Archive for May, 2011

Se Acabó El Turno – The Turn Is Over

May 31, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spanish, Videos

Se acabó el turno - video thumbThis morning it was raining, so we couldn’t go outside for Nora to release her toddler energy in the playground. At one point she started going on and on about “Se acabó el turno” which means “The turn is over”. It makes about the same amount of sense in both languages. My best hypothesis is that it’s something that the daycare workers tell the kids as they rotate one child out of a high chair and put another one in. Or perhaps when they are forced to share toys? I’ve certainly never said it to her in Spanish, nor have I heard anyone else speak those words.

Children – Full of Life

May 31, 2011 By: erik Category: Reviews, Stuff I Found, Videos

Children - Full of LifeA couple days ago, Sam Harris tweeted about a Japanese documentary called Children – Full of Life. Harris pondered, “Was this our Sputnik moment for empathy education?” He was referring, of course, to Obama’s most recent State of the Union address championing federal investment in R&D. Indeed the teaching of moral and ethical values by the fourth grade teacher, Toshiro Kanamori, in the film is extraordinary. My first reaction to the film was “Whoa! Where do I sign my kid up for this guy?” and my second reaction was to resolve to do my very best to instill such values in my children, perhaps even copying some of the techniques Kanamori uses in the film. What a beautiful little movie. What a wonderful man.

Spanish Current Events: Peaceful Unarmed Protesters Beaten By Police

May 27, 2011 By: erik Category: News, Spain, Videos

Spanish Current Events: Peaceful Unarmed Protesters Beaten By PoliceIn the protest of the British salt tax in colonial India in 1930, the leader of the protest at the Dharasana Salt Works, Sarojini Naidu, told his followers, “You must not use any violence under any circumstances. You will be beaten, but you must not resist: you must not even raise a hand to ward off blows.” When the protesters began pulling away the barbed wire protecting the salt pens, the police began beating them with steel-tipped lathis (an Indian martial arts fighting cane). American journalist, Webb Miller, described what he saw that day:

In the pocket of Big Broccoli

May 27, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Photography, Photos

Nora eating broccoliThis morning I was reading an interesting Lifehacker post about self control, when I came across a very cute embedded image, which was full-freakin-screen on my iPhone, of a little blond girl eating broccoli. She reminded me a lot of Nora. My next thought was, “Wait a minute! We’ve got some broccoli in the fridge!” At that point there was no turning back [insert ironic quip about self control here]; I had to take some broccoli publicity portraits of Nora.

False Dichotomy Parenting

May 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Parenting

Dichotomy LogoA false dichotomy is a fallacious rhetorical device that provides an either/or choice in an attempt to force the listener to choose between the two options. The fallacy comes from the fact that the list of options are not really exhaustive, but limited in the speaker’s favor. The standard example is “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” A critical thinker will stop the speaker upon hearing a false dichotomy and say, “Wait a minute! Those aren’t the only two options!” But it works like a charm on a toddler.

Wilting Strawberries

May 25, 2011 By: erik Category: Experiments, Food, Photography, Timelapse, Videos

Wilting Strawberries ThumbnailStrawberry season is about to draw to a close in Spain. Although I’ve consumed several kilos this year, I’m sad to see them go. The thing that most annoys me about strawberries is how long they last after I buy them. In my experience, if I don’t eat them within 48 hours, they all turn to mush and they get all fluffy with mold. This is especially a problem since I normally can’t stop myself from buying a whole 2 kilogram box of them. So I decided to turn my frustration around and use the rapid growth of mold on my strawberries as the subject of a timelapse video.

Giving Disqus A Throw

May 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Reviews, Wordpress

DisqusLately around the internet, I’ve been noticing more and more sites, serious respectable magazines and important blogs, switching their comment mechanism to use Disqus. My only experience with Disqus in the past was using it as a disgusting javascript hack to allow comments on a Tumblr blog. It seemed like a strangely useless service, but it has matured a lot in the three years since my initial evaluation. Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of using Disqus on a WordPress blog like this one.

When are protest demonstrations reasonable?

May 23, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Politics, Spain

Manifestación Democracia Real Ya - Madrid 15 Mayo 2011For a long time, I have been unable to understand the point of political and social demonstrations and parades and such. I have at least two posts to this effect. What does Congress care if a bunch of rainbow-flag-waving hippies are out on the National Mall? That’s not going to change anyone’s mind!

With the combination of a number of successful political demonstrations – the most successful being that of Egypt – in the first quarter of 2011 and a video lecture I saw on YouTube, I finally had an epiphany about why demonstrations matter, and how they can be effective.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

May 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Videos

Happy Birthday, Grandpa (video thumbnail)I spent a good part of my morning today trying to get my daughter to say “Happy birthday, Grandpa”. For the longest time, when I told her to say “happy”, she would shake her head and say “No!” It was appropriate, then, that my eventual success came by way of using behavior modification techniques my father taught me. I told her that if she wouldn’t say “happy”, then I would walk away and ignore her. I did this once, coming back a minute later to ask if she’d like to say “happy” and make me stay. She did, and I heaped praise on her. To add the second word, I had to temporarily abandon her once more in punishment. When I came back, she was happy to say the entire phrase to keep me in the room. I assume this is how Steven Spielberg directs his films, too.

Kingdom of Fife Championship – Scotland 2005 – Part 7 of 7

May 18, 2011 By: erik Category: Golf, Photos, Scotland, Travel, Videos

Balcomie Links

In June, 2011, I’m going on a golf vacation to Ireland with three of my best friends, Paul (my father), Jeff, and Jacob. Six years ago, we took a similar golf vacation to Scotland. At the time, I posted photos and commentary to a website that predated this blog. In preparation for our trip this year, I’m re-posting my commentary on that trip in October 2005.

On Friday, October 14, 2005, we played the final round of the Kingdom of Fife Championship at Balcomie Links, part of the Crail Golfing Society.

I was 6 strokes ahead going into the final round, and won by 9 strokes by the end. I had the best three consecutive holes of my life: birdie, birdie, out-of-bounds bogey.