Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Someone is eating the moon

On my way to the train station this morning, I had a pleasant surprise when I happened to see a lunar eclipse. It was almost a total eclipse. Might have been - the moon was still disappearing when I boarded the train and lost sight of it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Still more milestones

Yesterday, Owen made his first trip to the mall. Within minutes, the mass consumerism overwhelmed his little system, and he passed out. He was relaxed for well over an hour of us eating and puttering around. Then, Owen had his first meal out, a bottle at Nordstrom's, sitting next to the piano. (The boy has fine tastes.) There was a big storm while we were at the mall, and when we drove home, Owen had his first specific indication of his tax dollars at work: a Howard County worker was cutting up a big tree - 54 years old, by my ring count this morning - fallen across Ivy Terrace, our only road home. So we drove down our neighbor's driveway, which actually connects to another street, and as we dashed along the side of our house to the front door, Owen was caught in the rain for the first time. All in all, quite an evening for the little guy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Second snooze on the left, straight on 'till morning

... or at least 'till 0415.

Last night was the first time Owen slept "through the night". At least, once we officially "went to bed", he was put to sleep once by Mom and Dad, and only woke up in the morning (that we heard). So not only did he sleep for about six hours at one go, but he also went a whopping eight hours from the start of one feeding to the next. (That's longer than I like to go.)

Every day being different, I look forward to Owen having three five-hour sleeps while home with Kerry today, then spending tonight in naps with durations of prime numbers of minutes (not to exceed 97).

Reporting on other Owen changes, he's now cooing and smiling regularly, and he can hold his head up during tummy time for seconds at a stretch.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The best non-answer ever

It's the 1970s, and Henry Kissinger is talking with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. Kissinger asks, "What do you think of the French Revolution?"

An awkward question for a leader in a repressive autocracy, no? How to respond? "Well, Hank, I want to spend more time with my family"? No! The nimble Zhou said:

It's too soon to tell.

Imagine your boss asking you what you thought about X, and your response simply being, "It's too soon to tell." You'd be sent out on your ear (or ought to be). Maybe there is something specific you are waiting to find out, or you think it doesn't matter, but you've got to know something. "It's too soon to tell" is nothing. (And if you really can't tell anything about a social event after almost 200 years - three healthy human lifetimes - your analysis is likely meaningless anyway.) Or more accurately, it can *always* be too soon to tell. Zhou could have said, "This too, shall pass," but then the listeners would have yawned. We've heard that before.

But Zhou's gem was novel, and somehow, people seemed to, and keep seeming to, buy it. Not, "Umm, he didn't really say anything," but, "Wow, the Chinese, they really take the long view. They have such a subtle understanding of the consequenses of actions." The story's even become a sort of fable* to be trotted out whenever someone wants to demonstrate their own profound, long-term perspective. (The meanest-looking Muppet on Earth told this tale Wednesday in an FT editorial on Rove's legacy, which is what set off this current post.)

* I think I've heard it said that the exchange didn't really go down as commonly recounted. So much the better. It's such a brilliant non-answer that people are willing to deceive themselves to make it happen.

P.S. I think this may become a canonical rant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove if you want to...

... Rove around the Hill Country.

So Karl Rove is resigning, because, "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family."

I don't have anything to add to the commentary on why he's leaving now, how long he's been wanting to leave, etc. I would just say that I'm tired of high-ranking public and private-sector figures leaving their jobs "to spend more time with their families". Look, ye High and Mighty, we know it's (generally) not true. You've got your reasons for leaving or being fired, and if you don't want to share those, fine. But please, don't trot out this overused line. It's almost insulting.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

10-4, good buddy

10 pounds, 4 ounces is what Owen weighs. At least, that's what he weighed at the pediatrician's on Tuesday. As Kerry has noted, since the doctor visit, he's discovered that lots of time previously wasted with sleep can be productively converted to eating. He's probably not 10-11 (talking too rapidly), but once his Mimi arrives this afternoon, he will be 10-12 (visitors present).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Genghis development

In the past couple of days, Genghis accumulated his first belly-button lint.

Also, his hand coordination has improved. Kerry claims that he has intentionally put a hand in his mouth and tried to gnaw on it a couple of times. I can't vouch for that, but I do know that he can do more when I'm carrying him and he's agitated. Time was, the best he could do was reach up and grab a tiny fistful of chest hair. Now, though, he can reach towards my armpit and gouge the side of my chest or, as in one proud moment last night, punch me right on the chin.