Happy year of Sandy.
It will be good to us, to some of us at least, about this I have a certain feeling.
Punjab, what, he’s already in the hot seat, ain’t he, for spying, illegal spying? I’m assuming the seat is hot. It was hot when Nixon was in it, at least, right? That’s a good way to start the year. What’s up with Daddy Warbucks, any idea?
Good new year to all of you. Drink lots of water with your booze, take an aspirin before bed unless otherwise advised by your doctor, plus I take no responsibility for any health-related advice I may appear to be giving, this is all intended purely humorously, not really as life-help. I’m only saying.
And remind me to tell you about my ski trip.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you

I just noticed the article, just skimmed it; I was on the crapper and there’s only so much newspaper you can handle in 15 minutes, after the juicy financial scandals and the drug scandals on the sports pages, how much else can you read? I got the headline – Premature Births something something, and the picture – someone inside an incubator – with a descriptive caption, and something about trends and whatever. My wife mentioned later she had read the article, she reads every one that crosses her path, because she is interested and not as haughty and let’s be honest, vain as I am, not as convinced that she knows all about it because we do know something about it, having had two ourselves. Rather, she had them, of course, I was in the vicinity. She said the article was full of scary statements about what can go wrong when you are born early, and it is a long list indeed. The first guy I met in Vienna, showed me around town, he was blind, too much oxygen in the incubator. When our first one was born too early, on my first visit to her, the doctor told me, 90% chance she will have a normal brain.
So there is a great deal to worry about. A long, long list.
Journalists love that aspect. Scaring people is a big industry now. So with that disclaimer, that caveat, whatever, let me tell you this: it is theoretically possible for things to go well. There is a good chance they will, and that chance gets better with time, as technology and medical practices improve.
I would like to list for you the things that I know from experience can go right, but I have foresworn bragging about my children, and if I told you about them in any detail it would sound like bragging. So it’s all a big secret. All I can say is, things can go very well. You can have a fright like this, seeing a child born at 1272 grams and shrink down to 1000 before starting to gain weight, that forms your expectations to a point where seeing your child sit up on her own, let alone walk, makes every day feel like Thanksgiving Day and then the child can develop into someone so very exceptional and excellent that you don’t know where to start thanking whom. Things, I can’t tell you exactly what, can be so amazing; you can have such unexpected adventures, which remain secret.
And despite all that, you can also forget it for an instant, get mad, get impatient, whatever. We are only human. But you can also remember. You can be sitting there at a table in a slow Asian restaurant with a sore back, tired and hungry, and be overwhelmed by your child’s beauty and perfection, by the way her muscles move beneath her skin and the way her dark hair falls, the color of her eyes and shape of her nose, the way she makes conversation and the fact that she can sit up straight and walk under her own steam, not to mention all the excellence I can’t tell you about. Things can go very well, pray they always do.

Messages from the lost continent

is complete. Thanks, Horst, it was a lot of fun.

You are here

There is that cartoon of someone standing in front of a map that is blank but for a dot and an arrow labled “you are here”.
Like, who’s not lost?
As a kid, it used to worry me because, you know, your parents are acting, say, a little weird, you go on an outing (“The things we used to do together when you were a kid,” they’ll say to you later) somewhere way the hell out somewhere and you have neither any idea where you are nor how you would get anywhere else should they abandon you nor a good reason why they wouldn’t abandon you. You are entirely at their mercy. They think they are doing some nice family thing, and you’re scared stiff because what if?
Because everything is a matter of life and death.
As a kid, I thought you outgrew it.
Adults can drive cars, they can read maps and they have money, ergo adults don’t get lost. Perhaps the condition of unlostness is what defines an adult, defined one to me as a kid.
An adult knows the ropes. Knows where they are. Can change a lock.
I can assemble the trickiest furniture Ikea can think up, but I still am lost.
That doesn’t change.
I think if you’re not lost, you’re just not looking hard enough.
I think if you’re not lost, climb up on something and look over the walls of your cubicle.
But it doesn’t matter. Because you’re here.
It no longer bothers me. You live, what, a few days without food under most conditions, and I’ll never be somewhere so isolated where I’d go longer without a bite or a drink.
I get lost, it’s usually in cities, or in the woods near where I live.
I do it on purpose now. For enjoyment.
Nothing more fun than wandering aimlessly in the woods (of course, these woods, they’re finite and bordered by a river and villages and roads. Walk in any direction and you’re back out in half an hour, hour tops. I’m not advocating, you know, madcap behavior), unless it’s wandering aimlessly in the city, which I’m going to do with my daughter in about an hour.
I’m just saying, getting lost is not the problem. The problem is usually starving, freezing, or being eaten by a large predator.
Lost is, who’s not lost?
Lost is this. This is lost.

Caption Contest


    Or: What’s Bush Counting?

How to play the cello

After five years of trial and error (meditate on those two words for a brief moment), I finally know how it is done. Or maybe, after 46 years of trial and error, I have figured out how to do anything.

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