Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little Creatures

Last spring we raised butterflies. This year, with the gas and food prices the way they are, we decided to be economical and go to the pond for some free tadpoles. We went to Gibson pond in Lexington. This is a sizable pond that from the 1930s to the 1970s was a Lexington-teen hot spot. The pond had a dock, a diving board, and a swing set in the water. It also had a pavilion which was considered the best place to dance in Lexington. It was closed in the 1970s but reopened just a few months ago.

The new park doesn’t have a pavilion, but remains of the original dock and diving board still lean in the water opposite the main park which has covered picnic shelters, a boat dock, and bathrooms. It also has swings—but these are
on land for the more fragile 21st Century child.

We sucked nearly a hundred tadpoles into our empty Diet Coke bottle, 85% of which, for some reason, stopped moving before we made it home. For four weeks we fed them boiled lettuce and watched as they grew from the size of a seed with a tail to the size of a pea with a tail. After a few weeks they got bigger, grew leg bumps, grew legs, grew arm bumps, then arms. Then they died. It was tragic. After the third one with arms died we decided to take them down to our neighborhood pond and let them go.

We released them into a shallow puddle and said goodbye. There was a family fishing from the dock. A boy, having two small turtles under a net, drew all of our attention away from the happy polliwogs. It also distracted us from the white duck determinedly heading toward and excitedly snapping at the shallow puddle. I didn’t mention the situation to children.

So it goes.

After the tadpoles retired I thought we would use the goldfish bowl for a real goldfish. Thankfully LMark’s birthday was coming up so I could disguise a family pet as a gift for him. Everyone was excited about the fish, which promptly died a few days after the excitement waned.

Margaret’s birthday was in August. She handed me a list in July (not a normal thing for her to do) of all the toys she wanted for her birthday. I groaned. All junk. Instead, I decided to broach the idea of a hamster with Fr Mark.

Absolutely not. Period.

Oh well.

So I decided to wait a few days and frame my argument a little more practically. I showed him the list of junk she had asked for. Ugh. So we have a hamster.

We knew she would name it something unusual. As we were driving from the pet store I told Margaret how I used to have two hamsters. They were named Chevrolet and Bendix after Ramona Quimby’s two dolls. Beezus, Ramona’s older sister, thought her doll’s names were ridiculous because one was named after a car and the other after soap powder. But, as I told Margaret, Ramona thought the names were beautiful, so she didn’t care.

After a few moments Margaret said, “I think I want to name him Off-ten.”

We verified this: “Often?”

“Off-ten,” she said, “Like ‘We eat lunch often—but with a T—Off-ten.”

Fr Mark & I tried to quiet our snickers as Margaret, thoroughly pleased with the name, smiled as she held the new member of our family in his box and watched the landscape pass by.

Today Max caught a toad. He carried it around for more than an hour. He bounced it on the trampoline, made tunnels for it in the freshly cut grass, and then stuck it in the bird feeder. Max and Ella then hung it from the bird feeder hook outside my kitchen window as they ate lunch.

When lunch was over I caught Max running erratically around the house, leaping and grabbing the air. He was trying to catch a fly to feed to his toad still staring wistfully from the bird feeder through my kitchen window.


I smashed the fly and told Max to let the toad go.

I am no fun.

Update: I just found this photo of our tadpoles. The first one, upon distinguishing himself by growing kneecaps we named "Kneecaps McGee."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Infanticide, Revisited

From Hot Air

"When Obama was running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, his Republican opponent [Alan Keyes] criticized him for supporting “infanticide.” Obama countered this charge by claiming that he had opposed the state BAIPA [Born Alive Infant Protection Act] because it lacked the pre-birth neutrality clause that had been added to the federal bill. As the Chicago Tribune reported on October 4, 2004, “Obama said that had he been in the U.S. Senate two years ago, he would have voted for the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, even though he voted against a state version of the proposal. The federal version was approved; the state version was not. . . . The difference between the state and federal versions, Obama explained, was that the state measure lacked the federal language clarifying that the act would not be used to undermine Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that legalized abortion...

