Programming Memories In My Children

So this year, I’ve started putting strange things in my children’s lunches for school.

I know, the customary thing to do to make a big deal of it on the Internet is to put a little love note or drawing into the lunch boxes and then to produce ready-for-viral listicles of images. But I’m not a mommy and I’m not artistic. So the lads get some strange foodstuffs indeed.

It started when, as a lark, I put a tin of Fancy Feast cat food in their boxes.

Then, a couple weeks later, I thought about putting some brownie mix, unprepared, in the Pokemon and Sonic the Hedgehog comestible containment devices. I was at the store at the time, but I could not find inexpensive (sub-buck) brownie mix, so I picked up three boxes of Jiffy Yellow Cake mix. The next day, they each got one, and I baked the third so they could actually have cake when they got home. One of the lads, good boy, opened the cake mix and ate some of it at school.

I considered giving each pack of microwave popcorn two weeks ago, but I demurred. Because I wasn’t sure that one of them would open it, and that would be a waste of my beautiful wife’s preferred snack of late.

Today, I gave each an ice cream cone. No ice cream; just a cone.

Someday, perhaps when I am gone, they will get to talking and say, “Do you remember when Dad put something in our lunch?” And they’ll think of me.

Or perhaps they’ll mention it to their therapists. Regardless, it’s building my immortality, one little bit of remembered silliness at a time.

Cap and Trade + Nationalized Health Care = Crazy Delicious

Hey, let’s do it like the Canadians:

    The Lower Mainland’s health authorities will have to dig more than $4 million a year out of their already stretched budgets to pay B.C.’s carbon tax and offset their carbon footprints.

    Critics say the payments mean the government’s strategy to fight climate change will further exacerbate a crisis in health funding.

    “You have public hospitals cutting services to pay a tax that goes to another 100 per cent government-owned agency,” NDP health critic Adrian Dix said.

(Link seen on Surber.)

It’s a Fundemic!

WHO: Swine flu pandemic has begun, 1st in 41 years:

    The World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic Thursday – the first global flu epidemic in 41 years – as infections in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed to nearly 30,000 cases.

    The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of a swine flu vaccine, which it said would available after September. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

The difference between yesterday and today? A proclamation from above.

Not The Best Spin

That Air France plane that crashed on its way from Rio to Paris? The authorities, meaning whomever the papers are quoting and not necessarily authoritative on anything, are quick to dismiss a terrorist bomb.

Authorities these days are quick to dismiss terrorism in any catastrophe for fear of fanning the flames of fear.

Instead, they’re trying to soothe the public by saying the plane probably just fell apart in midair.

That doesn’t exactly make me want to hop on a plane. Call me crazy, but call me a cab for my next trip across country.

Where Were You When Obama Changed The World?

I think Obama’s speech on Muslimism given in the land where The Mummy was set will prove to be as fundamentally game-changing in the world as his paradigm-shifting speech on race was in the United States. It will be taught in textbooks and quoted by the citizens of the world by memory, just like school children now recite the verbal gems he deployed when distancing himself from that one guy.

As If Thousands of Technohipsters Suddenly Cried Out In Terror At Once And Were Suddenly Silenced

How do you like it, technohipsters? WaPo: DOJ preparing antitrust probe for Apple, among others:

    Apple, Google, Yahoo! and Genentech are subjects of a fresh antitrust investigation surrounding hiring and recruiting practices among companies in the tech industry, according to Washington Post staff writer Cecilia Kang.

    “By agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly,” antitrust experts said in the article. Hiring and recruiting can sometimes be a touchy affair, as Apple found out late last year when trying to hire Mark Papermaster. The investigation may suggest some kind of written agreement among large tech firms to not hire away each other’s top talent.

Your cherished icons are businesses, and your cherished administration has determined they are evil.

Elected Officials Fear Job Insecurity

Growing list of politicos find fault with term limits:

    Imagine Missouri’s stately Capitol with a vacuum hose attached like a glove around its rounded dome.

    That’s how House Speaker Ron Richard describes the effect of term limits on the General Assembly.

    “There’s always a vacuum up here. There’s always someone seeking power,” Richard said. “If the legislative branch doesn’t get it, forces outside the building might set policy.”

    Over time, Richard said, lawmakers develop the institutional knowledge and personal fortitude to become powerful enough to stand up to the executive branch and the hordes of lobbyists who try to influence legislation. But when term limits force out elected officials before they get properly seasoned, he said, the vacuum sucks the power right out of the Capitol.

    The speaker’s comments land him firmly on a growing bandwagon of Republicans and Democrats in the Show-Me State who have become disillusioned with Missouri’s constitutionally mandated limits on the amount of time elected officials can serve in the House and the Senate.

