Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Update - Sick Kid - Again

Well the Dude is sick again, strep throat. He has yet to experience a full week of school this fall - being sick at least one day each week. Very unlike him.

Not only does he miss school, but the other activities as well. Choir for example, they've met three times, he's only been there once. Karate - attended last week's first session, sick this week.

For my part I feel pretty good - tired, but what's new. Very busy at work, as I'm traveling next week and am working with colleagues on a presentation for that event. Upside - this is the first business trip in over a year where I won't have to change planes. I'm the king of airport transfers and I'm getting pretty tired of it. This time - MSP to COS (Colorado Springs) and home again. The one nice thing about my company, when we travel, we don't stay at no Super-8.

Lucky Bastards

This explains all the dead bees on our windowsill.

It's easy to tell if a drone is still a virgin--because it's still alive. Once they mate with a queen, they die in process.

We have a nest outside and for some reason they work themselves indoors and die. The inside ones that are still alive are so slow you can pick them up and they don’t complain – no stinging. They are just waiting to die I guess.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guilt - Gets You Coming and Going

Enjoyed this from Tyler Cowen in the Marginal Revolution:

My wife, a PhD microbiologist, told me once that when she was at work she felt guilty about not being at home with the kids and when she was at home with the kids she felt guilty about not being at work.

… [skipped the good stuff, read it yourself] …

As I wrote this post, I asked my wife about her feeling guilty at home and at work but she told me she no longer feels this way. "Really?" I asked, "Why not?"
"I decided to act more like a man and get over it," she responded."

True for me - Don't know how the Hobbled Wife feels about it.

Watching the War

OK - I always say I'm not going to get caught up in the latest Ken Burns thing. How many times can you listen to famous actors reading soldiers' letters home, while old film footage runs in the background? But - for whatever reason, I fall for it every time.

Last night the Dude and I were watching together. You have to be careful, some of the footage is hard to watch for a 7 year old (and a 45 year old for that matter). He asked me why I was interested in the war. I told him that Grandpa (my Dad) had fought in the war. He had forgotten that.

As we were watching a particularly raging battle scene he said, "Grandpa did THAT?"

"Yes, I guess so," was my lame response. My Dad told me a number of stories - but not all of them I'm sure. I recall a few:

Sneaking through a German town, running from building to building, hiding in doorways so they wouldn't get picked off by German snipers. As they crept along, being careful not expose themselves, some little old lady steps out into the street and heads out across the town square laden down with bags like she was on her way home from the market. He recalled how the Americans just stopped and watched her. My Dad said that some of the Germans were so used to war that nothing stopped them from going about their "normal" lives.

As a kid I was always fascinated by my Dad'stories about his squad determined who would go first across open fields. Apparently sometimes it's just too much work to go around, but they didn't dare just send everyone across fearing snipers. My Dad often volunteered - as did other single guys without wives and families. The first time he crossed an open field, he went very slow, gun at the ready, dropping to the ground every time he thought he heard a noise. It took forever, but all was clear. Later on, he just walked across the open fields - he figured that he didn't stand much of chance if anyone was really waiting to get them anyway.

All this WWII stuff got me thinking. My Dad kept some pictures from the War. I might try to scan them and post them on the blog. We don't have the world's greatest scanner, but it's worth a try.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Faster, Faster

The Hobbled Runner found this interesting:

If you could only do one thing for your body - - -

You should sprint for your exercise. It is fun, builds coordination, and will make you stronger and leaner. The damage to your joints is far less than jogging and it is more effective than walking. Sprinting trains anaerobic and aerobic pathways, but with less oxydative load than jogging.

Now that I think of it, I do enjoy sprinting. I don't often sprint, but I have noticed that my knees don’t hurt while sprinting after Frisbees with the kids. If my knees are hurting, I usually feel if more when jogging than sprinting.

Interesting – fast (sprint) and slow (walk) are relatively pain free – maybe I should listen more to my own body.

This DeVany guy is one of those paleo-lifestyle folks. He stresses eating and exercising like our ancestors, and by ancestors he doesn’t mine great-grandpa Nels from the old country – he is talking about our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Fascinating stuff – I’m hooked on his blog – and those of fellow travelers.

