Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Your Bagel Picture

As a public service to increase the amount of baby cuteness on the Internet, I post yet another picture of my plump little Bagel.

He's gotta be at least 15 pounds by now, and he's only two months old. The colorful bandaids are from his immunizations.

UPDATE: they weighed him at his checkup and he was only 13 lbs. 4 oz. But that's still pretty chunky for a baby his age.

NPR's Convention Coverage

If you want a good laugh, check out NPR's "Morning Edition" coverage of the Republican National Convention. So far this morning they've had a bunch of protesters who would not give their names (cowards!), pointed out several Republicans who were once movie stars, and interviewed a puppet to find out why Republicans by and large are eschewing the more offensive Broadway shows in favor of family-friendly classics like "The Lion King" and "Fiddler On The Roof". God forbid they should actually ask a real Republican why they might not want to see an "edgy" show full of puppet nudity. It appears that it never occurred to these people that some of us go to shows to be entertained, not to help us deal with social issues.

If NPR wants to look even more ridiculous in their convention coverage, they ought to have their reporters strip down to their skivvies and report on people's reactions.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Steven Den Beste says he's not going to write any more!! Shame, shame on everyone (including, sadly, me) who ever sent him a nitpicky e-mail!!

I've Joined The Alliance!

The blogosphere is a mean, brutal place. Instapundit and his blogfamily prowl the lawless 'net, beating up on smaller blogs like mine with their massive numbers of hits. Even though Glenn Reynolds has not yet insulted me personally, I can't take the chance that he might. So I've done what any rational person would do in a situation like this-- I've joined a gang. My fellow gang-bloggers at the Alliance of Free Blogs will protect me from the wrath of Glenn Reynolds. (Won't you, guys??)

As part of my initiation into the gang, I am writing a filthy lie about Glenn Reynolds.

Glenn Reynolds came by my house one dark, rainy night. "I've heard you grow the world's cutest free-range babies here," said Glenn. "I have never seen such a thing before, and I would like to see them." Flashes of lightning illuminated his face with a sinister light.

"How on earth did you find out where I lived?" I asked, startled.

"It isn't hard. How many small college towns with recycling programs are there in Northern Utah?"

The neighbors were watching and I didn't want to start a scene, so I let him into our living room, where the kids were all playing on the floor.

"Is that your youngest, most tender baby, whose pictures you regularly post on your blog?" asked Glenn.

"Yes," I replied, "this is Bagel."

"May I hold him?" At that, Bagel let out a plaintive but quiet cry.

I didn't like the look in Glenn's eyes, but I feared what he might do to me if I didn't comply. Favorite Husband was in the bedroom, trying to figure out a new way to crash our server. I was sure that if Glenn tried to do anything evil to me, Favorite Husband wouldn't hear.

Glenn looked awful hungry, so I offered him some crackers. "Do you have any cream cheese?" asked Glenn, looking even hungrier. I brought him some from the kitchen. Sonshine grabbed a handful of the crackers, smeared cream cheese on them, and stuffed them greedily into his mouth.

But Glenn didn't want to spread the cream cheese on his crackers. To my horror, he spread it on Bagel! As he raised my little son to his ravenous mouth, I jumped over the coffee table and snatched my child from his jaws! "He's not a real bagel!" I screamed. "That's just what we call him on the blog to protect his identity!!"

"You must let me eat your child!" raved Glenn. "Free-range babies are smaller than regular babies, and are much, much tastier! Besides, I tire of puppies, and normal-sized children don't fit in my blender!"

Just then Favorite Husband busted open the bedroom door, shotgun in hand. "Get out of my house NOW, you sick bastard!" he yelled into the living room. Glenn just hissed at him.

Favorite Husband took aim at his chest as I pulled Bagel and Sonshine into the kitchen. "Run, Tiny Princess!" I screamed. Tiny Princess just sat there with an inquisitive look and asked, "Why does that man have so many sharp teeth?"

"You want something to eat, Evil Glenn? EAT THIS!!" and with that Favorite Husband's trigger finger began to twitch. In an instant, Glenn Reynolds had leapt from my couch and was out the door.

"Indeed! You'll regret this, Wacky Hermit!" he hissed ominously as he left, slamming the door.

So there you have it-- Glenn Reynolds tried to eat my baby!

A filthy lie by Wacky Hermit of Organic Baby Farm

Blogging About Sex

Simon World offers this guide to new bloggers, wherein he advises that success will be yours if you blog about your sex life. So here goes:


The End.

Now everyone will link to me!!!

Sonshine's Chromosomal Abnormality

Sonshine is finally starting to be able to sit still through church. Before the stern talking-to that got him to sit still, however, people were telling us we ought to have him tested for ADD. We decided not to bother, though. We already know what's wrong with him that makes him act up like that.

Sonshine has a genetic condition called BOY. BOY is a chromosomal abnormality; one of his two X chromosomes has been replaced by a Y chromosome. This happens in a surprisingly large percentage of the population. It is inherited from the parents; children with BOY have at least one genetic parent who also has BOY. And if a family has one child with BOY, there is a one in two chance their next child will also have BOY. (Bagel has this condition too.)

There is an easy, non-invasive test for BOY. Most doctors can perform it in their offices, and it is routinely performed at the birth of the child. Behavioral manifestations of BOY in children include: propensity for physical expression of energy, increased aggressiveness, and heightened interest in building things and/or blowing them up. If you think your child might have BOY but you are unsure, you should see your doctor.

There is currently no cure for BOY. (There is a surgery that can correct the anatomical manifestations of BOY, but it can only be performed on adults.) BOY can be managed, however, through discipline and behavioral therapy. It helps to let children with BOY have a regular time when they are allowed to let loose and do something physical, such as playing a sport or climbing on the jungle gym.

