Saturday, November 22, 2008

Politically-Incorrect Politics

From memory so, you know, it's not entirely accurate. The dramatis personae are The Wife (TW) and Me.

TW: Some people at work were talking about how cool it is that we finally have a president whose name ends in a vowel.

ME: ... I hadn't thought of that. (mentally runs through a list of all the presidents he can name.) That's true.


ME: I guess I always thought that the first person with a last name like that to be president would be Italian. You know, like Giuliani.

TW: Really? Why?

ME: Oh, you know, because....

TW: Because they're the whitest of the dark folk?

ME: Exactly!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your Oscar update

Despite the fact that he's nearly seven months old, Oscar had his six month checkup today. He's doing swell, thanks. The doctor walked into the exam room and nearly shouted, "Oh, he's so gorgeous" There was more to the exam than this, of course. We asked many questions we had and the doctor did her best to assure us that nothing is really out of the ordinary with the little man.

The highlight, for Melissa and me, was the Weighing and Measuring of the Baby. He weighed in at 18 lbs, 5.5 oz, which is in the 55th percentile; and his height, or length since he's mostly horizontal these days, was 27.5 inches, which is in the 76th percentile.

Today was also the day Oscar received his first vaccination -- given that Oscar breast feeds and is cared for at home and therefore has little contact with other babies, Melissa and I decided to delay the start of the vaccination process. We'd been worried about how Oscar would react to the shot. Basically, we didn't want to see Oscar cry in pain. We needn't have worried. The nurse rubbed down his thigh with alcohol, which certainly got Oscar's attention since it's so cold, then she stuck him with the needle. Oscar looked at his thigh with the needle in it with a certain concerned curiosity. Then the needle cme out and a bandage was applied and about five seconds later, Oscar was giggling and just as happy as he ever is. He is amazing.

Below, are two photos: the bandage on his (ample) thigh, and him smiling right after the shot.

A few more recent photos can be found on our flickr page.

This concludes your Oscar update.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My grasp of Scottish politics is not so fine...

Several of the blogs and twitter feeds I follow are from foreigners. You know, folks who don't reside in the US. And, for some reason, their comments on the state of American politics always seem to be better reasoned and more trenchant than anything I've read from the mainstream American media. Perhaps it's because they are not so invested in the process, or the fact that they don't have to buy into the myth of being an unbiased observer. Whatever it is, these folks always give me something to think about when they turn their eyes on American pols.

A case in point: Charles Stross, an immensely talented SF writer who lives in Scotland, has written up a quick wish list of things he'd like to see President-elect Obama tackle in the first days of his administration. These are all, perhaps understandably given the fact that Mr Stross lives outside our borders, foreign policy matters and, I should stress, I don't agree with all the suggestions, but we could certainly do worse than follow some of his suggestions.

(For political wonks, I'd recommend reading the last few entries in Mr Stross's diary as they are all concerned with various aspects of the campaign that just passed.)

I swear that soon my fascination with politics will pass and I'll be back to posting about Oscar's latest milestones and how little writing I'm getting done.

Please go about your business, citizen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And again I am struck with love for the Republic

It's November 4. After nearly two years of campaigning, it's almost done. All over but the shouting, as they used to say. Here's a poem from the indispensable Jame Kenyon to mark the day. This comes from the poem, "American Triptych", which can be found in the book Collected Poems:

3 Potluck at the Wilmot Flat Baptist Church

We drive to the Flat on a clear November night. Stars and planets appear in the eastern sky, not yet in the west.

Voices rise from the social hall downstairs, the clink of silverware and plates, the smell of coffee.

As we walk into the room faces turn to us, friendly and curious. We are seated at the speakers' table, next to the town historian, a retired schoolteacher who is lively and precise.

The table is decorated with red, white, and blue streamers, and framed Time and Newsweek covers of the president, just elected. Someone has tied peanuts to small branches with red, white, and blue yarn, and set the branches upright in lumps of clay at the center of each table.

After the meal everyone clears food from the tables, and tables from the hall. Then we go to the sanctuary, where my husband reads poems from the pulpit.

One woman looks out the window continually. I notice the altar cloth, tasseled and embroidered in gold thread: Til I Come. There is applause after each poem.

On the way home we pass the white clapboard faces of the library and town hall, luminous in the moonlight, and I remember the first time I ever voted--in a township hall in Michigan.

That same wonderful smell of coffee was in the air, and I found myself among people trying to live ordered lives.... And again I am struck with love for the Republic.