January 2005
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January 2005 Archives

January 30, 2005

Going back to sleep

Cranky Ted again.

Why? Well the littler man wakes up - last night he was hungry at 10:00 and then had a burp at 11:30. This was not a big problem -gave him a bottle from 10:00 to 11:00, burped him at 11:30, and he went right back to bed. He is getting much better at learning to go to sleep without being held.

The problem is the Ted. I could not get back to sleep until 2:00 in the bloody morning. This is not the first time that a simple late night baby (I was in bed by 9:00!) has left me rattling for hours and hours.

I wonder if it is the Niaspan? I raised the dose recently and my sleep has gotten even worse since then. I am contemplating going off it entirely until I finish writing, for if I don't I will never be awake enough to write anything.

I think Ted gets to talk with the doctor next week.

End rant.

Posted by
Red Ted
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January 27, 2005

Babylonian Sleep Therapy

I have been doing a lot of Babylonian Sleep Therapy this week.

The littler man has been having trouble sleeping on the nights before teaching - so my students must think I am even more scatter-brained and goofy than I really am, and that is saying a lot. Let me explain.

The littler man has been having trouble falling asleep. His big brother had similar problems at about the same age. What we did with big brother is: stop rocking him to sleep, shift to shaking his crib instead, sing a bit, and let him go a little longer each time before intervening. It worked, the larger man now pretty much puts himself to bed (although is is also TWO, with all the associated tantrums.)

Alas, the larger man gets very cranky when woken up, and screaming brothers tend to produce stereo screaming boys - a bad thing. So, we have been very cautious about letting one boy be in a position where his crying might wake the other. Unfortunately, this has meant that we are behind the curve at teaching the littler man to go to sleep on his own.

So, we are accomodating and adjusting - doing less walking with him, trying harder to cut out his 4:00am feeding, and giving him more time in the crib before we pick him up. Still, he is teething and dealing with a nasty diaper rash on his neck (chubster is a no-neck monster with damp crevices in the folds of his neck.) This means that the littler man has good reason to not sleep, and should be held.

Anyhow, I got him down for nap yesterday with Babylonian Sleep Therapy (he had actually put himself to sleep at 11:45, but when big brother threw a hissy fit at 12:15 on his way to nap, well, it woke the littler man and I had screaming baby stereo. It happens. Larger man went to bed, littler man got babylonian sleep therapy until 1:15, and big brother woke at 1:30. I got no writing done during yesterday's nap.

Last night, littler man had trouble sleeping. I was up till 3:00 doing off-and-on Babylon Sleep Therapy, then tagged J. Between 10:00pm and 3:15 am we watched about 2 hours of a movie, which meant that I got about 3 hours of writing in and around the crankster.

Oh, but what IS Babylonian Sleep Therapy?

It is popping a tape into the VCR, sitting down in the rocking chair with squirm, and rocking until he falls asleep. I am currently working through my VCR tapes of Season 1 of Babylon 5, so I call it Bablylonian Sleep Therapy even if J is using the vcr to tape something that night and I end up watching a movie on DVD.

p.s. Disney's Miracle is a surprisingly good movie. Disney does well with compelling G-rated sports movies.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:48 AM | TrackBack
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January 24, 2005

Brace for impact

I just wanted to share this with you.

The infant is now crawling. Utter mayhem will soon result (he turns 1 in a couple of weeks, and is a big boy.)

The toddler is almost 2 and a half, and just became "a two year old" - complete with tantrums, loss of appetite, and random moments of total cuteness.

In any case, that is part of why blogging has been slow.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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January 22, 2005

"This is a floppy disk"

I see that Brad Delong is worried about data security after discovering that Atrios had a suddenly dead laptop. I am reminded of the little mini lecture - a nugget of wisdom - that I gave at the start of classes this year.

After going through the syllabus and explaining to them why email'd assignments only exist if they get a reply from me stating that I received and printed their email, I gave some variation on the following. (look below the fold.)

