Monday, December 26, 2005

that yuletide feeling

-hack wheeze cough-

Well, it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't have a cold. Seems like I caught every last bug that came sweeping through last year- including the California A strain.

This year is just Part Deux.

For all my hand-wringing about matters politic, I imagine I'm more likely to be taken by the killer flu than hooded thugs in the night.


Christmas was scads of fun this year. Extra exciting with a new baby in the house and my dad over to share breakfast and stockings.

The missus and I must have both shared the vision of sugar plums, for we gave eachother several identical stocking stuffers.

Now if we can use this power of ours to wipe out global poverty, or hunger or something... ;?p

It was also my privilege to buy Sarah a special gift from daddy - a princess gown right from Cinderella. I suppose I could muse on being part of the wheels that turn and turn and end up with daughters wanting to be the princess in their own fairytale wedding...

...but I'd much rather just smile to myself as she immediately insisted on shedding her other garb and stepping into the bustle.

-happy sigh-

Well, what's wrong with fairytales?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

jeremy finally gets the war of terror

I am always amazed (or amused?) to find relevant text from elsewhen in history. Are we really so sad that our policies and misadventures are but pale reflections of things already tried and found wanting?

Maybe I'll start a regular post that collects snippets of these past conversations on current issues.

Here's one in the context of our evolving war on terror...

Without, all the tyrants encircle you; within, all tyranny's friends
conspire; they will conspire until hope is wrested from crime. We must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with it; now in this situation, the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people's enemies by terror.

If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs.

It has been said that terror is the principle of despotic government. Does your government therefore resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword that gleams in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles that with which the henchmen of tyranny are armed. Let the despot govern by terror his brutalized subjects; he is right, as a despot. Subdue by terror the enemies of liberty, and you will be right, as founders of the Republic. The government of the revolution is liberty's despotism against tyranny. Is force made only to protect crime? And is the thunderbolt not destined to strike the heads of the proud?


Indulgence for the royalists, cry certain men, mercy for the villains! No! mercy for the innocent, mercy for the weak, mercy for the unfortunate, mercy for humanity.

Society owes protection only to peaceable citizens; the only citizens in the Republic are the republicans. For it, the royalists, the conspirators are only strangers or, rather, enemies. This terrible war waged by liberty against tyranny- is it not indivisible? Are the enemies within not the allies of the enemies without? The assassins who tear our country apart, the intriguers who buy the consciences that hold the people's mandate; the traitors who sell them; the mercenary pamphleteers hired to dishonor the people's cause, to kill public virtue, to stir up the fire of civil discord, and to prepare political counterrevolution by moral counterrevolution-are all those men less guilty or less dangerous than the tyrants whom they serve?

Source::Robespierre: On the Moral and Political Principles of Domestic Policy


Why is torturing people in secret facilities with no rights and no oversight a bad idea?

Short answer: Mistakes get made. alot. and aren't easily detected or corrected.

Good intentions do not equal good execution. No oversight lends itself to abuses and uncorrected errors. It's circular. There's no oversight, so mistakes go undetected and abuses go unreported.

That well-meaning little inquisition that is only going to affect the really bad people tends to get out of hand and affect the kinda-bad people, then the mistakenly-bad people, then the unpopular people, the politically-opposed people and finally the good people. We can't really stop it because the people with the power to stop it are the ones behind it. And there's no mechanism to "stop the iron maiden, I wanna get off!"

Remember: Bad people lie. So, mistakenly-bad people are just lying.

I guess we could just hope for these little revolutions to burn out from their own intensity, but then the world's a lot more populous now, so it's just gonna take a little longer to Robespierre our way through enough people that there just aren't enough left to bother with. Little comfort that the thing will then get a second wind by turning inward and cleaning house of the unpurest-of-the-pure. I am sure I will have been turned into soylent green long before that day.

So forgive me if I want my government with checks and balances. If I want my congress to have more power than my executive (yes, even as pathetic a congress as we have at the moment).

I get defense. Or maybe I don't-- I thought the war was on terror, not on holiday.


