Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

daily existence away from chicago

Blogroll Me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This kid cracks me up

I am at the desk, trying to work. Ciela is sitting across the room from me. Next to her is the cable that links my modem to the cable outlet. She knows ( I think) not to play with this cable, but lifts it up in the air and looks at me. I shake my head and say, "no, no, no." Without taking her eyes off of mine, she slowly lowers it down then lifts her hand up in the air. I smile,nod my head and say "yes, good." Then again without taking her eyes off of mine, she slowly moves her hand down to the cable and lifts it up, waiting for me to say no. Then she lowers it down. With the intensity of a young post-doc in the laboratory, she raises and lowers the cord, noting the effect it has on her father: demonstrable, repeatable results. Repeatable that is until I break down laughing. Then she smiles, knowing she's one-upped the daddy, taught him a new joke.

Which Banned Books Have You Read?

The Little Professor linked to this to note which books she had read on the American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000.

Mine are starred.

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
**The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
**Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
**The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
**The Color Purple by Alice Walker
**Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel [only the first three]
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
**Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
**The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
**To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
**The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
**Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
**Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
**Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
**Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
**Lord of the Flies by William Golding
**Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
**The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
**Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
**Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Scattered thoughts after grading papers

"Plethora" is apparently the hip word this year.

Favorite malaprop--"part-taking" for partaking.

When you ask freshman to analyze some element of culture, most of them will talk about diversity and how great it is when a bunch of different people get together.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

23:5 meme

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

The envelope please:

We are going with Virgin Mobile because, sadly, they are the hippest company and as I am about ready to become a father, I'm clinging desperately to anything that makes me seem a bit cooler.


I got spammed within seconds after posting "7 Things," so I've decided to use the word verification to cut down on that stuff. How terribly irritating.

7 Things

Because I can never pass up a mirror, seven things seen at Scrivenings. (Perhaps somebody will actually ask me to do one of these things. Then I won't feel like such a narcissist.)

Seven things I plan to do before I die:

1. Finish this book.
2. Go back to Italy.
3. Go sailing in the Carribbean.
4. Live in Europe.
5. Eat a peach.
6. Run for office.
7. Sue somebody.

Seven things I can do.

1. Juggle up to three balls.
2. Faux finish a wall.
3. Not ever stop biking up a hill.
4. Provide decent advice on going to graduate school.
5. Move to a new city at the drop of a hat.
6. Make my mother angry with me in less than 3 minutes on the phone.
7. Make my sister laugh in less than 2 minutes on the phone.

Seven things I can't do.

1. Buy anything without feeling guilty about it.
2. Score a goal when conditions are such that, christ, any idiot could get the ball in the net. Conditions such as: a breakaway with no defenders chasing me; the keeper way off his line and begging to be chipped; a perfect cross with the keeper caught on the wrong post; the keeper down with a broken leg; the keeper dead; nobody else on the field, anywhere and I'm allowed to use my hands.
3. Leave a bar earlier than an hour after I should have.
4. Grade papers within a day or two after receiving them.
5. Write with any consistency.
6. Hear my wife unless she actually yells at me.
7. Distinguish between my wife talking to my daughter and my wife talking to me.

Seven things that attract me to people of the opposite sex:

1. Intelligence
2. Creativity
3. Humor (or at least finding me funny)
4. Fitness
5. Breasts
6. Breasts
7. Breasts

(I may have got distracted on this one)

Seven things I say the most:

1. Ciela, what do you want? I don't understand what you want?
2. Ciela, NO!
3. It's a nation of idiots.
4. What's the plan? (inherited from my father)
5. Crazy-ass baby.
6. I don't know.
7. What? (because I can't hear my wife, remember?)

Seven celebrity crushes:

1. Winona Ryder
2. Bob Mould
3. Ani DiFranco
4. Mia Hamm
5. That one actress
6. Her
7. Azure Ray

(I really only develop crushes on people I've met. Except for Miss Ryder. For her, I'd even overlook that unfortunate shoplifting incident.)

UPDATE: Oooh. I forgot Natalie Portman. Is it wrong that I still think of her from "Beautiful Girls"?

