the rest of the girls to get their pins, is Hooper, sitting up on Mommy’s lap as Victoria received her pin and shouting, “Good job, Sissy!”

Coincidence … or shout-out?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:53 pm

Fox Sports aired the World Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship on Dec. 10. This past Friday’s episode of “Joan of Arcadia” featured a subplot about Joan as idiot savant champion of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, January 14, 2005 9:39 pm

Falling down setting on the job?

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:39 pm

It would seem that Mr. Sun! has been slacking off of late. As it happens, I’m tentatively slated to see him at a social event next week; I’ll speak to him then about this.

Buckle up; this post might wander a bit.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:37 pm

When you’re a child of the 70s, you look back on many of the cultural artifacts of your youth — such as velour shirts, most hair styles and a good three-quarters of the Led Zeppelin catalog — and you say to yoursel, My God, what was I thinking?” (or, ” … drinking?” or ” … smoking?”) You look back on some and think they’ve held up damn well despite overexposure, such as young ladies’ low-rise pants and most of the songs on the “Dazed and Confused” soundtrack.

And then there are a few things you hated, absolutely despised, at the time, that now appear harmless at worst and in some cases even to have grown a bit of charm. One of those is the Village People song “YMCA,” even if it is about young homosexual men meeting for anonymous sex.

One of my all-time favorite newspaper writers, Hank Steuver, reflects on the song on the occasion of a gift: On Wednesday, Village People member Felipe Rose presented a gold record of “YMCA” to the National Museum of the American Indian. (The museum is part of the Smithsonian. Rose is part Lakota Sioux. These two facts are included within the same set of parentheses even though they have nothing to do with one another except the word “part.”)

In the article, Steuver speaks directly to the reader, much as the characters in the TV show “Moonlighting” used to speak directly to viewers, a technique called “breaking the fourth wall” because most sets have only three walls, with cameras where the fourth wall would be. He does so to head off the notion that Rose’s gift might somehow be inappropriate or unseemly:

Felipe Rose, the Indian dude from the singing group the Village People, presented the National Museum of the American Indian with a framed, gold 45-rpm single of the disco group’s 1978 megahit “Y.M.C.A.” on Wednesday afternoon.And the museum happily and ceremoniously accepted it (a Lakota prayer was sung first, then everyone danced to “Y.M.C.A.”), on the precept that sooner or later they might need such an artifact of a bygone era, perhaps to flesh out a future exhibit on the folkloric value of disco, and native cultural responses to it. (No, you shut up. It could happen. Why not? There are only so many ceramic pots, war bonnets and kachina dolls that people can stand to look at, and so when the day comes that someone asks, Hey, what about the Indian dude from the Village People? the Smithsonian, as ever, will be ready.)

I’ve directly addressed the reader in columns over the years, but I think the only time I ever tried to do it in a news article, I got overridden by the N&R’s then-editor, whom I’ll mercifully allow to go unnamed here. The article, which appeared in the spring of ’97 just after the then-fledgling Carolina Panthers football franchise had gotten within 17 points of the Super Bowl, made an unlikely comparison between its subject, a group of middle-school kids, and the Panthers. Implicitly acknowledging the reader’s likely reaction that the comparison seemed unlikely, I added, “Stay with me here. I’m going somewhere with this.” This was changed to, “Yes, the Panthers.” Blah.

Anyway, Steuver’s article recounted how “YMCA,” released in 1978, had achieved a kind of life-after-death status, being played at bar mitzvahs, pro-sports game (including Panthers and Greensboro Bats games, by the way) and other events, such that my daughter, born 20 years after the song was released, has heard it enough times in her life to know that when the chorus comes, she’s supposed to use her body to form the letters Y, M, C and A as she sings. And she is, so far as I know, completely innocent of the song’s tawdrier undertones.

OK, that’s all. No larger point here.

Progress

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 6:28 am

Hooper’s new bed? Finally finished.

Computer network? Still not networked. But we’re sloggin’ along.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 11:58 pm

Current conditions

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 11:58 pm

Victoria: Daddy, can I roll the window down?

Me: Sure, sweetie.

Victoria: Good. Because I’m all hot and humid.

And this is a BAD thing … ?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:55 pm

Sign on drink machine at work: “Dr Peppers come out of the Diet Mt. Dew slot.”

Was it something I said?

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 11:54 pm

I’ve noticed recently that on a growing number of Movable Type-powered blogs I frequent, my name, personal e-mail address and/or this blog’s URL trigger some sort of anti-spam spasm on the part of MT’s commenting system, keeping my comment from being posted. I’m not sure why this is, and it’s certainly not universal (MT powers our N&R blogs, and it doesn’t happen there, for example), but it’s puzzling. Anyone got an explanation? I mean, other than the obvious one about how it’s a reflection on my lack of morality and all. Thanks.

Was it something I said?

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 11:54 pm

I’ve noticed recently that on a growing number of Movable Type-powered blogs I frequent, my name, personal e-mail address and/or this blog’s URL trigger some sort of anti-spam spasm on the part of MT’s commenting system, keeping my comment from being posted. I’m not sure why this is, and it’s certainly not universal (MT powers our N&R blogs, and it doesn’t happen there, for example), but it’s puzzling. Anyone got an explanation? I mean, other than the obvious one about how it’s a reflection on my lack of morality and all. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 6:26 am

A brief reflection on superpowers

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:26 am

Invisibility might indeed be kind of wienie-ish as a fighting technique, but boy howdy, could I use it in my day job.

Friday, January 7, 2005 7:46 pm

Surprise, surprise, surprise

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 7:46 pm

Not only did I not know that one of my closer relatives has been blogging since October — on a somewhat esoteric subject — I also did not know that he’s kind of a big deal on this forum on the same subject.

Live and learn. Now I must toddle off to update my blogroll.

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