January 9, 2004

Uncharacteristically brief notes:

1) John and Belle's daughter Zoe reminds me a lot of my own daughter, and I particularly found John's entry about toddler storytelling interesting. Emma managed to creep me out a bit the other day with a weird Book-of-Revelations tale that began with the lines "He is the passenger dog that leads the way. He holds out the signs." The Passenger Dog kept popping up throughout the story, along with the Walking Road. I also enjoy Emma's use of reasoned argument, which actually tends to be pretty sensible and rigorous and tends to expose both arbitrary "cultural" rules (like questioning why Mommy sleeps with Daddy given our assertion that big boys and girls need to learn how to go to sleep by themselves) and hidden constraints on what is possible. Lately she's been really jonesing for a pet and is becoming increasingly wily in her arguments. Here's the latest round:

Emma: "I miss our old cat". [Cat died when Emma wasn't even quite a year old; I don't think she actually remembers the cat, but she knows we had one and has seen pictures.]
Melissa: "Yes, she was a good cat."
Emma: "We should get another cat now."
Melissa: "Honey, cats give Daddy asthma, and he's been much better since the cat died."
Emma: "I could help Daddy with his asma."
Melissa: "It makes it hard for him to breathe."
Emma: "I could help Daddy breathe."
Melissa: "I don't think so, honey."
Emma: "We could keep the cat away from Daddy."
Melissa: "Where?"
Emma: "In my office." [she gets to use the old computer in my home office, and is rapidly colonizing the whole room]
Melissa: "That's Daddy's office, honey."
Emma: "We could get him a new office."

2) I really appreciate a lot of what Erin O'Connor has to say but like Chun the Unavoidable, I found the anonymous author of a MLA "expose" creepy rather than sympathetic, and her latest martyr to academic oppression, while unquestionably someone who has been treated unjustly, is at least a more complex case than she lets on, given that he is actually advocating constraints on the academic freedom of his colleagues at Cumberland College by promoting much tighter religious requirements in hiring and curricular design. I don't see why the complexities can't be up front from the outset.

3) I love the idea of more money for space exploration but I don't get what's wrong with sticking to robots and probes for the moment. Building lunar bases when there is nothing to keep us on the Moon except national pride or a Mars-or-bust project seems to be more cart-before-horse stuff, just like the shuttle and the ISS. I'm skeptical about the "look at all the cool stuff that got invented because of Apollo" argument in that it gets applied selectively--it's certainly an equally good argument for massive military expenditures, for example.

4) Some editing of my blogroll, which is really just mobile bookmarks, reminders for me of what to read. I'm especially happy to add Russell Arben Fox, whose blog I really enjoy.