Sunday, October 29, 2006

Henry did something horrifying today

So Henry took an interest in our house's staircase pretty early on in life, pretty much from the time he could crawl. I watched him closely over the weeks and months while he climbed up a few steps, then back down again. Then last week, with me behind him as always to play catch in case he slipped, he made it all the way to the top of the steps completely under his own steam. As great as that accomplishment was, it was also a call to action to get a gate in place at the bottom of the steps without delay in case Henry decided to do some solo climbing whilst Mommy and Daddy both had their backs turned. Our stairs are kinda weird at the bottom, so the gate fits funny, but we managed to get it in there. We had a system in place.

Today, the system was compromised.

For you see, while playing with The Baby Henry in our living room today, I watched with amusement as he crawled away from his pile of toys towards the stairway gate. He looked at it for a few moments, as if considering. I was thinking about picking him up and lifting him over the gate to see if he felt like climbing, but before I made a move, Henry took matters into his own hands. My amusement turned to impressed horror as I watched my baby boy lift the bottom part of the gate out of his way and wriggle underneath, like a ninja slipping beneath a trip wire. Completely unaided, he made it past the gate and onto the stairs.

Oh shit.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Henry!

It's been a crazy birthday weekend here at the Holmes house. The Henry was successfully birthdayed, and afterwards he slept like a partied out rockstar. I'm way too tired to say much beyond that, so I'll leave you with a bunch of cleverly captioned birthday party pictures to tell the story.

henry sippy mom
Mom and Henry with pre-party energy

moms grandmoms babies and a dad
Multiple conversations about babies

how life has changed
Oh how life has changed.

the cake
The cake, which wasn't actually for babies. The baby cake is unpictured, as it was slightly less photogenic and had no fire blazing over it. Seems odd in retrospect.

so many new toys
And we told people no toys. Heh. He even got a Cabbage Patch Kid?!

Buy too much beer + All your friends bring 6 packs + Nobody drinks more than two beers + Everybody leaves their beer at your house = A fridge full of beer after your son's first birthday. Aw yeah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Conversations, imagined and otherwise

Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number One

The Barber Shop. The Holmes sits getting his hair cut by The Barber Lady. Other customers are also getting their hairs cut by other barbers. The Holmes notices that The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself, nobody else can hear him, real sneaky like) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Ouch. Wonder how that happened? Say! I could ask her how she got that nasty cut, and that could make for at least 30, 45 seconds of haircut chit-chat! Good thinking Holmes. (speaks so he can be heard) So uh, I can't help but notice you got yourself a cut on your arm there. How'd that happen?

BARBER LADY: Uh, yeah. I did it myself.

HOLMES: You...cut yourself?

BARBER LADY: Yes. I cut myself, okay? I took a blade and I sliced my skin open, okay? I like to cut myself so that I can feel pain outside and stop the pain on the inside. Okay?


The Barber Lady shakes her head and gets back to work on The Holmes's hair. The Holmes maintains his silence.

Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number Two

Same barbershop, same Holmes, same Barber Lady, same situation. Again, The Holmes notices the cut on The Barber Lady's forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself again) Hmm, it looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Say! I could ask her how she got that nasty cut...oh wait a minute. Maybe that's not such a good idea. You never know Holmes, she might have given herself that cut. On purpose. She might be a cutter. You know, one of those people who cuts themselves so they can feel pain on the outside and stop the pain on the inside? Do you really want to ask a cutter how they got a cut? But wait, don't cutters usually cut themselves in hidden places? Gosh, I don't know. Does she look like a cutter? Shit, I don't know what cutters look like. I don't know anything about cutters besides what I've seen in movies. I'm such a shitty person for not knowing more about cutters. Okay fuck it, I'll just ask her. (speaking to The Barber Lady) So uh, I couldn't help but notice you got a pretty nasty cut on your arm there.

BARBER LADY: Oh yeah, that was an accident with a pair of scissors.

HOLMES: Oh thank God! I was scared to ask you because I was afraid you might be one of those people who cuts themselves on purpose.

BARBER LADY: Oh, like a cutter?

HOLMES: Yeah, a cutter.

BARBER LADY: No, this was an accident. (Lifts shirt sleeve to reveal a series of evenly spaced cuts) These I did on purpose.


Direction I'm Glad the Conversation Didn't Go - Number Three

Same scenario.

