Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Talk

So I'm working in my home office today, and Thing 1 is puttering around, on his winter break from third grade. He's looking at things through his microscope, building things out of clay, watching the Super Chicken theme song over and over again on You Tube--the usual. He wanders into my office, waving a cardboard wrapping paper tube around as a light saber, and asks me the following question:

"Dad, how do people have babies after they have a wedding? I mean, is it just like they have the wedding and then there are babies, or is it when they kiss, or what?"

And, professional educator that I am, I reply, "Whuh?"

I ask a clarifying question or two, just to make sure I'm where I think I am.

Says he, "I mean, how do the genes from the mom and the dad come together to make a baby? Is it when they kiss, or is it something else?"

Ok, well, that's clear enough. I ask him what made him wonder about such things.

"We were watching The Incredibles, and there's a scene where they get married, and then suddenly they have kids. And I know the babies have genes from both parents, so...how do they get them?"

So I explain the biology to him--because he is Science Boy and he actually does better if you start with the hard science, even at age 8. I even go to You Tube and find some video clips for him of sperm cells trying to fertilize an egg.

Of course, he's no fool. He wants to know how they got there in the first place. So I tell him. And, of course, because he is an 8-year-old boy, he finds the idea laughable and disgusting. I go online again (I was not expecting this conversation quite yet, so I didn't have an age-appropriate book ready) and find some cutaway pictures of male anatomy, so he can see that he has the plumbing for something other than urine.

"But he just point his penis and the sperm comes out at her like pee, or does he have to put it in her vagina?"

When I tell him it's the latter, he says, "Yuck." But, interestingly, not "YUCK!" Just simplly, matter-of-factly. Then he asks a few more questions. Then, satisfied, he walks away to play some more. As he leaves the office, I ask him if he has any other questions, or if there is anything else he wants to know.

"Nope," he says happily. "You answered everything." And off he goes.

Fine for him. I'm useless for work the rest of the day.

Home of the Brave

See, now I feel all guilty for inflicting that hideous rendition of "O Holy Night" on you. So here, have yourselves a fantastic little version of our national anthem, courtesy of an old friend I recently re-connected with through the magic of Facebook, Michelle Malone:

Michelle Malone sings the National Anthem

And so this is Christmas...

O, Holy Crap, this is good.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who Can See Where We'll Be?

Looking at this amazing gallery of obsolete computers makes me remember my first TI calculator, back in middle school, which cost 75 dollars and seemed amazing at the time. 75 dollars! Now you can get a more functional calculator on a key ring, for pennies.

Not to mention the slightly ridiculous (even then) Kaypro--my very first computer. Ah, yes, I remember it fondly. The alleged portability. The teeny tiny screen with its even teenier, tinier letters. The way you couldn't see the results of any of your formatting on the screen--just the coding. Good times.

Makes you wonder what we might look back upon, thirty years from now, with amazement and amusement.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Funny Because It's True...or Maybe It's NOT Funny Because It's True

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Articles We Don't Need To Read

Because the headline is entertainment enough:

Guns N' Roses Lashes Out at Dr Pepper

This Just In

People feel more guilty about letting their TiVo'd television programs sit unwatched than they do about...well, whatever. Poverty, global warminig, shrinking 401Ks. You can fill in the blank.

Actually, the article doesn't make that comparison explicitly. But hell, if it's important enough to be on CNN.com, it must be important.

And thank God. I was beginning to worry that this recession was going to Change American Culture, or Shock Us Into Reality, or something. But no. At least, not yet. Have yourself a merry little Christmas shopping stampede...and pray that Hugh Laurie doesn't take it personally if you let an old episode of "House" get deleted.

You're sitting there and you have to weigh, well, 'I have to watch this thing, because I promised myself when I told TiVo ... I want the whole season of that! Go get it! And go get things like it!' And so you've committed to this decision and it's a burden -- suddenly your relaxation has turned into more work."

"TiVo guilt" isn't a new development -- a quick Google check offers
articles using the phrase dating back at least two years -- and it has its parallels with procrastination involving previous technologies. (Who didn't have a stack of never-watched VHS tapes collecting dust?)