Some researchers believe BOY may be caused by consumption of dihydrogen monoxide during pregnancy, since virtually all women with children with BOY have been shown to have consumed significant amounts of it. Consequently, pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming even small amounts of this potentially toxic chemical.

Political Balloons! (300th Post!)

This is my 300th post, so I will make it about nothing of consequence.

At the county fair this year, my kids went around collecting political helium balloons. The Republicans had red and blue balloons. The Democrats had yellow balloons. I wonder if they made that color choice consciously, or if perhaps the yellow balloons were just cheaper (there are hardly any Democrats around here so they probably are short of funds).

Then we took a Republican balloon and a Democrat balloon and placed them side by side. The Democrat balloon deflated first. So we predict that George W. Bush will win the election based on the augury of the balloons.

Benjamin Gourami, RIP

Benjamin, the blue gourami, passed away yesterday after being attacked by the new orange gourami, who hasn't yet been named. Since the gourami came from the pet store, it seems unlikely that this was a revenge killing over the death of Thomas Edison Betta, but authorities aren't ruling out karma as a contributing factor to the gourami's death.

Benjamin's body has not yet been released for funeral. It is currently being held in the freezer morgue. Coroner Favorite Husband refused to comment on why the body was being held.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

If You Think MY Cooking Is Bad...

I should make my kids see this whenever they complain about the flavor of my cooking. WARNING: not for faint stomachs.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Carnival of the Recipes

The second Carnival of the Recipes is up at the blog of She Who Will Be Obeyed. Good stuff!

Excuse the Lack of Posting

Please excuse the lack of posting. Bagel is going through a growth spurt. For those not familiar with the growth spurt in the breastfeeding baby, this means that at any given time he is either nursing, or crying for more nursing while I sneak in a neglected household chore. This usually lasts for a couple of days.

In the meantime, amuse yourselves by e-mailing my posts to yourselves and your friends with the new "e-mail this post" feature. Just click on the mail icon under the post.

Friday, August 27, 2004

No Blood For Turkey Parts

A new technique promises to make oil out of agricultural waste.

Link via Q and O.

Fair Tax

This Fair Tax idea sounds interesting, but for some reason it reminds me of this guy I met on a bus once. He had an interesting idea that if we took all the country's pennies out of circulation and made them into copper wire, we could use the wire to bring electricity to every home, and it would all be paid for by the pennies.

I'd be interested to hear my readers' takes on it.

I Tried To Keep The U.S. Out Of Iraq And All I Got Was This Lousy Terrorist Attack

The Club Of Countries Who Have Been Attacked By Terrorists welcomes Russia (again) as its newest member.

UPDATE: France now has a couple of kidnapped journalists, nominally because of the headscarf ban. I guess nothing short of declaring yourself an Islamic Republic will get you off the hook with these guys...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Medically Necessary D&X Abortions

My dad was an OB-GYN and so I grew up talking about C-sections at the dinner table. So I am aware that sometimes a particular medical procedure that can be used for elective abortion, such as a D&C (dilatation and curretage), can also have medically necessary uses (such as removing the remnants of a miscarriage). I am against abortion in most cases, but I definitely would not support an outright ban on the D&C procedure, because it has lifesaving contexts.

I do, however, support a ban on D&X, aka partial birth abortion. I heard on NPR today that yet another judge has decided that the law banning D&X is unconstitutional because it doesn't allow an exception for the health or life of the mother.

Back when the law was passed, I wanted to get an informed opinion on D&X, so I asked my dad if he could tell me of a case where a D&X was necessary to save the life or health of the mother. As soon as I said "D&X" he hung his head and was silent for a while before answering me gravely. Then he told me what I had suspected from descriptions of the procedure, which is that from the mother's point of view, a D&X is exactly the same as a live birth. The only medical difference between a live birth and a D&X is that after a live birth, there's a live baby, and after a D&X, there's a dead baby.

If there are no cases in which the outcome for the mother would be different with a live birth, then it's awfully disingenuous of people to claim that there ought to be an exception in the ban on D&X for the life or health of the mother. Now if anyone out there can give me a scenario where D&X would save the mother's life or health and live birth would not, I may change my opinion. (Any argument hinging on the mother's having to raise the child is moot, since the child could easily be adopted out once it's born. And any argument regarding the quality of life of the baby doesn't count, because we are talking about the mother's health, not the baby.)

So I challenge you all: if you support overturning the D&X ban, give me one scenario where it saves the mother's life.


Since I now have enough readers that I'm starting to get comments, I should probably make up a comment policy.

First, keep 'em clean. My mother reads this blog. She got upset that I wrote "...and feeding them nothing but crap" at the top of my blog. Don't write anything that would embarrass me in front of my mother.

Second, no link-whoring or spambots. If you have a topical post on your blog, please link to it. But if you just want gratuitous links, join the Alliance of Free Blogs.

Third, keep the comments brief. If you want to fisk something I wrote or something I linked to, do it on your own blog. The rule I use for making my own comments on other blogs is "if it takes more than three paragraphs, do it on your own bandwidth."

Last, it's bad form to come to someone's personal blog and insult everything they hold dear. If you think I'm wrong, OK, explain why you think I'm wrong. But if you think I'm a raving lunatic, don't come here just to insult me. Besides, under the new medical privacy laws, being a raving lunatic is between me and my psychiatrist!

Quit Yer Whinin'

I've been hearing a lot of whinin' lately about how the Republicans shared a lawyer with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. You can all quit yer whinin' now, because not only is it not illegal, but the Democrats are doing it too.

Thomas Edison Betta, R.I.P.