HOLMES: (again talking to self) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. I should ask her how she got that. She doesn't look like she's a cutter or anything. (out loud) Say, how'd you get that nasty cut?

BARBER LADY: Oh, I'm just a big klutz.

The Barber Lady accidentally cuts off The Holmes's ear. Blood squirts everywhere. The Holmes screams, The Barber Lady screams, and all the other people scream.

The Actual Conversation

The Barber Shop. The Holmes sits getting his hair cut by The Barber Lady. Other customers are also getting their hairs cut by other barbers. The Holmes notices that The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm.

HOLMES: (talking to himself) Hmm, looks like The Barber Lady has a cut on her forearm. Ouch. Wonder how that happened? Say! I could ask her how she got that--

A thought cloud appears over The Holmes's head wherein the three previous scenarios play themselves out in fast-forward. When they're done, the thought cloud pops.

HOLMES: (out loud) So uh, how'd you get that cut on your arm?

BARBER LADY: Oh, my cat did that.


BARBER LADY: I was holding her and she got startled and she cut me.

The conversation continues. The Holmes counts himself thankful that he has not offended the sensibilities of a self-cutter or been injured by a klutz.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Will that be abs or no abs?

Last Sunday I found myself standing outside of the Party Pig Superstore with the baby Henry strapped to me, while all around us swirled the excitement of Halloween consumers. We were there to pick up a few supplies for the 1 year anniversary of Hank's emergence from the warmth of the womb to the cruel existence known as planet Earth. Geez, that sounds bleak, but I kinda like it, so I'm not changing it.

But anyway, we're standing outside aforementioned party supply superstore, and I'm checking out all the pictures of the different costumes available for kids. Now it's a given that lots of the girl's costumes are probably age-inappropriately adult, but since I have a boy and since I was once a boy, it was the boy's costumes that caught my notice more. And I really don't know which I found more amusing/disturbing, the fact that there were so many costumes of killers available, ie Michael Myers (dressing your child up as a killer child? Seems odd, maybe just me), or the fact that for every superhero costume, there were two versions available: regular and muscle. That's right, you could either be regular Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Wolverine, with your own scrawny physique, or for a few bucks more, your folks could do you up right and hook you up with a little muscle tone. Not to mention all the different variations on evil clowns. So many evil clown costumes! I wonder if the next generation think that clowns are as creepy as we do, or if they're like, so over that.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The politics of baby-wearing

To explain: I was going to write this really kickass post that you were all going to love that was all about this story that the Ash read on some baby-wearing forum and then relayed to me, and I thought it was really funny because it seemed to illustrate the politics, yes my friends, the politics of baby-wearing. And the fact that politics do in fact exist around a topic such as baby-wearing just cracks me up. But then I started working on the expertly doctored photograph shown above and before I knew it, I'd blown all my writing time, and I didn't really care about writing about the politics of baby-wearing anymore, and I just wanted to post the picture. So uh, yeah.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Raffi Kicks Ass

Yeah, I said it.

Like many parents before us, the Ash and I have discovered the joy of Raffi. It'd be easy to make fun of the guy, but his music seems to please the Henry, and I confess, I'm not yet sick of having him stuck in my head yet. Yet.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shut your loathsome yap

So this is just about the most interesting horoscope I've ever read:

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
I was nine years old when I first risked my ass to fight for the rights of others. It was a winter morning in Ohio. Ten of us kids were waiting on a corner for the school bus to pick us up. A fifth-grader named Jerry Demasko was doing his usual shtick: insulting and belittling the girls. When he sneeringly informed little Debbie Runello that she would always be ugly, I snapped. I tackled him, sat on him, and drove his face into the freshly fallen snow. "Promise you'll stop being a mean bastard every minute of your life!" I demanded. He resisted at first, but when my inflamed strength kept him pinned, he broke. Your assignment, Capricorn, is to recall the first time you felt an eruption of pure compassionate rage in the face of injustice. Once you've done that, spend the next ten days cultivating and expressing that beautiful emotion.
I had to stop and think on this one, especially since I'm not really an eruption of rage kind of guy, and certainly wasn't an eruption kind of kid. I'm just not all that confrontational, even when I want to be. The first thing that comes to mind is this time that my mom took me and a couple of my friends to see a Rockets game at the arena formerly known as the Summit (apparently now it's a church?! Double you tee eff?!). This was around 7th or 8th grade. I don't remember who the hell they were playing or who won, but what I do remember about that night was that I was there with my mom and my friends Matt and Robbie. There was some obnoxious guy sitting in the row behind us who kept yelling all these pointless insults at the ref. You know, the guy who thinks that the price of his ticket included the right to be a total asshole? So somewhere near the end of the first half, I pulled together all my courage, turned my little ass around in my seat and told the guy to shut up. I literally said "shut up" to a grown person. Of course, I was totally banking on the fact that I was a little kid and that my mom was there to protect me, but still. I don't know if the guy actually shut up or not because come the second half of the game, he wasn't sitting behind us anymore, but damn if I didn't feel the badassest little junior high kid on the planet that night.

