Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Medical experiments for the lot of you, I'm afraid

Once again, my deplorable habit of listening to right wing talk radio means I got to have a sighting of crazy in its natural habitat. In this case, it's the completely insane idea that the Obama healthcare plan is going to force euthanasia on the elderly.

If you're looking for evidence of the complete bankruptcy of the modern conservative political power structure, I don't think you could find a better example. And it's not just talk radio. Republicans are talking about it on the floor of the House, if not the Senate.

There are two things about this that bother me:

The first is that nobody seems to have said, "Wait, we're saying that the Democrats want to kill their grandparents?" That's over the line of credulity, not to mention decency.

The second is that this line of attack is, basically, "If we put the elderly on government healthcare, they're all going to die." Something about that seems flawed, but I can't quite put my finger on what.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Warranty on new Pepper Mill doesn't cover use

I got us a new peppermill and salt shaker for the kitchen table, and this weekend I used it for the first time. The first time I turned the grinder, Christie yelled, "Mike, you're voiding the warranty!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tax the tall.

Pass/Fail on Healthcare

I keep seeing these articles that describe the future of healthcare as binary. Either it passes, and Dems bask in success, or it fails, and Republicans milk that victory to gain some seats back.

But there's a third option that's quite possible: Republicans successfully stop healthcare reform yet again, and voters punish them for it. Our rep, for example, is a Republican who has, like the rest of them, done absolutely nothing for his constituents. If his only accomplishment after two years is having killed healthcare reform that we actually want and need, what's his sales pitch, exactly?

"Hi, I'm Blaine Luetkemeyer. Remember me? I promised to look out for your interests in Washington. I know you say you want the healthcare system fixed, but I'm so sure you didn't really mean it that I did everything I could to stop it. Please vote for me again, so I can continue collecting a salary for roadblocking people who are trying to get something accomplished!"

Where's the next Cronkite?

You know how slow I am to react to things. I like to pretend that it's because I'm incredibly thoughtful and contemplative, so please don't disillusion me if you see me IRL.

What struck me in listening to the coverage of Cronkite's career was that he was actually a pioneer when TV was brand new, and that he helped shape a brand new medium. And this morning my brain suddenly popped while reading yet another "death of traditional news" story. The people who are looking for a new Cronkite need to be looking online, probably at someone from a traditional format (Cronkite did print and radio before TV) who's helping to shape how online news is delivered.

My personal vote is for Josh Marshall, but it may be a mistake to even be looking for an individual.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Teenage Romance

This Dorky Dad post on the dangers of dedicating a song to your teenage girlfriend is apt, but there is also a danger to being insufficiently romantic as a teenager. Witness this piece of dialogue from my own ancient history:

Her: Tell me you love me.

Me: I love you.

Her: Tell me again.

Me: I love you.

Her: Tell me you'll love me forever.

Me: [pause]

Her: Well?!

Me: _______, we're sixteen years old. What're the odds?

Trust me when I tell you things went downhill from there.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Proof that there is no racism anymore

Getting arrested for breaking in to your own home, the sort of thing that only used to happen to minorities, is now a privilege being offered to Harvard professors: Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrested at Cambridge home.

Oh, wait, right, Gates is black. Never mind.

BTW, the cops arrested him for “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior”, and his version of the story is here. The two versions aren't entirely incompatible. If the cop who came to investigate refused to give him name and badge number, I could imagine Gates yelling at him. He's a Harvard prof., after all, and that often comes with a fairly outsized ego.

Personally, I grew up knowing never to yell at cops, partly because they deserve our respect, but also because they carry guns and clubs and can totally fuck up your life if you piss them off. There are people out there, however, that can get away with yelling at cops, namely, the rich, the famous, and the connected. Gates is all three, so it's not surprising if he thought he could get away with treating a cop like a freshman caught sleeping in class.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Thrilla from Wasilla

In light of recent events, and to make things easier on all of us, I recommend changing the town's name to Wasidiot.


My parents used to drag us up to Minnesota to this fishing camp outside Park Rapids, where I would be bored as hell for a week or two (except for their impressive stash of comic books). Right now, though, databases are frying my brain, and I could see the appeal of sitting in a boat on a lake, staring at the horizon and listening to the loons. I would not, however, bait the hook. Actually catching a fish would take all the fun out of it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

So glad I didn't see the new Transformers movie.
(spoiler alert, if you haven't seen it, or you could just read the article, then you won't want to)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

"Hi Dad"

If you read my tweet below, you might be wondering whether my one year old daughter really said "Hi Dad" just now when I went in to give her a midnight bottle. Well, that depends on what you mean by "said".

Those were the sounds that came out of her mouth, but I can't vouch for intentionality.

The "Dad" thing is pretty common at this point. I'm Da, Dada, very occasionally Daddy, and sometimes Dad. Also sometimes Dadadadada if she's really pissed.

And she routinely calls for us by name when she wakes up in the night. She'll start with whichever of us put her to bed, and if that gets no response, she'll try the other one.

But the "Hi" thing is unprecedented. If it was real, she'll say it again. Real or not, though, it was totally heart melting.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back from DC

Next time we go to DC, I think we'll start planning it a little earlier. We knew this was coming for a long time, but we put all our mental energy into what to do with the baby, and not much thought into our actual trip. So, basically, we were winging it. The only fixed point in our trip was that Monday would be spent at a conference.

Sometimes that worked really well, sometimes not. Here's what didn't work well:

Walking. We are not so young anymore, and don't walk much in our ordinary lives. So we ended up sore and tired fairly quickly. At one point we looked at the map, saw the distance to the Metro, and decided that a taxi ride back to the hotel was totally worth ten bucks. If we had it to do over again, we would have hopped onto a monument bus tour first thing and used that to get our bearings and see the major monuments.

Not checking hours. Because of our schedule, Saturday and Sunday were our major days for sightseeing. But at least two of the things we really wanted to see were closed on Sunday. Which would have been nice to know on Saturday, when we went to the Smithsonian, which is open on Sunday. Doh!

Here's what did work:

Wandering around. We ended up right by the White House purely by luck, and went to the Remnick Gallery because we wanted somewhere cool to sit down. The Sam Maloof dining set in the upstairs gallery looked quite comfortable, but we opted for some cushy benches. Still, it was one of the highlights of the trip, and totally random. Wandering is rough on the feet, though. Specifically, their mobile apps, which let you see reviews of local restaurants, attractions, etc. Yelp led us to the Blue Duck Tavern, which we would have walked right by, and to El Chalan, which we never would have found. Both were fantastic meals.

The iPhone. Maps, maps, maps. And a camera. And restaurant reviews. And news. And email. And boredom killer. I'm not saying I wouldn't want to do a big city without the iPhone, but I certainly felt more comfortable having it. And it was great being able to watch video of the baby whenever I missed her, which was a lot.