December 2005 Archives

Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho!

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It's Christmas again, and I'm sitting down to a delicious Chrismas meal!

This Christmas I'll be spending time with myself, followed by later being on my own. I was in America until the 23rd and didn't get a chance to get to the store until Christmas Eve, by which time everything was closed. Our cupboards and fridge are bare, but I managed to find, hidden amongst this summer's camping supplies, my salvation!

Christmas Dinner.jpg

It's not gourmet, but it'll keep me from starving until the stores open up on Tuesday.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Happy Birthday, Mara!

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Today is Mara's 30th birthday.

Here's a few snapshots from the last thirty years...

Mara as a baby.jpg Mara as a happy baby.jpg

Contrary to popular belief, Mara was once a baby. In fact, she was a pretty happy baby!

Mara with Maman and Mimi.jpg Mara and Me in a tub.jpg

She's was less than a year old when Mimi and Maman and Mara went on a picnic to the Governer's Mansion in the Falklands. I know they're at the Governer's Mansion because there are trees. Mara and I used to get along pretty well. In fact, we used to take baths together! Mara, I'm sorry I dropped you on your head. I felt so bad, I hid behind the couch. Also, you may not remember, but you liked splashing a lot.

Mara and Mimi.jpg Mara me and Rae.jpg

Once, we went to visit Mimi and she was teaching Mara how to walk out in the driveway. Mara really liked it! It smelled really good at Mimi & Poppop's house, magnolias and figs and pine trees. Mara used to walk like this with Papa, except she did it on his toes. He and Mimi and Maman would get a sore back, because you had to bend over to hold her hands. I tried to do it, but I wasn't strong enough yet. You can see that we all still get along in this photo of me, Mara and Rachael! :)

Mara Birthday 1.jpg Mara Birthday 2.jpg Mara Birthday 3.jpg

Mara was also a young girl between being a little baby and thirty. I don't know how old she is, but I'd say nine on the left, eleven in the middle and twelve on the right.

Mara Birthday 4.jpg Mara Birthday 5.jpg

The picture on the right is one of my all time favorite pictures of Mara.

Mara and Rae.jpg Mara talks to Kristen.jpg

The picture on the left is fantastic and another favorite. It looks like Rachael is barely able to contain the giggles and Mara is barely able to conceal her disapproval. On the right, Mara is talking to Kristen at my parent's house. She's pretty thin for thirty, eh?

Mara's Birthday.jpg

Happy birthday, Mara!

Scopes, part ii

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The revenge of the anti-science movement

I'm chuffed to bits about the recent ruling in Pennsylvania in which a judge ruled that Intelligent Design isn't science but instead psuedoscience.

Here's lookin' at you, Chris!

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Chris took this picture while I was reclining on the couch in our apartment.

Nathan's Head.jpg

Say it ain't so, Peter.

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Back when we were young whippersnappers at Case, BJ and I had a radio show.

I interviewed a number of people for that show, including Peter Ferrara, who had written a book for the Cato Institute.

Welfare reform was a hot topic and I had asked him to give a phone interview talking about the basics of the issue for our listeners. Aid to Families with Dependent Children was having its parameters changed by the state in a money saving, AFDC recipient screwing kind of way and the debate in Ohio had degenerated into a shrill cacophany.

Peter Ferrara was a breath of fresh air. He had written a book on Social Security and was a clear thinking guy.

When we interviewed him, I was 18. To be honest, I was a sycophant in the interview and a bit startstruck. It was not my finest hour.

Nevertheless, he said some very clear headed things - like that women with dependent children should look to marriage to help sooth their woes and he also pointed out that individual stories can be moving, but to solve individual problems with policies that affect everyone are tragedies.

His thoughts on Social Security reform these days are still clear thinking, but he's become a one note piano (personal accounts, personal accounts, personal accounts). Personal accounts probably are the solution, but for God's sake repackage them.

In any event, the reason for the title of today's post is that he has admitted to taking money from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. This same admission has brought low Doug Bandow, a fellow at Cato.

I don't know when he took money from Jack Abramoff to write articles that favored Jack's clients. The worst would be that Peter broke Cato's rules or took money from Jack Abramoff while he was an Assistant Attorney General or while he was working for President Reagan. The best would be that he did so while working for IPI.

Either way, I'd prefer to know up front who has paid to put information in front of my eyes and I'm disappointed that Peter Ferrara didn't feel that this worth mentioning to the folks who read what he has written.

