Walking up to my office this morning, I saw a squirrel pause at the bottom of the concrete steps into my building and then, bizarrely, nibble on the stone, inching sideways and taking little bites.

I think someone might have fallen headfirst out of one too many oak trees.

Sarah Palin: Not Like Me

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”.

Dog Is My Copilot

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.”

Crash Helmet

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.

High Fall

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…

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, one of my favorite writers and someone on whom I’ve been waiting for another big book for years now, killed himself over the weekend. He had been severely depressed for a long time, and in fact wrote quite a bit about mitigating the pain of life with the use of legal and illegal pharmaceuticals. His writing is, to an extent, an acquired taste, full of long sentences, digressions that whip back to the main narrative, self-conscious wordplay, hilarity and pathos in equal measure, and out-and-out crazy ideas. If you don’t have the time or interest to try his magnum opus, Infinite Jest (1996), try his hilarious account of a cruise-ship voyage, “Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise,” from Harpers in 1996. (Harpers released all of their DFW pieces today as a memorial to him.)


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.

Palin’s Day

An excerpt from “Sarah Palin’s schedule,” as imagined on the mysterious Northfield blog, The Occasional Blog of Sunbeam & Lack of Sleep:

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pro-life rally. Life begins at conception! Embryos are children!
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.


It’s All Doog

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.”

That kid has a heart of gold.

It’s 9/11: Where’s Osama?

I don’t know, the military and the intelligence services don’t know, and George W. Bush sure as hell doesn’t know. Chances are, though, he’s near the Korengal Valley, a bloody battleground in Afghanistan which Sebastian Junger has grippingly described in a couple of incredible pieces for Vanity Fair.  On the seventh anniversary of the attacks, I recommend reading them to see what the fight against terrorism really entails.

“Into the Valley of Death,” January 2008

“Return to the Valley of Death,” October 2008


I’ve been using the new Google Chrome browser for the past few days – alas, only at work, since Google hasn’t yet released a version for Mac OS X. So far, I’m impressed. First and foremost for a Google fanboy like me, it’s ridiculously well integrated with the Google apps that I use the most: Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Reader, and of course search. Being able to type any random thing into the main bar at the top of the browser window and automagically have it become a Google search is fantastic. And so far, the browser is much faster than even Firefox – which, admittedly, I usually run with 50 tabs open. And there’s a sick amount of screen real-estate, too. Thanks to the trimmed-back toolbars and just plain wasted space at the top of the window, you can see an awful lot more of the actual site you’re visiting. Not a bad idea at all.

On top of all that good stuff, the edges of the user experience are pretty smooth, too. Check out these two screens from the setup and crash-restore processes.

Google Chrome Setup Window
Google Chrome Setup Window
Google Chrome Crash Window
Google Chrome Crash Window

Granted, this is not world-shattering stuff, but the sense of humor is appreciated.