My son adores me. I have his tomato-saucey handprints all over one of my favorite work shirts to prove it.
Friday, November 28, 2003 7:09 pm
Thursday, November 27, 2003 12:07 pm
Went to the Thanksgiving service this morning, where Sid gave a sermon on the virtues of gratitude, among them:
- Better physical and mental health.
- Less tendency toward a world view shaped by a false sense of independence and self-reliance.
- Less of an entitlement mentality.
My favorite part of this service every year is that people bring canned food for charity, and the children, even the very young ones who don’t normally come to “big church,” go up and down the big center aisle of our 1,500-seat sanctuary, gathering the cans and bags and bringing them up front.
Victoria, a veteran of this operation, performed with neither enticement nor complaint. Hooper, figuring anything Sissie was doing had to be cool, decided he wanted to help, although he wanted me to come with him. He went halfway down the aisle, found two cans, took them up front and returned toward the aisle to make another trip.
Unfortunately, one of our associate pastors was standing at the head of the aisle and was being handed a big bag of cans just as Hooper approached. As the pastor turned, a can in the bag whacked Hooper in the side of the head. Naturally, he burst into tears, requiring his removal from the sanctuary for the remainder of the service (as well as a damp paper towel to the side of his head).
I suppose there’s a lesson or metaphor of some kind in there somewhere. Me? I’m just glad the skin wasn’t broken.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003 9:40 pm
I’d just like to say that if this blog is any indication, the efforts by people worldwide to find video of a certain hospitality-industry heiress having carnal relations is, all by itself, adding substantially to Internet traffic. Hits today are 30% above normal, and almost all of that increase appears to be people searching for the aforementioned bit of entertainment.
I’m making a list of all the domains involved in such searches and will be reporting each such search to the appropriate webmaster.
Kidding. But I had you there, didn’t I, Mr./Ms. gov.au?
Dramatis personae: Victoria, our 5-year-old daughter; Hooper, her 2 1/2-year-old brother.
Hooper: Dat baby [doll] has a fat tummy.
Victoria: That’s because she’s pregnant.
Hooper: What’s dat mean?
Victoria: It means she has a baby in her tummy.
Hooper. Oh. (Pause) Can boys have babies in their tummies?
Victoria: No, silly.
Hooper: Why not?
Victoria: Because they don’t have the right medicals.
Dramatis personae: Me; Hooper, our 2 1/2-year-old son.
Scene: In the car on the way to day care.
Me: Hey, Hooper, look at that cement truck!
Hooper: Daddy! Issa beeg cement truck!
Me: Yup. And you see what’s on it?
Hooper: Yeah. Dots!
Me: What color are they?
Me: That’s right! Blue dots!
Hooper: What’s that about?
Monday, November 24, 2003 8:10 pm
You know, in the bad old days, Queen Elizabeth I would have family members and close associates killed if it meant maintaining her hold on the throne and staving off the Papists. But QE II? A few flowers get stepped on and she gets all weepy. What a whiner. If an American president had smushed QE I’s flowers, she wouldn’t have whined. She’d have ordered the American fleet destroyed.
So we went to the zoo Saturday on an impulse. Yesterday, also on an impulse, we skipped church to work in the yard, which was what we were gonna do Saturday before we went to the zoo on impulse.
Got a fair bit done, too. The bushes and shrubs are whacked into submission (at the cost of one 50-foot extension cord I managed to cut through). Leaves are bagged. Front lawn is edged. It looks good out there. So I guess there’s something to be said for deviating from the game plan occasionally.
Unless, of course, you’re the Panthers, who deviated from their standard game plan yesterday against Dallas and lived to regret it. It was a bizarre game in many ways, filled with questionable calls and non-calls regarding pass interference, at least two of which led directly to Carolina touchdowns.
But without the zebras’ help, the Panthers struggled. Why they didn’t just hand the ball to Stephen Davis 35 times and take advantage of their O-line’s size advantage, I don’t know, but they didn’t. Why they didn’t go for the touchdown to tie on 4th and goal late in the fourth quarter, I don’t know — even with a field goal, they were still going to have to get the ball back, drive the field and score a TD to win — but they didn’t. Why Brentson Buckner face-masked Quincey Carter on the Cowboys’ last drive when he clearly was going to have him down well short of a first down even without grabbing Carter by the helmet, I don’t know, but he did.
