Casualties Of Stuffed Animal Wars

As I might have previously mentioned, Kaya and Claire have an understanding regarding the value of stuffed animals.  Well, I think it’s more accurate to say that Kaya would like to have an understanding with Claire.  See, Kaya is meticulous with her toys.  She bathes them regularly like she would a puppy.  And she always wants to show off the cool mooing noises they all seem to make.  Claire, well, you know, her favorite game is Godzilla.
This sets the stage for a recent event.  These photos are not staged and they are exactly as they are because of the fierce interplay between Kaya and Claire in their War of Understanding, Wherein You Can Stuff It.  Piglet, apparently, offended some of Claire’s sensibilities and wound up as such:
Piglet did not understand that one must do as the Princess commands or one may find one’s self stuffed into the couch.  Now, this is where it gets interesting.  Kaya has some sense about which stuffed animals are her’s and which are not.  Although, I think that is mostly based on ones that go "moo" and ones that don’t.  But, Piglet’s plight must have triggered some parenting mechanism of Kaya’s.  When I came back from getting the Princess to bed, I found this:
Some wrongs, in Kaya’s book, apparently must be righted.  Before you go forming conclusions about the differing sensibilities between babies and dogs, be aware that I have witnessed Kaya tear the head of one her moo cows for the sin of a loose thread.  So, we have two sweet looking ruthless dictators in our house now.  Yay.

On The Census And The Places We Go

My my.  It’s been an eventful couple of days here in the Dass Compound.  I assembled a grill provided as a Christmas gift from Danielle’s mom and some deck furniture.  While this may not sound complicated, the directions were not quality controlled by a conglomeration of enterprising Swedes.  I would have been better off ignoring these documents as it was as if they were trying to confuse you.  Never have I had read an instruction manual in which the parts manifesto and the instructions themselves used different names for parts.  The deck furniture may explode as a result of my limited deductive abilities.  To add insult to injury, after two full frustrating days of assembly, I was taken ill by allergies and beseiged by rain.  The gods do conspire, I believe.
Suffice to say, it was a trial.  But, on the plus side, I also sat down and filled out our census form.  How cool is that?  I’ve officially reported Claire’s existence to the government.  The cat, as they say, is out of the bag.
How cool is that?  Now, this is where the fun began.  A chain reaction of events that led to a family outing to Jupiter, no less, began to unfold.  Bear with me.  The census picture bore the mark of the beast, number 666.  Now, I noticed this as I reviewed a picture I took of a DVD case someone had left perched awkwardly.
That’s right, 2010 was left standing upright as though it was itself one of the alien monoliths.  "That’s odd," I said aloud.  Naturally, I moved to make Danielle aware of this indeed odd turn of coincidence.  And, verily I say unto thee, I was frightened.  Because, beside the scaled tribute to the alien monolith was this:
A series of random events, the placement of a dvd, the taking of a picture, and the purchase of dog toys had led to this.  And, yes, the gods must conspire.  Immediately, I feared for the safety of Jupiter. 
Now, well, I’d been casually working on something I refer to as the RH Device out in the shed.  Essentially, it’s a gimble that when supplied with the right amplitude of electricity, complex calculus and a vehicle of any sort is capable of instantaneous travel across vast stretches of space by folding two known points in space time together and punching said vehicle through.
We bundled the family and dogs up in the Space Kia with a light picnic and made for Jupiter orbit. 
Fortunately, after spending some time in orbit we were able to determine that the series of events were, in fact, just coincidences.  I can say with some authority, having just been there, that Jupiter is not currently held hostage to an array of alien monoliths.
Having settled this concern, we opted to swing by the local Target back in Sterling to pick up a few odds and ends and make our way home.
We did see this jerk in the parking lot, though:
Our few minutes of sunshine was clouded by this man’s vehicle worth a house thinking that makes it okay to park in four spots.  In the spirit of competitiveness generated by the original alien monolith, we engaged our moral right to put those plastic bones into use in defending our moral authority.
After we got home, it was business as usual, ominous signs of planicide having passed.
Claire hung out and watched some television while Danielle and I performed some chores.
In other news: It’s rainy on Spring Break and we are bored. 
And, yeah, it’s like this in my head all the time.  Only more so.  And, usually, I get a sword and a trip to Mars, too.

Photographic Odds And Ends

I really have nothing to say for these pictures.  I mean, I could go on and on about how little I have to say about these picturs.  But, you should probably see them.  By which I mean, eh.  The second one and the last one are good.  I don’t really care for the others.

It’s A New Week!

