Four year old grammar

June 28, 2007

It’s very interesting trying to demonstrate past tense to a four year old. Time in general is an interesting concept for a four year old (four days from now and twenty days from now are pretty much the same). Sometime you use a verb in the past tense and our daughter will say, “what does x mean?”. Explaining it just doesn’t work. So you just keep using the words correctly, assuming that eventually it will wear off. Let’s face it, most people don’t know grammar rules well, they generally say things correctly because it sounds right.

Tonight I had the best example. We were talking about what she wore this morning. So she asks what “wore” is. So I try to say that “wore” is the same as “wear” but when it already happened.

Danielle immediately says, “no, wore means when a doll wears one of your socks. My friend Jesse told me so”.

How can you argue with that?. After all, Jesse is five…


Child Dentistry Again

June 26, 2007

Today was the final visit in our daughter’s dentist saga. All I can say is make sure you get your kids to real kids dentists when they are 2 years old. Because this just wasn’t any fun.

Danielle had already been to the dentist a couple of times for minor cavities. She can actually handle it, but as a four year old she’s reached the point where she knows what’s coming and doesn’t want it. This is the hard part about young kids and dentists. Reasoning doesn’t work that well. And the whole concept of delayed gratification (or even more abstract, delayed lack of pain) just doesn’t work with a four year old’s sense of time.

So the final cavity (the worst one) was a struggle. She just didn’t want to sit still. The whole “if you don’t sit still it will take longer and hurt more” argument just doesn’t work. So I basically spent an hour sitting with her on the dentist chair, holding her hands and leaning over her legs so she couldn’t kick anyone. It was torture.

There’s that plastic thing that they put around the tooth that they are working on these days (they didn’t do that when I was a kid). I think it helps keep the tongue out of the way. Danielle completely knocked it out. You want to get mad at her because she’s causing more problems, but then you remember that she’s just four. The whole thing could have been over in 20 minutes if she just sat still, but that just wasn’t happening.

At the end, they usually give the kid stickers, a balloon, whatever. This time the dentist gave me a medal for holding her down. The dentist told me I deserved a double martini (I’m more of a beer guy, but I appreciated the thought).

Frost Nixon

June 24, 2007

My Father’s Day present from my wife was tickets to see Frost Nixon on Broadway. I had heard only a little bit about this play. It’s one where your initial reaction is “they’re making a play about that?” The play is about the interviews that David Frost, a British talk show host, did with Richard Nixon after his resignation. Sure, that sounds very entertaining.

But my wife knows that I am very interested in history and politics and she heard from a friend that it was excellent. The actor who played Nixon won the Tony and most other awards for the role. It’s apparently, according to Wikipedia, being adapted into a film to be directed by Ron Howard.

For those too young to remember, here’s the basic overview. The interviews took place in 1977 (Nixon resigned in 1974). The fact that David Frost was the one who landed the first big interview with Nixon after the resignation was quite unusual. David Frost was a British talk show host with a bit of a playboy reputation and not a real political heavyweight. He briefly had a show in the U.S. but it had been canceled. He was looking to jump start his career.

Important note. I am getting much of this history from the play. I know that the play is drama and not completely historically accurate. But I don’t know the actual history well enough to know exactly which parts are totally true and which are drama. This was definitely one of those plays that makes you want to go and read about the history.

Anyway, the Nixon camp was getting offers from mainstream US media for a big interview (the play kept mentioning that Mike Wallace was willing to pay $300K). But they were quite concerned that Nixon would just get attacked. They were looking for a shot at redeeming his reputation. So a lightweight British talk show host seemed perfect. Plus they got more money (again, according to the play).

So the main conflict in the play is the two central characters, both trying to redeem their reputations. Frost hires some serious people to help him with research. But Nixon is a master during the initial interviews and totally takes over, always painting himself in the best possible light.

In the final interview, Frost had some factual ammunition to catch Nixon in an outright lie regarding Watergate and this finally pushes Nixon to the point where he gets the confession/apology that he was truly looking for.

Even reading what I’ve written above, it still doesn’t sound like a great play. But it was. It is very well written and the actors are tremendous. The whole thing was riveting. I don’t know if it will translate to the screen well, because it was the incredible presence of the actors that made the play. It’s just different when you are 40 feet away.

