Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Unnecessary honesty.

My daughter is quite the negotiator, which is to say that she's not shy about asking for what she wants when she's offered something else. When it's time for five minutes of movies before bed, she won't hesitate to ask for twenty minutes.

She can't tell time. Her negotiating about time is like a blind man negotiating the color of a used car. It's very tempting to tell her she can have twenty minutes and then return in five minutes to turn off the TV. It's a bad policy in general, though, to mislead one's children. She'll eventually figure out how to tell time. When she does, she may notice that what she was told was twenty minutes feels a lot like what the clock says is five.

This dilemma is not helped by the fact that we've been saying for years that, "it's time for five minutes before bed." In our house, "five minutes" is what we call the wind down time before bed even though, over the years, it's lengthened to be consistently about twenty minutes.

I'm thinking again about what to say about Santa too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The problem with asterisks.

Every so often I read someething, and at the bottom will be a footnote after an asterisk, and it's basically the punchline to a joke, but I didn't seen the asterisk in the text. So what is this footnote talking about? I don't have the context, so I don't get the joke. I can scan the text again to find that little splat that introduced the joke, but frequently I don't want to take the trouble. The joke is just lost.

This is why I won't be using asterisks here.*

* Except to annoy you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lies for fun and for torture.

Here is a quote from "10 Things I Hate About You":
Kat Stratford: I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls.
This is a lie.

More than that, it's a lie so flagrant, so obvious, that the speaker can't think it will be believed. The underlying message here has nothing to do with truth or the lie itself. It's a complete disregard for the listener. A lie like that says, "I refuse to have an honest discussion."

With that in mind, I bring you another quote, this time from President Bush:
We do not torture.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Alito caught in a lie.

Among the news that's overwhelmed me lately is news of Judge Sam Alito. It seems that 20 years ago he said that he thought that, in his personal opinion, the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to an abortion.

I'll say a third time what I said about the last two nominees: I'm not complaining that they agree with the President more than me.

What bothers me is this business of squirming out of this kind of history. I can understand him not wanting to own up to it if it's going to cost him a seat on the highest court in the land, but he's now put us into a position of wondering whether he was bullshitting his potential boss back then or bullshitting his potential boss today. It has to be one or the other, but honestly I don't care which.

If the man believes something I don't, then this is the price I pay for not being President of the United States, but if the guy can't tell us what he believes, I think the country would be better off without him on the court.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A phone feature I want.

Phones are getting better at knowing their own location (for use by 911 services). It probably won't be too long before they all have full GPS in them.

I'd like to be able to tell my phone to reconfigure itself based on location. For instance, "do not ring in the theater." Likewise, "always ring (not vibrate) in the car" (i.e., near a major highway). It'd be nice if, when I'm at home, it would remind me to use the land line if I'm trying to place a call during peak hours.

Just an idea.

Friday, November 11, 2005


This, gentle reader, is my birthday cake, a week after my birthday. It was a tasty and colorful ice cream cake, but it had frozen solid to the plate, and it had to die.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Concerning my audience

This is a good question:
Why beg people to leave comments? Your blog is intellectual and current. What more do you need for fulfillment.
I'm right there with the "I'm writing for myself" and "I'm not doing this to be popular" and stuff. I love putting up a good post regardless of whether anyone reads it.

After that satisfaction fades, however, the first thing I do is look to see if someone's read it. I can admit that.

The reason I was asking for comments, however, wasn't just to get comments. I frequently think that I don't know my audience here. I know it's tiny, and I know a few people in it, but I also see regular readers who never say anything. I don't know who they are or why they're reading, and when I'm not writing the Next Great Post, I wonder about them.

So when I said in my post that comments would preferably say "who you are, but anything that tells me you're reading is close enough," that wasn't just to give you an idea for something to say. I really did want to get to know the audience.

Anyway, it's also nice to hear folks think my modest writings are smarter than the average bear.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Backstreet Boys misheard lyrics

Here's what the chorus of "Larger than Life" really says:
All you people can't you see, can't you see
How your love's affecting our reality
I like my version better:
All you people can't you see, can't you see
Hollywood's affecting our reality

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A bumper sticker I'd like.

