Will Swimming

Hi.  I think I referred earlier to Will swimming at Shea’s birthday party, swallowing water and then falling asleep on his little raft.  I’m finally getting some pics up just to let you know that it wasn’t totally miserable for him.  Sorry for the poor quality - I don’t know what was set wrong with my camera.

Will in the pool, part 1Will in the pool, part 2Will in the pool, part 3Will’s friend

And for an off - topic note, here’s my Facebook profile pic, a bit of political humor, and an excuse for heterosexual males to watch Olympic figure skating.





Ok, in what has been a traumatic week, with Renee leaving, Eileen having complications after delivering her new daughter (my niece) - I hear from Jon she’s OK now - and me having two lectures on a business trip to deal with (turned out great, but there was some drama involved beforehand), it seems odd to post about youth soccer, but that’s what parents do.

Will has been taking a soccer skills class on Saturday mornings (heaven forbid anyone should sleep in) and today was the culmination, a GAME.  At first, Will didn’t really know what to do - they started him on defense and he was just standing there.  When I told him to go get the ball he ran forward and picked it up with his hands.  He did that one more time and then we finally it into his head that he had to kick the ball forward.  Oddly, things kicked in after that; he  was moved to wing and he did a good job of dribbling and kicking.  He was smiling and was all over the pitch.  I was meantime trying to deal with Anna - who was cold and letting me know about it.  I put my jacket over hers and that helped for a while; it was rainy and ugly out.  OF course - you know this is coming - as we retreated to a nearby dugout to warm Anna up, Will had his big moment.  He dribbled in front of the goal and then kicked it in.  I barely saw it, but Will had scored a goal.  Yeah.  He had fun, and now we’re home.  He doesn’t yet get the team idea (once he started going after the ball, he would take it from his teammates as well as from opponents) but not bad for a four year old.  He was mixed in with first and second graders, and I swear one kid was actually TWICE as tall as he was.

Ithaca Science Center

While in Ithaca, I took the kids to the Science Center.  The center has alot of exhibits that the kids can interact with, like building a dam or rolling pennies down a parabolic incline.  It is basically a glorified playground for them, and there is an enclosed outdoor area with climbing ropes.  They had a good time.  Here are some pics.

sc11.jpg  At the Entrance

sc31.jpg Anna on a triceratops head

sc2.jpg Will and Anna dancing in the mirror exhibit

sc5.jpg  Anna and Will building a dam with some other kids

sc42.jpg  Monkeys having fun

Ithaca Trip

Billie had a veterinary education meeting in Ithaca NY this weekend, and she dragged the whole family along for the fun.  Here are some pics of us hanging out at Ithaca Commons (downtown shopping) Sunday afternoon.

The first pic - mama walking down the street with her kids - is so they have proof that their mother was actually with them during their childhood.  In the second picture, Anna looks a little concern but was actually quite happy at that particular moment.  The picture of Will is in front of an abandoned store that, back in the day, was Elan, Renee’s art prints and custom framing shop.

Mama and the kids Mama and Anna Will at the Storefront

Alice Cooper Interview

Billie, Anna, Will and I went to Circus Smirkus today - a troup of young people who travel around vermont and northern new york.  They were quite good (lots of gymnastics, juggling, etc.) and the kids had almost as much fun as Billie and I did. 

 Anyhow, the circus reminded me of Alice Cooper, so I’m embedding an interview with him that’s pretty amusing.  Check it out.

 <embed src=”http://blip.tv/play/Af7rOo3aeg” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”720″ height=”510″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed>

 Here are also links to two articles about his faith: 



Various Funny Things on Father’s Day

I hope everyone is having a happy Father’s Day (or is it Fathers’ Day?).  We were at a store, and Anna carefully explained to the check-out lady that “This is my momma and she’s good (pointing to Billie), This is my daddy and he’s good (pointing to me), and this is my brother (pointing to Will) and he just doesn’t understand.”  Where does she come up with this stuff?  She’s also going around asking people “what do cows eat and drink?” and “do you put soup and noodles in your armpits?” - this at a church supper, mind you. 

 Thanks to Billie, I had a great Father’s day - lots of cool goodies including a fancy remote, a bluetooth earpiece for my cell phone, a fancy electric toothbrush (I hope that’s not a hint), a Wii remote charger, a cool pocket knife, and - wait for it - a battery tester!!  I wanted to buy myself a battery tester a while ago, but she thought it was too silly.  I’ve found a dozen bad batteries in my desk drawer already, and a few good ones I didn’t know I had.  What a boon!

Billie has also been a great wife all these years, and she saved me from Dating hell.  Read this link for a laugh (if you’re a guy) and see if it sounds familiar:  Some things never change from generation to generation.


