Archive for April, 2009

toby teeth

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Great excitement for young Toby today, as he lost his first baby tooth. It had been loose for two or three weeks, and yesterday it was clearly very close to coming out, but still not quite there. Apparently at school this afternoon he just but down on it and it popped out, causing a lot of interest from his friends. His teacher put the tooth in an envelope, which is now under his pillow awaiting a visit from the tooth fairy. Here’s some pictorial evidence (of the tooth, not obviously the tooth fairy):

Toby on April 27, with full complement of milk teeth

Toby on April 27, with full complement of milk teeth

Toby on April 28, with gap in teeth

Toby on April 28, with gap in teeth

victory for anti-bigotry

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Yes it’s been ages since I’ve posted, so to make up for it here are two heart-warming tales of young, decent people standing up against madcap bigotry – in both these cases, against the nastiness that is the Westboro Baptist Church, fronted by Fred Phelps. He has a history of really nasty anti-gay protesting, often outside funerals of US Army victims of war, because apparently America is a hotbed of gayness, and therefore the soldiers deserved it.

Victory number one: The Phelps people were planning to protest outside Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, because apparently Walt Whitman might have been gay or something. But the school had other ideas:

At the 2:10 p.m. dismissal, 500 students issued forth from the campus and lined up, several students deep, along the police tape, across Whittier Boulevard from the congregants. They alternately chanted the school name and “Go home!” — drowning out voices from across the street.

Faculty had spun the event into an interdisciplinary lesson. English teachers spent the day on Whitman’s verse. Social studies teachers led a unit on tolerance. Math teachers fanned through the crowd, attempting a head count.

It was the first taste of protest for many Whitman students, and perhaps the first time they had paid much mind to their namesake.

“This is my school, and this is where I live, and that makes it personal to me,” said Maddie Oliver, 18, a senior. Along with others, she wore a blue T-shirt emblazoned with the Whitman passage “Let your soul stand cool and composed.” Principal Alan Goodwin helped choose the slogan, hoping students would see its wisdom, he said.

Rebekah Phelps-Davis, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, said it was “the duty of the servants of God to go where the message needs to be heard.”

Susan Russell, 17, a junior, said she hoped the publicity would “highlight how ridiculous they are. I mean, that sign — ‘You will eat your babies’ — that doesn’t even mean anything.”

Victory number two: the Phelps people protested outside a school in California, where a production of “Rent” was to be staged. Once again, both teachers and students had more enlightened and, frankly, beautiful ideas:

A handful of members of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, which is known for its anti-gay protests, vowed to come to the campus to demonstrate against what it saw as the godless enablers of homosexuality. By midday Friday, the protesters had arrived. There were three of them, carrying signs that said, “[Gays] Are Beasts,” among others.

As they gathered on the sidewalk, several students came together in counter-protest on the other side of the street. Within minutes, more than 200 — some wearing rainbow tie-dye shirts and holding peace signs — stood sentry in front of the campus, clutching signs that said, “Support Love,” “God Hates No One” and “Love Is Not a Sin.”

The students turned the protest into a mini-celebration, singing songs from the musical and breaking into the school’s own fight song. A couple ran through the crowd in swim trunks, with the words “God Loves Gays” written across their chests. One was wrapped in a rainbow-colored cloth. Another wore a handmade shirt that read, “Love Is Equal.”

At one point, several students ran across the street to stand near the protesters. They shouted, “God loves gays and lesbians too,” and waved their signs at passing cars. Minutes later, Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, and his supporters walked away, taking their signs with them.

gmail autopilot

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

It’s an incredible 5 years since Gmail was announced by Google. A lot of people thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but it has since turned out to be an amazing resource for millions of people – I know that I would hate not to have it.

Today, however, they do have a pretty decent joke, in part because it sounds almost plausible: Gmail Autopilot.