November 2005
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November 2005 Archives

November 15, 2005

Death to Ernie!

Death to Uncle Ernie!

No, not the guy from Tommy and not the guy from Sesame Street, the bearded fellow buried down in Key West.

I have a temp gig grading highschool papers - don't want to say more because there is a confidentiality agreement.

One of the things were learned during training was that high schools these days are teaching - and grammar manuals are endorsing - the use of a comma as a separator between to independent clauses.

I used to be a notorious offender on this one - early drafts of the dissertation were chock-a-block with comma splices. I now have the zeal of the reformed drunk. Seriously, a while back I was reaching for something to read to the littler man as background noise while he fell asleep (he was under a year at the time.) My hand lit on The Old Man and the Sea and I started in. I could not read it aloud. The run-on sentances that slip under your eye when reading silently become jarring body blows when you read out loud.

And now we are teaching the kids that this is the correct way to write!

But, it is a paying gig and it should help me get a little better at grading papers in my own teaching.

So, I shall stifle the urge to take a shotgun down to Key West, dig up Hemingway, and shoot his corpse just on general principles.

Mostly because I do not currently own a shotgun.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:17 PM | TrackBack
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MT Buggy

As folks may have noticed - comments and trackbacks are neither working nor hidden.

I need to do a good solid reinstall and debugging of MT. But, I do not have the high-brainpower time available for it.

So, we will keep limping along for a while.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:16 PM | TrackBack
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November 11, 2005

Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour
of the eleventh day
of the eleventh month

the guns stopped.

The world has never really recovered from the war that started when Franz Ferdinand had a bad day.

And today is a good day to remember, and to think on it.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:12 AM | TrackBack
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November 09, 2005

Food rules

It hit me the other day that we have four food rules that we keep repeating at the table. They are a little more complicated than "eat what you want, then stop," but rules 1 and 3 are mostly refinements on the core principles.

1, The "no thank you" helping: You have to take a bite of everything on your plate.
2, After that bite, eat as much (or as little) as you want.
3, No extra serving of a thing while you still have some of that thing on your plate.
4, Stop when you have had enough, even if there is still food on the plate.

When the kids get a little older we will add one of J's family's rules as rule 2a - if you want something other than what the family is eating, take your no-thank-you bites and then cook yourself what you want to eat. i.e. eat a bite of chocolate haggis, then go make yourself a peanutbutter sammich.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:34 AM | TrackBack
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Yesterday I took the boys with me to the voting booth. Elder Son got scared of the dark booth (lever machine, with curtain) and stayed outside with his book. Younger son will go anywhere and do anything if he can be held, and so I held him as we went in to vote. Then I got to try to explain voting and elections to a three-year-old. I don't know if he got it, even after I had the boys start voting on simple household decisions like should we turn right or left as we walk around the lake.

I was glad to see that Corzine won. Now perhaps the Clintons will stop calling our house and telling us to go out and vote. I would be glad that it will once again be safe to turn on the TV without getting negative ads, but the TV is on so rarely that I think that would just be gloating.

And, I am glad that it appears to be safe to move to Dover, PA, even though I will continue to think twice before applying to jobs in Kansas.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:31 AM | TrackBack
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Wanna commit a felony?

J and I went down to Alexandria Virginia this weekend to go to a wedding.

It was a good trip: we saw friends, saw friends get married, and took the kids to the zoo to see the elephants and the giant pandas.

Also, I got to use my favorite pickup line as we crossed the Potomac into Virginia:

Hey babe . . . wanna commit a felony?

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:29 AM | TrackBack
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November 04, 2005

Friedman on the 1st generation

I was reading Lawrence Friedman's A History of American Law and came across a lyric passage about the judges who effectively created the American legal system at the start of the nineteenth century: John Marshall, Joseph Story, James Kent, Lemuel Shaw, and the rest.

They were, at their best, far-sighted men, impatient with narrow legal logic. Marshal, Gibson, and Shaw could write for pages without citing a shred of "authority." They did not choose to base their decisions on precedent alone; law had to be chiseled out of basic principle; the traditions of the past were merely evidence of principle, and rebuttable. Their grasp of the spirit of the law was tempered by what they understood to be the needs of a living society. Some were conservative men, passionately attached to tradition; but they honored tradition, not for its own sake, but for the values that inhered in it. And they became famous not because they stuck to the past, but because they worked on and wtih the living law. Most of the great judges were scholarly men; a few were very erudite, like Joseph Story, who could stud his opinions with acres of citation a thing Marshall tended to avoid. The great judes were creative, self-aware, and willing to make changes.
Friedman, A History of American Law, 135.
I was struck by the passage both for its language - Friedman ventures into the grand style himself - and for its pertinance to the twenty-first century debates about the traits required for a Supreme Court Justice. As others have pointed out before me, even conservative founders believed in a living Constitution.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:38 PM | TrackBack
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November 03, 2005

Christmas question

Here is a random question that came up while doing some holiday planning.

Christmas is a Christian holiday that has become a shopping saturnalia.

Is the modern Santa Claus a figure of Christian religion or of civil religion?

I say the latter, while J is not sure if Santa should give the boys presents underneath their grandparents' Christmas tree.

Posted by
Red Ted
at 10:57 PM | TrackBack
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