Material Safety Sheets, and Anna-isms

For any of you who have ever worked in a lab or taught a science class, you’ll get a kick out of this article on Material safety data sheets for standard chemicals:


The author looks at the warnings accompanying sand:  prolonged exposure causes cancer, it can only be used in a fume hood, and - let’s post this on the beach - people who come in contact with sand should  “Immediately flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes.”.

He also sites the situation where a bridge in SF was shut down while a special squad was called in to clean up a hazardous spill of iron oxide - aka “rust” - because the MSDS said you had to have protective gear to handle it.

*** Anna -ism ***

I realize that no one actually reads my posts unless I put some Anna news in, so here it is.  Anna likes to pretend to be a monkey, and Will likes to pretend he’s a dog.  I was refilling the water bowl for our real canines and the kids wanted to know why Porter was drinking the way he did - lapping with his tongue.  After I explained, Anna then noted that William will be able drink this way once he grows up and becomes a real dog. ;)

Check This Out - On Climate

Here are two articles using the MAGICC (Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change) model for global warming to examine the potential effects of the Waxman-Markey legislation (cap and trade). The “baseline” (if we do nothing) prediction is an increase of 4.5 0C from 2000 to 2100.  The first article examines the change in predictions if the goals of Waxman-Markey are met in the US.  The second article shows what happens if various other parts of the world also play along. 

It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with “not believing” Global warming or being a “global warming skeptic”.  This analysis assumes that global warming will occur, and allows the user to see how changes in human behavior affect it. 

Article Part 1:  http://masterresource.org/?p=2355

Article Part 2:  http://masterresource.org/?p=2367

 The skinny: if US meets Waxman-Markey goals (reducing our CO2 emmissions by eighty percent) the global temperature change is reduced a whopping two-tenths of a degree (0.2 0C).  It turns out that having other “industrial” nations play along doesn’t help much either - unless Asia is included.  Kinda puts the cap-and-trade debate in perspective.  I just hope that the effects on the economy are as negligible as the effects on the planet.

The point is not to go for expensive, self-abusive, symbolic gestures that will end up having little if any impact.

Odds and Ends

Anna and Will had a nice “play-date” with Grammy and Nonno on Friday.  The grandparents are amazed with the kids growth and the improvement in their language skills.  Sorry I have no pictures, but I just don’t get along with cameras apparently.

I’m closing up the semester, but I actually had THREE students who didn’t  even bother showing up for their final exams.  I’ve never had that before.  I’ll give them till Monday to contact me, then it’s off to F’s-Ville for them.

 My dad and I were reviewing the so called “first 100 days”, and I still can’t believe we spent nearly $1 trillion dollars just for the sake of spending it - as though it were burning a hole in our creditors’ pockets.  So far it’s the worse of both worlds for me, with Obama making all the lefty domestic policy errors while pretty much maintaining Bush’s absurd (IMHO) foreign policy.  I hope I’m wrong, or this is just a temporary political cycle, but I fear that by the time my children grow up China will actually be a better country to live in than the US, and they will have to regret Billie and I taking them.

Belated Good Friday


For some reason I was driving home from class and started thinking about Good Friday and the crucifixion of Christ.  I don’t know why I had this belated “holy week” moment, as I pretty much went through the motions during the actual church holiday, but there it was.  Why did Jesus have to die, and who’s responsible for killing him?  To the first, we are taught in Lutheran classes that someone had to take the rap for human sin, and God out of love and generosity decided to take the burden on himself.  I tend to think that Jesus’ death was a natural consequence of being a truly good person: Thoreau’s comment about the only place for a just person in an unjust society being behind bars comes to mind.  Someone who consistently does the right thing without hedging on the truth is bound to get on the bad side of the powerful.   As to who killed Jesus, the theologically correct answer is that “we all did”,  to the extend that we all would have taken part in his execution if we were there.   Consider the gospels’ account of his trial and death.  Along the way, any number of people could have put at stop to the process.  It is clear during his “hearing” with the Jewish priests and elders that the whole process was highly irregular and contrary to the laws of the Sabbath, yet no one objected.  The Roman authorities had no interest in executing  Jesus, and no valid reason to do so, but went along with the execution when their common sense should have dictated simply releasing him.  See Pilates cowardly appeal to the crowd, for example.  Finally, when the crowd was appealed to, no one spoke up in Jesus’ defense.  Not even his disciples or the people he healed or helped.  It amazes me how easy it would have been, at various points, for a single righteous objection to end the whole farce without a trip to the cross, but that never happened.  By not actively defending himself, Christ put the onus on the people to defend him.   So they were all guilty.  Humanity’s response to Christ’s goodness provided God with a basis for judging us, It had pretty much been proven right then there that the human race was not good.  Instead God chose to forgive us and Jesus rose from the dead, demonstrating that Gods courage and compassion were beyond our petty evil.