Saturday, April 25, 2009

Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night

This is not cute or funny or endearing. It's just creepy. In order to "boost [her] confidence," a mom has spent nearly $18,000 on plastic surgery in order to...look just like her 20-something daughter. She even dresses like her.

I know that the inability to accept the aging process is as old as humanity itself. The expressions of that fear still amaze me from time to time, however. What is this woman going to think or do when she's older and no amount of plastic surgery can make her look younger? Why is it often harder to love and accept ourselves than it is others?

A Brief Moment of Joy Before the End

If this doesn't choke you up just a little, you may be a Vulcan.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shep Smith on Torture

I've been wanting to post on the recent torture debate because I am passionate about the subject. Until then, though, enjoy this fine piece of television (from Fox no less).

This is America indeed.

Memorizing Pi

As a geek of many stripes, including math, I have always been fascinated with pi, the irrational number that is the ratio of a circle's diameter to its radius. Some years ago I decided to start memorizing pi. It contains an infinite number of digits so I could never commit its entirety to memory, but I was curious to see how far I could go. I only made it to about 50 before I got distracted and got away from it. I've always wanted to start again, however, and now I have the perfect excuse.

My oldest daughter is turning into quite the little math whiz. She recently took the NWEA test and scored in the 98th percentile in math for her grade. Hearing that brought a tear to my eye. Anyway, she told me today that she would like to start memorizing pi, too. Yeah, another tear there. Okay, seeing my daughters blossom into beautiful, young geeks is a wonderful thing. Sniff. I'm gettin' all choked up here. Okay, pull it together...

So, we are going to memorize five digits a day. In 200 days, that should give us 1000. Why would you do this? you ask. Because it's there. And, maybe it's just me, but I think it's going to be a blast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

John Boehner Demonstrates Why Republicans Are Unpopular

The rank ignorance here is just appalling. Who's saying carbon dioxide is a carcinogen? No one! Well, no one except desperate Republicans still unable to figure out they lost in 2006 and 2008. This is a party that continues to look backward and to cling to the past. Until they come to grips with reality and decide to take an honest look at themselves and where they want to go, they will continue to lose. And deservedly so. It would be better for everyone if we had at least two viable political parties, but the current iteration of the GOP just does not measure up. How long will it take them to regroup?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dr. Google

In a shocking turn of events, people are harnessing the great power of teh intarwebs for medical diagnoses.

To say he is literally everybody's first-call doctor exaggerates the matter only a little. A 2008 Microsoft study found that one of every 50 total Web queries was health-­related, and one-quarter of the million people in the study had embarked on at least one health-related search over the course of the study.
This reminds me of a coworker at my current job. I walked into the office one day last year. He's staring at the computer and he asks me, "Shane, if I had an aneurysm, would I know it?"

I just busted out laughing, not realizing at first if he was serious. "What?"

"I'm trying to read about aneurysms on the internet to see if that's what I have. So, would I know if I did?"

Still laughing. "Well, yeah, in the sense that you'd be dead."


"Yeah, really. Why?"

"Well, I have this sharp pain in the back of my head and it's hurting pretty bad. I was trying to figure out what it could be."

"Well, Dr. Noble can safely tell you that it's not an aneurysm."

"Oh, okay."

This is a regular occurrence with him, although the oh-my-God-I-think-I-have-an-aneurysm story is the best.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekly Music Video

A coworker loaned me this album, Neon Bible, by a group I had not heard of and it has since become one of my favorites. In fact, if it was a physical copy, it would probably be worn out by now. Here's one song, but you really should check out the whole album.

Arcade Fire - "Intervention"

The Captain's Chair

Oh, yes, I want one.

Hovering Over Your Children

This is an impulse I struggle with as I'm sure any parent does. Lenore Skenazy, the woman who became (in)famous for letting her 9-year-old ride the New York City subway on his own, has a book out now about how to step back and give your children freedom without killing yourself with worry. I think most of us do tend to hover over our children too much and this can have a profound impact on them for their entire lives. With my daughters I really try to give them as much freedom as I can within certain boundaries. I am not always perfect about it, of course, but I do make an effort. I want them to learn how to handle things on their own, how to succeed and fail, and how to keep going when they do either. My hope is that this will make them stronger adults, more confident in their own abilities.

Weekly Secret