Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eddie the Eagle

Saturday, March 27th marked one of those very special events in life that are not easily forgotten. Like an incredible road trip, or a wedding, or the birth of a child, or witnessing something of historical significance.

Here's the long and short of it - Sara's 71-year-old uncle, Ed, is a big-time scouter. He has a small collection of what I would call antique Boy Scout artifacts, such has his old gear and uniforms. In particular, he has a love for pocket knives and has published one of the foremost authoritative guides available on the subject, Official Scout Blades.

Throughout the dozen-plus years that I've known him, uncle Ed and I have talked scouting on many occasions. The conversations would typically end with Ed saying something like, "I was one merit badge short of earning my Eagle." He wasn't ever bitter; just remorseful. Ed is hardly the first person I've met that had come up a little shy of that lofty goal - only 4 in 100 scouts attain the rank - but he was the only one I knew who still lamented that fact after 53 years.

Such was the scene on this bright afternoon in early Spring when Ed and 200+ guests gathered within the diffused light of the 4H Hall at the Canby Fairgrounds. Wayne Havrelly from KGW Newschannel 8 was there:

As an adult leader, Ed's scout uniform is as decorated as you'll likely see. But no award or patch, including his sparkling new Eagle medallion I'm sure, holds more meaning than the one he doesn't wear on his shirt or sash - that of guiding 35 young men to achieve their own Eagle rank, including his two sons.

The Native Americans have given Ed his own name - Weotchwink Wapalanna - "Father of Eagles".


Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Snowfall

I don't know what the precise conditions were that allowed for this. I know I've never seen anything like it before. These perfect specimens were very lightly blanketing the Jeep on the morning of Dec. 11th as I was taking Brookie to preschool. It was certainly cold enough to preserve these throughout the night. But why did they only barely stick to the windshield and not blow off? Most were on an edge - hardly any laid flat against the glass. How did just this small sprinkling occur and not more? What was the window of time available for me to see this spectacle, and why was I so fortunate? How rare is this? I wouldn't say this was life-changing, but I was pretty humbled by the event.

And Brooklyn was 10 minutes late for school because we paused so long to take it all in.

I really don't even know if these should technically be called snowflakes. They look more like the folded paper cutouts or the Hollywood version of the perfect snowflake (I'm thinking of 'Grinch' here). They certainly don't look like the big fluffy flakes we try to catch on our tongues.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Well Said

Further proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

President Obama today stated that liberals were "on the precipice" of passing universal health care. I don't know what image that phrase conjures up in your mind, but something certainly popped into mine. And I double-checked the definition of the word 'precipice' just to be sure I'm not the idiot here.

Mr. Obama, a 'precipice' is, by definition, a very steep cliff. Even more appropriate, in this case, might be definition #2 from Websters, which reads "a greatly hazardous situation, verging on disaster".

That's it. Those are the only two possible meanings of the word - neither of which refer in any way to the great rosy pivotal moment in our nation's history that the president tries to present.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

YouTube Gems - Bottle Kids Are Back

I'm hopping mad right now about 'stuff' like global warming legislation, cap and trade, the fool that is Robert Gibbs, and the redirection of TARP loan repayments into bottomless cesspools instead of paying down the debt. Alas, I promised my fan that I would dramatically cut back on my politically-inspired ranting. Deep breath... Deep breath...

Remember those kids that played the theme from Tetris on glass bottles? Well, Madison and Brooklyn have been waiting a long time to share this one with you: Carol of the Bottles. Kids, you CAN try this at home.

Oh yeah, I'm also irate about the healthcare debate. And the White House's apparent inability to understand in the most basic terms how the economy works. That is all.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

YouTube Gems - Cool MJ Tribute

Regardless of your opinion of Michael Jackson, you can't deny the impressiveness of this video - way better than the technology that Star Wars acapella dude uses.

If you follow this through to YouTube's site you'll see that these guys have a few different videos. This MJ one is good, as is the cover of "Don't Stop Believing" from Journey. You can also safely click on Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" video from the Bonnie Hunt show.


You'll probably want to stay away from the "College Musical" episodes. They're pretty crude and definitely not appropriate for children, despite what the title might lead you to believe.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Hurricane Karsten

I came home from a meeting several days ago and found the house a bit warm. When I unlocked and the opened the doors to the office it felt like the blast of heat you feel when entering a Costco in the wintertime. "Whoa!" I shouted so that Sara would hear. "What happened in here?" We both realized the answer at the same time - Karsten.

The thermostat was set to 89 degrees. And though the house had not yet been able to reach that temperature, the register in the office had been pumping out hot air for hours into the closed room while the rest of the house with open doors and our open floor plan was much more equilibrated.

This incident didn't really surprise us. Karsten began as a minor blip on the radar out over the Pacific, sucking on tubes of toothpaste when he wanted a refreshing treat. But in recent months he has picked up quite a bit of steam. He became a tropical storm several weeks ago when he plugged in Sara's curling iron and left it setting on the carpet all day long.

