Monday, July 23, 2007

The Baby Arms Race

Today is my 36th birthday. My daughter Cassie probably thinks that is remarkably old. Recently, there have been a number of births and pregnancies in my social circle. I’ve begun to think that different people take different strategies when it comes to raising a family. I don’t mean the actual parenting, but relating to the number of children to have. This seems like the perfect day to examine the Baby Arms Race.

There are people I know in all different parts of the country that are trying to follow the Chinese Model. You, dear reader might ask, what the heck is the Chinese Model? This is not a matter of who has the best Moo Goo Gai Pan. The model I’m referring to is more biblical than anything else. Be fruitful and multiply. Those families you know that have numerous children. A friend of mine from graduate school was the 2nd youngest of 21 children. That is an extreme example even for this model. I’ve got friends living near Mandeville who are expecting their 4th son, and they will probably still try for a girl.

The other extreme is the European model. These people have decided they are going to have one, maybe two children. You might wonder what is wrong with that…. Nothing until these same parents start bragging that their spawn is more accomplished than Einstein. Some kids are going to roll over or walk sooner than others. Some might speak sooner than others. Finally, some children are inherently more extroverted than others. For most of you this is not news, and yet, many parents examine every single thing that happens to their children for signs of future greatness or, even for a problem that needs to be corrected immediately.

People that follow the European model might get three high chairs because they cannot choose between the offered colors. Or they might get a Versace burp cloth, to one up the neighbors down the block. Very often there are expectations that come with this treatment. “I will treat my child by giving him/her the very best, and I also want him/her to go to M.I.T. or Harvard” Expectations go through the roof. These people might only have one or two children, but they will be expected by their parents to be better than those children from larger families.

I’m certain that I’ve fallen into some of this very reasoning. Can we afford children? We had that conversation 3 years ago. We have managed to figure out how to manage our finances appropriately. All children should be valued, whether you are going to have 1,2, or 21. I don’t think comparing children is fair to parents or children. By the way, Cassie is the best child ever.

Why did I go on this rant? President Bush has said that he would veto funding for a program to give health care to poor children. He continues to give billions of taxpayer dollars to kill men, women and children in Iraq, but he won’t allow funding for health care to poor children that would not cost the government anything. To pay for this program cigarette taxes would be increased. Maybe, he misunderstood. Is he trying to leave every child behind?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Email Fun

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again
asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding,
subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. The
winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying (or building) a house, which
renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3 Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until
you realize that it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops
bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows
little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really
bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when
they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after
you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into
your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in
the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its
yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings
for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has

3. Abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-Nilly, adj. impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only
a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been
run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. the formal, dignified bearing adopted by

13. Pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies
up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. an opening in the front of boxer shorts

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NY Times Editorial...... They are keeping in touch with New Orleans...Almost as much as AC 360

The commission that will pick the venues for next year's final presidential debates has begun visiting the 19 universities and cities eagerly vying for the headline recognition that the candidates' showdowns ignite. If there's any sense of justice, relevance, even poetic stagemanship at work, New Orleans should emerge hands down as the site for the debate that will be dedicated to the nation's domestic problems.

It's not too early to state this plainly as various locales and political forces jockey for favor. Three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate are planned by the commission, which is balanced with major party appointees now vetting the applicants for logistics, security and the intangibles of political history.

By any score, no forum comes close to New Orleans - a place still struggling two years after Hurricane Katrina to recover its traction on the very issues at the heart of the domestic agenda: housing, health, education,! economic opportunity and disaster response. This is obvious to anyone who read Shaila Dewan's recent report in The Times on the 30,000 New Orleans families still displaced across the country, and the 13,000 other families marooned in trailer parks almost two years after the hurricane's devastation.

Predictably, there's speculation that the last place Republicans would want to be seen debating in the fall of 2008 is New Orleans, the site of President Bush's domestic debacle in muffing recovery from Katrina. But an embattled Republican nominee could show some counterintuitive grit by welcoming the venue as the ideal place to demonstrate forthrightness and concern in emphasizing a new post-Bush agenda. New Orleans's anguish would only be compounded if partisanship denied the city a chance to bear witness to America's troubles.

New Orleans is already media-tested for the debate throngs, with tourist know-how and a convention center where the nation saw Ka! trina survivors gather for shelter. Its sponsorship is by four of the city's universities - Dillard, Loyola, Tulane and Xavier - and a nonpartisan civic group, Women of the Storm, who succinctly make the ultimate debater's point: "see it for yourself."


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Is anyone looking at the big picture?

As I sit here, sometimes I wonder in the long term. On a personal level will Cassie do well in this or that... How will Elizabeth and I spend our time in 25 years? There are various other personal long-term goals that always have to be examined. Will social security be in existence when I retire? Will the city of Miami look like something out of a 1960s science fiction motion picture, as Cassie starts Harvard in 2022? Will the Republicans ever admit that global climate change is an issue we as a country/world need to at least consider? What will New Orleans be like in 2025, or 2050?

