What We Learned

  1. When the twin-screen seatback DVD player first appeared in the house, I suggested that it should be returned. Now, I would like to kiss it's inventor/designer full on the mouth. The Principled Stance is a pose that wants breaking.
  2. However, when utilizing the DVD player, one wants to keep in mind the possible disparity between perceived and experienced motion. To put it another way, if you play Finding Nemo while the car is moving, Caleb will throw up. This happened only twice before my limited understanding of motion sickness and my limited viewing of Nemo matched my limited deduction abilities.
  3. In Sam's developing lexicon, the word "bubble" means the following things: bubble, bubble bath, fish, Finding Nemo, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snacks, turtles, things that are shaped like fish, things that have the same colors as the things shaped like fish, and rain puddles.
  4. Sometimes, all you need is a little plastic shovel. Other times, you need a little plastic shovel and some Chex mix.
  5. Someone would make a bundle of money by designing a toy that featured dinosaurs driving trucks. Or, you know, vice versa.
  6. Neither we nor our father-in-law will be buying a Dodge Durango.
  7. When in doubt, offer them a hot dog.
  8. After nearly accidentally including it on a CD I burned for the drive, I found a new way to hear Paul Simon's "American Tune." As with "Born in the USA," it's easy to sort of half-hear the song as championing patriotism when in fact the lyrics are quite a bit darker, and could easily be applied to the last seven years.
  9. Traffic was horrible in Atlanta, at a time when it really needed to not be horrible.
  10. Not everything needs narration.
  11. Between HBO's John Adams and a somewhat nostalgic road-trip and the Easter holiday, I'm feeling more Unitarian than I have in some time. I'm sorely tempted to read the Jefferson Bible.
  12. Because it contains bright colors and a lot of activity, the boys are really interested in Nemo at the moment. Caleb always laughs heartily when the spiny-toothed barracuda chases after Coral, clearly without understanding what happens to Nemo's mother and potential siblings. There's something strange about listening to him laugh at something that he'll later find sad. (At least Coral's death happens off-stage, unlike the slaughter of Bambi's mother that I witnessed as a kid...)
  13. It was my grandmother's phrase, but it bears repeating: Everyone has their idiosinocracies.
  14. While sliding or swinging, Sam has taken to saying "Wheeeee!" It's also clear, in context, that he damn well means it. Pure joy.
  15. We're incredibly lucky to have the family we have. A thousand thank you's to grandparents, uncles and aunts, and brothers and sisters, for being there for Sam and Caleb.


And We're Back...

Photos today, lessons tomorrow.

1.  Pretending to drive at the Honda dealership in Marietta, GA, after losing the transmission in Grampa Jim's van.

2. Caleb rehearses his Trucker's Stink-Eye behind the wheel of Uncle Steve's big rig in Melbourne, FL.
3.  Sam may have been the only one of us to find comfort in the rented Dodge Durango.
4.  Caleb at the toddler's water park in Naples.

5.  Sam at the water park.

And We're Back... Part Two

1. It ain't easy bein' green.

2. You may be interested to know that those are Superman sunglasses.   Oh, and sorry, grocery stores of Naples, for the run on hot dogs...

3.  Caleb and Daddy practice looking road-tired at Uncle Tony's place in Ft. Lauderdale.  Caleb used that shovel to polish off an entire bowl of Chex Mix.
4.  Sam applies his natural proclivity towards reverse-engineering to an Oreo cookie in Skyline Chili, Cincinnati, OH.


A Little Missed Sunshine

This Thursday at 3 p.m, five of us will pile into Grampa Jim's mini-van and start what we hope will be not much more than a 24-hour drive to Florida. Kirsten and Grampa Jim will switch off driving and sleeping, I will navigate/inspire/encourage, and Sam and Caleb will behave fantastically well.

We hope to arrive in Melbourne, FL at about 5pm on Friday, where we'lll spend the night with Great Aunt Anne and Uncle Steve.

Saturday, we leave Grampa Jim to the golf courses and cross to Naples on the Gulf Side for several days with Granny & Poppa, including a visit from the Unitarian Easter Bunny.

