27 January 2008

The Wit

Thank you Karen for the cool test info! Here's my results.

Your Score: the Wit

(61% dark, 30% spontaneous, 21% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.
I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid

23 January 2008

Preserving mother's sanity in the face of illness

Sleep deprivation and snotty kid noses bring me down, I'll admit it. Especially when the weather is grim and the kids have pent up energy, a sick day for a kid can be miserable. And there's only so many hours one can play Battleship, after all. Well, if they're miserable already, make 'em learn something! Bwah ha ha ha!

19 January 2008

Canine foster parenting 101

This week was our first as a foster family for a pup named Hugh from the Humane Society of Indianapolis. We got our two beagles from them, and were so impressed with their care and compassion for the animals that we decided to participate in their foster dog program. In brief, the program places animals who for one reason or another (health or behavior) wouldn't do well in the shelter environment; the animal is cared for at a foster home until a forever family is found.

I started posting Hugh's info on craigslist.org and also at petfinder.com; since then, I received a bunch of scam offers for pet purchases involving shipping as part of an advance fee fraud scheme. Nasty mean scammers. So I won't be doing that again.

If you are considering adding a new pet to your home, please check out a shelter dog. The variety of personalities, ages, sizes, and breeds at a shelter mean that there's likely a match for any animal lover. And usually the fee is much less than what a pet store or breeder would charge, if cost is a concern.

But mostly we're busy this week not posting things online but instead working with Hugh and getting him socialized. Hugh is an affectionate, adorable but painfully shy little guy with huge feet! I've so enjoyed watching him come round this week.

07 January 2008

A storm of waiting

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of George R.R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons for most of 2007, and to assuage my waiting time I opted to re-read the series up to this point. No news yet on when the book will be ready. Sigh. Although there are some wonderful sample chapters available on his site for Danny, Jon and Tyrion.

As part of this re-read, I've been investigating more deeply some lingering plot threads that were nagging me. Who is the Knight of the laughing tree? Who was Jon's mother? How are dragons trained? These questions led me to a vital and engaging community of readers who dialog about the stories and many other unrelated topics. To pursue your questions on this topic, check out a few blogs and wikis I've found:

Most reviews of this book focus on its epic length and long list of characters. All true. If you're looking for a quick set of entertainment, move along. If you like the Chronicles in Amber, Dune, or other dynastic-lengthy series, you'll probably like this. Did I say probably? I meant "surely." Or else you're a grumpkin.

04 January 2008

Boys who follow the wind

I read The Kite Runner recently by Khaled Hosseini. Melanie Klein would have had a field day with this one's themes of guilt and reparation, and throughout the book I reflected on her philosophy of child development and how that was represented by the characters in Hosseini's moving story. In brief, two children of different social classes are playmates; and as the higher-classed child is exposed to his peer's derision, he begins to abandon his first friend. As this process of separation is going on, and during what should have been one of the finest moments of his childhood, his friend is attacked and he takes no action to stop it. From victory, he snatches bitter defeat. For many years after he is haunted with shame and regret over his actions; then he is finally provided the chance to redeem himself. But the task given is much harder; the bill of guilt has come due with interest. I was captivated by the story, the view into Afghanistan of years past, and hopeful for the hero's triumph. I recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy seeing a triumph of hope over bitterness and self-recrimination.

Hosseini recently had a Newsweek Article titled Don’t Give Up on Afghanistan which is a good read as well, for providing context in the rich complexity of this region and for the monumental task the Afghanistani people have ahead of themselves.

01 January 2008

Happy new year!

Hello, and welcome to the 2007 Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford Non-denominational Holiday Seasons Greeting Letter, the Official Non-denominational Holiday Seasons Greeting Letter of the Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford Family for 2007. 2007 was quite a year for the Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford family, one marked by both tradition and transition.

As is tradition with these year-end letters, we reveal here that it was a busy year for us. A lot of this has come from the traditional institution of tae kwan do, but that has also been so wonderful. Elliot and Oliver both achieved their purple belts this year, the highest of the intermediate level belts. Early in the year they finished 1-2 in an intraschool tournament, Oliver tops in attack form and Elliot in defense. (Third in both went to an appaloosa filly from outside Lexington ... Street.) They were also accepted into the Black Belt Program in the fall. Martial arts has been great for both of them. Not only has their physical maturity improved, their mental and emotional growth has really been helped. Their focus and self-discipline have improved tremendously. It's really helping them grow into young men.

So to help Richard's growth to maturity, he also started tae kwan do, in November. At the age of forty. And a half. Though his maturity is still nowhere near his chronological age, he has rocketed past forty toward seventy in terms of knee and ankle pain. He did get his yellow belt in December and no longer slings oatmeal at breakfast, so maybe there is hope for him yet.

Eva transitioned to a new job in January, in the fine traditional field of home building. Her employer is CP Morgan, Indianapolis' largest homebuilder. She has continued in the field of project management, with the occasional roofing job thrown in. Her timing was rather peccable, as you know if you follow the housing market. Like all jobs, it presents challenges, particularly in these days of modern times, but she does like her job and coworkers, in spite of the Chicagoesque commute and constant pranking (Lesson learned: do not prank coworkers with access to construction equipment.)

Richard also transitioned to a new job, leaving behind a computing job in the traditional and dying newspaper business for a job at Allison Transmission, a venerable company that is transitioning from GM ownership. Richard is looking forward to advancing in his new career as a drill bit polisher. Not really; but he is hoping to get a company vehicle to use, once they make the Abrams tanks street legal.

Elliot and Oliver continue to excel in their careers as school children. They started their third years at Beech Grove Montessori, Oliver transitioning to The Big School (K-3) with Elliot. They have begun to learn Arabic from their new teacher, a native of Jordan, and have taken to it like a duke to water. Montessori is proving to be an excellent fit to their education. They already know more of the chemical elements and symbols than most pharmaceutical company executives (ie, more than three). Elliot has continued to learn calculus in the second grade, and Oliver has shown great talents in languages. Soon they will be beyond Eva and Richard and running an anti-terrorist lab out of the hamper.

As some of you may recall -- how could it be forgotten? -- last year the family was adopted by a beagle named Perl at the Humane Society of Indianapolis. This year the tradition continued. In March they were again chosen, again by a beagle, again from the Humane Society of Indianapolis, this time named Beauregard. Beauregard is such a treasure. He is a wonderful companion to Perl; they now pester each other instead of the bipeds, for one thing. And while he often misbehaves, he will run straight to a human when he does to show just exactly how he's misbehaved. Other than his barking loudly at air, there have been few complaints.

The boys' indoctrination into sports exploded this year. Nothing in sports is more traditional than the Indianapolis 500 (run since 1911), except for the Cubs not winning the World Series (not won since 1908). The boys attended their first race this year, where they saw other grand old traditions: the Purdue Marching Band, the salute to the military, the flyover after the national anthem, the release of the balloons, and an Andretti getting passed on a restart to lose the lead. Oliver might not have enjoyed it so much, having slept through thirty laps of the race while only 30 rows back. They also saw their first Colts and Pacers games this year, which we all enjoyed.

2008 promises even more and we are looking forward to following the great tradition of American families: adapting to more transitions.