November 15th, 2007


[links] Link salad, here linkie linkie linkie

Clive Thompson on Why Science Will Triumph Only When Theory Becomes Law — A topic covered by me here and elsewhere.

Boys and Girls, Can You Say Anthrax? — Emergency preparedness in schools. Dig the FEMA rap on the fourth page of the article. (Thanks to martang.)

Recension — My new word for the day.

Get Fuzzy hits the "weird" button again today

A gem of a toilet rules sign from

Protesters demand death penalty for ‘Qur’an abuse’ — And people wonder why I find the religious mindset difficult.

Shorpy has some very, erm, boy pictures featured right now — Work safe, but if (one of) your gender(s)-of-interest includes Y chromosomes, the current WWII series worth a look-see. (Says the guy with a Kinsey rating of 0.)

Performance pay and the ongoing financial meltdown — "So if a billion-dollar hedge fund rises twenty per cent in its first year and falls twenty per cent in its second, its investors will have lost money, while the fund’s manager might earn forty million dollars in performance fees." Free market capitalism at its best. How's your paystub looking? How's your mortgage payment looking?

[personal] The day that was

Wow. Long day at the office. Hours of client meetings. Discovered my job is about to change quite a bit (for the good). Unusual rumblings in the publishing end of life, possibly to the good and in no wise to the bad. I have to do a bunch of writing work real quick, but when is that ever not the case?

After all of that, I hied off to the palatial estates of garyomaha and elusivem to cook momos and ginger chocolate chip cookies for the Omaha Beach Party. That took a long time, slightly burned two fingertips (not so good for the typing) and was fun and delicious.

Back at the hotel, with wakeup for, erm, 5 and half hours from now. I'll fly to Portland, be home for about two or three hours (with an assist from lasirenadolce) before toddling off to Orycon. We go straight from there to Texas Sunday. I won't sleep in my own bed til a week from Saturday when I get back from the Lone Star State.


[child] Living in the imaginary world

I had a nice chat with the_child over the telephone tonight. We were talking about candy fairies and tooth fairies. I told her I thought my Granddaddy Lake might have been a tooth fairy. She asked me why. I explained about the time that my (step)mother and I found a box full of teeth at Granddaddy's house. (This is true, btw, not some talespinning on my part.)

It was after he had passed away and we were all up in Gainesville, TX, closing out the house. Mom and I were in one of the upstairs bathrooms (it was that kind of house) taking all the boxes out of the bathtub (it was also that kind of house). She reached for a box which tipped over and rained several hundred human teeth down on the two of us.

At about 15, I found this riotously funny. Mom was Not Amused. My laughter was especially Not Amusing. We'll draw the curtain of good taste over the rest of the scene, but suffice to say it was a familial donnybrook of Thurberian proportions.

And you people wonder why I write what I write.

So back to the_child some more. When she was very little, she had a special place called her "wood house." It was where she went when she was lonely or sad or mad, and she would come back with reports of doings there. Sometime after we all moved to Portland, it transmogrified into her "rainbow house." She had a rainbow house mother, a rainbow house father, elaborate descriptions of her home there. The place had continuity, time progression and even narrative arcs. It developed a whole village. the_child had a twin there, who sometimes exchanged places with her here.

She never seemed to distinguish between the mythic reality of the rainbow house and the empirical reality of our everyday lives — she simply moved transparently from one place to the other as she needed to.

One day when she was about six, I was driving somewhere with her and her friend T—, a boy of seven. the_child made some matter of fact comment about her rainbow house. T— asked what that was. She started to explain, saw the contemptuous look on her face, and her voice faltered.

The rainbow house died then and there. I could have cried, and almost did. There was nothing for me to say. Maybe I was lucky to be in at the kill, so I could witness the passing of that age of her childhood. the_child has literally never mentioned the rainbow house again.

Like my grandfather the tooth fairy, the rainbow house lives on in me. I remember the stories, what it meant to her, even have some of her drawings.

Someday when she is ready, I will pass it back to her.