Son of a butt

I’m really amazed that my son is so easily soothed and just so good because, well… well, I just didn’t expect it, is all. I’ve gotten conflicting accounts of my own babyhood, and I tend to believe more that I was a butthead than that I just had a couple of tense parents. One thing leads to the other, I figure.

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All a boy needs

I’ve been neglecting the other blog I set up for my son-to-be. Just absorottenlutely neglecting it. We’ve been given all kinds of incredible things – clothes, goodies from the two baby showers that have been thrown for us so far (including some really big ticket items), furniture, etc. – and I haven’t yet gotten around to posting pictures of all our great booty. For that failure I’ve been harassed by my dad, Lynn’s family, and now the Nicole. No introduction or discussion of the Nicole is necessary… she’s just… well, the Nicole. She’s a wonderful person and all that, but convicted enough about what I should be doing with the babyblawg to make me want to correct my deficiencies to date… and as soon as possible.

Anyway, so yeah, Lynn and I have literally been showered with affection and gifts and whatnot ever since I got her “into trouble” last summer, and from people who mean more to us than I could possibly express, wannabe-writer and all. We’ve gotten tons of really thoughtful and well-selected purchases and handicrafts (some of which look like they came from one of them there Bevery Hills stores), and I’ve just been overwhelmed by all of it.

I think I’ve mentioned before (or maybe I just thought it real loudlike) that the reality of my impending fatherhood has been developing in stages: the ultrasound images; the changes in Lynn’s worklife and in our home; my grandpa Israel speaking the baby’s name for the first time. Tonight, finally, after we had gotten home from the shower Lynn’s office threw for us, the reality became complete for me. It was both wonderful and devastating, and I bawled my eyes out. What happened? Our wonderful friend Addy made Little Carter a teddy bear named Teddy (who is a lot more brown than he looks in my crappy photo):

Teddy in the crib

And before you tell me Teddy’s ugly, have a look at his role model:

Teddy and Mr. Bean in the car

Teddy and Mr. Bean on a mystery holiday

For those of you who don’t know it, that’s Rowan Atkinson (as Mr. Bean) with Bean’s best friend, Teddy. It’s a pretty good likeness, I think, and is the perfect custom-made accessory for the culturally literate child that Little Carter is sure to be. It’s also an item that I will probably be stealing from my young one on a regular basis.

It’s not the sentiment of Addy’s gesture that shook me up, or even the time spent researching and hand-crafting the perfect gift for us, but rather the function Teddy will fulfill: Little Carter’s first, best and probably favorite companion.

I’m a big old manly man, but I’ll admit to a soft spot in my heart for teddy bears. My mom was supposed to be here to celebrate her first grandchild’s birth with us, but God was ready for her before He blessed us with our little fellow. She used to make teddy bears of all varieties and, whenever I think of my childhood, I remember great happiness for both of us as she would unveil a new teddy. Some wore overalls, some wore other kinds of little outfits and some were even colored up in very un-bearlike ways, but every single one of them meant the same thing to me: I was a little boy and I had a happy life in a happy home.

I guess I always figured that when it was time for me to raise my own child, there would be a teddy bear involved. It’s silly, I know, but now that I have Teddy, I know I’m going to be a father. 

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The inherent nature of the media

The media, when viewed simply as message gatekeepers, have no inherent qualities that can be judged good or bad; in a perfect world, they would be nearly transparent. But they aren’t, in actuality, freestanding machines that passively deliver content to consumers because they themselves are driven by passionate, emotive human beings. Today the same individuals that deliver news—factually or otherwise—often take on multiple roles: especially across Internet channels, the gatekeepers of information can also be the creators of it.

The media have an incredible responsibility to deliver material on time and in an engaging manner, but is the content always presented fairly? The idea that information can be disseminated in an absolutely impartial and unbiased way is laughable to many, but it’s a worthy notion even if it’s held aloft by imperfect people. The tagline of FOX News is “Fair & Balanced,” but many people, conservative or otherwise, would argue that the coverage is anything but. At the same time, however, the relatively new cable channel created a market that appeals to a large segment of viewers who claim that other sources—such as CNN—deliver news with no less (but politically different) spin. In this case, it’s the human element rather than the mechanism itself that imbues the media with the ability to distort. It can certainly be a negative quality when flawed people seek to subtly change the meaning of the message, but is it really an inherent quality?

A certain power lies with the ability to broadcast content as fact, and in the simplistic view of the media as sluice gates through which information is channeled downstream to consumers, that power is a natural force that cannot be abused. Again, however, the real world is filled with real people who sometimes do make mistakes. The drama surrounding CBS News’ loss of Mary Mapes and Dan Rather in separate episodes a while back raised both suspicion of and sympathy for the players involved, as well as the question of whether the media are always capable of delivering the truth. It’s helpful to remember, however, that content providers such as CBS News are largely self-regulating; credibility is key to the mission of every good news agency. While profitability is often of secondary importance, it’s still a critical piece of the package, and one that demands that same credibility from serious news sources. The same doesn’t necessarily apply to non-professional channels such as those used by bloggers on the World Wide Web; as individuals who have the right to speak their minds about any topic (researched or not), they are free to publish sentiments that may or may not fairly represent the truth. In most cases, however, the opinions of amateur bloggers are accepted for what they are: merely opinions. The media are self-balancing in such a way that public sentiment, as expressed through new channels of communication, is kept separate from the commentaries and news reports of professional agencies. In neither case should faulty information automatically be considered a blight on the media; the mechanism by which content can be shared with the world is by its very nature a flexible one, and it’s only through the power of human drive and ingenuity that it can become a positive or negative force.

In short, the media are what we make of them.

And also, I can write whatever I want here.

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No title necessary

*used without permission from my good friend Michael.

EDIT: Michael gave me permission after the fact. Not so much fun that way, I think.

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You can ring my bell

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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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Random fluff designed to distract and annoy

I had a pretty good weekend picking out and setting up a new TV with my grandpa Israel. Stressful and frustrating and a long drive… but still good. More on that later, maybe, if you really irritate me… :)

Also, there are a couple of pages I started updating here on the blog. They’re kind of like “stickies” on the main page, but they don’t (as far as I can tell) show up in RSS. You’ll actually have to come look at these if you care to see to see how they progress, and unless I add something really good I probably won’t be posting reminders.

  1. Strange Dreams: this is a rough compilation of my best/weirdest dreams (or the ones I can remember, anyway).
  2. The 2008 list: the second is my pro/con list for calendar year 2008, for future reference.

Sleep good, folks, and have strange dreams. :)

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