Of course, it's not as if Matt and Robbie and I were perfect little angels that night. I have vivid memories of us throwing various single serving condiment packages on the ground inside the Summit and jumping on them to see how far we could get them to spray. Amazing the shit you get away with as a kid.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Like Ike

We just finished watching Why We Fight, which is one of those kinds of documentaries that pretty much confirms all your worst fears about the forces of evil being at work at the highest levels of government and industry, and pretty much makes you want to grab whatever possessions you can stuff in your car and load up the family and haul ass to Canada where you can watch the empire crumble from the north side of the border. Seriously, if we're the new Rome, I sometimes wish we'd just fall already.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bad Religion

"Beware of people and groups whose political blueprint is based on a mandate from heaven that depends on human beings to implement."
That is a most excellent quote from a book I just finished reading titled When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball. Kimball's background alone makes for an interesting story, but suffice it to say for the purposes of this post that he's an ordained Baptist minister who has spent decades working in the Middle East, he's met with many of the political and religious leaders in these nations, and he's negotiated several high visibility hostage situations that have flared up in that region over the years. I think it's safe to say he has a strong understanding of both the Christian and the Muslim world. My friend Brandon lent the book to me after we had a discussion about religion's potential for evil in the world. Frankly, most of its conclusions will probably not come as a surprise to most reasonably well-informed people, though it does do an excellent job of distilling the traits of corrupted religion down to a few basic characteristics by taking a close look at the dark sides of both Christianity and Islam. And although he's a Baptist minister, he pulls no punches when he turns his gaze to the evils perpetrated by followers of the Christian faith, both past and present.

I can't speak for Islam because I know so very little about it, but on the Christian side of things, I have to confess that I find efforts such as those described in the above quote to be a bit ludicrous. The term "theocracy" is not often used, at least not by those who would seek to institute such a thing. But when people talk about ordering society according to their narrow ideas about what the Bible says or what they think God intends (all other ideas about God and the divine be damned!), well that's basically what you're talking about.

And you know, I'm no theologian, but I'm not completely unfamiliar with the Bible either. And when I think about the kind of world that the Falwells and the Robertsons and the Grahams and the Dobsons of this world would have us live in, the question that comes to my mind is, isn't the concept of a theocracy just plain bad theology? I truly don't know what Biblical leg these people are standing on. I mean, maybe if the gospels recounted the story of King Joseph and Queen Mary giving birth to Prince Jesus, or maybe if they described the daily grooming ritual performed by Jesus's dozen-and-a-half servants to prepare the Jewish prince to walk among his subjects, or even better, maybe if they described Jesus's ascencion to the Emperorship of Rome where he then proceeded to order the world as he saw fit (because if he wanted any real power, would he have bothered with just Jerusalem? Caesar Jesususus, anyone?), or maybe if there were any record at all of Jesus ever telling his followers to seek out power or dominion over other people, if anything resembling any of these hypothetical events ever appeared in even one of the gospels, then maybe, MAYBE the theocrats would have some sort of leg to stand'd be a wobbly one, but they'd have it, and it'd be more than they have now. As it stands though, all they have is plain old Jesus, who never held any governance over anyone. Beyond that, rulers in the Bible are all ultimately conquered, killed, or otherwise deposed in some form or fashion.

The book quotes the first century rabbi Hillel, who, when asked if he could explain the whole of the Torah while a man stood on one foot, responded, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah." Jesus, whom the proponents of theocracy claim to follow, said basically the same thing. In fact, it's probably a safe bet that every religion in the world endorses some version of the Golden Rule. I may be horribly naive and tragically idealistic, but I believe that a world populated by people with the courage and strength to just try to follow this rule would do more good than any amount of legislation we could ever hope to pass.