Because you’ve all been very naughty, here’s a song from the 1960′s: Christmas with a Dalek.
I’d like to direct your attention to two blog posts by Sarah Hoyt. In the first, Sarah takes about being “an odd”, a person who never quite fits in, or at least never quite feels they fit in. On the way she talks about why it might be that men like Karl Marx created ideologies that idealized particular groups while being nasty to individual members of those groups. It’s an interesting hypothesis.
In the second, she talks about the importance of manners, and shares some intriguing memories. Her remembrance of the women who tried to teach her manners is an illustration of what happens when you forget the parenting maxim, “Never attribute to willfulness what can be adequately explained by ignorance.”
What, you’ve never heard that maxim before? Not surprisingly, as I just made it up—it’s a riff on the old line, “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.” But it’s a maxim I’ve sometimes failed to heed, and as Sarah’s tale shows, that’s a Bad Thing.
Today was a good day around the blogosphere; so here are some links for you.
Mike Flynn on Aquinas’ “Fourth Way” of proving the existence of God, and why Richard Dawkins doesn’t get it. Mike writes very clearly about complicated stuff.
Tom McDonald on St. Augustine’s medicine for doubt, which one might subtitle “Learn from the mistakes of others.” I need to spend more time with St. Augustine.
Via Instapundit, here’s an article about Lillian Gilbreth and the invention of the modern kitchen. If you’ve read Cheaper by the Dozen, the Gilbreth name will be familiar to you. (If you haven’t, go do so now.) Gilbreth was the wife of Frank Gilbreth; she and her husband were pioneers in the area of motion study and eliminating needless motions from different kinds of industrial work. After his death, she began to revise the kitchen along the same lines; the modern kitchen “work triangle” comes directly from her work.
According to the lore of Jane’s family, they’ve got a mild Gilbreth connection. In Cheaper by the Dozen, there’s a scene where Frank is left to manage the children (they had twelve) while Lillian is away for the day. When she returns, he says something like, “They were no trouble, except for that red-haired kid. Him I had to speak to several times.” And Lillian said, “But Frank, he’s not ours. He lives next door.” Jane’s Uncle Dudley always claimed to be the red-haired kid.
I walked into our kitchen today, and we had walls! With panelling on them! (Well, OK, about six to eight linear feet of wall, but still! Walls! Wow!
In the meantime, I ran into this truly amazing video of Leonard Nimoy singing “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. I’ve been familiar with the song for over thirty years, thanks to the Dr. Demento Show, but I don’t believe I’d seen this video before.
It is horribly ’60′s: Leonard Nimoy, with Spock hair, surrounded by a bunch of (admittedly very nice looking) ’60′s chicks with Vulcan ears who make bunny-hop-like wiggly motions as Nimoy sings the song. Strange, very strange.
And if you go to Youtube to watch, you find other interesting things, like Leonard Nimoy singing “Proud Mary”. And “I Walk The Line.”
And William Shatner singing “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Please, make it stop!
I don’t usually comment on the political news, or on things at Instapundit (because I figure lots of people read that anyway); however, amidst all of the verbiage on Ann Romney’s choice to stay at home and raise the five Romney, I saw this post.
I don’t know anything about Kevin Williamson, and I didn’t read any of his post except the paragraph Glenn Reynolds quoted, but I agree with that paragraph completely:
It is difficult to put a dollar value on parental time, but it is clear that to the Romneys one hour of Mrs. Romney’s time at home with the family was worth far more than one hour in C-level wages; further, a 2,000-hour annual block of time invested in earning C-level wages would have fundamentally changed the character of the Romney household for the worse, while providing negligible economic benefit. Instead, she provided the family with a critical good that Mr. Romney, for all his riches, could not acquire without her cooperation. If we think of the household as a household, Ann Romney’s decision to stay at home makes perfect economic sense: Her decision to be a full-time mother enormously improved the quality of life for Mr. Romney, for the couple’s five sons, and — let’s not overlook this critical factor — for Mrs. Romney herself.
My wife Jane is a stay-at-home mom. She worked outside the home before we had kids; she might possibly work outside the home when our kids have moved out. But right now, right at the moment, having her at home has proven to be the best thing for all six of us, economically and in all other ways.
Sarah Hoyt, whose books I have not read, has recently begun advocating for what she calls “human wave science fiction.” And I’m all for it.
Check out her manifesto, which is really all about good story-telling. I’m especially fond of her rule #2:
2. Your writing shouldn’t leave anyone feeling like they should scrub with pumice or commit suicide by swallowing stoats for the crime of being human, or like humans are a blight upon the Earth, or that the future is dark, dreary, evil and fraught with nastiness, because that’s all humans can do, and woe is us.