Apr 252011

You know, at least fellows like Mark Steyn keep us laughing during the seemingly imminent demise of the republic.  Read of his recent encounter with border agents here.

Apparently when he and his family attempted to cross into Vermont, his children were in possession of extremely dangerous items known as Kinder Eggs.  These are chocolate shells that house smaller plastic shells, which house small toys inside.  The agents confiscated them using federal guidance that states, in part:  “because they are a confectionery product with a non-nutritive object imbedded in it.”

Hmmm.  How long before they go after king cakes?

I love that his children asked if they could consume the chocolate in the presence of the guards, and then take the “imbedded” toys home separately.  This request was denied.

The system worked!

 Posted by at 7:36 am
Apr 242011

The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. – Matthew 28:5-6

I hope this Easter finds your house and heart filled with peace and joy.

 Posted by at 7:46 am
Apr 232011

I considered live-blogging my vasectomy yesterday.  As it turned out, I was barely in the office an hour, and the actual knife time might have been 12 minutes.  (There was a little delay while my doctor sent out for some bolt cutters.  Heh.)

So I wouldn’t have had long, and plus I was just a little distracted.

Recovery is going very well.  After this procedure you receive instructions about like you’d think, involving Neosporin, ice packs, analgesics, and cautions against lifting anything that weighs more than the remote.  From what I’ve heard and read, swelling and pain typically range from moderate to substantial, and I’ve been fortunate on both counts.  The former is almost negligible, and the latter is eminently manageable.  It’s not certain, but I’m optimistic about being able to go to church and dinner tomorrow.

In other news, Nathan nailed Lea to the wall yesterday afternoon on whether she was the Easter Bunny, and Lea told him the truth.  I added Santa Claus to the reality dose, and—after he came back from being upset in his room—the Tooth Fairy.  (He told me the Tooth Fairy had occurred to him a few minutes earlier, and he convincingly told me he’d already had his doubts about Santa.)

Lea and I struggled with these stories, discussing them at some length when Nathan was a baby.  Our discomfort with them was exactly what Nathan reacted against yesterday.  Cultural tradition notwithstanding, it’s sustained and systematic deception.  We don’t lie to the boys about anything else; why this?

Our compromise was that we’d play, but that when a child seriously questioned it, we’d do nothing to further perpetuate the illusion.  Idly asking as a doe-eyed 4-year-old might generate dismissal, but laying it open with genuine skepticism earns you the truth.

Ooh, Nathan was pissed.

After he calmed down, we had a productive conversation about it being a fun and “magical” way for children to celebrate some traditions, learn about some kinds of values, and so forth.  I also made sure he understood how proud I was of him for being angry, because it meant he valued integrity, and he knew it was reasonable to expect it of those who love him.

So I’m forgiven, and I think he’s going to help us get Aaron one more year.

Lea, the boys, and I are off to watch Tangled.  Breakfast for dinner on deck.

I hope you’re having a good weekend.

 Posted by at 2:36 pm
Apr 222011

Well, here’s another story of breathless outrage over a corporation not paying any federal income tax.  In this case it was BP writing off the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which (obviously) was a financial disaster for them in tax year 2010.

Earlier in the month it was GE, which actually recovered several billion dollars on its 2010 federal return.

My response to the BP story is the same as my earlier one to GE:  Yeah.  And?

Folks, this isn’t hard.  As long as U.S. tax law is what it is, which is unfathomably enormous and irretrievably convoluted, there are going to be paths through it.  It is a corporation’s responsibility, usually to millions of people, to find its best one.

Don’t rail against big, “evil” corporations.  Instead, demand real tax reform.

 Posted by at 4:23 pm
Apr 212011

  • I don’t usually put images in Thursday miscellanea posts, but an exception is in order. My mother died ten years ago yesterday, and my sister Jenny found and scanned this fantastic image of Mom at 3 or 4, standing in front of my grandfather’s Ford.
  • I look at photos like that and try harder than ever to feel their perspective.  My grandfather and grandmother had a beautiful little girl, nearly right after he got back from World War II.  Judging from my mother’s age, that was a new car, or very close to it.  My dad would be in her life just 16 years later; me, just 21; my sister, just 24.
  • I tried a Detroit-style pizza for dinner on Monday night.  That means:  square, twice-baked crust, with the sauce on top.  I made it look like the picture.  It was tasty—you really have to work hard to screw up pizza irretrievably—but I’m not sure the sauce on top added anything but greatly enhanced mess potential.
  • Back to a real email client this week.  (Been webmailing exclusively since my desktop has been down.)  Grabbed the latest Thunderbird.  I still love this UI, which is essentially that of Netscape Communicator in 1996, but hey, when you get it right…  Anyway, after you give it your email address, it guesses at server names, and if it succeeds, you’re set up.  I wasn’t expecting that, but okay.  Then I tore my hair out looking for the “Leave messages on the server” option so I could uncheck it.  Guess what?  Wasn’t there.  Finally figured out that it set me up IMAP, not POP.  Grrr.  I’ve got it doing what I want now.
  • When Charles and I went to Trickfest 3 in 1999, we received custom Sharpies with the Cheap Trick logo on them.  (You know, so we’d have suitable instruments for autographs.)  Mine lives in my home study drawer, where I still use it to write on optical discs.  I wouldn’t have guessed a consumer-grade marker would last 12 years, no matter how well it was cared for.  It still smells like a Sharpie and everything.  Wonder how much more life it has in it?
  • Speaking of rock ‘n’ roll, Slade’s getting my sustained attention lately.  What a melody factory!  My new favorite of theirs is “Take Me Bak ‘Ome.”  The riff is just so…impolite.  Fine stuff.
  • Dad bought us dinner at The Brickhouse on Tuesday night.  I took a chance on the wings, and they were quite good.  I went with TNT, which is second-hottest; C-4 is above.  That next time, definitely.  Oh, and ask for Kayla.
 Posted by at 12:15 am