A Random Number of Things More Appealing than Grading Papers

1. Pumping up the tires on Judy's bike.
2. Putting entries into the budget.
3. Transfering iPhoto files from one computer to the next.
4. Reading the business section of the East Valley Tribune.
5. Emailing Bridget.
6. Reading a book of interviews of Don Delillo.
7. Going to the pool with Ciela.
8. Bringing in the laundry from the patio.
9. Working on Ciela's table (pasting on maps and photos).
10. Dusting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Weekend

Oy, I'm exhausted.

Here's the rundown from the past weekend.

Friday, graded papers in the morning, went to see the Arizona Ballet at a Tempe Park. Dance under the stars--pretty cool. And Ciela actually watched the dances for a while, and was not to ornery just sitting on a blanket playing with toys and talking to all the people around her.

Saturday. 50 mile ride around Central Phoenix. Lots of time along canal path, which is just like Venice if you squint into the direct sunlight. Ciela and Judy went to the zoo, and we all had a nap in the early afternoon. Saturday night, Dinner at Nick's--great little storefront Italian restaurant. Gnocchi for me, tagliatare for Judy, both for Ciela, and cheap Chianti for everyone. Then shopping at Wild Oats. Having a baby certainly redefines what constitutes a wild Saturday night.

Sunday, 3 mile hike up to Pinnacle Peak, which isn't as impressive as it sounds. Yes, it does go uphill, but not that much. Most of the peaking is done in the car beforehand. PP park is apparently hugely popular now that the weather has broke (meaning highs only in the very low three digits), so the trail was very crowded. But Ciela likes this and says hi to everyone from her backpack. Great views of the valley, and we could see the tops of very expensive homes surrounding very cool and inviting looking pools. When jaunting about north Scottsdale, one must keep reminding one's self that money cannot buy happiness and that one has chosen a different, more enlightened path in life, and that a private swimming pool set amidst a gorgeous courtyard at the base of spectacular grannite outcroppings really isn't all that special compared to the life of an English adjunct.

And BONUS! we saw our first diamondback rattlesnake on the trail. Cool and only a little bit scary until we were sure he wasn't interested in eating us.

Sunday afternoon, naps, crappy NFL football and cleaning bathrooms.

Sunday night--soccer season started. Yahooo.

Yahoo until the actual game when I boot a free and clear breakaway in the first half. Then score an own goal near the end of that first half. We lose 0-3, and my goal was the last one, so we would have lost anyway. The captain had me playing out of position, sticking me at center midfield; the perfect place for an out of shape guy with no dribbling skills. But in my defense, I did produce some very nice through balls, and was at least in the right position to create the breakaway attempt. And I scored zero own goals in the second half. Judy said I did fine, but then again, she is married to me. We have cool purple uniforms. Well, we have purple uniforms.

Then monday was back to earth, grading papers, schleping Ciela over to the park. Getting the car cleaned out. The mindless day to day of keeping entropy at bay.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Finally, a sensible theory on life

$sh, this one's for you out in KC.Flying Spaghetti Monsterism has got to be the best (or at least most elaborate) response to the flat-earthers in Kansas. My favorite paragraph from the Wikipedia site:

According to the pastafarians, the monster created the world starting with a mountain, trees and a midget, and continues to guide human affairs with his "noodly appendage." Heaven is depicted as having a stripper factory and a beer volcano. Their prayers to "Him" are typically ended by "Ramen", instead of "Amen".

Bet she knows more about Pynchon than he does.

Stephen Riggio
CEO and vice-chairman, Barnes & Noble

Lisa Jong
Clerk, Barnes & Noble
(32 hours a week at $7.75 per hour)

(from NY Magazine's annual salary guide.)

t r u t h o u t - Democrats Question Gonzales on Attempt to Blame Eco Groups for Flood

As if this were unexpected

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Why Do They Still Cling to Their Chains?

As usual, BD has been weighing in from the right. This is my response in a new thread to some earlier comments.

Sure, I agree that a discussion can be had without resorting to crude responses. But the utter frustration we on the left have is that this administration absolutely will not have those discussions. They ignore any evidence that contradicts their own pre-conceived agenda. They actively surpress data when it shows results that threaten their actions. They fire, demote, reassign or discredit voices within that disagree with them and resort to unseemly and, frankly, disgusting attacks on those outside (witness the whisper campaign that John McCain had an illigetimate black child and was slightly insane because of his confinement).

This administration is a severe threat to democracy and America, and frankly, with all the evidence amassed in front of them, I cannot fathom why a large fraction of American people still support it. Since my sense of what counts as reason, evidence and logic hold little to no weight, I will resort to ranting at the top of my lungs.