(On a Unitarian Easter Egg Hunt, some -- but not all -- of the eggs may be left empty. It's the hunt that's important, anyway. So maybe you'll find some jelly beans, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll find jelly beans and then leave them behind. The main thing is not to judge, because we can all at least concede that there is meaning to be found in chocolate if one wants to find it. After the hunt, a proposal is made to find volunteers for a committee to consider options for a possible brunch.)


You're Doing It Wrong

Fellow Democrats:

Remember how this was supposed to be the election that permanantly divided the REPUBLICAN party?

Come on, people. Smile on your brother, and everybody get together and try to love one another right now. (This election is slowly turning me into a hippy, much to my own astonishment.)


Confidential to Geraldine: It's the essentialism, stupid.


On "Morning Edition," Hillary said: "People talk to me all the time as I travel around the country about how they wish they didn't have to choose between us." That may be true for her support, but it's been my experience that Obama supporters really don't feel that same way.


If (happy) + (know it) -> (clap hands)

Sunday's New York Times charted the influence of Dungeons and Dragons on 21st Century life:Of course, you can't really chart unquantifiable data, but it sure is fun to come across the Times' occaisional arcane and Seussian charts in the Week in Review or Arts & Entertainment sections. Here's some similar stuff for a slow pre-Spring Break week:


Peep Show

My friend Courtney sent me this picture, with the following message:
"This totally reminded me of you...the peeps, not the strippers."
I am honored and humbled.
Important Spring weblinks:


The Revolution Will Not Fight The Germs That May Cause Bad Breath

This is the cover of Caleb's first solo record, "You Better Recognize," due to be released by Casablanca Records in April 2034.  It will be a Afro-Pop/Jazz record on which my man plays vibes.  And melodium, you dig?  It will feature Caleb's version of Johnny Cash's "The Man In Black" and The Backyardigan's "There's An Echo."  The last track, titled "Ball! / Reflections (Part Two)" will feature only the stand-up bass and finger snaps.

Something is Happening in the World

...And you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

In supporting GWB in 2004 and HRC in 2008, Texas and Ohio have shown that they make poor decisions, and both states should be remanded into custody posthaste. (My friend Bayard points out that even if both states are judged to be mentally retarded, they can both still be executed according to Texas law.)

What bugs me most about yesterday's returns is the apparent success of Hilary's 3 a.m. ads, which for my taste too closely resembled W's "wolf in the woods" ads from the 2004 election. This kind of fear-mongering is something I'd expect from Karl Rove or Guiliani or even McCain, but it's most disheartening coming from within our own tent. When congratulating herself and her supporters, Hilary showed her determination to continue this same line of attack: "When that call comes at 3 a.m., " she said, "there's no time for speeches or on-the-job training."

Aside from being lamentable politics of fear, this is also the same sort of campaign that the McCain folks are going to start up later this summer, no matter whether our candidate is Obama or Clinton. And while Hilary can suggest with some authority that she's more adept at handling middle-of-the-night phone calls than Barrack, won't McCain (now with all-new Bush endorsement!) be able to do the same against Hilary?

If we make this election about security and experience again, we lose.

The "something" that's happening in the world -- or so I hope -- is movement toward brother- and sisterhood, towards a more open and honest form of democracy, and towards shedding light on these recent dark ages. I'm a cynical guy, but I'm legitimately jazzed with the prospect of doing 1968 all over again but getting it right this time. (Let the sun shine in.) This is what Obama supporters feel -- the water's fine, by the way -- and why Clinton's current direction (if not her candidacy) could potentially spell disaster.


Keeping Fingers Crossed

We have a cold making the rounds at the house. Early last week, Sam had the sniffles and a cough. Then Caleb got a fever and his nose turned into a horrid dripping spigot of snot, and then he coughed like a West Virginian coal miner all day yesterday. He also happily gave his father some plugged sinuses and a sore throat. Meantime, Sam must have recognized that Caleb had a fever when he hadn't had one, so now Sam has seemingly decided to have a fever too.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that their ear tubes are still in place and continue to drain any fluid there so that we don't have to go through another round of ear infections.

Kirsten, who has the hard-fought immunities of a public schools employee, is still well, if a little sore from wiping all the noses.

Speaking of crossed fingers, I'll be up late watching election returns.

Texas and Ohio: If you just do this one thing for me, I swear I'll be your best friend forever. Really. You can have all my comics, and I will buy you ice cream and I will put your face on a sweatshirt and wear it to school every day, I promise.