After getting nearly hit twice in ten seconds by the same woman in a white Sequoia SUV this morning, I was in the mood for some bike propaganda today. The guy (?) who writes the Bike Snob NYC blog helped out with a couple of great posts and a video of his race against a SmartCar through New York City. It was a point-to-point competition; I’ll give you one guess as to the winner.
(What’s more, I’ll bet I reached my destination this morning before Sequoia Driver reached hers – and without endangering anyone else.)
Humans use two distinct number systems, one learned and one intuitive. Computation, such as taking a square root, is an abstract process that is uniquely human. But the nonverbal process of approximating numbers is a system we share with infants and many other animals.
Well worth reading on its own, the article also links to an interesting online game which asks the player to briefly view a screen of blue and yellow dots, then state whether there were more yellow or blue dots. The average is about 75%. Fun and challenging, the game also might surprise you with evidence of an innate ability (or lack of ability) to recognize quantities.
Inspired by the nativity video, the girls spend an awful lot of time playing “Nativity,” which entails Julia serving as Mary, me acting either as Joseph or as the angel Gabriel, Shannon stepping in and out of a role as innkeeper, and Genevieve, of course, being Jesus. This set of roles reads to at least two kinds of hilarity.
Second, we have the sight and sound of Vivi, walking and running throughout the house, pointing at her round toddler tummy and shouting, “Jiza! Jiza!” – as close as she can get right now to “Jesus.” Ask for her name, and she yells, “Jiza!” I haven’t seen her perform any miracles – turning her surliness into cheer? – and she happily violates the Golden Rule, but on the other hand, you’re probably only allowed to consider yourself Jesus when you’re two or a CEO.
My Northfield blogging colleague Mnmom (who not only writes a great blog, but has perfect the hilarious tag) just posted an excellent list of reasons why Sarah Palin is NOT like me. Click through for the full list.
I don’t force teenagers to get married
I don’t parade my kids around for political gain
I don’t believe the Iraq war is a mission from God
I actually think the separation of church and state is a PRETTY GOOD IDEA! To quote Mrs. Palin “If it was good enough for the Founding Fathers, it’s good enough for me!”
I know the Founding Fathers did NOT write the Pledge of Alligiance and they sure as hell did enter the phrase “under God”.
Vivi and Julia’s nightly viewing of the Sacred YouTube Nativity Video is leading to a number of interesting situations, including the girls’ evolving ability to “play nativity” by reciting the whole goddamn thing. (Is that blasphemous? Can I blaspheme against Google?)
Vivi, of course, can’t say more than a few key phrases, such as “I need a room!” but tonight she took a stab at trying to say, “Son of God.” It came out as “Mun of Dog.”
Proving once again the utter bullshit of the claim that baths will calm kids down, the girls held a wet, crazy riot in the bathtub tonight. All was fine until I needed to get them out of the tub, which forced me to interrupt Julia’s insanely fast and intensive chatter and then caution her against jumping up and down in the tub. “Honey, you might slip and pull the shower curtain down on your head and get hurt.”
She crossed her arms, frowned, and looked down, clearly insulted. “But Daddy, that can’t happen.” Just as I opened my mouth to tell her that, yes, in fact it could happen, she brightened up and shouted in a delirious, silly way, “I won’t get hurt because I’m wearing a crash helmet!” I could only laugh. You can’t chasten someone who’s naked as a jaybird but pretending to be wearing a crash helmet.
Between the unbelievably beautiful weather – the first of what looks like a week’s worth of sunny, warm days – and the opening (finally!) of a new playground at the park a block away, it was a banner day. Some visual proof…
As I huffed and puffed in the gym a while ago, watching the close-captioned MSNBC news on the TV in front of me and half-listening to the music on the speakers, I hit a freaky little juxtaposition. Just as the news switched to a “story” on the carnage on Wall Street, the opening lines of Bruce Springsteen’s “Cover Me” came on: “The times are tough now, just getting tougher/This old world is rough, its just getting rougher.” The talking heads yapped at each other for a few seconds, and then the Boss sang, “Well I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me” over a picture of Sarah Palin and the GOP’s economic plans. Blah blah blah, and then, as the images switched to the damage of Hurricane Ike, Springsteen again: “Outsides the rain, the driving snow/I can hear the wild wind blowing.”
I’ll have to listen to the rest of Born in the USA to see what else the Boss can tell us about Decision 2008.
(For what it’s worth, I shot this on a walk in Northfield when the girls spontaneously starting reciting the letters in the interesting sign across the street. They did it long enough that I could pull out the camera to capture it.)
8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pro-life rally. Life begins at conception! Embryos are children!
Noon Lunch. Veal and foie gras. Spilled gravy on my purse made from fetal calfskin. 🙁
1 – 2 p.m. Gave a speech promoting abstinence-only sex education. Whole family was there, except Gristle, who said she had other plans.
For the past several months, VIvi has been answering state-of-things questions (“How are you? How was your night? Is your diaper okay?” by saying “mine,” her version of fine. Just this week she switched to saying “doog” for “good.” Even cuter.
At dinner every night, Shannon and I try to slow the girls’ plate-hoovering by asking about the “favorite part” of each day. Tuesday night, I asked Vivi first. Mouth jammed with peaches, she looked around the room and then up at the painting of flowers on the wall. “Fowers!” she said. “Your favorite thing was that painting of flowers?” I asked. “Ah-hah,” she said, swallowing one mouthful and going after the next.
Seeing this was a lost cause, I asked Julia. She first gave her usual charming answer – “Everything about today was my favorite!” – but then, when I asked for one thing in particular, pondered for a minute before saying happily, “Mama taking care of me all day.”