Tiny Princess' betta fish, Thomas Edison, passed away yesterday in a hospital bowl next to the main fish tank. We suspect Thomas was the victim of foul play. On Saturday, the tank sprung a leak and all the fish were transferred to a new, larger tank. Thomas had been in a separate bowl, but Favorite Husband put him in the larger tank with the other fish. Thomas was doing just fine until the gourami, Benjamin, was admitted to the tank on Sunday. When we discovered on Tuesday that large portions of his tail were missing, we transferred him to the hospital bowl. We suspect Benjamin, encouraged by the size of the new tank, was attacking him. Unfortunately, Benjamin has been intimidating the guppies, who are the only witnesses who can confirm the attacks. We've seen him chasing the guppies now that Thomas is gone.

Funeral services will be this morning in the master bathroom. In lieu of flowers please send donations to your favorite charity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Donuts For Grades

Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts to students for every A on their report card.

I hope they made this decision in light of recent trends in grading.

(yes, I know that website only shows stats on college grade inflation. Did you know that "gradeinflation.org" redirects to harvard.edu?)

Un-Democratic Democrats

The last time I looked it up, "democracy" meant "government by the voice of the people". The main difference between Democrats and Republicans is supposed to be that Democrats support efforts for the direct voice of the people to rule, whereas Republicans support government by popularly elected representatives. So it really pisses me off to see Democrats (well, anyone actually, but especially Democrats) pulling crap like this:

LANSING — Backers of a ban on same-sex marriage in Michigan will have to go to court to get their proposal on the November ballot, following the unexpected and stunning rejection of the group’s petitions by the Board of State Canvassers on Monday.

The Citizens for the Protection of Marriage could find themselves waiting in line for a court date with those who want to see third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in Michigan. The board also denied Nader a spot on the ballot as an independent. Both issues failed on a 2-2 partisan vote with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. A majority vote was needed. ...

Democrats who voted against the measure said it could be construed to outlaw domestic partnership benefits, union contracts, common law marriage, the equal protection clause and religious freedom.

“To put on the ballot a proposal that can never be enforced is a lie,” said Doyle O’Connor, a Democratic member of the board. “We have to vote our own conscience.”

Too bad they don't seem to want to extend that privilege to the rest of the residents of Michigan.

Before I became a Republican, I was a Democrat. I signed on to the Democratic party mostly because I believe in the ideal of democracy and I think that people are generally pretty smart, smart enough to make up their own minds at least. Democrats like those on this board are why I'm now a Republican. The Republican party is reputed by many to be the party that most supports oligarchy, but people like these make me wonder whether the Democrats are trying to usurp that role.

An attorney for supporters said the board clearly overstepped its authority when it rejected the proposal based on the substance of the issue. It is supposed to decide simply whether the petition signatures are valid and sufficient, he said.

“Are we going to court? We have no choice,” Eric Doster said. “This was a clear violation of their legal duty.”

Too bad the courts share the same philosophy as these board members nowadays...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Beaches of Toy-mandy

Today was D-Day: I stormed the beaches of Toymandy, armed with boxes and bags, on a mission to tame the onslaught of toys that have been invading my hallway and living room. I came out of Tiny Princess' room with three bags of trash and three boxes of prisoners of war, including her Tiny Princess Doll and her dollhouse. The prisoners of war, as per the Geneva conventions, have been safely housed in the storage unit, where they can be visited by Red Cross observers. They will be returned to their room of origin as soon as Tiny Princess demonstrates the ability to take care of the toys that remained.

Thursday we invade Sonshine's room.

Red Pen Carnage

SCSU Scholars has a post about the use of red ink in grading. I'm not a blind partisan of red ink, although it is my preferred grading color. But the campaign against it is just ridiculous.

The article King links to quotes someone as preferring purple pens to red because of the psychological effect red ink has on students. I had a colleague that used green pens instead of red for the same reason. I think that teachers who try to use a different color in order to accommodate their students' sensibilities are likely to fail in their endeavor. Students are pretty damn smart, and it won't take them long to figure out that green is the new red and get just as upset at comments in green as they would at comments in red.

The most important criteria for selecting a grading ink color, IMHO, are:
(1) students aren't likely to write in it-- that's why we don't grade in black or blue
(2) it is actually readable-- that's why we don't grade in white or highlighter yellow
(3) it stands out to the eye, to increase the likelihood that students will actually read what we write instead of just assuming we graded them low because we don't like them or we had some bad fish the night before grading

If green or purple ink meets all of those criteria, then go ahead and use it. I've occasionally graded in green or blue if I can't find a red pen. But I find that red pens fit criterion #3 better than green, blue, or purple pens.

UPDATE: Kimberly Swygert comments.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Lobster-Eating Contest

I wish I were there at this lobster-eating contest:
KENNEBUNK, Maine -- America's top speed-eater wolfed down 38 lobsters in 12 minutes Saturday to win the World Lobster Eating Contest.

Sonya Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., won $500 and a trophy belt for her efforts, consuming 9.76 pounds of lobster meat.
I hope that belt had several notches!

I just love lobster. When we lived in New Hampshire we went all the time to this little hole-in-the-wall place where you could get the tail meat from too-small lobsters for cheap. Slather them in butter and pop 'em in your mouth... mmmm.....

Five Dinners Out of One Chicken

(OK, it only works for a small family, 2 adults and 1 baby. Larger families may need to use multiple chickens and/or eat the food in three days.)

You can do this even more cheaply with all or part of a 10-lb bag of chicken legs, if your family doesn't mind dark meat. I get these at Wal-Mart for around $4.

