Friday, May 28, 2010

A small blow for sanity

Well, imagine that. Ok, the whole defense bill still has to come up for a vote, but come on, are the Republicans really going to vote against that?? I guess that somebody finally heard that the American people just aren't worked up about this issue anymore...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clean geeky fun

soap that looks like a bacterial cultureThis petri dish soap is so great that I wish I still had a bunch of active scientist friends to buy it for. Ah, my days of smearing bacteria (at least, from a pipette, not a toddler nose) are well behind me . . .

(via boing boing)

Kids and restaurants -- avoid the children's menu?

That's what this article advises.
Children’s menus aim too low, he argues — they’re a parenting crutch.
Of course, what they're really talking about here is the Family Meal, an ideal to which I definitely aspire, but which is currently hampered by the fact that Speck heads up for her pre-bed routine around 6pm. Still, we generally try to get her to try whatever we're eating, but with some peanut butter and crackers at the bottom of the bag just in case. I'd been looking forward to an era when she would eat some of these common Kid Foods -- maybe I will up my aspirations about getting her to Try New Things instead.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Every second you're getting older

snip from the TMBG video of 'Older' Apparently it's a rampant phenomenon, and inescapable.
At least I've got company!

(via NowThis)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's time for another istallment of Good News, Bad News!

Because there's just too much of the latter and desperately little of the former...

Good News:
BP might actually get some comeuppance for its negligent drilling practices in the Gulf and many other places. Is it too much to hope?

Bad News:
Dispersants being used to control the spilled oil may be poisoning people who are helping with the clean-up. And presumably the rest of the ecosystem too...
(via Atrios)

Good News:
Legislation repealing the stupid Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is about to be introduced, with support from both White House and House Democrats. No idea what it's fate might be, especially if it's framed as an amendment to something else, but it's a start!

Bad News:
The war is making you poor -- and that's before we look at what we've already spent. Does anybody even think about plans for withdrawel anymore? Are we really learning to live in a perpetual state of conflict, heedless of the price?

Good News:
Mark Twain's autobiography is about to be released this fall, after being held 100 years from his death, as he requested. There's bound to be some fun in there!
(via boing boing)

Pure Silliness:
  • Tragically familiar: the sneaky hate spiral
    Eventually, the sum of the small annoyances begins to exceed your capacity for patience and rational thought. All it would take to send you over the edge into a bottomless pit of angry hysteria is just one more tiny, little thing...
    I like to take my misanthropy into solitude, preferably with trees. This is tragically incompatible with my current Life With Toddler...

  • A map of Europe redrawn to reflect the lessons and injustices of history.
    In Britain's place should come Poland, which has suffered quite enough in its location between Russia and Germany and deserves a chance to enjoy the bracing winds of the North Atlantic and the security of sea water between it and any potential invaders.
    (via kottke)
A recent book ponders some cultural differences between conservative and liberal regions of the country, and notes some striking assumptions that often cause us to talk past each other. They write: In red America, families form adults [early pregnancy and marriage, and teens grow up because of adult demands]; in blue America, adults form families [teens are encouraged to be "smart" about sex and to wait to start families after they finish their educations]. Interesting lens for other conflicts, and the reviewer notes some other implications about our evolving society and how it treats these two paths.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday film fun

Baby fun, that is -- cute babbling kid singing little kid songs... Have a good weekend, all!

This one is comprehensible (ABCs) but rather subdued in affect.

This one (Old MacDonald) is brief but full of Speck personality
(and eagerness to get behind the camera to view the result).

In every white cloud, a darker lining

Financial reform passes the Senate! and it's more progressive than anybody had imagined possible. And yet...
Historians will probably conclude that the package of reforms was surprisingly modest given the depth and severity of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A harsher historical judgment might find that the political and economic power wielded by the financial industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was so extensive that it could weather a near total collapse of the system without having to yield its power or privilege.
-- David Kurtz (at Talking Points Memo)
Looks that way from my seats too...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quote of the day

Childhood is not a bad smell you get to hold your nose around until it passes. It is an iteration of humanity.
- Sybil Vane
(as part of this post at Bitch, Ph.D.)