Now don't get me started on why the death penalty is a bad idea (hint, see short answer above)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

the puppet-masters

-blissful sigh-

Well, Mira's mind-control spores have started to come in and we are now rapturously in love with her.

The first week or so with a new baby is full of tenderness, but in some ways it's hard to connect to this little wrinkly critter in a human love way. Fortunately, they have these mind-control spores that come off the tops of their heads that usually kick in pretty fast.

Once those are in, you coo and give little kisses and sniff the head and look at eachother during the few minutes baby is sleeping and say 'it is all worth it' and 'aren't they so cute.'

Our family is coming together and all is good. :?)

This is what the puppet-masters would like you to think, because it distracts us from detecting their plots for world domination.

-sniff- -sniff-

Ahhh, sporesssss.....

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Well we finally have our snow. :?)

Maybe not much to be excited about if you are one of our east-coast or midwest friends, but then we generally don't get enough of it to reach seriously pain in the ass levels.

The W Valley is sometimes cold enough, usually moist enough, but rarely both enough.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

3 A.M. Eternal

This is Radio Freedom

Got to teach, an' everything you learn'll
Point to the fact that time is eternal

It's three A.M., three A.M.
It's three A.M. eternal-a-a-a-al

Got to see that everywhere I turn will
Point to the fact that time is eternal

It's three A.M., three A.M.
It's three A.M. eternal-a-a-a-al

-- The KLF

(This "time is not constant" mumbo-jumbo is a little too cerebral for us. Les egoists formidable have been hog-tied and locked in the broom closet. We shall now be playing The Cure, much better strains to hallucinate to. Ahhh, Disintegration...

...nevermind the hoots in the background, Number 3 is probably running around smashing all the pictures of you while I am twitching to lullaby.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

a child's question

As my fogged mind makes sense of the jumble of emotions and events in this birth, some things begin to stand out as vivid recollections.

One of those was on the day after Mira was born.

Our other daughter, Sarah, came to the hospital to visit with a grandma. We'd been preparing Sarah for the arrival of her sister, but no one really knows how a child will react until the new sibling arrives.

It all turned out fairly well, but at that first meeting little Sarah was really unsure of what this new arrival meant. She summed it all up in one timid question--

"Can I still be Sarah?"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

sleep? there is no sleep.

"...and the night, seemed to last as long as
six weeks on Paris island."

- Billy Joel, Goodnight Saigon

This is sometime on Thursday I think. The clock on my computer is lying to me. I used to go to bed hours after this time. Now I cannot remember what restfulness feels like.

Somewhere in my physical memory I remember this feeling. The one that fades in time, ensuring humans don't stop procreating at one. Must be a species survival trait, or each generation would be half the size of the last. heh

I am blogging now because I seem to have reached a temporary lull in my duties, but not long enough to get some sleep or anything else.

In a minute I will be sterilizing pump parts again. I can do this with my eyes closed by now-- which is mostly how I am doing everything.


Parts sterilyzed. formula warmed. baby fed. parts re-sterilyzed.

9.8 seconds!!! WOOO!!!

I am the Indy pit crew of this operation. I cherish my role, because it is what I can do. In my hands sleeping babies wake, dry babies wet, happy babies cry.

Some sort of deranged Midas thing in exchange for the total fulfillment of being a parent.

More later from the land of nod...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

joyful ululations

Please join us in welcoming

Mira Elise Reynolds

into the world with whatever expression takes you.

Here are the short form statistics. The longer story will have to come later as I am on the briefest of hiatuses (hiati?) to go home and clean myself up a bit.

Born: 9:37pm, December 12, 2005

Birth weight: 8 lbs. 12 oz.

Length: 20.25 inches

Dark hair, dark eyes

Mom doing fine.

Dad plum tuckered out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

baby forecast

Update: 2:00pm

Contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, moderate strength and rising. We are going to the hospital.


Today's baby forecast

December 12, 2005
Morning fog (jeremy) with scattered contractions (not jeremy), increasing throughout the day. Chance of evening delivery. More news later...

