best kids’ book title ever

February 26th, 2009

Toby bought this book home from school today: “Let’s Explore Uranus“. Unfortunately he pronounces it the politically correct, modern way (with the emphasis on the first syllable) but it was still enough for Emma to be in serious pain with laughter.

best headline ever

February 24th, 2009

“Cop makes arrest in bathroom after smelling crack”

Actually, it’s not what you think.

faith healing

February 18th, 2009

I saw a link today to a rather insane plan in the UK to “overcome whatever obstacles and difficulties we may face as a country, an economy and as individuals”:

For exactly two minutes on March 6th at 11.00am our consortium of psychics and healers will act as a channel for the positive thoughts of the entire country.

Um. A channel, to where? And what will that do? Also, how many actually positive thoughts are there in Britain? I remember an American comedian in the UK talking about why people say “Have a nice day” in America but not in Britain: because Americans might forget to have a nice day, but it’s not actually possible to have an entirely nice day in Britain.

Anyway back to this article, don’t worry, because:

It is a proven scientific fact that thinking about something often causes it to happen. Some call this quantum physics.

I’m not sure that this is a proven scientific fact, are you? And it only “often” causes it to happen? I wonder who the “some” are who call this quantum physics – I would guess that they are almost entirely not physicists.


February 16th, 2009

Walking home from work today I saw a big white shiny SUV with a bumper sticker which read “Work harder! Millions on welfare are depending on you!”

I immediately thought “I hope you lose your job and find out what it’s like, you evil bigot” I’m pretty sure that reflexive reaction means I’m a bad person, but even so it was also an offensive sticker. What do you think?

google suggest

February 10th, 2009

I’m assuming that you use the google to find things on the web – for most people it’s second nature. They recently started a neat new feature where the page will suggest search strings as you type – has the same kind of feature.

Today on Failblog I saw a kind of bizarre search suggestion and wasn’t sure if it was real, so I went to and started to type in “I am extremely”. Sure enough – check out the last option (click on the image for it to be clearer):

absurd bird

February 5th, 2009

We had a bit of a surprise tonight when we got home from work: there was a small dead sparrow lying on the kitchen floor. Apart from the shock Emma got when we saw it, it was quite a strange thing to see. I assumed that the cats had done it in, but there was no sign of struggle – although I didn’t inspect it too closely as I was taking it outside, it seemed to be reasonably intact and there were no feathers lying around the kitchen. Plus the cats barely seemed to notice it.

The other puzzle was how it had gotten inside in the first place. Because of this never-ending winter the house is sealed tight as a duck’s arse, so it’s not like it could have come in through a window. However I was just down in the basement to do some laundry, and noticed that the cover of one of the old vents to the chimney seemed to be loose. I guess it’s possible that the bird could have fallen all the way down there, gotten through the vent and made its way to the kitchen (maybe the cats carried it there so that we would find it) but it’s still pretty strange.

at last

January 20th, 2009

Barack Obama takes the Presidential Oath of office.

I don’t really have much to add beyond what loads of blogs and papers have written about the inauguration. I was at work today and got to my desk after a meeting just in time to be able to watch a stream of President Obama taking his oath of office. I was very close to being sat there with tears running down my face. What a moment, partly because of who we have now, and partly because of who we said goodbye to today. Now, the hard work. Who would want that job, I have no idea, but good luck to him! Some fantastic photos from the Washington Post are here.

Also Garrison Keillor wrote a piece (I’ll try to find a link) about his experience being in the crowd. He said at the end that one of the biggest cheers was when the screens showed the Bushes get into their helicopter, the rotors started to spin as the cheers got louder, and then the aircraft took of and took away the former President – it was like the ice going out on the river after a long winter.


January 19th, 2009

Is Inauguration Day. And about time. Here are some great pics of the preparations.

or even pleurisy

January 18th, 2009

Well we were back to the doctors’ again today, this time with little Dara. She got quite sick last night, with a lot of wheezing and a fever of about 103, and while we wouldn’t normally take her to the doctors’ right away, there has been a bit of pneumonia going around at her daycare, so we thought it was worth getting checked out – we didn’t want to be negligent parents (or at least get found out).

Of course once we arrived at the medical center, she was all happy and saying hello to everyone, and her fever was right back to normal. Plus she only coughed when she wasn’t near a member of the medical staff. But when the doctor started to check her out she immediately saw that she has an ear infection (which surprised us because she hasn’t been showing any signs of ear distress). She also noted that Dara’s oxygen levels were at the low end of normal, and that she was breathing quite fast and with effort. So she was sent off to get a chest x-ray. When I had mine last week it was pretty easy – stand in front of a screen and wait for the picture to be taken. For a toddler, it’s not so easy to hold still, so she was put in a sort of plastic tube which held her body still and her arms out of the way. For anyone who knows toddlers, they will appreciate that being held still is probably the thing toddlers like the least, so this didn’t go down well, especially when they had to re-take the shot, but apart from that she did really well. The doctor said that if she has pneumonia, we’ve caught it good and early so it should be easy to get rid of quickly.

She’s now got some amoxycillin, which should kick in really quickly for both the ear thing and the pneumonia – I think at the moment she’s just really wiped out (as are we after not much sleep last night). It now means that both of the members of the family Toby refers to as “the D people” (Dara and Daddy) are a bit under the weather, and I’m continuing to be in awe of how Emma’s dealing with all this. Right now she’s on the sofa watching TV, eating fruit crumble and drinking wine, looking like the picture of calm, so I’m impressed.

Incidentally, the title of this and the previous post are from Billy Connolly’s The Wellies song, which you may have got if you are Scottish. I wasn’t actually planning it that way when I wrote my post yesterday, which is a bit alarming. At least Dara doesn’t actually have pleurisy, which while also being a lung infection, sounds a lot worse than pneumonia.

a dose of the flu

January 17th, 2009

I’ve been off work for most of last week, and one day the week before, the longest I’ve been out sick for ages. I’ve been running a fever since Thursday last week – about 9 days now, although it’s been responding to Tylenol. Not very high fever, around 99-101, but even so. The strange thing is, no other symptoms at all – appetite is fine when my fever is down, no congestion or anything – so kind of a mystery

So on Tuesday evening Emma took me to the doctor’s – the doc checked me out for strep throat, and also for pneumonia, which apparently is going around, but both tests came out negative. He gave me antibiotics and said that I should go back if it’s still going on by the end of the week.

Which it was, so went back to the doctor yesterday – a different doctor this time. I told him what had been going on and he immediately (and jokingly) said “Malaria!” I must have looked a bit worried as I laughed – he asked if I had been to Africa or anywhere like that lately, and I told him I had been to India but that was a couple of years ago; my last trip abroad was to the UK, so he said “Mad cow!”. Ha ha ha. Anyway, he said that he thought it was probably flu, and there’s not much you can do except rest and get good nutrition, which I’ve been doing, so hopefully it’ll be over soon. He insisted on doing a test, which involved taking a nasal swab – basically sticking a small brush right into my sinuses. When a doctor says “you’re going to hate me for this” you can be sure not much good will come of it. I had no idea I had sensory nerves back there – it was a pretty bizarre and unpleasant feeling, almost like he was taking a brain tissue sample, and of course he had to do both sides too, so I knew what was coming the second time. They also took some blood for other tests, which felt like nothing compared with that swab.

So, just waiting for results and looking after myself. Hopefully I’ll be back at work on Monday or Tuesday next week!