August 2005
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August 2005 Archives

August 29, 2005

Sudden Change

We often hear that we live in an era of constant and sudden change. I was reminded of this when reading John Leland this morning, and now give you some of his thoughts.

It is now fifty-nine years since the independence of the United States was declared. In this length of time the inhabitants have increased from three to fourteen millions. The changes that have taken place are innumerable. Sixty-five years ago I was old enough to observe the face of things, and see what was going on: had I been in a dead sleep the sixty-five years, and were not to awake, such a change has taken place in the face of the earth, in architecture, in all the arts, in costume and regimen, and in the forms of religion, that I should doubt whether I had awakened in the same world. The love of money, sexual correspondence, diseases and death, however, remain stationary.
John Leland, Appendix to Autobiography, July 4, 1835.
Works of Elder John Leland (New York, G.W. Wood, 1845) pp 39-40.

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Red Ted
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Birthdays like Chanukah

Elderson turned three last week. He is turning from a toddler into a little boy. He talks, no, he chatters constantly. He runs about. He is both cute and shy. He is a good helper. He has lost his hollow leg (but can still eat remarkable quantities every third day.) He is almost potty trained, meaning that he rarely pees his pants but almost never calls a poop before it happens.

We treated his birthday sort of like Chanukah. There were about three different little things, but no single overwhelming moment.

J's parents came down from Boston to see us and go to Phil Folk (next post), and so we went to my folks' place last Saturday before last to have chocolate cake and presents from the grandparents.

On Wednesday, his actual birthday, he got his two big presents from us: a decorated cake from the bakery to take to day care and eat with his friends, and a bicycle. They cost about the same (before we paid to have the bicycle assembled.) This is, I guess, either a statement about Chinese bicycles at Walmart or a statement about hand-decorated sheet cakes at McMillan's Bakery. It was a pretty cake.

Then, yesterday, he had three of his friends over for playtime, more chocolate cake (this time decorated by Dad), and presents from his friends.

It worked out well - no one day was overwhelming, he got to feel special for a week, and now we return to ordinary time.

Oh, and I got to eat chocolate cake twice in eight days. It would have been three times, but the kids did not leave any bakery cake for us to eat. Still, everyone is happy. Especially his baby brother, who likes the bicycle.

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August 24, 2005

Comments down

I took comments off line - something buggy in MT's back end.

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August 23, 2005

Word associations

Yesterday I spent the middle of the day driving around taking a sick toddler (the younger one) to the doctor. I ended up with the choice between fast food lunch and no lunch at all.

The clerk at Wendy's asked me if I wanted to "biggie-size" my order. I had to ask her to repeat the question, because the first time she asked my head parsed her words as asking me if I wanted the food to make me look like a notoriously fat, dead, rap star.

They might want to think about their slogan for extra fries.

Oh, the little guy is doing fine.

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Red Ted
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August 17, 2005

Online Writing Exercises

The Phantom Professor is running a very useful exercise. She is doing an online writing workshop, giving some reading assignments and then asking people to submit the first line of a short work.

I submitted the lead line for a children's book about the day that Elder Son and I went to see the Penn Relays.

Daddy and I went to see the runners.
J. thinks I could write kids books that are better than most of what is out there. So far my first drafts are boring - but if first drafts were not meant to be long and boring then God would not have given us metaphorical chainsaws to trim them with.

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August 16, 2005

Licorice 8

A new vignette from the story of Susan and the PoD.

They alternate which church to go to on Sunday. On even weeks they go to her church, and sit in long rows on the hard benches and listen to a sermon. Today is an odd Sunday, so they are going to his church. He is dressed in shades of black, as always. She is wearing her white church dress, with the big hat his mother made for her. She dabs a drop of anise behind each ear.

"Are you ready?"

"Yes, you?"

He picks up the bag with the tambourines and the trumpet.

Afterwards, she always wants a cigarette. She is flushed, and the jumpy rhythms of the choir are still twitching in her legs and shoulders. He is calm again, solid, the movement he had embodied just a few minutes earlier gone.

He looks down at her. "Are we staying for the supper?"

"Do you want to?"

"No, I think I want to lie down."

"You like the supper at my church."

"I don't get as tired, no, I get a different kind of tired at your church. I eat then to make my brain stop."

She smiles.

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August 13, 2005

A wierd one

I stayed up too late last night reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. I do not know if that was related to the very strange dream down below the fold.

Strange dream this morning.

Dragon plants, in large pots. They are a fashionable thing, but people are not sure what to do with them

Woman has idea, thinks what the heck.

Takes big knife, cuts down the leafy fronds on the dragon plant.

Digs down, finds something that looks like a belgian endive the size of her arm - almost like a uterus with the roots of a bulb.

Cuts it lengthwise, replants half in the pot. Holds the other half and looks at it.

Cut - not sure how the transition worked.

Go from third person to first person perspective.

She now has a vast and translucent dragon behind, above, and about her. The head above her frame of vision, wings in the corners of her eyes, and a strange ethereal voice in the back of her head. She can talk to the dragon - can anyone else see it? Who knows.

Some discussion between her and the dragon about their new symbiosis. I forget the details.

Turning on a bank of computer monitors, seeing some other dragon symbionts.

She asks why there are not more of them. Dragon answers that not everyone can make the connection / there are only a few true dragons. The answer may have been hiding something.

Notice a man with a dragon symbiont overlapping and expanding from his body. He is climbing. Woman and her dragon gossip about it, dragon complains that he is using that dragon up just as he uses his own body up,. Treating it like a third lung, drawing on its sustenance, not caring that he is destroying another sentient being. (Hints of the evil symbionts in the second fitzchivalry farseer trilogy.)

Later she goes and digs in the pot again. Finds the plant core. Below the plant core are two masses of strings and roots. Below those is a marble orb, about the size of two hands in a double fist. The dragon asks her not to touch it, "that is my soul." The stringy masses, they are part of me. If you were to break them I would be diminished. But I would grow back.

She replants them all in the dirt.

There is a story here, possibly having to do with the relationship between the lead character and the climbing man who uses up himself in pursuit of his goal, possibly having to do with the small number of symbiotic dragons.

I expect to have more dreams in this world. When I get a good dream, I get a good dream.

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Red Ted
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August 08, 2005

Andrew Jackson on the 2005 Energy Bill

OK, this actually comes from AJ's Bank Veto message. But I think the sentiment is well aimed at the patronage machine currently looting the government coffers for the benefit of its fat cat buddies, to the harm of the nation and its people.

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.
Andrew Jackson, Bank Veto Message, July 10, 1832. Cited from James Richardson
A Compilation of the messages and addresses of the Presidents (New York, Bureau of National Literature, c 1897-1911) Vol III, p. 1153.

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