Economy -- still sick, not recovering fast

ack!It's not just oil building up in the Gulf that's getting folks down; the economy is still tottering in the face of both unemployment and continued foreclosures. All that chat about the folly of subprime lending just hid the fact that many good-credit folks got in way over their heads. This statistic is rather grim:
One out of seven U.S. households with a mortgage ended the first quarter late on mortgage payments or in the foreclosure process, although the pace has ebbed now that unemployment appears to have peaked, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
One in seven! whew. It's gonna be a while before new buyers appear for all those houses...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crappy health, crappy news, crap crap crap

Man, what *really* chews holes in your day/week is combinatorial childcare illness/breakdown. Sigh. Anyway, here are some things I feel compelled to blog, while simultaneously not wanting to blog any of them...
  • The Obama Administration is working to undermine Miranda protections, even for U.S. citizens. All of these guys seem to think that nobody scarier than themselves will ever be in charge, and thus they are cavallier with the things that protect average folks who might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. For my part, this makes me wonder who the Good Guys are anymore.

  • More and more folks want me to join Facebook, even as it's getting less and less private as time passes. The difference between the first and last images there seems to me to represent the difference between what people *think* they're getting from social networks (the ability to socialize only with the people they want to) and what they're *actually* getting (more and more of their information made available to every search engine and third-party business interest). Appalling.

  • Pediatricians come out in favor of a minimalist female genital mutilation procedure. Ok, better than a radical clitorectomy and the like, but it's hard for me to be excited by any casual endorsement of "nicking"...

  • The media keeps talking about the recovery underway, but it's striking how little impact it has had on unemployment, which is not only at high rates but also for shocking durations. Eventually the carnage on Main Street is going to trickle up to Wall Street, however well insulated...

  • Just to top off all the chipperness here, a little cartoon that captures the way that I take Arizona's immigration craziness personally -- not because it affects *me* right now, but because it reflects badly on what we think our nation is about. Not pretty times.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to chew holes in your day

I'm not generally too consumed by tower defense-type games, but this one has pushed my obsessive button to the extreme, maybe because of the additional elements (some magic, some multiround investment, etc.). Almost forgot about the 5 zillion other things I should be doing with my time. Expect it will happen again...

(via that pesky kottke)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Quote of the day

I googled "woman cave" and got this message: "Did you mean: man caves?" At least it didn’t say, "Make me a sandwich."
- Amanda Marcotte

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Happy thoughts!

Here is some general cuteness and signs of spring (all from around 26 months of Speckage). If you can't get outside today, at least you can enjoy a little vicarious seasonality...

Speck with flowered dress and Easter basket, in church yard
Here's some cute kid all decked out for some serious Easter egg hunting.

Speck in spotted pantsuit with borrowed bear
And here's that same kid looking alarmingly sophisticated!

Construction paper tree filled with white and pink (tissue paper) blossoms, by Speck
And here's my favorite of the recent spate of crafts made around our house.

Well, thanks for *that*!

As if your worries about the oil spill (and/or the state of the nation/world) weren't already bad enough...


(via a Medley tweet)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bits about that oil that's gushing all over the place

oil-soaked bird head graphic
  • This cartoon strikes me as capturing the visceral feelings that I have in watching the oil slick widen, the coast get engulfed, and the cleaner-uppers wave their hands.
    (via a dailyKos diary)

  • But this cartoon maybe gets at the deeper scariness, which involves all those reassurances that Nothing Will Ever Go Wrong (and that we can keep on Not Thinking About where our energy comes from).
    (via a dailyKos diary)

  • Even scarier, and something I hadn't thought to ask, or seen anybody else discuss, is what exactly BP is pumping into the water to contain the oil -- should we really take for granted that those chemicals are less dangerous than what they're mopping up?
    (via Atrios)

  • On the more thought-provoking front is this question about whether we (the larger human species, and maybe the earth too) really win if the current spill quenches interest in futher drilling off the US coast, since drilling elsewhere is so much more ecologically damaging. (Though, of course, There not Here...)

  • Meantime, Rush Limbaugh takes the occasion to clarify that he's a putz by assuming that drilling miles into the ocean floor is a natural-type phenomenon. Can we take away that guy's mic already??

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quote of the day

Facebook is a conditioning system... that provides intermittant social reward for foolish disclosure.
- from this video about privacy