Thursday, April 24, 2008

Clarification on Last Post

Evidentally, some of you have taken my last post the wrong way.

I use a sarcastic tone when I write so please don't take every word literally. My goal was not to diminish what my parents went through in raising all five of us (sports, school, etc) but to illustrate how kids demand so much of your attention and mental sharpness . My parents over time learned how to balance out their energy output so as to give us kids as much attention and focus as possible while still getting things done everyday. My parents were NOT lazy in any way shape or form. New parents like me are still learning this art of balance. Overtime, I am sure that I will. I just hope I can develop this trait over time to the high degree that my parents have.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My parents never had energy.

I always wondered why they had to rest after dinner or work. I knew their fatigue wasn't due to some ailment or chronic condition so I thought in my infinite teenage wisdom that they were just apathetic old people that really didn't want to do anything. To them, I thought, the status quo was utopia. An evening after dinner watching Dan Rather or getting ready tomorrow's dinner or hanging out on the deck if the weather was nice seemed to be--in my overly self confident, myopic punk-15-year old mindset about as static and boring as you can get. I remember distinctly thinking, "I'll NEVER be like that when I get older."

Boy was I wrong.

Throughout my adult like, energy was never a problem. I worked during the night, worked out, played sports, went without sleep. It was fun and exhilarating. Even with my first child, my wife and I cruised along with the view that we could handle anything. When my wife and I drove home and walked into the house with our second child on October 25, 2007, everything changed. My mind and body went blank. The energy that I was accustomed to having was suddenly drained. My ability to process information quickly and without hesitation was severely hampered as if someone took my brain, pureed it in a blender and poured it back into my head. I swore I could literally hear it sloshing around at times. Sure it was all psychosomatic but the feeling seemed real enough.

Maybe this feeling would go away after a little bit of time. A new baby was home and maybe I was a bit nervous. Two kids? WOW.

Here we are 6 months after the fact and my brain is still a liquefied amalgam of tissue, nerve fibers and organic molecules that are SUPPOSED to work together to facilitate cognitive ability and memory. I can assure you that aside from holding a job, pouring juice and queuing up old Bob the Builder VHS tapes, my brain no longer works..

There is just enough brain activity left for me to come up to this conclusion:


Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. I would step in front of a moving train to protect them...if I had the energy to do it. Its just that having two children is exponentially more time consuming and more taxing mentally than one. Just like I am sure that three kids is 25 times more draining that two, and so on. I was the first of FIVE KIDS so I should be used to a higher degree of chaos. (I use the word "chaos" in the most loving sense) Now I realize why my parents didn't relish extraneous activities. Its not that they didn't want to, say, throw the ball around. They just had no energy left in the tank. They were tapped. Their reserves were on "E" and the only way to recharge was to catch up on world events with Mr. Rather or read the weekly Parade Magazine about some family who has 12 kids and how they share a 3 bedroom house. I always wondered why they always read or watched about something that was more chaotic (world events) then our day-to-day life. It made them feel better. After all, who is having a better day. The family with 5 kids or the family of 12?

I now have an appreciation for what my parents have been going through since 1978 (the birth of my second sister). Its not that didn't have energy as I thought back then. Its that all of their energy was poured into us kids each hour of each day. Sure I understood that my parents went out of their way for us when we were growing up. But it wasn't until I became a father that I realized how great their endless sacrifices were that they made for us. Its not that they had no energy for fun, its that their energy was used up to allow us kids the freedom to have a ,life at the expense of theirs.

For them, incidentally, the child-rearing ride is about to end as my brother is about to graduate from college. My everyday life with 2 kids and mental fatigue is just beginning. I tell my parents what I am going through and all they have to say smiling is:

"Paybacks are a bitch aren't they?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cleaning Out My Junk Folder

At the time I started this site, it was hard to imagine how much crap I would accumulate in my junk blog folder. Anything from jpegs to tiffs to .wav files to quicktime movies to assorted photos of Jack Palance smoking I assume are from the movie City Slickers but who is to say.

The one jpeg that I couldn't part with is this one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RUSH on tour again

Just when you couldn't get enough of the most deserving band NOT in the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame, they are starting their 2008 tour in the south culminating in multiple dates in Canada in July. A DVD is scheduled for release in the fall with a documentary sometime thereafter. Maybe a new studio album late next year. 34 years a counting baby...

A few other side notes...

The Colonel is back after an almost 3 month hiatus with his latest entry. His beard is well but his state of mind is, shall we say, somewhat gloomy. Read his glass-is-empty update for further details. He did use the phrase "Objective Megalomaniac". Good stuff.

An interesting fact...

Ja Rule is only 5 feet 6 inches.

...didn't know that.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ultimate Quote From My 2 Year Old

Just when you think you've heard it all, just 5 minutes ago, my son while going had this dialogue with my wife:

My wife: "Are you done?"

My Son: "Butt full. Poop sleeping. Poop stuck hole."