Imagine this on my car:
My child is not the subject of a bumper sticker.
(I'm thinking here of the many "my child made Dean's list" and "my child beat up your child" stickers that proliferate with a little bit of liar paradox thrown in for geek value.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dad's role for Halloween

Hissy Cat puts her finger on why Halloween is a great holiday:
free candy, a reason to re-watch Ernest Scared Stupid and The Worst Witch, license to play dress up, and best of all, the thing that makes this holiday different from all others, no family obligations, no relatives to endure or phone calls to make
As a kid, I'd dress up for the holiday, and I could still do that now, but there's a greater role to play here. As I watched my daughter go door to door as Cinderella, I summed it up in three words:
Overt, alert, inert
My daughter is firmly in the driver's seat for maximum enjoyment. If she wants to skip a house because she doesn't like the look of it or because the next one down has grabbed her attention and won't let go, fine. When she wants to take a rest in the car, we've got all night. I'm there to school her on certain boundaries (the right ways to get someone to the door, take one candy, and always say "thank you" as you run away), but otherwise: inert.

I'm also there to see and be seen. When a little girl comes to someone's door, and they wonder where her guardian is, they'll look around. I want them to find me quickly, and ideally I want them to find me looking right at them. There are those who'd like to scare a little girl, in the spirit of the holiday, and I accept that to a very limited degree. I want them to know that if they go too far, there's a witness. Now that I think about it, it's a good time for a video camera.

Of course, I still have the usual Daddy duties like making sure she's warm in spite of how she thinks she looks and carrying the loot when she's determined it's grown too massive for her delicate hands. It's all in a night's work.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ce n'est pas une Blogroll

I still am not doing a blogroll, but I'd like to take a minute to direct you to a few blogs that I read on a regular basis. This list is not exhaustive. Inclusion here is based on some combination of being some interest to me and having an audience of about my size. If someone reading this has a blog they'd like to plug, they're welcome to do that in comments. This is in roughly alphabetical order.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thank you, thank you!

First, a special thanks to MDC, who not only announced his presence as requested, he also used his own blog to send his own readers over to say hello with kind words such as "intelligent" and "informative."

Thanks to my sister for her birthday wishes in Japanese.

Thanks also to those who will fulfill my birthday wish in the near future but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

And finally, a pox on those of you who showed up but stood silent. I'm just sure I have more readers. Cat got your tongue?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Happy birthday to me!

Well, I didn't get what I asked for last year (a new President), so I figure I should ask for something smaller.

For my birthday this year, I would like all my readers to leave a comment on this post, preferably saying who you are, but anything that tells me you're reading is close enough. It doesn't have to be the sweetest most loving happy birthday wish I've ever received or any birthday wish at all for that matter, but just to know that you're reading would be a most excellent gift.

I also accept cash and valuable prizes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My birthday is tomorrow.

Every year my birthday creeps up on me. Since it's at the beginning of November, I spend all October thinking, "ah, that's not till next month" even when it's three days away. Last year I didn't get what I wanted, and I'm still pouty about that, but I've lowered my expectations for this year, so hopefully there won't be a soul-crushing repeat.

My knuckles are so dry that I'm leaking blood in two places. The stuff I put on to help stings and stinks.

Preparing for the upcoming baby occupies a lot of time these days. I've also rediscovered the joy of erasing gigantic video files off my hard drive after watching them (starting with "Firefly"). Being alternately sick and exhausted (and both) has lent itself to loafing on the couch, writing in my brain, if at all.

This is all by way of saying that I'm keenly aware that I've not been posting with the frequency I'd like. I'd apologize for that except that I heard a rumor that guilt is boring. Instead let me just say that Bloglines is really good for this kind of situation. I've gotten many a chuckle from a post popping up in my feeds that says, "sorry I haven't posted in six months" when I hadn't even noticed the absence, and I needed do nothing to stay up to date with the glacier.