Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday Musings

  • I'm not proud of this, but a few nights ago TB and I were reading Pirates Past Noon, an installment in the Magic Tree House series, and I dissolved into helpless laughter when I saw the heading for chapter 4: “Vile Booty.”

  • I had to make up a cover story, fast.

  • Last weekend we saw The Niece, who is now seven months old. She's a cutie, with those ice-blue eyes that only little kids and movie stars have. My brother – her father – and I had a long talk about the various shocks of fatherhood, not the least of which is the lack of a phase-in. Once the kid comes home for the first time, it's “game on.” (Watching him try to control her at brunch while also eating his own food brought it all back. I miss those days, but not enough to try again.) The Niece was utterly fascinated by The Boy, who was very sweet with her. The Girl was much more interested in the cat.

  • In a sudden burst of awareness, I signed TW and me up for more life insurance. The rep on the phone said “yeah, a lot of guys your age, you know, around 40, suddenly think of this.” Thanks for that.

  • That said, I'll admit that my winter boots are now old enough to drink. (Seriously. I bought them in 1986. They were 'out,' then 'in,' and now 'out' again. Soon enough, they'll be 'retro-chic.') At this point, they've cost about three dollars a year. I'm hoping to get them down to two.

  • Although the XM/Sirius merger strikes me as a bad idea – if years of being the local cable monopoly's bitch taught me anything, it's that unregulated monopolies behave horribly – I was heartened to see the combined company offer an “a la carte” channel option as a sweetener. Now if only I could get the tv companies to follow suit. I'll happily pay for Comedy Central, Noggin, and the Food Network, but I feel no need to pay for Fox News, QVC, or Telemundo.

  • My brilliant concept for The Food Network: Bachelor Top Chef. Take chefs from the elite of the elite, and allow them to use only what is found in some representative bachelor's kitchen. No more than one pot may be used. (“I liked the concept of dressing up the microwave burrito with the Cap'n Crunch, but it's a fine line between 'carmelized' and 'set fire to.' And I think I would have used the Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, to give it a Thai flair.”)

  • I have to stop reading The Oil Drum. I can actually feel my blood pressure spike when I look at the five-year projections. I know enough history to know that neo-Malthusians usually wind up looking foolish in the long run, but I also don't see the easy resource substitution for oil, esp. for transportation. Planes don't run on coal, and ethanol is little more than a sop to agribusiness. My modest proposal for hitting al-Queda where it really hurts: invest in alternative energies and technologies. Hit the bin Ladens in the bank account. Get those plug-in hybrids moving, stat!

  • I also have to stop listening to Marketplace. They reported the other day that the Chinese are looking at buying some British investment banks. The reporter explained that it would make it easier for China to denominate its current-account surpluses in Euros, rather than dollars. This is a Bad Thing. It would force us to raise interest rates to prevent total currency collapse, just as the subprime mortgage crunch is gaining steam. I believe the economist's term for this is “stagflation-a-go-go.”

  • The Boy has basketball camp this week, and he couldn't wait to get started, so he begged me to take him to the court at the nearby park and get him started. He's at an early enough stage that my miniscule knowledge of basketball (“you have to dribble the ball if you want to move with it” “shoot overhand”) is still news to him. By the end of this week, he will have already surpassed what I know. When we returned, The Wife asked if I taught him to do a layup. Uh, that would be 'no.' On the bright side, my hamstring remains miraculously unpulled.

  • For reasons I'll leave to the experts, it seems that people walk more slowly in the Costco parking lot than in any other non-funeral-related setting. They also seem to move with less sense of direction than you'd expect a sensate being to have. I have no explanation for this. They can't all have pulled hamstrings.

  • Note to the guy down the street: blasting hardcore rap while pruning your shrubbery isn't fooling anybody. You're still pruning your shrubbery. Deal with it. (Word you never hear in rap: azalea.)

  • It's all about the food coloring: The Boy picked up a little plastic volcano, ideal for stuffing with baking soda and pouring vinegar in through the top. Not content with that, I suggested adding red food coloring. Much fun was had by all. Quoth The Boy: “I love science.”