Saturday, March 29, 2008

The manufacturing of controversy about Evolution!

I like this article by Valerie Tarico about the manufacturing of controversy about evolution!

The article points out that we have seen this insane manufacturing of controversy (manufactroversy) in the past.

"The fact is, there is no scientific controversy about evolution, just like there is no scientific controversy about whether tobacco causes lung cancer or whether human activity causes global warming. However, in all three examples, someone powerful and well established loses out when and if the scientific mountain of evidence becomes common knowledge and widely accepted. "

The "anti-science" forces (I'm not sure what else to call them) created a movie called EXPELLED about creationism. They ardently say they aren't creationist, they just believe in intelligent design and then they ardently say they are creationists and that intelligent design is creationism. Logic is not a strong point in this movie. The film is produced by Premise Media who previously brought us the ultra violent, Passion of the Christ.

How in the world did people get so easy to fool?

Paul Abrams takes a look at the movie and says Blashemy! Paul reminds us that science is indifferent to our preferences, it is what it is. Humankind ignores that reality at its peril.

The National Center for Science Education put together a comprehensive website about the crazy movie.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

David and Naomi after work

It is 5:45pm on a gorgeous day. Simone, Naomi and I are in the Chinese Room. Simone is finishing her afternoon nap in the double wide stroller. We have circumnavigated Seattle's business district with stops at the library, Sculpture park and Aquarium.

Naomi is awake and happily checking out the carved Chinese dogs and the other relics in the room. David finished a long work day in the office and has come up to join us. What a lovely golden finish to what had been a heavenly day "out and about" the city.

We are eagerly watching the development of the big hole in front of City Hall as we hear that a park with a jungle gym will go in alongside offices and housing. We'd love a place to climb and swing downtown! Here is the block (Cherry, 4th, James and 3rd) where that is hopefully in progress.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Legislation Trumps Jurisprudence & Deciphering the Siberian Wolf Code

On Saturday morning we headed North to Simone's ski class at Snoqualmie. En route Simone asked me to turn on the radio. So I did and "Stop in the Name of Love" by Diana Ross came on. Simone said, "That was just the song I wanted." I was laughing for 5 miles. Later we found a talk show on the radio about fixing things. They pointed out that many things today are created with one use (or a particular lifespan) in mind. The hair dryer doesn't open, though to fix it, one would simply replace a fuse. Most toasters today don't have crumb trays, so there is no way to scrape the heating elements as we did in the past when they started getting rusty. One caller into the fix-it show wanted to repair his "reputation" which has us all in stitches as the fix-it team took that on. They advised that "he stay at the table" keep talking to the folks who had written him off and keep doing his best to hold up his side of the bargain in life whenever he had an "opportunity" to do so. Simone was quietly listening to all this. In time, they assured him, his good name would be restored. "What is a good name?" Simone said. "I don't like my name. Can I change it to Naomi? That is a good name for me."  The radio show went on...The fix-it hosts warned the man with the tarnished reputation not to be sensitive to what other folks say as they pointed out that 95% of what other people say is about them and that he should establish his own criteria of success. At this point Simone piped in again. She liked the idea that perhaps NOT listening was good and she said, "I'm tired of having to listen to other people and do what they say...and Mom they just said that listening to other people is a bad idea. Did you hear that Mom?  It was on the radio."  Hard for me to stop laughing long enough to respond.

As we drove North to snow country, I found myself thinking back to a conversation from the day before with Virginia senatorial candidate, Governor Mark Warner. I asked him if, assuming he gets into office, he and his fellow senatorial pals (the "radical centrists" as he calls them) would propose legislation protecting the rights we now have under Roe versus Wade (along with other bioethics and privacy rights we need) since I feel that we have already lost the courts (5 -4 in the Supreme Court) and much worse than that in the lower courts. Legislation trumps in jurisprudence so this is one way we may restore and protect science and privacy rights going forward. Gov. Warner replied that he thought it might be a Pandora's Box to start legislating women's rights. He worried that attempting to do so might open us up for a backlash and the other side might take the opportunity to remove the rights we have today. I believe that as a nation, this is a conversation we need to be brave enough to stay at the table and have. Why do I believe this? Well, in Washington State we haven't been able to protect the right to purchase "Plan B" at a pharmacy and though we have been in the courts trying to protect our citizens basic rights for years, we are getting shut down. I see legislation as a way to get this out into the open where I believe it will be clear we need to protect the rights of all of our citizens.

Simone is in "Treasure Trails," the youngest group of skiers who meet every Saturday at Snoqualmie. Katrina, Jake and Logan (also pictured here) are in the more advanced classes. They are part of the "Ripacheeps" "Ice Vipers" and "Aslan's Toxic Monkeys" and have spent the better part of the past two months skiing deep into the snowy northern woods searching for clues to decipher the Siberian Wolf Code. Last week they located the crown (Logan and Jake are holding it) and the Staff (in Katrina's arms). Heroes! Next week they will search for the missing jewels that go on the spikes of the crown. The crown comes from a long line of gold bike helmeted Kings and Queens from Siberia...Such finery!

After skiing we headed to Zander and Scott's birthday party. Our tribe, so to speak, was there in grass skirts and diving gear as it was a surf theme. Our evening was powered by Kevin's scrumptious chocolate ganache birthday cake. The kids were intensely hyper and wild. Here is a video of them jumping on a mattress and racing through a big cardboard box in the basement.