Day 1: Roast Chicken With Winter Vegetables.
One whole chicken
a Squash
2 Onions
(you can also use potatoes or any other winter vegetables)
4 cloves of Garlic
Olive Oil
fresh Parsley

Cut the veggies into chunks. In a large roasting pan, place the chicken and the cut-up veggies. Drizzle with olive oil. Mince the garlic and parsley and sprinkle them over everything. Roast at 350 degrees until chicken is done, usually about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Tonight, everyone eats a piece of chicken and some vegetables. After dinner, pick the meat off all the chicken bones (except for 1 drumstick) and chop it into pieces. Save the bones and the skin and the remaining drumstick.

Baby Food:
Remove the skin from the squash and grind it in a baby food grinder (or puree it in the blender). Freeze the puree in ice cube trays, pop out the squash cubes and put them in a bag in the freezer.

Day 2: Chicken Pot Pie
1 cup chicken meat (pick the meat off the leftover roast chicken)
1 can mixed vegetables or small package of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 c. Bisquick or other biscuit mix
1/2 c. milk
1 egg

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix chicken, vegetables, and soup in 9" pie plate. In separate bowl, mix Bisquick, milk and egg. Pour into pie plate over chicken mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Day 3: Leftover Pot Pie

Put the bones, skin, and drumstick in a large pot with:
2 carrots, chopped in a few large pieces
2 onions, chopped in a few large pieces
1 stalk of celery, chopped in a few large pieces
1 bay leaf
sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley
Cover with water. Boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the veggies and herbs, bones, skin, and drumstick and save the carrots and the meat from the drumstick, which by now should be falling off the bone. This makes the broth and this part can be done in advance so that you can refrigerate it and take the fat off the top, if you want.

Add water to the broth if necessary to make 5 cups.

Baby Food:
Take the drumstick meat, which by now is really soft and overcooked, and grind it in the baby food grinder for the baby. Grind the carrots also. Freeze any baby food you're not going to use right away.

Day 4: Curry Chicken Soup In Bread Bowls
2 Tbsp. butter
1 carrot, chopped finer
1 onion, chopped finer
1 stalk of celery, chopped finer
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
5 cups broth from above
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup white rice
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. cream or plain yogurt

Saute the vegetables in the melted butter. Blend in curry powder and saute 1 minute more. Add the 5 cups of broth, bay leaf, and the rest of the picked-off chicken meat from Day 1. Simmer covered for 7-10 minutes. Add rice, cover, and boil 12-15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Mix cornstarch into cream, and blend into soup. Cook 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Serve in bread bowls.

Day 5: Leftovers
Eat the leftover soup with the remaining bread bowls.

Organic Cotton and Kobe Beef

Some people think it's a little wacky to make such a big deal over organic cotton when regular, non-organic cotton is so much cheaper. Now, some people like organic cotton because they like to feel like they're helping out "the environment". They do it because they think it's the moral thing to do. Some of those people understand what sort of environmental effects organic cotton has; but in my experience most of them don't, they just do it because it gives them some sort of moral high ground. (We all enjoy being on what we perceive as the moral high ground so that we can spend a few moments there lording it over everyone else. It sounds bad, but it's true! It's human nature.)

People who don't like organic cotton usually don't like it for one of two reasons:
(1) it's more expensive and they can't see spending so much money for something they see as morally equivalent to non-organic cotton.
(2) they loathe the people who use organic stuff as a moral high ground, because nobody likes other people telling them they're on the moral low ground.

Me, I see organic cotton as something like Kobe beef. Kobe beef is a horribly expensive beef from Japan. The cows are specially fed and massaged, and the beef is supposed to be the best-tasting, most tender beef in the world. It is the process by which the beef is painstakingly obtained, and the high value of the land it takes to raise a cow on the crowded island of Japan, that makes the beef so expensive. What makes Kobe beef "cool" enough for people to spend hundreds of dollars on it is the knowledge of its provenance, and that it's supposed to be more tender and flavorful than ordinary beef. I don't know of anyone who thinks Kobe beef is somehow more "moral" than, say, Texas beef. So people who shell out the big bucks for Kobe beef are paying for the experience of eating beef that's been pampered.

What inspired this long and rambling post was a lady who placed a special order for ten organic cotton oven mitts. Something the lady said irritated me. She thanked me for doing such a service to the environment by promoting organic cotton. Now, I don't really care much why she wanted to buy the mitts, because her money's as green as anyone else's. Economics doesn't concern itself much with people's motivations; that's what Marketing is for. I sell organic cotton because (a) people will buy it, (b) it's a "cool" fiber in the sense that Kobe beef is "cool", and (c) it has other redeeming properties (such as superior softness and hypoallergenicity) besides the opportunity to lord it over others. I don't sell it as a service to the environment; my customers buy it as a service to the environment.

If people would buy scarves made from silk yarn from Mars, I would sell scarves made from silk yarn from Mars (assuming I could get the yarn wholesale). For heaven's sake, people pay $25 for red strings that have been to Israel, just because of the process they've been through. I don't take the moral high ground and sell the stuff because I want to make a difference in the world, I sell it because I'm a capitalist pig!

That being said, though, I do have a soft spot in my heart for "the environment". My Girl Scout training kicks in and I hear my troop leader saying, "Leave the campsite a better place than when you found it." But I figure that economics exerts a much stronger hand on people's preferences than morality does. So for that reason, and also in favor of an easier price structure, I charge just as much for my non-organic stuff as for my organic stuff, even though the non-organic cotton yarn costs half of what the organic costs. That may change, though, because the price of the organic yarn recently went up by 20%. I'm not so committed to "saving the environment" that I would fail to pass on to my customers the cost of the thing they're buying.

First Day Of School

Tiny Princess is awaiting transport to her first day of school. We bought a lunch pass so that I could take it easy this week, because I knew it would take me a while to get back in the swing of the school schedule, especially now that I have to work around Bagel's need to nurse. She's really eager to use her lunch pass, so I decided not to pack a lunch for her today.