My wife, laughing uncontrollably runs to me in the other room and relays his now classic retort.

Again, no pictures required nor appropriate.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Random Phrase

Yesterday, my wife said:

"Random Nipple"

The context of which isn't important. It's the fact that she said this and that no person in the history of the English language had ever uttered it up until now.

A picture isn't necessary nor appropriate.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Weather Outlook: Wet/Stormy Spring

As the La Nina pattern continues to sustain itself well into the spring, an active southern storm track should continue bringing wetter than normal days throughout the Ohio Valley and midwest. Judging by the above normal frequency of tornadic weather since the first of the year,
this La Nina pattern could also be responsible for a greater frequency of severe weather.

So far in 2008, in the first three months, there have been 368 confirmed tornadoes, 181 above the average over the last three years.

List of Tornado Outbreaks Through April 4th

Flooding in La Nina years averages nearly $4.5 billion compared to an average of $2.4 billion. We've already seen examples of this with the flooding in Missouri and Arkansas.

Has a La Nina pattern been the culprit for severe weather outbreaks in the past? Absolutely.

Major tornado outbreaks occurred in January 1999, a recent La Nina year, in Arkansas and Tennessee and in May in Oklahoma and Kansas with $2.3 billion in damages. And of course the super tornado outbreak of April 1974 with its 148 tornadoes that left 315 dead and 500 injured occurred during a very strong La Nina. In a prior La Nina event in 1965, the so-called Palm Sunday Outbreak had 78 tornadoes, 271 deaths and 1500 injuries.

Does this mean that we are doomed and every severe weather event will be loaded with tornadoes. Certainly not. The atmospheric conditions present are just more condcive for tornadic development. I just hope as do all of us that this doesn't materialize.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just The Facts - Part III - My Thoughts

Continued from last Tuesday...


* We are in the infancy of the technology revolution. Consider This. The last ice age ended 10,000 years ago, The New World was discovered 500 years ago (Chris Columbus), The United States is 232 years old. The light bulb only 129 years ago. By comparison, the computerization of the world is only a few decades old. The World Wide Web in comparison is only going on 17 years (August 6, 1991) as a publicly available service. A proverbial "drop in the bucket" on the human development timeline. Most people didn't get online service at home until the late 1990s.

The world is now linked together with the ability to access information anywhere on the planet almost instantly. As new, faster, easier technology floods the market, the cost will be high initially but will eventually level off as the supply increases. Gradually, as the technology becomes more integrated in society, the cost will lower. Remember how expensive plasma TVs were 7 years ago?

For the developing world to take advantage of these technological goods to better their lives and increase their quality of living, a free market has to be opened up by the governments of these countries. While I firmly believe that these governments will eventually acquiesce under pressure from their peoples to open their society (North Korea et all), the adaptation of these societies psychologically to a free market economy must be the first step in fostering an environment conducive in creating growth and ultimately a greater standard of living. It will take time, undoubtedly a few generations for any country.

For example, I believe you can argue even within our own country, society as a whole has yet to grasp Internet technology as a "fully-integrated" system capable of many wondrous things. The World Wide Web as of this writing, 2008, has been fully absorbed into many disciplines but it continues to be a novelty as a whole. How many people do you know over the age of 50 that refuse to use the Internet? Many are still scared of computers. A huge paradigm shift is needed to quell this fear. How this will manifest itself is any one's guess. Expect to wait another generation--20 or 30 years before we see the fruits of this shift. Indeed, we have a long way to go in our own developmental hangups.

* While not sexy to report in the media, free-market forces have a very pronounced effect on the global economy that, in my opinion, are many times too large for any president to alter wholesale with policy. Policy can help for sure but its not the ultimate remedy. Can you imagine a presidential candidate on the campaign trail explaining the macroeconomic forces at work for their constituents in the rust belt? Most of them wouldn't understand and probably wouldn't give a damn especially if they just lost their job. Yet, these macroeconomic effects probably govern more what happens than what most of us realize.

The next president has to fiscally responsible. I have to hand it to Bill Clinton. He acted like a fiscal Conservative, much to the dismay of his fellow democrats in congress, when he pulled back spending and trimmed the deficit in his first several years in office setting the stage for a government surplus.

He didn't push for tax cuts increasing the potential spending tendencies of Congress. Whoever is the next president, he or she cannot cut taxes and increase spending on social programs at the same time while reducing the deficit along with keeping campaign promises of universal health care or changes in medicare at the same time infusing money into Social Security while funding the military at these levels. Even if we pulled out of Iraq and devoted all of that money to these programs, it would still be short. Its mathematically and realistically impossible to achieve everything.

Something has to give. Someone or some group will be ticked off. We shall see what or who this "something" or 'someone" is.

You won't hear any of this from either side of the political isle. Maybe we don't want to hear it because its complexity scares us and we all hope for a simply solution. Maybe all we want to hear is the tone of what the candidates say not the underlying dirty truth.

On a lighter note, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is my favorite global market indice. I chuckle every time I say it.