Friday, February 24, 2006

Politico Friday: Port Controversy

Tom Friedman writes a tremendous op-ed today in the NYT about the port controversy. He examines the controversy from the political angle about the dust that has been stirred:

So I understand why Democrats were eager to turn the soft-on-terrorism card back on President Bush when it was revealed that P&O, the navigation company based in London — which has been managing the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia — had been bought by Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the Dubai monarchy in the United Arab Emirates, an Arab Gulf state, and that the Bush team had approved the Dubai takeover of the U.S. port operations.

I also understand why many Republicans are now running away from the administration. They know that if they don't distance themselves from Mr. Bush, some Democrats are going to play this very evocative, very visual "giving away our ports to the Arabs" card against them in the coming elections. Yes, you reap what you sow.

...the consequences if the deal does not go through:
As a country, we must not go down this road of global ethnic profiling — looking for Arabs under our beds the way we once looked for commies. If we do — if America, the world's beacon of pluralism and tolerance, goes down that road — we will take the rest of the world with us. We will sow the wind and we will reap the whirlwind.

....and he raises the issue to the broader context of religious fanatacism that is spreading all over the world.

My point is simple: the world is drifting dangerously toward a widespread religious and sectarian cleavage — the likes of which we have not seen for a long, long time. The only country with the power to stem this toxic trend is America.

People across the world still look to our example of pluralism, which is like no other. If we go Dark Ages, if we go down the road of pitchfork-wielding xenophobes, then the whole world will go Dark Ages.

There is a poison loose today, and America — America at its best — is the only antidote. That's why it is critical that we stand by our principles of free trade and
welcome the world to do business in our land, as long as there is no security threat. If we start exporting fear instead of hope, we are going to import everyone else's fears right back. That is not a world you want for your kids.

Great read.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rough and Tumble

Well we had our first legitimate parenting scare this week. Tuesday morning I was changing Owen business as usual. When I was finished with him I made my way over to change Gus in his crib. I happened to look back over my shoulder at Owen and was greeted with the horrific sight of Owen falling head-first out of his crib onto the floor. He landed on the top of his forehead and immediately started screaming. It was pretty frantic watching the whole thing happen right before me. It's like one of those things people talk about that happens to them where they recall it in slow motion. That's exactly how it was for me watching him tumble over the side.

Owen took it much, much better than Amy and me. He was consoled within a minute. Amy & I were shaking for a few minutes thinking what could have been and vowing never to forget to put the crib rail up on its highest setting again. I wanted to go a step further and put the boys in padded suits until they turn 18, but Amy talked me out of it.

So the little monster is completely fine thankfully. He was rolling about shrieking with delight at the sight of the dog by yesterday morning. C.E. reminded me that my grandmother Ga Ga used to say, "A child that doesn't fall out of his crib by the time he's one year old isn't going to live very long."

Gus is hoping that Owen's spill counts as one in his column too. (As are his mom and dad.) :-)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Yo Baby

We have a new favorite... YoBaby Yogurt. The boys can't get enough. Even Gus our challenging eater has figured out how to get that mouth wide open for a tasty bite.

The anticipation....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Modern Day Aaron Burr

This is great.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


You just can't make up stuff as nutty as these guys.

Aunt Mel and Uncle Dude

This weekend the boys got to see their Aunt Melanie and Uncle Roman (aka Uncle Dude) as Mel, Roman and their two dogs traveled up from Charleston, SC for a visit. It was the first time the boys had seen Melanie since the pumpkin carving extravaganza in October and the first time they'd seen Uncle Dude since the boys' Incubator 2005 tour back in May. So there was a lot of catching up to do, and we didn't waste any time. The visit was great, and we have already the return trip to Charleston planned for March. Cheers!

Roman, Owen, Melanie & Gus (who looks like someone stole his last toy on earth)

Aunt Mel and her nephews

Owen dives in for a mouthful of Chloe's face

We're not sure which was more fun in this scene -- watching Gus merrily bounce in his jumper or watching Melanie on the floor coaxing him on.

Gus borrows his Uncle Dude's hat.

