Life happens. Storms happen. Raised planters get built, radish seeds and collard seedlings get planted, snow falls, kids get sick, parents worry about their kids and their seeds and seedlings they planted. Nasty garages get cleaned out. Parents get sick, city leaders debate where to put convention centers, basketball tournaments come to town. Companies build skyscrapers, other companies make plans to raze historic buildings, people get upset, Downtown Design Review Committees ask to take tours of these buildings, people get slightly less upset. Downtowns are the object of obsession and pride. People do their taxes and look forward to receiving first-time homebuyer tax refunds. First-time homebuyers who get huge refunds make plans to remodel master bathrooms. Kids go to the openings of Children's Zoos. It is nearly always better to be a parakeet in a Children's Zoo than a goat, which nearly always look terrified. To walk is nearly always better than to drive. Declarations like this keep people honest. Honesty is a wonderful thing. Wonder is a wonderful thing. Bloggers stay away far longer than they intended, then return to make a flurry of generalizations.
An ice storm has immobilized Oklahoma City. There is a quarter-inch of ice on each little branch and twig outside, a condition which Emily tells me is beneficial to trees because the ice acts as a blanket. It's cold outside, but we're warm inside.
On a rainy, cold day in the Bible Belt we took Emmett to learn about science. Here he is seeing Bernouli's Principle being demonstrated. As you can clearly see in this video, Emmett interrupts the flow of air around the ball when he thrusts his hand into the air stream, thus disturbing the upwards lift force causing the ball to float in air. Next up: Venturi Effect, Torricelli's Law, and of course the Reynolds Number. (Thank you, Wikipedia).
Hi, everyone. You wouldn't believe what I've been up to here in Oklahoma. Things have been moving pretty fast around here. Sometimes things seem like a blur. Other times they seem to move really slow. My favorite album is Vampire Weekend's debut effort. I like to dance to it. The picture below is from Christmas Eve, the night of the famous blizzard of '09.
Here are two pictures of me and Mama and Papa in the Blizzard. I like how our house looks in the background.
I learned how to play the piano. Here I am performing a duet with my cousin Josiah.
That Josiah. What a guy!
Uncle Dale! World's best babysitter!
We went on a hike in the woods. I really like birdies.
I saw some pretty horsies and got a far away look in my eyes.
I met a fat guy in a red suit and didn't know what to think.
We planted a tree inside our living room. I also learned how to work this sphere thing.
I learned how to play the guitar, too.
But perhaps most importanty, I turned one!
Gosh, that was already two months ago. I am fourteen months old today. Life is great so far.
Reading the New York Times this morning, I came across a few articles that spoke to a condition most of us have to put up with these days: obsolescence. The idea that all things, sooner or later (though probably sooner), becoming obsolete.
Look at Dubai. It turns out that until Dubai's recent debt trouble, homes that had been constructed a mere 3 to 5 years ago were routinely being torn down to accomodate newer projects. The city of Dubai reminds me of Shelley's famous sonnet "Ozymandias":
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away".
Dubai is fast becoming such a "colossal wreck, boundless and bare" perhaps because it was built to be replaced. Built-in obsolescence.
That's why I took great pleasure reading about Cormac McCarthy's Olivetti typewriter up for auction. McCarthy, one of our most celebrated novelists, wrote nearly all of his novels, including three unpublished ones, over a span of fifty years on this humble machine. What writer today will accomplish such a feat on his or her laptop? I purchased my computer in 2005 and it's a dinosaur. I give it another 6 months before it goes belly-up.
Now, undoubtedly great literature gets produced on laptops and maybe even on handheld devices, too. But to read that McCarthy has written his masterpieces on a single, solid, sturdy, mechanical machine that has lived on and on is an inspiration. His novels mourn the obsolescences around us, acting as a chorus to question the values of a society that eventually destroys everything it builds.
For fifty years at least, McCarthy showed it was possible to buck this trend. And his novels, unlike Dubai or Ozymandias's ruins or even the Olivetti typewriter itself, stand the true test of time.