Crazy Weather

[photo from StarTribune]

The Dude and I here coming home from Karate last night (that’s the subject of another post), when we hit “weather”. The drive should have taken less than 10 minutes – but we had to keep diverting and circling back because the “usual” routes were flooded and police were diverting traffic. The whole time it’s raining cats and dogs and circus animals. We finally give up and wait it out in the Bylerly’s parking lot. The entire time we are listening to WCCO – which is what you do in MN when the weather is bad. (That’s about the only reason I listen anymore now that the Twins have moved to KSTP – the subject of yet another post – could be a busy weekend.) I was afraid the coverage would scare the Dude – but he was OK as long as I kept explaining the Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, etc. were “far away” and the storms were moving off into Wisconsin anyway.

Lileks at Buzz sums it up:

I did what we all do: turned on CCO. It’s the law. Sure enough, two guys were taking calls from people all around the city, reporting in: tree limbs down! Standing water! Rotation! Green clouds! I heard reports of twisters in Eagan, a twister descending at 494 and Penn – the exact place we’d intended to visit before the storm hit and canceled our Target plans. (False alarm, as it turns out.) You can’t quite suppress the sense of excitement. It’s the last one thing that unifies us; it’s happening now; it’ll be over soon, and there’s no one who’s to blame. Weather is the antithesis of politics.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How Do You Say, "Brush Your Teeth" in French?

This is interesting:

ONE OF the tired cliches about Europe is that its inhabitants all have mossy teeth, and have limited enthusiasm for matters of personal hygiene. This is a deporable generalisation, and not a serious subject for discussion. That said... crikey there is a jaw-dropping piece in today's Le Figaro, tucked away in the health pages (alas, not seemingly available on the internet).

. . .

57% of French children under five have never brushed their teeth

Yikes! Via Megan McArdle at the Atlantic.

Looks like a job for Prof. Colin Jones.

I have followed up my article on 'Tooth-pulling in Eighteenth-Century Paris', Past and Present, 2001, with interdisciplinary research which will lead on to other publication and a book on the cultural history of the smile.

God I love the Internet. Found the info on Prof. Jones while searching for appropriate image.

Car Free Saturday?

I’m usually not one to hug trees, but I think I could pull this off,

Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society.

- via Modern Forager.

Actually I can probably do this. Saturday morning we have soccer practice – well actually I don’t have soccer practice but the Dude does. We ride our bikes to the local park. I will make an effort to ride my bike on any other errands – better buy beer on Friday!

Note – source of funny tree hug photo,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crocs in the News

Crocs - I'm the only one the Hobbled Family who doesn't own a pair. I'm not hostile towards them, like some are, but I still found this funny.

This may hasten the end of the Croc fad, but don’t count on it. Kids love them. They can be customized however you like, and they slip on and off without any of that pointless knot-tying parents seem to think you should learn. I’m used to them on kids, ugly as they are – but on adults? No. I’ve seen large sloppy men wearing Crocs, and they needed only twin tufts of orange hair and a red ball for a nose to complete the image. Crocs for adults say “I can’t even manage Velcro, and believe the world wants to look at your callused heels. Put on some grown-up shoes, Mister. Like some Chuck Taylor sneakers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hey - I Know These People!

Fascinating day when you find a former colleague (from my City Hall days) quoted in a story about the "Larry Craig Incident". Actually the story is about how the bathroom at MSP where Sen Craig was nabbed has become something of a tourist attraction:

A Minneapolis couple flying to Guatemala took the opportunity to see the infamous restroom. "We had to just stop and check out the bathroom," Sally Westby told the Statesman. "In fact, it's Jon's second time - he was here last week already." Jon, Sally's husband, said, "I checked it out. It's the second stall from the right."

I used to work with Sally - back in the day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When "Negative" is "Positive"

The recent Blog hiatus has been due primarily to a busy family and sick kid.