We didn’t see the 2003 Panthers yesterday. We saw the Panthers of old, the Panthers who didn’t play with discipline, the Panthers whose coaches did dumb things, the Panthers who always found ways to lose.
And that, friends, is what happens sometimes when you deviate from your game plan.
Saturday, November 22, 2003 8:22 pm
Had virtuous plans today. Honest. Was gonna get out in the yard, whack all the shrubs into submission, cut all the nonconforming limbs off the trees and haul ’em to the curb (because we live on a corner, we have to whack off all limbs below 8 feet off the ground near the street so drivers at the intersection can see), and so forth and so on. Instead, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to the zoo.
And it was meet and right so to do. The weather was perfect, and the zoo looks its best, I think, with all the red, orange and gold against a backdrop of brilliant blue sky. Most of the displays were open, and the animals were visible, if not especially active — most were engaging in some form of basking, including the eight-week-old baby alligator who climbed out of the swamp, walked along a log, stopped next to a turtle and laid his li’l head down on the turtle’s warm shell for a nap.
The kids behaved and we all had a good time and got some exercise to boot. Now I’m a little sunburned and the yard still needs work, but you know what? I. Don’t. Care. It was a Good Day. All too soon it’ll be cold and rainy and nasty and depressing, and it’ll stay that way ’til April.
Friday, November 21, 2003 6:24 am
One of my absolute favorite bloggers, the Real Live Preacher, has gotten himself a book deal.
Thursday, November 20, 2003 8:38 pm
According to this, I drink like Homer Simpson … but that’s just a lifetime average, balancing my abstemious middle age with my misspent youth. Back then I drank like Boris Yeltsin, right up to the point of ordering the tanks into Chechnya. Or the third floor of the freshmen girls’ dorm. Whichever.
N.Z. Bear has some thoughts on heiress/socialite/amateur pornographer Paris Hilton’s recent video romp:
But observing Ms. Hilton (no, not observing her doing that, but more generally) makes me wonder about a personality so in need of attention from others. She yearns for the spotlight; for the eyes of the world to focus on her for a moment, and, if possible, longer. She seeks notice wherever she can find it; basking in the radiance of strangers’ gazes and thoughts. Where once, we can assume, she sought such attention a source of approval, a validation of her own worth, now, the notice itself has become the end. Positive or negative; embarrassing or flattering, whatever keeps her in the spotlight is by definition good.
She almost acts like a blogger.
How different, really, is the desire of Ms. Hilton to be noticed — to see her name in the tabloids, to have her visage streaming into our living rooms — from the desire of a blogger to be heard? To get that big link from [Instapundit] or [Andrew Sullivan], to see their blog sit atop the Ecosystem?
Not very, I submit.
He’s right. I mean, except for the part where I’m a middle-aged guy, and dressed, and not having sex with someone else’s on-again, off-again husband, and not putting video of myself of any kind in someone else’s hands where it might end up on the Internet, why, anyone could mistake me for Paris Hilton.
Except, of course, that I am not rich.
Five words, baby:
Corn flakes and Rolling Rock Great Harvest apple walnut teacake.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003 8:11 pm
From Dong Resin: You left me alone in a house for 12 hours with a yappy poodle and a clothes dryer and somehow it’s my fault?
Not being a regular on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean’s campaign blog, I didn’t know Dean had a brother named Charlie who’d been missing in Laos since 1974. But he does, and apparently Charlie’s remains have been found and soon will be returned to the U.S.
I hope and trust that that is of at least some small comfort to the Dean family, and I wish similar comfort to the families of all who remain missing.
Is this a great country or what?, or, Ha! The powerful lap dancing lobby once again bends the City Council to its will!
Los Angeles will remain safe for lap dancing.
I think the last word on this subject properly belongs to Kevin:
I really would have liked to see a referendum campaign on this issue. More precisely, I would have liked to see the TV commercials for the referendum campaign.
I’ve begun a new assignment at work, moving from features back into news. If you don’t know me, the details don’t matter (if you’re curious, e-mail me and I’ll fill you in), but I thought I’d mention it anyway.