As I said sometimes I wonder in the long term. Regardless of my political leanings sometimes I wish the Administration would do the same. For example, the Administration went to war in Iraq to rid the Iraqis of weapons of mass destruction. Did they find any weapons of mass destruction? The simple answer to that question is no. The better question is what consequences the Administration was prepared for? O.K. so they did not seem to prepare for the sectarian violence, which could appropriately be called Civil War in Iraq. A bit of forethought might have helped the Administration.

It also doesn't seem difficult to see people taking advantage of opportunities. When I was young, if my brother got away with something, I tried to get away with the same thing. If he can do it I should be able to do it as well. Well, the Kurds in the north of Iraq are getting antsy. The Shiites and Sunnis appear to be getting ready to create their own countries, the Kurds feel they should be allowed to do the same in the North. There are inherent problems with this.

The Administration is holding on tightly to the idea that Iraq will continue to exist as a singular country. They do not appear to have the forethought to prepare for the possibility that it might turn into three smaller countries. Considering that this country was formed at the whim of the British in 1932, it does not seem that unreasonable to believe that this country might not be very unified. A bit of forethought might have helped the Administration.

Then President Bush decided to commute Scooter Libby's sentence. For a moment let me disregard the fact that President Bush stated "... [I] will not intervene until Libby's legal team has exhausted all of its avenues of appeal ... It wouldn't be appropriate for me to discuss the case until after the legal remedies have run its course." My question is why did he consider this sentence overly harsh, when it was within the sentencing guidelines. And more importantly, now don't other defense attorneys get to use that argument in challenging the sentences their clients get? A bit of forethought might have helped the Administration.

One last point, as a teacher I've seen numerous elections some fair others not so much. I even saw a student stand up and say " Vote for me .... Just vote for an (expletive) please"... Elections of this sort are simply popularity contests. High school elections are small scale; they have no institutions that create a democracy. Unfortunately, the high school analogy can be brought to the world stage. It appears that some of theses elections of Hamas and Maliki brought no more democracy to their countries; than student council elections bring to your local high school. Who the heck could have seen that?

Friday, July 06, 2007

New Plan to Override Stem Cell Veto - Eric Cartman

Sometimes you have to think outside the box....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

News of the weird

Findlaw decided that this was an important legal document.... You could say they got him by the seat of his pants.....

When it’s baseball season, some fans go to extreme measures to show how they support their teams. Like Cincinnati Reds fan Bradley Hosler. The 20-year-old was so head over heels for his outfield seat, you could say that the two were inseparable. At least until Hosler was nabbed leaving the stadium with it.

Don't let his arrest report fool you. Although police described Hosler as wearing a "White T-Shirt," his mug shot shows him sporting his true colors. The Reds lost that afternoon to the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 11-7.

Are You From Louisiana?

More Email Fun:

If you ain't from Louisiana, then you just just ain't gonna understand!!!! But enjoy anyway!!!

Subject: Louisiana facts


1. You can properly pronounce Lecompte, Lafayette , Ponchatoula, Natchitoches, Opelousas, Shongaloo, Tangipahoa, Pontchartrain, Avoyelles, Times Picayune, Lafourche, Ouachita, and Atchafalaya, and you know that New Orleans doesn't
Have a long "E" sound anywhere in it.

2. You think other people who complain about the heat in their states are sissies.

3. Newspapers make the best table cloths when setting the table for a Crawfish Boil.

4. You've had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" all on the same day.

5. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade.

6. Stores don't have bags, they have sacks.

7. You've seen people wear bib overalls or LSU shirts at funerals.

8. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.

9. You measure distance in minutes, not miles.

10. Little Smokies and anything on a Ritz Cracker are something you serve only on special occasions.

11. You go to the lake because you think it is like going to the ocean.

12. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit to wear each day.

13. You know cowpies are not made of beef.

14. People you know have used an LSU or Saint's football schedule to plan their wedding date.

15. You have known someone who has a belt buckle bigger than your fist.

16. You aren't surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, beer,
Pickledpig's' feet, and bait all in the same store.

17. Your "place at the lake" has wheels under it or 8 foot pilings.

18. A Mercedes Benz isn't a status symbol. A Chevy Silverado Extended Bed Crew Cab is.

19. You know everything goes better with 'Tabasco'.

20. You learned how to shoot a gun, bait a hook before you learned how to multiply.

21. You actually get these jokes and are "fixin'" to send them to you friends before "makin" groceries, or "goin by your Mama's.

22. Red beans and Rice are ALWAYS served on Mondays.

23. Po-Boys have nothing to do with one's economic status.

24. Katrina and Rita are no longer acceptable names for new born babygirls.

25. AND THE "F" WORD is now pronounced FEMA.

Finally, you are a 100% Louisianan if you have ever had this
"You wanna Coke?"


"What kind?"

"Dr Pepper