Archive for February, 2008

The child-rearing guide the Man doesn't want you to see

As much as I’d like to take even the tiniest amount of credit for this masterful instruction set, I can’t. I’m not clever enough, for one thing.

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No toys for Wei Ping

Lynn and I went looking at toys to finish up Little Carter’s registry last weekend, and not a single toy in the entire baby department was made in this country. Or outside of China even.

All kiddy clothes are made in China. Not 100% fine, but they wash. All furniture. Not optimal, but there is a slightly higher grade of crap available if you spend the time looking for it. And it mostly airs out.

But I absolutely refuse to allow my son to chew on the toxic garbage produced in that hell hole. China has the world’s worst record of human rights violations, and the manufacturers there have absolutely no qualms about using dangerous substances in the production of the trash we buy from them. In some cases they refuse inspection outright, and yet we still buy their cheap crap. Yes, they provide cheap labor. But it’s at the detriment of human life that our precious baubles are so inexpensive. The all-powerful Chinese government has no regard for human life–theirs or ours–and so many people suffer from their production practices. Is it China’s fault? No. It’s true that their bureaucracy is as crooked and corrupt as any good communist regime should hope to be, and that their fervent cries of anti-Capitalism don’t stop them from doing any nasty, underhanded thing to make a dollar, but we wouldn’t be in this mess if not for good old-fashioned corporate American greed.

No, we shouldn’t curtail free enterprise in this country. That’s not my point. We should instead demand quality merchandise from our retailers. Free enterprise, when truly free, cannot exist when the masses refuse to purchase their wares. But most humans suffer from acute stupidity, so I don’t see much protesting of the constant import of Chinese garbage.

OK, so here’s my point: we love Little Carter, and we know you do too, but we won’t be accepting gifts of toys made in China. Stuff made in the U.S. and Canada and parts of Europe (France, Germany, GB… any place where sane people live) is fine, but anything else is going back to the store or getting sold on eBay or whatever. No offense, but there it is.

There IS good stuff out there. Lynn and her mudder found some excellent non-toxic wooden and rubber toys from an online vendor of environmentally friendly goodies. But it’s kind of a pain, so don’t worry about trying to buy safe toys. Daddy Eugene would be just as happy with a big old wedge of celebratory cheese. U.S.-made, of course.

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See you in the funny pages

Arlo and Janis discussing my blog

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Of birds and their peckings

My uncle (the one that’s finally come home after years of service in D.C.) is a nature-loving biology guy who used to run a nature center (in this case NOT a euphemism for “nude beach”) on the west end of the state. I figured that, of all the folks I knew, he would be the most likely to have a solution to a problem that’s been driving me nuts for months. But alas, it looks like I’m going to have to turn to Lynn’s cookbooks…

Eugene B-S to Lars Liebling:

Hey, I thought you might know the solution to a weird problem we’re having at work.

There are some gigantic crows nesting (or at least hanging out a bunch) on top of our building. The atrium my office is connected to is open all the way to the roof, and has windows all around at the top. Now, I don’t know if these fellers are seeing their reflections in the windows or what, but for about an hour a day (and not always at the same time or only when the sun is out, etc.) they’ll continually scream and peck the crap out of a window.

To put it mildly, this is very distracting.

Any thoughts on relieving their desire to annoy me? J

Lars Liebling to Eugene B-S:

Too bad you have Crows they are very smart and are not tricked into flying away by rubber snakes or plastic Owls like other birds.  Even if you use a noise deterrent the crows will become accustom to it and just sit and enjoy!

If it is possible, change the way the light hits the windows (I doubt you can do this in an atrium) to divert or eliminate the reflection….not sure why it is only for an hour and not the same time every day???  Could be they are enjoying the warmth held by the glass and frame work around the glass??!!

Another option is to have some one remove all of the nesting material to discourage them from roosting on your roof. 

If all else fails there are several good recipes for Crow……….after they have died by ‘some unknown cause’ one night!

Good luck,


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