I’m no fan of Rush Limbaugh’s, but I have to wonder whether the latest twist in the tale of his drug addiction isn’t a bit of piling on.
Let me get this straight. Rush withdrew money from his bank in amounts of $9,900 or so, below the level of $10,000 at which a cash transaction must be reported. This is legal, even if what he allegedly did with the money — buying drugs — is not. Moreover, the bank was the one who suggested the arrangement, not Rush, and the bank already has paid a $10 million fine for failing to report this and other suspicious patterns of sub-$10,000 cash transactions. This is Rush’s fault how, exactly?
The story suggests Limbaugh might have aided his supplier in concealing the proceeds of the drug sales from authorities. But it doesn’t offer the first explanation for how, let alone the first shred of proof that he actually did so.
Arguably, the fact that this possibility is under investigation is news, especially in the context of Limbaugh’s addiction. But absent a good bit more than is included in this article, I’m going to be stunned if an indictment materializes.
Monday, November 17, 2003 6:44 pm
Paul Westerberg, formerly of The Replacements and latterly a solo artist, writes obituaries almost as well as he writes songs. (At least, I’m guessing this is his work. I could be wrong.)
Or, as Dolly Parton once was reputed to have said, it’s great to be back in the South, where people don’t have an accent.
Once again, the Panthers let an opponent back into the game in the fourth quarter. But once again, the offense pulls them out in the last few minutes. And with the Cowboys’ loss to the Patriots last night, the Panthers are alone atop the NFC with an 8-2 record. We know what that means, but we shall not speak of it, lest we jinx the team.
UPDATE: As I’ve told Redskins fans Oliver Willis and Beau, I freely concede that on Stephen Davis’ final touchdown run, the ball never broke the plane, although I think a molecule of ball nuzzled up to the plane all romancey-like.
However, let’s remember, kids: Davis was down at that point because his forward progress had been stopped. The Redskin slapping the ball out of his hands at that point looked flashy for TV, but it still would’ve been Panthers’ ball, third down and goal from the 1-molecule line. And let’s face it: The odds would’ve been much better than even that, given two tries from the 1-molecule line, Davis would’ve punched it in anyway.
So the Redskins might have been robbed of a down, but even if they’d gotten it back, they still probably would’ve lost the game.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 8:21 pm
I was reminded of this old saying when I read today that a man had been acquitted of murder despite his admission that he dismembered the corpse and threw the remains into the ocean.
Kevin “Calpundit” Drum wonders: Is it even possible to convict a rich person of a crime these days?
Speaking of transporting corpses — and why we don’t speak of it more often, I don’t know — a Greensboro woman was arrested last Thursday in Maryland after the car in which she was a passenger was stopped by police and two bodies were found in the trunk. Both victims, so far unidentified, had been bound, gagged and shot several times. Cops — publicly, anyway — say they don’t know what the heck’s going on with this and speculate that the woman and the car’s driver were involved in some sort of murder-for-hire scheme.
What tickled me and a couple of co-workers, however, was the notion that the car could be pulled over — for doing 74 in a 65 zone, we hear, which is not exactly a felony — and that the car’s occupants could then just casually give the cops permission to search the car.
“Yeah, sure, go ahead,” one co-worker imagined the car’s driver telling the Maryland state police. “And when you get to the trunk, well, make yourself comfortable because I’ve got a story to tell you.”
Because I have no life and all, I subscribe to a short daily e-mail feature called “Today’s Word on Journalism,” mailed weekdays to 1,700 or so subscribers by Ted Pease, head of the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University. Here’s today’s, which says something about bias:
It’s all about framing:
“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.”
–TV listing for the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” 2001
Hey! Let’s do our own movie plot summaries! E-mail yours to me or post it in the comments. C’mon, this’ll be fun …
Tuesday, November 11, 2003 10:58 am
I went back Sunday night to the sleep lab, this time for them to “titrate” me, or figure out what kind of air pressure I’d need to have forced into my airway by a mask to straighten out my sleep apnea.
(I vaguely recall the term “titration” from high-school chemistry and am not sure how it applies in this instance, unless perhaps it relates to how much oxygen I’m taking in while I sleep. Anyway.)
