A complete, practically pristine set of the 2003 Encyclopedia Britannica, now residing majestically in our library. I have, for a while, wanted a set of Britannicas(?) because I love books and believe in fact-checked, expert-written references. Great as Wikipedia is, I trust Encyclopedia Britannica. Plus, they look so erudite, it increases the intelligence level of the house just sitting there. Also added, but not pictured: a set of the 2005 Worldbook. I hope we can offer a good home to other such outcast tomes. Continue Reading >>

What’s Up?

I just finished a book called The Price of Privilege, by Madeline Levine (here’s an article on that topic), and have moved onto one called Quiet: The Power of Introverts, by Susan Cain.

From the former, I learned that affluent parents — such as the type Ian and I are poised to become, although we’re probably on the lower end — tend to impose excessive expectations on their kids, exert intense pressure to succeed (according to the parents’ definition), and ultimately stifle and steamroll their kids. The kids try their best to please Mom and Dad until, one day, they give up. For girls, that’s reflected in the high rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders; for dudes, it’s often more aggression, acting out, or being extremely rebellious. I had no idea, but apparently upper-middle-class kids are heavy drug users. Alcohol I’d expect, but cocaine? Seems a bit… hard core for young teens. But how do you cope with the expectation you’ll take all AP classes, maintain your 4.0 GPA, and play on Varsity soccer, basketball, and baseball, plus squeeze in some extra-curricular French and violin lessons? Continue Reading >>

Evil Plan

Here is my evil plan. I will become a bestselling author of action novels*, a la Tom Clancy. In my novels, the good guys will always triumph, but only by the skin of their teeth, overcoming¬† the villain’s superior planning, financial advantage, and ruthless nefariousness through a combination of good fortune, unbelievable physical resiliency (including the ability to not need a pee break for more than 72 hours during the exciting climax), and sheer willpower. No main characters will ever die, but at least one will always come close. Continue Reading >>

Other Katie Bonanza

I’ve been quite remiss in sharing the amusing Other Katie emails I continue to receive. Here are a few of the ones I’ve received lately, omitting the zillions of LivingSocial and Thirty-One emails I get. No matter how many times I unsubscribe, some dumb Other Katie keeps re-subscribing using my email address. Katie, seriously, give me a break!

Some Other Katie has the world’s worst photographer friend/relative, as I can attest from the following email:

On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 6:48 PM, pdr < [redacted]@mac.com> wrote:
Here are my photos from your party. If you want any printed, let me know the size, etc. Continue Reading >>

Bad Poetry

Now I lay him down to nap
I pray that he won’t take a crap
But if he goes before he wake
I pray that he won’t make a lake.

Okay, it is not fine poetry or anything, but I have to think of something for the hours a day I spend alone, feeding/rocking/soothing him. Another mom might, say, find a way for peace in the Middle East or think of how to avoid the fiscal cliff while satisfying both Republicans and Democrats. Sadly, I am not that mom and the best I got is bad, grammatically incorrect poetry. Continue Reading >>

Time Travel Artefact


Found this inside my library book. I used to find it fascinating looking at the dates and seeing how often and at what intervals a book was checked out. This book, for example, is almost 20 years old and had periods of four and five years of sitting on a shelf, waiting. After 2002 we lose its story, thanks to electronic book tracking.

But I wonder: What do books do while waiting on shelves? Do they hope to get chosen, feel disappointed when the next book over gets taken? Do they have squabbles with neighboring books and hope for preserving? Continue Reading >>

Political Lawn Sign Proposal

I have an idea for next political season, based on the following Atlantic Monthly article: http://m.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/11/the-popularity-and-irrelevance-of-our-lawn-sign-wars/264488/

So, if lawn signs are ubiquitous but useless, as this article suggests, here’s my proposal. In the future, all politicians must have supporters remove all lawn signs one week before voting. This plan has two advantages:

1. It ensures that lawn signs don’t get abandoned after the election is over. I hate driving around months, or even years, later and still seeing signs for long-resolved political races. Plus it’s litter – we fine people $103 for littering, but don’t apply this to political signs*. Continue Reading >>