When we got back to the tower, we discovered that Simone's bicycle had arrived and was in the lobby (Thanks William!) Simone jumped on and took it for a spin on the terrazzo before we headed up the elevator to do a circle around the chinese room's deck.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Double-wide jaunt through urban landscape

We left the house in the double wide stroller. Simone was working in her easy erase writing book sent from Grandma Patt.
Simone was also in charge of documenting this particular afternoon romp with her camera. She pointed out that "We need a picture of the tower, a picture of a train and a picture of the new gate to China town!"
So we set off due south to the International District to see if any of those could be found. We usually have a list of errands on these afternoon jaunts but we also have a rather lengthly list of favorite places we want to visit and certain urban projects we like to keep an eye on. One of those urban projects is William Justen's 1521 Second Avenue building! As you can see it is coming along. The homes have floor to ceiling windows so from the outside all you see is glass. For errands today we had 25 pounds of books (about as much as Simone weighs) to return to the library. En route Simone did take a few pictures but it wasn't long before she fell asleep and I took over camera detail.
Simone and I love the bodies climbing the parking garage wall that you see pictured here. We wish our hands and feet could stick to upside down surfaces like that! The girls take turns sleeping on the walk. When Simone is awake she likes to help push the stroller. When Naomi is awake she likes to stand up in the stroller and so I have to hold her so she doesn't tumble out...and can't take any pictures.
(Double click to see more detail.)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Saturday was a fun SNOW day.

Simone takes the Treasure Trails Nordic ski class at Snoqualmie Pass while David and I alternate skate skiing the loop and watching Naomi. Our friends Eli and Karel turned us on to the kids program. To sign up or find out more you click here. In these particular pictures it was snowing, but much of the day was warm and sunny.
When we got back to Seattle, David noticed that there was a one man show "7Sins" at the Theatre off Jackson in our neighborhood. (It was our date night.) So we headed over to the Szechuan Noodle House (next to the Green Leaf on 8th) for delicious homemade noodles and dumplings (we watched the making of the dumplings at the table next to ours as we ate) and then we wandered down the street to for a fresh fruit bubble tea before the performance. The ID (International District) is having a Renaissance. New condos, restaurants, bubble tea stands, a creperie, a newly renovated Wing Luke museum and these recent additions are not replacing older businesses, just squeezing in making the neighborhood dense and lively.

James Judd, the performance artist, launched his monologue from the open air Santa Fe Opera house and then to took us 40 floors below Las Vegas to an alien employees-only lunch hall with a snoring air system and sticky floors covered in green disinfectant. We enjoyed it! Here is the Stranger's blurb:
"7 SINS is a collection of true, fast, and funny stories from the life of writer/comedian James Judd. It chronicles his early ambition to win his 5th Grade book report competition with My Search for Patty Hearst, and his first
job when his working mother paid him to watch The Young and the Restless and then reenact it for her. He relives his varied careers as a forgotten employee of AT&T, where he did nothing for a year, an even shorter-lived career as a journalist (which led to an insane night with five Chinese billionaires in a Chinese bordello), and as an under-prepared criminal defense attorney representing violent teenage girls, as well as many more strange and always funny stories
. "

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kidspace and The Getty Museum

On Wednesday, Simone said, "I miss Tanner and Kendall." Tanner lives in Idaho and we haven't seen her in many months. Kendall lives in Los Angeles but we haven't seen her in over a year so I was surprised to hear these names come up. Amazing what is ticking inside Simone's 3 year old noggin! We decided we'd make them each a little movie and let them know how we were feeling. Here is the video for Tanner. Further down in this post ..."live from the blue room at The Getty," is the video for Kendall.

After a day of walking downtown LA, meandering through the dense Farmers Market with the stroller, visiting the Library's full scale puppet theater, running through the Frank Gehry Concert Hall and then finally... playing at the 9th street park, Simone made an announcement. "I need people to play with that are kids," she said. So on Thursday, we started the day at Kidspace in Pasadena. What a marvelously creative place! We found great kids there. Simone raced up Kal Banuska's 40 foot Raindrop tower (pictured above) and Tom Luckey's Wisteria Climber half a dozen times. Naomi cracked up as the earthquake demo shook the ground beneath her. The museum has a slew of presentations throughout the day and one we particularly liked demanded a bit of audience participation. I've included a video of Simone performing the mother mosquito in "Bugs that Suck Blood."
We finally said goodbye to our new found friends and somehow I got both girls out of Kidspace. (It was a struggle to depart, as the place is fascinating and we didn't come close to exploring all of it. ) As I was exiting the parking lot, I turned around to see how the girls were doing and discovered that both had fallen asleep. Hmm. Might as well head to The Getty and see if perhaps I can cover some of the sculpture garden during their afternoon naps. (Double click on the pictures to zoom in.)

The Getty was for me, what Kidspace was for Simone and Naomi. It was heaven. What grand spaces. What marvelous works. I get wound up by great art. Love the feeling of connection to one another, across centuries, across cultures, the realization that we are here on earth for a lifetime of wondering, struggling, problem solving, playing, caring, aching, creating...
Simone awoke from her nap in in the middle of Bill Viola's "Emergence" video and just as the skinny naked man rises from the fountain. "What happened to him?" she asked me? "Why are the women crying?" "The film doesn't tell us." I said. "Well the women look very sad and the man doesn't have any clothes on," she said. We headed to what the Getty calls, The Family Room. It is a small building with six interactive exhibits and plenty of space for baby Naomi to wander through on her own without breaking anything from the 1700's. In the photo below, we are tying ourselves up with the pretend ropes. These are black foam tubes that you can arrange into various holes in the wall to strap you into a spot. We tied ourselves up and then burst free triumphantly with foam zooming everywhere. Simone was still pretty groggy from her nap.

Naomi loved rolling around in the blue room. This is a bedroom done in cerulean brocade with soft silk walls and pillow rolls.
(Double click on the picture to see more detail.)