Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Official

Manatees are the endangered animal that I would most like to punch. Not in a violent way, just like a Father O'Conner-teaching-troubled-youths-to-box kind of way.

I mean, do you know any other punching-bag-shaped marine animal?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Baby-day!

I'm an aunt, again!

Is this not the cutest newborn little fellow you ever did see?

Doesn't he only faintly resemble a frog?

David and Margaret have produced a wonderful little spawn. I like him awfully. He used to be in our Rock Band group, the Opportunity Costs.

So now, let's talk babies: babies are cute, but not much else. I mean, what can you do with a baby besides just say how cute it is and hold it? Maybe as a paperweight, but as Matt said in the DC sketch...they'd only get their nastiness everywhere. Maybe because people think babies are supposed to be paperweights, they aren't having very many of them. Right now the US is teetering on a 2.1 fertility rate. No good, guys, no good. Margaret and Dave are doing their part--are you?

Dave and Margaret will be suffering lots of costs in terms of accounting-type baby expenses--itty-bitty widdle blankies and itty-bitty widdle clothes--for the next 18+ years, but they also will be making sacrifices (or opportunity costs) to take care of baby Olan, such as not working ridiculous hours at their jobs, and not investing all those would-be baby expenses in, say, Vodafone.

So in thirty years, some people will have mature Vodafone stocks and other people will have mature Vodafone employees, shelling out dividends for those people who didn't have children. Shouldn't parents get some sort of compensation for the opportunity costs of raising children, which have such a positive externality on all us single, old cat-ladies?

Especially since the people who would be losing the most by way of opportunity costs (the people who have jobs, who have educations and would be willing to spend money on their babies' health, education and happiness) are the ones who are likely to raise productive little members of society instead of the people who have low opportunity costs to raising children who might not (and this is an extremely stereotyped conclusion, so please forgive me) raise the best Vodafone executives?

(Disclaimer: Yes, this argument is totally backing up the whole Marxist production view of the family, but look at the cute picture of the baby! Of course I'm grateful for baby Olin for more reasons than just he's going to be making me money someday...he's awful cuddly looking!)

Happy Baby-day

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beware the Idleness of March

Yes, it's late, but I've been busy.

And that's the point, isn't it? After coming back from almost an entire week in San Francisco going to composition conference panels, seeing famous rhetoricians in compromising states of intoxication and eating myself silly at the great curry place across from the hotel, I'm back to work. On a Divine Comedy show week. When I need to return several papers and an econ exam to my students. And write a ten-page paper. And prepare 28 cupcakes and a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for a bake sale.

Why, some of my friends who aren't in school pointed out, am I doing this?

I don't know-- I like being busy. Some of the least-pleasant times of my life were the weeks leading up to going into the MTC: I wasn't in school, I couldn't get a job, and everyone I knew had these important sorts of things to keep them busy while I sat at home and watched back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Law and Order. On the contrary side of things, when I think of happy high school days I remember a week when I was living at home alone (my parents were on a trip somewhere), preparing for finals and the ACTs, rehearsing for the school production of Mame, competing in Science Olympiad and doing intensive scripture study. I make myself busy.

In some ways, as I realized when I was a freshman, I could fall into the kind of obsession of Frankenstein (the doctor, not the monster--but really, it's a thin line) when he spend all of his time in the lab, but instead of slavishly devoting myself to one pursuit, I semi-slavishly apply myself to several incongruous projects all at once. I am barely-adequate-to-satisfactory-capable in several unrelated fields that all require a chunk of time for my mediocrity.

Why, again, am I doing this? Am I taking those high school delisions of renaissance brilliance too far? Am I trying to impress others or justify myself? Even great writers and scholars feel unsatified in their sucesses--why can't we just relax, for cryin' out loud?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but tonight (or, as the case may be, this morning) I suspect it has something to do with four Diet Cokes with lime that I drank after the show tonight.

Tomorrow, tomorrow I'm sleeping in.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Woman Week!

