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Archive for November, 2008

img_Nov_30_2008_06_19Every night before bed I read books to the two bigs. Each gets to pick one book. Every night, of late, Fontaine has chosen a tome of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. Each chapter is long, and written with some pretty high-end dialogue and language for a six-year-old.
Elizabeth’s four, and she can’t stand this book.
But last night, Elizabeth gets her jammies on first, then chooses her book: A.A. Milne.
“I’m going to pick this,” Elizabeth says, “so Fontaine can’t pick it.”
Interesting move, I thought.
Now you can find much psychological jive on the internet about sibling rivalry. And in fact, you can find much jive about almost anything on the internet. I love a news story that validates itself by saying, “A quick search of such and such produces x-thousands hits on Google.” Guess what? A quick search of, say, purple monkeys produces 674,000 results, so maybe someone should write a news story about purple monkeys.
Bottom line is: the number one cause of sibling rivalry is having a sibling.
So Fontaine comes out and sees what book her younger sister has chosen.
“She can’t pick that. I was going to pick that book.”
I explain, for the fifth time during these evenings, that if sister picks your book, and you then pick a book, that’s like getting to pick two books.
Elizabeth then says: “O.K., you can have this book.”
At that point, Fontaine’s not going to pick the Milne book, because she’s decided she’s not going to pick a book Elizabeth wants, thereby allowing Elizabeth two books.
Fontaine picks a different book.
Then, in a pirouette that I didn’t see developing, Elizabeth walks over and chooses yet a third book.
We sit on the bed to read.
And I realize what’s happened.
We’re not reading Milne.
Elizabeth wins.
The book she can’t stand has been shelved for the night.

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Three Days Later…

Prometheus had it good.img_Nov_19_2008_30_51
(Note: Read previous entry if that statement seemed to come out of nowhere.)
As you remember, three days ago Fontaine and I tidied up the family room. Put away every single item (that was not on a shelf…come on, get real).
So I am sitting, right now, in that living room. And what, you nine readers of MTD.com might be wondering, can I spy with my little eye from where I sit?
I spy a pillow from the couch in the middle of the rug. I spy a board book, a journal, a princess tiara, an Animal Baby book, a Winnie the Pooh pop-up song book, a pack of baby wipes, a pair of toddler pants, a purse, blanket, generic Etch-a-Sketch, a smaller generic Etch-a-Sketch, a zip-lock freezer bag full of widgets for some other toy, a memory game, a sandwich bag of crayons, a reservoir for a humidifier, one dress-up shoe, a single crayon, a piece of paper with a drawing on.
And a plastic stencil with the letters O through Z and some punctuation marks, including a semicolon. Ever seen a four-year-old write a sentence containing a semicolon?
I can see all that stuff without standing up.
Strewn about the floor of one room.
Prometheus could be strapped to a rock in this room; the vulture would never find him.

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Prometheus Unkept

img_Nov_16_2008_32_59That’s Prometheus.
You might remember his story. Prometheus, in addition to apparently being quite buff as shown in the painting, stole fire from the gods and gave it to the people.
The gods didn’t like that, so Prometheus, being unfortunate in that he was living back when the Greeks were always looking to write tragedies, was sentenced to having his liver eaten out by a giant vulture. The bad news for Prometheus, and the good news for the vulture, was that every night Prometheus would grow a new liver and the next day the vulture would swoop in again and eat it.
Torture, repeated daily.
Which brings us to the parallel between the story of Prometheus and trying to have a clean house when you have kids.
Fontaine and I straightened up the living room today. Put everything away. Wife vacuumed the house.
But when you have a one-and-a-half year old, this won’t last long.
Stuff will be dragged out of cabinets, CDs will be taken from their stacks and placed randomly around the house. Tiny toys will be picked up and strewn about with other tiny toys that don’t belong with each other.
Clothes will be removed from dolls, the dolls left in an upstairs bedroom and the clothes brought to the kitchen.
Organic sweet potato baby food mush will be intentionally tossed down and splatter orange pock marks for six feet in all directions.
The vulture will swoop in again and eat Prometheus’ liver.
But he had it worse.
Not like we clean the house every day. That would be torture.

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Car companies need a bailout?
Really? The people who made these need a bailout.
O.K., that does it, the father of three lovely girls then says it’s time for newspapers to head to Washington and get in line for a bailout.
Daddy’s business has been taking it on the chin for a long time now. As the economists say, the “downstream effects” of this are several fold.
Journalists are losing jobs.
With no newspaper reporters, what would bloggers bloggerate about?
Headline: The Death of Blogs.
Without the morning paper, and now newspaper Web sites that people read for free on their work computers while they’re getting paid to supposedly be doing something else (What a deal!), how would TV journalists know which stories to pursue?
Without newspaper reporters, orders of Venti shade-grown Starbucks would plummet. Barristas across the country would feel the hurt. (Who else, if not a bunch of sentimental liberals, would tip someone a buck for pouring them a cup of coffee?)
Without newspapers, as we say in the South, all y’all who just had to have a newspaper the day after Obama won would be left to print out a cached version of a news web site.
You think we’re going to design front pages if there are no other pages? If we did, what would we say? Editor’s Note: Here’s the front page that we would have designed if we had more pages to put behind it, or somewhere to put it, or anybody to deliver it to, so please download the free version of Adobe Acrobat and print it out yourself. Enjoy.
So Dear Mr. Federal Official: Please bail out my industry.
If not, please bail out me.
One million dollars, after taxes, should do it.
And please print out the bills for me. My printer’s out of ink.

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img_Nov_03_2008_16_09So let’s just go straight in: I am calling upon all nine readers of MTD.com to call your Congressthing and demand an end to Daylight Saving Time. Or standard time, whichever you choose.
Couldn’t we just pick one and stick with it, like parts of <a href=”http://thefuntimesguide.com/2005/04/indiana_time.php”&gt; Indiana</a> used to do?
I saw the little teaser in the paper the other day: “An Extra Hour of Sleep,” and I said to myself “Extra hour of sleep, my &amp;^%,” or maybe I said “my $#@,” I can’t remember.
We were up so early we had to wait for the paper to hit the door.
No one with young kids ever gets an extra hour of sleep. Here’s how that works. Turn the clock back. Seven o’clock becomes six, sunshine-through-the-kids’-windows wise.
Kids being like<a href=”http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b.html”&gt; chickens</a>, sun’s up, they’re up.
It’s 6:02 a.m., what’s for breakfast?
Breakfast, the BBC Overnight is still on.
Yeah, everyone else is getting an extra hour of sleep.
We’re up, saving daylight.

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