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Posts with Music

Photos from the day care newsletter (and LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great)

Every week, sg’s teachers in “Infant B” send out a newsletter with some photos of the week’s activity. That’s sg in the very first picture, belly-down in the blue paint. I had gotten behind in my personal email, and couldn’t figure out that night why my daughter had blue paint in her nose and behind her ear.

Guess Who's Paying for College?

You know who has a college savings account already? Who has her own 529 in the state with the most favorable tax treatment? Who will be able to choose between Harvard and UGA without worrying about the price tag? Not you, sg. Sorry, sweetie.

AT and I are still paying for our BAs and BSs, and there is a little bit of “if it was good enough for us, it’s good enough for our kids” at work here. But that’s not the only reason sg will have to start her own college savings account; there’s also this:

  • As someone said to us recently, “there are scholarships and loans for college; they don’t have those for retirement, so you have to pay yourself first.”
  • As far as debt goes, student loans are the good stuff, with government regulated rates and flexible repayment terms.
  • Maybe sg won’t want to go to college! Or maybe she’d prefer to take out loans for college and have us make a down-payment on her first house, instead. Or maybe she’d prefer a startup investment in her first business. “Sorry, snookums, but if we don’t spend the 529 money on tuition, Mommy and Daddy suffer undesirable tax treatment.”

The way we figure it, if we make good decisions for the next 18 years, we’ll be in a good position to help sg do what she wants to do. And what if she wants to drop out of school and go live with her dirty hippy boyfriend at a pottery commune? Well then Mommy and Daddy can spend that wad on a nice tropical vacation.

Baby Snakes

Does this baby food packaging depict some kind of lizard baby? Is that a baby snake tongue flicking out? Is it sensing danger, or its prey? I’m going to have nightmares.

On the upside, it led me to rediscover the song that taught me what SMPTE stands for.

River Water, Tub Water

Last night, just before I fell asleep, I realized that I usually distinguish between what I like and what is good. I think much of the last few Western generations do this when it comes to morality, but I wonder whether taking it as a default setting with respect to the quality of things (food, music, etc.) is common at all in cohorts older than my own. I’ll bet it isn’t. Here’s an example of a song that I like a lot, out of all proportion to how good I think it is. I think it’s fine. But I really like it.

Below are a few photos from a bath this afternoon. Sophia is sitting up well on her own now, which makes bath time a lot more fun for everyone (and a lot less work for Arica and me). Today she seemed to realize for the first time that water reacts very differently to patting than most things do. (See the black & white photo in this regard.)

The elevator is the place where our day care posts notices of contagious diseases, and Friday’s little surprise was croup. Saturday morning Sophia woke up with congestion, then spent most of the day sleeping and crying, all the while sounding like the end product of a half-century pack-a-day habit. Today was worse, though she seemed to turn a corner this evening. You can see in these pictures some puffiness on the left side of her face. I think this is the where she has just started sleeping on her stomach, plus being sick. It looks better this evening.

Sitting up makes bath time more fun (photo by Lance McCord)

Developing Essential Splashing Skillz (photo by Lance McCord)

Sitting up makes bath time more fun (photo by Lance McCord)

Cristalina by Pierre Aderne

Lest we get too far off topic, here are some recent photos of sg. And a song…about…some stuff. I don’t speak Portuguese.

This expression = "did you see that there's a DOG in here?"

Late at night

No Surprises by Radiohead

2:53 AM:

Baby eats 6 ounces of formula. Dad sings Radiohead, Aaron Neville and the Smiths (not as well as Aaron Neville or Morrissey, but probably at least as well as Thom Yorke).

When she starts to comprehend the content of my speech, I will probably have to restrict myself crap like the Itsy-Bitsy Spider. For now, though, daddy prefers a heart that’s filled up like a landfill, a job that slowly kills you, bruises that won’t heal.

A Place For Everything and Everything in Its Place

1. Sophia is learning to use parts of her body besides her bowels.
1. Sophia is learning to use parts of her body besides her bowels.
2. She is starting to get the idea that her hands are under her control.
2. She is starting to get the idea that her hands are under her control.
3. Which means that she can make them go where she wants.
3. Which means that she can make them go where she wants.
4. Which is in her mouth.
4. Which is in her mouth.

Seriously, taking some pictures of babies is a thing unto itself. There’s very little contrast in baby skin (no sun damage, no wrinkles, no tattoos), so adjusting an image according to its histogram the same way you would a photo of an adult give you a total mess. (Witness the way-wrong hair color against death palor skin in this photo.) I finally figured out that I should leave relatively few dark pixels in the image and not worry about everything bunching right up against overexposed. One pleasant side effect is that you can see a lot more definition in Sophia’s fairly-dark eyes. And I like her eyes a lot.

The Secret True History of Monopoly

The popular story of the origins of Monopoly – the bigger-than-Jesus Parker Brothers board game – has become enough a part of American cultural literacy that it has developed an apocryphal (and almost certainly fictive) crust. (For example, I was pretty sure that someone once told me that it was invented by a hobo or something.) But it turns out that the real story is better than any of the myths (and much better than the commercially-acceptable “official” history).

Part of the problem is that the popular story leaves a good 30 years off of the game’s history, and part of it is that the official story doesn’t feature any Quaker women. But the biggest problem with the popular narrative is that it leaves out the quirky and unique contributions of the individuals and communities who played the game before Charles Darrow “invented” it in 1934. The American Interest gives us a glance at the real story in “Monopolizing History”. You really must bookmark the AI piece to read when you have a few minutes. For now, here’s a quote that highlights one of my favorite tidbits about the game’s original designer and her original designs.

See, the game is meant to be fun while it teaches players about social injustice and certain flaws in American capitalism. Lizzie Magie (the Quaker woman alluded to above), who first designed “The Landlord’s Game”, had a point to make.

The object of the game, as she stated in her renewed patent of 1924, is not only to afford amusement to the players, but to illustrate to them how under the present or prevailing system of land tenure, the landlord has an advantage over other enterprises and how the single tax would discourage land speculation.

And here’s a quote from Magie’s rules:

  • La Swelle Hotel. The space represents the distinction made between classes, only moneyed guests being accepted.
  • Throwing one with the single die: Caught robbing hen-roost—go to jail.
  • Throwing a two: Caught robbing the public—take $200 from the board. The players will now call you “Senator.”

Now I understand that Darrow (who cribbed the modern game from Magie’s) and Parker Brothers made some changes. But the game’s basic premise seems to be unchanged, which makes me wonder — is the socio-economic point still there? When you played Monopoly as a youngster, what did you learn from it? Did you learn something about greed and power? Or is the game just a game?

There’s much more to the story of Monopoly, and again, I strongly recommend the American Interest piece. (Do not pass go, etc.)

(For what it’s worth, what I learned from Monopoly was that, for the sake of family harmony, my brother and I should play other games.)

Yawn? Or Pac Man Defense? Unrelated Video, Audio and Text.


I'm writing a summary of recent anti-(hostile)-takeover provisions for a client, and I thought I'd take a second to share a little terminology. One of the most powerful forms of shark repellent is the poison pill, which may come in the flip-in or flip-over variety, and which could also, until recently (in Delaware, at least), be a dead-hand pill or a no-hand pill. Of course, if a board fighting off a hostile takeover gets really desperate, it might offer a lock up to a white night, or turn instead to the pac man defense. And if the directors get to keep their jobs, the board might just go out and get staggered. Serious bidness, folks.


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