Just as an aside.  I watched the House floor debate last night preceding the passage of the bill.  Two quotes stand out at me after a night of reflecting on a completely different subject.  First:
A prolife republican says: "…An executive order does not address the egregious concerns of prolifers regarding abortions." 
And my thought is, you know, professional speakers of words should not so flagrantly insult themselves.  Yes, you are right.  The President has not addressed the conspicuously bad concerns of prolifers regarding abortions.  Well played, sir.  Well played.
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives of the United States of American, a former Speaker of the House, said last night on the floor of said House that "Congress is broken."  Just reflect on that.
And you know what?  You can.  Because it’s a whole new week.  Yeah!

America: Advanced Citizenship For Dummies

You know, it’s nice that the bill passed because now the Democrats will stop whacking on their own creation and start selling the finer points.  There’s something to be said for this bill.  A lot of somethings.  Most of them are good.  Some of them are about how, you know, it isn’t exactly health *care* reform.  But, that isn’t what this is about.
This blog really ins’t about my politics.  I don’t mind sharing them and I don’t mind heated discussions.  But, since this is for Claire, I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about something tangential to this health care discussion.  First, in short, I’m happy the bill passed.  Democrats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat from the jaws of victory.  Republicans have handed themselves a loss of EPIC PROPORTIONS, as they spent a year telling everyone it would be.  Hug a republican, their country died yesterday.  As for Obama, just another day I’m happy I cast my vote the way I did because, you know, I told you this would happen.
More relevant, I’m dismayed at the level of discussion on specific issues in this country.  I’ve heard so many say that they just don’t know enough about this healtch care issue.  It’s complicated and everybody seems to be lying, they say.  Well, you know.  That just isn’t acceptable.  So, you’re saying your an American and you’d like to know more about how this works for you. Well, use some of the American ingenuity and the Internet machine at your finger tips and do some of that new fangled reading the kids are so into these days.

It’s advanced citizenship and you have as much a duty to vote as you do to inform yourself. Brushing off your lack of knowledge due to the single news channel and the information your so and so passes to you second hand just isn’t an acceptable excuse.

Go to some websites and read.  Look at their sources.  Go find those sources and read them. Look at their sources.  Repeat until satisfied. Read op ed pieces. Read scholarly journals. Read university studies. Read. Form an opinion.  Any opinion.  Advocate for it. 

Accepting that it’s all quite complicated and electing not inform yourself just isn’t cricket, baby.  Because that type of attitude is basically why we spent six or eight months talking seriously in a fair and balanced way about the validity of death panels.

But, that’s just it: people lie! And I don’t know stuffs!

It’s true, people lie in a lot of columns on this subject.  So, go to a journal database and find some medical journals and start there. Or, search for health reform terms that interest you and only follow links to studies at first. Run by public institutions, schools government studies.

People lie.  And sometimes to the only way to start figure out what is noise and what is signal is to pick up a thread and start following. The problem with saying that people lie is that at some point you just have to wade in anyway. And, before you know it you’ve made a series of small decisions based on "people lie" that has led to you not really digging into the heart of any matter that interests you politically or however. 

Short term decisions based on people lie lead to the long term result of ignorance.  Replace "peoplpe lie" with "stuff is hard" and it works for the same point.

Lies sure can gum up the works though.  And with a subject where you feel like you don’t speak the language, that’s intimidating.  Some of those pieces are just entirely made up. But, you know with the entirely imaginary death panels, a lot of the folks kept citing pages from the particular bill.  Go to Congress’ website, or just Google for sites with the text and read the original text.  Then decide for yourself.

A lot of people who are lying tend to cite specifically because they know the act of saying "citation" cows a lot of people’s curiousity. If no where else to start, start with the reporters’ and opiners’ citations.

Or, you can start by scanning a lot quickly.  Keep an eye out for recurring subjects and terminology.  Make a list.  Then start checking items off that list by researching in a more in depth format.  It’s hard to start whn you aren’t even sure you can speak the language of the problem.  But, I’ve found that’s a good way to go.  It isn’t easy, at all. And sorting signal from noise is a pain.  Particularly when you aren’t sure what the signal sounds like. 

But, you know, that’s life.  And your boots will, and probably should, be a little mud covered at the end of the day. 

Stop asking people how to think.  We have access for pennies a day to greatest collection of information the world has ever seen.  Ever.  I can email a random scholar on the subject today and get an informed thought out response tomorrow.  You have no excuse to be uniformed. 

And if you don’t learn, it means you hate America, babies and puppies.