The Question…

To the question of Nature versus Nurture, I give you this quote from my son when asked if dinner is good:

Indeed, it certainly is. 

In your face, Nature!Luckily, it also gives credence to my belief that anyone can be taught regardless their background. Tricky part is when that background does most of the teaching.

A Ray of Sunshine…

So I listen to the NPR Podcast It’s All Politics with Ken Rudin and Ron Elving. I think they’re smart, clever and analytical, and their back and forth is full of beans. Of course, it’s geeky, Washington political jibber-jabber. But tying in lots of things historically, this century especially, lends some perspective.

Listening to last week’s podcast (8/23/07), they were commenting on the President’s war speech talking about what we’ve done in the past and what we’re doing now. Mr Bush made the controversial move of bringing up Vietnam in this speech. They commented on how relations between the United States and Vietnam have changed since the mid-70s, and the quote of the day is when the President visits Vietnam, he uses the slogan

I think we should let Saigons be Saigons.

Oh d’Joy…

Back to Woik…

Yesterday started off with a bit of a bang. At around two in the morning, a large thunderstorm formed over the Cities, and a huge thunderclap hit right over our house, waking all of us on the top floor. I got up to hold Austin and he fell asleep in my arms a moment later so I put him right back to bed.
I got up with Michelle just after five. She rushed out the door, as usual, but I went through a leisurely morning routine. Getting up that early means I have some extra time to get completely ready before Austin wakes up. It isn’t that necessary anymore, since he knows the morning routine and runs mostly on autopilot until I drop him off at school. Still, it’s nice to read a bit of news and listen to a podcast or two while brushing my teeth without a kid under me asking questions non-stop.Work started up again this week, and it’s nice to be back. Not working during the summer makes me feel like such a bum, but now I’m back to contributing to the family. Everyone at work was pleased to see my return. My position usually has a lot of turnaround, so the staff is pretty happy to have me on board for a while.

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The Queen is Funny…

I just got off the phone with the Queen Mother. She called to check that we were all okay from the flooding up here, and I finally told her that we’re having a baby. So when sending each other our love, here’s her line:

Give Austin a hug. And give Michelle a hug. Though not too big a hug, you know what happened last time you did that.

Bless her.

Leaving Different Ones Behind…

This has been the second day in a row reading articles in the Wall Street Journal (yes, I renewed it; I couldn’t pass up my cheap subscription price) regarding the United States education reforms. Particularly, these articles focus on mainstreaming disabled students into standard classrooms. The original piece of legislation declaring this to be the law was written in 1975.
I think the idea works. The idea, at least. All too often, what occurs in practice isn’t how it works in reality. Still, these kids get a great chance to learn with their peers, and their peers get a chance to be exposed to some humility. Goodness knows so many children these days need that lesson in humility and humanity. While sometimes those with special needs get put where they oughtn’t be (especially when there is a difference between behavioral disorders and learning disabilities), it’s a good thing to try.

In 2001, our foresighted federal government passed another mass education reform: the No Child Left Behind Act. Its principal was to ensure that children do not slip through the cracks during their education. It is a noble goal, indeed. However, it does expose some truths about children and schools.

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Some Bad Phone Pictures…

These are other pictures I found on my phone that I figure I would share while I’m at it.
Here’s my wife looking beautiful after a successful interview for Target:

This picture was for Uncle Ken.  Oh the levels…
I knew M was warping him…
These amused me.  He is pointing out what he knows about pine trees in the same manner as his dad and granddad.

Toodles, folks~

A Good Weekend…

This weekend was wet and rainy and dreary.  So yes, in my opinion, it was heavenly.  Everything is wet and dark green and misty.  Everything smelled alive, growing, full energy.  It brought to mind the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday morning, Mommy was up with the boy and I.  She’s doing well, though her stomach’s feeling worse.  She’s good at fighting through it all, far better than I.  So on a wet weekend morning, what is there to do with a feisty three year old boy? Mom had the brilliant idea: let’s take him on his first trip to the library.

