Milk Costs Too Much…

Okay, the world is going screwy, but as it turns out, when you become a parent, you suddenly care a great deal about the cost of a gallon of milk. When I moved out here, I was buying two-gallon packs of milk for about $4.50. Now it is about $6.30. So it begs the question of how it happened. As it turns out, it is because Americans are suckers.
Bandwagons are fun. The idea of going ‘green’, or at the very least being more energy efficient, less wasteful, less oil-dependent, is noble. I try to do my part by reasonably replacing what I have with better items. I have mentioned the conversion in my house to almost purely fluorescent lighting before. But this milk situation needs to stop. And there is but a single word for it: ethanol.

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My Classroom…

Yesterday before class, I saw a cardinal for the very first time. I was taken aback by just how bright its red was. It flashed before my eyes as it darted into the bush ahead of me. Walking by the bush, the little cardinal could be quickly spotted, though the shade darkened its plumage quite a bit. It seemed worth taking a moment to think about what I had just seen and let it sink in.
Every time while sitting through my Ed Psych class, usually while one student goes off on a tangent with the teacher about something outside the class’s realm, I begin to ponder how I would design a classroom from the ground up. I remember years ago talking to a professor of mine about how even the very orientation and arrangement of classrooms and students stifles their ability to learn. What’s the best way to keep someone from thinking independently, he asked. Line them up in specific rows, put them in a square room, and then dictate at them.

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More on Obama…

More words from Andrew Sullivan on how Barack Obama stands.  The end of his article echoes my own sentiment:

Clinton, in other words, represents payback for the Democrats and liberals after the Bush era, just as Giuliani is emerging as the inheritor of the Bush legacy of divide and rule. Right now, Obama remains to the side, offering Americans something else: not payback, but a new page.

Neither black nor white, neither atheist nor born-again, a candidate who favours withdrawal from Iraq but an offensive against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, a progressive offering the working poor a tax cut, his bet is that, in the end, America wants to come together again. The unanswerable question is whether America really does.

My inner cynic (well, hardly inner) asks the final question, does America even remember how to come together anymore?  I don’t mean the nonsense patriotism of a national tragedy (I think anyone who puts a flag sticker on their car and lets it rot is missing something important).  There seems to be no more common goal or even common culture left to bind us.  Do we even remember how to compromise?

A New Discovery…

This new blog discovery comes from my wife. She, with great diligence, has been keeping abreast of every single update posted at The Nest – Baby, a site devoted to every aspect of pregnancy.  The Nest is a magazine spun off from the equally obnoxious The Knot, another magazine designed to perpetuate the insanity of weddings.
Anyway, through these channels, M managed to find something actually amusing.  Baby Rabies (a constant and intense form of baby fever) is a blog kept by a woman who is about as far along as my wife is and has decided to start posting all the nuttiness going on with her mind and body.  She’s also quite frank and funny.  Here’s a snippet from her letter to her ‘alien baby‘:

Finally, quit being so fickle! You wanted McDonald’s…I gave you McDonald’s….you made me throw up McDonald’s. I don’t even LIKE McDonald’s you little shithead!! I ate it for YOU. Gah….quit being so ungrateful.

Good stuff.

Whooshing…

Yesterday was amazing.  After work, I picked up the boy then went home to get M and the three of us went off to the clinic for the latest exam and ultrasound.  It was just an audio ultrasound and basic checkup, so Austin could be in the room with us.  For the briefest of moments, time slowed to a still.
There was my son, holding the speaker for the device pressed against my wife’s stomach.  From that little box in my boy’s hand came the repeated, watery whooshing of the new heart beating inside my beloved.  I was lost a bit in the sound of that swift pulse.  The nurse doing the ultrasound said it was strong, but I already knew that.

I was beside myself.  It was one of those times when I’m so happy that I show no emotion at all.  For a while now it felt not quite real.  We’ve been planning and saving and thinking about it all the time.  My wife’s been suffering through the whole thing.  But still, it felt distant.

Now, though, it’s real for me.  It’s real, and I’m absolutely hooked.

What I’m Up To…

It looks like my Autumn is finally taking a solid shape. The weather has finally (wonderfully) cooled down with any breeze carrying a slight chill. That breeze has a scent. I’m not sure of what, probably of all the changing going on: leaves turning color and the trees switching to working more internally; the evenings and mornings when warmth has to be worked a little to maintain. I’m sure I’m over-romanticizing the whole thing, but it has always been my favorite season.
I’m fully back in school on two fronts. At work, the kids have been in school for a few weeks now and, of course, have begun testing like mad. So I’ve just been trapped and quite idle up in the old labs. I miss working down in the studio and cool new lab, but hopefully once testing is over and we’re looking at getting the recording studio set up for lots of video as well.

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Good for the Ears…

Every day it seems, I catch a brief moment of Performance Today on MPR (our amazing local Public Radio out here in Minnesota.) I love the idea of daily hearing a great new concert. I don’t get to listen to live concerts anymore, and I miss it. I worked a concert at least once a week while back in college. It was good stuff.
Only problem with this great program is… there’s no podcast of it. I want to hear it every day. But alas, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to. I will, however, begin emailing them regularly. My will be done!

A Festival of Lights…

I had never heard of the Christmas Truce before.

That evening, at the stated time, German heads suddenly popped up and started to sing. Each number ended with a round of applause from both sides.

How big a deal it was or not doesn’t really matter, and turning it into a great myth is probably a good thing. We as humans need those historical moments emphasized to preserve the good faith in ourselves. Otherwise we are just left with the misery we inflict on one another. I wrote a piece about it a while back here.

I also love when a little humor sticks out of any situation. And after this sort of line, you can’t tell me that British and the Germans aren’t at least a little related (though the sentiment is rather French):

The Germans then asked the British to join in. At this point, one very mean-spirited Tommy shouted: ‘We’d rather die than sing German.’ To which a German joked aloud: ‘It would kill us if you did’.