Airline Woes

Some of you may remember our (relatively) outlandish disaster surrounding USAir 2 years ago, on an attempted flight to Puerto Rico. James Paternoster sent us this link to a story by Michael Totten, a fantastic Middle East travel blogger. His story about Alitalia is simply shocking. A bit long, but very worth the read, and it'll make you thankful for even the worst of your travels, and put an end to this notion that every European airline is automatically superior to every US airline.

First Time For Everything

I've read a lot of books in my life, but I have never gotten to the very last page only to realize that the very last page had been previously removed and is now missing. Until just now. Alas.

Thankfully, despite being a Agatha Christie murder mystery, she didn't save the "Whodunnit" revelation to the very end. If you know a place online where the entire text might be, please let me know.


Michigan Visitors

It's been a long, cold, lonely winter up here in Michigan, but the end is in sight. I think most people are waiting to come visit us until our long anticipated daughter makes her entry into this world, but that combined with a postponement of vacation until maternity leave in April/May has made for a very long winter. So we were especially excited when Eric's cousin Alex Blanski and his fiancee Tabitha came to visit us this past weekend. We visited them in Chicago last August and had made plans for a followup visit...so seven months later, here we were.

I can't say Ann Arbor is quite as exciting as Chicago, but we tried our best with a little Knights and Cities action, Ticket to Ride, stimulating conversation on all manner of topics, and ethnic cuisine. We taught Alex and Tab how to make naan and chicken tikka masala. Yummy! We also toured the undergrad campus, U of M's new "green" business school, and some other campus sights. Thanks for coming, guys!


The End

Given that I'm 28 on my birthday in June, this news is just too bad.


Parenting, Part 2

My imagination on the subject hasn't been exhaustive, but I have often pondered some of the changes that parenting will bring. I expect cooking meals will be different. I expect sleep will become more like my intern year experiences. I expect that there will be more noise in my house, but also more laughter. However, I would never expect that my baby girl would be freakishly precocious in her gross motor skills and learn how to get out of her crib by doing a headstand. But then again, our friends Tim and Julie never expected that from Jessica. And they already had two kids.


Parenting Do's and Don'ts

As we prepare for parenting, we're trying to read all the right books, and get all the right advice. After all, giving advice to parents in the clinic is not the same thing as taking the kiddo home with you. In the spirit of this quest, we have found the following easy-to-understand diagrams to be particularly wise. For more of the same ilk, go here.


Own Your Wealth

At the risk of adding to the never-ending cacophony of thoughts on the state of our economy, I would mention the following overheard comments:

“With this recession, I can’t get my kids what they want for Christmas.”
“When I can’t buy a new pair of shoes, something is really wrong.”
“What? I can’t even buy my dog a Christmas present!”

A wise man (named Bob Lynn) made the observation that Christians in wealthy circles have had the tendency to reinterpret the Bible’s injunctions to care for ‘the poor’ as those who are ‘poor’ spiritually or emotionally. In other words, interpret in such a way that the wealthy can include themselves among the poor. It is a necessary thing for the rich to understand their own poverty in non-material ways, but the effect of the above reinterpretation once again leaves the poor ignored.

Current economic talk involves a large amount of class rhetoric, but I fear that this is accomplishing something of the same thing, in a different way. The American poor (who are still the wealthy of the world) can point to the American rich and decide that they are the poor, relatively. The American rich can look to the American ultra-rich, and say the same thing.

I fear that we will continue to wander in half-truths until we put aside these characterizations, which are only true relatively, and start dealing with absolutes. Who are we, in reality? We in America are the wealthy, and this is not just another comparison, but the absolute scale of the population of mankind. An understanding of how much material wealth we have in relation to the rest of the world is not just a useful mental exercise to remind us of all we have. It is an uncovering of reality, and should permanently replace the relative constructs we use within domestic circles.

What is the cost of this paradigm shift? We become the wealthy, and the responsibility that we apportion to the rich falls on us. Who should fund this? Who should care for the poor? Us. All of us. Before we set out on proper discussion of money and economy, we must first own our wealth. This acknowledgement will cost us, but it is true.


Happy Birthday!

Today is my wife's 30th birthday, and thus my chance to say, unreservedly and unabashedly, to all the wide web, that I am so thankful for her, and that I love her very much. Happiest birthday to you, Rachel. Thank you for sharing your life with me.


This past week, we made sourdough. Well, the first four days, we made the starter, and then we baked it on Thursday. The result: Not so sour, but very tasty. I think we finally have figured out how to make a nice crispy crust (i.e. spray the bread with water prior and at 5 and 10 minutes). But we put our replenished starter out again to see if we can further sour it. Perhaps if it was summer...