Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm going to miss browsing the news online if the rumors are true about Rupert Murdoch. That said, I have a friend who writes for AP, and he deserves to get paid fairly for his work. Hopefully the largest sources of news will still keep a few teaser stories or headlines up for the news voyeurs like me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Be aggressive

My daughter won--no, received--a completely undeserved trophy for her "participation" on a youth soccer league this year. I know I sound like a horrible mother for scare-quoting my own daughter, but you weren't there to strap the shinguards on a wailing kindergartner and to give 95 versions of the same speech: "We signed up, we have to go.... Do it for the team! ...You don't have to be perfect--just try your hardest... Your goal should be to try to kick the ball two times today.... If you stop screaming and kicking me, you'll get a juicebox at the end of the game." Her best was to sit on the sidelines and cheer on her friends. I signed up only because she begged me, and I would have been perfectly happy to have the only child who never kicked the ball on the team. (She did kick it once during the last game. It floored me.) The lack of aggression didn't bother me; it was her complete antipathy that was difficult. It got so bad that I just started calling her the "goalie" in a division that isn't supposed to have goalies. It was the only way I could justify her standing in one place the whole time.

Although soccer seems to be a rite of passage in our small SoCal town (even I played 4 years as a kid), I'm not saddened that she won't be joining a team next year. For someone who loves competition, I am appalled by the behavior of a few vocal parents, overzealous coaches yelling at children, and this YouTube video:

That said, I am wholeheartedly in favor of excessive aggression when it involves a quadriplegic. Not kidding. This is rugby in raw form.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On holiday

L woke me up this morning to announce that banks are closed today. L is five. Somehow, this important fact is of pressing importance. She asked me if there were holidays when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. I explained that there were no holidays because dinosaurs didn't have days of the week or months. In fact, they didn't keep track of time. They were as unaffected by bank holidays as a five-year-old is today.

Why do we keep track of time? If I remember my Daniel Boorstin correctly, it's to guide our productivity and to give us all the illusion of accomplishment even when the task at hand is not quite finished. That certainly describes the way I'm spending my Veteran's Day: grading an infinite pile of notebook paper reminiscent of this Ig Nobel scientific experiment.