Friday, June 28, 2013

The Sims: A terrifying metaphor for human existence

You know how sometimes you'll walk into a room and forget why you went in there? It's because your Player just cancelled your action...

Performance Cars

This is an old, old joke...

So there are these two guys sitting in a bar, talking about their cars...

First guy says, "I got this new Porsche. You would not believe this car. Zero to sixty before you can even take a breath, but it handles like a dream."

Second guy says, "You should see my new Maserati. She'll get you up to sixty before you can blink, she handles tight turns like they were gentle curves, and she can stop on a dime."

From the next table, a third guy leans in. "You know," he says, "I've got a car that drives twice as fast as a Porsche and turns three times harder than a Maserati."

Well, the two guys look at each other, and then they both look at the the third guy. Finally, the first guy asks, "What the hell are you driving?"

The third takes a deep breath and says, "It's... a rental."

Thursday, June 27, 2013


My allergies are acting up again. This isn't unusual: I'm allergic to almost everything that blooms in North Texas. Not badly allergic, but allergic.

Interestingly, though, the pollen count isn't all that useful too me. It makes a difference, but it's not the deciding factor on whether or not my sinuses will be trying to kill me. No, the main thing I have to watch...

...Is the pollution:

Christianity for Non-Christians: a Response

Christian Piatt, whose stuff I frequently enjoy, has a post up that he's entitled Christianity for Non-Christians. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. It seems to be targeted less at non-Christians, and more at Christians who are disaffected with what they see of Christianity. Since my response to it in the comments is longer than anything I've written for my own blog this week (and since I don't have anything ready to put up this morning), I'm going to duplicate it here:


"1. You do not have to believe in the supernatural in order to follow a Christlike path."

No, but if you believe that Jesus was only a man, however wise, then you're free (in fact, I'd argue that you're morally obligated) to decide for yourself which of his teachings were true. (Cafeteria Christianity, here we come!) More to the point, if you see Jesus as merely a great teacher, then odds are good that you also acknowledge him as one of many great teachers - and at that point, you're not so much following a Christlike path as you are trying to figure out how best to act morally.

"2. If you don’t feel comfortable praying to something or someone, then just pray on or about something."

Or, you know, just don't pray. It's not that I don't pray because I'm uncomfortable with the practice; I don't pray because prayer does nothing for me. And while I don't want to get into a big semantic argument about what exactly constitutes prayer, it does seem to me that if nothing is listening, then you're not exactly praying. You're just thinking. Reflecting. Contemplating, maybe. Which are all good and valuable practices in their own right, so why label them with a fancier name?

"3. Christianity is an ongoing practice, not a one time event."

I'm honestly not sure what to make of this. It seems like something you ought to be saying to Christians, not to non-Christians. Yes, of course Christianity is an ongoing practice - in no small part because, at least as I was raised to understand it, a huge amount of Christianity is about learning to be a good person, and being a good person is inevitably a matter of constant work, reflection, and refinement. And yes, despite what some Christians claim, as an unbeliever I shouldn't expect Christians to be immediately redeemed into better people. And, personally, I don't. As far as I can tell, becoming a better person is (like so much else) dependent on the amount of effort you put into trying become a better person; it doesn't have anything to do (pro or con) with becoming a Christian per se. (Though of course, becoming a Christian can certainly inspire someone to try to become a better person.)

"4. You don’t need church to be a Christian, but doing it alone is not easy."

Again - and maybe I'm misreading the point of this whole list - but this seems relevant to Christians and would-be Christians, but not to non-Christians. It may be true, but as a non-believer why should I care?

Going back to Point One, if I don't believe in the supernatural, then there's nothing all that special about Christianity; or, to put that another way, there's no reason for me to aspire to a Christlike life when I can aspire to living a good life that draws on the wisdom of many great teachers. There's no particular reason for me, as a non-believer, to want to be a Christian or be seen as a Christian.

...That said, I would love to see more of Christianity embrace the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven as something that desperately needs to be built here on Earth - an idea, I might add, that seems to be directly supported by Scripture.

