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Speaking of TBD, they are four years + nine months old.

Achievements unlocked this past month: creating dot-by-numbers puzzles (first one was a circle), a just-shoulders-shrug for ‘dunno’. Also, when repeating something another kid says, altering wording to make it their own—most often to one-up, but sometimes just to be original.

Rather than single achievements, though, what’s most noticeable is how more extensive conversations are now possible. Also, deepening awareness of current emotional and social abilities, with specific goals of things to get better at. (Specifics omitted for privacy.)

The allowance experiment seems to be working. At the moment, it's hard to hoard money for more than three weeks, before spending much of it on a big/better thing. But even that much deferred gratification is big.

Media consistently consumed this past month includes Commander Toad books, Junior B. Jones audiobooks (current default car listening), a volume of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Voltron: Legendary Defender (the Netflix reboot, not the original), and Transformers: Rescue Bots. (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was abruptly dropped mid-season 6. There's signs interest is returning tho’.) I’d add Star Wars episode IV, but only the first half has been watched, up to the escape from the trash compactor.*

One speech thing: I’m currently called Daddy/Dad/Dada in roughly equal proportions (except when distressed, in which case only Daddy). Another: thanks to a return to reading Frog on a Log?, we've been doing a lot of rhyming games of the form "What do Xes sit on?" "Xes sit on Ys," where the words rhyme, tho' odds are the Y is made up. "Monkeys sit on punkeys!" Wordplay in action!

Which leads into talking, talking:

“What is a hundred and a hundred and a hundred and a hundred and a hundred and more hundreds?”
“How many hundreds? I can’t add them up otherwise.”
“A hundred hundreds.”
(invention of multiplication)

“A long time ago my new toys ... (various fumbling) in a long time my new toys will be older.”

“I wonder if lie was a true word.”

“Don’t open the blanket.”

(after being introduced to a spaghetti squash with two spots like eyes, masks face with it)
“Oy, I’m a squash but I turn into spaghetti.”

“Sorry, $cat, I can’t talk to you. I’m watching Star Wars.”

“I’m just going to kill you forever. And when you come alive again I’m going to kill you forever again.”

Me: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Great $RealName will now — do nothing.”
TBD: *cracks up*
(the Great $RealName is a circus acrobat who jumps on our bed while an MC calls out their moves)

“I wish I would know how much the earth lived.”

So do most of us, kid.

* Possibly because the title doesn't have a colon.


Subject quote from this freestyle, Black Thought.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/665741.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


My Mandarin lessons on Duolingo have finally given me an immediately useful, as opposed to tourist useful, phrase:

Shéi zài wǒ de hòumiàn?
Who's behind me?

I can even manage both the requisite playful intonation and the tones.

(There's probably four other ways of saying this, at least half of them more idiomatic, but that's the grammar I can has nao.)

TBD thinks I am a very silly Dada.


Subject quote from "Snow," Louis MacNeice.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/665445.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, something a little wetter:

Rising Damp, U.A. Fanthorpe

‘A river can sometimes be diverted but is a very hard thing to lose altogether.’
—Paper to the Auctioneers’ Institute, 1907

At our feet they lie low,
The little fervent underground
Rivers of London

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet

Whose names are disfigured,
Frayed, effaced.

There are the Magogs that chewed the clay
To the basin that London nestles in.
These are the currents that chiselled the city,
That washed the clothes and turned the mills,
Where children drank and salmon swam
And wells were holy.

They have gone under.
Boxed, like the magician’s assistant.
Buried alive in earth.
Forgotten, like the dead.

They return spectrally after heavy rain,
Confounding suburban gardens. They infiltrate
Chronic bronchitis statistics. A silken
Slur haunts dwellings by shrouded
Watercourses, and is taken
For the footing of the dead.

Being of our world, they will return
(Westbourne, caged at Sloane Square,
Will jack from his box),
Will deluge cellars, detonate manholes,
Plant effluent on our faces,
Sink the city.

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet

It is the other rivers that lie
Lower, that touch us only in dreams
That never surface. We feel their tug
As a dowser’s rod bends to the surface below

Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, Styx.

Fanthorpe published her first collection at the age of 49, in 1978. This poem was written for a 1980 poetry competition, and while it didn't win (ETA:) first prize, third place did get her some attention. She published eight more collections before dying in 2009.


