May 10, 2010 By: erik Category: News, Offspring 122 views

Slam Dunk!Nora said her first word today, at an age of 13 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days. She’s a little behind the curve, but then she’s behind a lot of curves. And what most parents consider a word, I don’t. For me, for a baby to have said a word, it needs to occur within proper context, and only within that context.

Nora’s been voicing phonemes that sometimes make words by chance for a while now. It doesn’t count if she says “mama” or “dada” when she sees her mother or father if she continues to say it when she is by herself or seeing another object or person that doesn’t have that name. She’s been doing that for months, but it’s not clear that she understands that the sounds have specific meanings. She could say pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, but if we’re not talking about coal miners, lungs or silicate dust, then it’s just out of context jibberish.
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May 08, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 126 views

Sudsy NoraLast Friday, after a 12+ hour day at work, Marga decided to have a rare relaxing bath. When she was almost done, Nora’s bath time was approaching, so we decided to throw her in there too. It was way more soap bubbles than she’s ever seen. The following are a set of photos I took as she was exploring her soapy environment. She was in a child bath seat, but you’d never know that from the photos, as the surface of the water was opaque with bubbles.
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Tax Deductible

May 07, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics 130 views

The more I research retirement savings plans, college savings plans, and think about my investment portfolio, the more I come across the phrase “tax deductible” or “tax free”. My 401K contributions come out of my untaxed gross salary. The interest gains of my IRA are not taxed. Up to $2500 of my contributions to my daughters college fund are tax deductible. In the US, up to $3000 of stock market losses are tax deductible. Think about what that means. You can lose up to $3000, and the government covers your losses, making your final total the equivalent of someone who did not play the market at all. It’s almost like every American being given $3000 of poker chips to be played on the stock market every year. The term “tax deductible” is like “free money from the government…if you know how to use it”.
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After so much everything for nothing

May 06, 2010 By: erik Category: Art, Colindres, Spain, Spanish 177 views

VidaOn today’s walk I went down a street I don’t normally use and found a bronze plaque I had never noticed. On it was a poem by José Hierro, one of Spain’s twentieth century poets. He was born in Madrid, but then moved to Cantabria, the region where I live, when he was two years old. I don’t know about Hierro’s philosophy, but this particular poem is quite nihilistic. It’s also just the length and has just the right amount of wordplay that I like in poems. What do you think?
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Bovine Anatomy Lesson

May 05, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain 1,528 views

Sleepy CowThis morning during my daily visit to the grocery store, my friend, neighbor and butcher, Bruno, had something to show me. Normally he doesn’t get whole calves to sell, but today he did. When I was there, he was in the process of carving out the kidneys, heart, and other parts (it was a male calf). If you don’t want to see the insides of dead things or my local butcher, look away now.
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WatchLiveFootball.tv is a scam

May 05, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Internet, Reviews, Scary, Soccer 3,876 views

WatchLiveFootball.tv is a scamRecently there was a soccer match that I wanted to watch, but that was not broadcast on my basic cable television. Investigating around the internet for a site that would stream the live game, I stumbled upon a very well designed website called watchlivefootball.tv. If you go there, you will see a nice listing of today’s fixtures with the time the match starts, the players, past results for each team, and the logos for each team as well as the league or tournament the game belongs to. It looks very professional. On each match page, there is a video player. When you click play, you are presented with this:
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House Numbers

April 30, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos 328 views

29Recently during a daily walk around town, I noticed this cracked facade with the house number, 29, looking as old as the house. For the rest of the walk, and subsequent walks that week, my eyes were drawn to the numbers above the doors of houses, some ornate, some decaying, all interesting. I briefly considered taking enough pictures to have all the first 29 integers in sequence, but I decided against it, partially because I’m lazy and partially because my photography interests are so capricious. Ooh, look! A flower!
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Constructive Criticism

April 29, 2010 By: erik Category: Musings, Politics 132 views

For years now, I have been listening to the opposition party in Spain complain about every little problem and blame it all on the current governing party. For one, this attitude lead me to my epiphany four years ago that Conservatives Complain More, but it has also lead me to develop a new pet peeve. Complaining about the government is easy. Everyone’s angry about something. If you’re not, you’re either high or stupid. What’s really hard is suggesting a better way to do whatever it is you think the government is bungling. Recently, I’ve made a point of countering complaints with, “How would you do X better if you were in power?” The result is amazing. Most people shut up immediately or ignore the question. The ones that actually have an answer are those that have actually thought through the problem. Those are the people to listen to.
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Letter Train

April 28, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 287 views

Nora TrainThis train of letters caught my eye on the dining room table recently, casting nice shadows in the morning sunlight. I think Nora’s grandparents or great-grandfather probably bought it for her. Just think of all the money we’re saving on things like this by giving her a four letter name!
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Bipedal Mischief

April 27, 2010 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos 110 views

Sssh! Don't tell the child labor people!It seems like every time I turn my back on Nora in her walker, she’s off investigating some corner of the house she perhaps shouldn’t be. Several times she’s closed kitchen drawers on her fingers, which warrants a “kiss to make it better” and a stern lecture about drawer safety from her father. On Saturday, when I was gutting and cleaning some fresh anchovies, I noticed an eerie silence in the background and went to see what she might be up to, only to find her asleep at the wheel. And I thought I was bored by the anchovy cleaning!
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