"5. Just being a “good person” or “not hurting anyone else” isn’t enough."

Why not? The devil, as they say, is in the details. Sure, your daughter may have learned these principles in her first day at school (or, more likely, even before that) but learning how best to apply them (in all of life's wide variety of situations) is the study of a lifetime. That's true whether your idea of being a good person includes "love God", or whether it's only "love your neighbor as yourself". (Yes, in fact, Jesus himself seems to have suggested that all the law and prophets are direct outgrowths of Trying Not To Be A Dick.)

You seem to be saying that we need Christianity, or some sort of Christian belief, to help us evaluate the full effects of our actions, inactions, and behaviors. I disagree. In fact, as far as I can tell, the only way that any of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, manage that sort of evaluation - the kind that leads to moral growth - is through a combination of empathy, rigorous honesty, and intersubjectivity (which is basically a fancy way of saying "listening to each other").

The only reason I can see that Christianity would be required for such a process is if there is, in fact, a supernatural component to being a Christian - if the Almighty somehow explains things, or guides people to understandings that they wouldn't otherwise get. So far, I haven't seen anything to indicate that such is the case - and, again, that goes against the first point on your list.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Having read through this twice - once initially, and again in composing this response - I have the distinct feeling that I'm missing your point. This doesn't seem like Christianity for Non-Christians; it seems more like some ruminations on What True Christianity Is Or Should Be... or maybe How To Be Christian If You've Become Uncomfortable With Christianity Or Churches (But Still Want To Be A Christian). I don't really see how it's Christianity for non-Christians, either in the sense of explaining things to unbelievers, or in the sense of trying to show why Christianity can/should still be inviting to non-believers.

Am I missing something? (Besides, you know, any drive towards religious belief?) If so, what?

There are several other good responses in the comments, so check them out as well.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morning at my house: the effects track

So I'm lying there, in bed, in the dark, and I hear this coming from the kitchen:


Zwwwip... clunk.




Beep, beep, beep.



Ka-chung... clunk.



My alarm went off shortly after that - I think - so apparently it wasn't quite as Wee Hours Of The Morning as I first thought it was.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Second-hand Perfumery

Did you hear the one about the guy who inherited the secondhand perfumery? Strange place - sold secondhand perfumes for pennies on the dollar. The guy who inherited it hadn't really prepared for that, so it took him months - months! - to make sense of the scents so he could earn his cents.

Mary Lambert: She Keeps Me Warm

Just a little somethin' to start your Monday morning...

Friday, June 21, 2013


So... owing to one of the more bizarre and hilarious Facebook exchanges it's ever been my privilege to be a part of, I have been introduce to a new word: failstrom. It's a portmanteau of "fail" and "maelstrom". An entire storming vortex of fail. Very much like Jon Stewart's term for such situations, the always-useful "catastrof*ck", which is also a personal favorite.

I mention this not because it has anything to do with the way my afternoon is going - strangely enough, it doesn't - but by way of wondering if anybody else has some favorite obscure words that really ought to see more use. Consider this an open thread...

Juxtaposition: Missions of Revenge

"Looked dead, didn't I? But I wasn't. But it wasn't from lack of trying, I can tell you that... When I woke up, I went on what the movie advertisements refer to as a 'roaring rampage of revenge.' I roared. And I rampaged. And I got bloody satisfaction. I've killed a hell of a lot of people to get to this point, but I have only one more. The last one. The one I'm driving to right now. The only one left. And when I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill...


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dora The Explorer

So... the boys have recently taken an interest in Dora The Explorer and/or Go, Diego, go! (They're separate shows, but regardless of which title you choose, they seem to feature both characters in at least half the episodes.)

Admittedly, this is not the worst thing that could happen. That said, well... Watching Dora (and/or Diego) really makes me want to watch this version of the show instead:

...And strange dreams

Yep: I get sleep, I have weird dreams.