On the other hand, it does pretty much mean that, unless he finds a way to rehabilitate his image, he'll be relegated to the dustbin of history. At this point, he's pretty much stated he's a whore and will shill for anyone with cash. Of course, he says he'll only prostitute himself long as he's already interested in the topic.

Riiiiiight. Sure. A coupla thousand bones for an essay might spark his interest, since we already know he's the kind of guy that would take a lobbyist's money, write an essay favorable to that lobbyist's clients and submit it as if it was an uninfluenced, unadulterated opinion.

Peter Ferrara's protestations sound like a woman accused of prostitution who says: "But they were all so good looking I would have slept with them anyway."

For shame, Peter, for shame.

Ms. Hittinger was your age once

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It's true!

And I can prove it. Look!

Well, okay, she was your age if you five, six, seven, eight or nine.

Happy Birthday to Me!

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Yesterday, I turned 33.

Maman made me pot roast and Papa made marble cake with white frosting - his favorite! :)

I'll be headed back to Edinburgh in a few days - and perhaps back to D.C. tonight or tomorrow and it was really nice to have a birthday dinner with my parents. I haven't done that for ten years.

I usually forget it's my birthday. I'm don't remember dates well at all. I could never remember Jen's birthday - and then Liza's birthday was two days before or two days after or something like that, and I could never remember that, and when I'd invariably get it wrong, she'd get a wounded look and say: "No, that's your old girlfriend's birthday!"

Monty Python lives

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So I went outside to get the paper and walked past my father's cherry tree. We bought him a cherry tree maybe fifteen years ago to replace the cherry tree that had brown rot and was dying.

At first glance, I thought there was some kind of bird that gripped upside down in it. Then I thought: there are no birds like that in Ohio. I looked again and thought there might be a dead bird in it.

As it turned out he was just pining for the fjords.


Beautiful plumage, eh, the Norwegian Blue?

Mimi and Suzanne

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I'm guessing they are, anyway. My grandmother looks about thirteen and petulant.

Again, Mara, will you aid in the translation? What does this writing on the back say?

Maman's Pictures_16.jpg Maman's Pictures_17.jpg

What does this say?

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My grandfather gave my grandmother 100 Francs, with a note written on it in French.

When Mimi (my grandmother) was on her deathbed, she called my mother in and handed her this 100 Franc note and told her to keep it.

I'd really like to know what it says.

100 Francs.jpg

Mimi and my mother

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While I've been home, I've been rummaging through the attic, where my mother has saved every single item that has entered our house over the past quarter century, using patented technology that transformed our attic into a TARDIS. It's bigger on the inside than it could possibly ever be looking from the outside.

One of the joys of this is being handed the old leather and iron luggage - vintage 1930s - that had in it thousands of photos. Some of them are quite old, dating back as far as 1914, when my great-grandfather was a French naval officer during WW I.

Anyway, here are some for you to look through. First, there's a picture of my mother and grandmother, then there's a photo of my great-grandfather, leaning up against a cannon or cart of some kind.

The price of goods

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Prices are magical. The concept of prices, not nearly as widespread as you might think, is, in my personal opinion the single largest advance in human thinking ever made.

It beats all others - the wheel, Expressionist painting, the concept of a higher power, electricity, the light bulb...the idea that things have costs and these costs can be represented by a single price, that the two are inextricably linked makes nearly all other advances either inevitable or irrelevant.

Global Climate Change

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Aesop told us a story about a boy and a wolf.

Last night, Chris and I outlined a similar story, except in real life.

The most recent edition of the Economist, they outline the threat to North-West Europe from changes in the ocean currents; you can find it here (might require that you view some kind of ad to get to the article, but it's worth it).

While the story itself is narrowly drawn to pertain specifically to the effects on North-West Europe of changes in the Deep Southerly Return Flow, the very fact of this effect gives impetus to the charge that, as a species, we are poor stewards of the earth.

Travelling through CDG airport

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I bumped into a teacher who had just been in Morocco; she lived there 30 years ago. Do not be fooled by the stern mien; she was kind and gracious.

Anne, with an 'e.'

My mother has recovered greatly; she's up and walking around, the pathology report has come back about as good as we might have hoped - and we are holding out high hopes for her recovery.

There are many people who have helped me over the past three weeks, but, because I'm a selfish favoritist, I'm going to thank just two right now.

Contrary to the title, the two people are Ingrida and David, Thomas' father.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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