Sonshine doesn't start school until tomorrow (he goes Tuesday and Thursday mornings). As soon as he's gone, I'm getting straight to work. I'm going to box up most of the kids' toys and take them to storage. They'll get a box back every week once they prove they can take care of the few I'm going to leave them with. I'm so sick of stepping on every toy car, marble, tea cup and doll furniture in the house. I'm sick of picking up fifteen million toys from the living room, only to discover that their idea of "putting away" their box of toys was to dump it in the doorways of their rooms. I've been threatening to take away the toys, and now that school's started, it's time to make good on my threat.

We also need the toys out of the way to rearrange the children's furniture before the weather gets so bad that we can't put furniture temporarily on the porch. And the toys desperately need to be "edited". There are just too many of them. We'll give the extra ones to charity. I tried to get the kids to select toys to give to charity, but they just couldn't bring themselves to do it.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Carnival of the Recipes

The first-ever Carnival of the Recipes is up! There are some great recipes there, including one of mine!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Gardeners' Market Report

Today was a great day at the market. We grossed $87, not including the deposit someone placed on a really huge order of oven mitts for Christmas gifts. M's books accounted for only $9 of that, so I've really got my work cut out for me this week replacing all the merchandise that sold! I just received a shipment of organic cotton, but I'm going to have to order some more, as I will be using up all my remaining caramel and natural yarn in the next two weeks.

I got information about a Christmas market, I think it's the one they used to call the Holly Fair, that takes place at the Whittier Center in early December. I did the Holly Fair a few years back when I made those toddler coats that nobody wanted to buy. I think, though, that I will sell at this market. They promise it will be better advertised.


We spent yesterday evening in the ER. Favorite Husband went fishing and left his pole out, and Sonshine got the fishhook embedded in his hand. Since he was being crazy and wild, it went in almost as deep as it could go. We cut the line and took him straight away to get medical attention.

The doctors gave him Tylenol with Codeine, and Versed. After he was really drugged up, he lost his inhibition, and my normally taciturn Sonshine began talking. We were actually able to get him to identify letters he knows (usually he clams up if you try to test him). To distract him, we played a game called "Sonshine Garden" where we decided which vegetables and fruits we would grow on which part of his body. We decided to grow potatoes in his ears, carrots in his nose, etc. The game wore thin, however, when the wait got so long that we were growing okra and planting things on his buns.

Long story short, they did get the hook out, and our little boy ended his ordeal by falling firmly asleep in the car on the way home.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Help Me, My Readers!!

As regular Organic Baby Farm readers know, I make my own homemade baby wipes out of cloth. (They're basically the same thing as the ones made out of paper towels, except you wash them with the diapers instead of throwing them away.) I've been using the standard baby wipe recipe-- water, baby bath, baby oil-- and they get smelly after a few days. I would like to know if anyone out there knows how to prevent this.

I thought I might put a bit of rubbing alcohol or some other anti-bacterial/anti-fungal agent in the wipes. But when I went Googling to try to find out how much alcohol to put in, I didn't find much that was useful. I did find one lady complaining that she thought ethyl alcohol was not a good ingredient for wipes because it was carcinogenic. [I had to laugh at that-- I'd be willing to bet she'd drunk the stuff at bars and not even realized it was carcinogenic. I think it's amusing when people show their immersion in science-culture by throwing around buzzwords like "toxin" and "carcinogenic".]

So what say you, readers? Any ideas?

Baby Blogging

Here's your gratuitous Bagel picture for the week:

Feel free to put caption ideas in the comments.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Our town recently started a curbside recycling program, and we decided to get in on it. They give us a 90 gallon blue bin that (other than the color) is identical to our black trash bin, and for $6 a month they collect its contents every two weeks.

I have been amazed at the amount of recyclables we put in that bin. We recycled before, but we had to take it to the drop-off point ourselves. The first week we had the blue bin, we filled it to the brim with all the recyclables we'd stacked up waiting for pregnant ol' me to take to the drop-off point. And ever since, every two weeks it's been filled to the brim. I did tell our neighbors that they were welcome to drop recyclables in it too, and they put the occasional cardboard box in it, but most of that stuff is ours. Our trash output has dropped so low that I'm seriously considering trading in our black bin for the less expensive 60-gallon bin. (Since we use cloth diapers, our trash output has not significantly increased with the birth of Bagel.)

A lot of people don't realize how "environmental" the heavily-Republican state of Utah is. The recycling program is operated at a profit and has been so popular that the city recently expanded its service outside the city limits. The cardboard is locally recycled to make insulation. People out here are actually concerned with how long our landfill will last and how good our air quality is, while people in other places I've lived are mostly concerned with making sure they parrot the right environmental platitudes. They talk the talk, but Utahns by and large walk the walk (and get condemned for not talking the talk correctly).

Don't Feed The Beers Bears

A story about a real party animal.

Word Of The Day

Word of the Day: sitzpinkler.

Referrer Logs

I was checking over the referrer log for Organic Baby Farm and discovered that there are several people coming here on the advice of a search engine. While I welcome all readers, I have to apologize for the fact that you're unlikely to find advice on organic gardening or organic baby food here. I manage to kill most kinds of plants. I do make my own baby food, but I don't take care to ensure that it's all organic.

The most interesting search, though, was a search on the string "pointless questions." Those who come here on that search are likely to find what they seek.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Gardeners' Market Report

Last weekend at the Gardeners' Market we grossed $70. Since none of M's books sold, that's all mine. I put my profits toward buying more of the organic cotton yarn. This time I got an entire cone of the natural color. That's the most popular color for gifts, and it's starting to be gift-buying season. People have been coming to the booth and telling me they think it's about time for them to start buying Christmas gifts. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks that far ahead...