Last night's dreams were less coherent than some, but they centered around an abandoned warehouse in which "we" (a small group, though the precise composition shifted from time to time) had taken shelter. Shelter from what? I'm not entirely sure, but at one point there were little crawly bug-things that had to be dealt with before they hurt anybody. At another point, there was a baby screaming in one of the back rooms, where there hadn't been a baby before. That segment was scary enough to wake me up - I'm not sure whether the baby had been placed there as bait, or whether there was something wrong about the baby, but it was GOING TO BE BAD.

The last little section, just before the alarm woke me up, involved the arrival of a new family. They were looking for shelter, too, and hadn't realized we were in there.

I don't have any more than a vague idea what was going on outside the building. Whatever it was, it had reduced people to the status of refugees - and at one point we were making sure our guns had bullets before venturing outside. Make of that what you will.

Overall: nebulous but interesting post-apocalyptic monster dream, with a concrete-walled warehouse for a setting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Got Sleep!

Crashed out about 9:30 last night. This is kind of a big deal, because, well...

I have this spiral I get into. It starts like this: I'll have something that I need (or badly want) to get done - like sorting laundry, say, or some sort of writing project. So, I'll stay up late to do it. Usually that isn't hugely late (we're talking midnight-thirty to one-thirty in the morning, generally) but at my age it doesn't have to be. So the next day I'll be a bit tired, especially by the time bedtime rolls around.

So, I'll make an extra push to get the evening's stuff done, which pushes me past my window for going to sleep. Then I end up staying up a bit later than I intended to, and... well, you see where this is going, right? The longer the pattern goes on, the harder it is to break out of it. And the longer it goes on, the more tired I get overall, and the less productive I am.

This is what psychologists refer to as a "self-defeating behavior", and the rest of us refer to as, "What were you thinking, moron?"

So, I'm making a concerted effort not to get started down that road. If I spent the day feeling tired, then I need to go to bed. If I'm too tired to write in the evening, then I need to go to bed. If one or both boys drag out their bed-times so long that I have no time of my own, well... too bad, I need to go bed.

And, to be honest, I like sleeping. I miss sleeping. When I'm getting enough sleep, I have bizarre and intriguing dreams. When I'm getting enough sleep, I'm faster; I'm smarter; I'm funnier. My ability to be whimsical and creative comes back. And there are secondary effects: I eat better when I'm rested, for example, because I'm not stuffing myself with salt and sugar in a desperate attempt to keep myself going.

So that's the plan: sleep.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Have a Scorpion

Seriously, I have nothing written for this morning. So, have a picture of a scorpion as depicted by Firstborn:
I have, obviously, removed his actual name, and replaced it with "Firstborn". (I have Photoshop, I can do that.) So you can easily see that when I'm not using a keyboard, my handwriting is nearly indistinguishable from that of a First-Grader.

Update: So, this isn't actually drawn by Firstborn. (I thought it looked a little too neat, but he's surprised me before...) It was drawn for him by one of his friends. The point about my handwriting still stands, though.

Monday, June 17, 2013

True Parenting Conversations: Balloons

Odd conversation with Secondborn last night. (Remember, he just turned three back in April, so you have to picture his side of the conversation in one of those little-boy voices.)

We'd had dinner at the cafeteria with my parents, and at the end of the meal the boys received balloons. We'd managed to get them into the car without losing either balloon (and if you've ever dealt with balloons and children, you know that's something of an achievement). Getting the balloons safely into the house was a bit easier, since we keep the garage empty enough that we can park cars in it.

But, shortly after that, Secondborn appeared at the back door and wanted to take his balloon - freehand, mind you - into the back yard. Now, we could have just disallowed it, and almost certainly had to deal with an extremely upset three-year-old. (The alternative, of course, would be to let him take the balloon into the back yard and lose it, whereupon we would almost certainly have to deal with an extremely upset three-year-old.) However, as I might have mentioned before, we're not all that interested in raising well-behaved children, especially where "well-behaved" is a shorthand for "quiet, submissive, and obedient". Our actual goal, as parents, is to raise good adults... and that means letting the kids make their own decisions and their own mistakes, in areas which are age-appropriate and not life-threatening.