With the now discontinued "baby watch" I have been working out the best way to keep updating our progress and documenting my thoughts and feelings.

I do not think I am well suited to just sitting and waiting. If forced to I just go into sleep mode.

So, I am launching the "baby forecast".

Like the weather forecast, no one really expects it to be correct, we just read it over our english muffin for entertainment value. ;?)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

how do a pot of water and an expectant mother differ?

Q: How do a pot of water and an expectant mother differ?

A: A watched pot never boils. A watched mother-to-be boils in 1.9 days - then throws the pot at you.

So we've all been waaaaiting for this baby. We've taken 37 calls in the last few days. about the baby. Kari's been asked some greater number of times a day about her belly.

Management has now informed us in unequivocal terms - enough with the baby watch. When it happens it'll happen. We will let you know. And by "we", I mean SHE will let you and I know.

So back to routine and instead of furtive glances at the belly, there will be whiplash-inducing avoidance of grazing the belly area with the least of glances.

This may be a good time to buy some flowers...

...dare I risk a shopping trip again? I am 0 for 1 with Sunday shopping this season. :?p

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Baby watch: D-day...not with a bang but with a whimper

So today is the official due date. No new news. No contractions.

Daughter Number 1 continues to provide inappropriate comic relief to keep everyone balancing on that tension sweet spot between "seriously stressed out" and "explosive anger".

The "joke" of the day is to pick minor things and make them life-or-death struggles. all day. then to disrobe and run around naked and poopy.

For would-be conflict-resolution professionals I heartily recommend raising a child first. or a couple of them. After that, everything else must just fall in stride.

Over at Misadventures there's a little thread going about appropriate behavior and disciplining.

This one is a little too young for the "go pick out which of daddy's belts you like best." :?)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Baby watch: Tom Petty gets it

We are back to condition green; all set to go and just waiting for contractions to pick up or waters to break.

I gotta tell you - this waiting business is tough. It was fun and giggly, then exciting, now a drag. Most likely the after-effects of stale adrenaline.

I got 8 hours last night, but I'm achey and headachey now. Dreamed all night of deliveries. and they wasn't the pizza pie variety, clyde!

As Tom Petty once crooned... "The wai-ai-ai-ting is the hardest part."

(Does Tom Petty actually croon? Whatever it is, it's scratchy. and cool.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

entertainments while we wait...

And for our next trick Kari will deliver the baby, then we will magically return it to her stomach while replacing it with a white tiger.

While we are resetting the smoke and mirrors from the last disappearing baby trick, here some entertainments to keep the audience distracted...


For coke-shooting-from-your-nose laughing...

Here is a link to the Terry Gross interview Stephen Colbert. Toward the end is a clip of Colbert interviewing actor Tim Robbins. This is the carbonated sneeze moment.


For the best sticking-it-to-a-heckler response ever...

Here is a link to a This American Life short piece on Freebird!

Baby watch: Skies clear, all systems GO, start the countdown...

Update 1:00pm: False alarm...with potential.

Doesn't look like a true water break. Probably just discharge. However we are having light, irregular contractions. We are back at home, trimming the tree and frosting cookies. Could be a tomorrow baby...


The water broke just a few minutes ago.

The moment has arrived- and in the spirit of el corporal!s suggestion ( 'take is eeeeasy'), things are quite leisurely developing. Leisurely enough that I can even sit down and jot these words.

So, we will see you on the other side.

Thanks for hanging in there with us through the countdown. Now the fun begins! :?D

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

quotes from the mayonnaise jar...

"Even though our path is completely different from the warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon totally the old ways. Absorb venerable traditions into this Art by clothing them with fresh garments, and building on the classic styles to create better forms.

-- Morihei Ueshiba, as he was creating the martial art of Aikido

(Aikido is a form that emphasizes defensive re-direction of force over offensive damage.)

Baby Watch: T-minus any day now...All's quiet on the western front

No baby this morning. Dawn came and dawn went.