After missing one day last week to a stomach bug (what we used to call the “Stomach Flu” – but which we all now know is not really the “flu” – etc.), he seems to have contracted strep throat. I say “seems” to because both the quick (5 min) test and the 24 hour culture came back negative – but we are treating him for strep anyway. A classmate did test positive, and he has all the symptoms. The wise old doc said that it “looks” like strep to him and advised treatment despite the “negative” test results.

That was yesterday – working from home. I used to think “working from home” was a cover for laziness, and for some I suspect it is. On the other hand, it’s amazing what you can get done between taking kids to doctors, running to the store for 7-Up (the miracle cure for upset tummies), and a load or two of laundry. Thanks (or no-thanks) to email and Blackberries you can do most everything from home – except fall asleep in meetings when they show PowerPoint presentations in a darkened room after a big lunch.

At home – I tend to focus more on the work task. Another interesting side effect – I drink less coffee – probably because I don’t need to stimulate (or reward) myself for sitting on my butt at a cubicle all day long.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Funny this hasn't made the news - yet.

Auntie Ames was quick enough to capture this great photo of Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster) plying the waters of West McDonald over Labor Day weekend. How the legendary beast arrived in Minnesota from Scotland no one knows. Several eyewitnesses claimed to see the great beast - with several claiming it was using a Noodle.

Stripes - the New Black

Labor Day weekend - time to show your stripes. Here we have the younger generation at West McDonald in their cute striped pajamas.

We also have this photo of Jake - celebrating his birthday in almost the same outfit. He swore this wasn't his pajamas - yeah right!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Even Birds Do It*

[Photo from Birdchick blog]

Just when you think the Larry Craig thing had reached its limit – there’s this, from the Birdchick commenting on bird behavior at the feeder:

Look at the wide stance on that nuthatch...perhaps it should be renamed Craig's nuthatch?

The Birdchick provides an often irreverant look at birding, and life in general. Here's a description of her "Birds and Beer" series as described on the Minnesota Ornithological Union (MOU) listserv:

There's another Birds and Beers scheduled for October 18, 2007 at 6pm
at Merlin's Rest. Birds and Beers is a gathering of birders to have
a drink and talk some birds. People of all abilities are encouraged
to come, if you're interested in birds, you're invited. Last time we
had bird banders, new birders, novice birders, hardcore birders and
even a few non birders. It's a great way to get to know each other
outside of the listservs and stake out birds. There's a recap of the last Birds and Beers here.

*A reference to the Cole Porter tune, "Let's Do It."

Arghh! - The Commute

View Larger Map

Yikes – my commute is getting worse. Perhaps this is due to 35W bridge collapse. No single route seems to be impacted by the bridge collapse, but all major arteries have suffered. I find it impossible to say, “Look, all the 35W traffic went to Highway X.” Instead, all possible alternative routes seem impacted just enough to screw things up.

This post is a practice-run to test my Google-Map expertise. Note: "My" version of the map shows several alternate routes, but the version I can link to only shows one route - not sure why that is. I'll keep tinkering with it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Shhh! – Everybody’s Sleeping

One of the challenges of the cabin is for us early risers to keep very quiet until everyone else wakes up. The I-Man presented a challenge as he was especially busy this past week.

SDMoose snapped this nice shot of the I-man and taking the morning air. In an effort to let the others sleep in, the little man and I went outside – me still in my PJs – to walk around the yard and look for frogs. As we left the cabin, he insisted on grabbing hats for both of us to wear. Very attractive outfits. I think he pulls it off better than I do - it's the cuteness factor working in his favor.

Trampolines – Fun for the Younger Generation

Why is it that I’m the only one with a (very) distressed look on his face?

Here we are in the middle of a little bounce, but the kids seem very much at ease – unlike the Hobbled Runner.

For the record, the Dude and I are wearing clothes – swimsuits. Note the I-Man’s attractive swim outfit.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Perfect Attendance Record - Blown!

Here's the standard first day of school photo. Since the kids attend different schools, we just snapped the one before M left. The Dude, still in PJs, already looks a little under-the-weather. He was able to stick it out, but then proceeded to make a mess of himself and the car on the way home this afternoon. A little stomach bug that we may have caught from the cute nephew - - we anxiously await the next few days.

Needless to say - the Dude will be staying home tomorrow.