So we explained to Secondborn that if he took his balloon outside and let go, it was going to float up into the sky and there would be no way to get it back. If he let it go, it would be gone.

That was when Secondborn told us, "Da Bawoon needs to be wif its mommy."

Puzzled, I asked: "Are you saying that if your balloon floats away, it will go to be with its mommy?"

Firmly, he replied: "Yes."

"Okay," I said, and opened the back door for him. I was honestly expecting him to take the balloon outside and release it, in some sort of bizarre three-year-old "Fly! Be with you own kind!" sort of ritual. But, no. He ran around the back yard, tugging the balloon around behind him. Then he ran back inside with it, and put it in his room.

Still, it was a very odd conversation.

Shining Walls Part I Don't Even Know

So, the next section of Chapter Two is up at The Shining Walls. Please let me know if you see anything off, and as always I hope you're enjoying it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Star Wars... voiced by cartoon actors

A friend of mine sent this over. I don't know about the rest of you, but my life is now complete. And since we're heading into the weekend, this seems like a good time to share it.

Music: Unforgiven

Not the Metallica version - this is the Go-Go's:

Still trying to get my sleep schedule back on track, so I'm not sure if I'll have anything more substantial to post later on, or not.

I have finally replaced my laptop, though, so now I can type on a keyboard where the letter E reliably stays put. So, hooray for that!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Real Parenting Conversations: Knock Knock

Firstborn: "Knock Knock."

Secondborn: "Who's dere?"

Firstborn: "Doctor."

Secondborn: "Doctor who?"

Firstborn: "EXTERMINATE!"

Secondborn: "Knock knock."

Firstborn: "Who's there?"

Secondborn: "Banana."

Firstborn: "Banana who?"

Secondborn: "Are you an owl?"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Filler: "Sounds like Cole Porter to me, Sir."

From the movie Tank Girl (based on the comic book series of the same name), "Let's Do It." Because, um, actually I have no idea why this has floated back to the surface of my brain.

(Probably not safe for work.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hunger Strike update!

For more information, see our earlier coverage of this shocking situation.

Warden Michael Mock is now reporting that a deal has been reached with the prisoner known as "Secondborn", who has been refusing to eat in order to protest the conditions of his imprisonment. "It turns out that all we needed was a different piece of pizza," Mock told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. "Once we swapped slices, he wolfed it right down. Then he had some cereal, and a banana. And then another banana. Oh, and finally a stick of cheese."

With the conflict resolved, our anonymous source reports that Secondborn has had his privileges restored. He is now, among other things, allowed to have his time in the prison yard. "He's got it pretty good, actually," said our source. "I mean, there's an inflatable pool and lots of toys out there. He has exercise equipment... well, okay, they're trees, but he's allowed to climb in them. And if he doesn't want to do any of that, he can watch movies in the living room."

Asked if this situation would result in any revised policies regarding the treatment of his prisoners, Warden Mock responded that people should not make assumptions about the harsh conditions at his facility. "We're not monsters," he said. "We have to be firm sometimes, but we try to be fair and consistent."

Coming up next: Point vs. Point discusses "Warden Michael Mock - a good man with a hard job, or a monster in disguise?" Topics will include enforced bedtimes, restrictions on video games, and the shocking lack of cookies in the pantry. Then stay tuned for six-year-old Daniel Biggins' latest documentary, "The Devil's Toothbrushes" which explores the horrors forced on modern by children by the secretive organization known as the American Dental Association.

And now, a special report

In today's news, the reported hunger strike at the suburban penal colony known ominously as "Our Home" has continued into its second consecutive ten minutes. The anonymous prisoner, referred to only as "Secondborn" by the guards, has continued his steadfast refusal to eat his pizza. Warden Michael Mock has declined to comment on the reports, but an anonymous source reports that poor food quality may be behind this radical act. "He keeps saying, 'Sauce is yucky.' That, and 'I want an ice cream sandwich.' We're trying to get him to eat. Believe me, there's nothing we'd like more than to have him finish his plate, but he just won't do it."