Maybe Sarah's chanting can help things along. or a few apricots. ;?p

*chanting* BA-BY BA-BY BA-BY!

jesus loves capitalism

Tim Bumgardner, a pastor in Wellington, Florida, who is fighting to have a nativity scene included in his town's holiday display (comments taken from Bill O'Reilly Show)--
Rev. Tim Bumgardner: I think they should put a Nativity scene — be American! Hey, celebrate Christmas — people spend more money! Jesus makes people want to spend money!

(And I thought the tax breaks were responsible for the economic upturn.) ^_^

To be fair, I think Tim let his words get ahead of his brain. But can you just picture the Fed Chairman reporting on the Jesus Index? heh heh
Ben Bernanke: ...An additional benefit of the solid economic performance of the Lamb of God was that federal tax revenues were coming in faster than expected...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Baby Watch: T-minus any day now...Climb Mount Niitaka

I will be daily reporting on the baby now that we are into the "any minute now". Naturally I cannot concentrate on work.

We thought the baby might come Thanksgiving. We expected last week. Now we are reasonably certain something is afoot...

Exhibit A: There has been unusual activity of late at the Japanese Embassy.

Exhibit B: Kari's fortune cookie last Friday read, "You have a winning way about you. Climb Mount Niitaka."

Exhibit C: Tomorrow is December 7.

Now why do I expect to be awakened round about dawn with a shrieking in my ear:

Tora! Tora! Tora!


i am 'ard of 'earing

Ah, it is clearer now.

I have been corrected - I am not a bottle of disclosure. I am a model of disclosure.

Seems I do not have a cute earing.

And yet during my brief time as a bottle, I suddenly seemed more interesting to me. :?(



Random thought - When I was in China, Deng Shao Ping was the man.

If you play around with the tones, Shao Ping could translate to "Little Bottle". Of course the public smiled and winked about Deng Little Bottle.

I wonder if he gets Viagra spam like I do? For that matter, I wonder if women get Viagra spam too?

Ladies? :?)

i am a bottle of disclosure

One of my co-workers was grilling me this morning about the impending baby--

Do we want a diaper service? What is the name? What sorts of stuff do we have already?
The interrogation goes on...
I am so in the mode of deferring to the mom-to-be's needs that my reflexive answer is 'Whatever momma wants.'Those of you who have been or been with very-expectant mothers may relate to the "what the mom wants, she gets" stage.

Now is not the time to break ranks and insert my own "this is the way I think we should do its". I am there to facilitate and be supportive. I am there to do what small things a man can do to ease the coming into the world process.

And the most significant thing I can do to assist is keep my yap shut. :?p

You may have to have been there to appreciate this, but even the things I think I know (world round, orbits sun) I am circumspect about when asked. Because tomorrow may bring a different executive finding. And woe-betide the me who has foolishly asserted otherwise in public.

So, my answers these days sound a lot the kind of stuff you hear on the Russert show.

Said co-worker labeled me a bottle of disclosure. I wonder what that means? :?P

Monday, December 05, 2005

the end

Here is one of the more amusing flash movies I've seen in a while.

(long load time, contains profanity)

Ted Koppel and Me

I was listening to Ted Koppel (ex-ABC news anchor guy) do an interview with Terry Gross.

Ted was hawking a new book. During the interview he mentioned in passing how hard it was for him as an ex-smoker.

"...I quit long ago and I still miss it desperately. I would still light
up at the drop of a hat...

Ted's statement felt ripped from my own mind.

This may seem strange to say, but one of my greatest accomplishments was to stop smoking. I quit cigarettes 10 years ago. Only smoked for maybe 4 years "in college" but it was extraordinarily hard.

The insidiousness of it is that it stays with you, lurking.

I'll be under stress or enjoying some peaceful moment. My defenses are down and these little voices will whisper,

'Remember how good it felt?'

I always come back to my senses, but the addiction merely recedes, leaving me with a "Will I ever be free!" frustration.

Some decisions we cannot un-make, Ted and Me. This is one I hope I can influence my kids to avoid.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

channeling Gene Siskel: The Mission

I rented The Mission (1986) last night to take a nostalgic trip up river with the Guarani again.

