Archive for September, 2010

Piloting and Parenting

Sometimes the daily grind of raising children becomes wearisome. Most of the time it’s not a problem, but sometimes I just get tired.

How many times can they tell the same story?
How many times can they interrupt a phone call?
How many times can they show me their newest paper-and-string-and-tape creations?

(In case one of my children is reading this some years from now: no, it wasn’t you – it was your brother.)

We all have our weaknesses. In case your weakness is along the lines of “how to motivate yourself to care about everything your child says”, here is how I stay motivated :

Captain Sullenberger has been asked how he was able to make a landing (or would that be “watering”) in such a precarious situation. His answer was something along the lines of

For years I had been making small deposits in the bank of experience. When the time came that I needed to make a large withdrawal, the balance was large enough.

What is my job as a parent? Raising my children, of course. Teaching them now and preparing them for the future.

Hmm…that sounds like a school’s motto.

If I neglect my parenting role now, I am squandering the experience instead of depositing it in the bank. In the future, what if my then-teenage son needs to talk?

If he grew up thinking “dad never listens”, where will he go to be heard?

If he grew up thinking “dad doesn’t want to answer my questions”, whom will he ask when he has an important question?

I’m not saying our kids feel neglected – that’s not why I’m writing this. I just saw that quote from Captain Sullenberger and thought it paralleled parenting rather well. It should be applicable to just about anything, not just piloting.

Oh, and you should listen to “Cat’s in the Cradle” (the real version) a few times a year.

My other question is this: Why wasn’t the emergency landing also a deposit in the bank of experience? How does the experience know whether it is a deposit or withdrawal?

I would liken it more to the stock market. He put enough in so that, when the crash came, he wasn’t wiped out completely.

On second thought, that doesn’t continue well either, because after the crash he had even more experience than before the crash. Maybe we need to avoid the monetary analogies.

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Deuteronomy 6:7

New Study

A new study shows that people don’t trust new studies.

Earlier studies had shown that people do trust new studies.

The new study, which was released last week, shows that new studies often contradict older studies. That creates confusion and causes people not to care about any studies at all.

Further research is planned to clarify the different results.

Hey, I wonder if I could get a grant for this…

Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail.

Jeremiah 7:8

Summer Book Thingy 2010

My goal is to read at least one book during the summer vacation. I made it through three. Well, more like two and a half. And if blogs were books…

Anyway, here are the three books:

The Wedding

My wife recommended I read “The Wedding” by Nicolas Sparks.

Once I started reading it, I became worried. The book is about a couple who had been married for 29 years and the relationship had grown lifeless. Not actively bad, but not really good either. Did she recommend that I read it because she thought we were that way? Did she think I was like Wilson and just went about my business, leaving romance and relationship by the wayside?

I thought maybe I should work on communicating with her and maybe I should ask her if that’s what she thought. But, on second thought, I decided that she probably just enjoyed a nice story and figured I would enjoy it too. So I read it. And enjoyed it.

I didn’t find out until after I finished the book that it was the sequel to “The Notebook”. From what I’ve heard, people found “The Notebook” to be a little too depressing, so Nicolas Sparks had to write this one and make it uplifting. Yes, “The Wedding” starts out describing the problems with their marriage, but it ends well.

It was a good book. Go ahead and read it, unless you’re boycotting Nicolas Sparks books.

No, I have not read (nor watched) “The Notebook”.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

I also read “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag” by Allen Bradley.

That one is the sequel to “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, which I preferred over this one (henceforth known as TWTSTHB).

They were both good, but TWTSTHB was a little darker and the themes were a little heavier. Flavia solves the murder-mystery, but the storyline took a sad turn and never recovered. Yes, all the main characters are fine and healthy and all – it’s the storyline, the subject matter, that never recovered. I was reading this book to be entertained, and it is written well, but it uses subjects that I do not find as entertaining as other people perhaps do.

The Railway Children

After the vacations were all done, my wife got a book on tape CD from the library. It happened to be “The Railway Children” by E. Nesbit.

I ended up hearing about half the story – hear a few chapters, miss a couple, hear a couple, miss one, etc. By the time we had to return the audio book to the library, I was interested in the book. So my thoughtful wife checked out the actual book from the library just for me to read.

I liked the book. It is geared more toward children, but I just read it to myself and enjoyed it nonetheless. I don’t know that I would have finished it in time if I had to read it aloud to the kids though.

Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.

2 Kings 22:10

Baby Names 2009

For a while now I have been interested in how the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names would look if they consolidated the names that sound the same.

  • Some people like a name but there are already alternates, so they must choose a side (Catherine vs. Katherine).
  • Some people try to give their children unique names by altering the spelling of a name (She’s the only Haylee in her class! Yes, but there’s a Haleigh and a Hailey).
  • And some people just don’t know how to spell the name (not going there).

Let me be the first to introduce, for the very first time, the 2009 SFS Baby Name List. (It’s the SFS Baby Name List instead of the SSA Baby Name List because it’s over on Some Fun Site).

I know it’s currently 2010. But the government, being on its own timetable, released the numbers for 2009 just a few months ago. So that list is for the births in 2009.

Well, mostly 2009. The government, being how it is, decided that the SSA would tally things from February to February, rather than use January like everyone else does.

Some Stats

  • Girl names have more spelling variations than boy names (320/1000 vs. 211/1000 alternates)
  • The boys have the name with the highest number of alternate spellings (Jayden with 10 vs. Carly with 9)
  • Popular boy names end in ‘n’ (the first 8 variants); popular girl names end in ‘y’ (the first 2 variants).
  • ‘Skylar’ is more likely a girl’s name; ‘Skyler’ is more likely a boy’s name. (‘a’ vs. ‘e’, in case you didn’t catch it)

2009 Improved Baby Name List


Then the LORD said to Moses, “Number every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names.

Numbers 3:40

Horse Cents

picture of a foal discussing money with his mother

You know what they say: a foal and his money are soon parted.

The photo of the mare and foal is courtesy of someone I don’t know. All I did was add the captions.

Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.

Luke 15:14

Husbands and Wives – The Dress

Wife: Which one of these dresses do you like better?
Husband: That one.
Wife: Why?
Husband: The other one has an empire waist, and I’m not a fan of the empire waist.
Wife, possibly glaring: My wedding dress had an empire waist…

What should the husband say next?
A. Oh, hey, look at the time! I gotta go to my (insert excuse here).
B. It did? All I remember is how beautiful you looked that day.
C. Umm…
D. (nothing, just back away slowly and leave the room)

There is no right answer, of course.

The aforementioned conversation might have been hypothetical. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is strictly coincidental. No husbands were harmed in the making of this blog post.

It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 19:8

Diagramming Sentences

I never had to diagram sentences for school.

I think it’s something I would have liked, so I’m giving it a shot now. These might not be done correctly, so let me know if I got any wrong.

I sentence you to a fine of $10,000.

example of a sentence diagram for being sentenced to a fine

I sentence you to one year in rehab.

example of a sentence diagram for being sentenced to a year in rehab

But that doesn’t look right, because the punishment is rehab, not a year. Let me change it so that the object is rehab, like it should be.