More on this story as it comes in, but for now I hope you'll join us as we offer our prayers for this brave young man and his principled stand against the forces of tyranny.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Another such victory over the school year and we are undone...

Well, we've made it. Firstborn is out of school. (...And will be entering Second Grade next year - how is that even possible?) Secondborn has finished up his daycare program. Firstborn has also had his seventh birthday (How is that even possible?) We have survived parties, half-days, end-of-the-year cleanup, and general chaos.

And that's just the boys. That's saying nothing of what's been going on with the Beautiful Wife and myself: the foundation repairs; the cleaning up the house until it's logistically impossible to find anything (even things that haven't been thrown away or moved to the storage unit); the weird medical stuff; the travels to attend weddings and visit friends; the judicious use of packaged neurotoxins to get rid of the firk ding blast fleas.

You know how I manage to keep putting stuff on the Blog o' Doom, here, despite all this going on? Because if I didn't, I swear I would lose my mind. Writing is how I cope. It's always been how I cope - at least since I was twelve, which is close enough to forever for any human standard of measure. Writing is how I sort my thoughts out, arrange them into patterns that make sense, and set them somewhere that I can come back to when I must. Even the silly, whimsical, stupid stuff that I put up here - I don't just write it to amuse you, my beloved and intelligent readers. I write it because, for example, putting myself in the position of a Mad Scientist long enough to write about his latest difficulties helps me get some perspective on the absurdities in my own life. Plus, it's fun - and that sort of fun also helps me keep my sense of perspective.

So you, my dear and lovely readers - though I'm sure you come here entirely for your own reasons - play a big part in helping me keep my... for lack of a better term... balance. Composure. Serenity. Something like that.

I have other writing projects. I have at least one that I actually made some really good progress on, just this morning. (That would be more exciting if it meant that such progress was likely to, y'know, continue any time in the foreseeable future. Experience suggests that such is not the case.) So I was planning to come here, and post something vaguely apologetic to explain that I might not be around too much this week, since I might be working on other things. But, on further consideration, I don't think that's really the case. There may be some filler this week; probably will be, in fact. But I suspect you'll also see our real-life flea infestation through the lens of the Mad Scientist's world, and the next installment of The Shining Walls (which I'm also very much enjoying), and possibly a few other things into the bargain.

But, well, if I'm a little incoherent, or I leave out a word or two in the of my sentences, well... We have a lot going on just now, you know?

Sunday, June 9, 2013


You know what I hate? I hate when I write something out for a Monday morning, and then accidentally publish it on a Sunday night instead. (It's even better when I retroactively publish it on that Sunday morning! Twice the fun!) I mean, sure, I can reset the publication time, but it's already gone out to RSS feeds and blogrolls and I-don't-even-know-what-else.

Though I'm sure that's nowhere near as embarrassing as when our federal government carelessly publishes the details of a top-secret missile base belonging to one of our allies...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Song Pairs: Who's that girl?

I have a certain fascination with song pairs. Usually they're songs that I consider to be complementary in some way, despite being produced by different artists. Some of this is the songs themselves, but a lot of it just my idiosyncratic personal perceptions and associations. Want an example? All right: I cannot hear Robert Palmer's I Didn't Mean To Turn You On without thinking of Eddie Money's Take Me Home Tonight - and vice versa.

There are also pairs of songs that stick together in my head because they seem, in one way or another, to be the same song - just, y'know, with different music and different lyrics. The most egregious example that springs to mind is "The Long Black Veil" vs. "Over The Hills (And Far Away)".

But this morning I'm thinking about yet another sort of song pair: songs that seem, to my mind, to have taken the same title and run in completely different directions with it. Which brings me to the question of the morning: Who's That Girl?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Parable of the Cartographer

Once upon a time, there was a Cartographer. He was a bright, successful man, well-regarded in his field, and he had (as cartographers so often do) a map.