I keep selling out of turtle scrubbers, so I made a whole stack of them this week. I also put some up on eBay, to see how they do and if they cross-promote well with my other items. These are my first eBay auctions since before Bagel was born, so we'll see how they do.

The soap holder I'd made sold in the first hour of the market, so I made a couple more of them. And I had this wacky idea to make a set of rainbow-colored dishcloths and a matching rainbow scrubber, which involved trying to dye some yarn orange. The dye job came out OK, although to my discriminating eye it left some things to be desired. I made the scrubber and one dishcloth, but I ran out of green yarn so I haven't made the other yet. I didn't bother trying to dye green yarn; I've got three cones of it coming this week. It's the hot color for wedding registries this year, and it also makes quite endearing turtle scrubbers.

Movie Review: Mystic River

Favorite Husband and I rented Mystic River, and it sucked. We'd also rented 13 Going On 30, and we wished we'd watched that again instead of wasting our time on Mystic River.

You'd think that with an all-star cast and all, it would at least have good acting, but no. Also the soundtrack sounded like it had been performed on a single synthesizer, and the screenplay was written with about a high schooler's understanding of philosophy. The characters weren't even two-dimensional; they had a fractal dimension of about 1.5, making them more like crooked lines. And following a recent trend in Hollywood movies, the ending included an "insight" that could only be considered profound by a high school sophomore-- or a high school dropout who's spent the last 20 years in insular Hollywood circles.

Save your money for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban instead.

Friday, August 13, 2004

County Fair

I entered seven items in the County Fair and I promised my three blog readers (two now that M's on vacation) that I would post pictures of anything that won a ribbon. Hold onto your bandwidth, folks, because all seven of them won ribbons. The dishcloths got second place, but everything else got first place and the snowflake dress also got an "Honorable Mention" ribbon, about which I know nothing except that it's pink.

Snowflake Dress
(My own design)

Poinsettia dress
(My own design)

Bagel's organic cotton booties

Oven Mitts



(this picture was taken earlier; the picture of the shawl in the glass case with first-place ribbon was really full of reflections and the shawl looked like a big gray lump)
The shawl is made of yarn that I handspun out of locally grown, naturally colored wool, and was made to a pattern from the 1800's.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Candidates For Intelligence Czar

Now that the job of Intelligence Czar is being created, applicants are lining up. Frank J. and Michael Williams have both put themselves forward. Read their posts and decide for yourselves which one you think would be better qualified!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Quezle Jones, Attorney At Law

Via Number 2 Pencil: this site pokes fun at some of the outrageously un-phonetic names people choose for their kids. Here in Utah there is a lot of this sort of wacky naming. Women's names beginning with "Lu", "Ja", and "Lyn" are pretty common (LuDean, Janae, Lynae) in my generation and older. As the generation of whole language instruction comes of childbearing age, though, we're starting to see more and more entirely non-phonetically-spelled names. We knew one family who named their daughter "Kayzle" (pronounced "KAYZ-lee"). It's bad enough that it sounds suspiciously like "paisley", but then they spelled it with one e so that no one with any kind of phonetic training would ever guess at its correct pronunciation.

But why stop with misdirecting people to the pronunciation of only one syllable? Why not use a totally ambiguous spelling of the whole damn thing? And saddle some poor girl with it for the rest of her life, so that when she graduates from law school and hangs out her shingle, it says "Quezle Jones, Attorney At Law"?

UPDATE: I noticed in my daughter's phone book that one of her classmates is named "Ayreale". Any guesses as to how it's pronounced? I have absolutely no clue. I can't even ask Tiny Princess about this girl(?) because I don't even know where to begin pronouncing her name.

UPDATE: I got an e-mail from a potential tutoring client, a woman named Shegay (not that there's anything wrong with that...)

It's Not About Iraq

Wretchard at Belmont Club has an excellent post: the attacks in Spain on 3/11 were planned before Spain participated in the invasion of Iraq. This undermines any argument that Spain was targeted because of its participation.

It may well be that the attacks were carried out because of their participation, but participation did not make them a target. Their existence did. This should scare the pants off of all of us, since we all exist. And there's no way to appease someone who's offended by your very existence, other than to cease to exist.

Running for Re-election

Orson Scott Card has an excellent article about a president who runs for re-election in the midst of withering criticism about how he is running the current conflict.

Spinning Wheel

I've been waiting in line for a long time to borrow one of my guild's spinning wheels so that I can spin up this whole box of fiber into yarn, and finally my patience has come to fruition! I am now the possessor of a very attractive spinning wheel, which my husband brought home for me from work on Monday (the lady in charge of the guild wheels lives near his office and had dropped it off there).

Monday night I didn't get to touch it at all, though, because Favorite Husband wanted to play with it so badly that he wouldn't even let me try to spin. He messed with every control and function of the spinning wheel, and "made it go" all evening. Wheeeee! Look at the wheel! Look at it spin! See the moving parts! I was totally astonished to find my dear husband interested in something that didn't run off electricity. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be thinking, "Don't you have some program to install or hard drive to crash this evening, sweetie?"


I'm grateful that the worst thing many people can find to talk about this morning is John Kerry's service on a swift boat thirty years ago. (Which, I believe, is a tempest in a teapot and doesn't deserve as much attention as it's currently getting, but only gets it because there's nothing worse to talk about right now, like terrorist attacks or natural disasters.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

County Fair

I went this morning and entered some of my work in the county fair. I entered the shawl I made for M out of locally-grown naturally-colored wool yarn I spun myself on a drop spindle; the last two Christmas dresses that I'd designed for Tiny Princess-- the "snowflake dress" and the "poinsettia dress"; the set of oven mitts, dishcloths, and scrubber that I'd made; and Bagel's organic cotton booties. Tiny Princess, when she wasn't fighting with Sonshine over who had a millisecond-longer turn pushing Bagel's stroller, repeatedly expressed her opinion that I'd better win a prize. And I kept on telling her that it would be fun just to enter, and if I win a prize it would be even more fun. She's awfully focused on winning, so I'm trying to help her appreciate that it can be fun just to compete even if you don't win.