It’s Baseball Season Again

June 20, 2007

This was a very difficult early part of the season for a Yankees fan. For a while in May the Yankees were just unwatchable. If they pitched they couldn’t hit and vice versa. They seemed to find the unique way to lose a game. I was turning off the television and just keeping the game up on my computer via because that was less painful.

But it’s a really long season in baseball. Things change. The Yankees pitchers got healthy. Wang is back being an ace. Pettitte has been solid all year. Mussina is healthy. We now have this guy named Clemens who isn’t that bad. Suddenly the bullpen, which was lousy when they had to handle the last four innings, is looking good again. And there’s still this guy named Rivera who’s the best closer in history (I think Hoffman with the Padres is great, but until he has the post season record that Rivera has, he can’t compare).

Abreu is back to his normal self. Cano is regaining the form that almost won him a batting title. Jeter is Jeter. And A-Rod is simply ridiculous. Matsui is back healthy and hitting over .300. Posada is having an MVP type season (ok, as a catcher his stats will decline as the year goes on, but he’s third in the AL in batting average, that’s crazy for a catcher).

It’s funny, but just being over .500 was a big deal. So I’m back being a full time baseball fan. The Yankees are in Colorado now which kills me since the games don’t start until 9:00, but for the most part I’m in all Yankees all the time mode.

Ah, I love baseball…

A Good Father’s Day

June 18, 2007

I hope all the fathers out there had good days on Sunday. Ours was simple but nice. We were at my wife’s sister’s place. They had a Father’s Day breakfast at their church and afterwards we went back to their place to play in the pool (it was hot), grill steaks and boil king crab legs. Yummy.

We’re waiting to hear when we go to Guatemala to pick up our baby. They need to get a new birth certificate issued in Guatemala City with the last name changed. That apparently takes about three weeks. Then we get the “pink slip” from the embassy telling us when we can come, and that’s usually about 2 weeks after the birth certificate. So hopefully mid/late July.

I like The Economist

June 14, 2007

I’m a news junkie. I’ve always needed a weekly news magazine of some sort. I’ve done Time and Newsweek, but they have too much fluff. The Washington Post has a good weekly edition which I read for a while. But I’ve settled in with The Economist for a while now.

First of all, it amuses me that I read a magazine called The Economist. I mean, if you were starting a magazine from scratch and wanted to make sure that not too many people read it, calling it The Economist would be a good plan. I guess Integral Calculus Weekly was already taken.

It is definitely an intellectual news weekly. Paris Hilton has yet to be covered. There was an interesting article about The Sopranos in last weeks edition (it came out before the final episode), but the article tied The Sopranos to international perceptions of America. No predictions about who would get whacked in the final episode.

It is very international. The editorial staff is both in London and New York, so you get a much more US and British view than you get from Newsweek or Time. There is the occasional article about Sri Lanka that I honestly couldn’t care less about, but overall I like the international view.

It does have a more economic focus than most. I’ve probably learned more about economics just by reading it. The latest edition has an article titled Goldilocks tests the Vindaloo. This is hilarious to me. The title wittily implies that the Indian economy is in danger of inflation. That was obvious, right?

The US has often been referred to (at least recently – particularly under Greenspan at the Fed) as the Goldilocks economy. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. Vindaloo, for those who don’t know Indian food, is a very spicy type of food. Clearly if Goldilocks tried Vindaloo she would say “this porridge is too hot”, so the title implies that the Indian economy is too hot, meaning in danger of inflation. Obvious, right? OK, it wasn’t to me either, but after reading the article I had to chuckle.

And in the same edition there’s a very good article discussing how crime rates are dropping in New York, Chicago and LA, but not in other cities.

There just aren’t many other weekly magazines with such a variety of very intelligent discussion of issues. That’s why I like The Economist.


June 13, 2007

Towards the end of the day today I was talking to Elven and he asked, “what’s the word on the baby?” and I immediately replied “nothing”. We still hadn’t heard anything. It was just a big black hole and we were stressed about it.

I finished talking and hung up. I noticed I had a voicemail. I checked my message and it was our adoption agency telling us that we had been approved by PGN, the Guatemalan government agency.

Needless to say, I started doing a happy dance. We were so worried that our adoption would get kicked out and we’d have to resubmit something, which would delay the whole thing a couple months.

I haven’t even talked with our agency yet (I called back and got voicemail). We’ll probably have a date to pick up our baby in around 4 weeks. We are so excited.

So here’s the latest pictures of our soon to be new baby girl (she’s about 6 1/2 months old). The last one is with her foster mother.