Subject quote from "To Fausta," Matthew Arnold. Yes, again. It's quotable.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/665253.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


I am pretty sure that a sufficiently clever someone could find the thematic thread connecting these three links, but I haven't had enough coffee yet to manage even minimally clever. Feel free to take a whack at it yourselves:

From Why did Japan surrender?:
To us, then, Hiroshima was unique, and the move to atomic weaponry was a great leap, military and moral. But Hasegawa argues the change was incremental. “Once we had accepted strategic bombing as an acceptable weapon of war, the atomic bomb was a very small step,” he says. To Japan’s leaders, Hiroshima was yet another population center leveled, albeit in a novel way. If they didn’t surrender after [the firebombing of] Tokyo, they weren’t going to after Hiroshima.
tl,dr: There's good arguments that it was actually the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, cutting off the possibility of mediation by Moscow, that provoked capitulation. This is an important question as it implies nuclear weapons might not be as strong a deterrent as we assume. (via lost)

Pangea marked with today's countries. (via)

From this piece on the man, I come to this work in words of one beat, though the name is all bad words: Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem Explained. I am in awe.


Subject quote from "Billy in the Darbies," Herman Melville.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/665067.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Building up links:

Timelapse: Building a log cabin from sratch with hand tools.

Ancient Roman puzzle locks. (via)

Cool architectural notepads. (via offline friend)


Subject quote from “The Progress of Poesy,” Thomas Gray.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/664756.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


I was going to do a link post, but, well, Le Guin.

The first thing I tried to write, in high school, was Tolkien with serial numbers filed off. The second thing was The Farthest Shore with serial numbers filed off, touched-up with paint borrowed from Howard Jones and The Police. (This, even though the book I reread most often was The Tombs of Atuan.)

Full sail and a following wind to the stars.


Subject quote from "To Fausta," Matthew Arnold.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/664437.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Three haunting links:

Walking the Tornado Line. (via?)

The physique of a female fencer and archer. (via)

My earworm for the last week: "The Hanukkah Dance" by Woody Guthrie, arranged and performed by Nefesh Mountain.* You're welcome. (via Janni)

* This is awesome Jewish bluegrass group. Have some more.


Subject quote from "Sonnet 31," Robert "Brother of the More Famous Philip" Sidney.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/664301.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


For Poetry Monday, a glance back to Spender again:

Ultima Ratio Regum, Stephen Spender

The guns spell money's ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.

When he lived, tall factory hooters never summoned him.
Nor did restaurant plate-glass doors revolve to wave him in.
His name never appeared in the papers.
The world maintained its traditional wall
Round the dead with their gold sunk deep as a well,
Whilst his life, intangible as a Stock Exchange rumour, drifted outside.

O too lightly he threw down his cap
One day when the breeze threw petals from the trees.
The unflowering wall sprouted with guns,
Machine-gun anger quickly scythed the grasses;
Flags and leaves fell from hands and branches;
The tweed cap rotted in the nettles.

Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?

Written in 1939 -- the scene is from the Spanish Civil War, which Spender participated in on the Communist side as part of the International Brigade. The title translates as "the last resort of kings," traditionally understood as meaning war.


Subject quote from "My Medea," Vienna Teng.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/664042.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

A few bits of fun:

The worst volume control UIs in the world. (via)

This dog loves to sled. (via)

Cha if by land, tea if by sea,” how two alternate pronunciations of 茶 spread around the world into (almost) every language. (via)


Subject quote from “Battle Symphony,” Linkin Park.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/663553.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Short shameful confession

Despite having seen Fiddler on the Roof twice (movie and stage) and being able to sing two and a half of its songs, what I remember best about it is the "Fiddler on the Chair" number* from The Electric Company.

* I cannot find a video online. Internets, you have failed me! *shakes fist*


Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/663467.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


Worlds, worlds, worlds.

Timelapse of thunderstorms in B&W: Breathe. (via)

Photos of recent snow in the Sahara. (via)

The exoplanets around a given star tend to be similarly sized and regularly spaced. Our solar system is unusual. (via)



Subject quote from "The Lark Ascending," George Meredith.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/663105.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For a Poetry Monday, something a little more modern than Modernism:

Market Forecast, Alexa Selph

Adjectives continue
their downward spiral,
with adverbs likely to follow.

Wisdom, grace, and beauty
can be had three for a dollar,
as they head for a recession.

Diaphanous, filigree,
pearlescent, and love
are now available
at wholesale prices.

Verbs are still blue-chip investments,
but not many are willing to sell.

The image market is still strong,
but only for those rated AA or higher.
Beware of cheap imitations
sold by the side of the road.

Only the most conservative
consider rhyme a good option,
but its success in certain circles
warrants a brief mention.

The ongoing search for fresh
metaphor has caused concern
among environmental activists,

who warn that both the moon and the sea
have measurably diminished
since the dawn of the Romantic era.

Latter-day prosodists are having to settle
for menial positions in poultry plants,
where an aptitude for repetitive rhythms
is considered a valuable trait.

The outlook for the future remains uncertain,
and troubled times may lie ahead.
Supply will continue to outpace demand,
and the best of the lot will remain unread.

(Published November 2001, to give a little cultural/political context.)


Subject quote from "Astrophel and Stella," #14, Philip Sidney.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/662926.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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