If I do win, however, I'll post pictures of my winning items on the blog. I could find out as soon as Thursday, when the fair opens; but I'll probably find out Friday or Saturday, since we will probably not go to the fair until then.

Gardeners' Market Report

I did end up attending the Gardeners' Market, since M does not have a vehicle large enough to transport all the stuff. We grossed $65, which is a nice contrast to the $48 we grossed last week ($38 of that $48 was M's, so I was sorely disappointed). The lack of sales the week before last gave me some time to make more merchandise in the non-organic cotton, which is pictured in one of the posts below. (I did end up entering that set in the County Fair.)

I need to make many, many more of the sage green organic hot mitts and the turtle-shaped scrubbers. They are both hot items and I sell out of those frequently. I would like to try the turtle scrubbers on eBay and see how they do there.

I finally got over to the Spirit Goat booth and spoke to the lady who sells goat's milk soap there. I'd been meaning to talk to her for ages, about doing some advertising of each other's products. I designed a scrubby soap holder just the right size for her soaps, and offered to put a bar of her soap and a sign with it directing people to her booth, if she would do the same and direct people to my booth. Our booths are usually near each other, so I thought it might be a good idea.

The Spirit Goat lady told me of the existence of the Winter Market, a sort of Gardeners' Market in November, only without the fresh produce. November would be an excellent time for me to sell gift sets, since people are starting to think about Christmas, and there is usually another round of weddings at that time of year.

Vacation Over-- Now Back To Work

(sound of whip lash in background)

My in-laws' visit was great! The visit to the opera was a whirlwind, since the opera they wanted to see was only going to be playing on the night they arrived. They hurried into town, got dressed up, dropped off Little Cousin and picked up Favorite Husband, and left. Little Cousin cried loudly until her father brought in her favorite dishtowel. The cousins got along well, with Tiny Princess entertaining Little Cousin; but evidently T.P. didn't think she was allowed to leave L.C. alone, so (as we discovered the next day) she used her wastebasket as a chamber pot. Other than that, which was easily cleaned up, the night was a success.

The next night we ate at Maddox, a local restaurant that offers high-quality meats, some organically grown. The kids each acquired an orange frisbee as part of their kids' meals.

We took them up to Bear Lake one afternoon and operated remote-control toy boats there. Sonshine managed to get himself completely covered in water and sand despite being prohibited from entering the water. He did all right, although he did have a freak-out moment when his frisbee landed in the lake, too far out for him to wade in. Not to worry, Favorite Husband rolled up his pants and fetched it back. Tiny Princess filled her frisbee with teeny tiny shells which she wanted to take home. I told her she could take the ten best shells.

All was going quite well and pleasantly until we decided to go home. Sonshine's socks, which he had not stuffed in his shoes as he's supposed to, blew away in the wind. We could only find one of them. Then F.H. decided to bring the van around to pick us up so we wouldn't have to bring the stroller back across the patch of soft tiny gravel (coarse sand?) that had bogged down the wheels. For some reason unknown to any but God, he decided to bring the van across the same patch of sand instead of on the more firmly packed but roundabout path, and found himself stuck there. Thanks to some good samaritans, we were able to get the van out after some digging with the frisbee and a lot of hard pushing.

We had a lot of fun at the Festival of the American West, although I had to endure the whining of the World's Cutest Kids, who are not so cute after having been forced to spend the entire summer with each other. Lately they have been fighting like cats and dogs, and the Festival was no exception. They fought over whether to ride ponies or get drinks first, whether to ride in the train or the wagon, whether to run this way or run that way, .... I'm about ready to get them a dog house and a scratching post.

At the Festival, Tiny Princess had a good time, but Sonshine managed to get splinters in both his middle fingers by attempting to hang off a rough wooden pole in the Native American performance arbor. One splinter went in pretty deep, so Favorite Husband and I spent several minutes holding his hand in the "bird" position picking it out with a pin while he screamed and squirmed. (Since I am trying to find things to be grateful for instead of griping, I am grateful that Sonshine did not wet his pants.) After band-aids, they both participated in the Native American dance and got dreamcatchers for prizes. Then we ate Navajo tacos for dinner and drank homemade root beer and sarsparilla. Bagel, as usual, sat quietly in his stroller except when he was nursing.

I'd been worried that the in-laws would find the place too "backwoods" compared to the Big City, but they really seemed to be refreshed by the lack of big-city-ness here. There was much overall enjoyment of the fresh air and sunshine and local color, and the in-laws have already made a list of the activities they'd like to do next time they visit. I'm really glad they like our area. We have some relatives who flat-out refuse to visit us out here. Sometimes it seems like all I ever hear from people who live here is how much they want to get out and live in a "real" city like the one my in-laws live in, so it's refreshing to see that some people other than me actually like to be here.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Why I Use Cloth Diapers

I use cloth diapers for two reasons:
1. Cloth diapers are cheaper in the long run.
2. You can store three years' worth of cloth diapers in two 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes.

The first reason is, I think, pretty straightforward and comprehensible. The second probably requires some explanation.