In semesters where I remember to give this talk, the students tend to have many fewer data troubles, and usually about 1 in 40 will go up to me at some point and thank me because they survived a data failure that semester.

That reminds me of something important. I used to work in IT, and one of the things we worried about was data security. A modern hard drive is an amazing device. It is about the size of your hand (hold out hand), it holds an incredible amount of information - multiple movies, huge music collections, data, notes, programs. It is also not perfectly reliable. Between 3% and 5% of all hard drives fail in the first three months (a number I pulled out of my ass, but don't tell the kids) - they are complicated devices. Of the drives that survive that burn-in period, most have a design lifespan of 5 to 7 years. A few last for 8 or even 9 years, but as a rule of thumb, if your hard drive is more than five years old, you are living on borrowed time.

So, back up your data. The data protection rule is to have at least two copies in at least two different physical locations. It does not really matter how you do it - floppy disk, email it to yourself, upload it to the university server - so long as you back up. I back up my entire project to a CD every few months and have my wife keep it in her office. That way, if the house burns to the ground, all I lose is what was in my filing cabinets. I also back up each draft to a server after I revise, and also regularly print out drafts to scribble from. If the hard drive died, I would lose a few hours of work.

An aside, it is a very good idea to print out your rough before you revise it: not only does it give you something to work from if things go wrong, but your writing looks very different on paper than it does on the screen. You get a better product if you edit on hardcopy. I digress.

(Take a floppy disk out of my pocket and hold it up, thumb underneath and fingers on top - the grip is important.) This is a floppy disk. It costs about 30 cents. It is a wonderful device. It can hold everything you write over an entire semester - drafts, homework, comments, notes, everything - in one little package. They are great for keeping a backup for your data. Floppy disks are also very fragile. If you leave it out in the sun, the data may be damaged. If you put your floppy next to your friends super-sized stereo speakers with the magnets from hell in them, your data may be damaged. If you let your kid brother stick it to the refrigerator with a magnet, it is guaranteed to be wiped out. It is also physically fragile - if you happen to have it in your hip pocket when you sit down (squeeze hand together until floppy case breaks with a sharp SNAP) it can break.

(Reach into pocket and bring out another floppy disk.) This is a second floppy disk. It also costs 30 cents. Have I made my point?

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
January Calendar

January 14, 2005

Western Civ readings

Well, that took too long, but I have the class names and readings for Western Civ.

Now we get to see if I am over-powering the kids. There are a couple of truly evil weeks in there, and also a couple of weeks with nothing but a couple of cartoons.

The readings are long on dead white men, but I am using them to illustrate a theme of changing notions of state, society, and liberty over time - and most political theorists before the 20th century were white men. I would rather have the kids read Karl Marx than Rosa Luxembourg. List of classes and readings below the fold.


18, Tuesday - What is Europe? Where do we find it?
no reading

20, Thursday - It's Good to be the King
McKay Chapter 16, pp 531-548,
James I 581 words.
St. Simon on the court of Louis XIV 2,000 words.
Homework AAA, due Jan 20 "James I claims that kings are like gods. Respond to his claim."

25, Tuesday - Constitutionalism
McKay 16, pp 548-560.
Locke Excerpts, 4300 hard words.
Homework BBB, due Jan 25. "What is Locke's social contract?"

27, Thursday - Absolutism
McKay 17.


1, Tuesday - They Blinded Me With Science
McKay 18, pp 595-615

3, Thursday - Enlightened Monarchs?
McKay 18, 615-627 - close read Voltaire 626-7,
Rousseau Social Contract excerpts on the General Will 3650 words.
Homework CCC, due Feb 3 "What is the General Will?"

8, Tuesday - The Atlantic Economy
McKay 19,

10, Thursday - 18th Century Life
McKay 20,
Hogarth - Beer/Gin. 2 pictures and commentary
Optional: Hogarth - Idle/Industrious Prentices. 12 pictures and commentary
Homework DDD due Feb 10 "Why was beer better than gin?"

