Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Joys of Parenting

One of the purest joys that I get from parenting is teaching things to my kids.  Relia especially right now, because she's at that age where she wants to know everything and can actually understand a great deal.  The other morning she asked me about New Jersey.  I explained to her that when Europeans moved there, they were reminded of the island of Jersey.  We then looked around for other 'New' states and cities (New York, New Orleans, etc.).
She surprised me by saying that Minnesota doesn't have any of the 'new' cities.  I told her that we have New London and New Ulm, but her point was well taken.  Somehow she got the idea that Minnesota is far enough inland that it wasn't part of that tradition where regions were renamed for the European counterparts.
I was a proud papa.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Over on my Great Books blog, I've branched off a bit and have been blogging my way through a book called 'The 100 Best Poems of All Time'.  They're collected here.  Every week (or so) I blog my way through one of them in an attempt to broaden my understanding of poetry.  Anyway, I thought that since this blog is not very busy anymore, my few remaining readers might be interested in having me share them over here too. 
Drop a comment and let me. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


DF is convinced that he will someday (soon) be a baby again. He'll go back in Mommy's tummy and 'go to work' with here and all that. I told him that I wasn't sure that would happen. He asked why and I said that it had never happened to me. He . . . didn't want to talk about it anymore.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The White Whale

Interesting pics of an albino humpback whale that lives near Australia.  No idea how it feels about revenge though.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 and the Power of Storytelling

This is the twelfth anniversary of one of the worst days in our country's history.  Of course, I don't need to tell you that.  Everyone reading this blog is old enough to know what happened and I doubt there is a mental adult in the country that doesn't know what happened.
Everyone remembers where they were on that day.  All of us have stories about where we were when we found out and what we did next.  That doesn't make it unique.  Just about everyone of the right age remembers where they were when the Challenger blew up or when JFK was shot.  Big events make a big emotional impact.  They're easier to remember.
I was thinking about this today and I was struck by how September 11th stands out, maybe especially for my generation.  With the rise of social media and the relative ease of reconnecting on the internet in the middle 00's, I reestablished ties with most of the important people of my high school years.  With many of them, we talked about lives and families and such but also included stories of where we were when it all happened.
It's like it was all such a big thing for us that we had to share it so it wouldn't overpower us.  Nothing else has been like that for me in my life.  The loss of the Challenger was big news and a big surprise but it didn't feel like this.  It didn't feel like the world changed.  My life has had a long pre-9/11 period and then a post-9/11 period.  Same with almost everyone else.  There is nothing else like that.
At least not for my generation.  Talk to my parents generation and (without too much prodding) you can hear about where they were when they heard that JFK was shot.  It was so traumatic that it stamped itself indelibly on their memories too.  The young idealist President was suddenly gone and their world would never be the same again.
That made me wonder about the news of Pearl Harbor.  I know it was a shock, but did people of the 'greatest' generation tell everyone where they were when the news came over?  Sadly, I don't have anyone old enough in my circles anymore to ask.
And that was a different time as far as media was concerned.  There were radio reports and newspaper coverage the next day, but they didn't have replays and replays.  As far as I know, there was no widespread hunt for amateur film or camerawork to provide more angles.  If so many of us hadn't gone home to watch several days of news coverage, would we still feel like this?
I don't know.
None of this is meant as criticism.  Grief is something that must be dealt with and this was obviously a shared grief.  I know that when I've shared my (not very unique or interesting) story, I've felt better afterwards.  I can only imagine that's true for everyone else too.  We say that we'll always remember, that we'll never forget.  That's very true.  We couldn't if we wanted to.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Olympic Thoughts

Some random Olympics stuff:
  • On Saturday, the IOC announced that Tokyo would host the 2020 Olympics.  This will be their second as they also hosted the 1964 summer games.  I have little doubt that they'll do a wonderful job.  
  • In two years, they will announce the host of the 2022 winter games.  You can see the list of cities that are preparing bids here.   The list of potential bids is heavily European, which isn't surprising.  In 2022 it will have been 10 years since a European city hosted.  (Yes, Sochi is 'European' but it's far on the fringe of Europe.)
  • The US will bid for, and almost certainly win, the 2024 summer games.  We haven't hosted since the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City and that twenty plus year gap is a big one.  A huge amount of funding and commercial support comes from the US so it is only fair that we get to host every so often.
  • Not everyone is happy with the idea of a US city hosting the Olympics, in large part because the financial record of host cities is pretty grim.  Here is an article proposing a permanent 'Olympic Island' that could be set up to handle the infrastructure for every event.  (Well, for summer.  I'm sure a different facility would be needed for winter.)  I'd need some convincing on this, as there is some value in the cultural showcase that each Olympics brings.
  • But how much value should we attach to that?  I don't know.  Certainly not enough to bankrupt cities.  And the intrinsic value of hosting is offset by some pretty negative things that happen during the game.  Ousting the poor and the homeless so that rich people don't have to see them is pretty awful.  So is the full on censorship that comes along with Olympic sponsors.  
  • Having said all of that, what would be more useful now would be sets of ideas on how to bring the cost of hosting down.  On how to make what should be a beneficial experience really be beneficial.  From what I've read, the Los Angeles games of '84 and the Atlanta games of '96 were both wildly profitable.  What did they do differently that a place like London couldn't?  
That last is a big question and it deserves some big time thinking.

Monday, September 02, 2013


While in the car today, a song from Moulin Rouge came up on my iPod.  Relia asked if it was from a movie and then insisted she wanted to see it.  I told her she would have to wait until she was older.  Until she was a teenager. 

Relia: Next year I'll be seven.  (pause)  Technically, that's a teenager. 

Good grief, they grow up fast.