I'm one of those wacky people who really can't sleep at night unless she knows that, should an earthquake hit suddenly or a terrorist attack turn the country upside down, that she'll still be able to take care of her family. So we have lots of food stored in our house, etc. I also am a creature of habit who hates having to run to the store to pick something essential up, so I keep stocks of essential things in the house and replenish them when things run low. I have, for example, about half a dozen jars of peanut butter. When I use a jar of peanut butter I put peanut butter on the shopping list, and next time I'm out I buy a new one and put it in the cupboard. This takes up a lot of space (which is at a premium in our 1000 sq.ft. home) but it's worth it to me because then I know that if terrorists attack, at least my kids won't be crying for peanut butter on a spoon. It's pathetic, I know, but it's one less thing for a worrywart like me to worry about.

So, back to diapers. Disposable diapers are bulky to store. One cloth diaper is bulkier than one disposable, but twenty-four cloth diapers take up much less space than a year's worth of disposable diapers.

I also, by the way, make my own wipes. Out of cloth.

This Week's Products

Just in case anyone out there happened to wonder exactly what sort of products I sell at the Gardeners' Market, here is what I've made so far this week:

The little square thingys are dish scrubbers that have a rougher nylon side and a cotton side and a cotton strap across the back, to go around your hand. The things that look like mittens are oven mitts (the small red one is a toy oven mitt for kids' toy kitchens). The long skinny thing in the bottom row left is a handle cover for a cast iron skillet (someone asked me to make one) and everything else is a dishcloth. The set of mitts that is second from right on the top row is the one I'm thinking seriously about entering in the county fair, because I'm very proud of the way I blended the colors.

You can see M's books here.

Running Alan Keyes

I would love nothing better than to see Alan Keyes elected to public office. I've been a fan of Keyes for-- let's see, it must be eight years now, since I lived in New Hampshire and voted for him in the primary.

I listened to the primary candidates' debate on the radio that year, and decided on Keyes based on what I heard in the debates. It wasn't until after I cast my vote that I saw a picture of Keyes and discovered that he happened to have dark skin. So no one can accuse me, as this morning's commentator on NPR did, of wanting Keyes to run just because he's "black". (I apologize for not catching the name of the commentator-- I was a little busy with the baby this morning.)

However, as much as I love Alan Keyes, I would not want him to be elected in a state he doesn't even live in. I have this funny little hang-up about people being represented by those who actually live among them. That's why I was so opposed to Hillary Rodham Clinton running for Senate in New York-- she just came into a state she'd never lived in, and ran for office there. I find it incredibly hypocritical that people like the NPR commentator, who seemed to have a liberal point of view, would think it was OK for Clinton to run in New York but not for Keyes to run in Illinois. Sauce for the goose, you know...

I would also really love to see the reaction of people who, like many liberals, think "blacks" can only be represented properly by "blacks", to an election where both of the candidates are "black". But again, Keyes is not the man for the job, no matter how qualified he is, if he doesn't live in Illinois.

UPDATE: Looks like he decided to run after all. Sigh. I'm a math teacher, I should be used to nobody listening to me.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Check out this page: when geeks get tattoos.

Upcoming Events

I'm not going on vacation like all the other bloggers-- this year, vacation is coming to me! My Favorite Sister-in-law and her husband and daughter are coming to visit, and we have a lot of good stuff planned, including tickets to the opera and a visit to the Festival of the American West, culminating in Bagel's blessing ceremony on Sunday (and of course the requisite party with loads of food). I won't be at the Gardeners' Market on Saturday (M is going in my stead) and I may not have time to blog. But I will try my best, because I know two out of my three readers count on me for the occasional funny phrase or picture of cute babyness. (The third reader is my brother-in-law who's coming to visit.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Congratulations Blackfive!

Blackfive is the proud papa of a new baby girl. Maybe in about sixteen years we can arrange a date for her with Bagel!

On The Nightstand

This week I have actually gone back to reading books, mostly because one I'd been waiting for came through on Interlibrary Loan (which lasts only three weeks and cannot be renewed). Now that Bagel is nursing more efficiently, I can actually read while nursing! And if I have enough pillows and the kids are getting along with each other and Bagel is hungry enough, I can read, nurse, and crochet at the same time!

So on the nightstand this week is Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell. Actually, I just finished it (it wasn't nearly as long as his Basic Economics) and I enjoyed it very much. The part about the development of nations was the most interesting to me; the economics of health care and real estate were already familiar to me.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Bagel is now at five weeks and 11 lbs. 1.5 oz., according to the scale at the post office. He's gaining nearly a pound a week! His widdle face is so plump that he has a few chins now...

It's All Your Fault ;)

I keep telling Favorite Husband that it's all his fault. It doesn't matter what it is, it's his fault, because he's a man, a Republican, and he repairs computers. That pretty much covers everything he might be at fault for.

Speed Of Light Slowing: Democrats Question Pre-Election Timing

Evidently the speed of light may be slowing down. The real question is, though, why did the Republicans wait to release this information until about the same time as the Democratic convention? Eh? I mean, those crazy Republicans (all fault be upon them) are in charge of all information and can time its release to maximize their political advantage, right?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Discrimination Against Sikhs

From the Boston Globe, yet another example of discrimination against Sikhs in the post-9/11 world. This is hardly the first time a Sikh has been mistaken for a fundamentalist Muslim because of his turban. Right after 9/11 I heard about attacks on Sikhs by private citizens, etc. But one would expect that security staff could do better at telling Sikhs apart.

I had a good friend in high school who was Sikh, and I met her family and learned about Sikhs. And I have to say, it isn't difficult to learn how to tell Sikhs apart from other turban-wearing people. It would probably take all of five minutes to teach new security agents of the existence and distinguishing features of Sikhs.

Sikhs are probably the last people on earth who would be terrorists, and they'd be the first people you'd want by your side when fighting terrorists. I think everyone should learn more about them, especially anyone who wants to be a professional or amateur terrorist-catcher.