Roman plays Tailgunner with Owen; Gus soars in an Aunt Mel aeroplane.

Chloe, Tera, Melanie & Owen crash for a short winter's nap.

The boys weren't quite sure what to think of Mel the Jester (I hid the laundry basket for the weekend to prevent the nuttiness from getting out of hand).

"Aw man, Chloe's taking up the whole dog bed."

Chilling at breakfast time.


There was a problem in the settings that wasn't allowing comments to be published. This has been fixed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


The New York Times editorials were placed behind a pay firewall back in September. I used to read them daily, mainly because they reflected my political leanings. Since going behind the firewall I've had to find other opinionators that write columns that spur interesting discussion and thoughts.

Then earlier this week I discovered that some blogs out there were reproducing the NYT columns in full, and I took the bait. I know it's copyright infringement so my conscience won't let me cut/paste them here, but I will provide links to the ones I find intellectually stimulating. Read them or skip them as you like.

Following on to the Danish cartoon controversy, NYT conservative editorialist David Brooks writes an excellent piece today contrasting the radicals who have reacted violently to the cartoons and those of us in free societies. I love the passage below:

We in the West were born into a world that reflects the legacy of
Socrates and the agora. In our world, images, statistics and arguments swarm around from all directions. There are movies and blogs, books and sermons. There's the profound and the vulgar, the high and the low.

In our world we spend our time sifting and measuring, throwing away the dumb and offensive, e-mailing the smart and the incisive. We aim, in Michael Oakeshott's words, to live amid the conversation — "an endless unrehearsed intellectual adventure in which, in imagination, we enter a variety of modes of understanding the world and ourselves and are not disconcerted by the differences or dismayed by the inconclusiveness of it all."

We believe in progress and in personal growth. By swimming in this flurry of perspectives, by facing unpleasant facts, we try to come closer and closer to understanding.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Danish cartoons

The story of Muhammed being depicted in cartoon form in a Danish newspaper (and later reprinted in European newspapers the past few weeks) has dominated the news. Muslims are rioting, protesting, burning Danish flags, boycotting Danish products, and burning the Danish embassy in some countries.

Out of curiosity I wanted to see the cartoons to see what the controversy was over. No major American newspapers have re-published them -- not the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, neither Chicago paper, USA Today etc. Even the BBC has refused to publish them. Wikipedia is the only mainstream website I could find with the actual cartoons themselves. That site has a great summary of the whole situation, back to the Sept 2005 when the controvery originated over the original publication of the cartoons.

Pesonally I think the cartoons are pretty mild. Then again we're conditioned to understand that this is just expression, and we don't consider this blasphemous like some Muslims do. It is amazing though how something seemingly innocent as a drawing in a newspaper can incite this kind of violent reaction across the globe. This one I saw summed it up pretty well.


Owen shows off his scoot and army crawl. Gus still maneuvers about with the roll more than anything. He takes a bit of a crash at the end of the video. Never fear though, the ensuing cry was brief and he was back at it in seconds.


The boys are starting to move about much more. They like to sit up, stand (with help) and bang on the table, and scoot across the floor. Owen is quite mobile with the army crawl. We keep waiting for them to start crawling any day.

The boys are up to stage three baby foods -- chunkier portions of vegetables and fruits. I got brave on Sunday and tried to feed them real oatmeal. It was too much too fast as I had my first experience with infant projectile vomiting. Graduating to finger foods and solids with more texture can be an alarming experience for first-time parents. I try not to be too worried when they hack and gag, but at the same time you can't help but be a little concerned. They're catching on though.

Owen has replaced Gus as our big eater. He's like Mikey on the Life cereal commercials -- kid will eat anything. Sweet potatoes, green beans, any fruit, oatmeal, you name it. Gus has developed a bit of a finicky palate for certain foods. He has the act of turning his head right as the spoon arrives to his mouth down to an art form. Apple juice though is quite popular with him though. Gus turns up the juice cup and matter-of-factly shrugs it off when he gets too big a gulp and coughs. Owen still hasn't figured out the sippy cup -- he just gnaws on it from all angles.

