Tag: fatherhood

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Sesame Street really has changed the way we think about our ABC’s. My 2-year old is quite the fan, he’s particularly into Ernie and Bert (though in our house, his Ernie has a special relationship with the teddy bear for some reason, not sure how Bert feels about that). Thanks to YouTube, we can spend a good half hour learning the ABC’s. For your own entertainment, my current playlist:

Elmo and India Arie do the alphabet

Sesame Street ABC’s Ray Charles and celebrities

Tilly and the Wall sing the ABCs

A very young Billy Joel does ABC’s

Kermit the Frog and Ladysmith Black Mambazo Alphabet

Lena Horne does the ABC

A classic animated Alphabet

Lou Rawls sings the alphabet

Richard Pryor’s Alphabet

Bill Cosby’s alphabet

Susan does the ABC’s—very classic

Patti Labelle sings the alphabet

Kermit sings the alphabet

Diva sings the alphabet

James Earl Jones reads the Alphabet

This post has been brought to you by the letters O and M and the number 2.

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Scribbles in My Notebook…

I have a mental queue of about 3 or 5 post that I’ve been meaning to get up in the past couple of days, but the demands of a new baby in the house are leaving me sleep deprived and somehow unable to find time to construct the posts I want to write (go figure…). So, in lieu of that, a couple of scribbles from my mental notebook that merit your attention and our discussion.

–SecDef Gates unveiled his defense budget. This could be one the most significant policy undertakings of the Obama administration and lead to some real, meaningful reforms with profound consequences on both domestic and international politics. This issue is being covered quite well elsewhere, so I will only give a couple of quick points that I hope you keep in mind.

Stop talking about this as budget cuts. Its not. It still represents an overall increase in US defense spending. Rather, its a reallocation of funds and priorities, away from some things and toward other things.

This shows how backasswards defense policy is. The vehicle for a major reorientation of defense policy is the budget. Not a policy document, not a strategic review, but procurement. Procurement and budgets drive defense policy more than ‘policy’ does, in that going to war with the military you have, not the one you want is the product of weapons requirements from 20 years ago. The F-22, the fighter jet at the center of all this, originated with a set of requirements in the late 1980’s during the cold war. Sure, they’ve updated and reaffirmed a new set of requirements to keep the plane alive. But, current AF strategy and policy discussions surrounding this plane are still captive to budget cycles from a decade ago.

I like the go-for-broke strategy that Gates is employing, as it makes it more likely, I think, to overcome Congressional opposition to any weapons system cuts. He’s shown with his comments that he’s ready to take on the defense spending as jobs argument head on.

Check out this story on how closely the US is studying Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah and how that discussion is serving as a proxy for the larger debate on the future shape of the US military.

–Obama was in Europe, had a major NATO summit, and called for nuclear disarmament. Foolish critics called him naive. Reagan also wanted disarmament, he offered to give up all our nuclear weapons if the Soviets would do the same. Obama’s going to try again to get the CTBT ratified. I think these are important steps. Proliferation is one of those global, multilateral problems that no one country can address alone. Reaching any nuclear deal ultimately runs into the fundamental bargain of the NPT that leaves some states nuclear and others not. That bargain requires the nuclear states to work towards disarmament. Obama’s call for nuclear arms reduction gives him major cred in seeking further arms control agreements with new and potential nuclear powers, as he can now claim with some credibility that he is interested in matching the disarmament that he is asking others to undertake.

–North Korea launched a missile / satellite that failed miserably, crashing down in the Pacific Ocean. The interesting question, I think, is how this impacts their credibility–they continually threaten war, testing, and proliferation, but then continually fail when they try to make good. And yet, within the DPRK, this is a reaffirmation of North Korean resistance and US surrender. To the rest of the world, well, I don’t think it helps North Korea make any friends.

Obama invoked the UNSC, which was nice, but (predictably?), no one could agree on anything. Russia and China were not happy with the test, but it seems there’s a difference between not liking the test and allowing the SC to sanction a state for violation of a resolution. We shall see how much more fun this makes Stephen Bosworth’s job.

–Pirates take a US cargo ship. Charli has that covered, but as I mentioned to a couple of students we’re working with on a Pirate project this summer, Now things might start to get interesting. Which is to say, we’ll see if the US changes its tune at all when US interests / persons / items are at risk.

–Opening day for baseball, lets go Cleveland!!!

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Monkeys do not make good pets (or you’re no man in a yellow hat)

After the Animal Revolution, monkeys will take revenge on us for attempting to domesticate them. Monkeys do not make good pets. There are very sensible arguments for this–Hilzoy makes them most eloquently–and there are the times when it is self-evident that one must be a bit crazy to keep a monkey as a pet:

On one occasion, they got in a wrestling match, and Higgins [the baboon] put one of his “steel-like fingernails” through Bob’s scrotum….

