Archive for May, 2008

about the michican and florida primaries

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Here’s some information if you’re looking to get informed on the Democratic candidates’ positions and histories before the Democratic National Committee meets this coming weekend.

population growth

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Just read an article on the BBC about how the Jewish population in the UK is rising rapidly. No comment from me on the point of the article, but some of the way it was written made me want to be picky and pedantic, and seeing as this is my website I think I have the right.

Orthodox Jews in London First thing I noticed was the picture – it seemed to me that it was quite a cliched-looking group. However the article goes on to talk about how the Orthodox population and tradition is a large part of the reason for Jewish population growth, so kind of fair enough. Could have maybe found a happier looking bunch though!

Secondly the following couple of paragraphs:

The population fell to a historic low of 275,000 in 2005, but that figure has since increased to 280,000 in 2008.

The figures were based on UK census data and the monitoring of Jewish births by academics.

Do they mean “The monitoring by academics of Jewish births”? It’s quite a different meaning!

Next pedantic point:

Dr Yaakov Wise, of Manchester University’s Centre for Jewish Studies, says the population has now risen, to about 280,000, and attributes the growth to the extraordinary fertility of strictly orthodox families.

Surely they mean that although the strictly orthodox families are large due to, ahem, cultural practices, they’re not necessarily more fertile than non-orthodox Jews, or anyone else. Surely it’s more to do with being less likely to use birth control?

Also one of the quotes which came out of this from Dr. Wise: “Approximately half of all the Jewish under-fives in Greater Manchester are ultra-orthodox.” I would think he means that they are from ultra-orthodox families. Can a three-year-old truly have ultra-orthodox beliefs?

In fact now I think about it the whole article is kind of grating to me. It seems that this research came from someone who defines Jewishness as subscribing to the Jewish faith, not so much Jewish heritage, based on this quote “Dr Wise – who says his research is based on regular monitoring of Jewish births – attributes the decline in the Jewish population to the fact that about half of more secular Jews marry outside the community, and many of them do not bring their children up as Jewish.” I was under the impression that being Jewish can be as much ancestral (many people describe themselves as being secular Jews) as religious.

storm and calm

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

It was a beautiful early summer day today – quite humid and warm. In a few months we’ll probably be sick of that kind of thing, but today it was just great – lots of greenery, and the humidity in the air really carried the aroma of tree and lilac blossom.

Around 5pm we were just getting ready to go over to our neighbors’ place for dinner, when I looked out of the window and noticed how dark it was getting. And windy too. In fact after a moment I saw that the rapidly gathering clouds were moving in a strange way, with tiers of the clouds moving in opposite directions.

This is not generally a good sign, as it means that the wind is unstable and can even indicate spinning air – tornadoes.

Fortunately we only had a few spots of rain and distant rumbles of thunder, but some really strong gusts of wind. When I stopped looking at the sky I noticed a huge tent-like structure had blown out of the backyard of the house across from us, and onto the road, blocking cars. The owners of that house have this tent in their yard to protect some equipment they have stored there, and even though it seemed to be moored in place, clearly the gust was too strong for it to hold.

I zoomed out to let the owners know what had happened, when I saw a guy wrestling with the thing, and thought I should probably help – it’s about the size of a two car garage and made of metal poles with big sheets of tarpaulin. We managed to get it out of the road and into the alleyway, when one of the guys in the house ran out clearly agitated at what had happened. We dismantled the thing and thought that was it. Emma, Toby, Dara and I went to our other neighbors as planned, and had a great evening with good food, drink and friendship. We did notice that the temperature dropped about 20 degrees in half an hour or so, but the weather stayed really calm.

Looking at the news this evening it seems that we actually got off lucky – just north of the Twin Cities in the town of Hugo there was a big tornado which killed one person, seriously hurt eight others and damaged more than one hundred homes. Here’s a photo gallery – crazy stuff.

new pics

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Just posted up a new batch of pictures – hope you like them.

cutest, apparently

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

We had a baby photo competition at work a couple of weeks ago, where we were asked to bring in baby/child pictures of ourselves. There were two categories – age 0-4 and 5-8, and prizes were awarded for the easiest and hardest to guess, and also for the cutest in each category. And so it came about that to my surprise I won for the cutest 0-4 picture. Very flattering, except perhaps for the thought that I peaked at around 8 months. Oh well.


Friday, May 16th, 2008

Or, what happens when nobody proofs your work. It’s all here at Photoshop Disasters!

gourmet baby

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Dara seems to have decided that being almost 8 months old means that she can eat grown up food all the time, or at least when grown ups are eating (she still is very happy with baby food when we’re not eating too). So on Saturday she tried and really enjoyed a little roast chicken and a lot of roasted parsnips, on Sunday she ate loads of aromatically flavored couscous, and tonight she had a whole lot of pasta with pesto (although now I’m typing this I’m realizing that the pine nuts in the pesto may not have been ideal from an allergy point of view, but balance that against developing her palate).

She’s also following in her brother’s footsteps by enjoying some banana before bed. Toby has eaten a banana before retiring almost every night since he was about 9 months old, at which time a banana would be about as long as his arm. Last night he only ate half, and Dara ate the rest, chomping off huge chunks and grunting happily while she chewed.

race in the race

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

It’s the West Virginia primary today and as expected the Clintons won by a wide margin:

Clinton’s win here came as no surprise. The state is packed with the sort of voters with who have gravitated toward the New York Democrat: white, largely rural voters, the majority of whom have not finished college.

Disturbingly though, a huge percentage of their supporters say that race was a reason they voted the way they did.

Now Hillary and Bill (formerly known as “The first black President”) could easily put a stop to the racial leanings. They could easily say that they believe race should not be an issue. Even though you could potentially excuse her comments from last week when she said that she won more “among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans” she could also easily and at no cost ask her supporters to put race out of their minds and vote on issues or style instead. But she lets the race issue, and raw, ugly racism, continue, and I think there’s no excuse for that.

another list

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

After the post on rating manly activities, here’s one for the ladies – specifically on rating your wifeliness. How would you do, and which is your favorite list item? I’m not sure why being religious is rated so highly, but I can see how not putting your cold feet on your husband would be important.

Wife ratings

skills for men

Friday, May 9th, 2008

I think I can reliably do around 65 of these.