This was not just any map. This was the map, relied upon by billions of people across the world. It was widely considered, even by those who didn't consult it regularly, to be absolutely the finest tool for navigation available. Admittedly, not all of those of people used the map in exactly the same way; but the Cartographer had studied for years to learn how to read the map correctly and had been much applauded for his ability to decipher its complexities.

One day, the Cartographer was out walking when he heard someone calling out to him. He was, at it happens, walking from his workshop in Springfield, Illinois to the town of Phoenix. He had, of course, brought his copy of the map with him, and he was using it to find his way. So, naturally, the cartographer looked for the source of the voice and found a farmer standing next to him.

"Begging your pardon," said the farmer, "but you're walking through my field, and you're crushing some of my plants."

The cartographer consulted the map, then turned back to the farmer. "That is unfortunate," he said, "but I am on my way to Phoenix; and the map says I must proceed this way."

The farmer wasn't sure what to say to this. He, too, held the map in high regard; and he could tell by the Cartographer's scholarly clothes that the Cartographer had spent a lot more time studying the map than he had. "Well," he said, "if that's what the map says..."

So the Cartographer bade him good day, and continued to follow the map.

Some time later the Cartographer was passing through a town when he again heard someone calling out to him. He stopped and looked around, and found that a man and a woman had stopped him. The man wore a carpenter's toolbelt, and the woman wore the simple skirt and apron of a professional maid. "May I help you?" he asked, thinking that perhaps they were lost and had stopped to ask him for guidance from the map.

"You," said the man, "need to look where you're going. In the last few minutes you've forced four people to detour around you, and bumped into two others. You nearly knocked one lady over!"

"Have I?" asked the Cartographer. He had noticed no such thing, and was startled and a little irritated to be accused of such behavior.

"Oh, yes indeed," answered the woman. "I saw it with my own eyes. You bumped into them just as he said, and no mistake about it."

"Ah," said the Cartographer. "Well." He was, truth be told, a little aggravated at being accosted over something like this; didn't these people have any sense of priorities? "You must understand, I am following the map."

The carpenter scowled and walked away, but the maid asked: "But sir, could you perhaps use your map to find some other way to get where you're going? One that isn't so hard on other people?"

The Cartographer reminded himself that she was, of course, sadly uneducated in these matters. To educate her, he replied: "I'm sorry, my dear, but the map shows us the one correct route. I cannot divert from it." She only stared at him, looking puzzled.

So he bade her good day, and continued to the follow the map.

Later still, as he was approaching Phoenix, he heard yet another voice. He stopped again, and looked to see where it was coming from. This time he found a woman beside him, and she was waving her arms and screaming invectives at him. Finding that she at last had his attention, she demanded: "What do you think you're doing!?"

Well, the Cartographer wasn't used to being addressed in this manner, and he didn't like it one bit. So he drew himself up and said, "Ma'am, I am following the map."

"You are walking on my children!" she replied. "They were out here playing, and you came right up and walked over them! You are hurting my children!"

"Well," he replied. "I don't see how that's possible. I am following the map, and the map shows us the correct route. Naturally it wouldn't show us that path if it was in any way wrong."

"The map?" she asked. "Doesn't it say, 'Don't hurt anyone in your travels'? Look. Right up there, just under the compass rose."

"It does indeed," he agreed, "and that is clear evidence of the value of the map. Moreover, the map clearly shows that this is the way to reach my destination, so this is the path I must follow."

The woman studied him in silence. Just as he was about to bid her farewell, she said: "My husband is an explorer, and I know a thing or two about maps. And the one thing I've seen, over and over, is that no map in the world can help you if you don't stop and orient yourself to the terrain. Doesn't matter how skilled you are at reading it, either. You have to check the terrain." She paused. "Most strangers passing through here, I'd invite 'em in for food and drink, a bit of rest from the heat of the day. But you, sir, don't seem to be the kind of man who changes direction easily, and my kin and I want nothing to do with you."