Bob has been bitten several times by Higgins, who now weighs 50 pounds and has large incisors. Once, when Bob was leading him from an outdoor enclosure back to his cage in the house, Higgins exploded and the two got into a battle so ferocious that despite the steel mesh glove Bob was wearing, he screamed for Carlie to get his .22 rifle and put a bullet in Higgins’s head. She got Higgins a slice of raisin bread instead, quickly defusing the fight.

Personally, I blame the discursive representations of Monkeys and Chimps as appropriate in-house pets. The biggest culprit here is H. A. Rey and Curious George. Unfortunately, too many contemporary Monkey as Pet people misread Rey (1941). While current literature–particularly the “New Adventure” school–tends to portray George as a lovable, curious 4-year old (cf Vipa Interactive, 1999) they have overlooked the warnings of Monkey-As-Pet deep in the text of Rey’s original work.

The New Adventures approach silences the narrative of oppressive Man in Yellow Hat and George’s simian rebellion. Recall that Yellow Hat abducts George from Africa in a yellow sack, echoing the colonial practices of the times. On the ship back to the big city, George, after an attempted escape re-narrated as an attempt to fly like a seagull, is disciplined into a Stockholm-syndrome like relationship with the Man in the Yellow Hat, now his “friend.” This friendship includes taking George home, giving him a pipe to smoke after dinner, and then putting him to bed. George’s rebellion of calling the fire department, results in discipline and punishment by the state, as George is sent to prison. He escapes prison by walking on telephone wires, and holding onto balloons. The recidivist George is finally directed to the zoo, where he can become a spectacle for passers-by.

As generations have grown up with the innocuous images of George, they too think that monkeys might make good pets. This is not the case. Monkeys cause trouble. George is always in trouble, and clearly present in all of Rey’s work is the Man with the Yellow Hat paying for all of George’s destruction, mayhem, and misplaced curiosity. Perhaps if such an intervention was attempted earlier, we might not have these tragic incidents of people thinking it would be a good idea to take a monkey home as a pet.

*in the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that my 2-year old son is completely enamored with Curious George, and we probably read him 5-10 curious George stories a day. Right now, he’s in a “George Cow” phase.

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Why does the Cheese Stand Alone?

Seriously. Why does the cheese stand alone?

I know I’m woefully behind on substantive posts– I promise they are coming– but this question has been vexing me for some time now. And, since I spent much of today singing along to Sesame Street kids songs with my 6 month old (and Big Bird conveniently edits the lyrics of the Farmer in the Dell from “The Cheese Stands Alone” to “The rest is up to you”), I’ve become critically concerned about this.

In fact, Wikipedia has no answer. The section on the page about questions–why the cheese stands alone, that’s me, I did that.

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Random thoughts between feedings

Lets see how much I can type before I need to abandon blogging for the night and feed, change and put my new child back to sleep.

So, yes, I’ve been out of touch for a while because I’m now a dad. First child, boy, born March 12. Very cute. Sleeps all day, does not yet like to sleep at night. Quite exciting.

I will say this much– it makes me appreciate the brilliance of Wittgenstein all the more. That which we cannot understand we pass over in silence (to paraphrase). Everyone says your life will be different, you have no idea, have your fun now. Sure, you say, I get it. No, there is no way to get it. You can’t know, its impossible to know. Is all about the meaning in use. You just can’t get how insane (in the good way) this experience is until you are having it, and any attempt to explain it to pre-kid me would be like trying to sell a air conditioning to a fish.

Plus, wow, so much that we take for granted about our own lives. Like, our current concern, the difference between night and day. Its as different as night and day, they say. Well, to the kid upstairs now starting to stir, there is no difference. Its not a given, its a game, one we construct and order society around, and its darn useful, but its still a game you have to learn.
As is sleeping, eating, pooping, peeing (everywhere, that thing is a loaded weapon!), crying, and smiling.

On another note– that Iran / Britain thing is getting interesting. Certainly not going to help them at the USNC at all– the Europeans may not have been supportive of a Bush Admin hard line, but these are Brits, not Yanks, held hostage, and they actually do have diplomatic relations with Iran. For now, at least. Not really sure where Iran is going with this, and it certainly is playing into the hands of the “hardliners.” And the treatment of the one female hostage is interesting too. Someone with a feminist appreciation who is much smarter than me on these things and has a bit more time to reflect on it should write something profound about it. There’s some serious stuff happening there. Fascinating, in the snippets that I get of it.

I wish I had a more coherent thought on this, but my brain is fried from 1 am feedings that last until 2:30 and then having to turn around for a 3am feeding. To the kid, that all seems like such a good idea.

Speaking of the 1am feeding, there he goes again with the sucking of the fingers….
but ohhh, its so cute.
(do i sound like a new parent?)

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