Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quote of the day, soulless edition

Wow. Boehner on whether his bill will prevent downgrade of U.S. creditworthiness: "That is beyond my control."
Josh Marshall, at TPM

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's rare that I think that the Chamber of Commerce is with the white hats

...but the TPM scorecard for internal GOP fault lines shows that there's plenty of crazy to the right of even traditional Wall Street interests. So pround to note that the Club for Growth (and PA Senator Toomey) is there in the thick of the crazy.

As if this isn't all enough, we have another heated battle ahead, as most of this year's budget agreement was put off after the last round of negotiations blew up. Thanks, Tea Party, for really degrading what little residual comity and dedication to service remained in Congress before you showed up! Sigh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I blame Speck

I've downloaded just a few Speck-oriented iPhone apps, with the thought that they'd help out when we got stuck waiting somewhere. Of course, she saw them before that, so now I mostly have to keep the iPod hidden if I want to do other normal play things.

Anyway, one of my more recent Speck downloads was Pocket Frogs, which allows you to breed and raise ever-more-colorful and patterny frogs over time, with a slowly growing complexity of habitat and choices to be made about which you keep and which you sell, etc. Speck likes the idea of it -- or, at least, she liked hopping the frogs around the pond, and was very motivated to get from our starting brown and green frogs to her favorite color, blue -- but really I'm the one who has gotten sucked in. In the one day since I tried it with her, I've collected a rainbow of crazily patterned frogs, mastered some of the subtleties of managing the limited resources for growing them, and wasted entirely too much time generally messing around.

blue Pocket Frog on a wet rock

I can't yet tell whether my obsession will be sustainable, or whether Speck will be pleased or annoyed that I've grown our colony in her absence. For my part, I've managed to avoid any temptation to spend money for more in-game resources, taking the need for time to pass as a spur to, you know, do other things. But this pushes my cuteness and collection buttons, as well as yay! tangible progress! circuits, so I suspect I'm not done yet...

Edit: Turns out that more advanced frogs take longer to mature, reducing the drive to play for long stretches (as it's better to let eggs hatch and grow overnight, say), so there's a natural slowing down to a stable level once you're hooked. Good design.

The criminalization of caring

You might be a sex offender if you do any of these normal things, including love your kid or be a teenager with a significant other. We really live in ridiculous times in many ways, but the lurid way we now view all contact with children is one of the sickest.

(via FreeRangeKids)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quote of the day

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

- David Whyte
Sweet Darkness
The House of Belonging
(via whiskey river)

Wake up and smell the crazy

I'm tired of the Republicans holding our country (and especially its poor and elderly) hostage to their every crazy economic whim, and I agree with Krugman that the fact that the commentariat seems to have just noticed the extremism doesn't mean that it's new.
A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being. “Has the G.O.P. gone insane?” they ask.

Why, yes, it has. But this isn’t something that just happened, it’s the culmination of a process that has been going on for decades. Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye.
elephant eating a woman's headI also agree with Krugman that this craziness has spread in large part because there has been no cost associated with it -- no outcry, no push-back, not even really much negotiation against it. Perhaps the uncrazy just dismissed such things, forgetting that repetition leads to establishment as truth. Anyway, am happy to see any amount of debunking and disgrace that can be mustered, but a little pessimistic that we can manage such before the ship of state hits one iceberg or another...

(via Eschaton)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parenting-related link-dump

  • Man, I wish we had something like this outdoor preschool available near us (video link, sorry) -- looks great, and I'll bet those kids are go-getters!

  • Is it possible to give too much positive praise to preschoolers? Actually, the article refers to lots of good research showing that it's the specifics of how we give praise that matter -- paying attention to details is key, as is rewarding effort/strategy more than just success/completion. Not always intuitive!

  • 5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Make Kids Smarter -- some of these require lobbying your school/district for changes, but they seem like they could really pay off at little or no additional expense.

  • Age Specific Responsibilities: Practical Suggestions for Responsibilities You Can Expect Your Child to Begin at Specific Ages. Great guidelines for all those times when it can just seem easier to do it for them.

  • What Difference does Difference Make? An Appreciation and Review of “Equally Shared Parenting” -- I link this less because of any absolute advice she might offer on how to divide caretaking than because of the utility of the framework in which the discussion is set: that partners need to find a workable balance in the "four domains of childrearing, breadwinning, housework and time for self." I think we often don't think in those terms, and a lot of reasons for conflict can come from leaving one or more of those domains out of the conscious discussion.

  • I love this part of parenthood -- Heather showing the mix of humor and heart that have made a huge hit through the years.

  • TLG Made it to 3! -- just a parental reflection that rings very close to our aspirations and experience. Onward to each new day!

  • To the Time Machine! -- a nice reflection on the simplicities of a good summer camp, on wriggling your toes in summer, and on parental nostalgia. sniff.

  • Finally, two epic records of one man's trip through parenthood, filled with wisdom and wacky dark humor: first a week-by-week journal of the first year, and then a monthly look at toddlerhood that follows. Really two pretty thick books there, but fun, and might be illuminating for new parents to read in semi-real time...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


What is up with this milk-for-PMS woman-hating campaign? It feels satirical (including the Fear Factor way that the guys are lit), but appears to be part of the GotMilk family of websites, so I think it's actually legit! "Everything I Do Is Wrong?" The mind boggles!!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday kid-blogging

Summer continues to be full of activity -- Speck literally jumps out of bed in the morning ready to go! (This is leading to much increased parental caffeine consumption.) Here are just a few out-takes from recent adventures...

Speck climbs a playground climbing wall
Attacking a climbing wall!

Speck in purple swimsuit jumping and grinning
Jumping for joy!!

Collapsing after a burst of activity (at least for a moment).

Have a good weekend, and remember to squeeze in some fun -- that's what all the work is for!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Bring back the jedi master!

I don't know if it's the bubble of the Presidency, or just poor advisors, but the Obama folks really seem to have lost their ability to judge what's going on, particularly where modern Republican "negotiation" strategies are concerned, with the result that they're failing to step up the pressure/rhetoric either in the media or behind closed doors. I'm not just worried about our national credit rating; I'm afraid they won't wake up until they've given away the store.

Perhaps some wake-up call can be had from watching Governor Christie in New Jersey essentially rape the state legislators who'd been bargaining in good faith on the budget there. The rules have changed, kids; there's no more trust and compromise to be had, only leverage and positioning!

Update: Quote of the day, on this:

"I'll take [Boehner/Cantor/Lannisters/Littlefinger] at his word!" I just realized: Obama negotiates like Ned Stark. Now, winter is coming.
- Kevin Murphy (kcm74 on Twitter)
Holy crap! Apt, and not at all funny...
(RT'd by Medley)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A river of summer stones

Making a go of July at the second iteration of this project. Will see how well I can remember to stay attuned, and how my glimpses are different in summer than in winter.

Day 2

a pleasantly cool morning
soft breeze in the trees and against the skin
from the rooftops, sparrows shout back and forth
as if energized to get things underway

Day 3

reading aloud;
she scoots closer
for the scary part

Day 4

patio grilling ---
the shared relief
as the A/C compressor goes off

Friday, July 01, 2011

Have some fun this weekend!

fireworks burstWhether success or failure: the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
- May Sarton
Twi Chi
(via whiskey river)