Finally, Owen's favorite new game is to drop things from his high chair. Toys and cups make quite the racket, and he loves it. The funniest part is that he closes his eyes right before he drops something as he prepares for the loud bang. Then he laughs and shrieks until we pick it back up. Fantastic game, let me tell you.


"What's happenin' baby?"

The G grin.

Owen -- tired of having his toys taken from him by his brother -- practices his craft of ear swiping on Gus.

Owen with a big gummy grin.

Gus rejoices that he has both pacifiers and will never share again.


Last weekend we got to catch up with Dave and Beth Humes and their daughter Emily, who is about to turn two. The boys watched Emily with inquisitive eyes and keen interest. I think they were envious of her mobility as she moved about with ease. Emily has her back molars coming in, and she was all about chewing on her hand to soothe the gums. The boys are starting to get their front teeth in, and will gnaw on just about anything they can get their hands on to soothe theirs.

Tucker is always happy to see Uncle Dave.

Fingers = good.

Emily pauses to take an important call.

Owen sports one chopper on the bottom.

Gus loves having to show off his choppers (4 on top, 2 on the bottom).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Orange Crushed: A Soapbox Moment

The Cats took another home loss on the chin tonight. Led by new coach Bruce Pearl sporting a Jim Carrey-esque orange suit, the much improved Vols continued their unforeseen successful run through the SEC. With a chip on his shoulder for not being recruited by Kentucky or Louisville, former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton returned to Rupp Arena and lit up the Cats with 31 points including seven three-pointers.

Just to torture myself I ventured over to one of the UK message boards after the game to see the comments that some "fans" were leaving about the coach and the team. 1250+ users were logged on creating threads like "Tubby was horrible tonight," "Most embarassing home game ever," "Major overhaul needed." It's unbelievable.

Which brings me to my point about UK basketball fans -- pardon me while I climb on my soapbox. Unfortunately a minority but very vocal segment of Kentucky basketball fans are the most overreacting bunch of Chicken Little hypochondriacs in all of college basketball. To make matters worse, because they scream the loudest they get the attention and the spotlight to represent Kentucky basketball fans. Well they don't represent me. Don't get me wrong -- this season has been very frustrating to watch as a UK fan. Gone is the trademark defense that has been a signature of Tubby-coached teams. The current crop of Cats struggles to score for long periods of time. And no matter how many Tubby stares he gives his players, these guys still take questionable shots and have way too many careless turnovers to win close games.

All of that said, no team in college basketball has more wins or a better winning percentage over the last three years than Kentucky. Not Duke, not North Carolina, not Kansas, not Arizona. Yet "fans" call for a coaching change despite this success -- it is shortsighted, reactionary, and ridiculous. The vocal minority needs to take a valium and chill the heck out. No matter how bad people want the Cats to win, they don't want it as bad as Tubby Smith and his coaches want it. I have faith in Tubby as a coach that he will turn it around.

All he needs is an orange suit.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Funny

Hilarious. Long live The Onion for biting satire.

"The centerpiece of Bush's plan is the Department of Corruption,
Bribery, and Incompetence, which will centralize duties now dispersed throughout the entire D.C.-area political establishment."

Another great Daily Show segment this week highlighting Oprah's scathing confrontation of James Frey with the way the media covers news -- Oprah's world vs. the news world.
"Reporters were stunned that someone investigated a lie and declared it to be untrue."



My favorite picture of the mongrels right now. This one is set as the background on my work PC. I go to it frequently when the work stresses pile up. Of course Gus took the toy away from Owen after we snapped the picture. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Basket Cases

In a previous post I referenced how the boys seemed to enjoy their experience in a laundry basket much more than I did. My mom dug up the old picture I was talking about and mailed it to me. When I asked her and my sister why they would let me sit there and cry while they got a picture, they both asked me why I thought it was funny when my child gagged and made faces while eating pureed turkey. Point taken.

I doctored this with a picture of little Gus since he resembles me the most from my baby pictures. He is in much better spirits than me.

(How about that phat shag-adelic carpet??) ;-)