Sunday, September 20, 2015

You don't know what 'aarp' should mean

Commercials for the American Association of Retired Persons have included the slogan "You don't know 'aarp'" for a while now, and in the ad that ran during tonight's Emmy telecast still had that in the voiceover, bringing this to mind again.

Turning the initials into an acronym (so rather than it being pronounced by the individual letters in "A.A.R.P." it turns into a single-syllable term that rhymes with "harp") is in keeping with the clear push to make the organization seem not just for old fuddy-duddies.

However, to my ear, that pronunciation makes it one slight exaggeration away from being the acronym for the American Association of Retired Pirates.


(Perhaps it's in part from yesterday being Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday.

No, it's just me. I know.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Splitting the alphabet

Looking at TV for young children where they list the alphabet I've noticed they struggle with how to split up the lines of letters when there isn't room all on one or two. Given that 26 is not divisible by three or four or any whole number until one gets to 13 the lines end up unbalanced.

But it occurred to me that five lines would be closer to equal (with one leftover) than other possible splits. Then I had the thought that the five vowels could make for another way of separating the lines, putting each vowel at the start of one of the five lines; those letters hold a distinction so having the notice from being at the front of the lines made a certain sense.

And while working out each remaining line (with the set of consonants after each vowel) I realized that gave an unexpected sort of quasi-symmetry:


Thursday, August 13, 2015

More outdated children's shows observations: Daniel Tiger wears no pants!

On Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood the eponymous lead character is an anthropomorphic tiger living in a Mr. Rogers-inspired town with other anthropomorphic animals—Katarina Kittycat, O the Owl—and with human characters. The stories give lessons with little songs about topics like compromise and dealing with frustration. As previously noted, Our son finds it enjoyable.

One of Daniel's friends is Miss Elena, who it's shown has mixed race parents. So the show seems progressive in ways like that.

However, there is something that I notice that seems less congruous with that sort of theme. Now, I concede analysis of a show with such a clear distance from verisimilitude is utterly futile, but if nothing else we live in the era of utterly futile analysis so here goes:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Music soothes the fussy toddler (thanks, Doc McStuffins)

We don't let our son watch a lot of TV (to appease the Parenting-Industrial Complex I must note that) but we have put on some shows for short periods when we need to keep him occupied (like when we're getting ready to go to work in the morning). We have recorded some episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Doc McStuffins to be able to play when necessary.

What he particularly likes are the songs. Sure, all kids like music but he really responds to it. He started dancing almost as soon as he could stand up. At daycare when they have the "music man" come in on Fridays he's always the most excited of all the children.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


On the walk to the station one evening I found myself briefly behind a young woman proceeding at a slower pace and her head pointed toward something in her hand. Oh great, I thought, another smart phone shuffler, not looking where she's going and enrapt in whatever email or text cannot wait.

However, when the opportunity to get around her presented itself and I stepped up beside her I discovered her hands held not a phone but an actual book.

The quaint nature of her old school distraction made my slight delay while stuck behind her somewhat less annoying for no reason other than it being unexpected.

I guess there's something to be said for novelty in one's inconsiderate behavior.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Giving in to the Dark Side (you know you would)

The more I think about the mythology of Star Wars the most unrealistic aspect of The Force is that any Jedi could keep from turning to the Dark Side. Look at what Vader does in Episode IV (better known as Star Wars, the first movie from 1977, subtitled "A New Hope") when an Imperial officer dismisses the importance of The Force: He uses telekinesis to lift and choke the man (and clearly could have killed the officer) with nothing more than a gesture.

If most of us had that power in our daily lives, how would everyone we encountered who pissed us off not find themselves hoisted by invisible hands and struggling for breath?

Obviously the tale told in Episodes I through III (as Anakin Skywalker transforms into Darth Vader) show the appeal of the Dark Side to underscore how impressive the Jedi are to stay on the good side of The Force, but how can we empathize with these better-than-thou types?

Monday, April 13, 2015


Parenting reality:

On more than one occasion I've changed our son's diaper, only to have him poop in that fresh diaper only a few minutes later, necessitating another (stinkier) diaper change.

The initial reaction used to be: Well, what I just did five minutes ago was kind of a waste.

The reaction now is: Hey, at least he didn't poop on me in the middle of me changing him.

Changing two diapers where nothing is actively being expelled from your child is always far easier than cleaning up what gets expelled in that window after the dirty diaper is removed and before the clean diaper is applied.

Nothing done is a waste of effort if the outcome could have been much worse, especially when it comes to baby poop.