What a great film and a great piece of filmmaking.

It was hard enough to find (Hollywood Video had it in the stacks - VHS of course), but a great one for an evening in with your squeeze.

Be forewarned, this isn't a movie for Hollywood Endings. It's Roland Joffe's follow-up to The Killing Fields (1984 - also highly recommended), so maybe it carries on this thing with historic tragedy.

Side note-- I am reminded of a student who shared with me his own experience with the killing fields of Cambodia.

Like Dr. Haing S. Ngor he escaped, but only after learning his whole family was liquidated. Unlike Haing Ngor, America hasn't yet done to him what the Khmer Rouge could not.

The Mission is a movie of great beauty and great sadness. It follows the Jesuit missionaries in South America at the time when the governments of Spain and Portugal are dividing up the western hemisphere between them and the Catholic church must appease in order to maintain its influence.

The Jesuits have made a seeming paradise on earth with the converted Guarani and many other indigenous peoples. But paradises never last. The monarchies with their overt and tacit support of the slave trade want to the missions closed and with them the end of sanctuary for the locals.

A Vatican representative arrives to view the territory and decide whether the church will close the missions or defend them.


Jeremy Irons convinces as an inspired priest. This guy knows what is right and courageously goes after it. It is so clear to him, that one suspects he cannot last long in this world of compromise and politics.

Robert DeNiro is the pumping heart of this film as a slaver-turned-priest. All the passions and heartbreak in the backdrop of the film seem intensified in his character.

While the transportive qualities of the fine cinematography, authentic characters and soaring music deliver the message readily to the viewer, Rodrigo (DeNiro) is another lens for us to feel the conflict yet more deeply.

But the technical merits of the film render it a joy as well. The photography is reminiscent of National Geographic. The score is beautiful; one of Morricone's best and holds up well apart from the movie on CD.

And the script is a fine example of the fading art of "showing" the audience instead of "telling" us everything. I'd be shocked to find more dialogue in the script than white space.

The film's appreciation of silence gives the flavor of the scene a chance to develop while giving the regularly over-stuffed viewer time to digest what (s)he is seeing.


Not a happy film, as I said, but a great one. We are taken on a tour through the events that build up to the resolution. Each step brings us inexorably closer to our dread.

Watch it, appreciate it together and have heart-- not all tragedies are endings.

Baby watch: T-minus 1 I am starting to worry

I don't get it.

I've been hobbled all week...
I taught three days running...
Kari had to assistant-teach at the preschool...

If there was ever a time for waters to break, cell phones to summon and heads to run around without- this week would have been it.

I am vexed. Children seem born with an innate awareness of inopportune timing. Why this one has chosen to hold on and arrive later is beyond my ken.

All I can deduce is there must be as yet some even more inauspicious set of circumstances in store for us and THAT will be when she comes!


Friday, December 02, 2005

I'd rather eat wild salmon by candlelight

How many here like farmed salmon? No? What's wrong with grey flesh and no taste to one of nature's pinkest, tastiest fishes?

Apparently nothing if you are Senator Larry Craig. Here's one more instance of transparent bad faith by a bought-and-paid-for legislator. Next time he eats out, maybe someone will slip him a farm-raised salmon.

I suppose we'll just end up doing to our fish what we've done to the tomato, eh? Unnatural, uniformly grey, bland-tasting, all-the-same-size fish.

Maybe someday we'll have "heirloom" salmon at farmers markets. ^_^

Correction: farm-raised salmon aren't really grey. The flesh is manually dyed pink before being sold.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

the essentialness of writing

This is an excerpt from a letter written by Sharon Olds, State poet for NY. She is talking about working with frozen people (paralysis, or other confining states) in a state hospital.

It struck me as a compelling piece of writing. But what else would you expect from a poet, neh? ;?)

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing.

When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

-Sharon Olds

Makes me think of the physicist, Stephen Hawking. I'm glad someone understood the essentialness of voice through the inventions that allowed him to share what's on his mind. Even if he was wrong about black holes.

We forgive ya Steve. ;?)