"Obama’s entire defense is based on a brazen factual misrepresentation.

"The documents prove that in March 2003, state Senator Obama, then the chairman of the Illinois state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, presided over a committee meeting in which the “neutrality clause” (copied verbatim from the federal bill) was added to the state BAIPA, with Obama voting in support of adding the revision. Yet, immediately afterwards,
Obama led the committee Democrats in voting against the amended bill, and it was killed, 6-4.

"The amendment with the neutrality language identical to that in the federal law is
here. In the record of the vote taking on March 12, 2003, the amendment was adopted unanimously by Chairman Obama’s HHS subcommittee. That added the neutrality clause to the bill — which then went down to defeat on a party-line 6-4 vote, with Obama voting against protecting infants born alive during abortions.

"This was no academic debate. The issue arose when...Christ Hospital in the Chicago area got outed for leaving these infants to die after a nurse blew the whistle on the hospital. An investigation determined the truth of the allegations, and the Illinois legislature debated on whether infants born alive during abortions should be considered persons and require practitioners to provide care for them. Obama, even with the redundant “neutrality clause” attached to the bill, said no.

"Clearly, Obama lied about his position. It’s no small rhetorical matter, either. His vote puts him on the extreme of the pro-abortion camp, so extreme in fact that
not a single member of Congress would follow his example. Obama voted to allow Christ Hospital and other facilities performing abortions to allow live children to die.*

*Four months ago, Christ Hospital unveiled its "Comfort Room." So now I can no longer say that live aborted babies are left in our Soiled Utility Room to die. We now have this prettily wallpapered room complete with a First Foto machine, baptismal gowns, a footprinter and baby bracelets, so that we can offer keepsakes to parents of their aborted babies. There is even a nice wooden rocker in the room to rock live aborted babies to death.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I mentioned this a few months ago.



Friday, August 1, 2008

Oh Brother

Last Sunday was absolutely crazy with the children in church. On recent Sundays and during certain portions of liturgy, LMark has behaved as if this is the time designated for his nap. If he is told to stand up for the Gospel, to bow for a censing, or to cross himself for Communion, he behaves as if he is about to drop dead of exhaustion. With activity from the other children who are trying not to interact and to socialize within an 8'x8' space on the women's side, it was--to say the least--kind of chaotic.

And of course, this is the time we get a visitor.

Providentially, it was not someone from the Bible College this time. Thankfully, he was Ukrainian Orthodox, so he knows
that we allow children in the church.

Actually, we already knew him as a friend-of-a-friend. Sasha is a professional 7-string Brazilian guitarist who works in Atlanta. He graciously
accepted when Fr Mark asked him to play a few songs for us. I was in awe of his playing and the beauty of his music. He gave each of us his CD which our family hasn't stopped playing all week. Ella is in raptures.

Out of curiosity, I emailed my brother to see if he had heard of Sasha, since the restaurant he plays is only a few miles away from my brother's house. Of course he had. But I was surprised to hear that he had been going to see Sasha for years, and it was during one of his shows that my brother had been so moved that he was inspired to go "run with the bulls" on a trip he was planning to Spain.

FR MARK: Did you tell him that Sasha plays Brazilian guitar...
ME: I mentioned it...
FR MARK: Pamplona is in Spain.
ME: Yes, I know.

It is actually thanks to my brother that I am able to record this tale at all. He gave me his old desktop computer when he decided to chuck all of Windows and go to Mac. This computer had been in a closet upstairs until my mother-board decided to die last Monday. I pulled it out and, with a few tweaks here and there, we got back to work.

My brother is a lawyer so he had three hard drives installed on this computer to hold all of the documents for his business. Usually I suffice with only one. So when I accidentally discovered he still had files on these other hard drives, I went looking...

Boring, boring, boring.

He did have a very large MP3 folder of music and artists I have never liked except for a few. Here and there it has been kind of fun. Otherwise it is like looking into a large and impressive collection of music I don't like and wouldn't listen to even if it was just to fill up the space.

I'll just listen to some 7-string Brazilian guitar and think of bulls.