(currently in hour 2 of a coughing, non-sleeping baby--its three a.m. You are listening to.... I will rise in an hour and a half to go for a ride. Maybe.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

And we wonder why they seem so unprepared when they arrive in Engl 101

Teaching In America: The Impossible Dream

I think my Itunes is mourning for New Orleans

It keeps randomly (or not so randomly) shuffling back to Professor Longhair, The Rebirth Brass Band, Dr. John. Sad, but resolute that the music will out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

AdoptAMinefield Home

AdoptAMinefield Home

What do we call this latest scandal?

Overheard on Al Franken's show,

"My producer has a great name for the scandalous FEMA response to Katrina: 'Watergate'."

From my friend in the heartland

Get Your War On

Funny, wickedly funny comics on Katrina and the stellar response of FEMA.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Scrivenings: More on the Racial Divide

Scrivener asks the question "what kind of fantasy world are these white people Gallup tracked down living in?" I had a similar question when I read about the low poll numbers for Bush: Who are the 38% that still approve of him? Really, who could possibly still feel comfortable about this man as president?

My best guess is that these are the 38% of the population that are completely unqualified to do much of anything but sponge off the wealth and power of those that came before them, and they are counting on a high-level position in this administration.

Bush allows Katrina contractors to pay below prevailing wage - Sep. 11, 2005

Sep. 11, 2005

Seriously, who are these people? They truly are trying to wash them away.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mike Davis on the political sidelining of Blacks

Mike Davis has a knack for forcasting disasters. His _City of Quartz_ predicited a race riot in LA just before the Rodney King riot, and this article warned of the abandonment of poor and black residents of New Orleans in the face of a hurricane.

More fun with Scott McClellan

Q: Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?

Mr. McClellan: And again, David, see, this is where some people want to look at the blame game issue, and finger-point. We're focused on solving problems, and we're doing everything we can--

Q: What about the question?

Mr. McClellan: We're doing everything we can in support--

Q: We know all that.

Mr. McClellan: --of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

Q: Does he retain complete confidence--

Mr. McClellan: We're going to continue. We appreciate the great effort that all of those at FEMA, including the head of FEMA, are doing to help the people in the region. And I'm just not going to engage in the blame game or finger-pointing that you're trying to get me to engage.

Q: Okay, but that's not at all what I was asking.

Mr. McClellan: Sure it is. It's exactly what you're trying to play.

Q: You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you've said enough now. I'm asking you a direct question, which you're dodging.

Mr. McClellan: No--

Q: Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?

Mr. McClellan: I just answered the question.

Q: Is the answer "yes" on both?

Mr. McClellan: And what you're doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.

Q: There's a lot of criticism. I'm just wondering if he still has confidence.

Mr. McClellan: --and blame-gaming. What we're trying to do is solve problems, David. And that's where we're going to keep our focus.

Q: So you're not--you won't answer that question directly?

Mr. McClellan: I did. I just did.

Q: No, you didn't. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn't he?

Mr. McClellan: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that's fine--

Q: Scott, that's ridiculous. I'm not engaging in any of that.

Mr. McClellan: It's not ridiculous.

Q: Don't try to accuse me of that. I'm asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?

Mr. McClellan: Like I said--that's exactly what you're engaging in.

Q: I'm not engaging in anything. I'm asking you a question about what the President's views are--

Mr. McClellan: Absolutely--absolutely--

Q: --under pretty substantial criticism of members of his administration. Okay? And you know that, and everybody watching knows that, as well.

Mr. McClellan: No, everybody watching this knows, David, that you're trying to engage in a blame game.

Q: I'm trying to engage?

Mr. McClellan: Yes.

Q: I am trying to engage?

Mr. McClellan: That's correct.

And then Brownie was fired...not that anyone is to blame.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Dear God

Rhenquist has died. The downward spiral continues.

I'm in Chicago celebrating my mother-in-law's 75th birthday and my daughter's first birthday. Meanwhile, the world is spiraling out of control. I don't have any time to write about events of the last three days, but I direct you to Scrivenings for decent updates.

And this, President Bush apparently set up a Potemkin Relief Center for a photo op that was then dismantled without doing any real relief work. The man has no shame.

Who Links Here