15, Tuesday - Liberty and Equality,
McKay 21, pp 691-704

17, Thursday - Generations, Burke and Paine,
PAPER 1 DUE Feb 17
Optional, Richard Price "A Discourse on the Love of our Country" 9,000 words.
Burke, "Reflections on the Revolution in France" 98,000 easy words.
Paine, "Rights of Man", Part I, 20,000 words
Part II, 14,000 words
"What is liberty? What threatens it? What defends it?"

22, Tuesday - Nappy Baby,
McKay 21, pp 704-723. Close reading of women, 722-3

24, Thursday - Industrial Revolution,
McKay 22. Close read parliamentary reports
Homework EEE due Feb 24, "How did industrialization change women's lives?"


1, Tuesday - MIDTERM
3, Thursday - Reforms and Revolutions,
McKay 23

8, Tuesday - Karl, not Groucho
Karl Marx Communist Manifesto, chapters 1, 4. 6,300 words.
Karl Marx 18th Brumaire, chapters 1, 7 10,000 words.

10 Thursday - Sex and the City,
McKay 24,
Gogol "The Nose" 10,200 words.
Homework FFF Due Feb 10. Use Marx to read Gogol: "What social class are Yakovlevitch, Kovalev, and the nose?"

15, Tuesday SPRING BREAK
17, Thursday SPRING BREAK

22, Tuesday - Nationalism,
McKay 25,
William Blake "Jerusalem"

24, Thursday - Imperialism,
McKay 26,
Rudyard Kipling "Our Lady of the Snows," "White Man's Burden", "Gunga Din"
Homework GGG due Feb 24, "How does Kipling use race?"

29, Tuesday - The Guns of August,
McKay 27 pp 887-904, 918-19,
Songs: "Smile, Smile, Smile", "Over There"

31, Thursday - The Great War,
Erich Maria Remarque All Quiet on the Western Front,
One of the reasons Remarque wrote AQWF was as a response to the rise of the Nazi Party. How does he use the novel to oppose Naziism?


5, Tuesday - Bolsheviks,
McKay 27, 904-917,
V.I. Lenin, two speeches. 1600 words.
Homework HHH due April 5. Respond to this quote: "When Trotsky spoke, we cheered. When Lenin spoke, we marched."

7, Thursday - Anxiety,
McKay 28, pp 921-942,
Ernest Hemingway "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" 1933. 1,500 words.
Mary Webb "In Affection and Esteem" 1,800 words.

12, Tuesday - Depression
McKay 28, pp 942-951

14, Thursday - Dictatorships
McKay 29, pp 953-971,
Benito Mussolini, "Fascism" 1932 6,600 words.
Optional - Benito Mussolini, Appendix to Fascism, 3,500 words.
Adolf Hitler, Excerpts, 6,500 words.
Adolf Hitler, Speech on parties and intolerance, 1932, (video) http://www.earthstation1.com/WWIIAudio/Hitler_-_Intolerance.wav
Homework III due April 14. "Why was Hitler so popular?"

19, Tuesday - World War Two
McKay 29, pp 971-987,
Marlene Deitrich "Lili Marlene",
Vera Lynn "Lili Marlene" (audio clips)

21, Thursday - Cold War
McKay 30
Winston Churchill, "Iron Curtain", 1,321 words.
Homework JJJ due April 21 "Who started the cold war?"

26, Tuesday - Life After the Cold War
McKay 31,
Vaclev Havel, "The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World", 1994, 2700 words.
Homework KKK due April 26. Havel claims the world has changed, and describes that change. Do you agree or disagree with him?

28, Thursday - Terrorism
no reading, review session.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 04:10 PM | Comments (1)
January Calendar

January 11, 2005


I am back, in body if not in mind.

Vacation eats time.

A sinus cold that leaves you lying semi-conscious for a week eats time.

Having trouble getting back to sleep after feeding pie to the screaming toddler at 1:00am eats the following day.

Still, it is a good pie - custard pie is easy.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 11:14 AM | TrackBack
January Calendar