Yeah, it sucks not ruling after you get the taste for it and having to go find a job in an economy like this.

You know who continues to approve of term limits? I do. It keeps individuals from becoming too powerful and keeps the ranks of lobbyists so full of former legislators that they, too, aren’t as powerful.

The Villiage Takes The Child To Raise It

‘They stole my little girl,’ says mother judged too stupid to care for her baby:

    A young mother who was judged too stupid to care for her own baby has accused social workers of ‘stealing’ the child from her.

    The woman, who must be identified only as Rachel for legal reasons, is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights in a last ditch attempt to halt the adoption of the child, now aged three.

    She has told the Mail that she was bitterly unhappy with her treatment at the hands of social workers at Nottingham City Council.

    Her daughter, referred to only as K, was born three months prematurely with severe medical complications. Officials felt the first-time mother lacked the intelligence to cope with the child and care for her in safety.

    K was eventually discharged from hospital and given to a foster family.

    But although her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day care, the child is due to be handed to adoptive parents within three months.

    Rachel will then be barred from further contact.

    The adoption is going ahead despite a recent psychiatrist’s report which declared that the 24-year-old has ‘good literacy and numeracy and that her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range’.

    It said the unemployed former cleaner had no previous history of learning disability or mental illness.

A Question for Judge Sotomayor

Given that you, ma’am, have determined that judicial wisdom is racially or experientially relative with this quote:

    I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Could you please elaborate on the complete hierarchy of wisdom and jurisprudence in your worldview. For example, where do blacks and Asian-ancestored people fall? Are they above white males (probably) but below Hispanics? Also, how do substrata within the ethnic groups fall, for example Korean versus Pakistani or Mexican (Aztec-influenced) versus Guatamalan (more Mayan in identity)? Aside from national origin, are there other hardship modifiers to calculate, such as physical handicaps or socio-economic upbringing? For example, does a Caribbean with a limp trump the son of a Panamanian business leader?

As a white male blogger and hence probably less wise than a well-trained golden retriever, I’d like the complete scale to make sure we’re not settling for someone who is limited to the middle of the wisdom scale.

Why Not Go For The European Six Right Away?

Congress wants to make paid vacation mandatory:

    Rep. Alan Grayson was standing in the middle of Disney World when it hit him: What Americans really need is a week of paid vacation.

    So on Thursday, the Florida Democrat will introduce the Paid Vacation Act — legislation that would be the first to make paid vacation time a requirement under federal law.

Also, each citizen must make one trip to Disney World each decade.

Hey, Congress, you know what would bring down unemployment? Limiting maximum full time weekly hours to 32. That should reduce unemployment 20%!

Also, how about mandatory French training? Think of the educational jobs that would create.

(Link via Say Anything via Ace of Spades HQ.)

An Idea Whose Time Hasn’t Yet Come, And Probably Never Will

Behold the mighty Fugoo:

    Soon that “networked home” (once the stuff of animation and science fiction) could become a reality: This summer a group of personal computer veterans will start selling Fugoo, a brick-size box that will plug into specially outfitted home appliances and connect them to the Internet — and one another — via broadband wireless systems.

You know, that sort of thing has been available for several years–if not a decade–through the Smart Home catalog.

How does the latest and the greatest work?

    Here’s how it works: Each Fugoo box is loaded with a Via Technologies processor and the Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) operating system. It retails for $99. When a box is installed, appliances that have been outfitted especially for Fugoo are then able to talk to one another over a Wi-Fi network. The appliances can also retrieve information from the Internet, so your alarm clock could also tell you the weather, for example, or provide a traffic report. Once appliances are connected to the Internet, you can do all sorts of cool things: use a smartphone to remotely program the coffeemaker to have a fresh pot waiting for you when you get home from work, say.

The devil, you say! An alarm clock that can provide weather and traffic reports! Probably even specifically tailored to your local region through a complex proprietary algorithm. Wow! That’s so much more advanced than the $10 alarm radio I got as a Christmas present 20 years ago and continue to use today. And a coffee machine that automatically makes coffee. Wild!

The problem, though:

    Before that can happen, though, Fugoo will need to cajole appliance makers and software developers alike to produce products that work with the Fugoo box, in much the same way Intel had to persuade the computer industry to embed Wi-Fi chips in laptops.

    The company hopes that in the future, device manufacturers will simply build Fugoo capability into their products the same way that, say, your car might have a docking station for your iPod.

Do cars have iPod docks? I’ve seen the alternative input jacks, but not proprietary things like iPod docks.

Every couple of years, some company chases this pipe dream and gets some press coverage. But, really, do you want to hook your home appliances up to the Internet and its attendant hackers? I do not, and I don’t see any value in using a smart phone to check if my laundry is done.