This involved another three dozen or so EEG/EKG leads’ being taped to various parts of my body, usually with some sort of adhesive/conducting goo involved. Then they put a mask on me, started up the pump, and told me to go to sleep. The deal was, they’d let me sleep until I had an episode of apnea, pump up the pressure to clear my airway, and repeat as needed until I had no more episodes.
The mask covered my nose (but only my nose) and was even easier to get used to than scuba headgear; from a breathing standpoint I had pretty much adjusted to it within three minutes.
I felt like I lay there awake all night, but apparently I didn’t. Because when I woke up Monday morning and asked the lab tech whether I’d slept any better this time than I had last time, she laughed and said, “OH, yeah.” The only thing left was to wash that conducting goo off my face and out of my hair, which took almost 20 minutes.
Next stop: Review the results w/my doctor, get fitted for a mask and start sleeping better, I hope.
Monday, November 10, 2003 6:31 am
“When you’ve lost a tooth, it’s hard to say ‘tooth.'”
It was a thing of beauty and a joy to behold, especially in person (thanks for the tickets, Mom!).
And although I wouldn’t want to have to count on the Panthers’ offense winning a game for them, it’s nice to know that, against one of the league’s best defenses, it could.
Thursday, November 6, 2003 8:30 pm
When I first posted about the book “Black Box Voting” and my role in it, I emphasized that I believed the issue — the security and sanctity of our votes in an era of computerized voting — to be one that everyone ought to be able to agree on, regardless of party. But even as news of the issues covered by the book has begun creeping from Blogworld onto the pages of mainstream media, the people making the most noise about it have tended overwhelmingly to be Democrats. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., has introduced legislation — H.R. 2239, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 — that would address the security issues raised by touch-screen voting machines, but he has yet to get a single Republican co-sponsor.
Even if you’re the most partisan of Republicans, that failure is — and I’m trying to be delicate here — nuts. There are many good reasons why Republicans ought to be just as concerned about the issue as Democrats. In fact, here’s one right here.
Wednesday, November 5, 2003 7:44 pm
Went to a sneak preview of “Love Actually” last night. It was OK — kind of an English version of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” only with probably twice the budget and laughs but half the inspiration. But I really enjoyed this exchange between a mother, played by Emma Thompson, and her grade-school-age daughter, which I recite here from memory (so if this isn’t actually a verbatim transcript, get off my back):
DAUGHTER: I was given a part in the Nativity play!
MOM: That’s wonderful! Which part?
DAUGHTER: The lobster.
MOM: I beg your pardon?
DAUGHTER: First Lobster.
MOM: Do you mean to tell me that there was more than one lobster present at the birth of Christ?
* * *
Among the most annoying tendencies of local movie theaters (and local supermarkets, for that matter) has been to replace traditional SweetTarts, my favorite vice, with these horrid Gummi SweetTarts.
Ick. No. A gumdrop that tastes like a SweetTart is still a gumdrop, and with apologies to the New Yorker, I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.
Monday, November 3, 2003 9:06 pm
So I finally got the results of my visit to the sleep lab from my doctor tonight, and guess what?
I’ve got sleep apnea.
How bad? Very bad. Let me count the ways:
- During the roughly 7 hours I was asleep, or “asleep,” at the lab, I had 279 — count ’em, 279 — breathing interruptions sufficient to pull me from deep sleep to a much shallower state of sleep.
- If you do the math, that works out to about 40 per hour, meaning I was never deeply asleep for more than a minute or two at a time. Normal sleepers spend 2 hours or more in uninterrupted deep sleep on a normal night, if I recall correctly.
- At least seven of those breathing interruptions were severe enough to fully awaken me. That’s an average of one per hour, and that doesn’t count the time they squawked at me over the intercom to sleep on my side for a while.
- I was taking in, if I’ve done the math correctly, only about 80 percent of the oxygen one would normally take in during sleep.
(UPDATE: The adjustment time was almost nothing — if you’ve ever spent any time behind a catcher’s mask or a diver’s mask, you’ll adjust pretty much immediately.)
If I take a piece of candy from my kids’ Halloween bags, am I going to Hell?
Geez, not only is my philosophy of life not unique, someone also has gotten to the merchandising ahead of me.