I told you all it was coming. This week we'll hear it for the ladies. While men may have a more impressive list of accomplishments and famous scientists/artists/business leaders etc., women have endured more than men, generally speaking. In fact, in the vain of Mary Wollstonecraft, I'd argue that women's relative mediocrity is, in some way, a testament to the oppression that they have born. Why should we try to rehabilitate letter-writers and interior designers into great authors and artists when the fact that they were taught to be stupid and small-minded is one of the greatest wrongs ever done? As Wollstonecraft pointed out, women have been, for decades de facto inferior to men and most of that because of the societal influences that insisted that they view themselves that way. So it's hard to have any conversation about how wonderful women are without first awknowledging that women's rights have been truncated in almost every culture in the world, and even in some of the most progressive countries in the world, the idea that women could have political, legal and economic freedom has been abominally late in coming (even in supposedly forward-looking France, women couldn't vote until 1944 and married women couldn't hold personal property until well into the 60s and 70s.) For all this, women have been pivotal to the very societies that insist on their oppression. And so, going off of Jamie S/Z's high school club "Girls Rock," I present my "Why Women Rock" list.

Why Women Rock #1:
Child birth. If I'm grateful to men for fighting in the majority of wars, which are painful, frightening and often fatal--often for the benefit of protecting the wombs, I have to honor those who make good use of those wombs. I have to give it up for the women who, with far more regularity than wars, have been enduring the dangers and hardship of childbirth since time immemorial. Childbirth is the battle of women. Until relatively recent times, maternal mortality was staggering. This graph only goes back to 1900, but let me remind you that it took a medical genius to figure out that washing hands before delivering babies was a good idea.
(Sidebar: Can I express my awe about that whole "women are scared of blood/pain" myth? How did that happen? Aren't blood and pain definitional to being a woman anyway? I mean, really...)

Why Women Rock #2:

So darn responsible. This is why 98% microcredit schemes focus on women--men tend to blow the money on booze and gambling; women tend to invest in things that help their children. Yes, there are irresponsible women who don't take care of their children, but most of them have a pretty vested interest in not letting the family fall to ruin. Even in America, women are the safer bet for a family's financial saaviness. Suze Orman said it in a recent issue of Time: " how many women do you see at the track?"

Why Women Rock #3:

Success stories. Even though women have gone through so much oppression, the fact that Mary Wollstonecraft can harp on how stupid most women are (or George Eliot, for that matter), is a pretty cool sign of how women can, in the face of wide-spread opposition, still shine out. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, almost a century before women could vote in the UK, was the unofficial "female poet lauriette". Harriet Martineau pretty much invented sociology as we know it. There are plenty of awesome women who did incredible things for the world that kept ragging against them.

Why Women Rock #4:

They smell nice. Not to stereotype, but it's generally true. (This was my roommate's contribution.)

Why Women Rock #5:

Give them an inch. Sort of going back to #3, women have excelled in those fields that have been open to them for the longest (relative to the profession). Most professional poets are women. Most art schools are waaaaay weighted towards women. Women are pretty well represented in fairly modern feilds such as economics and civil engineering (realtively, I understand, but still...) Sure women are lagging in chemistry and business, but when you consider how long they've been out of the loop, that's pretty cool.

Why Women Rock #6:

Less likely to be shady. Remember how only 6 countries have more than 10% of their prison inmates as women? Yeah. Remember how women are less likely to commit violent crime? Be alcoholics? Hurrah for generally not being societially unpleasant!

That's all I can think of for now, but if anyone wants to add on, please feel free. Despite widespread oppression that women have suffered for 99.99% of the history of the world, women have done surpisingly well, considering. Also may I point out that traditionally men give women gifts on Women's Day?

I like mint in my chocolates.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Being Hungry is No Fun

Today is Fast Sunday and, as usual, I was hungry. But I really only go hungry this once and maybe if I forget my lunch at home, but did you know that 12 million kids are chronically hungry? That sucks. Kids should have food.

So what am I going to do about it? I'll tell you what: BAKE SALE!

Mark your calendars, ladies and gents, because 8:00 Monday the 16th of March I will be participating in a Super-Mega-Tasty Bake-Sale for the Childrens. We'll hold it in my apartment complex (Terrace apts--770 N University Ave) and there will be beautiful cupcakes and cookies and this chocolate zucchini bread which is said to be D-lite-full! I know this is FHE time, but what better treat than to buy something to help kids eat? How awesome is that? So come by, buy cupcakes, or just donate and help people who are hungry--not be.