With that she turned away, gathered up her children, and found her own way back to her home.

I write this in reaction to Fred Clark's rather neat vivisection of Bishop Paprocki's talk on same sex marriage and the question-and-answer session that apparently followed.

Bishop Paprocki may protest that his "position is not a question of anecdotal stories" and that his opponent "presented her case from an emotional position" as opposed to "the church's stance [which] comes from the position of faith and reason", but (assuming even minimal accuracy on the part of the National Catholic Register) neither of those protests is relevant. The people supporting the right of same-sex (etc.) couples to wed are not trying to sway his opinion with anecdotal stories; nor are they arguing on the basis of illogical emotion. They are trying to draw his attention to the terrain.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How long can you tread water?

I have, as you might have noticed, some issues with the story of Noah's Ark. Don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal. I've had days (weeks, months) in which it really seemed like the only way to really fix things was to burn everything down and start over. (That seems, to me, to be the fundamental lure of the story.)

But unless you're willing to believe that everyone else in the world, everyone Not Like You, is evil - completely and irredeemably evil - then killing off the entire world is a monstrous and evil thing to do. It's only slightly less monstrous if you're "merely" leaving everyone else to die, as you get in some modern retellings of the story (such as Atlas Shrugged).

If other people are basically just doing their best to get by, then killing them off for their perceived failure(s) isn't noble; it's villainous. It's horrible. And if you discovered that someone was planning to do that, the heroic action would be trying to stop them.

...This has devolved into something of a rant, which wasn't exactly what I intended. So, on a lighter note, here's Bill Cosby with his own distinctive take on the story:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stuffed Animal Day

So, today is Stuffed Animal Day at Firstborn's school. The students are supposed to bring in a stuffed animal, which they will read stories to (and/or tell stories about), and there will be other related activities. It's basically one of those enjoyable little end-of-the-school-year events - not a big deal, and a little silly, but still fun.

This presented us with a minor difficulty, though. Since we've been trying to get our house ready to sell (with the ultimate goal of getting ourselves into a larger house that feeds into one of our preferred schools): all the stuffed animals are hiding in the storage unit. So, yesterday, I swung by there and retrieved (from the very bottom of the container, I might add), the small plush Cthulhu that has been Firstborn's go-to stuffed animal ever since he first stole it from me.

However, since there's always the possibility that this will raise an eyebrow or two - or at least provoke some interesting questions - I thought I should make sure that Firstborn could explain what a Cthulhu was. So, I printed him out a little guide:
(Usually Pronounced: kə-THOO-loo or Kuh-THOO-loo)
  • Cthulhu comes from a series of stories by author H. P. Lovecraft.
  • In the stories, Cthulhu is trapped in an underwater city in the Pacific Ocean. Someday he will rise up and destroy the world.
  • Cthulhu has a manlike body, with wings on his back and a head like the body of an octopus. Cthulhu has been described as a mix between a giant human, an octopus and a dragon, and is depicted as being hundreds of meters tall.
  • In the stories, Cthulhu sends dreams to people who are sensitive enough to “hear” him.
I'm looking forward to hearing how this goes.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Less Frabjous Day

It's not my fault. I just wanted to go camping. So I gathered up some friends, and we packed our gear and headed out. It was supposed to be a bit of simple fun: two nights out, then back in time for work on Monday. Just a calm, relaxing weekend in the woods.

It was... horrible. Do you have any idea how it was? First it was the bird - it got Joe. And then that frumious thing found us, and there went Rex and Carol. When they left, we thought we were safe. We thought we could finally hike back out. But they... they weren't full. They were fleeing. They'd seen the eyes of flame. They knew what was coming - the jaws that bite, the claws that catch. And that horrid, unearthly burbling.

I was the only one who made it out. When it got Alastair, I just... I just ran. I kept running.

It was Joe's fault. He was the one who said we should turn in there, camp in those woods - said it would save us some time on the road. He didn't know they were tulgey woods. None of us did.

If only... if only one of us had thought to pack a vorpal sword.