But now he as reached full on hurricane status and made landfall at the same time. The thermostat incident was brought about by a combination of Karsten's fascination with buttons and switches and his recent discovery that our tall pub chairs are easy to push around on the wood floor with their felt anti-scuff pads on each leg. Karsten will spend hours of each day pushing the chairs around to all of the different wall switches, turning on ceiling fans, lamps, outdoor lights, and bathroom fans. This led him to figure out that he can carry the step stool from the bathroom for the carpeted areas where the chairs don't slide well. This is why we now keep our bedroom (to keep him out of the curling irons, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) and the office (computer hacking) locked up when not in use.

He's also using the chairs to help himself to anything he wants in the fridge, freezer or pantries.

Uncooked pasta.

Cheese sticks.

Ice cream.

It wouldn't be so bad if he actually ate the stuff he finds. I really don't understand how the boy weighs so much. Nothing seems to make it into he stomach except liquids. He's got vacuum-like suction and can down a sippy cup in mere seconds. The solids, however, are just a source of entertainment for Karsten. Crackers turn into powder when stomped on. The pasta makes a delightful amount of noise when dumped out slowly from atop the counter. Cheese sticks can be kneaded and molded into a variety of shapes and projectiles. And the ice cream - not only does he dirty every spoon he can find but he doesn't even have the decency to put it back in the freezer when he's done.

At least he seems to be past his toilet fixation. No more emergency baths or fishing toys out.

But he is starting to throw things down the stairs. Large things. If Karsten can lift it or at least push it, there is a very strong chance it will at some point take a tumble down to the ground floor.

I even had to buy a new keyboard off eBay for Sara's laptop just to use for spare parts to fix the original keyboard. The problem isn't so much that Karsten pops off the keys (he can even unlatch the lid so "hey Ducheznee - why don't you just close it?" is not a viable solution). The problem is that I can't ever seem to get them all back together (with their hinges and tiny rubber springs) without breaking or losing at least one piece.

Amazingly, Karsten can't climb out of his crib yet and doesn't try to take off his diaper. But I did catch him wearing a princess dress once, and that concerns me.

Roomba needs to invent a babysitting robot. Karsten could wear a bracelet or something that the robot would be able to track and follow him around with a video camera and a microphone. We would be able to monitor that feed from the computer or TV or maybe a portable device we carry with us.

UPDATE - Dec. 1st
Apparently this list will grow. Sara is presently cooking dinner and Karsten just tried to light a napkin on fire by inching it closer and closer beneath the pot of boiling water.

UPDATE - Dec. 4th
Karsten can now climb out of his crib. Brooklyn taught him. She was very proud of herself. Now Karsten sleeps with a lid on the crib.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Yumb and Yumber

It's been a full year since the last Thanksgivagain, but just one day since we most recently enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast. The turkey on the left fed our small army on Thursday with Sara's family and on Friday we recycled the black one.

Until next year - Happy Thanksgivagain.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Setting A Precedent

I found this article from Politico quite humorous and entertaining. While the press still has a very long way to go (south) with Obama before it reaches the same level of disdain with which it treated President Bush, this seems like a small step in the right direction.

The author has done some research into some of the crazy claims that routinely come out of the White House and both corrects erroneous statements and puts them into perspective. More specifically, Obama's (over)use of the word 'unprecedented', is called out. Indeed, his use of the word 'unprecedented' truly is without precedent.

One of my favorite parts is about halfway through the piece when the deputy press secretary defends the claims and pretends to know the will of the American people on the issues of health care reform and energy reform. If support for these bad ideas were truly overwhelming as he insinuates, why aren't they done yet? I mean, Obama owns both the executive and legislative branches and still can't seem to peddle his poison successfully.

Obama talks about a transparent government. And while there are a great many secretive dealings going on within his administration, I do believe he is at least living up to this particular promise - we can all see right through him. He's not fooling any but the most naive among us.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Hero - Joe Lieberman?

The epic blunder that is the current push for health care reform managed to get one wheel off of the rails of self-destruction today, thanks to former Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman says that he will not vote for a bill that includes any possibility of a public option. Democrats are depending on Lieberman's vote to reach the filibuster-proof 60 votes it needs to pass whatever they want.

While the public option is hardly the only thing devastatingly wrong with the Democrat sponsored version of the bill, I don't really care as long as it fails.

I don't even care whether Lieberman's intentions are genuine. Maybe he's just posturing for something. Maybe he really doesn't like the public option as he claims. Lieberman correctly points out that the federal government is already budgeting to be more than $21 trillion in debt within the next ten years and that a public option on health care will add a significant amount to that total.

The only thing I care about is that Lieberman is telling the truth. That would be reform that I could support - an honest politician - someone that says one thing and then does what he said he would do, instead of something else.

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