What a wonderful treat!  He didn’t quite know what was in store for him.  He’s been to the video store with me many times (we do the Blockbuster Online deal since we have the store right around the corner) so he understands the concept of borrowing things and having to return them.

But oh my goodness, the library!  As soon as you walk into our local library, on the right is the children’s section.  For the first five minutes, we could barely get past the first cart of books.  He was pulling them out left and right.  And mommy and I were doing the same.  I’ll admit, I was pretty excited to get my new library card and to learn that it’s a wifi hotspot, so just maybe, when mommy needs quiet time with the baby, he and I can go the library to read and hang out.  I might even accomplish something outside the walls of my own house.

One might not be able to guess what we did for the remainder of the afternoon.  What would a little boy with a dozen brand new books want to do?  Have Mommy and Daddy read to him left and right!  So yes, for a nice and dreary afternoon with a warm lunch and naps, we read lots of books.  What a wonderful way to spend a day.

That evening, M and I watched part of the Twins game, basically through the Rangers winning 5-0 with no hope in sight for the Twinkies’ bats.  But at least she managed to catch what is apparently a regular special.  On Sundays, when an adult ticket is purchased in the cheap seats or family seats (alcohol free section), you get two free kid tickets.  And so, that was what we planned as a surprise for the boy.

Sunday morning was relaxing and lazy, just as a Sunday morning should be. We read more stories and had lunch. Austin had no idea on where we were going. We packed some water in his backpack and headed out. I was excited too. I love baseball, and actually going to a game is a particularly special treat. We got downtown, and I told Austin to keep an eye out for a big white building. He finally spotted the Metrodome, and without provocation, he guessed that it was a ballgame.

I’m such a dad sometimes. Soon as we walked in, he and I bought new baseball caps. The happiest moments for me is teaching my son what to watch for and having him cheer a strikeout.

The game was grand, a huge pitcher’s duel. Johan Santana was on the mound for the Twins, and I was wearing his jersey. Michael Cuddyer hit a solo homerun, the only run of the entire game. Without notice or warning, Santana matched his personal best of fifteen strikeouts in a game, and then went on to set a Twins record of seventeen strikeouts. It was the kind of game I love. Amazing pitcher goes eight straight innings without shrugging and a closer comes in the 9th to seal the deal. It’s how it should be. And my boy and I were standing and cheering for the final out.

We got home and had some dinner, and to calm Austin down at the end of the day, I popped in the classic Peter Pan. I think that it’s by far his favorite movie; the crocodile cracks him up. Plus, Peter Pan is just one of those entities in our culture and literature that for some reason reaches me. And this old Disney movie is such a great touch of pure classic innocence. It was Mr Walt Disney’s ultimate goal, what he always wanted to make, and I love it like that.

It’s nice to have such a good weekend. That way, before six in the morning, when cats are meowing and I don’t want them to wake the boy, I take it as an opportunity to wake up early and work out and shower before the day begins. I wish I could start every day like that.

“Tee dum, tee dee, a tiddly dum te day… We march, along, and these are the words we say…”

I Suddenly want a Pin-Up Calendar…

Here’s a good blog, and even more good (albeit sometimes a touch out of touch) commentary following it.  Some is nonsense, of course, particularly the strain on porn, but they come back around when commenting more on violent pop culture (which I do think is an oxymoron).  Still, it was nice to read a bit more of the generally good discourse that the internet is capable of instead of the rubbish spewed as commentary on YouTube or MySpace.

In all, I think in this day and age, tossing a pin-up in my basement or, if the fates allow, a cabin would be to me a nice reminder that beauty can come in forms other than what’s seen on television and that popular tastes (thankfully!) change over time.  Or maybe I’m just me and happen to dig the curves of women and am unattracted to, and even unsettled by, stick-thin women.